Here’s what’s good: Having a brother who has to make regular trips to the US for work. And he’s willing to mule some beer for me.
Here’s what’s not so good: He’ll only bring back a bottle or two for me. Something about not having the room after he’s packed the stuff he bought for himself, his wife and young daughter. I know, pretty selfish isn’t he?
Yes, I jest of course. I’m happy with the one or two bottles of extremely hard to get US beer. Because without his efforts I’d be getting precisely no bottles of beer.
I’m just kicking myself that I didn’t think to ask him to bring some back before. He’s been going back forth for more than a year now and I only just thought to ask him last month.
I largely left it up to him what sort of beers I’d want – pretty much the only guideline I gave him was to go hyper-local and buy beers native to whatever state he was in. That way, I was assured of getting beers that – for me – would be once in a lifetime deals.
The first delivery featured two beers bought in a bar (such interesting liquor rules they have over there – my brother was allowed to take them out of the bar unopened). The better of the two was from the Charleville Vineyard Microbrewery in Missouri. Looking at their website, they make a lot of beers but none of them are ever likely to make it to our neck of the woods.
The beer he chose was a double IPA (he rang while he was in the bar asking if I wanted it, and he helpfully explained that US IPAs were a lot more hoppy than those in Australia. I played nice and didn’t remind him that I was a big beer geek and was already well aware of that. No need to be a smart-arse to someone bringing beer back for you).
The beer boasts that it’s ‘‘hopheaded and heavy-handed with 100IBU’’. While there were some distinct tropical fruit characters that I’d expect from a beer with heaps of hops, I didn’t taste anywhere near the level of bitterness that a 100IBU beer should have.
So I handed it to my wife to see what she thought. One sip and she gave me that sour, puckered-up face that says ‘‘Oh my God, this has a stupidly high amount of hops! Why did you give this to me?’’.
Well, I gave it to her to see if there actually were loads of hops there and I’d just steadily become immune to the hoppiness. And I had – while she’s not a hop junkie, her palate for IPAs has been getting stronger. But 100IBU beers are still beyond her it seems.
Given the Americans’ fondness for uber-hopped beers, I reckon I can expect my brother to bring home more beers like this in future visits.