Like most of you, I have been quarantined at home for the better part of 2 months. If you’re a beer nerd like me, these quarantine days have you drinking just a little bit more.
For me, it started innocently enough. Grabbing a few extras from my cellar. But once I saw the releases breweries we’re putting together, I started re-stocking the fridge. It became part of my weekly routine: groceries and beer, not necessarily in that order.
With American Craft Beer Week starting today (May 11) and running all week, I thought it would be a good time to take stock and highlight a few of the beers released during quarantine that I have really enjoyed. Beers I was actually able to secure (while social distancing) and drink. Some I missed out on (Reuben’s Triple Crush!) and a few that went right into the cellar (Fremont’s B4K and Skookum’s Quarantine and #BIL). Those aren’t included. I also wanted to highlight a few different styles, a mixed 6 pack if you will. Without further ado, here is Wheezy’s Quarantine 6-pack.
Vanilla Solitary Confinement
| RELEASE DATE April 8
| ABV 11% | UNTAPPD 4.22
A version of Solitary Confinement (stout aged 13-20 months in bourbon barrels) but aged 16 months in Woodford Reserve barrels and finished on whole vanilla beans.
At this point do we expect anything less than barrel-aged perfection from head brewer Hollis Wood and the crew at Skookum? They have set the bar high and people are driving up from parts unknown to the lil’ ol’ brewery near the airport. I’ve seen Skookum bottles pop up as far away as Kansas City and Florida as the trade market has been crazy for any and all of their barrel-aged offerings.
While I prefer the original SC, this one is still exquisite. I found where the regular SC has that delicious big bourbon, boozy kick on the back end, VSC is smoother with a hint of vanilla. It still has some warmth, but is more approachable. The vanilla really smooths the edges so if bourbon isn’t your thing you may prefer VSC over SC. That being said I love bourbon, but I also love VSC.
| BETTER UP YOUR TRADE GAME; SOLD OUT
Die in Haze
| RELEASE DATE April 23
| ABV 10.2% | UNTAPPD 4.64
Hazy Triple IPA
Structures released this version of Die In Haze on the same day as Fuzz and their collaboration with Skookum, Farewell Transmission. While all three are really good, Die in Haze stood out to me. It was the best IPA that I have tasted this year, so far.
This tasty juice bomb hits everything you want and not too much or too little of anything. With its juicy but smooth taste you won’t believe this is a triple IPA. It’s so chock full of hops that I found a fair bit of hop residue lingering in the bottom of my pint glass.
| SOLD OUT
Holy Mountain Brewing
| RELEASE DATE April 20
| ABV 5.1% | UNTAPPD 4.13
Mixed culture Saison fermented and aged in oak foudres and hopped with galaxy and mosaic
This is not a new beer. It’s actually one of the tap list staples at HM. The reason this beer is on the list is because for the first time ever it has been bottled and offered to go. A refreshing, moderately tart Saison with light funk and a citrusy effervescent mouth feel. Demonteller is a classic summer sipper and can now be enjoyed at home, sitting on the porch, reading a book or tending the barbecue. At $10 a piece there is no reason not to add a couple in on your next HM order.
At Large Brewing
| RELEASE DATE March 27
| ABV 6.3 % | UNTAPPD 4.16
Hazy IPA made with Citra, Idaho 7, Wai-iti hops.
Part of At Large’s Villain Series of IPAs, Dr Evil is a soft IPA that still has a full creamy mouthfeel, with citrus notes galore. Before we go any further, I need to admit my love affair with Idaho 7. It’s real and while I don’t think the feeling is reciprocated, I won’t stop enjoying its charms any time soon. Idaho 7 has all the flavors that make IPAs great. Pine, tropical fruit, citrus and some say earthy. I don’t know, but when this hop is used with Citra it’s an instant classic for me. At Large has been cranking out tasty IPAs for a while but this is one of my all-time favorites from them.
| SOLD OUT
Patchwork Pale Ale
| RELEASE DATE April 18
| ABV 5.2% | IBU 40 | UNTAPPD 4.06
A hazy pale ale with 100% Mosaic hops.
While not as hazy as we’ve come to expect from the style, this cloudy beer still delivers on flavor with 100% Mosaic. Kevin King of Good Brewing is not one to skimp on the addition of hops to his beers and Patchwork shines with the dry hopping with copious amounts of Mosaic hops.
This amber-colored gem is easily crushable with its lower ABV and IBU, but it still delivers on flavor. If you are looking for something hoppier than a pilsner but not as heavy as an IPA, this is a great choice. Easy to drink while mowing the lawn — or watching someone else mow a lawn.
Three Strands IPA
5 Rights Brewing
| RELEASE DATE March 12
| ABV 6.6% | IBU 55 | UNTAPP 4.24
Hazy IPA made with Citra, Idaho 7 and Azzacca hops.
5 Rights has always exuded and fostered a feeling of family and community. Three Strands IPA is a symbol of that connection. I didn’t pick this beer because of those references, I picked it because it is damn delicious.
Loaded with the delicious combo of Citra and Idaho 7 (I told ya’ I love these hops!) this smooth haze bomb is chock full of tropical fruit flavors on the nose and in the mouth, while remaining creamy and well-balanced. I’m impressed because a couple of the hops are so high in bittering alpha acids but this beer remains delicious and juicy without a ton of bitterness. My hope is this beer joins the family of other 5 Rights IPAs in regular rotation.
| SOLD OUT
As the majority of us are waiting for the world to reopen, and breweries are continuing to crush it with releases, this 6 pack may easily grow into a half rack or even a case. It’s been exciting to see the speed, styles and creativity of the brewers during this time. Adaptation is a skill of survival and for us the beer drinker, this adaptation has led to some amazing beer releases.
Now this is just one man’s rambling, so I fully expect and am actually excited to hear everyone’s own Quarantine 6-Pack. Leave a note, make a comment, or tag us in a post. Until we can drink together again, Happy American Craft Beer Week and Cheers!
| Photographs by Brian.