10/17/18: Listermann Brewing Company's Basic

3:02 PM

It's no secret that I'm an autumn fanatic. Not only do I like the season itself (the cooling temperatures, the changing leaves, and the early evenings), I also generally like all things associated with it. Sweaters, candles, bonfires, turkey, cider, blankets, all the beer, hikes, hayrides, and pumpkin everything all fall under the wide umbrella of my autumnal fanaticism. And when I say pumpkin everything, I really do mean pumpkin everything.

Pumpkin Spice Lattes are a not-so-guilty pleasure of mine. I do tend to prefer Mickey D's' over that overpriced Seattle-based coffee place's, but I'll take what I can get when I can get it. So when Listermann (which is a great brewery here in the 513 that doubles as the place where I get my homebrewing supplies) announced a PSL milkshake IPA, I knew I had to have it. Now, a month after first learning about it, it's time to crack into my first can.

Listermann Brewing Company is located right across the street from Xavier University. Founded by Dan and Sue Listermann, it began business in 1991 under the name Listermann Mfg. Co. Inc. Its original purpose was to create products that helped homebrew aficionados around the world craft a better beer. After buying a building to house a physical store, Dan received a phone call about a 2 bbl brewing system. He bought it and secured a commercial brewing license. By mid-2008 Listermann Brewing Company had its name and started making the award winning ales for which it's now known. If you want the full story, head to the brewery's History page--it's all on there, directly from Dan himself.

Basic is Listermann's PSL milkshake IPA (milkshake IPAs are IPAs brewed with lactose for extra creaminess), and, man, have I heard it's pretty damn remarkable. While there's no official write up about on Listermann's website, I did find a picture of the brewery's current taps (as of yesterday) that has the following information: It's 6.3% ABV and brewed with two hop varieties, pumpkin, coffee, spices, and vanilla.

After cracking my can open, I'm not sure what to make of the nose. Well, okay, I know what to make of it but I'm not sure what to make of it in regards to what I'm expecting from the ale. It has big, juicy hop notes front and center with a ton of cold brew coffee lurking just under that hoppy surface. And that's all I'm getting; no pumpkin, no vanilla, no spice. It's far from bad--it's actually pretty fantastic--but it's not what I thought it would be. Henrietta, our new foster (but maybe soon to be for-life) kitten couldn't get enough of the can's bouquet. She gave it eleven whiffs! Maybe she'll be my go-to hoppy beer cat from here on out.

My first swig left me stunned. The hops from the aroma are subdued in how Basic tastes. It's primarily coffee flavor here, but there is some pumpkin gourdiness in the finish. I'm also finding the vanilla, but the spices are lost on me (which probably means that Listermann actually added the correct amount of spices--they're meant to enhance something, not overpower it!). EDIT: While reviewing this draft (and continuing to drink the beer) I'm getting the spices in the finish. They're way back.

The lactose really adds to the IPA's body and serves to bring home the whole latte of the PSL schtick. It's creamy, as if I were actually drinking a latte.

While we lived in Athens, Michelle and I would always take 33 East out of the city when we went to visit her folks or mine. In the fall, we'd always swing by the Logan Mickey D's for burgers and PSLs. As we drove down the forested, hilly highway, burgers consumed, I'd marvel at the colors of the leaves. Burnt orange, crimson red, bright yellow, with a smattering of purples and browns throughout. The sunsets (we always made this trek in the evenings) only amplified the beautiful fall colors, and the PSL warming my right hand while my left was securely on my steering wheel helped to solidify these moments in my memory. Maybe this is why Basic is making me crave a burger.

What can I say? Listermann has worked magic. They took disjointed elements (IPA and PSL? Come on!) and perfectly melded them together in a cohesive beer. Basic is nothing short of singular, completely original and wholly spectacular. It's another beer that makes me wish my rating scale when higher than 10. But, since it doesn't, I can only give the ale a 10/10. This stuff runs for $18-$20/four pack (I saw it for $18 today) and it's worth every dollar. I hope Listermann brings it back next year.

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