I Got to Keep Moving… Blues Falling Down Like Hail…

And the day keeps on remindin’ me
there’s a hellhound on my trail…

Okay, not really… I didn’t go down the the crossroads (although I did attended Crossroads) and I didn’t fall down on my knees, and I certainly didn’t sell my sol in some Faustian deal.  Really, I would not even know where to go or who to talk to about that.  But that is not the point.

The point is, I have been lax in my writing.  Here, Hop Press, Creative Loafing, Examiner… pretty much since American Craft Beer Week, I have not written a word.  But that doesn’t mean I have not been busy.  A few beer events, some really great beers sampled, not to mention just general life and work stuff.  Summer is here, and that means lots of comings and goings and shuffling of places for me and my family.  School is out for my sons, and that means no homework, no wrangling to get to bed on time and get up early in the morning.  Summer also means the heat is upon us.  We here in Florida can pretty much count on 90+ degree temperatures until September and maybe beyond.  This also brings out the grilling nights, the pool time, and the trying to move as little as possible.  This will be my first summer at my new job, and I will have the ability to do a lot more than I have in the past; this makes me quite happy.

In the beer-related arena, I have continued to meet new and fun and amazing people, taste some truly incredible beers, and watch as the industry morphs and changes and grows in ways that excite some, frustrate others, and go unnoticed to most.  One of the standout beers that I was fortunate enough to get my hands on was Dogfish Head’s “Hellhound on My Ale”.  Coming off the heels of the also amazing “Bitches Brew” (a tribute collaboration to Miles Davis), Hellhound is described by Dogfish this way:

Hellhound is a super-hoppy ale that hits 100 IBUs in the brewhouse, 10.0 ABV, 10.0 SRM in color, and dry-hopped with 100% centennial hops at a rate of 100 kilos per 100 barrel brew-length. Can you tell we at Dogfish are stoked for this mighty musical centennial? To accentuate and magnify the citrusy notes of the centennial hops (and as a shout out to Robert Johnson’s mentor Blind Lemon Jefferson) we add dried lemon peel and flesh to the whirlpool.

This limited release once again blew me away (although admittedly not as much as Bitch’s Brew).  I could wax poetic and do a full review of this beer, but I would rather talk about “special releases” in general.  I have heard varying opinions from throughout the craft beer community, from brewers and drinkers alike, and there are as many opinions as there are mouths to speak them.  Most people love a good limited release.  But there are those who are growing a bit weary of the “lets see what ELSE we can throw in the brew!!  A rare fruit?  do it!”  I can certainly understand that.  As craft beer expands and grows, and as more breweries open, everyone is trying to make their mark, do something that sets them apart.  It is like any other business that way, really.  But at the end of the day, all the “special” beers made don’t mean anything if no one wants to drink your core line of beers.

Dogfish is one of those breweries that makes a very good line of “standard” beers.  Their 60- and 90-minute IPAs are fantastic.  Their Indian Brown is great, and people love when the seasonal Aprihop and Festina Peche come out each year.  So with this solid base, they are in a position to play, and anyone who knows Dogfish – Off-centered Beers for Off-centered People – knows they like to play.  Sometimes they knock it out of the park, like Bitch’s Brew and Hellhound.  Sometimes I don’t care for them too much.  And that is fine.  I know I can always count on them to make their flagship beers excellent.

And that is true of most breweries in my experience.  Cigar City’s special releases – Hunahpu, Neilsbohrium, and so on – are usually incredible.  Sometimes they come up with something I don’t like.  But I will always be able to go back to a Jai Alai or Maduro and know it is excellent.

Anyway, I hear the hounds on my tail… I have to keep moving… keep writing…
I got to keep moving, I got to keep moving
Blues falling down like hail, blues falling down like hail
Mmm, blues falling down like hail, blues falling down like hail
And the day keeps on remindin’ me, there’s a hellhound on my trail
Hellhound on my trail, hellhound on my trail

 If today was Christmas eve, if today was Christmas eve
And tomorrow was Christmas day
If today was Christmas eve and tomorrow was Christmas day
All I would need is my little sweet rider
Just to pass the time away, to pass the time away

 You sprinkled hot foot powder, mmm, around my door
All around my door
You sprinkled hot foot powder, all around your daddy’s door
It keeps me with ramblin’ mind rider
Every old place I go, every old place I go

 I can tell the wind is risin’, the leaves tremblin’ on the tree
Tremblin’ on the tree
I can tell the wind is risin’, leaves tremblin’ on the tree
All I need is my little sweet woman
And to keep my company, hey, hey, hey, hey, my company

~ by Sean Nordquist on June 11, 2011.

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