Gene's Picks of The Week 7/12/21
1) Maine Beer Company - Thank You 2021
Maine Beer Company (MBC for short), hailing from the eponymous state, isn't spotted around here very often. Their bottles only make sporadic appearances, in limited quantity and surprisingly fresh considering the distance traveled, before vanishing once again for an indeterminate period of time. It is thus very exciting that a larger amount landed on our shelves last week, with fan-favorites Lunch and Woods & Waters joined by a new face: Thank You. A love letter to MBC's distributors, retailers and customers, Thank You is their anniversary beer, whose recipe changes subtly every year. This year's iteration has a three-continental hop-bill, with Nelson from New Zealand, Saaz from western Bohemia and Amarillo & Talus from the Pacific Northwest.
2) Alvarado Street - Monterey Beer
Light Lager, 4.5%
For a brief period during the Great Depression, having exited the disastrous experiment known as Prohibition, a brewery on the south coast of Monterey Bay made a goodly number of well-regarded beers. With roots in the shuttered Salinas Brewery, Monterey Brewing Company operated only from 1934-1942 but left an indelible imprint on the surrounding area. Today their vintage "cone top" metal cans are prized possessions among collectors of historic beer ephemera. Resurrecting the long-extinct Monterey Beer is one of the many achievements of Alvarado Street in paying homage to their local antecedents. This all-malt pale lager is a clean refreshing drink, and furthermore explicitly echoes the label-art of its ancestral predecessor.
3) North Coast - Bourbon Barrel-Aged Old Rasputin
BBA Imperial Stout, 11.3%
The esoteric mystic Grigori Rasputin became infamous in Russian Empire during the twilight of the Romanovs. His seemingly miraculous healing of the young tsarevich Alexei, a sickly child, caused intense and unshaken devotion to him by the tsarina Alexandra. Dark rumors floated around the imperial capital of St. Petersburg for a decade before his mysterious assassination. The imagery of his tangled unshorn hair, wild beard and unnerving stare entered popular culture contemporaneously and live on today - most proximately in the beer world on the label of North Coast's core Russian Imperial Stout, named Old Rasputin. For twenty-three years, the brewery has released one or more special barrel-aged editions of the base beer - this year's iteration is the first to be packaged in 12-ounce four-packs, with a considerable price drop as well. За здоро́вье!