Each week throughout the football season I'm going to suggest a good beer for the ubiquitous pre-game tailgate. Let's be honest, with tailgates it's not always top quality that you're looking for. To steal a phrase from the heinous beer terrorists at Budweiser, you want "drinkability." (or what a real beer connoisseur calls "a session beer") So, be warned, these may not be "the best" beers around. But, in the words of Dave Chappelle as Samuel L. Jackson "IT'LL GET YOU DRUNK!"
After a week off - both for the bye, and to recover from the Great American Beer Festival - I'm back with another alcoholic treat for the weekend ahead. While I was at GABF, I tasted many excellent beers (and a few duds), but one brew grabbed my attention in a way no others did. That beer, Bear Republic's Apex IPA, is this week's gameday beer-o-the-week.
After a night of palate abuse, where I threw beers from across the spectrum at my wanton tongue, Apex seemed to point true north towards what I most look for in a beer. Tasting this was a humbling experience, reminding me that, sometimes, the mouth wants what it wants, and maybe that uber-sour over there, while rare and interesting, isn't really for me. Apex showcases a bright reverence for the hop, without keeling over into a hammer-thrust of obtrusive bitterness. There's balance with the malts, without being too sweet. The finish is clean - lingers pleasantly before leaving you wanting more. It was joyous. Just a beautifully crafted 'Strong IPA.'
Needless to say, I went back at least (it gets a little hazy after 8pm) four times to grab an extra ounce. @DavidScarffe and I even went back to directly compare it to the other IPAs we had tried (like Ballast Point's Sculpin), and made the decision that Apex was the best use of hops in the room (no small feat, that).
Apex has been around for a while, having won a silver medal at the '06 GABF, but Bear Republic just recently started throwing it in bottles for a limited release. I asked at the tent, but they won't be distributing in Colorado. Having learned that, I'd be lying if I said I didn't consider a quick beer-cation to NorCal. For those in BuffNation traveling to California for the game tomorrow, do me a favor, and grab a few of these. I can live vicariously through your tailgating experience.
Happy Friday! Go Buffs, beat the Trojans!