Friday, January 31, 2014

Toppling Goliath ZeeLander

The Toppling Goliath Brewing Company is in Decorah, Iowa. They make not only the best beer in Iowa, but some of the best in the entire nation. This 5.5% ABV India Pale Ale features the Nelson Sauvin hop from New Zealand. 


The beer pours orange dark honey golden in color. There is about an inch of off-white foamy head. The aroma is dank, earthy, musky, passion fruit and grapefruit. The taste follows directly upon the aromas. The finish is quite dry and fairly bitter. There is a lot of grapefruit rind in the aftertaste. It is medium-bodied, with a crisp, but not overwhelming carbonation. It drinks very easy. Solid as a sheer cliff of granite. If you like the dank, earthy, musky, funky kind of IPA, this is a great example.


The 2014 bottle:

Toppling Goliath X Hops Pale Ale (Orange)

The Toppling Goliath Brewing Company is in Decorah, Iowa. They make not only the best beer in Iowa, but some of the best in the entire nation. This is the last of five releases in their new X Hop series. They will each have a unique color to their label, and each color represents a new experimental hop. They encourage people who try the X Hops beers to provide their input back to the brewery. They will then try to encourage hop growers to grow more of these new hops so as to have more regular production of some of these varieties.  (See Red here and Green here and Blue here and Yellow here). After all five different varieties are released, there is going to be a release of all five together in one Rainbow beer. My brain is already nearly exploding just thinking of that!


The beer pours a gleaming and quite clear copper and amber in color. There is over an inch of off-white foamy head. The aroma is bright and fruity, pineapple and passion fruit, apricot and peach. Later on aromas come through like a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.  The taste is cleanly malty, almost lagerish with its funky note, layered in the fruit, like toast dripping with apricot and peach marmalade, a bit of mango coming in, and then coming on stronger. Then the hops take over and it is tropical fruit with a bit of musk that fills the palate. There is a moderate tangy bitterness on the finish. There is a lingering aftertaste of tart, tangy, bitter citrus zest. It is medium bodied and moderately carbonated. This is delicious, yet confusing, too bad I could only get one bottle.  I need more to make sense of this.

After having had all five (so, so lucky to have gotten all five, please let me get the combined), I would, merely as personal preference rate them as follows:  Green is the clear number one for me, Red second, and the Blue was last.  Orange and Yellow are in a fight for third and fourth place that I don't think I could resolve without drinking them head to head. Keep in mind, rating these is like rating your children, you actually love them all.


Stone Enjoy By 2.14.14 IPA

The Stone Brewing Company is in Escondido, San Diego County, California. This 9.4% ABV beer is, according to the bottle, "Devastatingly Desirable." The name incorporates the limited "best by" date of the beer, because they really want you to drink it as fresh as possible. Specifically brewed not to last, the bottle is filled with warning slogans, "Live for the now, the present," "There is no better time than right now to enjoy this beer," and simply "Enjoy Now!" This batch was bottled on January 10, 2014.

The beer pours a very clear copper and amber in color. There is over an inch of thick, foamy head, off-white to very light tan in color. The aroma is hop forward, piney, zesty, musky, tea with lemon, over ripe melons, light tropical fruit. The taste is big and round, lots of over ripe melons and tropical fruits, lush, with a secondary wave of pine and grapefruit rind. The malt is toasted and caramel, big enough to hold up the big wave of hops, but not intruding into the flavors. The finish is spicy and moderately bitter. It is medium to full bodied, feeling smooth and round in the mouth. This is very, very good.


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Brrr Fest 2014

Saturday, January 25, 2014 was the 5th Annual Coralville Brrr Fest with a beer festival at the Marriot Hotel at the Iowa River Landing in Coralville, Iowa.  This was my second time attending this fest and it was again held in the spacious conference center at the hotel. It was well run again, with plenty of volunteers keeping the line moving into the event, premium tasting glasses for the VIP hour, easily available rinse stations (that they did a great job keeping filled with water!), and bottles of water available for free to keep hydrated.  

The event again ran from 1-4 p.m., with an extra hour starting at noon with the premium ticket.  The premium was well worth it, as the crowd surged considerably at 1 and long lines started forming. The event sold out in advance this year. I understand there were 400-500 tickets sold for the VIP hour and over 2,000 attendees in all. There were about forty-four breweries from the Midwest represented, with the majority from Iowa. 


I was fighting off an oncoming cold and not 100% on my game this year, so I failed to take any pictures, but here are some of the highlights for me. The best new brewer running away with it was Big Grove Brewery from nearby Solon, Iowa. I sampled four of their beers, and all were very nice, tasty, solid. They had Alliteration DIPA, a collaboration with Bell's Brewery featuring local honey, that is probably actually better than Hopslam. Alas, I missed the special release of their Stout aged in Short's whiskey barrels.  Too bad, because I tried the Short's Whiskey, and it was very good.


Natural segue, the Short's whiskey was from Cedar Ridge Distillery, who were also present and pouring several of their whiskies. I tried three, the Short's whiskey was very good (proprietary for Short's Burger and Shine, an Iowa City joint with great burgers and an amazing Iowa beer selection), as was the Griff's Cowboy Whiskey. The Cedar Ridge Iowa Bourbon Whiskey is amazingly tasty and smooth. Later in the day, former Hawkeye and NFL kicker and Iowa boy Nate Kaeding was pouring samples (the second most accurate kicker in NFL history).


Other highlight beers for me were the wonderful Double Cherry Saison from Court Avenue Brewing (a Belgian-style saison conditioned with tart cherry puree and then aged in a red wine barrel with whole cherries for seven months), the Belgian IPA from Potosi Brewing, and the No Coast IPA from Peace Tree Brewing. A special shout out to Peace Tree, they always have a fun and energetic time, bring great tasting beers, and lots of special releases. They always have a long line, but it is worth it.


I want to give another special shout out to Backpocket Brewing.They are next door to the hotel where this fest is held. Not only do they have a great lineup of solid and tasty beers, but they did a great job this year of tying in exciting events to the fest. The morning of the fest they released bottles of their First Anniversary Stout aged in Cedar Ridge bourbon whiskey barrels. I can't wait to try this. After the fest, they had special Swabian Hall pork sandwiches for sale, having roasted a whole hog of this rare (and very tasty) breed. Also, after the fest, they released their new barleywine. In addition, they brewed a special winter warmer for the fest, the Brrr Fest Winter Session Ale. Kudos to you Backpocket.


Highlights outside of the fest were a visit to the John's Grocery beer area, drinking Toppling Goliath beers at various local establishments, and trying the Imperial Cherry Bourbon Stout from Van Houzen.




Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Bell's Hopslam Ale

This 10.0% ABV double IPA is brewed with honey and is from Bell's Brewery of Comstock, Michigan. It was bottled on January 9, 2014 and opened here on January 22, 2014, so pretty fresh. This is one of those very highly sought after beers.

The beer pours a gleaming copper/bronze and orange amber in color. There is a short head of off-white foam. The aroma is intense, lots of passion fruit, tropical fruits, and a bit of piney muskiness. The taste follows the aromas directly, melded very cleanly together, with some cantaloupe and honey coming through. The malt base is enough to hold up all those hops, but doesn't intrude, just complementing the honey with some caramel notes. A bit of warmth can be felt from the high ABV. The finish is moderately bitter with a bit of grapefruit rind, the body is full and round.


Don't get me wrong, this is very nice, but is it really worth all the hype that it garners?  What do you think? (When I first drank this, I didn't find it worth the hype, but the 2016 release in cans is really stellar, see below.)



2016: The beer pours amber and copper in color. There is a very tall, thick, foamy head of off-white. The aroma is citrus, very lemony, ripe, fruity, melons and very ripe tropical fruits. The taste hits all the same notes, an explosion of fruit flavors, citrus, lemon, lime, grapefruit, pineapple, passion fruit, guava. There is sweet, tangy, and a bitter finish. The beer drinks smooth, with a tingle of carbonation. This beer is drinking so good this year, much better than the last time I tasted it!



2017: The beer pours a shiny amber and copper in color. There is about an inch of white to off-white head. The aroma is passion fruit, guava and honey. The taste follows the aromas, sweet, fruity, tangy, deep and rich. The finish has a moderate bitterness, lessened by the honey and rich, sweet fruit notes. The beer drinks very smooth and round.


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Stone Punishment

Punishment is a 12.0% ABV and 82 IBU special limited release from Stone Brewing of Escondido, San Diego County, California (they should also give its Scoville units, which measure spicy heat levels). It is part of their Quingenti Millilitre series released in 500 ml (thence the name) bottles holding on imperial pint. This is batch number 9 of the 2013 series, bottled in October of 2013. It is the partner to Crime.

This beer results from taking that Double Bastard and adding large amounts of freshly harvested peppers, including red and green jalapenos, along with ultra-hot black nagas, Caribbean red hots, Moruga scorpions, and fatalis peppers. This was then aged in American oak bourbon barrels from Kentucky. 

The beer pours a cloudy brown with orange and red tints. There is a short head of very light brown foam, somewhat thick. The aroma is very strong hot peppers, with roasted pepper smell and heat, over a woody, vanilla, hint of bourbon, semi-sweetness. The beer tastes exactly as it smells, it is blazingly hot and burns the back of the throat. The entire palate just tingles like static electricity with all of the hot peppers. Yet under all that, there is also roasted pepper flavor, and the oaky wood, vanilla, bourbon and carmelized, malty sweetness. I love hot peppers, but it is hard to take a sip of this that is small enough to not cause coughing from the heat going down the throat. There is a lingering, burn and sizzle in the mouth and throat, and the flavors linger as well.

If you aren’t a big fan of hot peppers, then avoid (I am serious). Even if you are a fan, this is a pint best split, it becomes a bit overwhelming (not from the heat so much as its massiveness in every way). These beers were a mixed bag for me, with some very enjoyable aspects, but also a strange vomit like vibe.

I saw this beer for sale at Zombie Burger in Des Moines, the chalkboard sign said ‘No take backsies.” Very true, no going back once you get into this beer. 

(By the way, if you have never read Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, then your life is incomplete and you should immediately get the book and read it.)



JP's Casper White Stout

The can features the slogan, "Discover". The JP stands for James Page Brewing Company. They were one of the original craft brewers based out of the Twin Cities, beginning in 1986 and peaking with some regional popularity in the upper Midwest in the late 1990's and early 2000's. Alas, they went out of business, but the brand has been revived and is now contract brewed by Stevens Point, in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. This beer is 6.0% ABV. In addition to cans, it is available on nitro tap, now that would be a bit more interesting.

They call this a white stout, I have no idea what that means. The beer pours golden in color with a half-inch of thick, white, foamy head. The aroma is of chocolate, heavy cocoa powder, almost Nesquik chocolate milk mix. The taste follows the aroma with a moderately bitter finish. Straight up very cocoa over a plain lager that is just a platform for the added chocolate flavor. It is well carbonated. Now I see what they are getting at with "white stout," but feels gimmicky. 


Prairie The Beer That Saved Christmas

This is a 10.0% ABV Old Ale aged in oak barrels from Prairie Artisan Ales of Oklahoma. Prairie are tenant brewers, they do not have their own brewery, but go and brew themselves at other's facilities, which from every bottle I have seen is the Krebs Brewing Company in Krebs, Oklahoma. The label, like always, features unique and strange cartoon like artwork. I am getting to this a bit after Christmas, but glad I found it.

The beer pours dark mahogany, black with dark ruby tints. There is a tall head, thick and foamy, light brown in color. The aroma is sweet, toffee to light molasses, lots of vanilla and oak, with a light fruity yeastiness underneath. The taste is dark roasted malt, dark fruits, tangy and sweet at the same time, creamy, then more dark roasted malts, vanilla, with the wood being very light in the flavor and showing mostly on the finish. It is medium to full-bodied, smooth and round, warming. This is excellent.



JP's Yabba Dhaba Chai Tea Porter

The can features the slogan, "Discover". The JP stands for James Page Brewing Company. They were one of the original craft brewers based out of the Twin Cities, beginning in 1986 and peaking with some regional popularity in the upper Midwest in the late 1990's and early 2000's. Alas, they went out of business, but the brand has been revived and is now contract brewed by Stevens Point, in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. This beer is 5.5% ABV and uses clove, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, and anise.

The beer pours mahogany in color with a ruby tint. There is a good inch of thick and creamy head, very light brown in color. The aroma is like a cola, RC especially, with cherry, spices, highly browned sugar. The taste is like a spiced cherry cola with dark roasted malt in the background, at first sweet, but with a moderately bitter and dry ending. It is medium bodied, crisply carbonated, easy drinking. Interesting, but not sustaining, this is the most cola like beer I have ever had.


JP's Ould Sod Irish Red IPA

The can features a "Quiet Man" looking fellow and the slogan, "A Road Less Traveled". The JP stands for James Page Brewing Company. They were one of the original craft brewers based out of the Twin Cities, beginning in 1986 and peaking with some regional popularity in the upper Midwest in the late 1990's and early 2000's. Alas, they went out of business, but the brand has been revived and is now contract brewed by Stevens Point, in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. This beer is 6.0% ABV and uses Fuggles, Hallertau and Goldings hops.

The beer pours reddish amber in color. There is over an inch of thick and creamy foam that is very light tan in color. The aroma is toasted and roasted malt, bit of caramel, overly ripe oranges, and a touch of pine. The taste follows the aromas quite directly with a stinging bitterness. It is well carbonated and medium bodied. Overall, not good. 


Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat

This is a 4.4% ABV bottle-conditioned unfiltered wheat beer from the Boulevard Brewing Company of Kansas City, Missouri. They have been brewing since 1989.

The beer pours a cloudy pale yellow with tints of light orange. There is over an inch of white, foamy, fluffy, head. The aroma is lemony, tart, citrusy, fruity, cherries and grapes, lightly yeasty, with light toasted wheat. The taste follows the aromas, light, fruity, lemony, tart, toasted wheat. It drinks easy and refreshing with a tingling carbonation. This is a very refreshing and satisfying "light" beer.


Friday, January 17, 2014

Humboldt 500 BC Double India Pale Ale

This 8.3% ABV beer takes its name from the age of California's redwood trees. It is from the Humboldt Brewing Company of Paso Robles, California. They started in 1987 as Humboldt, were purchased in 2005 by Firestone Walker and their beers became Nectar Ales, and they changed their name back to Humboldt in 2013. Dizzying. The beer has 80 IBU's and is brewed with Cascade, Chinook, Centennial and CTZ hops. Ten cents from each bottle is donated to Redwood preservation.

The beer pours a bright and glowing clear amber and copper in color. There is a tall head of thick and foamy off-white head. The aroma is full of orange, caramel malt, a touch of pine and a general round, ripe, full fruitiness. The taste follows the aromas quite directly, lots of caramel and orange, very well-done, no off flavors. The bitterness is tamped down for a bit by the sweetness, but it can only be held in check so long. Still, it makes a nice counterpoint to the full, round fruit and caramel sweetness. It has a nice smooth mouthfeel with a tingle of carbonation. The bitterness keeps building and building, but it never kills off the flavors, which stay true in the aftertaste. This is one very well done beer!


Breckenridge Ophelia Hoppy Wheat Ale

This 5.0% ABV hoppy wheat beer is from the Breckenridge Brewery of Denver, Colorado. It is their new spring seasonal. Funny how spring seasonals come out in January and Oktoberfests in July, and etc. On the bottle is apparently Ophelia, and she looks as though she has the "vapors."

The beer pours a hazy honey golden and apricot in color. There is a short head of white to off-white foam. The aroma is full of ripe tropical fruits, with a bit of musk. The taste is a direct reflection of the armoas, redolent of full and ripe tropical fruits oozing over a bed of toasted wheat. The finish seems lightly bitter, but grows in bitterness with time. It is quite dry. It has a subtly tingling carbonation and medium body. This is one nice beer for hopheads, I would say a must try!


Miller Lite

This is the ubiquitous light beer from Miller (however, it is pronounced as "Lee-tay") (I'm just kidding!!). It is the original "light" beer and was introduced in 1975. They recently put it out again with the original label. That caused some sort of nostalgic yearning within me (good marketing guys), and seeing that I had never reviewed this beer, I had a good reason to get the throwback can.  I find this original label superior to any since and think they should go back to it and stick with it. The label says it is a "Fine Pilsner" and "Triple Hopped", but let's get serious, it ain't all that.

The beer pours a pale yellow golden, bleached out straw, in color. There is an inch of pure white head that fizzes out rapidly to nearly nothing. The aroma is light golden grain, corn, cooked corn, and light, wet cardboard. The taste follows the aromas, but is a bit more pleasing than they are. There is a very light grassiness on the finish that indicates they at least thought of using hops. It is nicely, crisply and refreshingly carbonated. 



Thursday, January 16, 2014

Wychwood Bah Humbug Christmas Cheer

This 5.0% ABV beer is from the Wychwood Brewery of Witney, Oxfordshire, England. There is an Ebeneezer Scrooge-looking character on the bottle. A Christmas beer I guess, better getting to it late than never.

The beer pours dark chestnut brown with a reddish tinge, turning ruby. There is about an inch of very light tan head. The aroma is lightly nutty, caramel sweet, nearing toffee, with a light plum fruitiness. The taste progresses through the aromas, adding some roasted flavors, and with a grassy bitterness to bring all the malt flavors to an enjoyably abrupt end. It has a subtle and mellow carbonation. The aftertaste brings in cherry flavors. The biggest drawback of this beer is that it has far too light of a mouthfeel, almost watery, and these flavors need some more body to hold them up.




Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Toppling Goliath X Hops Pale Ale (Yellow)

The Toppling Goliath Brewing Company is in Decorah, Iowa. They make not only the best beer in Iowa, but some of the best in the entire nation. This is one of the second two releases in their new X Hop series. They will each have a unique color to their label, and each color represents a new experimental hop. They encourage people who try the X Hops beers to provide their input back to the brewery. They will then try to encourage hop growers to grow more of these new hops so as to have more regular production of some of these varieties.  (See Red here and Green here and Blue here and Orange here). After all five different varieties are released, there is going to be a release of all five together in one Rainbow beer. My brain is already nearly exploding just thinking of that.


The beer pours a hazy orange amber and apricot in color. There is over an inch of thick and foamy white to off-white head that leaves rings of light lacing down the glass. The aroma is funky, musky hops, passion fruit, and some zesty citrus rind. The taste has the same earthy, funky, muskiness; then a wave of tropical and melon fruit hits and surprises, I didn’t catch any of that in the aroma. There is a bitterness that starts subtle, but finishes intense. A bitter, astringent tingle is left on the tongue, like licking the sliced peel of a grapefruit. As the beer warms, the fruits start to come out in the aroma as well. This has intense flavors, but it drinks easily and enjoyable.  The carbonation is also subtle, but leaves a soft sting in the mouth, which contrasts nicely to the smooth, round feel of the beer. 

If pseudoSue and Golden Nugget had an illegitimate love child spawned from a tryst in a hop field during a warm, fragrant night, it would be this beer.




Sunday, January 12, 2014

Tuned Galaxy IPA - 612 Brew

Tuned is an effort to pair beers from the Minneapolis/Saint Paul Twin Cities area with bands from the same area.  If you buy the beer, you get a code on the cap that allows for a free song download. There is also then a concert at the brewery. This release gets "Not the Kid" by Communist Daughter. This release is brewed by 612 Brew of Northeast Minneapolis (612 is the Minneapolis area code) and comes in at 6.0% ABV and 70 IBU's.

The beer pours a deep and dark copper and bronze, prehistoric dark amber. There is a near inch of bubbly, yet thick, off-white foam. The aroma is passion fruit, a bit musky, over toasted malt, somewhat spicy, almost rye-like. The taste is reversed, toasted and roasted malt comes first, crisp rye bread, followed by passion fruit hops, with a tangy and moderate to strong bitterness. Medium-bodied with some smoothness, moderately carbonated with a bit of tingle. 




Boom Island Thoprock Wet IPA

Boom Island Brewing Company is in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The hops for this 8.0% ABV bottle-conditioned wet IPA were grown in the brewer's backyard in South Minneapolis.

The beer pours copper colored, with a tall head of off-white foam, somewhat thick, yet bubbly. The aroma is passion fruit, white wine, chardonnay and sauvignon blanc, along with funky Belgian-style yeastiness. The taste hits directly on all the aromas, with all the tart, fruity hops and yeast on a toasted bread and cracker malt, with some light caramel coming through. The malts can hold this up, but don’t get the idea that they take center stage, that is all the hops and yeast. It has fine, but not intense, bottle-conditioned carbonation. It drinks smooth and round, like a buttery chardonnay mixed with bottle-conditioned beer. Wet? Cool!

The non "wet" version of Thoprock is also very good, as you can see HERE.


Saturday, January 11, 2014

Toppling Goliath X Hops Pale Ale (Blue Label)

The Toppling Goliath Brewing Company is in Decorah, Iowa. They make not only the best beer in Iowa, but some of the best in the entire nation. This is one of the second two releases in their new X Hop series. They will each have a unique color to their label, and each color represents a new experimental hop. They encourage people who try the X Hops beers to provide their input back to the brewery. They will then try to encourage hop growers to grow more of these new hops so as to have more regular production of some of these varieties.  (See Red here and Green here and Yellow here and Orange here and Rainbow here)


The beer pours the color of a moist dried apricot, and a bit hazy. There is a short half-inch of off-white foam, this beer wasn’t real eager to get a big head on it. The aroma is passion fruit, mingling and merging into spruce-like pine. Vinous notes of sauvignon blanc and pinot grigio spin off of it. The taste makes the same progressions as the aromas, with the passion fruit, pine and white wine. When the pine and white wine merge, it is almost like the beer version of a very light Greek retsina. There is a bit of earthy, musky hop in the background, the only part of this reminiscent of the always loved pseudoSue. There is enough malt to hold up all of this hoppy goodness, but it is only the frame, it stays covered and lets the hops do their magic. It is lightly carbonated, relatively, but still gives a tingle. The finish is lightly to moderately bitter, especially when taking into account how much hop flavor is happening. 




Deschutes Inversion IPA

The Deschutes Brewery is in Bend, Oregon on the banks of the Deschutes River which provides pristine water from the Cascade Mountains for brewing, or at least so the bottle says.  They have been brewing since 1988.


The beer pours a deep copper and amber with an orange glow. There is a short head of off-white to light tan. The aroma is passion fruit, pine, with some underlying fruit, almost strawberry. The taste follows the aromas, the pine, dark caramel malt and bitterness merge into a potent mix. The malt base is strong enough to hold its own with the hops, although it stays below. The finish is bitter and tangy. This is moderately carbonated and with a medium body. For me, this could use a little more tropical and citrus fruit flavors to go with all that piney bitterness. I wish this bottle had been a bit fresher, last time I had it there was a lot more citrus going on.


This is what I thought of it in 2010:  
This beer pours a dark copper color with a hint of ruby.  The aroma is very hop forward with loads of citrus and floral hops.  The taste is massive floral and citrus hops with a hint of pine in the finish, bitter, but with a nice malt background to work against.  An excellent American IPA.  6.8% ABV.  The bottle explains the origin of the name Inversion: "Here in Oregon's high desert, seasonal changes often bring about a peculiar weather phenomenon - an inversion. The higher up the mountain you go, the sunnier it gets. So even when Bend is covered in clouds, the faithful know where to find clarity."

Deschutes Hop Henge Experimental IPA 2013/2014

This 9.3% "Experimental" India Pale Ale is the 2013/2014 release from the Deschutes Brewery of Bend, Oregon. It uses Cascade, Chinook, Centennial hops along with two new experimental hop varieties.

The beer pours copper and amber in color. There is over an inch of thick and creamy off-white to very light tan head. The aroma is ripe orange; soft, round, melons; and pine. The taste mirrors the aromas, the fruit is very bright, ripe, round, sweet, and the pine is slightly stinging. The finish is moderately bitter with some grapefruit astringent burn. It has nice carbonation, but is also smooth and round in the mouth. There is a bit of bubble gum that comes into the aftertaste. This beer was a mixed bag for me, I really liked the aromas and the first part of the taste, but the aftertaste had some odd notes and the lingering bubble gum note was incongruous and bothersome. Still, overall it is worth a try.


This is what I thought of it in 2011, quite the change (since it is "Experimental", do they change this each year?): This 9.0% ABV beer pours a glowing dark copper-orange-amber in color with a half inch of thick foamy just off-white head.  The aroma is fairly subdued, some tangy, zesty, citrus hops and dark fruits.  The taste is like a massive cherry juice explosion with some lemon zest and a bitter finish.  This is very good, but not at all what I expected.  I guess I was expecting some very hop forward American style IPA.  But this one is unique.


Madhouse Iowa Hops IPA 2013

This 8.0% ABV beer is from the Madhouse Brewing Company of Newton, Iowa. It uses Centennial and Cascade hops which were all grown in the State of Iowa. I did review the 2012 release as well.

The beer pours a deep amber bronze in glowing, gem-like color. There is a tall head of fairly thick foam, dark off-white to very light tan in color. The aroma is of lemon iced tea, with passion fruit, with some light notes most closely resembling pine. The taste follows the aromas quite directly, with a spicy, prickly bitterness of medium, approaching strong, intensity. It is medium bodied, smooth and round, with a moderate carbonation. I thought the 2012 was superior, but interesting variation this year.