Friday, June 2, 2017

Roundup the First of Session #124: Late, Lamented Loves

At a time when beer dorks seem obsessed with what's new and what's next, I thought, in this month's edition of The Session, we might take a refreshing pause to look back on beers that we remember fondly but which are no more.

Once again, apologies for the extreme lateness of the announcement of this topic. I'm doing a roundup here of those who met the 24-hour challenge. For those who could not, never fear! Send me links to your posts at or tweet me at @allthebrews in the days and weeks ahead. I'll do another roundup later in the month, if need be.

Before getting to the roundup, I'll briefly mention my own late, lamented beer loves. I have two in mind, one from my halcyon beer-discovering days in the 1990s and one of much more recent vintage.

First, the 1990s. Does anyone else remember a brewery called New Amsterdam? I knew nothing about it when, as a 24-year-old newly turned on to "microbrews" (what we called it before the term "craft beer" was invented), I stumbled upon Blonde Lager at my local beer emporium. Amidst the brands of the era, including Pete's Wicked Ale, Redhook Ballard Bitter, and Grant's Scottish Ale, New Amsterdam's Blonde Lager stood out to me as a favorite.

It's interesting to wonder if my palate, which has certainly changed in the intervening decades, would love this beer as much as I remember loving it in 1995. New Amsterdam's beers were contract brewed by the venerable F.X. Matt, a brewery in Utica, New York, and included a few other flavors, like Black and Tan and Amber Lager. Somehow, I felt validated in my taste when New Amsterdam's beer made a cameo in a crappy 1997 RomCom starring Russell Crowe and Salma Hayek.

More recently, Founders Brewing announced late last year it was discontinuing one of its original offerings, the Dry-Hopped Pale Ale. Boo. This was one of my favorite beers ever, as in desert island pick beer. It was a quaffable 5.4% ABV, beautifully balanced maltiness with Cascade hop flavor, and was entirely displaced by the (in my opinion) vastly inferior All Day IPA. I would rather they just renamed it as a "session IPA" for marketing purposes and canned the shit out of it, because I'd sure have downed many that way, particularly on Michigan's many beaches this summer. It sort of lives on, as a draft-only nitro offering, but the nitro pretty much ruins it. Boo, Founders.

Those are my late, lamented beer loves. What about others?

"It’s cliche, but it really was a different time." Stan Hieronymus at Appellation Beer remembers a brewpub in Champaign, Illinois, that served a delicious gueuze... in 1996.

"This was one of the first craft beers in the UK." Nick Roberts of Beer Today recalls Franklin's Bitter, a singular beer that also figured at his wedding.

"This beer was key in my understanding of beer." So sayeth Aaron Stein of whatchudrinkin, even as he realizes "You Can't Go Home Again."

"We didn’t know enough about beer then to really understand what we were drinking." The estimable Boak & Bailey have memories galore of bitters, stouts, and those outlandish Viennas and kolsches.

"I am an unashamed lover of the black stuff." Alistair Reece of Fuggled relates a tale of two long lost stouts.

"I had never heard of the style before and it became my go-to beer." Thomas Vincent of Geistbear has fond memories of a beer from Bandersnatch Brewpub.

That's all for now. Got a beer you still pine for? Let me know!

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