Carpe Diem

I was sitting on the couch tonight, enjoying some stir fry vegetables and brown rice after a hearty workout, and needed a tasty libation to go with my veggie feast. I chose one of the six Bell’s Hopslams I had in the fridge. As you know, IPAs can age, but they lose a lot of their hoppy flavors they are known for after a short period. So it’s best to enjoy immediately, even when you are talking about a $20 six-pack. I love to age beers and enjoy them on a momentous day as much as the next guy. But sometimes you just have to take the advice from Virginia Madsen’s character, Maya, in Sideways in response to Miles stating that there had to be a special occasion to open his rare ’61 Cheval Blanc: “Just opening a ’61 Cheval Blanc is a special occasion.” So, in keeping with the preservation of hoppy flavors and making it a special night, I cracked open the bottle of Hopslam and enjoyed to my ever-loving heart’s content. It was then that I noticed the importance of that quote.

We have such a large quantity of choices when it comes to our beer selection. We not only have hundreds of brewers at our liquor stores and specialty shops. We also have dozens and dozens of styles. Many of the big beers, like imperial stouts and barley wines, can be aged for years. And they taste delicious after doing so. But the IPAs for some reason, will lose their strength in their original character. They exchange their citrus or piney notes for maltier, sweeter flavors. They are a beer, as many have read on the side of a Pliny the Elder bottle, that must be enjoyed now and in the moment. I love the concept! It’s the love of your life across the bar. It’s the job opportunity you never knew was there. It’s the fresh harvest that is only available for this season. If you don’t take advantage now, you’ll lose your chance at something really special. This is your chance to take advantage and fulfill your destiny.

We spend our days working hard and waiting for our paycheck. We put money away for savings in hopes that it will carry us during our retirement. We put our beers away to age in hopes of enjoying that preverbal ’61 Cheval Blanc to celebrate our big promotion or the birth of our first child. We live in constant agony with childlike patience for delayed gratification. And as good as that beer may be five years from now, I can wait no more. We are lucky to have the IPA, the Imperial IPA, and every other rendition of it. These are beers to be enjoyed today, for instant gratification. We celebrate today. We bask in it. We raise our glass and are thankful for today and all it’s treasures. Some things are too good to wait for, and just opening a bottle of Hopslam is a special occasion. Seize the day? I say seize the IPA, and keep “Living the Craft Beer Lifestyle”.


Miguel Torres: I'm a craft beer fanatic, a homebrewer and President of California Castaway. I love the relaxed, fun-loving craft beer lifestyle and will rave about it to anyone who's willing to listen.

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