When Jimmy asked me to write about beer for Up Call, he made it abundantly clear that I could put as little or as much effort/creativity into this as I wanted. With such a liberal helping of artistic license, I’m not quite sure what I expect myself to write, other than the fact there will be beer, words, and maybe pictures. So consider the following bearing that in mind.
If you’re here for a well-manicured article that relates the intricacies of beer to the sport of ultimate, you should promptly find your way to the back button. I don’t want there to be any misgivings; though I played ultimate for several years during high school and college, I have my hands on interesting/new bottles of beer far more often than on a disc (though those that played with me might remember my hands having a knack for missing the disc even when I did play). So what does beer have to do with ultimate? For some people, not much at all. Others literally may not know the difference between the two. It just comes down to preference, and where/when you were exposed to ultimate.
For my inaugural review, I decided to chart the path to actually getting my hands on the beer. Jimmy sent me a reminder email about writing this thing a full hour after I shared a bottle of Ommegang something-or-other with my girlfriend after work, which any beer connoisseur knows is way too long to remember what the beer actually tasted like. A quick look in the fridge bore the sad realization that I was actually out of beer. We ate dinner, I bundled up (it’s 12 degrees outside), let the dog out for a quick poop, and then ventured to the nearest 7-11 in the to check out the 6 pack selection.
With one-way streets and traffic lights, it’s about as quick to walk to the convenience store as it is to drive. My car is almost out of gas, and I figured walking a few blocks couldn’t hurt considering I was about to drink somewhere in the ballpark of 200-300 liquid calories for the second time in one night.
Five minutes, three snowy couches, two discarded Christmas trees, a tube TV, and a pile of homeless drawers later, I arrived at 7-11. Their selection isn’t the best, but it certainly isn’t the worst. Southern Tier is my go-to brewery when I’m not looking for adventure, so I stuck to one window at the back of the shop. I picked up 2XSMASH, a double IPA that I didn’t recognize or remember from last year. I grabbed a small cookie dough ice cream for the lady, paid, and walked home.
And finally, here’s the part where I talk about beer. This double IPA from Southern Tier is brewed using a single malt (special pale malt) and a single hop variety (mosaic hops), though unlike 2XONE which also only uses one malt and one hop, 2XSMASH is a double IPA (more alcohol, slightly more flavor-intense beer). It was bottled on 12/10/2015 at 8:36 AM. It clocks in at 8.1% and though I can’t find an exact IBU, the website simply states “high” in the bitterness category.
Color: Amber gold; clear; light
Flavor: Tropical fruit, citrus; very light on the malt; not overly bitter or intense as one might expect with a DIPA; nearly crisp; refreshing – perfect for a summer afternoon (why is this released in January?)
Pour: Medium white head, small bubbles
Aroma: Not much to be spoken of, surprisingly; slightly hoppy, but faint
Pairs well with: air (seriously, pour it in a glass); meat; bookends
Overall thoughts: 2XSMASH is one of the most drinkable double IPAs I’ve ever had. I love a lot of Southern Tier’s beers, but I also dislike a lot of their beers, so whenever I try a new variety it’s a crapshoot as to whether or not I’ll enjoy it. I generally avoid double IPAs, since they tend to be super intense, bitter, and strong. It’s not that I don’t like those things, but I like to be able to drink more than half a beer before I have to call it quits. But that’s not this beer. It’s surprisingly light without losing “chewable” texture; the hops are delicious without overpowering the experience, and even at 8.1%, the slight sting of alcohol characteristic of many other double IPAs is nonexistent. Definitely give this beer a shot next time you’re looking to try something new.