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Monday, July 21, 2014

New Glarus Brewing Co.'s Scream

  • Style: IIPA (Imperial IPA AKA DIPA AKA "You're drunk IPA, go home")
  • ABV: Untapped lists it at 9.0%  Of course, New Glarus rarely every lists their ABV so I'm not sure how accurate it is. Untapped also lists it at 85 IBUs .  I can only assume that they have photos of Dan Carey that warrant them this kind of insider info (actually, NG lists their IBU on the label for this one.  But the blackmail theory still stands)
  • Ease to locate: Only in Wisconsin, but as of this writing, it's still pretty easy to get.  Thumbprint Series are only for a limited time so don't wait too long.
  • Color: Light caramel with yellow & amber tones; relatively clear with visible carbonation
  • Head: 1 & 1/2 finger just off white head with thick clumps of simply gorgeous lacing. 
  • Aroma: Grapefruit, mango, lemon, pineapple and a bit of herbal notes all working in harmony.  Some malt sweetness and just a hint of booze.  Extremely well balanced. 
  • Mouthfeel: Pretty perfect for an IIPA.  Just thick enough to give you a lovely coating without the typical syrupy feel.  An unexpected dryness elevated this beyond the usual IIPAs out there.  The body might just be my favorite part of this beer and that says something.
  • Finish: Medium boarding on long.  It slides from the citrus/herbal notes to some light sweetness and  then springs back with a resin tail.
  • Food friendly: Yes. Oh, you want more?  Choose meals that will benefit from a bit of acidity, such as beef tenderloin or a medium rare steak.  You could also try Scream with a slightly spicy and hearty veggie burger.  Veggie burger are good.  Stop making that face.     

Apple User's link:  We all have them.

                                        Bad days know no gender, social class, age or ethnicity.  They are equal opportunity sons of bitches.  You sort of have to admire that, just as long as it's not your bad day.

I'm not much of a screamer.  I'm definitely a yeller, however.  My co-workers and various family members will be very happy to back this claim up (they'll do it quietly, however,  No need to poke the bear after all.)   Some say it's my Irish temper.  Others might attribute it to a certain lack of self control on my part.  I prefer to think of it along the same principal as a tea kettle.  All of that steam needs to be released at a certain point to keep the kettle from exploding.  So, instead, the kettle produces an ear splitting shriek when the pressure gets too much.  And, like every other human awake on this planet, there are days in my life when the pressure can get too much.  Take today for example.  I have spilled coffee on my shirt, been bitched out for things at work that are well beyond my control (unless I've developed some sort of super power that allows me to control the minds of the US Postal Service unaware to me) and have seriously considered changing my name AND not letting anyone known what it's been changed to.  A good yell really can make things feel easier to handle.  Plus, it's quicker than a six mile run.  A good beer can also have similar medicinal effects if taken on a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.   Luckily New Glarus  is there for us.  As long as you have the gas money to cross the boarder and grab a four pack.  I'm just assuming that if you live in Wisconsin already, you know enough to sooth your horrible days with a paste of Spotted Cow and cheese curds.  
My New Glarus Scream IIPA poured one of the loveliest glasses that I've seen from a New Glarus beer in a long time.  The color was a light caramel tone with golden amber highlights.  The IIPA was relatively clear , although not quite see through, with visible carbonation.  A thick one and a half finger head of barely off white foam rose in the glass and stuck around for a majority of the drink.  An appealing mix of tight and large scale bubbles left behind a webbing of soapy lacing.  The scent of citrus forward hops, mainly grapefruit and lemon, mingled on nose nose with the expected (from New Glarus) fruity scents of mango and pineapple.  An herbal character was also present, as well as a hint of resin.  This may well have been the most hopped up beer I've had from New Glarus to date and I mean that in the best possible sort of way. Underneath the bitterness, I found a lightly sweetened malt presence as well as a hint of alcohol.  IIPAs dn't usually WOW me with their nose, but Scream was an exception.  The flavor reflected the nose rather well.  A great mixture of grapefruit, mango, pineapple and lemon brightness as well as that herbal character that I found in the aroma.  The taste was a bit sweeter with a brown sugar note towards the middle of the sip and the resin pineyness emerged on the very end.   I was expecting the typical syrupy mouthfeel that I usually encounter with most IIPAs and was delighted to discover a crisp dryness to this ale.  It was just thick enough to lightly coat the tongue but without any sort of heaviness to the mouthfeel.  I absolutely loved it.  The finish bordered on long.  It began with the hoppy, citrus/herbal notes which quickly faded to a light sweetness, which is where I thought the swallow would end.  But Scream was a sneaky son of a gun and doubled back to end with a resin note on the tail.  Tricky bastard.        

I can give or take most IIPAs.  I know that some in the craft enthusiast world might call it sacrilege, but I am less than impressed with certain breweries who think that the higher the ABV percent or IBU count, the more impressive the beer.   At a certain point it starts to feel like a measuring contest.  Who can brew the highest ABV without giving their customer acute brain damage before the bottom of the glass?  How high of an IBU can you get away with without permanently destroying the target market's taste buds?  To me, it all comes down to one thing and one thing only: Do I care if I ever have another glass of this beer again?  If the answer is a resounding yes, then I know that the ale in question is a winner.   And New Glarus Brewing Co's Scream IIPA is a winner winner chicken dinner sort of beer (although the chicken is optional.)  I would serve a pint of Scream with a meaty Bacon Wrapped Pork Shoulder, letting the simple ingredients work harmoniously with the more complex citrus, fruity, slightly sweet aspects of the beer (and I would personally leave out the optional liquid smoke which I think might taste a bit overpowering in this match up.)  Alternatively, this ale would work well with a Vegetarian Black Bean Quinoa Burger since the drier mouthfeel will help to quench the heat provided by the teaspoon of Sriracha involved.  But if you are experiencing the epic sort of bad day that Micheal Bay movies and Good Ole Boys Country songs are made of, my suggestion to you is to crack open a slightly chilled bottle of Scream, pour it into your second favorite glass (in case of accidental breakage) and sip it while letting some one else cook for you.