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Back around Thanksgiving, I bought myself an early Christmas gift and signed up for The Lost Abbey‘s Patron Sinners club. It’s kind of a beer CSA; at the start of the season you pay a set fee ($160 for Saints, $235 for Sinners), and for the next year you get two bottles of beer shipped to your door every other month. The draw is twofold: 1) Lost Abbey, from San Marcos, Calif., is a prized brewery whose beers don’t get distributed to D.C. or surrounding states, and 2) patrons get the brewery’s rarest bottles, especially with the pricier Sinners package.
My first batch just got here (to my office, so I could sign for it), and before I even got home my first joy was seeing the ALCOHOL sticker smack on the top of the box. Metroing home, I did my best to show it off — “Look at my beer, it’s in all caps!” — but turned not one head. You’d think Metro trains were full of USPS booze boxes every day.
The first beer of the year was Lost Abbey’s Red Poppy Ale, which somewhere between a Flemish oude bruin and a Flemish red. It’s a sour, oak-aged beer on the rusty side of brown, brewed with sour cherries. And it smells like you’d expect: sour cherry and a little bit of dark oak, like a varnished lollipop. The wood lends some dryness to the flavor, but in your mouth it’s nearly all tart cherry juice, with an intense sourness that pushes on the joints in your jaw and leaves your mouth watering.
As for joining this beer CSA, and actually getting some of these beers — well I’m afraid you’ll have to wait until the holiday season, when sign-ups open again. I’ll be sure to remind you and include my address for any generous gift-givers.