07 Jul Thirsty Thursday – 2 Flocc: Nug Life
Everyone likes a good team-up. Whether that’s Captain Kirk and Captain Picard crossing paths, The Flintstones meeting The Jetsons, or two breweries getting together to make a beer.
The focus of this week’s Thirsty Thursday is 2 Flocc: Nug Life, a collaboration between Valparaiso’s Four Fathers Brewing and Michigan City’s Burn ‘Em Brewing. It’s a Black IPA brewed with lactose and coffee.
When I go to liquor stores I base my purchases on a few factors: novelty, can design, and name. When it comes to novelty I’m looking for a beer I haven’t had before or a brewery I’m unfamiliar with. It’s mostly a matter of adding notches to a digital bedpost: my Untappd account. Unsavory euphemism aside, I love trying new brews. New doesn’t always mean better, but sometimes it’s fun to to take stock of a hyped beer or brewery and see if what you’ve heard matches up. Another factor in novelty is style, is it one I’ve had endless variations of such as IPA? I’m more apt to snag something that’s not common to my area such as a Sahti, a traditional Finnish style of beer or some similarly esoteric style.
Can design is crucial, it can make-or-break my interest in a beer. One brewery that I really enjoy, Lost Coast, has some very dated graphics, but their beer is excellent. It’s why many established craft breweries such as Upland or Abita have redesigned labels and packaging in recent years in order to keep up with modern sensibilities. An appealing packaging leaves me more apt to offer a favorable review of a product and if it tickles my sensibilities enough, I might inflate my score a bit.
Names are arguably the most fun part about craft beer. When I was a beer purchaser, there were times I ordered beer purely because the name and the description amused me. Often times they were knowing winks to marijuana or music references. I have a weakness for sophomoric humor when properly deployed.
Which brings us to the brew in question: I snagged it at the Parti-Pak on 96th Street for those three reasons. I’ve not had that many beers from Four Fathers so I was keen to give it a shot. I love collaboration beers because it’s a chance to see which characteristics of the collaborating breweries make it into the final product. The packaging is pleasing to the eye, not the colorful and grotesque artwork we know and love from Burn ‘Em. It’s more in line with the sensibilities of Four Fathers Brewing.
The beer’s name is a good one, a blend of brewing terminology and a solid hip-hop pun. 2 Flocc: Nug Life refers to flocculation, the clumping together of yeast after it’s used up the fermentable sugars in the wort. Nug has a double meaning, referencing the Nugget variety of hop as well as the similarities in appearance of humulus lupulus and cannabis sativa. And of course, the whole thing is a pun on 2Pac and the phrase thug life. Enough with me explaining obvious references and sucking the fun out of everything: on to the beer!
Black IPAs are a fun style, you get the hop bitterness one expects with a typical IPA and the malty, roastiness that one loves and adores in porters and stouts. Not every Black IPA is the same, sometimes the hop bitterness is more pronounced or the maltiness is more at the forefront. Black IPAs also tend to be higher octane in terms of ABV and IBU. I tried to research the ABV and IBU for 2 Flocc: Nug Life but none was available on Untappd.
What makes this Black IPA special is the presence of lactose and coffee. The lactose, along with the robust malt bill, makes this a surprisingly approachable beer. It’s well-balanced and you get both sides of the Black IPA experience: the roast of the malt and a slight bitterness on the finish. The coffee complements the hop bitterness nicely, the finish is reminiscent of eating chocolate covered espresso beans. This beer has a lovely mouth-feel and is easy drinking. It doesn’t sit heavy and doesn’t feel like a meal in a glass as sometimes the case can be with darker brews. The lacing on the glass is reminiscent of what one would expect with a milk stout in terms of color, shape, and size.
Four Fathers and Burn ‘Em put together an excellent collaboration brew, one tasty and memorable enough that I would gladly reach for another can should some cross my path. I’d love to try it from the draft to see how the experience measures up.
If you’re looking for a great collab beer by two up and coming Indiana breweries, 2 Flocc: Nug Life is a fine choice.