A story of failure, of success, and of community.
To get the failure out of the way: as avid readers may remember, making a purple beer is my great white whale. I’ve recently been introduced to ube, the Filipino tuber whose extract is used in pastries and ice cream to give them a sweet, nutty flavor and a rich purple color. Could this be the missing ingredient that would bring my purple beer into the world?
Reluctant to use extract in the beer, I procured three pounds of ube from a nearby Filipino market and mashed it up into my mash. Result: it’s still brown. As of this writing date, my dreams remain stymied.
As for the success: I was never totally satisfied with Cosmic Murphy, my first attempt at a Hazy IPA. My friend Jim nailed it in our Zoom tasting session a couple of years ago: it was too bitter. With a bit more experience, I can see that I mishandled the hops – too much in the early boil, none during high krauzen (when the yeast is most active and will start mauling the hop essence and turning it into something new and interesting).
Time to apply my improved technique to a new hazy! A different hop bill as well – just a smidge of Magnum at the start of the boil for clean bittering, with Citra, El Dorado, and Sabro working together in primary and secondary to lend citrusy, pineappley, and creamy notes to the aroma and flavor (pina colada came to mind as an inspiration). I also cranked the chloride in my water to accentuate a roundness to the final taste profile.
The sole bottle of this that I will be able to crack at home (for reasons detailed below) demonstrated that I’ve learned something in the past three years—it’s delightful and juicy, just a hint of bitterness behind a lot of smooth citrus. Yum—wish I could drink more of it.
ISCLA’s primary programmatic activity is presenting free Shakespeare in Griffith Park each summer, but this is really an expression of a more expansive mission:
- To bring Los Angeles together through exuberant, surprising productions of classical plays as well as new works
- To address the inequity of access to the performing arts through free and low-cost programming
- To create theater that is dynamic, inclusive and accessible; enriching our community and reaching new theater audiences
ISC and its principals, Melissa Chalsma and David Melville, are deeply committed to making Shakespeare relevant to us in the 21st century, including ensuring the faces on its stage reflect the great diversity of Los Angeles and making connections between the way human nature manifests itself today and the way Shakespeare described and diagnosed it 500 years ago. There’s a vital, beating heart to everything they do and I love them.
The 2023 ISCLA gala is called “A Midsummer Saturday Night’s Fever Dream“, referring to one of this summer’s productions, mashing it up with a little disco. This beer has been brewed expressly for the gala, and will be either sold at the gala or auctioned off to raise funds.
As such, the programmatic conceit flows through out this entire project: of course, the name; the label image of Titania and Bottom getting their groove thing on; and the marketing copy, which more or less translates a disco classic into Shakespearean sonnet form. Can you identify which one?
Beat Happening was busy happening just up the road from me (Olympia, Washington) when I was a high schooler in Eugene, but I was too progged-out to notice or care. I looped back around to them as an adult, after sinking deep into Pitchfork and getting introduced to the Microphones and K Records more broadly.
Their story is kind of incredible—three friends from Evergreen College who had almost no musical experience but decided they would be a band and start by touring Japan. The music reflects this: utterly naive but essential. One of those cases where the art preexisted—pressing up against the other side of reality—searching for any vessel that would serve the purpose of forcing itself into this world. And by doing so it arguably birthed the whole indie rock scene of the 90s.
Calvin Johnson has a baritone as deep as the Marianas trench, and somehow delivers raw horniness without making it creepy. At least, too creepy.