Hawaiian Uppercut is a Belgian style pale golden ale. Sampled on draught the beer poured a lightly hazy beautiful light golden straw yellow colour with a generous white head. The headed good retention and did leave some impressive lacing. The aroma had a ton of tropical fruit; lots of pineapple, citrus (lemon, and clementines, orange, grapefruit), light vinous notes. Belgian yeasts, and a slight resiny note. The beer is only brewed with four ingredients, it is hard to believe those four packed so much fruit flavour. The flavour is slightly sour and which compliments all the sweet flavours of the tropical fruits and citrus. Belgian yeasts appear mid sip and the finish has a nice citrus/leafy hop bitterness. The alcohol is well hidden - there is no alcohol astringency nor is their much evidence of malts. The mouthfeel was full and creamy and the carbonation was moderate. I really enjoyed this! Well done Stack!
Get your hoppiest IPA ready because IPA Day is Thursday, August 3rd! This international celebration of the India Pale Ale, one of the world’s most popular and iconic beer styles, is all about the hops. Check-in to your favorite IPA (from the qualifying IPA styles below) between August 3rd - 5th and you will unlock the “IPA Day (2017)” badge.
Foray is a seasonal Belgian IPA available June through September in 22 oz. bombers. First off, I dig this label. Secondly, the malt bill is pretty interesting considering the style (Pilsner and Carapils). Aromas are delightfully hoppy, blending delicate floral notes with fruity hints of cantaloupe, apricot, white grapefruit, pear, and apple cider. Malts smell something like honey-nut cereal.
The palate begins with orange, then dives into white grapefruit. Fruity flavors make a transition from sweet melon into white grape, then pear and tart green apple. Grassy undertones wash in from below with a gentle evergreen bitterness of 60 IBU’s. A black pepper spice is stirred up in its wake, and a sour note of lemon zest marks the final highlight. Malts finally present mild, honey-like sweetness with Pilsner grain character falling on the aftertaste. Mouthfeel plays out smooth over a moderate body weight with crisp carbonation, leaving clean and semi-dry to close.
The balance is perfectly arranged so that bitter, sweet, and sour components are held in equal measure. All the hop flavors have been particularly enjoyable, but citrus dictates the general direction of the brew. I love this Pilsner malt mix in the context of a Belgian IPA – this makes the beer a little bit fusion (points for originality). The yeast doesn’t taste quite as heavy compared to other bubble gum Belgian IPA’s, but nonetheless, expands the fruity potential. Minimal bitterness opens up space, and as a result, allows greater flavor appreciation. Considering it’s an IPA, Foray is pretty easy-going and refreshing. I always enjoy this style, and Deschutes never lets me down. I recommend it.
This seasonal Belgian-style Pale Ale (otherwise known as the Blonde or Golden Ale) is on rotation in the spring. I’d like to thank Keith Siggins of Colorado for his thoughtful donation of this bottle. Hoppy aromatics delve into bright lemon zest, grass, and fruits such as pear or apple. Malts come across like honey and bread, then follow with a dash of yeasty black pepper.
The palate begins with semi-sweet malts flavored like cereal grains, sourdough or biscuits. Hops step into the middle with an earthy, grassy approach that centers around mild bitterness. A sour upswing rises toward lemon, closing with a faint hint of spice. Mouthfeel is medium-to-light bodied, delivering smooth carbonation that leads into a dry departure. I’m disappointed to find this tastes worse as it warms.
New Belgium probably made a wise decision here, because the masses still want a drinkable ale. The careful balance of bitter and sweet is agreeable, and the mouthfeel is perfectly suited for spring. While I can recall a list of true Belgian counterparts that would certainly blow this out of the water, I must remind myself that this is an American rendition designed to carry more hop character, and is thus more likely to appease the palate of our typical, stateside craft drinker. Though I am not at all impressed, this is pretty good. This would probably agree with most, I think its worth trying. I might return to this again one day.
Abbey Beverage’s Monk’s Ale (From NM, Thanks to Nik for bringing from El Paso!) A 2 of 4. For a belgian pale, this has a relatively deep malt character to it - some roasted and dark fruit notes as present, but not powerful. Drinks relatively easily with your typical yeasty spice notes, and a pretty generic dry finish. Solid, and always cool to find a new US Abbey that I hadn’t heard of.
O great and wise Lori of the occasional tipsiness, do you have any particular alcohol recommendations for an alcohol noob such as my lowly self? :)
Oh, you have come to the right Madlori, my dear.
When people imbibe, generally they do so within one of three categories: beer, wine or cocktails. I’d advise you to pick one and stick to it for your evening’s beverage selections - mixing isn’t generally recommended.
People often love beer or hate it, but here’s the thing - there’s honestly a lot more variation in beer than there is in wine. Most red wines taste mostly the same, with variations that only become apparent with a lot of experience. But a dark stout beer tastes wildly different than a pale Belgian ale. I’d advise easing into beer by partaking of pale-to-medium lagers or ales. Hard cider is a nice option. Belgian ales tend to be pretty easy drinking - the big trend right now is about IPAs (India Pale Ales) but I don’t like them, there’s too strong of a hops taste. It’s a great time to get into beer - the craft beer and microbrew movement means there’s a ton of really interesting options. If you go to a pub, restaurant or microbrewerie that specializes in craft beers, the servers and bartenders are a great resource. They can usually recommend something you’ll like.
The general rule is that the newer you are to wine drinking, the sweeter you’ll like your wine. As you get used to wine drinking, you’ll lose your taste for sweet wine (a lot of the time - plenty of longtime wine drinkers prefer sweeter wines). A good way to start is just to drink non-varietals - that are those wines that are just labeled “red table wine” or “red blend” or “sweet red blend” or whatever. Also they’re cheaper. Most new wine drinkers do well with Riesling - it’s a sweetish white wine that’s very common on restaurant menus. Moving into reds, which tend to be less sweet - I prefer shiraz or pinot noir. Cabernet Sauvignon is easy to find and generally pretty balanced. Don’t be afraid of boxed wine! Boxed wine is actually a much better storage medium for wine. Target has pretty awesome boxed wines - they come in a variety of sizes and varieties at reasonable prices.
If you want to drink hard liquor, for God’s sake don’t start with unmixed spirits (that’d be an alcohol - usually whiskey or Scotch - neat or on the rocks). Start with a cocktail. Good go-to cocktails are vodka with cranberry (vodka has very little taste), Amaretto sours (sour mix and Amaretto, delicious), rum and Coke, screwdriver (vodka and orange juice) or other cocktails that include a sweet mixer like fruit juice, sour mix or soda. Cocktails that are mostly alcohol, like martinis or Manhattans or Long Island Iced Tea, are going to be stronger. I don’t care for whiskey, but I like gin. That’s a personal preference. Try things out. Gin and tonic is a pretty good standby cocktail, too.
I hope this helps! Really, just try things and see what you like. If you’re interested in learning about wine, most wine shops hold regular tastings where you can pay a flat fee and get tastings of a variety of things. If there are local wineries in your area (urban wineries are also a big trend right now, most cities have at least a few), go visit them and they’ll let you taste lots of wine so you can see what you like, then take a bottle or two home and enjoy an evening glass!
For beer, a great thing to do is make your own six-pack. Most grocery stores with a significant beer selection, or stores like Whole Foods, have an area where you can buy beer by the bottle - they have cardboard six-pack holders there and you can pick and choose which bottles you want. You can have six different beers in your six-pack if you want. It’s a great way to try new things.
I like to snap a photo of a bottle of beer or wine bottle that I like so I remember it - if I don’t have the bottle, I keep a list on the notepad on my phone of beers and wines I’ve tried and like.
The Bruery’s 5 Golden Rings (picked up at Whole Foods, Berkeley). A 3 of 4. Really interesting sweet interpretation of a strong (11.5%) Belgian pale. The pineapple adds a tropical touch and lots of sweetness, which I think really works here. The body could definitely use a touch more carbonation and thickness to it, and possibly a bit less booze (it is definitely noticeable), but overall this is very interesting. Beautiful orange color - one of the most brilliant I’ve seen. I’d really like to see how this ages - I don’t think it can do anything but get better.