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Belt’s Beer Garden: Drinking not just cold beer, but “Stone Cold” beer

El Segundo and Steve Austin’s Broken Skull IPA and Elysian Dayglow

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Everybody knows that cold beer is better than warm beer...but a certain California brewery has taken cold beer to a new level, creating a “Stone Cold” beer.

El Segundo is nestled right by Los Angeles and is home to just about 17,000 people but it’s also where El Segundo Brewing Company is stationed. Officially, ESBC began back in May of 2011 and can be found throughout central and southern California.

According to their website, they have this great practice of designing their batches to be “in and off shelves within 6 weeks – and if by chance [the] beer gets to the 90 day mark, [they] pull it from shelves and replace with fresh product”…which is awesome! Any brewery that actively makes sure you get the freshest beer possible is a great brewery.

ESBC got their start because they wanted to find the same types of beers they could in San Diego closer to home and so they became as West Coast as you can get; brewing 13 different versions of pale ales and IPAs.

I’ve had two of their beers before and was quite smitten by them so, when I saw this pretty unique one, I had to grab it. They have teamed up with Steve Austin (yes, the former wrestler known as Stone Cold Steve Austin) to make Broken Skull IPA - a beer named after the retired WWE star’s ranch in Texas.

This take on an IPA features Cascade, Chinook, and Citra hops and will set you back $7.99 for the 22-ounce bomber. It packs a solid 6.7% ABV and poured a golden straw color with a massive amount of head. About four solid fingers of dense white foam blocked me from the liquid below.

Broken Skull IPA has a great aroma to it. It’s filled with loads of tropical fruit (grapefruit, pineapple, and mango stand out the most), a dash of dankness, some pine resin, and a faint biscuity malt backing.

It took a while but, once the head finally faded down enough to break through it, I immediately dove into the brew.

There is a nice smooth start to the beer with a surprisingly little amount (I’d say mild at best) of carbonation fizzing on my tongue. From there the fruity hops emerge with a slightly bitter undertone to them. But, as the smell indicated, all the tropical flavors are there - mango and pineapple just beneath the copious amount grapefruit. In addition there is a hint of tangerine and some lemon zest as well.

On the backend of the sip the citrus faded ever so slightly, allowing the bready malt and pine to show themselves for just a brief moment before everything was said and done.

As the flavors fade away Broken Skull ends on the dry side of things with that muted bitterness remaining throughout the aftertaste as well. They don’t have the IBUs listed but I would venture a guess in the 70s or so.

But, in a nice twist, as the beer warmed up the ending became more and more palatable. Both the dryness and bitterness that were prevalent at the start were definitely lessened more and more as I drank the bomber. And, as the beer was excavated from my glass, the thick foam left a strong lacing throughout.

Overall, El Segundo has continued to make really tasty beers. It’s hard to find a lot of faults with this one…to nit pick I can find two: it’s a tad bit bitter at the start (but it’s an IPA so that’s kind of expected) and doesn’t have the crispest aftertaste. Otherwise, this is another really good IPA from them (and, of course, Stone Cold)! 8.5/10

8.5

Next up, a seasonal beer from Washington state that you need to grab as quickly as possible (it won’t be around past this month!).

Elysian is one of the bigger names from the Pacific Northwest, calling Seattle, Washington their home. They have been around for 20 years now, opening back in 1996, and have made over 350 different beers in that time. Since their inception they have grown to five locations in the Seattle area – with the Capitol Hill location being their original starting point.

You can find their bottles in 15 states (and one district) today: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Maryland, Montana, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington, and DC.

I bring you all one of their Manic IPA Series (this series is a showcase of their love of hops) beers...their Dayglow IPA.

Dayglow was brewed with Centennial, El Dorado, and Mosaic hops and costs $5.99 for the 22-ounce bomber. I’m not sure if I just got lucky or if the internet is a little behind…because my bottle says it packs a 7.4% ABV but everything I found online says it’s only 6.5%. I’m hoping it’s the former though.

Regardless, this IPA poured bright copper color with mounds of head building up. At least three full fingers of sticky eggshell white head built up and fizzled away slowly – leaving thick clumps of bubbles attached to the glass as it left.

On the nose loads of juicy tropical fruit filled the air near my glass. There was a plentiful amount of pineapple and mango with some orange zest lying in wait behind. Along with the fruit, there was a light clove-like spice and just a dash of caramel from the malt. It was a really nice and inviting smell.

Once the head dissipated enough, I dove right in.

It begins with a smooth medium body, a quick bitter jab, and then just the slightest amount of carbonation…which was a little surprising after seeing all that head. Then, fading up ever so slowly, the sweet tropical flavors came in. As the smell indicated, pineapple led the way and took over almost immediately. The mango and orange were muted some but still came through towards the end of the sip. The caramel sweetness was also nearly non-existent in the flavor…it was all juicy hops.

Those hops did leave a slight lingering bitterness and dryness on my tongue after each sip but, at around 65 IBU, this is still a pretty mild IPA. The aftertaste was not my favorite part…kind of bitter and a little too sticky. But it just made me get to my next sip a bit quicker.

As Dayglow was drained from my glass that sticky head from the beginning didn’t get any less clingy; instead nearly the entire side of the cup was coated in a crisscross of foam. The 7.4% ABV (yes, I’m going with that one) was hidden entirely and could not be found even when I tried looking for it.

At the end of the day, if you’re a fan of IPAs at all…this is one you should check out. This hop-forward, yet smooth, IPA has lots of great flavors up front that stay consistent throughout the bottle. The one downfall I had with it was the dry bitterness that was left after each sip. Otherwise, it was a really solid beer that I wish I was able to get more of…especially since it won’t be around much longer. Get it now while you can still find it. 8/10

8 beers