Fast Fashion and The Masonry founder Matt Storm on the beer that changed his perspective — New School Beer + Cider

Fast Fashion and The Masonry founder Matt Storm on the beer that changed his perspective — New School Beer + Cider


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De Ranke XX Bitter

Matt Storm: De Ranke XX Bitter is one of the beers that completely changed my perception of beer. It is still my absolute favorite beer today. 

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Your first time:

Matt Storm: When I was 21, my first introduction to beer was the Belgian section. It started with the big candy sugar beers, but slowly it moved to saisons and lambics. At the time, Shelton Brothers wasn’t in [Washington] and I didn’t have much in the way of money (I was a student and working at a bottle shop), so trading for beers in the Shelton catalog wasn’t much of an option unless folks brought them into the shop to share. XX Bitter, who returned to Washington about a decade back, completely changed my view of Belgian beer as well as hoppy beer. 

What makes it so special?

Matt Storm: It’s a beer that just never seems to overstay its welcome. It can be enjoyed and thought about. However, it is also quick, bitter, refreshing and works equally well in pints as in wine glasses. It keeps well, unlike some hoppy Belgian beers which have a more robust malt profile. I think in general it’s best drank fresh, if you can find it in that state (though Lime Ventures and Walden here in Seattle tend to be doing a really great job at that these days). But as the hops fade with time, it doesn’t seem to oxidize in a terribly unpleasant way and instead the yeasty esters of the Belgian yeast take over.

This beer is influential

Matt Storm: Craft beer is so ubiquitous these days that I imagine the barrier of entry is lower. But beers like this are really good perspective shifters. Back when big beer was the only option, there was no choice but to choose from the classic Northwest craft lineup (NW IPA, Amber Porter, Porter, Stout). I don’t think there is such a thing as somebody that can’t benefit from a little shift in perspective.

Why beer drinkers need to pay attention:

 Matt Storm: This beer uses hops in a way that seems to be becoming increasingly rare. The aroma is very floral and the whole cone is full of flavor. I think we are losing more of this depth and variety as we move more towards extracts, cryo and other forms of hops. These products have many benefits, and it is a great thing for brewers. However, they can make beers more homogenized.

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