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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.

 

About three weeks ago, I took a trip to one of my favorite spots, Tired Hands Brewing Company, for libations with friends and, of course, I had to bring something home.  Best known for their hoppy concoctions, I decided to grab Alien Church, one of the brewery’s staples since, well, as long as I have been going there.  It comes in a four-pack of pounders and, although I had it before, I was excited to sip the New England style IPA.

Located about a half hour outside of Philadelphia, Tired Hands has become an authority on beer experimentation, creating smaller batches focused on the latest trends, while remaining hyper-local with a core of like three seemingly year-round efforts.  And while it might not be a well known brewery across the country from a drinker’s standpoint, you can bet that brewers are familiar with Tired Hands and the kind of beer it’s pumping out.  Almost every week there’s some new effort on tap, whether it’s a vanilla milkshake IPA or a beer that tastes like Hi-C Ecto Cooler – I’m still trying to get my hands on that one.

Founded in 2011 by Jean Broilet IV, Tired Hands started in the garage of his parents’ house and has grown to several locations, each producing between 1,000 and 10,000 barrels per year.  Brewing was a passion Broilet had been turning into a career, working locally at Iron Hill Brewery and Weyerbacher Brewing Company.  He fell in love with those brewpubs and thus Tired Hands was born and it’s gone on to win a bunch of awards, including Best of Philly’s Brewpub of the Year and RateBeer’s Top Brewer in Pennsylvania.

The brewery tends to play on this trippy, otherworldly, theme, with some very strange beer names and Alien Church fits right into that.  Listed as a “hyper-speed Reptoid Alien with photosynthesizing tongue oat IPA,” this 7% ABV IPA is brewed with pillowy malted oats and is “intensely extraterrestrially hopped and dry hopped” with some pretty juicy, dank American varietals.  But the flavor is even more complex than that, as the brewer lists noted of blueberries, fresh orange slices, dank pine and honeydew melons.

Now, I will warn you that some of the company’s beers can be a little on the expensive side, as I paid $18 for a four-pack of these pounders and that’s not far off of typical Tired Hands beer, especially since they often only brew between 350 and 500 cases worth – plus, I had drank this one before and knew exactly what I was getting into beforehand.  Just know that no matter what the beer, Tired Hands never lacks in the quality of its stuff.

When I cracked Alien Church open, I was once again delighted by the smell immediately.  It’s everything you want an IPA to smell like, with a lot of floral notes as well as some sort of fruit, maybe pear, perhaps?  Either way, it let’s you know you’re about to sip on a juicy and dank beer.  The pour of this medium-bodied beer gives away the fact that Alien Church is very well carbonated, while the vibrant yellow color and slightly off-white head let you see it’s different from its counterparts.  And the taste really kind of works off of the smell, with a very floral flavor, one where the Citra hops stand out.  It creates a very bold taste, with a little citrus in the beginning and a deliciously piney bitter at the tail end.

For an IPA, Alien Church’s complexity only adds to the enticement and undefinable ability, especially to the average beer drinker who might not know exactly how to explain it.

I love this beer – it’s one of my favorites.  I could easily drink all four in one sitting, though I would be feeling it the next day.  As per usual, BeerAdvocate is almost spot-on with their five-point scoring of this beer, as it averages 4.23 and I think I would have to give it a 9.1, because it’s basically everything I want in an IPA.  It might not be easy to find, but if you can get your hands on this beer, do it.  And see if you feel the same way!

Stay tuned for next week, because I might just try something from your favorite brewery.