- Mike Riedel
I'm pretty sure this is the 74th day of April, 2020. I can tell, because I've memorized the names of all the 900 billion children on my street. If, like me, you're in need of good quarantine beer, or are just trying to drown out the screams of the neighborhood's homeschooled kids, have I got some adult treats for you.
2 Row Quarantine Buddy: The beer pours a hazy, medium golden honey color with moderate bright orange and medium golden-yellow highlights. I'm digging this nose on this one. There's a moderate-to-strong blast of juicy tropical mango, papaya, orange and grapefruit. The hops are slightly over the top, but not enough to bury the caramel, honey and toasted malts from the ample amounts of barley used. Upfront there are shy amounts of biscuit flavors, caramel and honey. Some toasted malts are lingering around as well. Then, just like a tropical fruit tsunami, you get hit with this hop cocktail that pushes wave after wave of juicy mango, papaya, orange and tangerine into the village of your heart. You'll note a little grapefruit, too, but it's mostly rind. The hops contribute a light amount of bitterness which fades away quickly, leaving lingering tropical citrus, along with dank resinous hop flavors. Slightly crisp with a mouth-coating creamy/fluffy mid-body, and a light amount of dryness in the finish. It's a touch lighter than medium-bodied, with moderate amounts of carbonation.
Quarantine Desirability Rating: This latest Hazy from 2 Row's IPA birthing machine boasts an invigorating 6.8 percent alcohol, boosting the cloistering factor of this bad boy into Bespin (Cloud City) territory. Strap yourself in and allow your new Quarantine Buddy to help you get all Mad Max on that Thunderdome you call home.
Shades-Aftershock: The third edition to Shades' Kveik Earthquake Series of beers offers us a pleasant trip into the land of breakfast smoothies. The beer pours a lightly-clouded apricot hue, with some blood orange peel highlights. There's a fizzy, off-white head that has zero retention, nor will you find any lacing. Very pronounced hints of strawberry and banana appear on the nose, with some citrus peel as well. The flavors pack a punch of strawberry, banana and guava. There's also some fresh pineapple juice cocktail in there; I don't know if there's actual pineapple, or if it's just the base beer's tartness mingling with the fruit cocktail. Whatever it is, it works—really sweet and sour, with minimal bitterness. This was an enjoyable beer for a summer evening, really delivering what it promised in terms of a flavor profile with all the notes of strawberry, banana, and tropical flavors. The mouthfeel is lively and vibrant, with a lighter medium body that coats well and finishes with a dry, tart bite.
Quarantine Desirability Rating: This is an all-purpose, easy, morning-to-early-afternoon "homeschool teacher's lounge" beer. The 5.7 percent alcohol has enough to take the edge off, yet won't distract you from your kiddo's Frère Jacques recital on the recorder. This will, of course, boost or lower this beer's cloistering factor, depending on your love for your children and your level of contempt for the recorder. It also supports a range of quarantine activities including: chasing little stoner gnomes and playing air guitar with a stoned prairie Jesus.
Look for these beers in their respective breweries' shops. And please shoot me a message in the comments section, to let us know what beers are helping to get you through your quarantine madness. As always, cheers!