Welcome back to What We’re Drinking, wherein The Growler editorial staff look back on a recent remarkable beverage. What are you drinking, Growler Nation? Let us know on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Badger Hill Brewing & Todd Haug, HEXIT Braggot IPA, Keith Grauman, Web Editor
We’re in trouble. Why? Because bees are in trouble. Of the 100 crop species that provide 90 percent of the world’s food, more than 70 are pollinated by bees. If bees die out, which they’re currently doing at an alarming rate due to habitat loss, widespread overuse of pesticides and fungicides, and numerous diseases and parasites, the plants that depend on them also die, as do the animals that eat those plants, which (spoiler alert) includes us humans. To draw attention to this problem, Todd Haug teamed up with Badger Hill Brewing to make HEXIT, a heavily dry-hopped braggot IPA brewed with 600 pounds of Minnesota honey and oats. The beer carries huge floral, grassy, and citrus aromas, a rich mouthfeel, and finishes dry. All of the profits from the beer are being donated to the Minnesota Honey Producers Association and the University of Minnesota Bee Lab.
Alaskan Brewing, Husky IPA, Brian Kaufenberg, Managing Editor
Alaskan Brewing has been doing things right for 30 years. In addition to being the first American craft brewery to install a carbon dioxide reclamation system and a mash filter press to reduce inputs and outputs from their brewhouse, Alaskan has racked up an astounding 48 GABF medals for its beer. Husky IPA, a 2017 spring seasonal, is the latest example of the brewery’s ability to create reliably delicious beers in sustainable ways. With powerful aromas of tangerine and a grassy finish from Mosaic hops, Husky IPA is a bright IPA that is ushering in a greener season of life.
Longridge Wines, The Emily 2016 , John Garland, Senior Editor
Biodynamics involves a bit of pseudo-science, but biodynamic farmers are the most meticulous and attentive grape growers. There’s detailed care in their grapes, and its shows in the wine. Longridge employs biodynamics on their estate in the Stellenbosch region of South Africa, and The Emily is a perfect companion for an early spring. Don’t let the slight rose color fool you—that 4% pinot noir is only there for a little blush. It’s 96% chardonnay and drinks like a full-bodied white—juicy stone fruit with good acidity, finishing dry like the skin on a strawberry. Tons of pep and personality in this wine for under $20.
45th Parallel Distillery, 45th Parallel Vodka, Kate Murphy, Editorial Assistant
Vodka shouldn’t be thought of as tasteless. A great vodka retains the personality of the quality ingredients it’s distilled from. And New Richmond, Wisconsin, has a definite vodka victor. 45th Parallel Distillery integrates a “circle of production”—sourcing local grains, milling, mashing, and fermenting in-house, and sending the leftovers back down the rural roads for livestock feed—which keeps their footprint small. But how does it taste? With an aromatic dry cracker opening, the vodka is clearly focused on the corn, but it’s bright and ultra clean. Tantalizing whispers of semi-sweet vanilla and botanical flavors grace the palate, creating a balanced and an incredibly velvety finish. Whether it’s a martini, a Moscow mule, or straight up, this spirit is delightfully versatile.
Odell Brewing, Tree Shaker Imperial Peach IPA, Joseph Alton, Editor-in-Chief
When it come to claims of sustainability in the brewing world, few can make a case for the kind of environmental stewardship that Odell Brewing Company in Fort Collins, Colorado, has become know for. From 11,000 square feet of solar panels (the rest of their energy comes from wind power), to heat reclamation systems, to the aggressive goal of being landfill free by 2020, Odell walks the sustainability walk.
Tree Shaker is their Imperial Peach IPA brewed with local Colorado peaches. The beer pours a clear orange, and is bursting with peach, citrus, and subtle notes of pine on the nose. A big, resiny mouthfeel coats the palate and delivers a fruit forward flavor of tangerines and fresh peach with slight earthy notes that almost resemble oak. Drink this beer year round with grilled meats or barbecue.