As craft beer becomes a bigger and bigger part of the total beer market—you too could brew your way to one billion dollars—it seems like you are able to get just about any beer in almost any market. This is an exaggeration on a lot of different levels because I have nothing close to more than 3,000 breweries worth of product to choose from at my local liquor store, but it sure seems like it is something close to that number certain days.
There was a time not long ago—warning, old man musing about the good old days is forthcoming—when people used to bootleg New Belgium Brewery beers back to the Midwest from Colorado. Sure, some people did this with Coors back in the 1970s and New Glarus has created a cottage industry of bootleggers with its policy of only distributing in Wisconsin. However, the general trend has been for breweries to expand their distribution far and wide in search of hungry mouths to feed with liquid fuel.
In effect it leaves fewer and fewer beers that feel “special” when you run across them during a trip. Dale’s Pale Ale used to be my “go to” beer in Colorado. Few things made me feel like I was on a trip to the mountains like a day spent outside at altitude followed up by a cold can of Dale’s. I could not get the beer in Iowa, so it was a treat. Now I can get six packs of Dale’s at corner convenience stores. Mystique destroyed.
Thankfully, for my sense of distance on trips anyway, I have found a new beer to be my Colorado quaff of choice. Ska Brewing’s Modus Hoperandi IPA is my après ski beer:
This is an IPA on the higher end of what I would consider normal drinking at 6.8% ABV and 88 IBU. Heck, the fact that 88 IBU is even an everyday drinking kind of beer is shocking to me. A few years ago—again, old man musing coming at you—88 IBU would have been considered “extreme” and the only people aiming higher were the truly arrogant bastards at Stone Brewing who have declared it their mission to wreck our palates with ashtrays in bottles.
Modus Hoperandi IPA hits all of the “Colorado-style IPA” high notes. It’s got resinous and citrus aromas and flavors in spades. The malt body is present and provides a backbone for the beer, but it does not get in the way or make you feel like you are drinking a liquid loaf of bread.
The other thing going for this beer is that the brewers at Ska Brewing do not take themselves so seriously. Some brewers want to make you think that they are curing cancer or conducting experiments into the essence of life by brewing beer. Ska Brewing’s irreverent attitude is on display wherever you encounter their beer. It is as if they are saying, “It’s beer, not world peace. Drink, enjoy, repeat.” The craft brewing world would be a much better place if everyone just chilled out a little more. I guess it is hard when you are chasing one billion dollars.
The only real downside to Modus Hoperandi IPA is that at almost 7% alcohol and a heavy blast of bitterness it is not a beer you can drink until the end of the night with a chance in hell of making it out for the first few chairs the next morning:
See what others are saying about Ska Brewing Modus Hoperandi IPA over at Beeradvocate.