21st Amendment Brewery — Brew Free! or Die India Pale Ale — 7.2%

San Francisco’s 21st Amendment Brewery is probably best known for jumping out in front of the microbrew-in-a-can trend. I was bound for the annual family stay at Lake Tahoe where I knew I was going to need some good beer, so a couple six-packs of a portable, beach-friendly IPA were just what the doctor ordered.

As tasty as it was straight out of the cooler as the thermometer flirted with 100 degrees, it was once I got back to the cabin and found myself a pint glass that this tasty, well-balanced brew was given a proper chance to shine. The Brew Free! or Die IPA pours a light-golden hue with a prodigious cotton-colored head with some serious lacing. Its looks alone invited interest from the macro-beer drinkers at the cabin.

I don’t wish to demean this beer in anyway when I say that this would be a good introductory IPA for those wishing to start developing a palate for them. It throws an inviting sweet citrus nose with subtle sourdough undertones. Not at all like the piney hop bombs that I usually drink; of course, those have the added bonus of keeping less resin-wrecked taste buds out of my stash.

All in all, very quaffable, with a velvet-smooth mouthfeel that reveals the underlying hops. Its drinkability and portability assures that I’ll be taking this beer along on all my summer water-related excursions.

Grade: B+

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