Hello Beer lovers. It’s time to learn more about the wide, wide world of beers. Here are a couple of ales that are not widely available on the West Coast, but if you’re travelling and see them, by all means buy them. Please read responsibly!
Zombie Dust: 3 Floyds Brewing, Munster, Indiana. 6.2% ABV, 50 IBU.
Zombie Dust is a Pale Ale brewed by 3 Floyds Brewing in Indiana. This beer is very well known and highly sought after, yet it’s difficult to get because it’s not widely distributed (not really available outside of the Midwest). It was rated the 8thbest beer in America in 2018 by the American Homebrewers Association. I’ve had it on one occasion, which is what generated this review.
There’s a lot of hype and hyperbole surrounding this beer. Beers that are difficult to come by have a mystique, and they tend to be rated high due to that mystique. I’m not immune from this phenomenon (see my review of Pliny the Younger in the Macsbrew February 18, 2018 Newsletter for some thoughts on this), so keep that in mind while reading this review.
Zombie Dust pours hazy orange/gold with a ¾” white head that persists for quite awhile. The aroma is citrus, grapefruit and a bit of orange peel. The flavor is bitter, grapefruit, pine and apricot. The malt is noticeable in the mouth, although it’s not overly sweet or heavy. There is a nice lingering bitter apricot aftertaste.
This pale ale is not dry. As I mentioned, there is a good malt foundation, giving it a slight sweetness (compare to Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, which is much more dry) but no heaviness is noted. The body is medium with a viscous mouth feel, and the carbonation level is moderate-high. At 50 IBU, this pale ale is actually on the low end of the IPA bitterness scale, but the bitterness is well balanced by the malty sweetness.
Zombie Dust is very good. It’s definitely one of the better Pale Ales I’ve ever tasted, and I would love to have it again. That probably won’t happen anytime soon as I have no plans to travel to Indiana in the near future.
Lucille IPA: Georgetown Brewing, Seattle, Washington. 7.2% ABV, 85 IBU.
This IPA pours a hazy, deep golden-yellow color with a white 1” foamy head that remains for a couple of minutes. The aroma is citrus, apricot and grapefruit. The flavor is bitter grapefruit and pine resin with some tropical fruit notes. It goes down pretty dry and bitter, with no maltiness noted. The aftertaste is grapefruit with a lingering bitterness. Lucille has medium body and mouth feel, with a medium carbonation level.
Overall, Lucille is pretty bitter, yet easy to drink. The relatively high alcohol content is well hidden – I didn’t note it in the taste at all – but is very effective on an empty stomach. This is a nice IPA in the classic Northwest style.
Neither Zombie Dust nor Lucille are available in Southern California. So how did I manage to obtain these two worthy beers? Zombie Dust was given to me by my young brewing friend, Dave Hollandbeck. His family lives in Indiana and he makes an annual trek there in March to visit his family and score some Dark Lord from 3 Floyds (for more information on Dark Lord and on Dave Hollandbeck, see my review of Dark Lord, posted June 9, 2015). Dave was kind enough to give me a 12 oz. bottle of Zombie Dust, because that’s the kind of thoughtful young man he is. Cheers Dave!
As for Lucille, Kevin McCaffrey gave me a sixer when we met in February 2018 at Russian River Brewing in Santa Rosa, to indulge ourselves with Pliny the Younger. [Note: The six-pack of Lucille is LONG gone; my notes for this review are from February 28, 2018.] Kevin is a thoughtful uncle, who pampers his grateful nephew. Cheers, Kevin!
I strongly recommend both of these beers. The trouble for you (and for me as well) is finding them. If you’re wondering why I bother to review beers that are not readily accessible to you beer lovers who follow this blog, the answer is simple – I love great beer, and when I get my hands on it, even though it’s hard to come by, I feel compelled to pass along the experience. The solution to this problem is easy: get in your car and drive to these locations (or get in your car, drive to the airport and then fly to these destinations). If you’re not willing to do that, then you’ll just have to taste them vicariously through my descriptions in this blog. As long as I have relatives like Kevin, and friends like Dave, who so generously give me World Class beers from far away locations, I will graciously accept them, drink them, and review them.
Well beer friends, that’s it for now. But worry not, more reviews are coming soon.