We drink a lot of beer in our household. More accurately, I suppose, we drink a lot of different beers. I’ve been a piddling member of the beer geek community for some years now, and Michelle has been kind enough to join me in this tasty, tasty past time.
The craft beer scene has been exploding all over the US for years now, and it was just starting to firmly take root in GA when we moved away. One of the better-known breweries in the state is Terrapin, located in a nondescript warehouse on a particularly confusing stretch of highway outside of Athens. Distribution outside the Southeast is scant, and you can forget about it in this neck of the woods. Still, if you somehow come across any of their beers–especially their Monster Beer Tour Line, featuring Big Hoppy Monster and Wake n’ Bake Coffee-Oatmeal Imperial Stout–snatch ’em up.
Thank god for loopholes. See, collaboration beers are all the rage now, and sometimes one company can benefit from the distribution ratio of the other (see also: Sierra Nevada/Russian River Brux). In this case, Terrapin teamed up with Shmaltz Brewing of San Francisco and New York to produce their Reunion Ale.
Honestly, I didn’t even read the bottle after I saw the Terrapin brand name. I grabbed it off the shelf, stuck it in the fridge, and managed to wait an entire day before Michelle and I opened it…while playing, I think, Ticket to Ride.
Style-wise, it’s a bit of a mash-up, usually what databases refer to as an “American Strong Ale,” because they have no idea. Essentially, though, it’s a ramped-up brown ale. They brew this thing with a ton of 2-Row, Crystal, and Chocolate Malts, along with healthy doses of pure cocoa nibs, vanilla, and cinnamon. At 8% ABV, it’s got a pretty lively head, which stuck around almost until we finished it.
You’ve got to like sweet-ish beers to appreciate this one; it’s almost cloyingly so, and I wouldn’t want to tackle a bomber myself. But it really succeeds in an “as advertised” sort of way: lots of chocolate, caramel, and a sprinkling of vanilla. The cinnamon props everything up nicely, and brings a little bit of spice to cut through the sweetness. Not quite a dessert beer, not quite an easy drinker. Odd duck.
Honestly, though, if the beer had been a total failure, I wouldn’t have minded. I’m more than a thousand miles from most of my family, and sometimes an anthropomorphic turtle is all you need to remind you of home. Sometimes.