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.
The weather is starting to get warm and it’s really beginning to feel like spring, so a couple of weeks ago I decided to create my own spring-themed six-pack at my local beer store. I still have a fridge full of leftover beers but wanted to try individual efforts from breweries I’ve never sampled. One of those beers came from Modern Times Beer, a brewery I feel like I’ve seen a lot but, given its west coast location, I cannot say that I’ve seen any of their beers, unlike some of the other big names.
Founded in 2013 as a small 30-barrel production brewery and tasting room in San Diego, Modern Times was named after a crazy utopian community in mid-1800s Long Island. Today, Modern Times produces approximately 68,000 barrels a year, 800 percent more than it anticipated, with restaurants/breweries in Los Angeles and Portland that continue to focus on “aroma-driven, complex, flavorful sessionish beers.” Modern Times even made some headlines this week, when it announced it would become the first brewery to become fan and employee owned. As for Modern Times’ beer, the company produces six year-round efforts as well as four seasonals and a bunch of monthly special releases.
The beer I’m enjoying for the first time is one of their year-rounds, Fortunate Islands.
Available in 16-ounce pounder cans, Fortunate Islands is complex wheat beer described by the brewery as a hoppy tropical pale ale, a five percent alcohol by volume beer with 46 IBUs. It’s made with two kinds of hops, Citra and Amarillo, and three different kinds of wheat – Wheat Malt, Two Row and Caravienne. The look of this beer is incredibly simple, with a yellow, brown and orange theme and the company’s logo center stage. Modern Times does a good job explaining the beer on the packaging:
Fortunate Islands combines the bangin’ hop aroma of an über-tropical IPA with the crisp, deeply quenching drinkability of a killer pale ale. We achieve this magical result by starting with a mild, nutty malt backbone, then dry-hopping the bejesus out of it with Citra and Amarillo hops. Restrained bitterness and vibrant notes of mango, tangerine, and passionfruit combine to form a sessionable crusher of mind-bending proportions. It tastes like wizards.
I love that last line – “it tastes like wizards.” I certainly hoped it did as I cracked it open.
Immediately, I was hit with this pretty awesome aroma, that features a ton of citrus, tropical hops and maybe just a little bit of wheat smells. It poured a very clear, straw color with minimal head for a medium-bodied beer of this style, and had very good carbonation. Honestly, I think it tastes an awful lot like it smells – with a nice little pop of citrus flavor in the beginning and a little bit of wheat flavor on the back-end. I catch just a little bit of bitterness in there too, which compliments it all nicely. Similar wheat beers are typically a dime a dozen but this one stands out to me. I love the citrus flavor – it’s just the right amount – and I love the drinkability. On a hot summer day at the ballpark, this would be the perfect style of beer for nine innings.
Since I only bought a single can of this one, I’m not entirely sure of the price or the quantities for which Modern Times packages it. Fortunate Islands scored a 4.09 average on BeerAdvocate and I think that’s pretty spot-on, as I’ll give it an 8.0 out of 10. I was very pleasantly surprised by this beer and I think it’s a wheat beer oozing with flavor and super drinkable. I wish I had picked up a few more. Now, I need to try and find some of the other, more next-level, efforts from Modern Times.
Stay tuned for next week, because I might just try something from your favorite brewery.