Once You Go by Lynnwood Brewing Concern

Everyone has an escape. For some it’s music, for some it’s movies and for many it’s beer. I often think about the way we take these experiences in. Music can speak to something deep inside you, and movies can subvert your expectations and take you on a two-hour journey. But does that mean beer is just a sip?

Once You Go by Lynnwood Brewing Concern is more like a full-length feature movie than a short film. It has main characters, a beginning, middle and end. It is both malty and hoppy. It is creamy, with a smooth body but still has texture. And like a good movie, it subverts expectations.

The beer in question is a Black India Pale Ale, and a black pale ale isn’t an oxymoron. Black IPAs play games with the senses. Eyes closed and you’ll swear it’s an IPA; peepers open, and it’s clearly a porter or stout.

Unprompted, many casual beer drinkers will say they hate IPAs. But this much-loved or completely disregarded style is the broadest. Not unlike ’90s hip-hop, there’s an East Coast and a West Coast style. There are milkshake IPAs, which share more in common with the classic stout than they do the original English IPA. There are New England-style IPAs, which are often joked as being hoppy wheat beers by brewers. I could tell you the exact style guides on Pilsners, stouts, porters, amber ales, Belgian singles though quads, but ask me what makes a beer an IPA, and I’d say that it all depends.

Once You Go is different. It’s full yet refreshing. It’s hop aromas grab you in the first act, but malts close the story in the third.

Bill Gerds is the mastermind behind Lynnwood’s fantastic brews. His career goes back to Michigan and has lasted longer than I’ve been able to drink. Is it any wonder that this Great American Beerfest Gold Medal-winning beer is a collaboration with two Michigan breweries —Redwood Brewing and 51 Brewing?

Give Once You Go a taste. I’m betting you’ll come back.

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