Elysian went hard on the “botanicals” for this specifically-timed beer.
Welcome to FTW’s Beverage of the Week series. Previously, we’ve folded these in to our betting guides, whether that’s been for the NFL slate or a bizarrely successful run through the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Here, we mostly chronicle and review beers, but happily expand that scope to any beverage that pairs well with sports. Yes, even cookie dough whiskey.
Elysian has long been a favorite in the relatively short timespan of this feature. Its Halloween-themed pumpkin beer mix pack was better than expected. The beer it partnered with the Seattle Seahawks to brew — Hawkitect wheat ale — is a pretty great stadium brew.
So when it reached out with a sampler of its newest beer, a spin on its flagship Space Dust called Dank Dust IPA, I jumped at the opportunity. This isn’t surprising. I am very easy to peer pressure into drinking things. If you offer to send something my way, I will most likely drink it and write about it here on the friendly confines of For The Win.
This was no normal beer, however. As the brewery’s founders explained in a special Zoom-based tasting session, this was the alter-ego of Space Dust. A beer that was supposed to launch April 1 but — wink-wink-nudge-nudge — got unexpectedly (not unexpectedly) delayed to just under three weeks later.
My friends, this is a beer that smells, and tastes, exactly like marijuana.
No photo can accurately capture what’s going on here. Cracking this beer immediately made my office smell like the basement of a frat house. That pine-y hop profile lives up to the “danky” moniker in a big way — this thing smells like a baggie of weed. This is a scent of sticky floors and indecipherable texts that just say “hoagie cake.” It’s… a lot.
The pour itself is very pretty — golden brown, fluffy white head, etc — but hoooo boy, you’re not gonna notice that. You’re gonna notice that if you spill this on your couch, your kids aren’t gonna be allowed to have playdates at your house for a while unless their friends have cool parents.
That dank flavor is overwhelming up front, even though there’s no cannabis or THC or any marijuana product in the beer itself. This, I’m assured, is intentional.
“Before you open this you’ve got to roll up a towel and plug it under your door or else your neighbors will worry,” founder Dave Buhler told For The Win during the tasting.
The cause is the addition of soluble terpenes to an already-potent IPA, creating a very distinct flavor profile. One Elysian was careful to label as “botanical” in more wink/nudge, cover-our-bases messaging.
“We were trying to mimic the smell of diesel which is… a kind of, uh, botanical,” said fellow founder Joe Bisaccia. “The terpenes in dank dust are meant to mimic the botanicals, which help perk you up rather than mellow you out.”
Dank Dust is less aggressive as it warms up, and I did feel some of the intended energizing effects, though that could have been the power of suggestion at play. The extreme, uh, botanical profile either wears down or simply becomes commonplace, giving way to the citrus IPA notes the flagship version of the brew hit so well. Elysian’s founders assure me this is a feature rather than a bug. As those terpenes collect in our smell receptors, it dulls the effect even though the world around you still smells very much like a tsunami of bong water.
Our tasting also featured regular Space Dust, which is much more my style. The difference between the two is remarkable. Space Dust is lighter and easier and complex in its own right. Dank Dust has to be approached with caution. Where I could drink three or four of the original no problem (before heading off for a nap since they’re 8.2 percent ABV), one Dank Dust is enough to top me off.
So yeah, it’s an interesting idea and an interesting beer. Elysian has pulled something off here, but I’m not sure exactly what. Dank Dust is worth seeking out for a try and, if you’re a connoisseur of certain “botanicals,” could be your jam. For me, though, this was an idea more interesting in theory than execution.
[mm-video type=video id=01g0pk3a14thc8trkeqn playlist_id=none player_id=01evcfkb10bw5a3nky image=https://images2.minutemediacdn.com/image/upload/video/thumbnail/mmplus/01g0pk3a14thc8trkeqn/01g0pk3a14thc8trkeqn-de81483947a950994146c62aec9a0047.jpg]