Friday, June 28, 2013

Avery Twenty

Type: Double IPA
Origin: Boulder, CO
Price: 8.99/22oz
ABV: 9.7%
NSP: 7.01

When I think of IPA, I don't think of Avery.  Their IPA offerings are never what I go after when I'm in an Avery mood, even though I find Maharaja deliciously overpowering.  Hell, I can't think of a Colorado brewery that makes really high-level IPA, except maybe Odell. So I don't know what to expect here, though my hopes are high because I'm partial to Avery and I want them to be a serious player in the IPA market.

The nose is pretty impressive- it brings Pure Hoppiness to mind, and that's never a bad thing.  Good amount of pine and grapefruit, the former being more prominent than the latter.  Pretty inviting, and very San Diego-y.  Not tongue-destroyingly hoppy as Dorado or Green Flash Imperial, just a nicely citrusy, well-hopped (and boozy as fuck-all for a DIPA, keeping with Avery's get-you-shitfaced policy) SOB.

Flavor-wise, the citrus doesn't keep up with Pure, but that doesn't mean it falls short.  This is a good, San Diego-style double IPA made in a business park on Arapahoe where they also have a nice banh mi and really tasty sweet potato fries.  Sorry, bit of a digression, but I'm hungry.  It's nicely balanced to start, and there's a bit of a quandary as it warms- it gets more and more orange-y, but it also gets more boozy, so do you drink it really cold and have both citrus and booze somewhat suppressed, or do you let it warm a touch to get more of both?  

To sum up, Avery should probably make something like this as a regular offering.  Because I might move back to Colorado at some point, and if I do I'm going to need something Alpine-y.  And this would suffice until Alpine decides to send me Pure.  That's a bunch of hypothetical BS, but I'm concerned about being Alpine-less so I have to plan ahead a bit.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Coney Island Human Blockhead

Type: Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Bock
Origin: New York, NY
Price: $12.89/22oz
ABV: 10.0%
NSP: 5.04
website (it's a painful site to look at so I didn't bother digging for a beer-specific link)

This is the second beer I've had from Shmaltz.  The first was a numbingly sweet strong ale, a headache in a glass.  And then John brings this one over- a bourbon-barrel aged imperial fucking bock (no, the bottle doesn't specifically say 'fucking bock', but it probably should).  If there's a beer style that I'm predisposed to dislike, it's a bourbon-barrel-aged bock.  I don't tend to like either bourbon aging or bocks individually, so put 'em together and I'm not hopeful.

It looks a bit like Coke, and it smells like a maple syrup-infused Jack & Coke.  Not much else to say about the aroma- sweet, sweet, sweet, and bourbon.

The flavor is unexpectedly agreeable.  Normally, I find the results of bourbon-barrel aging somewhat cloying, particularly if the bourbon's from a distillery that isn't particularly awesome or if the brewers just let the barrel flavors rampage unchecked.  But the bourbon flavor and the sweetness in this are about as restrained as they could be when laid on a bock- and it's obvious that they've used a good quality bourbon.  And now I understand- the label says they used Buffalo Trace barrels for this one...and that happens to be one of my two favorite distilleries on the planet (along with the glorious Ardbeg).  The bock is pretty much here to provide a platform for the bourbon to Michael Flatley all over, and provides only token flavor contribution. 

It seems to me that this is a beer that's intended to show how barrel-aging, if properly applied, can produce a delightful new type of drunk-making beverage that's not whiskey, but not altogether beer either.  And it also shows that if you used barrels from a really good distillery, the flavors that are imparted to the beer are delicious.  Put that together with brewers clever enough to know when enough's enough, and you've got a pretty tasty little brew.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Iron Horse Double Rainbow

Type: Mystery
Origin: Ellensburg, Washington
Price: $4.99
ABV: 7%
NSP: 9.11

On my recent Seattle trip, the wife pointed this one out, and I purchased it simply because of the punchline "two pots o' gold in ur mouth". The price was right and how could I argue with that sales pitch. When I brought it home, I realized that there was no style written anywhere on the bottle; all one could assume is an ale, which is not even a good assumption. This intrigued me more, and allows me to guess on things before checking the website.

This one pour a nice amber with fairly minimal head. The smell is actually quite nice, with some belgian yeast notes squeezing through some amber ale maltiness. The taste is similar, although the amber ale part comes through more. There is a crisp bitterness that I wasn't expecting from this style. This reminds me most of Fischer Amber (even though its been 3 years since I've had that). Its actually quite an enjoyable beer. Nothing really stands out positively or negatively, and if ambers are your thing, you would probably enjoy this quite a bit.

Heres the website description. I guess its a reddish ale, but even they don't know:

"Not quite red, not quite ipa but quite big. This beer is built upon a solid malt foundation of medium crystal, biscuit, and vienna for a considerable dose of toffee, bread and nutty flavors and aromas. We then laced the beer with hops throughout the process. First hops go into the first wort runoff and hops continue to be added through the boil, after boil, and then dry-hopped in our conditioning tanks at 37 degress. Rainbow 1 = MALT; Rainbow 2 = HOPS: A double rainbow of flavors. 7.0% ABV"

Monday, June 24, 2013

Brasserie Dupont Saison Dupont Cuvee Dry Hopping 2013

Type: Saison/Farmhouse Ale
Origin: Tourpes, Belgium
Price: $11.50/750mL
ABV: 6.5%
NSP: 4.24

Is there another label that stands out on a beer shelf as much as the schoolbus yellow-highlighted Saison Dupont?  I don't think so.  This one's a little different from the standard, though- it's an annual special release, each of which is dry-hopped with a new varietal.  This year it's Triskel hops, one I've never heard of before.

Looks like a Dupont-made saison, so that's a good start.  Smells like one too- that glorious Dupont yeast scent first and foremost.  The dry-hopping is noticeable, adding a certain crispness that's more distinct than that of the other Duponts I've had.  There's some light fruit, like pears maybe, and then...wait, I know what it is- it almost smells minty.  Pretty cool, and definitely unique.

There's one feature about the flavor of this beer that's distinctly unique as well.  You take a swig, swallow it, taste it for a second, and then it's gone.  It's super dry and spotlessly clean.  The yeast flavors are there, but the hops just slice them right off, leaving no aftertaste whatsoever.  Maybe I'm weird (well, no, not maybe), but this came immediately to mind while I was drinking it.

This is a pretty remarkable beer, in that I don't think I've had another one that finishes so cleanly.  And, oh, hey, it's just as delicious as everything else from Dupont.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Heavy Seas Loose Cannon IPA

Type: IPA
Origin: Baltimore, Maryland
Price: ?
ABV: 7.25%

When my brother and dad went to the KBS opening day event, they found a few sixers of this at a nearby liquor store and sent me two for my birthday. I had never heard of it, but my brother, having lived in Baltimore, knew quite a bit of Heavy Seas and thoroughly enjoyed them.

After perusing the website, I find out that this is the flagship beer of the brewery and this got a 91% on BA, so this should be exceptional. However, I don't really see where the hype of this beer comes from. It isn't bad at all, but nothing about this is life changing. It pours a nice golden color with minimal head. The aromas are pretty subdued, and I really can't pick out anything. On the taste, I get a rather syrupy texture with some latent bitterness. At the very least this isn't a malt bomb like some east coast IPAs and I would like to taste this more fresh (possibly at the brewery in a month - Andy and I are making a trip up). The bottle I have has April 2013 as the notched date, but this is probably at least 2 months old, affecting the delicate hop aromas.

Update: I have been saving this review as a draft for a few months because Andy and I were planning on visiting Baltimore. We visited the tap house in downtown Baltimore and had this on tap a few times. My review above is pretty spot on. Being fresher made no appreciable difference to the bottle I had. Oh well

Friday, June 21, 2013

Lagunitas Undercover Investigation Shut-down Ale

Type: American Strong Ale
Origin: Petaluma, CA
Price: $1.79/12oz
ABV: 9.6%
NSP: 19.04

Full disclosure: my inspiration for purchasing and reviewing this is not particularly wholesome.  It's not because everything Lagunitas makes is delicious- that'd be too straightfoward and understandable.  I was watching the local news recently, and they showed a report of some dude who got nicked for a dewey.  The cameraman zoomed in on the console of the alleged perp's car, and lo and behold, an empty bottle of Lagunitas Undercover Investigation Shutdown.  So I decided to see if the beer's worth the fucking idiocy of a DUI.  It's not, nor is any other beer, in case you were wondering.

Going in, I thought this was a GHB-enhanced brown ale.  And it sort of smells like that, but instead of just overly sweet caramel aromas, there's a good hop punch provided by the 66.6 (is that number coincidental?  Given Lagunitas' style, probably not) IBU with the malt providing backing vocals.  There's still a good bit of sweetness, but it's not over the top like a brown ale, because the hops cut it down to size.  And no mustiness, which is in my opinion criteria #1 for a successful malty beer.

Flavor-wise, it tastes not unlike an India brown ale made by someone with the skills of, say, Lagunitas.  Lots of malt flavor, but thankfully dry, and a good bitterness level.  It's fairly straightforward- there's not much more to it than that.  But it's good, and it slaps you around with a well-concealed 9.6%.

Just as everything Lagunitas is, it's worth a try.  It's not something I'm going to want every day (in fact, I may never be in the mood to get it again just because it's not my favorite style), but it's tasty.  Incidentally, according to, a 170-lb man who acutely (i.e. just now) ingested a 12-oz bottle of Lagunitas UISA will have a BAC of 0.031, well below DUI limits (disclaimer: this does not mean that Non-Snob endorses shotgunning two UISAs and going for a Sunday drive).  So homeboy in the news report must've been hitting the bottle a bit preemptively before moronically motoring around with an empty fucking beer bottle.  What a dipshit.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Founders Double Trouble

type: imperial IPA
origin: Grand Rapids, MI
price: $12/4-pack/12oz
ABV: 9.4%
NSP: 11.1

Lookout folks, we might have a competitor for best in show here!  This tastes better than most single IPAs do...  oh boy, what an outstanding imperial IPA.

It's got some heft to it, as you'd expect, but is not overly malty, and is nicely bitter (86 IBU).  I guess you're probably assuming it's hoppy too.  Well hell yes it is, and in the ways you want: both aromatically and flavorfully.  There's a lot of lemon zest type flavors, but also plenty of traditional 'hop' flavors.  You know what I mean, right?  Either way, a healthy burp gives you a chance to test your hop tasting skills all over again.  Nice.

If I had to compare this to something I would say, perhaps, the Super IPA (see, we can't escape the clutches of Alpine!); but, this is drier and a little more punctuated--cleaner tasting if you will.  Dreadnaught has it beat in terms of the complexity of flavors added by the hops they use, but this is nonetheless a mighty fine IPA with a great NSP.  I would have a tough time choosing almost any imperial IPAs over this, but since we don't get much from Founders around these parts, I'll just stick to Alpine, which has been through an extensive vetting process around here.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Telegraph Gypsy Ale

Type: Sour/Wild Ale
Origin: Santa Barbara, CA
Price: $12.35/750mL
ABV: 8.0%
NSP: 4.86

Not sure why Telegraph hasn't gotten more attention from the Non-Snob crew.  They're pretty easy to find, and while a bit on the pricey side they're not really out of range for our usual aim.  Maybe it's just that their style is a little different from most California breweries (i.e. they're not IPA-centric), so they get little fanfare.

Speaking of IPA-centric, I grabbed this at Bottlecraft after an afternoon (yes, that's three "aft"s within four words) at Alpine, which initially seemed like it might not be a wise idea.  But I was wrong, it was a brilliant idea, because sours are the perfect palate cleanser in the beer world.  This one's brewed with rye, wheat, and plums, plus brett.  All things that run counter to IPA, which fits right in with Telegraph's style.  The smell is fairly yeasty up front, but with a nice rich tartness (plums as an adjunct make a lot of sense at this point).  It's not horsey at all, which means they managed to keep the brett from going completely batshit.  All in all, it smells deliciously winy.

The flavor follows the nose pretty well- lots of winy fruit, with little spoiled flavors (maybe a touch at the end).  The rye's noticeable here, bringing some pepperiness in, which is a perfect accent to combine with the plums.  Just delicious all the way around.

So, if I had to pick a beer that approaches wine as closely as possible, this might be it- so many of the flavors and smells here (dark fruit, acidity, pepper) are way more wine-like than beer-like.  Highly recommended.  I should also note that either my phone typing skills dissolved on me, or the day of drinking 7.5%+ beer kicked in (though the former can obviously be correlated with the latter), because my final note for this was: "All in sll delicious, eould buy agsin ins heartbeat." 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Ska Mexican Logger

type: lager
origin: Durango, CO
price: $2/12oz
ABV: 4.2%
NSP: 7.5

Do you know what Tecate tastes like?  Well then you know what this tastes like.  This actually has bit more depth (not saying much) and doesn't taste like you're going to have a shitty night and an even shittier morning... more like a Pacifico I guess.  Honestly, this is right up my alley: a "shitty" beer, made well by a reputable craft brewery.  It's an absolutely perfect beer for the beach in the summer, and I grew up drinking the hell out of Mexican beers, but the NSP is so unbelievably low for the style--considering a 30-pack of Tecate hovers around 25 NSP--that I'll probably never buy it again.  So, unfortunately, let's move along...

Monday, June 17, 2013

Allagash FV13

Type: Sour/Wild Ale
Origin: Portland, ME
Price: ?
ABV: 8.9%
NSP: ?

John really went over and above sharing this one with me- it's a super special release from Allagash, and I can't imagine that many folks on this side of the country have been able to get their hands on it.  Wild yeast and bacteria are a huge problem in the wine industry, where sour and spoiled flavors will completely ruin the product, and once those little bastards are in the barrels they're impossible to eradicate.  But in the beer industry, those barrels are priceless, because they allow for spontaneous fermentation and creation of all those sour/bretty flavors that are so popular.  And the barrel Allagash used for FV13 isn't just any crappy little apple bucket- it's a 2700-gallon behemoth.

The beer isn't as clear as the picture shows- sorry, but I was enjoying this so much that I completely forgot to snap a photo while there was still beer in the glass.  Oh well.  If you really want to know, it looks like beer, only slightly redder (or check here).  The smell is delicious, fruity and tart.  I don't get a lot of malt, but that's OK because it's clearly not the focus here.  There's a bit of cola, maybe, and a touch of fruity sweetness.  The flavor's delightfully sour, and is a bit confusing in a really good way.  There's enough malt to make you feel like it's rich, but the sourness makes it seem really light.  So your brain thinks there's two different, contradictory things going on at the same time.  It's very clean flavor-wise, and the sweet fruitiness is just enough to keep it from going off into enamel-stripping territory.

Before I had this, I didn't even know that Allagash had ventured into sour territory.  Their Belgians are ubiquitous out here, and for good reason- they're outstanding (if on the pricey side).  Some of their specialty stuff has begun to show up in the past couple of years (e.g. Interlude and Fluxus), but none of their limited edition stuff.  This shows that they're not just damn good Belgian makers- they've got a lot of skill in the highly-difficult sour craft as well.  Top marks.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Cigar City Humidor IPA

Type: IPA
Origin: Tampa, FL
Price: ?
ABV: 7.5%
NSP: ?

My buddy John's back with more Cigar City, and he's a share-a-holic, so here I am back with another Cigar City review.  CCBC's Humidor Series beers are all aged on Spanish cedar, the wood used to construct cigar boxes- cedar, cigar boxes, humidor, Cigar City, you get the idea.  The base beer for this is Jai Alai, of which I've only had about an ounce while at GABF.  But I've had a full bottle of the White Oak-Aged Jai Alai (which was tremendous), so that should provide a good reference/comparison point.

This is maltier than I remember the WOA Jai Alai being, but I think I'll chalk that up to memory error, because looking at the pictures they're pretty much identical, allowing for variation in the ambient light.  The wood is very noticeable in the smell, but it's got a different character from first and foremost impression is that there's less vanilla.  It also smells almost spicy, like it'd go really well with Indian food.

The wood's also pretty prevalent in the flavor, but unfortunately, the hops are kind of one-note, mainly just bitter, which was not the case with either of the two previous versions of Jai Alai I've had.  It seems to get grassier (following my primary memory of straight Jai Alai) as it sits in the glass, which is good.  But in my opinion, the WOA version dominates this one in straight sets.

I think this would be very well-suited to a complementary meal, like the Indian food I mentioned.  But by itself, I find it a bit dull.  There seems to be a bit of a quandary in wood-aging IPAs- you'll pick up flavors from the wood during aging, but you'll also necessarily lose some hop freshness.  I'm not sure I'm really in favor of sacrificing fresher, cleaner hop flavors in favor of wood, but that's just a matter of preference.  I guess this just makes the WOA Jai Alai that much more remarkable, because in that one they managed to get great oaky flavor while also maintaining deliciously fresh hop citrus.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Golden Road Point the Way

Type: IPA, but sessiony (see ABV)
Origin: Los Angeles, CA
Price: $2.15/16oz
ABV: 5.2%...?
NSP: 12.98

I have to admit two things: (1) I'm a sucker for good design aesthetics, and (2) I'm totally completely down for some good canned beer.  I was lulled in by the cool packaging (see 1), and the 16oz size (see 2).  Hey, wait, that's exactly what Andy said in his Burning Bush review.  What an asshole, pre-plagiarizing my shit.  Anyway, while this one's not quite as obviously Moses-y as that one, Moses did indeed point the way towards some stuff, mainly Mount Sinai.  I'm not sure that's apropos of anything, but I thought it randomly noteworthy.

Smells pretty damn good, plenty of orangey citrus without a whole lot of malty sweetness to get in the way.  So it's a good start.  But dammit, 5.2%*?  That's sort of lame.  Maybe I've become a bit too much of a boozehound because of this cursed blog, but it seems to me that if your IPA doesn't get up to at least 6-6.5% you should call it a session (which the website mentions, but the can does not), or maybe at most an extra pale ale, rather than a true-to-form IPA.  

The flavor's pretty good, but the orange that's so prevalent in the nose is unfortunately absent.  But the bitterness level is pretty optimal, so that's good.  The body's surprisingly stout for an IPA in general, much less a 5.2%er, which makes it feel like a heftier brew.  It's nicely balanced, and pretty easy to drink.

Take all of that at face value, and it's a fairly positive review.  But here's my complaint: how often do you want a beer that fools you into thinking there's more alcohol in it?  Shit, that philosophy downright pisses me off, particularly as a NSP-centric Non-Snob SOB.  The beers that are going to win our non-existent awards are things like the masterfully ABV-hiding Horny Devil.  So while I don't mind this at all from a flavor perspective, I can't help but feel like I've somehow been swindled even though the NSP is respectable.

* The website says this is 5.9%, while the can clearly says 5.2%. Did the recipe change or did they mess up the packaging?  5.9% is somewhat less swindly than 5.2%.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Duck-Rabbit Hoppy Bunny A.B.A.

type: black IPA, or Cascadia Dark Ale
origin: Farmville, NC
price: $1.50/12oz
ABV: $7.3
NSP: 17.3

After hearing Duck-Rabbit is the self-proclaimed "dark beer specialists", I became intrigued to taste their take on a style that is, well, dark, but also rarely attempted.  And easy to screw up!  For me the gold standard is Deschutes' Hop in the Dark (HoD), and this is a close competitor to HoD, if not an equal.  The taste on Hoppy Bunny is exceptionally smooth, which runs counter to most peoples' expectation of what a 'dark beer' tastes like.  Its nicely hoppy and crafted with just enough dark stuff to be a CDA: definitely not a traditional IPA, but definitely not a porter.  It's 7.3% and has a kickass NSP too.

If there's anything to complain about, it might be the slightly sour/acidic finish, but it's hard to justify such a petty criticism.  HoD is still king to me, but I'm very impressed.  So there goes another North Carolina brewery making world class beer.  Nice.

I do have to wonder if the brewery created the label after the name, or the label design steered the brewery naming process.  Depending on your perspective, the cartoon on the label can be either a duck (facing the left), or a rabbit (facing the right).  How cute.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Brasserie Dupont Posca Rustica

Type: Belgian Ale/Gruit
Origin: Tourpes, Belgium
Price: $12.49/750mL
ABV: 7.0%
NSP: 4.20
website (no specific Posca Rustica site)

Back to the BDS, and thus once again a full 750 poured in the gigantic Karmeliet tulip. This one's a bit of a departure from the other Duponts, in that it's "hopped" with herbs and spices rather than hops, making it a gruit rather than a regular beer.  The bottle doesn't tell me what type of herbs and spices are in here, but I'm hoping it's not some weird combination like dill and cumin.

It smells pretty pilsnery, nice and green, which makes me think Dupont's selection of herbs and spices was intended to be vaguely reminiscent of regular hopping.  I hope it doesn't hold too true to straight hopping, though, because what would be the point of that?  Anyway, it doesn't smell quite as yeasty as the other Duponts, but that's probably my own fault- one pitfall of brimming the glass is that you can't really get your nose in there unless you have some sort of amphibious abilities.

The flavor's less pilsnery than the smell, but it's still kind of in that direction.  But then that beautiful Dupont yeast strolls in and reminds you what you're drinking.  It's incredibly light-bodied with a high carb level (more pilsnery accents).  The herb/spice quality is pretty remarkable (and shows up in the nose much more potently once the glass is more properly leveled).  I still can't really tell what herbs and spices are in there (I'm going to guess at least coriander, because I think I taste it and it's a frequent Belgian adjunct), but they definitely bring a unique flavor to the party.  The malt is just sort of...there (in a good way), and the yeast flavors are as delicious as they usually are and complement well whatever the spices are.  And damn, this is 8%?  

Well, if I was going to try a gruit, this was an ideal way to start, because the level of Dupont's craft is such that there's nothing out of place about the herbs and spices.  It feels like something very natural, even though for me it's new.  It doesn't quite get to the level of Biere de Miel or Foret, and it's not something that I'd drink everyday, but it's unique and well-made so it was definitely worth the time/money/calories/belches.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Lake Louie Kiss the Lips

Type: IPA
Origin: Arena, WI
Price: ?
ABV: 6.4%
NSP: ?

Wrapping up the Wisconsin Beer Plow with another IPA from a brewery outside Madison that is not, as far as I can tell, near any obvious body of water named Lake Louie. Oh wait- the website says that Lake Louie is a quarter-acre pond.  No wonder it barely registers on Google Maps.  That's actually pretty awesome, to name your brewery after the little puddle out back.

Smell-wise, it reminds me of a lot fo the IPAs I had in the craft beer club last year- which isn't really a compliment, unfortunately.  The malt part smells OK, just a touch sweet, not overwhelming at all.  But the hops smell pretty rough, with that whole dirty aspect that generally makes me a bit apprehensive.  I've been wondering if my use of the word "dirty" corresponds to "earthy", the latter of which I see in a lot of beer reviews.  Though it generally seems to be used as a positive in those reviews, whereas dirty is definitely not in mine.  But whatever.

Flavorwise, yeah, it's not great.  The bitterness is pretty rough and without much flavor.  Thankfully it's not palate-destroying, because if it was it'd be pretty much undrinkable.  I suppose the weight of the malt is pretty decent and balances the hops to a reasonable extent.  I'd say the best feature is the nice light body.  But it just doesn't taste like much- it comes off like an IPA made by a brewery whose expertise lies elsewhere.

Well, this was sort of an anticlimactic end to the Wisconsin Beer Plow.  Probably should've held on to the Illumination to review last of these IPAs, but I've never been good at saving the best for last.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Maui/Dogfish Head Liquid Breadfruit

type: imperial golden ale
origin: Maui, HI
price: $2.80/12oz
ABV: 8.2%
NSP: 10.4

Breadfruit is a Hawaiian staple crop, but I can't say I know what it looks or tastes like.  And, no, looking at a picture on Wikipedia doesn't count.  Still, after drinking this, I have no idea what the fruit is supposed to taste like.  There are aromas reminiscent of papaya and passion fruit, but it's pretty hard to tell where the breadfruit comes in.  Even though the brew is light bodied and decently hoppy and bitter, it's got quite a high ABV that remains essentially absent.  That's probably Dogfish Head talking right there: massive beers with big flavors.

I like this mostly because it demonstrates each brewers' strengths but in a balanced way.  Maui makes beers that you just want to guzzle on a sandy beach (e.g. Mana Wheat), and Dogfish comes up with big bold flavors with borderline dangerous alcohol percentages (e.g. Midas Touch).

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Furthermore Fatty Boombalatty

Type: Belgian Ale
Origin: Milwaukee, WI
Price: ?
ABV: 7.2%
NSP: ?

Starting to wind down the Wisconsin Beer Plow, here with the only non-IPA in the bunch.  The name of this beer's a little ridiculous, but I like do the name of the beer company (not specifically the brewery, but the company- this is made at Milwaukee Brewing Company, but by Furthermore Beer...details that are sort of irrelevant).

Dig the nose on this one a lot, just a whole shitload of Belgian yeasty goodness.  Super bready with a mess of I guess I might as well just say banana bread, shan't I?  Some nice spices in there (which also fits in with the banana bread theme) too.  The low-ish booze prevents any astringency too.  And when you put it all together, this smells like an eminently shonkable beer.

Yup, pretty tasty.  Just hits the Belgian style right on the nose.  The yeast flavors aren't as complex as, say, Unibroue or Dupont, but then, I don't know how many breweries in the States have pulled that off.  But it's got pretty much everything you'd need in a Belgian ale- which is to say it tastes exactly down the path to which the nose directed you, i.e. banana bread.  The carb's pretty poppy, which keeps the body light...not that it ever threatened to get heavy.

This beer shows that these guys have a great appreciation for the hallmark Belgian ale style, because they've let the yeast do all of the talking, and it's got some interesting things to say.  It's the sort of beer that makes me curious about the rest of their portfolio, which is exactly what I'm after in my Beer Plows- something that'll make me track them down in the future.  Cheers, Furthermore, and furthermore, cheers.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Samuel Adams Double Agent IPL

type: india pale lager
origin: Boston, MA
price: $8.50/6-pack
ABV: 5.0%
NSP: 12.5

Who wants to drink light bodied lager with clean, crisp flavors, and is as hoppy as most IPA?  Me.  You too?  Good.  This style--the India Pale Lager--is the future of brewing.  Once beer drinkers figure out this is exactly the style they've been looking for it's going to explode.  Take note, my friends.

There are only two IPLs that I'm aware of: this, and Ballast Point's Fathom.  So, it's rather easy to choose the best one (hint: it ain't Sam's version).  Sadly, this is barely comparable to Fathom, mostly because Fathom is incredible.  Had I never tried Fathom prior to this, I would remark about how I really enjoy the style.  I do.  In fact, I love this style of beer.  How does the style fair with other beer drinkers, though?  A quick look at some BA reviews makes it clear that a fair number of people are impressed by how delicious the style is.

As I alluded too above, this tastes like a relatively simple loger that's been hopped much like a west coasty IPA.  Think Pale 31, in lager form.  It's simple, hoppy, and cheap.  Honestly, what else do you need for most beer drinking occasions?

In summary, I would buy this again.  But, I really, really cannot wait until Ballast bottles Fathom.  Did I mention I love Fathom?  Mmmm, Fathom.  OK, no more about Fathom...


Monday, June 3, 2013

New Glarus IIPA

Type: Imperial IPA
Origin: New Glarus, WI
Price: ?
ABV: 9.75%

Now we come to Wisconsin's most well-known brewery outside of Miller.  Or at least what I think is the most well-known brewery, I don't know how Wisconsinites would feel about that statement.  This is part of New Glarus' Thumbprint Series (hence the whorls in the outline of Wisconsin on the label) and is apparently a very limited edition.  I notice that the head brewer's name is Daniel Carey.  Is this what he does when he's on hiatus from drumming for Tool?  What a Renaissance man.  Also, the foil wrapper allows you to give the bottle a nice mullet, so +1 for that.

Anyway, this is skunky as hell (hop-wise, not freshness-wise).  Right when I poured it, it was like I'd had a bunch of scallions shoved up my nose.  That actually makes me a bit worried, because it makes me think that it's got lots of Summit hops in it, and those are also used quite heavily in Gubna, which is the worst beer I've had as a Non-Snobber (that might be a bit of hyperbole, but it's fucking awful nonetheless).  But after the rather limp Really Cool Waterslides, I'm ready for something that'll be a bit more Hulkamanic.

When I first take a gulp, I like it.  Lots of green hoppiness, good bitterness level for an IIPA, reasonable malt heft without too much sweetness (though it is a touch on the syrupy side).  I'm looking at some of the BA reviews, though, because I'm wondering if I'm missing something.  A lot of those SOBs seem to be finding a lot of tropical fruit and citrus, and I'm not getting any of that.   I keep getting oniony/garlicky flavors.  And as it warms, when I inhale deeply, I get something like raw green garlic soaked in grain alcohol.  That's more specific than I'd usually be in these reviews, but when something specific comes to mind I try to note it.  Back to the point- it's not nearly as oppressive as Gubna, and as it rapidly destroyed my palate I didn't find anything too objectionable (I thought I may have noticed a bit of Samer's favorite diacetyl-produced butteriness initially, but I stopped caring after a couple of minutes).  But I didn't find it to be very complex either.  Sort of like munching on a hop berry and feeling a bit buzzed afterwards.  Or doing a shot of Everclear chased with a mouthful of green garlic, if that's more your fancy.

To summarize- onion/garlic and booze.  Two things I love dearly, but put 'em together in a beverage and I'm not overly keen.  Still, though, I didn't at all mind drinking this.  So I don't know what to make of it.  Definitely an outlier, though, especially here in San Diego.  And as Daniel Tosh says, for that we thank you.