It’s was a shock to the Georgia beer community when one of its most high-profile members, Dan Rosen, was struck down in early June in a fatal hit-and-run.
With his home-brewing partner, Hamp Covington, Dan was the co-founder of MAZURT, a brewery-in-planning best known for its award-winning iterations of MAZURT Russian Imperial Stout.
Rosen also was a serious beer aficionado and collector, well-traveled and well-acquainted with beers and brewers from around the world.
Though we weren’t close friends, we often saw each other at beer events, where Dan’s background and interest in the media sometimes drew us into debates about politics and journalism.
For me, that we could disagree without being disagreeable, and do it with a mutually wry sense of humor, was the thing that made Dan the best sort of sparring partner.
Of course, these days that kind of social interaction seems to be getting as rare as some of the beers Dan generously shared with me and many others who knew him.
“One of Dan’s favorite lines was to introduce me as his oldest friend — not that he had known me all that long, but that I was older than any of his other friends,” said another beer buddy, Bob Pike, summing up Dan’s sense of humor.
Not long after Dan’s death, Wild Heaven Beer in Avondale responded to the tragedy by gathering a convivial group of brewer friends to make a beer in his honor.
Covington joined Wayne Wambles of Cigar City, John Roberts of Max Lager’s, and Eric Johnson of Wild Heaven to “celebrate Dan’s life the best way we knew how — to build a beer we know Dan would have loved.”
The result was To Dan!, a double IPA with fresh coconut, an ingredient that was often added to barrel-aged MAZURT, which was usually served up in coconut shells.
And so, with all that, To Dan! is this week’s Beer Pick.
To Dan! Coconut Double IPA
Wild Heaven Beer, Avondale
Available around metro Atlanta on draft and in limited, hand-labeled cans
Introduced as “a flavorful, juicy, big IPA featuring fresh coconut,” this limited edition creation was brewed at Wild Heaven for the late, beloved Atlanta beer aficionado, Dan Rosen. Only available for a short time, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to help out Rosen’s former wife.
Since I’m not a big fan of coconut in beer, I can well imagine arguing with Dan over this one. I’d probably tell him it should be named Hawaiian Tropic, and we’d probably laugh a lot. Besides a distinctive back of the palate coco-note, though, it’s a solid double IPA, with all the fresh, fruity hop aromas and flavors you’d expect.
Thinking about joshing Dan, again, I’m tempted to say this beer should be paired with a Mounds bar. But I think he would have liked it served in a coconut shell at a traditional luau with all the poi you can eat.