Welcome to the East Coast: Modern Times Beer hits New York Shelves

Modern Times, Fortunate Islands, City of the Dead and Blazing World

(C) 2016 popsonhops

Within three years of opening in southern California, Modern Times beer recently landed in the greater New York City area. Assuming this isn’t a one-time drop, distribution is limited to just these two small patches on opposite ends of the country.

According to the San Diego brewery’s website, the name “Modern Times” was taken from a utopian community built on Long Island (now Brentwood, NY) in 1850. The brewery’s founder, Jacob McKean, a self-professed beer geek, former Stone Brewing Co. employee and long-time home brewer says that he chose to name the brewery Modern Times because he is fascinated with little pockets of history that develop in the folds of progress. He also notes that almost always their beers are named after real or mythological utopias.

Fortunate Islands
Tasting: May 7, 2016
Style: American Pale Ale (Wheat)
Beer #: 932
ABV:5.0%

In keeping with the utopian naming convention, Fortunate Islands were semi-legendary islands reportedly located in the Atlantic Ocean, inhabited by the heroes of Greek mythology.

As far as the beer is concerned, Fortunate Islands is entirely drinkable. A wheat base contributes to a smooth mouthfeel. Certainly not overpowering hops but citrus and mellow sweetness are nicely balanced. I’ll say 90 points.

Blazing World
Tasting: May 7, 2016
Style: IPA
Beer #:933
ABV:6.8%

Blazing World is another utopian reference taken from the fictional prose of Margaret Cavendish The Blazing World published in 1666. Cavendish’s utopia was accessed via the north pole and her work was considered an early example of science fiction.

Not as dank as I was expecting but that smokey, green and resinous flavor is certainly present and blends with roasted caramel. Again, very drinkable – 88 points.

City of the Dead
Tasting: May 8, 2016
Style: Stout
Beer #: 934
ABV:7.5%

I’m not so sure City of the Dead represents a utopian ideal but it certainly is an interesting pocket of living (and dead) history. Maybe I have the wrong city but the most noted City of the Dead is located in Cairo. It is about four miles in length and has a dense collection of tombs and mausoleums. The city is also inhabited by (among others) those wishing to remain with their departed relatives. In 1992, a major earthquake forced people to inhabit family tombs.

The experimental version of City of the Dead (the stout) was a combination of Black House – 87 points and bourbon-barrel aged coffee. It seems that for this seasonal, they created a similar base stout.

I had never heard of bourbon barrel-aged coffee. The basic premise is that unroasted, green coffee beans are extremely porous and pick up flavors and aromas of their environment. So, it seems to be simply adding these beans to bourbon barrels.

Again, entirely drinkable. I was expecting a watery stout and while it is light in the mouthfeel is has quite a bit going on – from espresso and nuttiness to a wisp of vanilla. Dry finish. I’ll put City of the Dead at 91 points.

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