In a beer scene that’s merely decades old, but also sees new releases render last year’s favorites prosaic, what makes a local classic? Longevity? To some degree. Stylistic excellence? Maybe. Repeat drinkability? Chiefly, in this writer’s opinion.
Living in a golden age of craft beer options makes every trip to the bottle shop fraught with difficult decisions. And the desire to sample the newest and freshest means the same beer rarely graces your fridge repeatedly. But like a buttery soft tee that begs to be worn in a drawer full of newer, more fashionable shirts, a standby beer that never loses its ability to satisfy has a special place in our lives.
For many Twin Cities hop heads, Indeed’s Day Tripper Pale Ale serves such a role. The beer burst onto the scene as an instant favorite when it was introduced as the flagship beer for the newly minted Indeed Brewing in 2012. Its whimsical can art was as distinct as it’s “wait, that’s not an IPA?” first impression.
The question is a legitimate one. Out of the can, Day Tripper pours a medium caramel orange body with a thick, fluffy off-white head. The nose is moderate, imparting pine and subtle citrus notes of orange and lemon that suggest a bouquet of hops to come.
Day Tripper continues to find placement in my fridge, no matter how many times I’ve been down that road.”
Complex isn’t a word I’d expect to use in describing the flavor of a pale ale. But with Day Tripper, the shoe fits. A rush of dank pine, lemon zest, and caramel greet you on the front end. It’s refreshingly citrusy while delivering a bitter punch, thanks to a combination of Willamette, Cascades, CTZ, and Summit hops. As you let it cling to your tongue for a moment, the medium body carries a floral touch, giving Day Tripper a malty backbone with subtle sweetness.
At 5.4%, Day Tripper’s alcohol by volume is right over the plate for a pale ale. And that just may be a big part of what makes it such a compelling standby. A bitterness that punches above its weight is perfect for those nights you want to enjoy a couple hoppy brews, yet need to be able to rise at a reasonable hour and be productive.
Like Three Floyds’ Zombie Dust or Toppling Goliath’s PseudoSue, Day Tripper proves that a pale ale can be not just a core beer brewed for the masses, but a standout worthy of acclaim on its own. And while I wouldn’t dare compare it to Zombie Dust – at least not without having one of each in front of me – it played a similar role for its parent brand in suggesting big and bold things to come. (Also, bring on that pale ale taste-off.)
These days, Indeed is thrilling Twin Cities craft beer denizens with the ongoing release of new offerings in its barrel-aged Wooden Soul series. And the Minneapolis-St. Paul beer scene is awash with unique and intriguing new beer options. Yet, Day Tripper continues to find placement in my fridge, thanks to a taste that still excites the senses, no matter how many times I’ve been down that road.
After five years on shelves, that earns a classic designation in my book.