Brews Fit for Pondering Azaleas and Fairways
By Ben Casella
Spring in Augusta means a time in which the international appeal of our sweet Southern city comes out of its dormancy for a couple of weeks. The azaleas bloom, and the grass turns the loveliest shade of green imaginable. The Carolina wrens chirp, and the loblollies sway just so in the winds at Augusta.
I’m aware this is a craft beer column (I’ve only been writing it for nine years); just allow me to attempt to wax poetic on my favorite week of the year…
OK, back to the brews.
Stone IPA – If you find yourself having one of those front-porch rocking chair debates regarding the exact date and time when the azaleas will be in full bloom, you might want to consider doing so while holding a Stone IPA.
This West Coast IPA from the California brewery of the same name boasts a grassy, hoppy and somewhat floral aroma. An expected moderate head gives way to an expected hoppy bite, but the floral notes dampen this appeal with a mild tone, giving way to a finish that’s just malty enough to let you know how much time and talent goes into balancing this well-respected brew from a well-respected brewery.
You can usually find this on draft at Sheehan’s. It would also go well with a fried chicken sandwich and a bag of barbecue potato chips.
Innis and Gunn Rum Aged Ale – Now, if you’re having one of those 19th holes in which your feet are tired from all the hills you just walked, and even though the high was 57 you wore shorts because you’re from Ohio and you don’t bring long pants when you travel south of Cincinnati, you might be better served with something a bit different. If I were you, I’d have a brew such as Innis and Gunn’s Rum Aged Ale.
This Scottish brew is typically available in the winter. However, you might be able to find one at Arsenal Taproom (if you can’t find it there, they’ll definitely be able find something else to fit your palate). The sweeter side of this rich brew lives up to the name’s implications. However, the drier finish cleans you up just enough to welcome that moment when you have swallowed your sip, breathed out and noticed that hint of rum on your tongue.
If you want to run into Ben Casella during Masters Week, he might just pop up at one of the aforementioned locales. If you want to be sure you don’t run into him, stay in the fairway.