This Local Species
A beautiful bastard child, Local Species is the King Arthur of beers.
I had this beautiful drink in a vegan-friendly bar out in Bushwick called Pine Box Rock Shop at an anniversary party for a donut company - Dun-well Donuts. Actually, it's a longer story than all that:
It's early December and I'm living in New York, preparing to move back to North Carolina but still falling in love with the city every day. I go for happy hour drinks with some girlfriends - Kelsey a nurse and Ali a writer - and we're goofing around in the easy East Village where I lived. It's been snowing and raining and heaven knows what else while we're tucked inside little wine bars. Life is good. Never one to burst a buzz (it's a weakness), I ask what we're up to next. So Ali says, "Want to go to this doughnut party?"
A 25 minute train ride and a 15 minutes in snow, freezing wind and sidelong rain, and we find ourselves in aforementioned vegan bar at a party to celebrate the anniversary of the launch of a vegan doughnut shop. #NewYork, amiright?
Ali had written about Dun-Well Doughnuts earlier that week, and had gotten in touch with the team in charge, who then invited her to this celebratory donut bash. I could tell the Dun-Well story, as I think it needs to be told, but this will do it better justice:
The doughnuts are a revelation, light-bodied and beautifully flavored. I could rhapsodize, but I need to get to this beer.
We're at the bar, we're eating vegan empanadas, we're choosing beers, and the bartender describes one as a "half-breed," made with American hops, aged in Kentucky Bourbon barrels, and Belgian fermentation. "There's nothing like it," she said. I ordered that one, and we're here because she was right.
Local Species is beer to dream about. Every note is different, delightful, surprising and unconventional. I remember feeling like a little kid collecting acorns in the fall, I'm not sure why, maybe a scent triggered the sensation. This beer tastes both familiar and foreign. It shouldn't all work but it does.
Made in the Virginia foothills, Blue Mountain Barrel House brewery makes Local Species and a host of other good-looking craft beers that I haven't tried. But if the one that I have had is any indication, they're probably worth a go. Get one and let me know what you think.
That night wound down like all of them do, cruising around Brooklyn's bars, searching for one that would play Ashanti's "Always On Time."
I gave you my all, now, baby, be mine,