Ales For ALS – Faction Brewing

I like to think I enjoy the finer things in life;

beer, craft breweries, good people and any reason to drink for a good cause! What better way than the Ales for ALS event at Faction Brewing in Alameda?

The 5th Annual Ales For ALS takes place the 21st of July from 1pm to 5pm at their
brewery down in Alameda! And if you haven’t been to this brewery, the view alone
is the perfect excuse to get your booty down there. Seriously, we’re talking about a
view of the San Francisco skyline, all the sunshine you could soak up and even better
beer!

There are over 30 breweries participating and each one has to brew a beer with a
hop blend featuring Ekuanot, Simcoe, Loral, HBC 344, 520 & 630 from Loftus
Ranches, which just so happens to be one of the oldest hop farms in Yakima Valley,
WA (shout out to my old stomping grounds!). Even more fun? The hop blend changes every single year! So not only do you get to try crazy different beers, every year the breweries are surprised with a different blend of hop goodness.

Ales for ALS has been going strong since 2013 and has raised over $1.7 million
dollars for ALS! Breweries around the world participate in this amazing cause. Not
only are amazing events like this held, $1 from every pint sold (from participating
breweries) is donated to the foundation as well! So, drink up guys!!

Claudia and Rodger, Faction’s very own beer-lovin’ leaders, started hosting their
own Ales For ALS (same foundation, just a party here in The Bay!) five years ago by
donating their space, temporarily sacrificing their own liquor license and inviting
some of the best breweries around to donate 100% of the profits to ALS-Therapy
Development Institute. In fact, their first beer they ever brewed was the Ales For
ALS! So you could say they’re pretty pumped on this event!

Not only are you getting to try uniquely brewed beers, but each ticket sale goes
directly to helping find a cure and treatment for ALS, which is a neurodegenerative
disease that effects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord (curious about ALS? Read
more here).

There will also be an amazing auction where you can get some pretty epic prizes
and things, and all proceeds ALSO go to Ales For ALS. And don’t you even get me
started on the food trucks attending. Every time I visit Faction I find a new food
truck I get obsessed with so you’re not only going to drink well, your tummy will be
even more excited!

I recently got to sit down with Claudia and pick her brain about Ales For ALS and, I have to be honest, you can hear the passion in her voice and it’s nearly impossible to not mirror her excitement for this cause. Both Rodger and Claudia have had a connection to ALS, whether it’s a family friend, a brewery regular or through this event; their commitment to spread awareness, donate everything they can and help to find treatment is completely inspiring.

So what are you waiting for? Snag a ticket here! General admission is $45 and the Do-Gooder ticket, which gets you to the front of the line, is only $60. And remember, these tickets are 100% going straight to ALS-TDI!

7 Still Brewery & Distillery Take Over Nob Hill

Moving to California has been absolutely life changing; I mean, I uprooted my whole life, packed up my little nugget of a car, crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. While I landed the perfect job with a company I’m far too obsessed with… things are still working themselves out.

And hey, maybe I’m still drinking about it too.

Loss is something I’m never going to be good at. I’d rather just shove my feelings down and ignore whatever voice inside my head that’s trying to tear me down. I moved to California for some really great reasons… but also for something that ended far too quickly. Moving here meant I lost a lot of friends back home; a lot of relationships that faded away and were left forgotten- but I also lost something incredible that was right here within reach.

So here we are. Seven months in to a big move and feeling like you got kicked back a few steps. As much of an introvert as I am, I still love having my people around. But it’s hard to surround yourself with people, especially in a time where my emotions are all over the place (oh- it’s fine, just random emotional breakdowns I’m fine IT’S FINE).

When I found out 7 Stills Brewery & Distillery was throwing a grand opening party for their new spot in San Francisco, I knew I needed to get there.

I mean… good beer and even better beer folks? SIGN. ME. UP.

I’m lucky enough to find some rad beer people in the area; and when I found out that my gal Milan (Fuhmonday) was also heading to the event solo, we decided to hit it up together!

7 Stills just opened a bar inside the amazing Stanford Court Hotel and they’re bringing all things brewed & distilled to the good people of Nob Hill. We weren’t exactly sure what to expect other than a space for beer and spirits to be intertwined. This hotel bar is chic, classy and everything you could ask for! With ample seating (a little hard for a grand-opening, we’ll be back once the hype simmers down a bit), a full cocktail list AND all their beers, you’re probably going to fall in love with the place. Hell, I know we did!

Aside from great cocktails, beer and whiskey, they will also be offering food and snacks to munch on! We weren’t able to get to the VIP food and drink pre-event event, but the menu will include options like steak, burgers, upscale bar food and I’m sure an ever evolving menu!

So, what are you waiting for?

Get yourself to Nob Hill, catch a ride on the cable car or trek up the hills because this spot is worth it!

 

Cheers Xx

So Is This What Hipsterish Tastes Like??

I’ve made it 6 frickin’ months in California with only a few mental breakdowns, questioning my move over 1,000 times, a handful of awesome new friends, three house changes- and, I can officially say that this is the happiest I’ve been in a really long time.

And this isn’t just momentary happiness- or even the kind of happiness that feels like an incredible high (because I’m good at that high/low stuff). No, no, no. I still have my moments of WHAT THE F*CK AM I DOING and feeling a bit (erm- very) hopeless; but overall I feel like I’m actually on to something here.

So what would a move-aversary be without a little beer?

 

There’s no doubt that when you hear Monkish Brewing, your little ears are probably going to perk up. I mean… hello, HYPE BEERS.

Okay… I’m 78% kidding.

This beer was sent to me from a fellow beer lover down in LA and… damn, is it good. What Do We Call It? Hipsterish, Or Is That Too Obvious? is a collaboration between Monkish Brewing and Evil Twin Brewing. Both these breweries are known for their hazy goodness, and this is NO exception.

This double dry hopped pale ale is packed full of Nugget, Galaxy, Citra and Cascade Hops and a healthy splash of oats to keep those flavors soft and well rounded. Hipsterish is a legit canned tropical fruit party with a heavy dose of orange, pineapple and mango flavors ending with a nice little bitter note from the Nugget hops.

I find a lot of hazy IPAs to be  too sweet, like you’re sipping on the juice from one of those Dole Fruit Cocktail Cups packed full of sweetener, or lacking a bitter backbone to balance it out; but this was exactly what I needed to celebrate my sanity here in California! Seriously, I met a hazy pale didn’t get too insane with the sugary sweetness and the soft lingering bitterness helped, and really held the hand, of the sweetness.

I’m still struggling to find my balance with beer and fitness; I find it hard to finish a whole beer without beating myself up or guilt tripping myself the next day. But when I do drink a whole beer (like this delicious little devil) I realize that all my progress doesn’t immediately dissipate. And I’m not instantly a fluff again.

While I’m trying to be better at giving myself a break, I also want to remember that this move probably wouldn’t have gone so smooth if I was drinking as much as I did before I moved here. That little drunk voice in my head can be a real @ss hole sometimes and noooobody has time for that!

So here’s to a ton more beerventures!

 

Cheers Xx

Balancing Beer

 

I’m guilty of having a one-track mind. When I have my highs, you better believe I can’t contain my excitement; but with that comes some serious lows that seem to take all my energy and might to get them to go away.

I want to talk about balance. And how you can love beer without making it your whole life AND you can have other hobbies that balance out all those beer calories.

I mean… a moment on the lips forever on the hips amiright?! I hate that saying, but hey… it has some truth behind it!

Before my love of beer really took off, I had a serious passion for fitness. Aside from wanting to be in shape and look good on the outside, it has always been something that kept my head on straight and (most of) my anxiety at bay but also allowed me to push my self physically. Plus growing up playing sports taught me two things: I’m not always a team player (why I like crossfit & weights- me vs. me!) & my body craves movement. With my one-track mind, I tend to get obsessed with one hobby and go full force, pedal to the metal crazy over it.

And that’s what happened with beer.

Do you know how easy it is to lose yourself in a passion? I’m sure at one point in your life you realized that maybe your energy was going towards one thing, or that you were ignoring other necessities in your life,  when it really should be balanced out.

That was me.

If you’ve read my last few articles, you’ll see that I’ve begun to go down the road of self-discovery- and, well, that means taking a step back from beer and really focusing on all areas that make me happy.

So beer & barbells… can that even be a thing?! You see, I need exercise to keep my mood up, my mind focused and my bouts of depression/anxiety to simmer the F out. I would hit the high of working out, eating healthy and seeing results and that get’s me frickin’ PUMPED for everything that’s coming my way… but then, almost instantly, I fall of that high horse and start to indulge in a few more beers, eat that pizza and cake I’ve been craving and then immediately start to beat myself up over it. And that toxic thinking is what has landed me here.

Reevaluating my priorities, figuring out how to balance my interests and keep up with this healthy mindset I’m so committed to may get me to where I want to be… or maybe it’s just another kick (let’s hope not).

I’ve been lucky enough to find some California friends (and still looking… wink wink) that get the balance aspect. Because honestly nothing is more annoying than someone ragging on your diet or poking at you to drink more beer with them (and never, ever drop it). BUT we’re also capable of choosing who we surround ourselves it. I’m not saying that those beer friends I’ve made back in Seattle and around are in any way shape or form bad, I’m just saying that we can choose to surround ourselves with people who support us and our interests or… we can be talked in to that second or fifth beer even if it’s not exactly what we wanted; I’m only saying that because peer pressure and I do NOT get along and my arm can be easily twisted. 

You can love beer and you can decide that it won’t consume your life. Does that mean I’m losing my tastebuds for beer? Hell no. Does that mean I might not be as much fun? Uhm, I don’t know. Maybe? Just because I’m making a conscious decision to not make beer 100% of my life doesn’t mean this beer chick is going anywhere!!

Just balance. Find your balance.

 

Cheers Xx

Moving To a New City Alone & Why It’s Okay To Not Miss Home

 

Moving to a new city basically alone has been nothing that I expected. I’m not sure what I thought it would be… but I tend to romanticize everything. So obviously I was going to move and find the perfect job that gave me boat loads of cash, an immaculate apartment and make ALL the new friends… I nailed the job situation, working on making all the friends and am basically homeless (jk- my amazing friend Nicole is letting me stay in her spare room that frickin’ angel).

Recently I spent six days back in Seattle with my family after moving away just five months ago. And. I’m going to be honest…

I don’t miss Seattle one bit. There. I said it!

Talking to people around California, most shake their head at me when they hear I moved from Seattle to Northern California. Usually a “What?! I love Seattle it’s so beautiful!!” followed by a personal story about the city, comparisons about Seattle and where I live now and blah blah blah. Sure- Seattle is a pretty beautiful place. But I also lived there (and around the city) for almost 27 years. Cities lose their charm after time. Or maybe Amazon strangling the life out of the city and raising the rent is where you draw the line (pls don’t be mad Amazon, I love 2-day shipping don’t ban me).

I absolutely love my family, and I miss them like no other. My brother is one of my best friends, and getting to spend a few days with him was exactly what I needed. But I wouldn’t go back.

Okay, of course I’ll go visit. But Seattle doesn’t appeal to me anymore. I have so many memories, both good and bad, that I’m perfectly fine leaving behind. Something happened when I moved to California and it stirred something up inside of me that was in a deep hibernation. And the guilt of that is why I’m writing this.

I feel so guilty for leaving behind my family and friends.

I feel guilty that I ‘ran’ away and started my new adventure.

And I’m pretty damn sick of feeling that way!

Don’t feel guilty for putting yourself first. For so long I was just getting by, working jobs to make ends meet and making sure I balanced enough social time between friends and family WHILE pushing my anxiety and depression deep, deep down. I think that if I didn’t move I would have exploded. And instead of a mental breakdown I’m having a mental breakthrough.

I’ve talked about people calling me brave before- psst, the secrets out. I’m just as scared and afraid as I was by the idea of moving months before I packed everything up as I am right now. Sitting here in my friends apartment, because I moved with little to no plan, and knowing that I have almost no one here and just a handful of those back home… let’s just chalk it up to me being terrified.

But it’s okay to not miss home and it’s also okay to be scared (and cry a little too often) for what’s to come. But no matter how many ups and downs I go through, that regret of leaving everything behind hasn’t hit me. And I honestly don’t think it will.

Everything is temporary, and whether we choose to pursue what’s happening or change it completely just remember that this is your life and you can live it however you want. Take them reigns because you can go anywhere! Literally.

If I’ve learned anything these past few month it’s that being confident and happy in my own skin is what’s most important. I struggle almost daily with self-doubt and letting that little voice in my head take over moments of confidence. But I persist. I can do anything I set my mind to, and working towards finding my new fit is worth the fight.

Have you moved to a new city? What’re your survival tips?

 

Cheers Xx

 

 

Finding Your Path

 

One of my favorite things about beer, other than the social aspect, is being able to photograph it. I love coming up with an idea, hunting out an awesome location and snapping way too many photos.

Before I graduated high school I was completely convinced that I would be a photographer. I saved up a whole bunch of lunch money, scrapped together change and worked my first job to get my very own camera: a Nikon D50. That thing was my child and I thought I was the best damn photographer out there. I mean… for a 17 yr-old.

While my college years were full of ups and downs, 65 changes to what I wanted to major in and, ultimately, earning that expensive piece of paper, my interest in photography was always there. Sure, take a look at my instagram photos from when I first started my beer blog and you’ll probably laugh. It’s amazing to see where things have gone these past two years!

Beer brought me back to that passion. It gave me a why into what I was doing and focusing on. And what it has come down to now is being (mostly) more excited to think about a picture idea than it is to drink the beer.


California has inspired me to do so many things I lost sight of like getting out there, exploring, finding new passions and ultimately pushing myself outside of that pesky comfort zone.
I had amazing ideas for this Faith No S’mores stout from Alvarado Street Brewing. I was pumped to grab all the fixings for s’mores and seriously stuff my face (an excuse to eat everything?? SIGN. ME. UP)! NorCal had a different plan for us… Dustin and I decided to get out there and take some pictures the other day and this was one of the last beers I had in my fridge- definitely not s’mores weather… apparently California in February is 70 degrees?

Stumbling on this field of flowers was something neither of us expected, but that’s what I love about getting out there with a camera and why it’s so cool to have someone to adventure with. My goal after moving down here was getting back in to photography and pushing myself to do things I would usually be uncomfortable with. Like jumping in to the middle of a field… I’m the girl that HATES getting dirty can’t stand bugs and I don’t trust anything I can’t see.

So here I was sitting there thinking some alien monster was going to abduct me and that would be where my story ended.

If you haven’t figured it out, I’m trying to find my passion and really chase it. I’m coming to a realization that the career path I’ve built my life around the last three years might not be filling me up. Remembering what I used to love and coming back to that (i.e. photography) is making it easier for me to figure out where my roots should go. I’m not saying I’m going to go be a photographer… it’s really just clearing my mind and expanding my thoughts.

We get stuck with the mentality that you go to college, you pick something you want to major in and then you get that job. Your whole life will revolve around that one decision you made when you were in your early 20’s. But that’s not what life is about and we don’t have to stick to one path forever. I’m realizing that what I thought was going to make me happy really isn’t all that I dreamt it was going to be. It’s okay to chase a dream, even if people don’t understand exactly what or why you’re doing it. This California adventure I got myself into is showing me a heck of a lot about finding those things that put a smile on your face or doing the things that might give your stomach those little butterflies.

So maybe just go find a field of flowers and plop yourself down.

Get to know yourself. Find what makes you nervous and fills you with excitement. And just. Breathe.

 

Cheers Xx

Jumping That Ship

If I had one super power it would be getting way too excited, in the moment, and immediately wanting to take action. That sounds pretty cool, right? Well. I have a way with getting these moments of… clarity, then wanting to go from 0-100 in four seconds and change EVERYTHING that I’ve been doing.

These past few months in California have been full of focusing on how to harness that energy, talk myself (and talk everyone else’s ear off) through my ideas, sorting through what that idea actually means and setting smaller goals.

If you’ve ever listened to Simon Sinek, you’ll totally understand what I mean when I say I have (or am TERRIFIED that I have) symptoms of being a millennial. He talks about our generation that constantly wants to make an impact, but won’t sit around and wait for it. Or, better yet, simply won’t put in the time to get to where they want to be. Instant gratification. Always. Thanks a lot, Amazon Prime.

While that’s something I know is true for some people, I think it’s really important to understand exactly what that means and what finding your passion looks like. Skipping around from job to job trying to find what fits for YOU is not bad; you shouldn’t be in a job that you hate- but also don’t just go and quit! Because we all know someone needs to buy you those expensive avocados.

I’m in the middle (or basically at the very beginning) of finding my why.

Why do I want to write?

Why are my feelings pulling me in another direction?

Why would anyone, including myself, care?

I’m not here to give anyone advice, but I do think that finding a why and finding that passion is something that I was missing and something I’ve been trying focusing on.

(The only advice I WILL give you directly is to eat the ice cream. All of it.)

It took me finding someone that was willing to ask me those hard questions and make me push myself to realize I don’t have to settle and that I can literally be anything I want to be, as long as I apply myself.

It’s okay to be sitting here, at 27 years old, and not have a clue what to do. It’s okay to not have everything figured out (she repeats over and over to herself). Maybe we all just need a little reminder that anything is attainable?

I jumped ship from Seattle for a reason. Being stuck working multiple jobs that were leading me nowhere wasn’t my jam. I didn’t feel the need to struggle and find my self. I didn’t feel the drive to better my habits or me. I mean, self-loathing and bad habits aren’t that cool. Or helpful for growth.

Figure out your ship that’s anchored down and find a way to jump from it. What are you scared of? And how are you going to go after that fear?

It’ll be scary and 113% worth it.

 

Cheers Xx

It’s FINE I’m FINE

I wouldn’t describe myself as a tech-savvy type of girl; I mean, if I ever have any issues with my laptop I basically stress text my brother until he gets back to me! Between my lack of patience, my refusal to read through directions/instructions and my short attention span it’s literally not going to happen.

So a big shout out to my friend Dustin for helping me switch over from a WordPress.com to a .org site! And when I say help I mean doing everything, figuring out a ridiculous way to switch it over and keep me from losing my shit.

I always thought of beer as a social things- or at least that’s how I justified it? Whether it was Wednesday night pizza night or dinner out with friends it always seemed to revolve around beer for me. Somewhere along the way I started using beer as a coping mechanism… and I know I’m not the only one guilty of that!

It started to be something I would crave at the end of a crazy day, something I needed when I was in a bad mood or even a great mood. It went from exploring new brews to maybe drinking a little bit too much here, there and everywhere.

Before moving to California I really was just struggling through Seattle and telling myself, and everyone around me, that I’m FINE. Everything is FINE (also isn’t that word f*ckin’ terrible?!). It wasn’t until meeting someone (Dustin) who showed me how to change my perspective; how I could look at my life and actually be in charge of it, make my own rules, forge my own path and how to ultimately start loving myself (ehh still working on that situation). I mean, I’m not one to have a million friends OR take advice… so can I get a pat on the back for this one?

Picking up my entire life and moving to California is probably the ballsy-est, most brave and stupid thing I have ever done with my life. And it’s beautiful and exciting and, well, pretty damn scary. If you know me, you probably wouldn’t say I’m too much of an introvert, but social situations are stressful AF to me; the idea that I was moving to a new state only knowing a handful (two people… so like a tiny little hand) of people really didn’t make that feeling any better.

And not having beer by my side?! Woof.

 

Okay… I’ll be honest. I’ve turned to beer a little bit but I’m also learning that working through my own insecurities, doubts and feelings is a whole lot easier (AND AFFECTIVE) without it! Plus beer seems to give me this terrible ego where I think I’m holier than thou. Just being honest….

I’m getting to the point where I’m actually starting to figure things out. I’m understanding what I want and what I absolutely don’t have time for. The beer world has been so amazing and fun these past few years, but is that all I’m going to be good at?! Hell no.

This is my California Adventure and I’m just getting started.

 

Cheers Xx

Evan’s Brewing Co.

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This year was supposed to be it.

You know, with the whole New Year’s Resolutions and things… As I said before, I’m not really one for resolutions but I told myself that I was going to write more. Hell, I was going to write up a S T O R M. And here we are on the 19th day of the year and I’m struggling to even throw some words down on this Mac.

What’s my excuse? Well, chances are I’m too busy scrollin’. You ever get stuck in a never-ending Insta scroll that feels like you were sucked in to a black hole? No? Oh- yeah, me neither…

While Dry January will NEVER be my thing, this year definitely has started out with a little less beer, a little more salad and a lot more weight lifting.

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But all things aside, you better believe I’m always down to try new brews like Evan’s Brewing Co.! Okay, they aren’t exactly new. Evan’s Brewing is Orange County’s oldest craft brewery and all started in 1994. With nine staple beers and some special releases, I was able to snag three of their core beers: The Approachable Bastard Session IPA, The Pollen Nation Honey Blonde and The KrHOPen IPA.

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The Approachable Bastard Session was packed full of hops, citrus and bitterness. Honestly? A little too bitter for me, but my little taste buds aren’t used to that aggressive bite as it used to be! This beer is great at bringing a bunch of flavor without giving you a high ABV like most IPAs today; at 4.8% you’re going to taste those tropical fruits up front that hop (see what I did there??) into pine and a bitter bite at the end. While it was a bit too much for me, something kept making me go back for me!

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Up next was the Pollen Nation Honey Blonde; this one was probably my favorite of the three… and it’s also the one I basically threw down the side of the mountain and ALL over myself. Giving me just a few sips and the rest to the moss and my yoga pants. Seriously. OF COURSE I would do that… this is why I can’t have nice things! For a medium to higher carbonation there was no head retention and it could have packed a bit more honey/pollen flavor, but still pretty good! If you’re looking for an easy drinking ale with a hint of sweet this beer is going to be the one for you!

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The krHOPen IPA is a typical west-coast style IPA with big malt character, citrus and a bitter finish. Apart from the malt and bitterness, you still get quite a bit of tropical fruits with a dash of pine and at 6% ABV there’s still a TON of flavor happening. There’s a lot of hop forward flavor that you don’t get it a lot of newer IPAs around town, but it’s probably because these guys are pros when it comes to beers in the OC. The mouthfeel was medium with a good level of carbonation, white fluffy head and some pretty great lacing on the glass!

If you’re looking for some oldschool ales I would definitely check out Evan’s beers! Approachable IPA that are packed full of bittersweet fruit and ales that are easy sippin’!

 

Also, if you want to invite me on a hike just know that I will probably fall all over the place and drop beers in the middle of the woods… so just a heads up there!

I’m really fun though… I promise…

 

Cheers Xx

New Year New… IPA?

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Another year is coming to a close and I don’t feel like I’m any closer to ever actually sticking to, or figuring out, a New Years Resolution. Okay-I really don’t believe in resolutions, because they’re basically there for the health food brands to make all the money, gyms to spike their sales in memberships and for the saying “New Year New Me!” to exist.

Let’s be real. I kept myself alive for an entire year with minimal accidents (but many bruises- I’m a peach), drank a ton of good beers AND moved 1,000 miles away from home. We can chalk it up to a little bit of a win, right?

So what’s on my 2018 docket? You better believe I’ll be sucking down even more delicious beers, drinking a bit more h2o and treating myself a whole lot better. But mostly beercations. Because priorities.

With all this reflecting and, might I add, figuring sh*t out all on my lonesome, I couldn’t help but feel like Evil Twin Brewing just gets me. I Always Felt Closer To IPAs Than I Did To People not only has a rad name, but the flavors in this bad boy just remind me why I love IPAs… more than people.

Alright… I’m 76% joking. Will Google judge me if I ask ‘how to make friends in a state you know no one’?? Asking… for a friend? DON’T JUDGE ME!

DSC08686This double dry hopped IPA from Evil Twin is packed full of Citra, Amarillo, Galaxy and Simcoe hops giving your mouth all the tropical feels it didn’t even know it needed. With these flavors you would have NO idea this beer is 9%; the lack of booziness is a trap. Drink two of them and you’ll see why.

If the name isn’t drawing you in, just take a look at this beautiful color! The deep golden haze is there to excite you about those floral and tropical flavors; and let me tell you, it’s not going to disappoint! Seriously, how did they fit so much fruit goodness in to one can? Magic. That’s the only way I know how to explain it.

This beer is simply a winner. With it’s medium body, balanced level of carbonation and refreshing hop flavors assaulting your taste buds you really have no excuse to not try this beer. It’s not every day you meet a double IPA so smooth and heavenly. You’ll thank me later.

 

Cheers Xx