On the final Friday of Redding Beer Week, Mini-Max was offering a Rogue Brewery tap takeover, and if I have any wealth when I die, I will be bequeath it all to these two fine businesses (sorry not sorry, kids), for they gave me a brown ale. At this point in Beer Week, that’s all it takes, and here’s why: every year, when the air turns smoky and the temperatures start to wane, I catch the smell of hops and aftershave on the wind, my thoughts turn to hats and t-shirts, and I know: REDDING BEER WEEK IS COMING. It means I can try all manners of breweries and beers, discover new flavors, and forge new loyalties. This year, by fate of the events I chose or by nature of the current culture, the options have been almost exclusively IPA or pale ales. Variety is the spice of beer, and my week has been tragically mild.
So when screwed up the courage to look at Mini-Max’s taps, the smoke cleared and angels sang, for I saw two (two!!!) options that were neither IPA or pale. They were brown, and brown is beautiful. Not wanting to be tricked, as I have been by some of the IPAs in wheat’s clothing, I asked for a sample of the Hazelnut Brown Nectar. One sip was all it took, and I claimed a pint of it. I stared at the coppery brown goodness like I’d never seen the color brown before. There was plenty of nut flavor and spice, with some sweet malt and a smooth finish. It was so pleasant I had to restrain myself from chugging it so that I could drive myself home [to tell my family I was leaving them for a brewery].
Mini-Max, you are still an oasis in the desert of corporate America and IPA addiction. Rogue, you aptly-named bastards, I love you.