beerreviews

As much as I love IPA’s, they’re starting to blend together as far as taste is concerned. This Weekday IPA from Rough Draft Brewing is no different, but does its namesake right by preserving the hops while not overpowering with a 4.8% ABV. Bitter like an IPA should be, and it’s cheap, too. New Belgium cheap.

@b00kw0rm1973

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Wild Heaven’s Invocation

TL;DR: A must try for any fan of Belgian beers.

The Review

I picked this up the same day as the Bell’s Smitten Golden Rye, but just now getting a chance to write it up. I’ve really enjoyed everything I’ve tried from Wild Heaven - they know how to do things right, and Invocation was no exception. For what it’s worth, I do still prefer Ode to Mercy, their imperial brown, but that’s just because I’m not a huge fan of Belgians.

Body: Mid-bodied, this pours with a decent head, creamy in color. Fruit and earthiness on the nose, with decent carbonation. Pretty smooth mouth feel as well.

Malt/Hops: Malty sweet

Color: Clear and golden

Taste: Sweet malts dominate, fading into fruit. I definitely got raisins, peaches and banana before it faded out to a very slight hop bite.

Finish: Clean, the sweetness fades away, leaving a biscuit-y aftertaste. Slightly dry. 

ABV: 8.5%

Overall: Not a bad beer at all, which says a lot coming from someone who usually avoids Belgian beers. Definitely worth your beer money. 

Pairing: The English Patient

Score: 4.5 out of 5 bottle caps

Galactica, and IPA from Clown Shoes.  Dry hopped with Galaxy hops, which I’m not as familiar with as some other hops.  8%ABV, a nice strong IPA.

It’s a little thicker than I expected, I normally see thicker IPAs at around 10%ABV since you have to have so much malt to get that much sugar.  Less carbonated than I expected too, but with a creamy taste such that you don’t need to rely on a lot of carbonation.

Great malt taste as I’d expect from Clown Shoes, very refreshing.  Nice bitter aftertaste.  Moderate hop bite, I’d like to see a little more.

It leaves a bit of a sensation similar to spiciness, which must be the Galaxy hops.  It’s really nice, I like it.  It’s not overly sweet or too intense, you could almost mistake this for a session beer but at 8%ABV you’d be in trouble quick.

I think this would be great with spicy food to compliment the hops.

Overall it’s very drinkable and I’d buy it again, but I have had better beer from Clown Shoes, so I’m going to rate this as a 8.3/10

POUR ME ANOTHER RE-VIEW: Sierra Nevada’s Torpedo Extra IPA. Bought on a whim because why not? Always a good time for beer! I’ve tried to avoid @sierranevada because of an experience I had with their flagship brew. Long story short, I ended up slumped against a couch, mumbled and passed out. Clocking in at 7.2% ABV, with a huge two-inch head, I remember this one having a much hoppier taste. However, tasting it years later, it seems to have lost its pine-like essence and gravitated towards a more mainstream adjunct taste. Still potent as all hell, though. An American IPA to the bitter end, pun intended, although the bitters seem to have dissipated over time. I give this a 3 out of 5 bottles.tp://ift.tt/1Bvzh0I

While definitely not one to drink in the morning before work (or before that board meeting about what you did to Mike at the luau last week), the Cappucchino Stout from @lagunitasbeer does what it advertises - “ale brewed with coffee.”

Dialing back the hops to let the coffee stand forward give this a good body with flavors that hang about even when you’re done. And that 8.9 ABV is nothing akin to a wake up call - a funny juxtaposition to what a decent cup of joe is supposed to do.
@b00kw0rm1973
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Lagunitas The Hairy Eyeball

TL;DR: Too sweet.

The Review

I grabbed this one mostly because it was on sale, and we’ve had several decent options from Lagunitas in the past. Just goes to show that you can’t win ‘em all. 

Body: Mid-bodied, it poured with a nice beige head. There was plenty of visible carbonation in there too. Aroma-wise, it’s straight up roasted malt. 

Hops/Malt: All malt.

Color: Red-brown

Taste: Really, just sweet malt. Very “one note”. It really could have used some additional hops to balance it out. Flavors of brown sugar and raisins. 

Finish: Very brief, sweet finish that fades away completely.

ABV: 9.1%

Overall: Really, kind of meh on this one. Not a buy again. It came off as oddly unbalanced and too sweet without at least some hops in there, but neither of us noticed any even on the nose. 

Pairing: She’s All That

Score: 2.5 out of 5 bottle caps

Redd’s Apple Ale.  Not the kind of thing I usually review, but since it’s different from the standard stuff I’m going to review it anyway.  It also gives me an excuse to break out the piece of red polycarbonate that I’ve had sitting in the basement for…oh, probably five or six years.

The photo makes this look completely flat, but it’s not.  It is sort of like a soda, where it fizzes up at first but dies off really quickly.  By the time I set the bottle down and lifted the camera, it was gone.  If this were a paid photo shoot, I would have several bottles ready (probably a dozen or more actually), several glasses ready, and an assistant to help out.  Also, having etched glasses will cause lovely streams of bubbles rising up, but I don’t have any.  This isn’t a paid shoot, so this is what you get. :)

This is definitely more cider than ale.  The fact that the head reacts like that was the first clue.  It has a light, refreshing mouthfeel, very crisp and refreshing.

It is moderately sweet, enough that the apple flavor really comes out.  When alcohol goes dry (the yeast have eaten most of the sugars) the flavors often become bland, weak.  Add some sugar and the flavors bounce back.

I picture this as a great drink for a picnic on a warm day.  I am not in the mood for something really heavy right now, so this fits perfectly.

It’s a good drink, I would buy it again.  Mentally I’m trying to compare this to other ciders I’ve had, since I don’t really think it’s fair to compare it to traditional beer.  I think I’ll rate this a 7.5/10.

Evil Twin’s I Love You with My Stout

TL;DR: Too sweet, barely finished it.

The Review

I was really, really looking forward to this particular brew. I’ve been eyeing it in the singles section at 5 Points for probably three or four months. The $3.99 price tag (for a 12 oz.) put me off, but I finally decided to bite the bullet. I happily carried my purchase home, daydreaming about roasted goodness. If only I’d known then…could have saved a few bucks and opted for something else. 

Body: Definitely full bodied. It poured with a 2 finger head, mocha colored. The aroma was sweet, with overtones of coffee and roasted malt. It was pretty boozy, but with this kind of ABV, that’s to be expected. Decent visible carbonation in the glass, and a nice, smooth mouth feel.

Hops/Malt: All malt, as you’d probably expect. 

Color: Black to ruby.

Taste: Here’s where things started going sideways. Based on the aroma, I was expecting some sweetness, but dear God. It was so, so, so sweet. Actually made my teeth ache. Once you get past the sweet, there’s a good bit of spice there, and it’s pretty warming (mostly from the alcohol). Lots of brown sugar on the palate, which faded to coffee and roasted malt. As it warmed, the sweetness became more and more pronounced. It was really an effort of will to finish it.

Finish: Lingering, coffee and sugar. 

ABV: 12%

Overall: Not the worst thing I’ve had, and I did manage to finish it, unlike one of the others I sampled Saturday night (which promptly went down the drain - I’ll be reviewing that one a bit later). Really, just too damn sweet, and I found myself liking it less and less the more I drank. Not a buy again for me.

Score: 2.5 out of 5 bottle caps. 

Pairing: Suckerpunch

2

First you get “the making of.”  I took a wide angle shot of my tiny studio where I take these beer photos.  You can see I use a small strip box to my right, which is the primary (key) light.  I use a large softbox to my left, which is fill (prevents deep shadows).  I usually use a huge strip light on top to get a smooth background, but this time I switched to a plain light with barn doors to prevent light from making the top of the beer way too bright.  The reason I did this is so I get a spotlight effect from the plain light.  Look at the final product image, lower left.  See how it’s blasted white?  That’s what I was going for.  Just trying to make each beer image a little different, while increasing my experience and skills as a photographer.

So this is Brash, which I’m told is made at the same place as Clown Shoes, which I love so much.  Just  because it’s made at the same facility doesn’t mean it is going to be good, but they certainly have an advantage, IMO.

This is “the Bollocks”, and Imperial India Pale Ale.  12% ABV, I do expect this to get me quite plastered.

A nice pour, medium carbonation, and not syrupy like some strong beers.  A mild aroma (though my sense of smell isn’t good), and at the first sip I grinned and said aloud “oh that’s good.”  Nice smack-you-in-the-mouth flavor but still quite drinkable.  Great hop bite, great bitterness lingering in your mouth.  Damn, this is good, really good.

Good job to the folks over at Brash, I look forward to trying more of your stuff!

I would definitely buy this again, 9.3/10

Lagunitas Little Sumpin’Sumpin’ Ale

TL;DR: Good, but a little too bitter for me.

The Review

Both Scott and I have loved the Lagunitas brews that we’ve tried, so when I saw this at 5 Points, I figured I might as well give it a shot. It wasn’t quite in line with my tastes, but overall a decent beer. I’d love to know specifically which types of hops were used in this. We hit Lagunitas’ website for details, but there wasn’t much, nor is it listed on the bottle. 

Body: This poured with a nice head, clean and white, with decent lacing. The aroma is pine and grapefruit - just delicious. The pine fades a bit as the beer breathes, taking on stronger citrus notes. Good visible carbonation here, too. 

Malts/Hops: Pine and citrus hops. 

Color: Clear and golden. 

Taste: This ale starts off mostly citrus (mostly grapefruit and orange), with pine following on the back of the palate. After a few minutes, that pine turns to a bitter, resinous taste that seemed way out of proportion to the beer’s 64 IBUs. That part wasn’t really to my liking. 

Finish: Lingering and bitter. 

ABV: 7.5%

Overall: The aroma is simply amazing, and the taste is refreshing, bright and enjoyable. Really, the only downside to this for me was the bitter aftertaste. 

Pairing: 4 Non Blondes

Score: 4.3 out of 5 bottle caps

I bought these at a great price, who wouldn’t try a new craft beer for a great price?  I think I figured out why they were a great price.  I don’t normally shoot with a towel under my beer, and I don’t normally pour a beer with a three inch head.  This bottle was refrigerated and handled gently as all of my beers, but as soon as I started to crack the cap it started spraying out everywhere.  I pushed my palm on top as hard as I could to slow the spray as I called out for my wife to get me a towel.  Eventually the spray subsided but as I poured the drink the fizz came back to life as you can see.

The label says it’s a 5 time national champion and winner of 13 national /international awards.  I suspect these awards are for “most outrageously overcarbonate fizz bomb ever presented to us.”

So that’s not a good start.

Once all that finally cleared I could try the actual beer.  Nice malt flavor overall, with nice bitter aftertaste.  There’s a slight tang of something that is a bit off, I can’t quite describe it.  You know what, it’s probably the yeast.  To be a carbonated like this, it has to be bottle conditioned.  There’s no way they would dump this much CO2 in at the factory.  So when the beer went BOOM the yeast got stirred up, and that’s the sour tang I’m getting.

I think I bought two of these, I’ll update this if the other one turns out, but as it is I have to give this my lowest rating ever, 0/10. I mean really, how can I recommend something like this?