Cody Thompson | Suds in the City
Just when you thought it was safe to go back into your neighborhood bottle shop and pick up your favorite local IPA, a new challenger appears which aims to hit you with a proverbial “Hadoken” of hops. Modern Times, with tasting rooms in both North Park and Point Loma, delivers two new IPAs set to make your head spin: Booming Rollers in canned four packs and Protocosmos in limited 22-ounce bottles.
That is not to say that the people over at Modern Times haven’t been landing blow after blow on the San Diego beer scene to this point, both with their solid lineup of core offerings as well as specialty releases. Namely their hoppy amber Blazing World as well as their Black House coffee stout to name a few of those fan favorites. With the release of the aforementioned IPAs, Modern Times has set the bar high for 2015, which will be aided by numerous seasonal and specialty offerings, as can be seen by their recently revealed release calendar.
“We have dozens and dozens of beer concepts on the to-do list at any given time, so when we make a release calendar, we just whittle it down based on what makes sense,” CEO and founder Jacob McKean said. “In some cases those beers are things we’ve been wanting to make for many years, before the brewery was even open. Another advantage is that we get to put beers into people’s hands that had previously been draft-only.”
Though the two IPAs mentioned here are actually not their first specialty releases of 2015, they’re the two most recent additions to the market, available for your tender, loving sip. Booming Rollers will be available through May, while Protocosmos will only stick around just through the month of March.
Protocosmos blends the lesser-known yet amazing Australian Galaxy hop with both Ahtanum and Centennial hops. A low malt profile paves way for the super-high dankness of the hops to shine bright, delivering flavors of tropical fruit and deep, rich citrus. The use of Galaxy provides a different hop flavor profile than some popular San Diego IPAs, and it is definitely a welcomed contender in the game of dankness.
While bright, clean and easily drinkable, the hop bitterness unlocked with each sip of Protocosmos is dankness incarnated both in smell and taste without becoming overly assertive. Kind of like your best buddy’s mom growing up. Remember she would yell at you to climb down off the roof, but then would bake you brownies once you returned to sea level? It presents a tough exterior yet is very welcoming and accessible.
I asked McKean how the recipes for these specialty and seasonal releases are chosen.
“In some cases, they are based on pilot brews or draft-only beers that we’ve done either to test a concept or provide something for a special event,” he said. “In other cases, they’re entirely new. We decide on them collectively with the goal of creating a diverse and seasonally appropriate — for the most part — set of offerings.”
He continued, “The canned seasonals are basically the ‘best-of’ of the hoppy special releases. We wanted the seasonal slot to be filled with hop-forward beers because I want to make sure our IPAs stay fresh. This allows us to keep an IPA or session IPA on the shelf year round, but without the risk of having lots of old beer out there.”
Speaking of canned releases, while not as hop-forward than Protocosmos, Booming Rollers hits you with a “Shoryuken” of pure Citra hops beauty. Paired with Motueka and Centennial hop varieties, Booming Rollers erupts with flavors ranging from mango to tropical fruit and lemongrass. Playing a bigger role in this beer is a deeper malt profile to support the bitterness presented, creating a well-balanced and extremely drinkable IPA.
2015 looks to be a big year for the Modern Times with a calendar filled to the brim with specialty beers, which include a sour cherry Gose, Black House variants, the return of the beloved Monsters Park and McKean’s personal favorite, “I’m most excited for Mega Fortunate Islands, the imperial version of our year-round hoppy wheat beer.
“Conveniently, it doesn’t land until December,” he added with a hint of sarcasm.
For more information on available releases as well as what is set to come in 2015, visit ModernTimesBeer.com.
—Contact Cody Thompson at email@example.com.