Tuesday April 7th 2020
Between the gorgeous sunny weather and happily lingering post-birthday high, Tuesday felt pretty good. I was waiting for a hit of residual turning-40 angst that didn’t arrive, and instead what did arrive were more incredibly thoughtful gifts from lovely JB – my first time ever having flowers delivered which was pretty special! With Tuesday being both National Beer Day and Craft Beer Hour day, we relaxed in the garden with a couple of tasty local lagers before heading out on a beautiful nature walk in nearby Onion Creek. We first visited Onion Creek soon arriving in the city, long before we had any inkling that we would have our very own home just down the road, and we reminisced over our early-Austinite adventures as we trekked the quiet, secluded trail. Austin is, indisputably, a city to be enjoyed outdoors, and while this time is obviously painfully difficult for us all, to have so much beautiful, expansive green space in and around the city, allowing us to stretch our legs and breathe freely without contravening social distancing rules, is a blessing we do not take for granted.
Lagunitas Phase Change IPA
After our lovely walk and less lovely but essential trip to the store, we were after something juicy, refreshing and flavoursome to whet our whistle. I like to think that there aren’t that many Lagunitas beers I haven’t tried, but however many I work my way through (and I am rarely disappointed), they keep on surprising me, and when I spotted the Phase Change seasonal wet-hop IPA I was both pleased to take it home and puzzled I missed last year’s in equal measures. This beer is classic Lagunitas – full of sticky, juicy, wet-hop, lupulin-packed punch, in equal parts dank and tropical, sweet without being overwhelming and resiny without any nasty marijuana-pungency – altogether a supremely crushable winner that disappeared before we were 20 minutes into our film. I am often suspicious of wet-hop IPAs, as their herbal intensity can go a bit too far for my liking, but, as ever, Lagunitas have this totally in hand. This is also a great IPA for a hot day, and the tropical edge keeps it refreshing and bright. Love it, want more.
Austin Beerworks Put It All On 29 Black IPA
With so much leftover birthday food on hand, we were rather spoilt for both lunch and dinner, and tucking into our second helping of elk dumplings from the fabulous Russian House required a brew of matching quality. Fortunately, we visited our fab friends at Austin Beerworks for a crowler-restock (thank you Bill and Sharon for my fab birthday gift!), and this malty choc-liquorice delight was the exact right foil for such flavoursome meat. The beer was weighty and full without being filling, and the aromatic, gamey flavour of the elk brought out the warm, rounded flavour in the beer beautifully. I love Black IPAs and am so glad to see them making a comeback. Of course, at Austin Beerworks they never went away, and this is another excellent addition to their range of tip-top Black IPAs including the Heavy Machinery and Night Fog – yum!