Regional styles have been such a huge topic over the past two years in craft beer, thanks to the explosion of the Northeast/New England IPA. Admittedly, it has been fun trying the oat-flaked tropical juice bombs but I’m one of those fussy beer drinkers that enjoys the drinking more than the chasing of beer. Standing in line for 11 hours or, worse, hiring someone to stand in line to get an allotment of cans just doesn’t seem like time well spent.
Now, if someone else wants to stand in line and part with a couple of cans for charitable purposes, ahem, that’s cool. I’ll make it worth your while. Let’s call it the Doc Holliday corrollary.
Cut through the fog of the New England haze and we are back to the IPAs and American pale ales that we all know and love. From my perch here in Upstate New York, I look westward to flyover country where some of the finest ales are brewed. The Midwest style that marries the East Coast malt backbone with prominent hop profiles akin to the West Coast pale ale is an absolute delight made possible by names like Bell’s, Founders, Three Floyds, Surly, and Toppling Goliath.
Of course, the lines between pale ales like Toppling Goliath’s psuedoSue and Three Floyds’ Zombie Dust, and IPAs like Founders Centennial have blurred greatly. The hops are forward in each of these beers, leaving only the thinnest of spaces between the end of one and beginning of the other.
This is a beer that demands that you lean in, close your eyes, and breathe deep once or twice.”
So, what of this pseudoSue, a pale ale named for the Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton on display at Chicago’s Field Museum? Sue’s mug, or a reasonable facsimile thereof, greets you on each can or label, a reminder of the assertive flavors that will pursue and catch you.
My 16 oz. can was about a month old when I cracked it open and poured it into my glass. Though I don’t know if the fancy beer glasses I own that were fashioned by brewing experts actually make beer taste better, I did know that pseudoSue deserves the finest glassware in your home/apartment/kibbutz/monastery.
It poured with a slight haze and amber in hue. I gave it an extra hard pour at the end to build a bit of froth on top. The pillowy off-white head hung out for quite a while, leaving behind sticky legs like the tannins of a fine red wine.
This is a beer that demands that you lean in, close your eyes, and breathe deep once or twice. pseudoSue is a single-hop beer and a ton of Citra goes into this beer. What comes back to you is a noseful of citrus and stone fruits: apricot, mango, and grapefruit. That caramelized malt brings out the sweetness of those fruit to the nose and palate, while a hint of dank grass subtly fills in the blanks.
Its flavor follows the aroma quite closely with all of those fruit and herbal notes. Everything works in harmony with just enough of each flavor to be distinct without overpowering. There’s a bit of bitterness here, no doubt, but it washes off the palate at the end with a soft smoothness. It’s medium- to full-bodied and leaves a nice creamy mouthfeel behind, but the 5.8% alcohol by volume does not stun you completely.
The fanfare surrounding $12 juice bomb cans will likely fade. And when it does, beers like PseudoSue will be waiting.