Welcome to Thirsty Thursday, a weekly column where we pick a beer from our fridge and review it, because in a world where two new breweries launch every single week, sometimes we need some help sifting through all of the hops.
It’s no big secret in my circle of beer-drinking friends that Tired Hands Brewing Company is one of my favorite breweries and it has been since my very first visit there several years ago. The Philadelphia-area brewery has long been the gold standard of next-level craft beer in the region, popularizing new, innovative efforts like the Milkshake IPA and continuing to brew well-executed rotating releases, all while becoming a destination and the centerpiece of many beer trades.
But it can be a challenge to keep pace with all of Tired Hands’ efforts and there’s even an offshoot that’s long eluded me, released in smaller quantities only at the company’s fermentaria. A little over a year ago, Tired Hands announced new beer under a different name – Little Log Cabin Brewing Company. Little Log Cabin is a sister beer producing entity that is “propelled by a desire for cohesive simplicity and more focused meditations on comfortable and familiar aromas and flavors.” These complex, yet straight ahead, beers are offered monthly and now, given the state of the world, Little Log Cabin’s beer can be shipped throughout the area – and that’s exactly how a friend of mine got a hold of their latest effort, Floating In The Creek. He knew I had long wanted to try one of these highly-rated beers, so he saved me one to review.
Finding much more information about Little Log Cabin proved challenging, so instead I’ll give you a little information about the brewery currently sharing these small batches with locals.
Founded in 2011 by Jean Broilet IV, Tired Hands started in the garage of his parents’ house. After working locally at Iron Hill Brewery and Weyerbacher Brewing Company, brewing became Broilet’s passion and his career, ultimately turning his love for those brewpubs into Tired Hands and winning a number of awards, including RateBeer’s Top Brewer in Pennsylvania.
Floating In The Creek is a 7.2 percent ABV, Triple Dry-Hopped Oat IPA. Brewed with Galaxy, Nelson Sauvin, and Cashmere hops, Little Log Cabin touts that this effort is juicy and pillowy soft, which is likely brought out by the overflowing mash of both malted barley and flaked oats. As for the look of this 16-ounce can, it looks exactly the same as all of Little Log Cabin’s efforts – white, with a cabin at the bottom and the name of the beer appearing in the chimney smoke. There’s limited information on the label, though it explains the beer and the hops used. Sure, I would’ve liked a summary of what I was drinking but as long as the hops are listed, it’s all good.
When I cracked open this one, I couldn’t help but get an onslaught of aroma. Jerry Seinfeld has an old bit about Cinnabon and how he doesn’t even really want to eat it but just smell it and smash it into his face. That’s basically how I felt when opening Floating In The Creek. I got pungently tropical, abundantly dank notes while it was still in the can and it smelled every bit of what I want from an aggressively dry-hopped beer that features my favorite hops: Galaxy. The pineapple, tangerine and other citrusy undertones had my mouth watering for that very first sip.
Not quite as amazing as the aroma, the pour was still pretty strong. Floating In The Creek came out a vibrant orange-yellow color, walking that line of not appearing almost too “fruitified,” without leaning on too much of that hazy, bright orange color. The head was fluffy and there were a little over three fingers, sporting an off-white color, which made it show up well in photos. The lacing was solid too – nothing to write home about, but proved this beer was well-crafted.
With a great smell and a good look to boot, could the taste match the other characteristics?
The short answer is yes, yes it could. At the beginning of the sip I got a little grape vibe which I have to assume was brought about by the hops, and it made way for a citrusy punch – matching the nose with undertones of pineapple, tangerine and other undetermined citrus notes – before finally finishing with a deliciously dry back-end. I might’ve actually liked just a little more pop to the juice flavor but I’m really just nitpicking here. It’s a fairly light beer that incorporates a wealth of hops and I thought Floating In The Creek was pretty drinkable. It’s medium-bodied through and through and the sips offer a very smooth mouthfeel, which I liked.
While it might not have had any real wild flavor enhancers or over-the-top flavor profiles like many of Tired Hands beers, this is almost like a stripped down version of the brewery’s IPAs, taking it back to the basics. It looks good, it smells amazing and the taste was on-point. Not to mention, I would have no issue enjoying multiple of these in one sitting. There wasn’t much I didn’t like about it, maybe just a little more juice in the flavor but that’s based more on personal preference than anything else. It’s clear that this is a well-orchestrated beer, by people who obviously know what they’re doing, and one that would pair woulderfully with an upscale meal – perhaps it’s a good fancy night out beer.
There wasn’t much of a footprint for Floating In The Creek on BeerAdvocate, as is the case with most of Little Log Cabin’s release. The website doesn’t have an official rating of the beer and the average score is 4.32 based on seven ratings. I might go a little higher on that one, giving this impressive, and drinkable, effort a 8.9 out of 10. It just missed that nine threshold and I think that just comes down to the flavor and the pour, which both simply weren’t flawless for me.
Stay tuned next week, because I might try something from your favorite brewery.