A flight of beers typically consists of four to six different beers served in sample-sized glasses that are tasted in a single session. Most times you start with the lightest of the beers and work your way through to the darker samples, with the flavors intensifying along the way. This is a great way to cover a lot of ground and find some new beers to love without getting totally hammered. I’ve seen flights offered at more and more places, which is a great development, unless all the samples they pour taste like dirty tap lines (which is exactly what happened to me this past weekend). 😦
But this isn’t the only kind of flight that beer geeks enjoy – there’s also what I like to call the “night flight.” A night flight is a mostly spontaneous sequence of beers enjoyed over the course of an evening at home. Maybe you start with a pilsner or IPA and work your way to a stout. My buddy Frank and I refer to Victory Storm King as “the last beer you’ll taste” in a given evening, because either you wisely save it for the end, or you drink it early and its immensely toasted body and huge hop kick will blow out your taste buds for whatever might come next.
I enjoyed a mini night flight last evening, but it wasn’t planned. I decided to break my no-weeknight-beers rule and enjoy a can of Dale’s Pale Ale (or two). There was only one cold can of Dale’s in the fridge, but alongside it were a couple of cans of 21st Amendment’s Brew Free or Die IPA. Good enough for me. I enjoyed the Dale’s and felt like having another beer, so I cracked open a Brew Free or Die.
Drinking these two back-to-back made the Brew Free or Die pale by comparison. It just couldn’t hang with the sweet earthiness and huge malt backbone that Dale’s provides. The Brew Free or Die wound up tasting a bit thin and unbalanced when chasing the Dale’s, with its lighter malt profile failing to create equilibrium with its citrus peel bitterness. Had I enjoyed them in the other order, I think both would have been pretty good, but setting my palate with the Dale’s made it difficult for the Brew Free or Die to shine.
Our pal and bear-obsessed-bourbon-barrel-carpenter John King recently gave me hell in our comment section for not trying new beers. The truth is, I try new beers all the time, but I find very few of them are worth mentioning. I’ll write about brews I love or stuff that’s awful, but beers that are just decent or kind of average don’t get my creative juices flowing, so they usually get no ink here. If it wasn’t for John’s sniping, I don’t think I would’ve ever written about Brew Free or Die here: It’s a nice aromatic IPA, but it just doesn’t curl my toes.