4/13/19: Rhinegeist's Slow Jam (Record Store Day 2019)

1:32 PM

I've been collecting records since high school, but I only bought my first turntable this year. Sure, I've had a turntable in the past: I inherited a suitcase style table from my late great-grandfather with an old, rusty stylus (along with all his records, which include some amazing original Johnny Cash releases). But, until February, I've never been able to play my vinyl without fear of ruining them.

Since this is my first Record Store Day with a usable turntable, I awoke with excitement this morning. I drove to the record store in my old Cincinnati neighborhood to pick up the RSD release of The Best of Townes Van Zandt (on tiger-eye vinyl). While I was there I also nabbed an Italian bootleg Nirvana record entitled Damage, Mon Amour. On my way home I hit up a grocery store in search of a record-related beer. I was not disappointed. So, today I present to you (as I listen to that Best of Townes Van Zandt album) Rhinegeist's Slow Jam.

Rhinegeist, as you may know, opened in 2013, laying claim to the old Christian Moerlein packing facility in Cincinnati's Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. This was the culmination of a dream that Bob Bonder and Bryant Goulding had held for nearly a decade: To open a brewery that would harken back to Cincinnati's roots as a brewing hub, built upon the aspirations of, largely, German immigrants. The brewery's "Our Story" page has grown substantially since the last time I wrote about a Rhinegeist beer, so I definitely recommend you check it out.

Slow Jam is an IPA released in collaboration with Shake It Records (a Cincy-based record store/very independent label) that was originally released in 2017. This 6.5% ABV brew, official page here, is citrusy, piney, and dank--these aromas/flavors are due its utilization of Centennial, Amarillo, and Cascade hops.

The IPA's bouquet is all hop. I get big piney and light floral notes. I'm not finding much citrus, but that's fine. When I think of an IPA, the aroma that comes to mind is exactly what Slow Jam showcases. I can't get enough of it and, apparently, neither can Purrl. She gave my bottle thirteen whiffs--she even woke up to do so--which, I'm pretty sure, is the highest rating she's ever given an IPA.

From Slow Jam's flavor, I'm getting mainly citrus. It stands in stark contrast to the ale's nose: It's sweet and bright, with a malty backbone. I really like the effect of the beer as a whole. The two parts I've discussed so far are disjointed but are two sides of the same whole. An A-Side and a B-Side, if you will. Like a record. It's Record Store Day and I'm drinking a record-inspired beer. Please, give me this analogy.

The third part of the beer I have to discuss is the mouthfeel. And, boy, does Slow Jam have one! It's slightly creamy--definitely fuller than I'd expect an IPA to be. In a unexpected beer with unexpected-yet-great parts, and this is yet another unexpectedly great facet.

My first Record Store Day (well, my first spent actually in a record store, purchasing a special RSD release) was spent in Athens, OH during my undergrad. It was at the late, great Haffa's Records (pour one out if you're reading this and know/miss Haffa's). This was, obviously, during my record-collecting-but-not-listening phase. I went to pick up Medium Rare, the special Foo Fighters' release (shout out to the FF versions of "Darling Nikki" and "Baker Street").

The whole event was a ton of fun. I went with some friends (we got to Haffa's shortly after 10 am, which is insanely early for undergrad kids). The RSD releases were in a very prominent place, so all we had to do was head to those shelves and grab the releases we wanted. It wasn't until late-February this year that I was able to listen to Medium Rare for the first time, and, I have to say, I wasn't disappointed. Grohl & Co. always bring their "A" game. As bright and as sunny as today is, Slow Jam's bringing me back to my first, chilly, Record Store Day.

Slow Jam is, without a doubt, my second favorite Rhinegeist release (Cheetah will always be number one). It's everything I want an IPA to be and has each individual's (or, at least, my) warm, vinyly memories attached to it. I'm giving it a 10/10. It's phenomenal and you need to try it while listening to a great record. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have things to do and, as Townes would say, "Heaven ain't bad but you don't get nothing done."

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