Do you have a beer hookup as good as mine? Your own personal Santa Claus of suds, always looking out for your insatiable thirst for IBUs, who texts you whenever they’re headed to The Alchemist, and who has been known to follow through on the most unlikely promises.
For example: Northern California’s Russian River Brewing Co. makes this legendary IPA called Pliny the Elder, all but impossible to find east of the Sierras and for which I had pined for years. And earlier this year I said as much to my friend, my beer hookup, Tony, who says, get this, he says, “I got a friend in San Francisco who can get us some.”
Sure you do, Tony. Sure he won’t.
But some weeks later, who comes over but Tony hoisting a big box stamped “Fragile.” I couldn’t believe what it contained: half a dozen, individually bubble-wrapped bottles of Pliny the Elder. In that moment I wished for Tony everlasting life. And by the way, Pliny lived up to my dreams.
Then last week Tony slips me some weird-looking can I’ve never seen. “It’s new from Long Trail,” he says. “You can only get it at the brewery. Let me know what you think.”
THE BREW: Long Trail Over the Handlebars Double IPA (with Lupulin Powder)
Leave it to Long Trail to make light of brain injury with the name of this thing. I’m pretty sure it bare-knuckle punched me in the face.
Hop intensity turned up to 70 (IBUs), registering at 8.6% ABV, it’s no pushover, but those data aren’t what set it apart. Something called lupulin powder makes it one of the only beers of its kind in…? I’m gonna say earth. Lupulin powder is the oil-rich, dried resin of the hop plant and the active ingredient in the hopping process, and here it delivers a concentrated dose of the bite and bitterness we expect in a double IPA. Except lower the lights because now you have a concussion.
The takeaway: The biggest, boldest beer I’ve ever had from Long Trail, and well worth the trek to Bridgewater to score some.
WHERE TO FIND IT: In limited supply and available only at Long Trail Brewery in Bridgewater Corners, VT. Or through your beer hookup? Good luck.