Opposing forces. Dictionaries define the term as to fight against, counter, or resist strongly. In military terms, opposing forces (abbreviated OPFOR, used in the United States and Australia) or enemy force (used in Canada) is a military unit tasked with representing an enemy, usually for training purposes in war game scenarios. Beer can best be described as two opposing forces looking for some level of balance. On one side you have malt, which is generally malted barley, that adds sugars for fermentation and overall body and sweetness to the beer and on the other side you have hops, which add bitterness to beer. Sweeter beers tend to be referred to as “malty” while more bitter beers tend to be called “hoppy.” By this simple definition, all our beer flights have involved opposing forces. Today, we take opposing forces up a notch examining beers that have been born from opposing forces or brewed for entities that face opposing forces. Peaks and Pints surrenders our beer flight to Craft Beer Crosscut 7.27.17: A Flight of Opposing Forces.
8.2% ABV, 55 IBU
“The sparring Lion and Bear not only speak to the unorthodox rapport between founders Adam Firestone and David Walker — they also hearken to the heart of our brewery culture, which for 20 years has been forged by often opposing forces in pursuit of the perfect beer.” So reads the description of Leo v. Ursus, Firestone Walker Brewing Company’s quarterly forged-in-conflict series that resulted from a longing for high experimentation that was finally fulfilled by the recent launch of the Propagator, Firestone Walker’s pilot brewhouse in Venice, California. The series, according to the brewery, will often be “hoppy and intense” and may sometimes “address ‘wish lists’ expressed to us by loyal fans”. This odd, off-kilter description of the relationship between Adam Firestone and David Walker is shockingly fitting for the second beer in the series, Adversus. This latest release is a light double IPA, falling right in line with the recent trend of brewers packing in as much hop flavor as possible while keeping the beer’s body light. Adversus is high on aromatics, balanced in bitterness and relatively light in color owing to the pilsner malts. It’s prodigiously dry hopped with a blend of Pacific Northwest hops, with an emphasis on Ekuanot — creating an intriguing aroma profile of stone fruit, pineapple, mango and pine resin. There is also a pungent element that creates a suggestion of a dank piña colada.
7% ABV, 70 IBU
In 2000, Nico Freccia and Shaun O’Sullivan founded 21st Amendment Brewing in the South Park neighborhood of San Francisco, California. As avid beer enthusiasts, Freccia and O’Sullivan were determined to establish an ongoing celebration of the overturned 21st Amendment to the Constitution (that’s the one that repealed Prohibition) and gave their brewery the amendment’s namesake to commemorate it. Opposing forces rings in the brewery’s beer name (as well as New Hampshire’s state motto): Brew Free! Or Die (Blood Orange). From the animated Mount Rushmore artwork — with Abraham Lincoln busting free and ready to kick butt — to the classic floral hops and citrus flavors, the folks at 21st Amendment truly made an all-American IPA with Brew Free! or Die — then add blood oranges. Aroma is fresh citrus rind, bright orange and tangerine, which carries over to the tongue — juicy fresh oranges, some smooth malt and a citrus peel finish.
7.2% ABV, 80 IBU
Narrows Brewing Company brewed Lead The Way IPA, in honor of the Pointe du Hoc Foundation, which supports the special operations warriors of 2nd Ranger Battalion, stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Named for the 10 story cliffs Rangers scaled on D-Day, Pointe du Hoc Foundation is a 501©3 whose mission is to honor the courage, fortitude and selfless sacrifices of 2nd Battalion Rangers and their families who have served in the unit from WWII to the present. Lead The Way IPA is brewed with NW 2 row malted barley, hopped with all Yakima hops including Magnum, Willamette, Columbus and S07270, and triple dry hopped; the last addition being whole hop Cascade. We salute its bitterness and citrus peel notes.
10% ABV, 100 IBU
Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø, the founder and man behind Evil Twin Brewing, was a physics and English teacher in his native Denmark before starting Copenhagen’s Ølbutikken, a highly regarded beer store. He’s also an evil twin himself. His brother, Mikkel Borg Bergsø, brews under the Mikkeller label. Jarnit-Bjergsø, however, has done his best to outshine the good twin. He founded Evil Twin in 2010 as a nomadic brewery. Like his brother Mikkel, Jarnit-Bjergsø would concocts a recipe for his beer and hand it to another brewery with some extra capacity. This contracted brewing partner brewed, bottled, priced and sold the beer, then cut Jarnit-Bjergsø a check. Evil Twin beers were brewed everywhere from South Carolina and Scotland to Holland and Denmark. In 2012, Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø moved it to Brooklyn and relocated there with his family, opening the beer bar TØRST the same year. Besides the twins opposing forces, Evil Twin’s Yin & Yang is based on the Tantric philosophy that there is nothing more fundamental in the Universe than the two types of energy YIN(-) and YANG(+). The whole Universal Manifestation is subject to the two opposed but complementary forces, lunar and solar, the centrifugal force and the centripetal force, the feminine and the masculine. We have no idea what that means, but we do understand Yin & Yang craft beer. Evil Twin Yin arrived first in the Universe, a 10 percent ABV roasty, chocolate-heavy imperial stout. Yang arrived next, a 10 percent, hoppy imperial IPA. Yin & Yang is Jarnit-Bjergsø’s version of a traditional black and tan, with 33 percent Yin and 67 percent Yang, for the perfect balance.
8.5% ABV, 1 Billion IBU
The Brother was the first beer Fremont Brewing developed in its Imperial Series. It’s inspired by the Seattle brewery’s desire to thank brothers everywhere. “Without our Brothers, we would have taken the blame for everything as children, wouldn’t have known the inside of an ambulance and never understood the true fear a good ghost story can cause a young child,” according to The Brother hype. Brothers were opposing forces, if you will. This Brother smells like a mango dipped in citrus juice, lying amongst spring grasses. The taste opens with a medley of medium sweet malt, and hints of dried dark fruit. The blast of mature sweetness instantly flows into a solid malt base. Then, the opposing force of grapefruit explodes in your mouth.