I think I’m becoming less of a hop head. Did I really just type that out loud? There was a time when my beer fridge was packed with IPAs, imperial IPAs, a triple IPA or two, maybe even a black IPA…..not anymore, there are a few buried amongst Belgians, stouts, imperial stouts, sours, browns, saisons, a few lagers (gasp!) to name a few. The simple fact of the matter is that there are just too many good beer styles out there these days and just when you think you’ve tasted everything a style has to offer, someone goes and changes your perception.
Cue Highland Lost Cove. I’ll be the first to admit, when I saw “pale ale” on the label I immediately thought another pale ale… Being a nice day, I took it outside, did it’s glamour photos (none of which were straight by the way – this was before any beer), cracked it open and low and behold it had a lighter color than I expected – Pilsen, Carapils & Vienna grains. Pilsen has such a distinctive nose to me – earthy, a little bready, sweetness I’m guessing from the Vienna. It’s very clear and laces nicely on the glass. The first taste is a mouthful, it coats the mouth and lingers sweetly. The Cascade and Hallertau hops are subtle at 20 IBUs but they are there at the back of the taste and they hang around making you want to take another taste.
At 4.5% ABV this is a great summertime beer and a very unique take on a traditional pale ale. Honestly, I was pleasantly surprised – excellent work from the team at Highland and Head Brewer Hollie Stephenson. Guess you can’t judge a beer by its label.
Now, the name – this is interesting and I’m going to blatantly plagiarize from Highland’s materials on this because they say it pretty well – so consider them credited:
Lost Cove is a legendary ghost town on the Nolichucky River, near the NC and TN border. During the civil war, self-reliant families found refuge, secluded from war and too remote for tax collectors to reach. It was perfect for moonshiners, and they flourished there. Eventually isolation proved too difficult to sustain the community and the last family left in 1957. Today, local rafting guides float by Lost Cove and its abandoned homes in the forest.
We’ll see this beer in Knoxville shortly. If you need a reason to go to Asheville, the kickoff party, “For Love of Beer and Mountains” is at Highland on May 15, 4-9pm. This is where you’ll find the first pints of Lost Cove and free live music from 7-9pm. Also, each seasonal release party at Highland helps raise money for The Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy (SAHC) and raises awareness for their efforts. So you’re not only drinking good beer but it’s going to a good cause.