Hello, loyal readers! We here at Stereogum have moved offices, making the grand exodus from a gathering of cubicles near Grand Central Station to a gathering of cubicles near Times Square. Along with the rest of our colleagues at our daddy company Valence Media, we are adjusting to the new space. Being in the heart of Times Square is invigorating. It is, after all, the heart of New York City, in that blood runs through the streets, there are a lot of billboards, and there are no good places to eat lunch.
To celebrate our new location, we’re drinking beers at 3PM. “Out with the old, in with the new,” as they say! The old being these eight cans of beer I have faithfully brought with me from our previous office, and the new being that we are finally drinking them.
In the grand tradition of our previous roundtable, we will be reviewing both beers that we received from promoters many months ago! (Send us more consumable promo items! We’ll do this again.) They are both from bands, so music. (Take that, Octo.ber!)
The beers are from Hop Along and Hanson. They’re two bands that have nothing in common, but now they have beer in common. They both released their own brews last year: Hop Along for the first time, Hanson as part of a years-long side hustle. And the Stereogum staff that is here — me (James Rettig), Gabriela Tully Claymore, Peter Helman, and Julia Gray — will indeed be drinking them. So sit back, relax, crack open a cold one, and read on, man, to see what we think of these brewskis.
JAMES RETTIG: Good afternoon all! It’s 2:37PM. Is everyone ready to drink some beers?
JULIA GRAY: I’m on the train on my way to the big beer review and a woman swatted me w her cane :( on purpose :(
GABRIELA TULLY CLAYMORE: I didn’t eat yet.
PETER HELMAN: I am ready to drink some beers!
JULIA: I came all the way from Brooklyn to DRINK
GABRIELA: julia has been typing for like 30 min
JULIA: we are only allowed to slack our thoughts under james’ regime 😞
JAMES: OK before we get started with the taste test… how is everyone liking the new office?
GABRIELA: Highlights are:
1. Natural light for the first time in two years
2. Free snacks
1. Times Square
2. TIMES SQUARE
3. TIMES! FUCKIN! SQUARE!
JULIA: I got off the train and went into an instant state of panic!
JAMES: ok lets get to the beers
first up we will drink the beer from Hop Along because it came first, around 6-8 months ago.
some background: this beer was made by Love City Brewing, which is based in Philadelphia, which is where all bands are from
PETER: First come first serve
6-8 months later
JAMES: It’s called “Hop Along IPA Beer”
first…. let’s talk about the name
GABRIELA: it’s a whole pint
PETER: Definitely should be called Hops Along
Maybe they thought that was too easy
JULIA: my dad is trying to facetime should i pick up
GABRIELA: The name is weak but it’s probably accurate?
It’s an IPA, therefore “hoppy”
JAMES: Hoppy Long – i think that would have been cute
i just feel like they could have done a lot more
JULIA: are they still making these? for someone who doesn’t know hop along this just looks like a regular ass beer
PETER: hoppy long sounds like justin long’s pet rabbit
GABRIELA: is he a mac or a pc
GABRIELA: When I worked at a restaurant I needed to know a lot about beer because it was a big beer spot and I could never remember how to describe anything so I would just be like “this beer is hoppy but that one is more hoppy. the stella is no hops.”
JAMES: Yeah, hoppy is the only way i know how to describe beer
JULIA: let’s talk about the packaging? the design looks vaguely patriotic
JAMES: OK packaging – yeah it’s not a flag but it does evoke a flag
GABRIELA: Stuff from Philly is so “America”
PETER: Philadelphia is a patriotic city
GABRIELA: because of the Liberty Bell
JAMES: the “Love City”
PETER: The birthplace of America!
GABRIELA: They love a gd flag over there
JAMES: but ok…. lets crack her open
PETER: First sip
James says “oooooh”
JAMES: First reaction: I like it
PETER: I like it too
JULIA: not very hoppy tbh
PETER: A good beer
GABRIELA: OK I took my first sip…. it’s almost a little bit…. dare I say…. “stout-ish”
JAMES: i’m not gonna lie….i am a SUCKER for a citrus beer
JULIA: like hardly a hop
JAMES: it’s a lot lighter than i was expecting
PETER: more like stout along amirite
JAMES: ok disclaimer: i know absolutely nothing about beer
i shop by percentage, a vestige of my college years
GABRIELA: One time James bought Christmas IPA in July
And I wanted to beat him up for it….truly horrifying
JAMES: thats where the term “christmas in july” comes from… that experience
JULIA: james what do you like
JAMES: my favorite beer is IPA even though i don’t know what that means, and i like a beer with a high percentage
because i like to get drunk and not drink that many beers because calories !
PETER: IPAs are usually very alcoholic
This is 7% so pretty high!
JAMES: yeah, 7% is good…my favorite beers to get drunk off of are the ones with the like misogynistic names
like “crazy bitch” and “flying slut dog” or whatever
GABRIELA: YES!!!!!! Flying Dog, Raging Bitch
JULIA: bark ur head off raging bitch
SCOTT LAPATINE: As you know I’m home sick today, but just wanted to check in on this new Slack channel and make sure everyone is hard at work
GABRIELA: We’re in ur office @scott
JULIA: apparently …
When It Comes to Music and Beer, Hop Along Won’t Be Easily Defined
Frances says the beer will “knock you on your ass” !
SCOTT: Ok. There’s a QT chaser on my desk
Beer Oblivion Community Center
JULIA: apparently the can design is the Love City Brewing logo but with the colors of Hop Along’s Bark Your Head Off, Dog
JAMES: i think thats a stretch!
i see the colors but to be honest…i think they could have done more with it? could have been a cool can
i feel like i’m being a “hater” but i actually am enjoying this beer
JULIA: i think for hop along’s next album they should base the cover off of a beer logo
GABRIELA: The color on the can is similar to the cover but it looks absolutely NOThING like the cover! Sorry hop along, stick to music
JULIA: the claws come out!!!!
gabriela is exiting
collecting herself in the corner
GABRIELA: I almost spit beer on the floor of Scott’s office 😞 halp
JULIA: ok some final tasting notes
JAMES: we’re writers…give some good descriptions of this beer
is it angular
JULIA: its generous
honestly….a little thin!
GABRIELA: The flavors I’m getting: beer, licorice, orange
JULIA: car tire
JAMES: i feel like it’s a good beer for a long night
i could drink 3-5 of these
PETER: We only have four
JAMES: lets take a break and admire times square
JULIA: wow the new office….great views!
GABRIELA: We should host a NYE party in this office tbvh
For the folks at home: We’re gazing south at the NYE ball and a bigass neon sign that says HULU
JAMES: OK let’s bring this back on the rails
any last thoughts on the Hop Along beer for now before we move on to Hanson’s beer? we will compare them later
JULIA: good for active drinking
JAMES: gab just dramatically slammed each can down on the table to compare how much we all drank
she drank more!
JULIA: gabriela is turnt!
GABRIELA: I think I’d drink this … whenever! But my favorite IPA remains Lagunitas. No one can beat it! It’s my go-to. AND it’s a California brew. Nothing could be better :)
JULIA: should we put on music?
we are sitting in complete silence, reader
JAMES: i just turned on hop along
JAMES: OK everyone, take a deep breath and let’s move on to Hanson
GABRIELA: Now we’re gonna have to put on Hanson.
JAMES: Some fun facts: This is NOT hanson’s first beer. In fact, they have a whole company called “Hanson Brothers Beer”. They’re really “leaning in” to beer
The first one was call Mmmhops … which, fair!
PETER: This one has no pun name
JAMES: This one is called “Hop Jam Festival Ale”
PETER: Pun names are like, the only reason to make a beer
PETER: Hop Jam is an event apparently
JAMES: Yes! So this has been a beer that’s been available at their festival, which has gone on in Oklahoma for four years! Wild
PETER: It’s Oklahoma’s largest craft beer and music festival!
I don’t know how many craft beer and music festivals Oklahoma has
JAMES: It’s clear from the Hanson Bro’s website that their beers are available in a lot of Oklahoma places. Good for them!
in 2019 we’ll all pivot to beer
PETER: year of the beer
JAMES: It’s also available in Florida at Disney and Epcot! Fuck yeah
we should come out with a beer!!!!
Can anyone name one song by Hanson
That isn’t Mmmbop
JAMES: OK, i was putting on Hanson for us to listen to and discovered they have a recently released all-strings album of songs by them!
called “String Theory”
when was this released
JAMES: November 2018
I think we would’ve had a different Album Of The Year if i knew this!
situated in my new office with a single can of QT, think I’m set pic.twitter.com/aq3OSnsJS6
— (@scottgum) January 14, 2019
GABRIELA: Pitchfork fest has its own beers
Goose island does it
JAMES: yeah, a lot of fests have their own beer – when i went to bonny bear’s thing [bon iver] a few years ago i think they had their own brew
there’s money in beer!
not in media
PETER: ok i quit
i’m doing beer now
GABRIELA: Interesting that IPA is so big now
IPA is called “india pale ale” because it became popular among sailors from britain traveling to india? Or something like that
the added hops was for the long sea journey … kept it yeasty or something like that
I can’t remember my history rn.
JAMES: ok we’re gonna drink the hanson beer now
everyone take their first sip
(there was a lot of dust on these cans when i moved them!)
JULIA: gabriela spent 10 minutes blowing dust off of each can
GABRIELA: I do not like this.
PETER: This is a spiced farmhouse ale
Whatever that means
i don’t like it
PETER: Gabriela and Jams both said “ew” upon first sip
JULIA: the can says “beer + music = awesome”
JAMES: this one is 6.5% which… also, generous!
but i don’t enjoy drinking it
GABRIELA: I tried to verify my history of the IPA and apparently… it’s contentious!
don’t believe everything you hear
JULIA: “We are committed to great BEER and with each brew we help you discover new MUSIC” it says
PETER: Every can comes with a QR code to “scan for music”
JAMES: i’m gonna scan
idk how to scan QR codes but i’ll find out
i feel like QR codes are a thing that like “dad” CEOs think people use but no one actually does
JULIA: i think you need an app? cant believe there are still qr codes
JAMES: PSA: no more Hanson music, back to HOp Along
JULIA: so i dont enjoy this beer but i am drinking it
JAMES: funnily enough, we only got this like… a month and a half ago?
so def not stale
GABRIELA: I think it’s bad…
JAMES: the fun thing about beer is that even if it tastes bad i’ll drink it
PETER: that is fun
JAMES: it tastes a little bit like armpits
JULIA: im switching back to hop along
GABRIELA: anything labeled as “festive” is not a good beer
sorry to all the seasonal beer lovers
if you drink Pumpking you’re a fucking sociopath
JAMES: well, it’s “festive” as in “festival” not festive as in christmas
GABRIELA: I think it’s both @jams
Festive for the Festival
perhaps a fall festival
hint of maple, crunchy leaves on the ground
you get it
JULIA: it tastes like leaves
GABRIELA: It’s absolutely not a beer I want to finish
JAMES: ok lets give them a rating 1-10
GABRIELA: i rate Hop Along 5
i rate Hanson 2
JAMES: i’d give Hop Along a 7! i liked
Hanson is a 3
PETER: I’d give Hop Along beer a 6 too
Hanson is a 4
JULIA: i give hop along a soft 6 barking dogs out of 10
hanson is mmmmmmmmm2bop
GABRIELA: bop your bark off, dog
JAMES: lets pour one out for ryan, who said he would do this and then bailed at the last minute!
i feel like ryan knows about beer…its the beard
JULIA: and the tweed
GABRIELA: let’s give ryan a last minute taste yeah
JULIA: we’re gonna make him guess which is which
GABRIELA: i just asked ryan “can you come in here? it’s an emergency.”
RYAN LEAS: this is the hanson one
because it smells like maple
RYAN: these are both bad.
This has been a Stereogum roundtable.