Cosmic Murphy was the superhero alter ego of my youth. In the 1970s he sported rainbow suspenders—for his 21st century wardrobe upgrade I asked Laura to find the midpoint between Mario and Dr. Strange. I’m sure Cosmic Murphy shops at Dan Flashes at the Creeks. His awesome superpowers have never been well-defined, but applying biotransformation in the service of a Hazy IPA must be among them.
The point of a Hazy IPA is to use hops to not to bitter the beer, but to get intense and complex fruity flavors and aromas. You do this by adding the hops to the beer later in the process and during fermentation, when the yeast can biotransform the hop compounds into more complex molecules. Hazies often use a lot of the North American “C” hops—Columbia, Citra, Chinook, Cascade—so when I tried a Hazy I wanted to combine a variety of hops that weren’t on that particular list.
When making a Hazy you also have to be particularly careful about exposure to oxygen. Just a little can let the compounds in your bottle quickly degrade, giving your beer a short shelf life and possibly turning it greyish purple (and not in a good way). I haven’t yet worked my way up to closed transfer systems, so I did the next best thing and got a gun with that attached to a SodaStream bottle so I could purge my bottles with carbon dioxide before sealing them. Janky but effective.
The first brew of Cosmic Murphy presented more as a double IPA—I believe I added too many hops too early in the brew, and as a result it was much more bitter than it should have been. I look forward to fixing this when I come back for a second brew.
If Frank Zappa is the yin of my musical taste, then Todd Rundgren is the yang. They’re not really opposites—they’re both stubborn individualists and cynical idealists—but they are complementary. Zappa is the materialist—the only metaphysics on which he hasn’t given up entirely is music: “Wisdom is not truth; truth is not beauty; beauty is not love; love is not music. Music is the best.” Rundgren still carries a torch for love, for compassion, for altruism, and for personal transcendence. These things may be rare and fleeting, but they remain worth grasping for.
Following the lysergic kaleidoscope of 1973’s A Wizard/A True Star and the bummer comedown of 1974’s Todd, 1975’s Initiation registers as Todd rallying as he searches for spiritual meaning. A lot of the lyrics would be uncomfortably orientalist and new-agey if Todd didn’t immediately undercut them himself: “Why don’t you make a living like the rest of the boys instead of filling your head with all that synthesized noise?”
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