Saturday, June 30, 2012

New Holland Brewing Rye Hatter Rye P.A.

The New Holland Brewing Company is in Holland, Michigan.  According to the bottle: "Rye lends spiciness to the caramel-malt base, while creating a creamy texture.  Dry-hopping contributes a fresh citrus finish."

The beer pours a deep orange, amber, copper in color.  There is an inch of thick, foamy and creamy head, off-white in color.  The aroma is intense, malty, sourdough bread, mix of citrus juices, with lots of tangerine.  There is a creamy element even in the aroma.  The taste follows the aromas closely, with lots of bold citrus flavors over a solid rye malt base.  The finish is dry, fairly bitter, with nice citrus aftertaste, especially orange.  This is excellent.




Boatswain Twin Screw Steamer Double IPA

Boatswain beers are brewed by the Rhinelander Brewing Company of Monroe, Wisconsin (Minhas Craft Breweries).  This was purchased at Trader Joe's, which is the only place I have ever seen the brand.  A boatswain or bosun is the officer on a ship in charge of the hull and all related maintenance.


This Double India Pale Ale is 8.4% ABV and 75 IBU's.  the beer pours a deep copper and orange in color.  There is a half-inch head of thick and creamy foam that is off-white in color.  The aroma is quite malty, sweet potato, grass and sour apples.  The taste is also very malty, caramel sweetness, offset by a tangy and brassy-grassy finish, with a moderate bitterness.  The mouthfeel is light and creamy and drinkable.  The taste is better than the aroma.  This beer is strange, it is a terrible DIPA, but it is a pretty good strong Oktoberfest style beer.  They seriously should repackage it as that.







Stoudts American Pale Ale

The Stoudts Brewing Company is in Adamstown, Pennsylvania.  This beer is 4.1% ABV and has been the brewery's best seller for ten years running.  I like the washed out American flag design.

The beer pours a bright orange golden in color.  There is an inch of creamy, thick and foamy head that is off-white in color.  The aroma is light tropical fruit and citrus over a subtle bed of malt.  The taste is light and fresh, floral and citrus over a light caramel malt, with a tangy and then bitter finish.  The beer is light in the mouth, with just the right amount of carbonation, and finishes crisp and dry.  This is a nice easy drinker.




Ringside Beer All American Lager

Ringside Beer is from Saratoga Springs, New York.  This indicates a contract brew by the Olde Saratoga (Mendocino) Brewery.  There is very little information about this beer online, and even their own website is still under construction.

The beer pours a pale golden yellow in color.  There is a half inch of pure white head that dissipates somewhat rapidly.  The aroma is golden grains, roasted corn, with grassy, bitter hops.  The taste is malty golden grain, straw in an old wooden barn, with a fairly mild finish, not much bitterness.  The mouthfeel is well and crisply carbonated.  This is a decent American lager, I would drink it again.



Friday, June 29, 2012

Cold Spring IPA

The Cold Spring Brewery is in Cold Springs, Minnesota.  Associated with them is also the new Third Street Brewhouse who you should also check out (they have a great cream ale).

This India Pale Ale is 6.5% ABV and 70 IBU's and comes in a massive 32 ounce can.  (Beware, the can has a VERY drippy lip!)  It says it is Cold Fusion Filled, what ever the hell that means.  The beer pours a glowing copper in color.  There is a short lasting head that is off-white in color.  The aroma is mandarin orange and fresh tall grass over a caramel malt base.  The taste generally follows the aromas, but is fairly bland.  The finish is moderately bitter and dry.  Overall: Meh.




Clown Shoes Supa Hero

Clown Shoes Beer comes from the Mercury Brewing Company of Ipswich, Massachusetts.

This India Pale Ale is 8.0% ABV.  According to the bottle:  "Short Pours?  Drinking Geuze through straws?  Dusty bottles growing old in liquor stores?  Bwahahahahahaha!  Meet Boston's own Supa Hero, Captain M., The Protecta of the Bee-ah!  This India Pale Ale will be made with the freshest, dankest, most wicked ahhh-some hops available at brew time."

The beer pours a somewhat hazy orange amber in color.  There is a half-inch of creamy off-white foam.  The aroma is orange and malty.  There is not a lot going on in the aroma area.  The taste is heavy on orange fruit, mandarin, lots of malt, some caramel, tea with cream, and, as the label indicated, a dank hop element.  The finish is very bitter and astringently dry.



McNeill's Brewery Extra Special Bitter Ale

McNeill's Brewery is in Brattleboro, Vermont.  This 5.5% ABV beer is described as a highly hopped ESB and it is bottle conditioned.


The beer pours a dark golden, light burnt orange in color.  There is a short head of white foam.  The aroma is malty, light caramel, with a light fruity, grassy tang.  The taste is also tangy, a combination of fruity yeast and lightly fruity and grassy hops, over a noticeable malt, with a very bitter and dry finish.  







Cricket Hill Hopnotic IPA

The Cricket Hill Brewery is in Fairfield, New Jersey.


This 5.2% ABV India Pale Ale pours a bright and clear orange-copper in color.  There is a tall, thick and foamy head that is off-white in color.  The aroma is clean and grassy, jasmine tea, over a solid semi-sweet malt base.  The taste follows the aromas directly, with a clean and brassy finish, lightly bitter and dry.  This beer is not a spectacular IPA, but it is a nice and pleasant easy drinker, and far better than when I originally tried it.  It still is not a hop head's IPA, but it does not have any off notes, I would not seek it out strongly (being a hop head), but I would not avoid it anymore.  (Why did I try it again?  Oh hell, why not?)


My review from May of 2011:  Pours an orangish-golden to light copper-amber in color.  Slight floral and fruit hop aroma.  The flavor is subdued and well balanced with the malt.  There is a light floral and fruit hop and a light caramel malt.  This is not a very bold IPA and would not please most hop heads.  I tried this again on May 27, 2011 and it is even more disappointing.  It has a light, slightly sour fruit flavor.  This is not a good IPA, nor even much of a good beer of any style, and I would avoid it in the future.







Capital Brewery Hop Cream

The Capital Brewery is in Middleton, Wisconsin.  This is 5.3% ABV and 35 IBU's, and according to the bottle it features an "upfront hop aroma and flavor that evolves into a surprising rich, smooth finish."

The beer pours a deep golden orange, heading to copper.  There is a tall half-inch of thick and creamy white foam.  The aroma is solidly malty, but also with a fresh, grassy hop aroma.  The taste follows the aromas directly, solidly malty, touch of sweet potato, with a grassy hop finish that ends with just the right bitterness.  The mouthfeel is rich and creamy.  I would say this is a good session beer for fall and spring, perhaps a bit too rich for a real hot summer day.




Thursday, June 28, 2012

Sierra Nevada Brewing Company Southern Hemisphere Harvest Fresh Hop Ale 2012 and 2011

The Sierra Nevada Brewing Company is in Chico, California.  They are one of the granddaddy stalwarts of craft brewing.  


2012 - Still 6.7% ABV, the beer pours a glowing copper in color.  There is nearly an inch of thick and creamy foam, off-white in color.  The aroma is piney, tobacco, light tropical fruit, tea, very light orange.  The flavor is intense, yet subtle, a tingle of citrus and pine, lots of orange and some light tropical fruit, balanced on a solid base of slightty caramel sweet malt.  The finish is quite bitter, with a very dry aftertaste.  There is a slow and steady build up of pine resin aftertaste as the beer is consumed.  Comparing descriptions, this is quite different from the 2011, but it is also very good.  






2011 Southern Hemisphere Harvest Fresh Hop Ale - Tasted in August of 2011.  According to the bottle: "This harvest ale features fresh hops from New Zealand - where fall occurs during our spring.  These fresh whole cones are picked, dried, and shipped to the brewery within days of the harvest."  The beer is 6.7% ABV and pours a glowing dark copper-amber-orange in color with a half inch of off-white thick and billowy foam that leaves thick lacing down the glass.  The aroma is big, fresh hops, pine followed by cantaloupe and tropical fruit, balanced on a good malt base.  The taste is less hop forward than the aroma, fruity, spicy, bitter, dry, just a touch of pine, and quite a bit of very strong tea with lemon.  



Brainerd Lakes First Pull IPA

Brainerd Lakes Beer is brewed and bottled in Monroe, Wisconsin.  I dont' know if the founders of the company are in the Brainerd area of Minnesota, but this indicates a contract beer by Minhas Craft Brewery.  This 6.75% ABV India Pale Ale is named after the satisfaction of having your motor start on the first pull.

The beer pours an orange-amber in color with an inch of creamy, foamy head that is off-white in color.  The aroma is quite malty for an IPA, a touch of orange, and a slight sour smell.  The taste is mostly malty, caramel and tea, followed by a wave of bitterness.  This is okay as an English style IPA, but if it was meant to be an American style IPA, it is a total failure.




Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Big Bay Brewing Company Long Weekend IPA

The Big Bay Brewing Company is from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

This 5.5% ABV India Pale Ale has 45 IBU's.  It pours a cloudy burnt orange in color.  There is a massive, out of control, foamy head that is off-white in color.  The aroma is fruity, tangy yeast, orange and lemon.  The taste is yeasty, tangy and tart, over a solid malt bed.  There is a slight citrus rind bitterness on this finish.  This tastes to me like a Belgian-style IPA.  There is nothing wrong with it per se, but it does not do anything for me.




Summit Brewing Summer Ale

The Summit Brewing Company is in St. Paul, Minnesota.  Last year was their 25th anniversary, they are a grand daddy of the craft beer movement, and a Midwestern craft stalwart.  I think of them as the Sierra Nevada Brewing of the Midwest.


This 4.9% ABV summer seasonal is a Kolsch-style ale.  It features the Minnehaha Falls of Minneapolis on the label.  The beer pours a touch hazy, pale golden yellow, with a tall head of pure white foam.  The aroma is clean, golden malty grain, floral and grassy, with a touch of honey and herbal hoppiness.  The taste is lightly sweet golden grain, grassy, followed by a bitter and dry finish.  The aftertaste is lightly fruity hops.  It is well carbonated, drinking very crisp and refreshing.  This succeeds where so many American Kolsch-style ales fail.  It is a perfect beer for summer.



2017: The beer pours a lightly hazed pure golden. There is an inch of white, foamy head. The aroma is grain, bread dough, french bread crust, light floral and hay. The taste follows the aromas, but the taste is a bit brighter, with a touch of citrus. The finish is fairly bitter, grassy. The beer drinks easy. This is a flavorful drinker built for summer. 



Monday, June 25, 2012

Summit Brewing Company Saga IPA

The Summit Brewing Company is in St. Paul, Minnesota.  Last year was their 25th anniversary, they are a grand daddy of the craft beer movement, and a Midwestern craft stalwart.  I think of them as the Sierra Nevada Brewing of the Midwest.

This 6.4% ABV India Pale Ale is named after the Norse goddess Saga, a drinking companion of the god Odin. The beer pours a sparkling orange golden and copper in color.  There is a tall half-inch of creamy, foamy white head that leaves sticky lacing of moderate density down the glass.  The aroma is hop forward, loads of tropical fruits, melons, a touch of pineapple, bits of pine, and some sun tea with lemon.  The aroma is divine.  The taste follows the aromas, hitting all of the notes of the smell, feeling creamy, adding more tea and some orange.  The mouthfeel is carbonated, yet creamy, smooth, and light in the mouth despite the massive flavors.   The finish is grapefruit rind bitterness. This is a tasty, easy drinking hop nectar worthy of the gods.






Sunday, June 24, 2012

Staples Mill Brewing Co. Frat Boy Pilsner

The Staples Mill Brewing Company is in Stillwater, Minnesota.  They are a small-batch company, producing ten barrels at a time.  They are in downtown Stillwater in the old Isaac Staples Sawmill building.  This beer is unfiltered and 5.0% ABV.

The beer pours slightly hazy, and a very deep yellow golden in color.   There is a tall quarter-inch of thick foamy white head that dissipates somewhat quickly.  The aroma is mainly malty, toasted to nearly burnt.  The taste is malty with an abrupt turn into a bitter and tart note, almost medicinal or soapy.  There is something not quite right here, either a quality control issue, or the parts just not fitting together into a coherent whole.  As I drink more of the beer, I would say not a quality control issue probably, there is just something about this beer that doesn't work, an off-note.



Saturday, June 23, 2012

McNeill's Brewery Sunshine IPA

McNeill's Brewery is in Brattleboro, Vermont.

The beer pours dark copper in color, the color of dark iced tea.  It is well carbonated and there is a large, tall, thick head, creamy, foamy and off-white in color.  The aroma is orange creamsicle and caramel malt.  The taste is very full of creamy orange over a caramel malt base, with a bitter and tangy hop finish.  The aftertaste is quite bitter.  This is the orange dairy dessert of IPA's.



Lucid Brewing Dyno Pale Ale

Lucid Brewing is from Minnetonka, Minnesota (you know you need to purify yourself in the waters of Lake Minnetonka). "Clarity in Thinking, Excellence in Drinking"  Dyno is a 5.2% ABV pale ale.

The beer pours a fairly unique pale brown in color for a beer, it has the color of A&W Cream Soda (it doesn't show as well in the picture as it does sitting next to you). There is about an inch head of creamy foam, just off-white in color. The aroma is floral, almost herbal, citrus with orange and lemon, and tea.  The taste is tea with light caramel, floral and fruity, with a moderately bitter finish. It is quite dry on the finish as well. The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. This is a very pleasing pale ale.




I ORIGINALLY HAD THE SCENE FROM PURPLE RAIN HERE WHERE APPOLONIA "PURIFIED" HERSELF IN THE SUPPOSED WATERS OF LAKE MINNETONKA

That scene has been removed from YouTube, so I will post this instead:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnWdnD0oyBk

Trying this about year after my original post, the bottle has become more yellow, the beer has become lighter in color and even better, but this is the second bottle of Lucid I have tried in the last couple of weeks that has floaties. They apparently have a chill haze problem they need to remedy.


Friday, June 22, 2012

Lucid Brewing Cammo Double Pale Ale

Lucid Brewing is from Minnetonka, Minnesota (you know you need to purify yourself in the waters of Lake Minnetonka).  "Clarity in Thinking, Excellence in Drinking"  Cammo is a 9.0% ABV double pale ale.  The name?  From the bottle: "Our blend of the finest malt and hops camouflages the beer making it easier to drink than those with half its prowess."  Well, let's just see about that.

The beer pours a dark, yet clear and bright, copper in color.  There is a short head of creamy foam, off-white in color.  The aroma is toasted malt, a touch of caramel, fresh sun-brewed tea with a bit of lemon, a hint of pine, and a creamy element, even in the aroma.  The taste is nicely malted, lightly roasted, toasted, touch of caramel, with a hint of orange fruitiness, the same tea as the aroma, and then a sudden and shudderingly bitter finish that is actually complimentary to the flavors.  The mouthfeel is creamy, sweet, then finishing dry and bitter.  This is not a hop bomb, but it is an elegantly malty ale with a nicely bitter finish.





Watch Prince and Appolonia in the Purple Rain Lake Minnetonka scene here:




Leech Lake Brewing 3 Sheets Imperial IPA

The Leech Lake Brewing Company is in Walker, Minnesota.  Why?  According to the bottle "Because paradise requires a brewery."  Hmmm,, paradise...want to swim in Leech Lake?  Actually, northern Minnesota is beautiful, I have not been to Leech Lake, but have been nearby in Brainerd once.  "A lake of beer...handcrafted, one small batch at a time." 


This 10.5% ABV and 100 IBU Imperial India Pale Ale pours a very dark copper, burnt orange, to medium brown in color.  There is a slight head of off-white to light brown foam.  The aroma is sweet, alcohol apparent, caramel, lightly fruity, along with a tart note.  The taste is flat, both cloying sweet, yet tart at the same time.  The finish is bitter and somehow watery at the same time.  This is a failure of an Imperial IPA.  In fact, the Empire should have the Death Star destroy this beer.







Ass Kisser Double IPA

Ass Kisser Ales are from San Jose, California.  This is a 7.75% ABV double India pale ale.

The beer pours orange, amber and copper in color.  There is a tall half-inch of thick and creamy head that is off-white in color.  The aroma is intensely orange, somewhat sweet, between orange marmalade and candied oranges.  The orange is over a malted caramel base, and some English style tea with cream.  There is just a hint of a whiff of pine.  The taste follows the aromas, lots of sweet and tart orange over a solid malt base that is toasted and caramel.  The mouthfeel is smooth and very creamy, with a decent amount of bitterness on the finish that prevents any cloying sweetness.  I have had DIPA's that had a similar approach (orange and malty), but none as flavorful and well executed as this one.  This is worth seeking out.




Epic Brewing Hop Syndrome Lager

The Epic Brewing Company is in Salt Lake City, Utah.  This is release #7 from their Exponential Series of limited release bottlings.  This beer is 4.8% ABV, the name intrigues me, and I am anxious to see how it tastes.

The beer pours a pale golden yellow in color.  It is well carbonated and has a half inch of pure white creamy, foamy head that leaves layers of sticky lacing down the glass.  The aroma is bright and clean, lemony, citrusy, and lightly grassy.  The taste follows the aromas, sets the lemony citrus zest on a bed of golden toasted grain, and finishes on a bitter hop note.  The mouthfeel is both carbonated and creamy.  This is a tasty beer and makes a great summer drinker.  This beer is everything I hoped it would be when I saw its name.




Leech Lake Brewing Blindside Pale Ale

The Leech Lake Brewing Company is in Walker, Minnesota.  Why?  According to the bottle "Because paradise requires a brewery."  "A lake of beer...handcrafted, one small batch at a time."  This beer is bottle-conditioned, 6.5% ABV and features a flipping wakeboarder on the bottle.

The beer pours a dark copper, amber and burnt orange in color.  There is a generous head of thick and creamy foam that is off-white in color.  The aroma is mild, lightly malty with a light, tart fruitiness and yeastiness.  The taste is sour and tart on top of a mild bed of roasted maltiness.  The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy.  This beer is confusing to me.  It is not a hop forward American pale ale, it is not a more reserved British style pale ale.  Its yeasty tartness is more akin to some kind of Belgian style ale.  I just don't get what this beer is supposed to be.



Thursday, June 21, 2012

McNeill's Dead Horse IPA

McNeill's Brewery is in Brattleboro, Vermont.  This 5.7% ABV beer is bottle-conditioned, and according to the bottle, it is the winner of 13 national and international awards.  According to their website, it is an English-style IPA.

The beer pours a hazy deep amber and burnt orange in color.  There is a half-inch of creamy, foamy head that is off-white to very light brown in color.  The beer has a fruitiness reminiscent of Juicy Fruit gum.  There is orange marmalade with a touch of iodine.  The taste follows the aroma quite directly.  It is on a solid malt base, but the hops predominate, leaving a very dry and bitter finish.