I’ve been an admirer of beer for as long as I’ve been allowed to drink it. But my first trip to the US in July 2010 was what turned me into a true enthusiast, eventually pushing me into a career writing about the stuff.
I talk about this often – that first taste, that epiphany, that crystalline moment – when I tasted Odell Brewing’s eponymously named IPA at their tasting room in Fort Collins, Colorado and everything changed. And that’s because this moment continues to be important to me, as is the enthusiasm it still generates within me to this day.
The thing to remember about enthusiasm is that it’s a source of positive energy; a force for good. It sparks curiosity within ourselves and drives the intent to explore it. It balances out our anxieties as it spurs us into adventures toward the unknown with increased confidence. But the best thing of all about enthusiasm is that it’s infectious. If you embrace it, then undoubtedly someone close to you will soon feel it too. It’s thanks to enthusiasm that beer all over the world looks very different now to how it did 20, or even 10, years ago. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that enthusiasm is a bad thing. Hold on to it tightly and make it your own.
It was enthusiasm I felt when this can of Tin Sky – a DDH (double dry-hopped, a version of a recipe that contains twice the volume of hops added during or post fermentation) Double IPA from Bozeman, Montana’s Mountains Walking Brewery – arrived on my doorstep. It had been a while since I’d tried a beer from a US brewery previously unknown to me, and this is also potentially my first – as far as I can remember anyway – from the Big Sky State.
Before I’d even poured this typically hazy, yellow beer into a glass I was enamoured by the simple, concentric designs on the can. This feeling was soon reinforced by the gentle aromas of cantaloupe, watermelon and mango generated by the liberal amounts of Australian Vic Secret and North American Mosaic hops used in this beer. And on the first sip, after taking in pleasingly pillowy wave after wave of tropical fruit with just the right amount of dryness and acidity at the end, that feeling struck me again.
Beers that are this well-made excite me. Yes, most of the time I’d like to drink something local, or reliable. But to occasionally taste something this good made more than 4,000 miles away reminds me of how much great beer there is still to discover out there. Here’s to enthusiasm.
Matthew Curtis is a writer, photographer and editor of Pellicle Magazine. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @totalcurtis and @pelliclemag. Sign up to our All Killer No Filler subscription box and you'll find incredible beers like this one every month, plus more great writing from Matthew and our food writer Claire Bullen.