We live in an incredibly divisive time where politicians view their colleagues as enemies and family members can’t get through a toddler’s birthday party without resorting to fisticuffs. I remember a point in history when more than six million people held hands in a line all the way across America in order to…uh…raise awareness for…I can’t remember. Something to do with personal hygiene. Or starving kids. The point is, the country held hands. For 15 minutes. And now, we’re basically living in a full-time WWE pre-match hype session, just waiting for someone to throw a chair and get the real fight started.
So yeah, when I get a handful of beers in the office where separate breweries or entities decided to come together and make something special, I get a little misty-eyed and nostalgic for a simpler time when Stevie Wonder, Dan Aykroyd and Huey Lewis could all have key parts in a chart-topping song that raised millions for…uh…hand washing stations?
Anyway, the world needs more examples of people getting along with each other right now, so here are a few new beer collaborations you should be psyched about.
It’s hard to keep track of the number of collaborations that come out of the greater Stone Brewing family, but I can’t imagine a more natural matchup than Stone’s Arrogant Consortia and rock icons Metallica. This is as good as the time Run DMC and Aerosmith worked together. The pilsner pours a fairly opaque, golden yellow with a huge head. I was actually expecting a black lager, but whatevs. The beer is good. It’s really bright and lemony on the nose and really aggressive on the sip. This isn’t a laid back pilsner—it’s like an uber pils, downright chewy with biscuit-like malt up front and super zesty on the back end. There’s a quick, dry finish that’s a bit more bitter than I’d expect from a pilsner, but this is Arrogant Consortia and Metallica, so yeah, of course they’re going to crank everything up to 11. If you like pilsners, and you think the standard pilsner should be ratcheted up in all areas, this is your beer. And this can is about as badass as it gets. I’d drink the beer again just so I could hang out with the can.
Karl Strauss and Drakes joined forces to brew a beer with a super deep cut nerd reference. Both breweries were started in 1989, which also happened to be the same year that the Game Boy was launched. The two breweries came together to celebrate their 30th anniversary (and the first dynamic hand-held videogame platform) by creating a Hazy IPA. And it is truly hazy, pouring a light, milky orange with a soft, fruity nose. The beer is loaded with big hitter hops (Simcoe, Cascade, Mosaic and Amarillo) and in true hazy IPA fashion, they come through in the form of sweet fruit without any hint of bitterness in the sip at all. There’s a malty sweetness on the front end of the sip and a lingering sweet finish on the backend. In between…a juicy sweetness with just a little bit of electric zest. So, if hazy IPAs are your thing, get this beer.
I can’t think of two breweries that I would trust more to make a great IPA. Tropicalia, from Creature Comforts, is one of my go-to hoppy beers and Russian River’s various forays into IPAs are legendary, to say the least. The breweries went full haze with this IPA. It pours a dense orange with a super frothy head. The head is so thick, I think I could rest a quarter on it, and it delivers so much flavor all on its own. Seriously, get a bit of foam in your mouth—just the foam—and it tastes like a creamsicle, that treat you get from an ice cream truck. Get a little beer in your mouth with that foam, and it’s like that creamsicle has a battery attached to it. The beer is extremely creamy, with a big, round and soft mouthfeel. The texture is probably the first thing you notice, like sipping on marshmallows. But that’s not to say this beer is too sweet. That’s not the case. There’s some malty goodness, yeah, mostly in the form of orange marmalade, and also an interesting vanilla bean note. But the backend is zesty enough to keep it all in check. And yet, if I were to give this beer a one-word descriptor, it would be “mellow.” And “ridiculously good.” That’s three words, but one word just doesn’t cut it.