Friday, April 20, 2012
[A Beer a Day] Bitter American Extra Pale Ale | 21st Amendment Brewing | San Francisco, CA
21st Amendment is a brewery that doesn't get nearly as much attention from me as it deserves, given that it adds a whole lotta water to my mustard seed. Its like being too lazy to open another window in Chrome to send your grandmother a Happy Birthday e-greeting, and just opting for a week-late phone call. Well, this all ends today, Nana.
There is a nice collection of prefixes that have been set by the world-populace which is used to describe our American culture as a whole, e.g., "Ugly American", "Stupid American", "Fat American", et al. Mind you, as individuals, we are, for the most part, some of the most apostolic, least assuming, and willingest to assimilate denizens on earth. But somewhere along the way, our collective social-credit defaulted as being the most curmudgeony, helpless, and affronting assholes on the planet.
But, because we are a creative and enterprising nation, we have used most of these affronts to our society to our advantage; "Bitter American", for example.
The sensory integration of bitterness into a favorable spot on our tongue is an interesting evolutionary progression in that most bitter compounds found in nature are known to be toxic. We are disrupting our own innate objectives for sustainability and multiplication in the name of a learned felicity to the palate. In other words, the flavor -- and moreover, the enjoyment -- of bitterness is an acquired taste, like Americans.
And, when you attach these two adjectives at the hip, we are essentially reaching an echoic redundancy: the Bitter American.
But when you multiply those perceived toxic forces together, would they not cancel each other out as if a ballast of dignified potency? Of course. We sell this theory of acceptance right here in our own beers! Ergo, bittered beers, such as IPAs, DIPAs, Pale Ales, and Extra Pale Ales are the defacto AMERICAN beers! Is it all making sense now?
Is 21st Amendment's Bitter American the exhibit A for representing a bitter nation? Not quite ... but its on the spectrum. With a name like Bitter American, I was unabashedly expecting a quadruple hopped cereal with a hop nugget keychain lingering at the bottom of the packaging as a prize. It wasn't quite there -- being that its not really a Pliny the Elder/Hopslam style of beer. But what it is, is a wonderfully crisp representation of an American IPA -- as solitary representative of an approximation of what it intends to be -- a Bitter American beer. This is who we send to Europa, and Asia, and the Moon as an ambassador of our American brewing philosophy. Bitter American does a remarkable job of that.
And meanwhile, in the homeland, Bitter American stands on its own as a bright, lemon-and-orange citrus beer that is competently hoppy, but dances in accordance with its malts, making it a very rounded beer. Bitter American is really full-flavor considering its genre typically tends to be trademarked with a thin weight and a lack of balance. Bitter American is easily the best I've had of its class. And that's pretty sweet.
Acquired: Hang on Sloopy, sloopy hang on ...