Summer of Beer Picks

Beerland at Mike’s has been moving at a full clip as summer rolls on. We recently hosted local favorites Crane Brewing Company from Raytown, MO in our Brookside tasting room. Those in attendance were treated to candid stories and humor from founder Michael Crane himself. We filled a record number of growlers this past week (in large part due to Crane’s tap takeover).  We can’t thank you enough for your support. Stay tuned here, the newsletter, and social media – because we have more [very] exciting news on the local beer front coming very soon…

As summer rolls in full swing we’re seeing more and more quality summer seasonals. Hops, Hefes, Sours and Lagers. There’s something for everyone in all seasons, but you can’t beat pairing a summer seasonal with the weather as of late.  

My first pick of the week comes from Tulsa, OK’s Prairie Artisan Ales.  Flare is a Gose-style ale brewed with orange. Gose from Oklahoma?  Yeah…I know! Tulsa and Goslar seem like they should be polar opposites, but when it comes to old-world rustic and table-beer styled ales [read: extremely drinkable], Prairie has things dialed in.   Flare pours a lightly orange-ish/golden yellow with a slightly off-white head.  The nose is classic Gose minerality and lemon-y tartness. The orange is understated, but pairs well with the lactic tartness. In an industry moving more and more towards cans (where appropriate), this new packaging is a homerun of a move. At $9.99 per 4pk/12oz Can, this is a significant upgrade in value versus the original 500ml bottle format. To top it off, we’ve got “proper glassware bro” available at all 3 stores for $3.99 a pop.   Whatcha waitin’ for?!  

To left turn from the flavor of sour, I’ll showcase some hops. Sierra Nevada’s Hoptimum is a yearly favorite of mine.   Growing up in a small country town, craft beer was a foreign concept to me when I started at Mike’s 5 and a half years ago.  Sierra Nevada was one of my “gateway” beers to the larger world that I now appreciate.   They also hold a special place in my beer-heart as a result of reading founder Ken Grossman’s brewery autobiography Beyond The Pale.  In the already storied history of craft beer, Sierra Nevada is at the center.  They began with a business model that by all accounts of the times should have failed a million times over. And it did.  Between legal issues, a non-existent clientele base, the death of a co-founder, and the ensuing legal battles with his family – this company faced inconceivable odds. They went from ramshackle welding of dairy & coke-bottling equipment to one of the largest producers of craft beer in the world, with two large and prolific stateside breweries (homebase Chico, CA and the new secondary location in North Carolina). These guys wrote the F&*K^N book on craft beer as a viable industry. Forget Whalezbro, respect your elders!

Aside from stalwart classic Pale Ale, Hoptimum changed things for me.  Originally conceived as a student homebrew recipe from their “Beer Camp” program, this double IPA jumps off the shelves with its depiction of a suited man with a hop-cone for a head and a yearly changing recipe of hoppy wizardry.  Packing a strong punch right out the gates at 9.6% ABV, this beer packs tropical, heavy malt and booze in a headspin of IPA-flavorland.  It was unlike anything I had ever had before upon first sampling.  If memory serves, this beer rings in at a level of IBU above what most people can differentiate between.  In other words, this beer packs such a hop punch – you don’t even have enough taste buds to taste it all!  Give this atom-bomb of a summer-seasonal a try!

How about a complete geographic left turn to close things out? Way Beer from Brazil are now seeing US distribution through our friends at Shelton Brothers.  Kicking things off are a Gose and a Coffee Brown Ale.  Gose you say?  Don’t mind if I do…

Jabuti Gose utilizes Jabuticaba fruit. Jabuticaba is a purple berry-like tree fruit that begins to ferment within a couple of days of harvest, and is thus often used for production of jellies, jams and alcoholic distillation. Coming in at 3.5% ABV, this beer packs a good flavor punch for its low ABV. Exotic tropical fruit flavors meet a dry lemony-tart mineral finish reminiscent of several authentic German Goses. From South America? Who’da thunk’it?!. At $6.19 per 12oz can, the price of admission is steep, but well worth every penny. How many South American beers can you say you’ve had? Certainly none of this caliber. Prepare to be impressed.  

Thanks for reading, and thanks for your continued support. We’ve got all sorts of fun stuff in store for the beer/growler program at Mike’s. Can’t wait to drop the details. Stay tuned.

Jeremy / Mike’s Beer Manager

July 6, 2017