All You Need to Know
Quick Take: For me, Alien Church really captures the essence of Tired Hands IPAs in a simple, very drinkable form. This isn’t the best IPA they do, but it’s the perfect starting place to get a sense of what their beer is about. It’s on the upper end of sessionable, but a growler of this is sure to make any IPA drinker’s day.
Brew Facts: Earlier this year, Tired Hands brought on former Rock Bottom, Manayunk, and Saucony Creek, and Kane brewer, Mike LaRosa, to bolster their darker beers. As the man behind Kane’s Sunday Brunch, this is good news indeed. Hopefully he’ll stick around long enough to make an impact.
Appearance: The pint glass slid across the counter gives me my first gander at the Church. It’s the color of cloudy lemonade with a finger-sized plug of white fluffy batting sealing the top. Hold it up, and it looks like a murky rung of sunlight in Jacob’s Ladder. The body appears to be more wheat-based (it isn’t) than the milkshake thick oats of some the brewer’s other beers. If you’ve seen Tired Hands beer before, you know what to expect, and crystal clarity isn’t part of it.
Aroma: A smell and my mind darts off to the Northeast as I’m reminded of that distinct tropical fruit laced with cannabis hop aroma that New England brewers do so well. Alien Church doesn’t quite hit those levels of dank, but a healthy dose of pineapple, guava and peach keep things familiar (what’s a modern IPA without Citra hops!) Rounding it out is a burst of OJ that makes this a citrus smelling delight. Lingering underneath is a touch of cereal and toast. It doesn’t re-write the book on IPA aromas, but damn if it doesn’t do everything I like in my IPAs.
Taste/Mouth Feel: A sip and the weight is substantial, especially for a non-imperial. I’m not particularly surprised as this is an area in which Tired Hands excels. It slides around the mouth as a bit of a slick bubble, but it isn’t oily. The initial taste is dry, grassy, pine, and some cereal. Not as citrusy as I anticipated, but tastes of grapefruit rind, muted mango, melon and a not particularly juicy pear. Some bitter grain, toasty bread and creaminess (like a lemon meringue without the tang) rounds out the back end. The lack of the brighter citrusy flavors and sweetness makes for a highly sessionable beer, even at 6.5%. I will warn that letting it get too warm brings out a light buttery quality.
Final Thoughts: For me, Alien Church really captures the essence of Tired Hands IPAs in a simple, very drinkable form. There are plenty of bigger and bolder Hands IPAs, like Mrs. Pigman, one of the better Triple IPAs I’ve had even with the candied sugar and reliance on deep, caramel malts, but I’d forward Alien Church as the quintessential experience (or possibly Pineal). This isn’t the best IPA they do, but it’s the perfect starting place to get a sense of what their beer is about. It’s on the upper end of sessionable, but a growler of this is sure to make any IPA drinker’s day.
Recommendation: Find it, drink it, love it.