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Victory Summer Love Ale

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Summer ales are a particularly strange beer. They aren't exactly an all-day IPA, but they are really close with the intent to stand up on their own, but they shouldn't overpower the taste buds with too much to do. Think of it as a beer to drink while you're sitting on a deck in the country with some friends. What is Victory's take on it?

The very pale yellow beer has a fairly sticky white head that leaves enough lacing to let me know this came to play. The aroma is more bread malt than hops, but lemons back it up with a definite grainy texture to them. I'm thirsty, so enough cogitating.

First sip is a lot more of the lemon citrus than malt, but the bready/crackery malt is holding it up fairly nicely. The grains are kind of passing too quickly, and they seem to be just another part of the crackers.

Tip-in is carbonation tingle that makes the whole mouth seem cool but with a bit of a bite. The citrus and the crackers are helping everything out as best they can. The m…

Victory Prima Pils

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Victory brewing his put together a lot of really good beers. I have tried many of them, and sometimes I feel like I'm just chasing the dragon. With this one be another Golden Monkey? Can lightning strike twice? Let's find out together.

The pale, clear beer has a white head that leaves little to no lacing. Well, I guess there actually is some, but it's right at the edge of the rim. The aroma is quite heavy and floral with a solid grain backing to it. So, this appears to be exactly what a Pilsner is supposed to be.

The taste is crisp, and it's a little bitter. It definitely has the biscuit, and it's a little flaky. The floral hops are not particularly forward, at least in the sip. Maybe it has a little more grass to it then flowers in this brief experience. But, brief experiences are not what we're all about here.

Tip–in is crisp with a little bit of funk or skunk to it while carbonation is just a tingle sizzling on the outside. The middle gets very grainy with t…

Cigar City Marshal Zhukov's Imperial Stout

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The fact is that Cigar City is right in the middle of average across the board. Should I expect better with this? Well, I'm going to. Imperial stouts are kind of hard to pin down, and these guys like a challenge. Eventually, you would think that they would hit one of these out of the park (especially with an ABV of 11.2%).

This black beer has a brown head. It's not tan like most of them or even white like others - it is brown like a UPS uniform. The aroma is like a bath of different parts just floating around together. There's coffee, oatmeal, chocolate, toffee, wood, and just loads of other things. I can't smell bourbon, but that's something the other smells put me in mind of.

First sip is seriously everything except the bourbon. It's got a syrup of coffee, caramel, oatmeal, chocolate, and wood. It's a very strong sip, and it ends on a bitter note that is in stark contrast to the sweet front end. I can't really get what is going on inside this. I need …

Fat Bottom Wallflower Spring Saison

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Fat Bottom had a go, and it was not spectacular. BUT, a single beer does not define a brewery (except in the case of HiCu, which is exactly why I'll never buy another Magic Hat beer again). So, we move on to a saison - a strange beer to pick, if you are unsure about the market response to your beers. Instead, you would normally go with a reliable IPA and work your way out from there, like Lagunitas did. Still, this is what they chose, and I expect they did that for a reason.

When I buy a beer that is kind of off the wall, I am not usually all that surprised with the color, but this is a fairly standard saison, and the color is really strange. Yes, it is vaguely amber color, but there is a streak of strawberry red that has tinted it pretty well. The fullsome head eventually dies to a manageable patchy layer with the ring around the glass. The aroma is like a Sprite with flower pedals tossed in - all effervescence and citrus.

First sip is oddly smooth. It has floral hops and light c…

Bearded Iris Light Beam Hoppy Pils

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This is the last of the Bearded Iris beers in the latest batch of reviews, and I will be sorry to see them go. Admittedly, they were pretty much all IPAs, but I love a good IPA, and I like that they tried so many different styles. Their same-same-same can design makes it a little difficult to tell them apart, but this one is a pilsner, I know that (because I read it).

The beer is shockingly bright yellow-gold, and for a Bearded Iris beer, this is almost clear. That said, it is still murky enough that you can't see properly through from one side to the other. The head is sticky enough for a pilsner, and I think it may be more than some of the IPAs managed to do. The aroma is lemon, spices, and bread.

First sip is crisp and short. The bread with a hint of citrus kind of lingers after the snap of the sip, but it really seems like a kind of sudden scream followed by a faint echo. The malt was definitely noticeable as more than just bread in the sip, but it's only a sip, and that&#…

Bearded Iris Tunnel Vision IPA

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These Bearded Iris beers come one after another, don't they? This is yet another IPA, and I have no idea if they have more in them. I have one more of their beers in my fridge, but it's not an IPA, so I figured I would knock out the last IPA and move on to the ... was it a pilsner? I dunno; I guess we'll all find out when I do the next review.

She's just as cloudy and juice-like as her sisters. The nose is a bit more pine and malt, but these guys like their citrus hops, have clearly added some, and so far that has been a winning formula, so don't stop on my account. The head on this one was pretty minimal, and it goes almost completely away while it sits.

First sip is similar to the last one with the citrus, but it has a LOT more wet, doughy bread in there to just make everything a bit more solid, less crisp, and more... I think I already said it was bready, but I'm saying it again. Not sure if this will be better as a swig, but let's not stop trying out of…

Bearded Iris Hidden Gem IPA

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Why does Bearded Iris have so many IPAs? Look, if you keep asking them that question, they may stop making them all, and I want variety from these guys. Their beers have a strange quality that really makes me long for them when I have other, more mundane beers in the fridge.

These beers are so damn similar in their murky, dense, fruit juice-like appearance, and this one is just a little lighter in color - more of a tangerine juice than an orange or grapefruit. The head is pretty minimal, and it doesn't seem to be leaving any lacing. The aroma is grapefruits and other citrus mixing around together; it's intoxicating (although not as intoxicating as actually drinking will be, even with a scant 6% ABV).

First sip is citrus heavy, and it has a solid "thunk" of a malt and yeast back-end. I admit to being slightly put off by the finish at first, but the trail-off was less bitter and more citrus sweet, so as I think about it and continue to taste the after effects, I just w…