#FlagshipFebruary: A Beer Love Story
#Flagship February: A Love Story
It’s a little-known fact that several fellow beer writers and brewers in the Los Angeles area (where I started my blog) would call me the “OG” of beer writers in Southern California. Three years ago, I marked my ten-year anniversary as “The Beer Goddess” by celebrating none other than my love for craft beer.
I collaborated with six local craft breweries in Ventura County to brew a one-of-a-kind beer, solely for the event. At first, I thought it would be great to have a bright Belgian Saison or hazy IPA. It was summertime, so I wanted to keep it on the refreshing side. Then it came to me.
We should celebrate the tried and true, immensely popular, citrus-forward beer style that can be found in nearly every bar and brewery across these great states. I decided to travel back in time to create an IPA that you may have enjoyed in 2008, using the hops and yeast strains during that era that featured an IBU (international bittering unit) that wasn’t over the top. “BGOG” (Beer Goddess Original Gangsta’) was born. And the beer was a massive hit, not just during the event, but in breweries around town.
Even after COVID-19 related closings, there’s more choice in craft beer now than there has been since 1873. Craft beer enthusiasts’ quest for fancy, novelty beers, and rare releases can also leave classic beers in the dust. Sometimes our adventurous nature gets the best of us. Just because a beer is new or unusual, doesn’t mean it will be good. This is the time to fall back in love with the traditional styles.
We’ve seen a slow demise of the flagship beer. Another beer writer, Stephen Beaumont, decided to address this admittedly first-world problem, creating the #FlagshipFebruary campaign. With beer, a Flagship is the beer that defines a brewery. According to the movement and its founders, their thinking is that flagship beers have much to teach new drinkers and remind older drinkers, and if they fall off the radar so far that they disappear completely, we will all be that much poorer for it.
There’s a reason certain craft beer styles have been around for a long time. They’re not just nostalgic, they’re necessary.
This month, reach for a clean, simple, and well-balanced beer—not just because they’re bloody delicious, but because brewers bank on their steady sales for ongoing revenue. And strong flagship sales open the door for experimentation, which most of us love and admire.
Here are some great examples from some of the pioneers in the craft beer industry:
- Sierra Nevada Pale Ale: A classic pale ale, this 41-year-old brew is loaded with Cascade hops, named after the mountain range. It’s safe to say this beer sparked the American craft beer revolution.
- Samuel Adams Boston Lager: Sam Adams has a special place in my heart. This was the very first craft beer I fell in love with after imbibing Keystone Light during my college years. Don’t laugh. We all have to start somewhere.
- Allagash White: This traditional Belgian-style witbier was a favorite among Belgian farmers centuries ago.
- Stone IPA: Having lived in San Diego in the ’90s, this was another first dive into hoppy flavor profiles, and it launched generations of hop fanatics.
- Anchor Brewing Steam: This San Francisco classic wasn’t your typical beer. They developed a technique of warm fermenting lager in an open fermenter, and gentle carbonation in the cellars through an all-natural process called kräusening.
- Bell’s Two Hearted Ale: Named after the Two Hearted River in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, this American IPA is remarkably drinkable with notes of citrus pine. Try it with BBQ, brisket, or carrot cake.
Whatever you choose, the best beer is the one you’re drinking with friends and loved ones.