Evil Twin at Westbrook (Mt. Pleasant, S. C.) Whereof One Cannot Speak Therefore One Must Be Silent
Date: Sept. 25 , 2018
The Story— Yesterday we featured Brian Strumke’s Stillwater beers. Today we tip our hats to one of the other most aggressive American gypsy/contract brewers, Evil Twin. Our records of beers from Evil Twin parallel that of Denmark’s extraordinary Mikkeler — the ultimate modern gypsy (yah, we know — but we’re using lower case and it simply means a brewer that doesn’t own a brewery. If you’re offended, come up with a better term and get the brewing community to agree to it).
Westbrook is a sort of southern Two Roads that often goes off the roads and into the woods: they brew for a herd of gypsy brewers, but seem to specialize in wild and sour beers. You can read elsewhere about our reservations about the wave of sours, but suffice it to say, our ratings of Westbrook have been all over the map. (We think Westbrook would be proud of the low ratings we’ve given some of their most outlandish beers.)
This beer starts with three potential strikes against it. Many consider our Hop Pocket Ale to be the first American IPA in the East (6.0% and 60 IBUs, though we never called it an IPA), but oh, my goodness, there have been so many IPAs that we’ve actually wearied of them. It’s no one’s fault: we don’t buy unknown sours, there aren’t that many pilsners (yet?) and when we buy a batch of 180 new beers, it’s likely that 120 of them will be IPAs. The point is that it takes an unusually good IPA to grab our attention.
This one did. Hats off to Evil Twin and to Westbrook, which showed an ability to work within the box in the way that Picasso did portraits that would have made Leonardo jealous. This was another find at Half Time in Poughkeepsie, but you should be able to find it — or its successor– in good Pennsylvania beer outlets.
The Beer— It’s chalky and fruity and softly sweet. The palate is bathed in pale malts and a range of fruit – stone, peach, and pears with confectioners sugar and it all blends rather well. This is one of Westbrook’s best. Ellie noted that it keeps sipping and we both wished we had bought a few more cans of it.
Value — Good to very good. This isn’t the only better than average IPA on the market, but it surely is one of them and the price is within range.
COMING UP – More great American beers. Later, we’ll return to HIGHLIGHTS OF EUROPE 2018– Surprisingly good beer in “bad beer cities.” The best we’ve found in researching our next book – a guide to great beer in European tourist cities. (Planned publication 2019.)
About these posts: We taste and evaluate over a thousand beers every year. The beers posted here rank in the top quarter of those tastings. Values: “fair” is a good beer at an above market price, “good” is worth the money, “very good” is a bargain, and “excellent” is a steal.