We’ve joked about mules waiting in line for Aslin beers before. We’ve also marveled at the rarity of finding not just one, or even two kegs, but an entire tap takeover from Aslin. It’s all for good reason – over July 4th weekend I was lucky enough to visit both Tree House and Trillium while visiting a friend near Boston. While in line at Tree House, my amusement in watching people wheel out whole dolleys of beer was interrupted by a gal in front of me asking if I were actually from Virginia (I had a UVa hat on). I was really happy to talk all about similar breweries from our beloved Commonwealth – Veil, Triple Crossing, even the eponymous Commonwealth itself, of course. I had to arch an eyebrow, though, when she all but pleaded, “I’ll trade you some Focal Banger for some Aslin. Please??” For all the rarity of finding Aslin in NoVA, I’d never thought of it as a Holy Grail brewer of NE IPA deliciousness.
Beers like this one are why Aslin is getting such attention nationally. And all we have to say is THANK BACCHUS they’ve upped their production game this year!
Vapid, Aslin Beer Co. (Herndon, VA)
Double IPA, 8.7% ABV
Presentation: Can pour into a mug. The vessel will make sense, I promise.
Appearance: Opaque goldenrod. The pulpy head is positively brimming over with lattice.
Taste: A sultry citrus nose showcases a touch of dank as well. The dankness isn’t dissimilar from the effects of fresh agave. Some earthy resins join in the body, but they’re short-lived. The finish brings some piney aromatics to bear, but there isn’t a trace of bitterness, florals, or sweetness. This is a beer that lives off that nose, but frankly I’d be afraid of it translating into anything more than it is across the palate. Thank the double dose of oats, but as it is, the dank citrus up front is so perfectly balanced that the beer is already happily residing in your tummy before you wonder why you don’t have that typical juice bomb aftertaste.
Mouth Feel: An ironic, cooling warmth starts at the center of the tongue and moves forward. Incredibly refreshing even as some acidity does hit the gums.
Overall: A showstopper. I brought this out at a party prepared to spread the wealth, but then I took a sip and refused to share. I mean, it was from my stash and all. It’s also the kind of filthy rich NE DIPA that would make a beer purist weep, and there were more than a few “Heineken is my favorite craft beer”-type folks over for the evening. So I snagged my previously used mug for my homebrews, dumped out my (award winning, as I have to remind everyone) Wee Heavy with nary a regret, and filled the sucker back up with Vapid. Had this been a crowd filled with my usual beer drinking friends, I imagine I would have had to go all Heisman on everybody, stiff-arming my way into a protective corner where I could go all Gollum over my precious Aslin. This is, without a doubt, the best beer I’ve had from them.
On one final note, we chose to highlight Aslin this week as the national Beer Bloggers & Writers Conference comes to town in our very own Sterling, VA. A variety of tasting room visits are on tap, which is why it’s sad in a way that Aslin is so popular that it doesn’t even warrant such a presence at this time. We know they’ll get another open (and hopefully soon!) but until then, all ya’ll from #BBC18 better bring the bribes next week!