Rust Cohle Would Never Drink This
I almost never buy a beer because of the packaging. I used to pick out beers and discriminate against bottles in favor of cans, but luckily that isn’t a concern anymore. But anyway, this beer is an exception. I remember when I was working at Fieldwork in San Mateo, a guy came in to pick up cans and had just been to Henhouse to buy the first canning run of this beer. Like a real weirdo, I asked him if I could take a picture of the cans. Henhouse wasn’t really available on the peninsula at that time.
This isn’t the only time I’ve bought a specific beer because of True Detective season one either. Just before the pandemic of 2020 shut everything down, I was in remote Texas for a wedding. So, of course I walked to the closest place with beer to our AirBnB, a Wal-Mart, and bought a 12 pack of Lone Star. Nothing snooty. Just kidding, the person was with bought some IPAs from an AB owned crafty brewery. It was Wal-Mart, there isn’t much of a selection there in McCallen.
Beer Branding and Freshness
But anyway, branding works, especially when it’s a four day old IPA from one of the best local breweries in the SF Bay area. Henhouse Brewing Co.‘s Time is a Flat Circle is a New England style hazy IPA featuring Huell Melon and Mosaic hops that is part of their rotating conspiracy theory series. I bought it for the can art, but it’s a great sounding beer just from the notes and canned on date. I’m not a huge fan of hazy IPAs, but this one has a medium body and gets more juicy and grassy hop character, with less of the particulate grit mouthfeel. You’d be hard pressed to convince a seasoned Old Milwaukee drinking man that this is a beer, but it tastes more like a beer than many modern competitors to it.
I get more obsessed with canned on dates with every passing day, and Henhouse is the standard bearer in the area. They incorporate the canned on date on the label, so you don’t even have to turn it over! Not only that, their case trays remind retailers to store it cold and sell it fresh, a message more breweries need to progress and focus on with some old school liquor store owners. And, the whip cream on the sundae, their drink by date for IPAs is 28 days after canning. If any of their beer passes that mark without selling, they pick it up and credit the account with out them even having to ask. Stone’s Enjoy By series could take a lesson from them.
I think my new evaluation for hazy IPA drinkability for myself is if the stream out of the can appears transparent when you’re pouring it. It gives you a nice hint about the mouthfeel and texture.
The aroma of this beer bursts with spritzy white grape bubbles, with undertones of cantaloupe and lemon-lime soda. The beer tastes almost like a refreshing white wine hybrid with the backbone of an American ale. White grape musk mingles with pineapple rind and grassy lime pith in the light-for-a-hazy-IPA body and mouthfeel. Midway through the tasting, you get a bit of honeydew and a touch of a ground up lime Tums tablet. As the flavor recedes, it leaves you with unadulterated grapefruit rind and bitterness that remains on you palate, much like the last scenes of True Detective season one remains in the back of your mind, begging you to revisit it one more time.
It’s hard to go wrong with Henhouse beers, and this one, like many others, hits the mark they aimed for. Hopefully, the slick cans will tempt some True Detective fans to give it a try and fall into the rabbit hole that is local, independent beer.
Tasting Notes for Henhouse Brewing’s Time is a Flat Cirlce
Appearance: You can see through the stream as you pour it, I think that’s a new immediate measure for me for tolerable body in hazy beer.
Aroma: White grape musk, champagne, cantaloupe, a lil Sierra Mist lemon lime, a hint of passion fruit
Taste: Medium body, a bright white wine character, a hint of pineapple, Despite the body, still comes off at spritzy and refreshing, green unripe lime juice, lime leaves from tea, just a hint of a lime tums crushed up in a beer, honeydew, grapefruit rind and then pith rounds out the flavor. The pith remains long after, like the last scene of True Detective season 1.