DEAD FROG NUT BROWN ALE—Froggy style has a lot of variations

My Fellow Inebriates,

Two nights ago my dad returned from a trade show with two bottles of DEAD FROG NUT BROWN ALE.

I’d been wondering where the hell my dad was. Often I can find him spread out (his work gear, not his junk) all over the dining room table, stressing my mum out with his tentaculate electronics, and offending us all by playing Pink Floyd’s The Wall out of sequence. But for the last week he’s been scarce.

I suspect he’s been wined and dined by suppliers this week, plied with swag far beyond the two beers he brought home. But we’ll never know. My dad has this effective trick of entering the house with his headset on, carrying on a conversation until the novelty of his arrival has worn off and everyone’s forgotten to ask him about his day. Repeatedly throughout the week, and well past the bedtime of the kids—who would ignore his phone conversation anyway and attack him—he’s entered mid-conversation, muttering away about terminations and racks and permits, and—seeing he won’t respond anyway—I’ve gone back to looking at the People of Walmart or trying on moustaches or whatever other productive thing I was doing before he came in. Effectively I’ve forgotten to interrogate him about this trade show and whatall’s been going on there. For instance:

Why only two beers?

Why NUT BROWN ALE particularly? Does he know that DEAD FROG markets an array of unusual brews (mandarin orange, pepper lime, toasted coconut)?—not quite targeted at craft beer geeks (too light, too lager-y) yet not targeted at the Molson Canadian crowd either. In fact, DEAD FROG has been a bit hit-or-miss when it comes to aligning with the increasingly divergent craft and mass beer markets, particularly with its 650-mL specialty brews, and would have found itself dead indeed had it not sought $500,000 in investment money earlier this year.

 

If my dad hadn’t been yammering into the headset I would have asked about DEAD FROG’s beer portfolio—did Dad have the option to scoop some other products for yours truly or was he just not interested? Did he have his fill of them at the show? OMG, would my dad do that without me?

Fact is, Dad might have picked the best of the bunch. DEAD FROG NUT BROWN ALE is a nice beer. Dark and almost cola color with a moderate-to-weighty mouthfeel, it carries a hoppy punch yet doesn’t distance itself from the warming, mellowing maltiness of a good ale. Crisp carbonation focuses the hop/malt intersection nicely. You can detect chocolate in the background plus the eponymous nuttiness, making for a solid, interesting brew that doesn’t cloy and isn’t so intriguing that it becomes annoying or precious. Paws up for sure. Or flippers or whatever.

With its recent cash infusion and wealth of marketing ideas, DEAD FROG, just one of three new brewers making a splash in British Columbia, evidently has some (frog) legs. If we all boost our drinking, we should be able to keep the frog alive.

Advertisements

STEAMWORKS PALE ALE—the beer you need in your mouth

My dad is pretty good at not saying the wrong thing. If anything, he errs on the quiet side, and people often wonder what he’s really thinking. Not only is he diplomatic; he’s a good listener (except when you happen to be a bear requesting alcohol). So I sure didn’t expect him to describe the taste of STEAMWORKS PALE ALE (new in bottles!) thusly:

“It’s nice. Kind of a grapefruit note going on with the hops, and it finishes really cleanly. Kind of like a houseguest that cleans up after themself…in my mouth.”

I really like this summation. What it says about my dad I’m not sure, but my mum refused to transcribe it.

Prudishness, you ask?

Well, no. Well, yes. Yes, but in a different way. My mum insists there’s no such word as “themself,” and therefore my dad referred to a houseguest cleaning up after himself…in his [my dad’s] mouth. Which she said she’d happily type.

You have to be careful of these grammar-obsessed people. They are so detail-oriented that they can’t see the forest for the trees. As I warned my mother, they often become alcoholics after years of tearing their hair out over the exact meaning of “threshold,” whether the Oxford comma adds clarity or is just pedantic, and of course the demise, literarily, of the elegantly genderless “one.” As in:

“…like a houseguest who cleans up after oneself…in one’s mouth.”

This would have rescued my dad from some specific lifestyle-related questions that arose after we sampled STEAMWORKS PALE ALE. It would have obviated my mother’s arbitrary correction to “himself,” and it would have saved me from inadvertently summoning some raunchy imagery I hadn’t previously connected with my dad.

But let’s focus on the beer. For years Steamworks pub has been wowing Vancouverites with its line-up of tap beers. Problem is, you could get it only at Steamworks. But after 17 years, the pub is making a bold play for craft-beer market share, bottling its splendid products (at Dead Frog Brewery until the new Steamworks production brewery is built) and shipping them to liquor stores across BC. Ahhhh!

The whole production says money. The bottles are silkscreened with a sweet steampunk design celebrating Vancouver landmarks. Pale ale and Pilsner have already shipped, while Steamworks winds up to launch a series of limited-edition bombers including raspberry, oatmeal stout, pumpkin ale, and wheat ale.

If, like my dad, you’re not sure what you’re tasting, STEAMWORKS PALE ALE provides a tasting key on the bottle:

Malts—Pale, Carapils, Crystal, Caramalt

Hops—Zythos, Cascade

IBUs—35

This puts STEAMWORKS PALE ALE into the bitter category, with a grippy, hoppy, grapefruity edge. With medium mouthfeel and refreshingly punchy carbonation, this delightful elixir packs 5.2% alcohol and lingers satisfyingly on the palate, finishing…er, cleanly.

Beautiful bottle, beautiful copper hue, beautiful taste. Don’t listen to my mum, who’ll just tell you there’s an unnecessary apostrophe on the bottle. And if you listen to my dad…well, don’t. He liked STEAMWORKS PALE ALE. A lot. End of story.