One of the odd upsides to living in Bolivia for three years was its isolation (in beer terms). Which is to say, seeing a Boston Lager show up at a grocery store was enough to set off a certain thrill (that happened once, at the very end). In the meantime, I had plenty of access to the internet and many ebooks, so there’s plenty of places to learn and read about the various beers of the world, even if it was almost impossible to get my hands on any of them locally.
So upon returning to the US, I’m in an interesting spot where I’ve read and learned about a number of beers wherein the closest I’ve come to actually trying them is when I tried to clumsily replicate it at home with very limited and often home-made ingredients. That said, I’m going to try and make the most out of savoring the opportunity to try some of these beers I’ve seen highlighted but never gotten my hands on over the next few months and make a bit of series out of it.
Up first, Anchor Steam Beer. I had someone bring down a Wyeast California Lager packet sometime back in 2013, I think, and gave it to a friend. Unfortunately, infection got into everything and I was never able to actually replicate the venerable Californian godfather of modern American beer.*
Sitting down to a dinner of falafel sandwiches at the in-laws, this beer smells of fresh leather, like the new belt I recently brought home from the store. It tastes of malt and baked pear cobbler. As it hits the tongue, the resinous cedar hops coat it and bring to minds memories of childhood summers, sitting at Birch Bay watching a sunset, or camping in the Cascades. It gives way to a full mouth of rich malt that meets those memories to deliver a most comforting feeling.
This is a beer to have on hand at all times.