An Ultra Experience

I’m in line at the grocery store with butter, lemons and three bomber bottles of high-octane beer. A lady slides in behind with one item – a six-pack of Michelob Ultra (I feel the need to disclose that I reviewed Ultra for Gannett when it was first released and started out by saying when I cracked the cap it smelled like farts. After that, one Anheuser-Busch distributor made a point to let me know they had my column mugshot pinned to their dartboard, which made me inordinately happy).

Getting back to the grocery store, I’m not really paying attention to what the cashier is doing until I see her slide the six-pack of Ultra as the last item on my bill.

“That’s not mine,” I say. “Ultra is against my religion.”

The lady behind me says, “It’s mine,” to the cashier, and then to me, “I’m sorry for offending your religion.”

And I think she was serious. Unless she was being ironic, but she didn’t seem the type to dispense irony.

In honor of that non-ironic lady and her Ultra, here is something on one of the ultras I picked up, Equinox from Lagunitas. They describe it as “a genuine pale oat ale.”

Yum! It comes on softer than most hop-forward American pale ales, which I’ll bet is the oat component. The initial flavor is an indefinable fruity/citrusy punch to the palate. I guarantee this beer will wake you up.

I had to look up on the brewery website that the name refers to the use of Equinox hops, a high-alpha aroma hop that I was previously unfamiliar with. describes it as having “a pronounced aroma profile with citrus, tropical fruit, floral and herbal characteristics. Specific descriptors include lemon, lime, papaya, apple, and green pepper.”

In addition the brewers used the dual purpose Simcoe hop, which describes as having “unique passionfruit, pine, earth and citrus characteristics.”

That indefinable fruit taste I first encountered makes sense after reading the descriptions of the hops. The hops ride on top of a sweet malt base, making for an ultra-tasty experience.