I'm always impressed by the heart and soul of the craft beer community. This year we lost a brewer from Stone; Mathew Cartwright was killed by a fork-truck. Stone released a beer celebrating his life called Matt's Burning Rosids. When a friend passes, brewers have the incredible ability to honor their friends by creating something named after them that may stand the test of time.
In 2011 Three Floyds lost a good friend and so they released a beer in tribute to him. The beer is Live a Rich Life, named after Rich Sheppard. Live a Rich Life is a Belgian style IPA from Three Floyds and De Struise. This beer was formerly sold on draft as Shark Pants. When it was released as Live the Rich Life, proceeds from the sale of the beer went to the surviving family of Rich Sheppard.
No matter what the circumstances are it's always amazing to see how the craft beer community supports one of their own. We could all take a hint from these breweries and do more to support each other.
The beer pours out a wonderful, bright copper-orange color. There is an inch of fluffy off-white head sitting on top of the beer that flows into beautiful lacing all along the glass. The aroma is like an all out battle between Belgium and the West Coast. Huge pine and tropical hop notes with a big phenolic kick in the pants from the Belgian style yeast. They marry well together to create a great and unique aroma.
Although this looks like it might be malt heavy from the dark color, the beer is surprisingly light and crisp. The malt provides a nice, clean toffee and biscuit backbone to a huge hopfest. The hops are obviously the star of this beer. They are full of big tropical fruit flavors with some nice citrusy tangerine flavors and a really nice resiny bitter finish. Although not the star of this beer, the Belgian yeast flavor is no backup singer. The yeast character blends so well with the hops. You get a wonderful peppery spice that accentuates and boosts the big hop flavors. There is a little bit of boozy heat at the finish of this one, but that's totally acceptable form an 8.7% ABV beer.
I obviously never knew Rich, but his name lives on in this amazing beer. If you're bored with basic DIPAs then you really need to check this brew out. Its unique flavors will dance across your tongue in their own hop mosh pit. This was an excellent beer, I give it a 4.
Our hearts go out to the friends and family of both Rich Sheppard and Mathew Cartwright.