Fourth of July for Americans is a BIG deal. Understandably so. I’ve been lucky to have been in the US for a few Independence Day celebrations. It’s barbecue, outdoors and fireworks. Hot dogs feature more prominently than beer. There’s even a nationally televised hot dog eating competition broadcast live from Coney Island, New York. Today’s winner apparently polished off 70 in the allotted ten minutes.
Of course many bottles and cans of Sam Adams or Yuengling will be downed today. Beers marking the festivities or ‘Murica more generally will be popular today. Even Budweiser has been renamed America for the summer (more on that another time).
Needless to say IPAs will be drunk in commemoration of an American triumph over a British style. Is there a better or more symbolic way for a craft beer drinker to mark the 4th?
Americans don’t just like things big, they like them bigger. So why not turn to an imperial red IPA from Colorado’s Oskar Blues. At 8.7% abv, G’Knight demonstrates significant home-grown American heft. It’s name captures that the events 240 years ago when the 13 original states said goodnight and good luck to George III’s “repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States”.
The beer pours a clear, burnt orange and rusted copper colour. There’s plenty of thyme and other herbs alongside pine on the nose. With IPAs these days all focuses on trying to extract as much fresh fruit aromas, it is almost somewhat pleasing to revert to the old-school pine notes. This beer is all about full-on bitterness and flavour.
It finishes dry, spicy and herbal. It’s chewy too, at times a little astringent. The warming alcohol notes suggest that this beer would be better enjoyed at this time of year in doors with the a/c cranked up, except if like me you’re enjoying the changeable Irish summer.
There’s sweetness in this beer and believe me you subconsciously go searching for it. You need something to cut through the bitterness. It’ll be hard to drink anything after this as your palate would be destroyed. Then again, a BIG BEER is appropriate for the day that’s in it.