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Prairie Pe-Kan

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Is this a stout? A porter? A black ale? A black lager? In their very artisanal fashion, Prairie has decided not to tell me. This is exactly the kind of thing that made me decide not to buy any more of their beers. I had one that had coffee in it, and they said nothing about that on the label, so they can go pound salt. BUT Jeremy convinced me to get two and give them another chance, but I am warning these people that they are on my very last nerve.

The beer is thick and black. The head does not want to come out to play, so I really did my best to get the head as thick as you see here. It didn't hang around for too long, and there's no lacing or anything else going on. There is simply a mocha-colored smear on top with a ring around the glass. The aroma is thick with chocolate and alcohol.

First sip is thick like a brick. It is sweet with chocolate and oak and definitely has hints of (but no actual) coffee. It is managing to be both too sweet and too bitter at the same time, and…

Good People Hitchhhiker IPA

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The Good People try, and I am all for them trying. They have had one good and one bad one so far (at least that I have tried). The DIPA was good, and the regular pale ale was not. What will this beer right in the middle - the holy grail IPA - do for me?

The murky depths of the pale amber beer emit a slight aroma of citrus hops, but the smell is really having a hard time getting through the thick cap of sticky bubbles that leave enough lacing to let you know this is an IPA.

First sip is classic IPA - heavy citrus hops with a layer of dust on them and a tang and bitterness that merge right at the end. It's a nice kind of twist where they want to quell the bite at the end, but they want to keep things lively, and they are working it well.

Tip-in is a little watery, a little lemony, and a tiny bit bready with carbonation just tingling the outside. The middle opens into heavier citrus with nettles nestled into it that allow it to scrape the top of the mouth as lemongrass blows in the w…

Founders Lizard of Koz Bourbon Barrel Stout

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Bourbon, Founders, and lizards. Two out of three seem to be my sweet spot these days. I'm not sure that I would actually like a lizard-derived beer, and thank goodness there doesn't appear to be a single lizard killed to make this beer.

The brown-so-deep-as-to-be-indistinguishable-from-black beer doesn't have a whole heap of head, and it vaporizes quickly enough, leaving an incomplete ring around the glass with a few scattered bubbles across the top. I expect no lacing.

First sip literally makes me shake. It is full of damn flavor with a heavy, heavy alcohol being masked by tartness, fruitiness, and chocolate. It is a good taste, but it is strong. It reminds me of those old TV shows where someone would take a shot of alcohol and then stomp their feet with a screwed up face because they are overwhelmed.

Tip-in is tart, chocolate, berries, and oak, and the tartness is really hitting hard right from the get-go. The middle opens up into a rich, syrupy sweet berry, chocolate, o…

Hoppin' Frog Gangster Frog IPA

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My only other Hoppin' Frog beer was a stout that did not impress me. One beer is not enough to decided on a brewer, and this had a cute little frog (okay, it was the same frog as the other bottle, and neither of them was actually "hoppin'") on the front, so I figured - what the hell.

The golden amber beer has quite an impressive head. It's not excessive, but it certainly lets you know it's there. Eventually, it leaves a nice little trail of lacing down to a 1/4 inch of foam on the top. The aroma is a little bit funky, dusty citrus and pine hops. It's not a little smell, but it IS a little bit funky and musty.

First sip is a crisp snap with funk and floral fun chilling under it all. Citrus is all over this thing, and it even re-asserts itself a couple of seconds after I thought the beer was already gone. It's an unusual mix of everything just kind of lounging around, explaining to everyone how cool it is to listen to vinyl records again.

Tip-in is ligh…

Mantra Enlightenment Scottish Style Wee Heavy

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Mantra, you are the Nashville brewery (other than CSB which has pretty much disappeared) that I think I have been waiting for. When I got here, I was told by pretty much everyone that my only option was Blackstone, and they, to put it nicely, were not the best brewery I've ever sampled from.

That is a pretty picture of an opaque red-tinted brown beverage with a nice little head. The head goes almost entirely away, but it leaves me with the tiniest of rings around the side of the glass. The aroma is brown liquor and heavy alcohol that has been aged in wood (which is pretty much what a brown liquor smells like).

First sip is strong alcohol, caramel, toffee, and a kind of heavy grain bread. It's a bit overwhelming, but it gives me the sensation of something really unnecessarily potent. The alcohol is making things really difficult to work around. I've had alcohol-rich beers before, and they can only sometimes deal with it enough to be a good beverage in their own right.

Tip-i…

New Heights IPA

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Another new brewery in the Nashville area. I am loving the choices I have now, and I encourage more. This beer is about as straight-shooting as you can get by not even bothering to add some other name to the beer, and they just call it IPA. I love the attitude, and I hope more brewers follow suit.

The sort of honey-amber beer has a sticky, sticky head that leaves quite a bit of lacing, and I'm loving it. The aroma is exactly the amount of hops that I expect to get, and it is a mixture of pine and floral. If there's something else here, I am not smelling it, but it could just be that the hops are having their way with everything.

First sip is WAY more mild than I expected. I mean, it's not going to be overshadowed by your average red ale or something, but it is gentle and almost smooth - which hoppy beers never are. Crisp? Maybe. Bracing? Frequently. But mild? No, that is one thing they just aren't. Maybe a full swig will explain things.

Tip-in is mild carbonation burn …

Wild Heaven Invocation Belgian-Style Golden Ale

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This beer has a very odd label - it has the name, but I was so distracted by the picture of a blonde lady holding the beer that I didn't bother to turn the words toward the camera. The label would really be better suited to a German Blonde than a Belgian Golden, but this is where we are, so let's rock!

The bright golden beer has a stark white head that leaves a fluffy pillow even after it sits for a bit. The aroma is wheat, spices, and lemons. I keep forgetting that golden ales are basically just wheat beers, but that became self-evident as soon as I could smell it.

First sip is sudden and jarring. I didn't expect the dry smack of the wheat with the tang of the oranges and an unexpected funk from the yeast. It isn't bad, but it is very solidly in my face with the taste from the depths of... Belgium? It's strong and unflinching.

Tip-in is strong wheat blowing in the breeze with a bit of citrus tang added. The middle is oddly smooth - it sports the funky yeast, a bit…