Last month, my West Coast quidditch, beer, and friendship journey took me to my beloved Pacific Northwest. My friend Siri Rigsby took me on a tour of Bellingham, which included a visit to Wander Brewing.
Black Currant Millie Sour
Jim’s sister Lou and brother-in-law Arthur went up to Bellingham last summer and had one request for me when I told them I was headed up north: bring back a sour from Wander Brewing. With that in mind, I knew I had to try whatever sours they had on tap.
This was my first of two and it was a hit. It had the instant pucker I love in a sour while still having a jammy finish. This was the beer I wound up bringing home two bottles of for Lou.
Her verdict? “10/10, would do again.”
Plum Millie Sour
Aaaaaand this was my other sour option. While the plumminess was nice, it didn’t have that satisfying, face-wrinkling pucker. Siri took a sip and we agreed that it had more of a funky sour aftertaste. Not bad, but not great. We can’t all be winners.
She Wore a Cranberry Beret IPA
Yeah yeah, we all know that I don’t like IPAs. And yet, I keep tempting fate and trying them. Tropical IPAs have been my best shot at liking this style, but cranberry was something I’d never seen in an IPA before. I’m willing to try anything weird at least once, especially when I’m trying a flight somewhere new. If nothing else, I’m a sucker for a good Prince reference.
The tartness of the cranberries balanced out the bitterness of the hops remarkably well. I kept taking a sip of this, being pleasantly surprised, drinking something else, but gravitating back to this. While I brought a couple bottles of sours home for Lou, this was the beer I brought home for me and Jim.
Uncommon California Common
Siri gushed so much about this beer that I had to pick it. Having California in the name didn’t hurt, either. She called it “the perfect pizza and beer kind of beer,” and I’m in complete agreement. She told me that they don’t do bottles of this, which I think is the way to go. This is absolutely the sort of beer you need to drink on draft.
Milk Stout Nitro
Milk stouts are my comfort blanket. My version of Shaye’s #buttchugable. I always like them, they’re always drinkable, but they’re usually not anything mind-blowing. However, that’s why I always include them if they’re available when I order a flight. The fact that this was on nitro made it extra smooth and easy to drink. The coziest of comforts.
Siri and I repeated each other a bit in our flight choices — great minds and all that — so I’ll just touch on where are selections branched off rather than repeat myself.
Hazy Grapefruit IPA
This was very hazy and very juicy, so hey, points for no false advertising? Siri’s take was that while it definitely tasted like grapefruit, “it tastes more like a summer beer.” While we (narrowly) avoided rain or snow at that weekend’s tournament, we were still in a winter mood.
Correspondent Export Stout
I’m glad Siri ordered this stout so I could steal a sip. I never met a stout I didn’t like, though some have gone over far better than others. It wasn’t knock me on my ass strong like some stouts I like, but at 6.5% ABV, it wasn’t the mellow comfort of the milk stout, either. A perfect in between. Or, as Siri put it simply, “Sweet and lovely.”
I was worried Siri would roast me for ranking her beloved beer relatively low, but really, it was a case of a thing I liked being compared to things I liked more. The plum sour was the only dud in an otherwise delightful lineup. 10/10, would go back to Bellingham to get an Uncommon California Common on draft again.
I’ll be taking a break from the beer for some more sobering March Madness content next week: a fizzy water bracket! LaCroix, Bubly, Dasani, store brand, whatever. I am equal opportunity bubble water. What are some of your favorites? You might see them battling it out next week!