Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Friday, October 30, 2015

Friday Beer Post: 2015 Gameday Beer-o-the-week - UCLA Edition

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!"

All right, that's it.  Let me lend my voice to the millions of discerning adults who have had enough with the whole 'pumpkin spice' thing.  It was cutesy and kitschy and pseudo-cool for a while, but after years of incessantly pumpkin-izing everything, I just can't take it anymore.

Accordingly, this week's beer will not, as has been the case in Halloween weeks past, be a pumpkin beer. I'm looking beyond the seasonal ingredient, and grabbing for something... not fucking pumpkin.  In a compromise, I'm sticking with the preferred color scheme of the day - orange - but I'm veering sharply down the hoppy path in the direction of one of my favorite Colorado breweries.  Durango's own Ska Brewing has tweaked the recipe on their excellent Modus Hoperandi to come up with something called 'Modus Mandarina,' and that beer is this week's gameday beer-o-the-week.
If you love Colorado beer culture, then you must love Ska.  Tiny, rambunctious, and makers of one of my all time favorite brews (the original Modus), they bleed craft culture.  Their trick with Modus Mandarina is to brew their traditional Hoperandi with some orange peel and finish with Mandarina Bavaria hops - a recent strain known for its tangerine flavor profile - to create a bright, citrusy IPA that stands alone.

I love the smell.  The dry hop gives it beautiful floral/fruit notes that play with the orange peel.  On the tongue, you'll be surprised to find that the orange doesn't dominate.  It's not sweet by any means, and I think you actually get more of the pithy bitterness than the orange juice sweetness found in other 'orange peel' beers like Blue Moon.  At the end of the day, you can still tell it's still Modus, just with a new coat of paint.  Resinous, dank, and piney, it a very hop forward beer, but the malt balances it off before the place goes full-bore into the world of Imperial IPAs.  It finishes dry and bitter, as it should.  All-in-all a fantastic brew.

Ska just recently kicked off a full release of the beer, meaning you should have no trouble finding it on shelves throughout the state.  It comes in cans, making it perfect for tailgate season, and it is perfectly packable.  At 6.8%, be mindful of your consumption, but enjoy the hell out of a great new option from one of Colorado's best.

Happy Friday!  Go Buffs, beat the Bruins!

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