Northwestern is in the tournament! This doesn’t have anything to do with the beer I’m reviewing this week, but it’s a real fact that I almost can’t believe. For the last month and a half they seemed determined to piss away a great start and confirm again one of the funadamental laws of the universe: Northwestern does not go to the tournament. So that’s another of the universe’s ordering principles that’s turned out to be less than totally firm lately, which probably should be alarming, but my Wildcats are finally in the tournament so frankly you all can end the world whenever you like, thank you very much.
Today’s beer comes from one of the best brewpubs in town, which also happens to be a kickass pizza place: Pinthouse Pizza. Pinthouse was started by a former Odell head brewer, and has a particular knack for turning out great IPAs, including a big, juicy double IPA called Fully Adrift. That’s not exactly the beer I’m reviewing; it’s Fully Adrift, yes, but aged on Spanish cedar.
Pinthouse Pizza Fully Adrift—the regular one—is something of a low-key cult favorite in Austin, and in my opinion it might just be the best double IPA brewed in the city limits. (There’s a coffee version, Fully Awake, that I like better, but I understand that’s probably a fringe opinion.) This special edition has everything that makes the original great. It pours orange and cloudy to nearly the point of opacity. The beer’s robust hop flavor that runs the gamut of tropical fruit flavors and, a full and well-rounded body, and an unapologetically bitter finish. It’s an undeniably delicious beer, but I have to admit to a bit of disappointment. I’ve tasted what cedar aging can do for a beer—I’m thinking particularly of the retired Boulevard doppelbock, Seeyoulator, a beer with an incredibly rich cedar flavor—and this, for me, just isn’t quite living up to that potential. There’s a bit of baseline woodiness, a hint of the sort of spice I’d expect, but if I didn’t know this beer was wood-aged, I’m sure I’d tell you it was just a regular double IPA, if an extraordinarily excellent example of the style. I wish I were trying this alongside the base double IPA, and maybe if I were I’d be able to spot a difference, but as much as I love this beer and this brewery, I’ve got to call this one like I see it.
That’s just me, though; lady snow’s got a very different take.
lady snow says: It reminds me of that Jester King beer.
make it snow says: El Cedro?
lady snow says: That’s the one.
make it snow says: So, you get a lot of cedar from this then?
lady snow says: Oh, yeah. It’s sort of piney, and I know hops can be piney, but especially on the nose it’s clearly distinct from the hops.
make it snow says: I just can’t seem to smell that, no matter how hard I try. All I get is the hops.
lady snow says: I think our noses are working differently today.
make it snow says: Must be. What do you think of the beer overall. Do you like it?
lady snow says: Oh, yeah. It’s a very pleasant beer, and they’ve balanced the hops and malt very well in a way that not a lot of these beers are able to. The cedar doesn’t hit you in the face or anything, but it’s like walking into a closet built out of cedar, more of an ambient aroma or flavor.
Grade: 1/2 cedar trees
tl;dr: Drink this! Or drink the regular Fully Adrift! They taste the same! Or different, maybe!
make it snow is an alot of beer. He drank 21 ounces of Cedar Aged Fully Adrift and still couldn’t taste the cedar; lady snow got it in 4. At press time he was leaving work early to watch the Wildcats. Please don’t tell his boss.