Thursday, February 26, 2015

Green Flash Symposium IPA (Hop Odyssey series)

type: IPA
origin: San Diego, CA
price: $7/22oz
ABV: 7%
NSP: 6.5

Green Flash's Hop Odyssey has produced a number of outstanding beers, including 30th Street Pale Ale (I friggin' love that beer).  The trump card with this IPA is that five different hops were used.

Unfortunately the amalgamation of these ends up tasting a bit too much like the Stone IPA to be very unique.  That might be because their flavors are new to me, but I'm guessing at some point there's not much to be gained by adding different hops (like when you mix paints together and it ends up a baby-pooh brown because Bob Ross lied to you).

My experience with symposiums has generally been that I start out excited and end up bored by the end.  It's not quite the same drastic change with this beer, but I'm definitely not interested in buying this off the shelves again.  But there's no reason I wouldn't order it at a bar, since the beer is technically very well crafted.  In the face of myriad California IPAs, it's a tough sell.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Sudwerk Cascaderade

type: IPL
origin: Davis, CA
price: $7/22oz
ABV: 6.6%
NSP: 6.1

IPL is easily in my top ten favorite beer styles of all-time, so it's fun to watch a burgeoning style develop.  Hell, even Jim Koch, famous hater of IPAs, tried to get in on the action.

Although there's a long list of hops on the bottle, this seems to have only a one-note character to it.  But it does have mildly sweet -- not too dry -- base and I get a touch of vanilla at the finish which sounds odd, but is pleasant.

This is 'pretty good', I'd say, but hardly a heavyweight champion.  It should be purchased again though, since I'm guessing it tastes ridiculous in its fresh state; but Fathom is still better, and still cheaper.  +1 for a sweet name though.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Grassroots Brewing Arctic Saison (Batch 2)

type: saison/farmhouse ale
origin: Anchorage, AK
price: $12/750
ABV: 6.0%
NSP: 3.3

If you want a little backstory as to why I try and buy anything from Hill Farmsteadthis post eloquates precisely why.

And I'm so glad I purchased this.

Sure, it appears thin and watered down, but it's absolutely packed with flavor.  There's a tart yet barely funky aspect from the brett and a nice level of acidity, and the oak conditioning lends a nice rustic, woody aspect...  whoa whoa whoa, I'm getting a little too esoteric here... sorry I can't help it ... and a really unique herbal finish. Sorry, I'm a little over-stimulated.

Basically, this is one hell of a beer that should be appreciated by those who can get it.  And I am throughly stoked to be heading out to Vermont in June with Brats -- we're surely detouring up to b.f.e. Vermont to sample some fine rural ales.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Alaskan Icy Bay IPA

Type: IPA
Origin: Juneau, Alaska
ABV: 6.2%

Alaskan is one of those breweries that is large but consistently puts out good products that can appeal to both the masses as well as the beer enthusiast. This one is a new IPA that they came up with in the past few months. I generally like my IPAs very hop forward and aggressive with lots of pine and citrus. This one, is not like that, although it is a well balanced IPA. The malts are light and the hopping is in check, but there is nothing revolutionary about it. I would view this as a gateway west-coast IPA and you would wax nostalgic about it as you move onto bigger and better things.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Alaskan Double Black IPA

Type: black double IPA
Origin: Juneau, Alaska
ABV: 8.5%

This is definitely a style gaining traction, and probably didn't exist much at all 5 years ago. Stone's Sublimely Self-Righteous was the first to gain widespread attention. At first, was not a huge fan of the style, but have grown much more fond of it after sampling Reuben's Black Imperial IPA (sorry, haven't reviewed it), who are able to meld a dark coffee roast seamlessly with a citrus hop bomb in an absolutely delightful manner. This one is not as forward thinking as Reuben's take, but it is a damn fine beer in its own right. The thing that strikes me most here is the smoothness and simplicity of this beer. The malts are quite chocolately and definitely give a lactic mouthfeel as a milk stout would. The roast is light and in check and the hops are peeking through just enough to remind you this is an IPA. There is only a faint citrus quality to the hops, which if they were able to up it just a bit, this beer would drink like a chocolate covered orange. I still like Reuben's take a bit more, but would drink this all day if offered.  

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Propolis Prunus

Type: belgian strong dark ale
Origin: Port Townsend, Washington
Price: $12.99 per 750 mL
ABV: 7.5%
NSP: 4.3

Propolis has quite a cult following in Washington but is largely unknown outside the area. Their beers are not brewed fairly often and bottle counts are not high, so its a surprise they aren't more sought after. This one definitely caught my eye: a belgian dark strong ale aged on cherries with herbs. That description would lend one to think of an herbal Russian River Supplication, and it isn't too far off from that. The smell is a combo of a nice dark belgian strong ale and a kriek. A little rosemary comes through, but cherries dominate. The taste is dry, herbal, floral and clean. More rosemary, maybe some fresh mint. Not as sour as the smell, but definitely a little bit of tart cherry on there, and definitely not as sour as Supplication. I definitely get a bit of spicy heat on the finish that lingers a bit in a good way. I think the herbal aspect is the perfect counterbalance to the wild sour funky part of this beer that just makes it perfectly crushable.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Great Lakes Barrel-Aged Blackout Stout

Type: barrel-aged imperial stout
Origin: Cleveland, Ohio
Price: ?

I was able to get two of these in a trade awhile back, so of course, I drank one fresh and have been sitting on my second bottle. My first impression of this beer was full-on Wilford Brimley level of diabeetus. It was fine at the time, but didn't really care to write anything about it. So how does a year change this? Lets take our insulin and find out.

The pour is black. Big surprise. Some lacing, reasonable head, whatever. Looks like an imperial stout. The smell definitely has a bit of cold-brew coffee and some nice roastiness. And a bit of some cloying hersheys goodness is starting to come through. The taste, pure alcoholic chocolate milk. Not as absurdly sweet as I remember, but still would probably kill a kid in Africa. Final impression: time treated this well, but there are still much better options available. Although, what the fuck do I know, HuffPo just called Cleveland the best beer city in America (not a scientific poll).

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Original Ritterguts Gose

type: Gose
origin: Borna, Germany
price: $6.50/500ml at Haus Staudt
ABV: 4.2%
NSP: 3.2

Mild/light/easy everything is the key to a successful gose, in my experience, and this is arguably the best of the style I've ever had.  As expected, it's mildly tart with a low body wheat base that's slightly sweet and fruity, with a tempered ABV.  It almost reminds me of a tart hard cider.   Either way it's just mother flapping delicious, and excellent fodder during the exciting Deflated-ball/Domestic-violence Bowl 2015, even if the NSP is absolutely horrible.