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!"
At the start of the basketball season, I wanted my beer pick to look forward. Something new and local, something I had never tried before. While roaming the aisle of my local liquoropolis last weekend, I kept my eye out for such a beer; one that was, as of yet, untried by yours truly, from a brewery that was, as of yet, un-reviewed on these pages. I found just such an option right away. Coming from just up the Diag in Gunbarrel, Finkel & Garf Brewing is a recent entrant to the Boulder brewing scene. Their Cream Ale, however, one of many quality brews on tap, tells me that they'll be around for some time to come. It's this week's gameday beer-o-the-week.
I love a good cream ale! The top-fermenting cousin of pale lagers, these beauties are malty-sweet, easy drinking, and perfect for the kind of session consumption that a tailgate requires. While usually more creamy and malt-forward, Finkel & Garf have decided to go in a little more hop-forward direction with theirs, bringing a lot of bitter, dank notes to the typically sweet style. It's a very pleasing result - almost the natural intersection of american ale culture and those classic styles that, until recently, dominated the hearts and minds of beer freaks.
The one thing that really takes this one up a notch, and it's a common theme that I've been noticing around the craft beer world, is the inclusion of some orange peel to the mix. My first thought when downing this one: now this is what Blue Moon should be. Citrusy-sweet, smooth, and creamy, the two beers put me in the same mind. Completely different styles of beer, to be sure, but the thought process seemed to lead to the same conclusion... just with F&G throwing in more hops.
Big fan of this beer, do yourself a favor and get some. It comes in cans, and, at 5.4%, a six-pack will get you more than ready for the marathon of Colorado sports about to hit the national landscape. Even Ryan Koenigsberg agrees - get some now!
Happy Friday! Go Buffs, beat the Cyclones! ... oh, and the Trojans too, I guess.