Trust Range to go ahead and release five collabs – with breweries from around the world, no less – in one day. YES OK, RANGE, WE GET IT. YOU HAVE LOTS OF FRIENDS.
Actually, you know what? No. I can’t let you get away with this. Let me tell you why none of your friendships counts.
So you went over to the UK and brewed Crocodiles Don’t Play Cricket with DEYA Brewing in Cheltenham? Well, not only did you take kegs of your own beer with you to their taproom (is this the brewers’ equivalent of bringing your own meal to a dinner party?), but you say you "respect their brewing style" yet brewed your own version of their core range pale ale. They describe their Steady Rolling Man as "our vision of the perfect pale ale" and yet you went ahead and hopped it not only with Citra and El Dorado, but also with Galaxy. You threw in enough of the Aussie darling hop to bring tinned peach aroma to the orange juice vibes, and while you retained their soft malt profile and fluffy carbonation, you brought in notes of sweet passionfruit. That’s basically like flipping them off and saying: “Australians do it better.”
Also the crocodile in their logo has funny frog eyes and I think you make fun of that behind their backs. They probably make fun of your logo too for some reason.
Then there’s Good Problem To Have, the oat cream IPA you brewed with the crew from Kings County Brewers Collective when they visited. Sure, giving founder Zack Kinney his first Weis bar and then brewing a mango and coconut oat cream IPA may sound like a friendly show of hospitality, but it’s all a façade.
The stewed mango and almost fairy floss sweetness on the nose, the thickness and mango nectar in the mouth, the coconut ice on the finish, all complemented by the Mosaic and Simcoe that somehow haven’t lost their spark among the adjuncts… and in the description of this beer, you remind us of KCBC’s Lager Appreciation Month each May. How is this anything but a reference to that Queensland icon the Milton Mango? There’s some kind of insult hidden away in there somewhere. I’m sure of it.
And how can two breweries known Australia wide for their hazies come together without there being an undercurrent of animosity? Range and Mountain Culture may put on a friendly face in public, but there’s got to be enough heat in that rivalry there to start a bushfire. Calling a beer Take A Hike is your way of humiliating each other and hiding it in plain sight, like saying: “I love your outfit. I could never pull off a look like that.” You should have your own reality show called Real Brewers of the East Coast, or Brewing Sunset.*
Making a DDH IPA together is yet another way of giving each other a backhanded compliment. Sure, it’s all smiles when there’s a gentle dankness sweetening into tropical fruits and sweet mandarin, and the snuggliness of Cashmere rounding out the flavours like the wheat rounds out the mouthfeel. But secretly each of you is thinking, “This beer would be nothing if it weren’t for us.”
Friends? Ha. You’re frenemies, at best.
When it comes to Long Distance Relationship, I’ll go a little easier on you. Because either your friendship with Track Brewing is genuinely a long distance relationship – which, according to common wisdom, won’t work out – or it’s an imaginary friendship in which case you deserve a small dose of our pity. I believe the latter is more likely. You talk about how you "hung out" (overseas, of course – how convenient) and your "blossoming romance" and how you "fell in love" with their session pale ale.
And you talk about the "virtual collabs" you brewed with them when the team weren’t able to visit in 2020 as planned. So yes, there is the imperial smoothie sour ale you say is "proof" and yes, it does indeed taste like melted sorbet while also foaming in the mouth like a fruit tingle, somehow managing to be thick and sweet and sour and fruity and creamy all at once, with the tartness of the passionfruit not at all dampened by the vanilla and mango sweetness…
But I’ve never seen you together. Just sayin’.
And then with this final beer, Gone Fishin’, I… hmmm. Actually, I’m finding it harder to mark you down on this one.
Not only did you visit the Fast Fashion crew in Seattle, but you did use their very own hop variety Anchovy in this double IPA. The story behind Anchovy is an interesting one, so I don’t think you could get away with lying about using it. This beer is pumping with fresh hop character – orange marmalade, grapefruit and mandarin, some bitter resin vibe, and a smooth sweet candy note that made me think of vitamin C tablets – and for Fast Fashion to be willing to share some of their personal stash of their exclusive hop variety, they must really like you.
One. You have one friend, Range.
Published December 13, 2022 2022-12-13 00:00:00