The beer fairies smiled on me this week.
“American Beauty” has different meaning to different people. To a botanist, the words might bring to mind a hybrid crimson rose which is the official flower of our nation’s capital. Movie buffs might think of the 1999 Kevin Spacey film. As a Deadhead, the name American Beauty draws my heart and mind to that Grateful Dead Album of 1970 which features the standard radio performances of songs like Box of Rain, Truckin’, Friend of the Devil, and the song that inspired me to learn the guitar, Ripple.
When my favorite beer brewer, Dogfishhead announced early in the year that they would be crafting a tribute beer to the Grateful Dead named American Beauty, I got jump up and down excited. Dogfish Head is an off-center brewing company in Delaware that over the years has developed an amazing portfolio of flavor-filled beers. Dogfish Head’s owner Sam Calagione explains a bit more about American Beauty in the video below.
There are big problems with living in California and being in love with beers manufactured in Delaware. The success of the relationship depends on a network of distributors to deliver the products to my area. This at times, becomes like waiting for the pony express to deliver a letter from a loved one across a treacherous, bandit-filled desert, I know something is due, but I’m never surprised when it doesn’t show up.
The beer was originally supposed to release on October 2. I waited for months and went into favorite beer store, Total Wine and More on that day just touch bases with the always helpful staff to get a feel for when the beer might be on the shelves. I revisited the store for several weeks and was delighted when they reported the first bottles were available in Fulsom, CA. I figured it would be days and the beer would be in stock. Days turned into weeks, and finally a month passed. After about a month the pony express isn’t delivering.
About a week or so ago, I checked in on Foursquare and reported that I was giving up on my search for American Beauty. Dogfish Head responded to the message by asking me to check their Fish Finder on their website to identify which of their local distributors had the product delivered in the last 60 days. There were deliveries in my area, but a few quick phone calls revealed that the inventory was gone. On Wednesday, I received a direct message from Total Wine & More telling me, “No defeatist attitudes! Look on the bright side – maybe someone saw your tweet and has something special for you today“. Sure enough, some kind person, a fellow craft brew lover, had three bottles of American Beauty delivered to my local store. Delight abounded.
I opened the first bottle last night. This IPA was so very worth the wait. The flavors rolled over my palate and tongue exposing taste buds that I didn’t know existed in my mouth. It has a smokey, hoppy flavor that was rich, smooth and amazing. I can’t say that I could tell there was granola in the mix, but there was a definite earthy quality to it. This was and extraordinary beer that was an experience to drink and sad to finish. Luckily, there are two more bottles.
One of the two remaining bottles are going with me to Big Sur for after the marathon. The third will have to be shared with a friend who will appreciate it as much as I do. Any takers?