Showing posts from 2017

Hoppin' Frog Gangster Frog IPA

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

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.


New Heights IPA

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

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…

Fat Bottom The Temptress "The Baroness" Bourbon Barrel Stout

My only Fat Bottom beer so far was not good at all. I'm not going to let that discourage me, as I have really started getting into these bourbon barrel beers, even though I am not a fan of bourbon in general. Maybe my opinion of bourbon is changing, too, and I may go find out one of these days, but I have a fridge full of beer, and I need to clear some out first.

Black as pitch, this sports a very nice brown head, but it goes away quickly, and the remnants mostly grip to the sides of the glass. The aroma is deep liquor, brown sugar, and caramel.

First sip is syrupy, which these all seem to have in common. Even so, it is smooth as all heck, even though the alcohol-heavy bourbon asserts itself well. The oak and even chocolate are making the experience complete, and I could totally see myself just sipping this into the night, but that's not how I do things.

Tip-in is alcohol, oak, chocolate, and carbonation tingle. The middle is heavy with more oak, light spices, caramel, toffee,…

Red Silo Belgian Thong

Another beer that was on tap at my local beer pusher. I got the small growler, and I don't know that I shouldn't have gotten the big one. Well, there's no use crying over unspilled beer. Instead, let's just concentrate on the new beer from the new brewer that I have to enjoy in front of me.

She's not red at all. Instead, it's a simple clear yellow with a very light orange tint. The head is not really there in the first place, and it doesn't seem to want to generate itself. I'm not sure what I should expect from these growlers, so I'll deal with it the way it is. The aroma is excessively light, and it is little more than grains and sweet malt.

First sip is more peppery and spicy than I expected from the really light aroma. It's playful with a citrus and bread in there to give the beer its meat. The sip is like looking at a mountain range through a porthole. I need to drink this like it was made to be gulped.

Tip-in is a very nice blend of citrus,…

Green Flash Palate Wrecker Imperial IPA

This is actually my third Green Flash beer. The first one was skunked and terrible to the point that I tried to take it back to the distributor that I had at the time, and they gave me a hassle, and I have not been back since. The second one wasn't great, but even good breweries get one off every now and then. Let's see where the IPA leads us...

The mostly clear copper colored beer has a white-ish head that has just a hint of tan in it. My cousin Paul once had a well thought out post on how color isn't color, so I'm not going to quibble about this - let's say this is light sandstone tan. The aroma is a caramel and floral hops that is effervescent in spite of the settled head; I'm intrigued.

First sip is rich and floral. It has grains and bitterness backing it, but the bitterness is being cut down by the caramel in the hops which carry their sweetness with them. It's a good enough start, but it seems a little harsh and untamed. Let's tame it.

Tip-in is c…

Huyghe Deliria Blonde Belgian Ale

So far, the beers from Huyghe have been either outstanding or spectacular. This is a special brew that was only brewed by women. Now, I have no idea how many men were involved in the previous beers, and I genuinely don't care - the beers were very good. Presumably, the women involved in the brewing of this beer have been involved in the other two, so I have no reason to doubt the impending awesomeness.

What a blonde with its hazy, straw yellow color and stark white head. The head dissipates completely with time, and there are streams of bubbles coming from unseen points of nucleation somewhere in the middle of the bottom of the glass. The aroma is strangely a kind of grape and honey wine, with mandarin oranges spicing things up.

First sip is heavy citrus - and I mean heavy. I am not referring to intensity, but the perceived weight of the fruits involved. We're not talking about fruit juice, but rather we're looking at the meat of the fruit with all the fibers and pits and …

Blackberry Farm Screaming Cock Pale Ale

Another of my brewery firsts, this is a simple pale ale from Blackberry Farm Brewery (or BFB as they call themselves sometimes). I had someone recently make a derogatory comment about beer in cans, and I generally agree that beer is better out of glass bottles, but I've found quite a few beers that were only sold in cans, and many were pretty good, so I try not to judge anymore.

The yellow gold beer cascades like an upside down whitewater section of a river. Okay, maybe not quite that much, but a lot. The good head is sticky, which is surprising considering the large size of the bubbles, but I'll go with what works. The aroma is that of tropical fruits, lemongrass (which I can't say I'm fond of), and a lightly toasted malt.

First sip is a bit watery at first, but it builds with a lot more malt than I expected and the grapefruit kind of bobbles on top with a bit of pine and even a touch of honey. For something called Screaming Cock, it's actually pretty crisp and fa…

Bearded Iris Attention Please Double IPA

The Bearded Iris Brewing Company has been pretty much all over the place so far. Being a small brewery, and being from my current hometown, I give them the full benefit of the doubt that they are capable of making more than just the one outstanding beer. I have had a few Double IPAs lately, and I have really liked this style of beer - it may be my new favorite.

The cloudy orange beverage starts with a nice inch of head that leaves an uneven, yet not insignificant pile, of bubbles on top. The aroma is positively overpowering with its citrus and yeast. I swear I can smell it three feet away, and that isn't a bad thing at all. The smell is sweet and enticing to the point that I'm just going to go ahead and have a sip.

First sip is much more malt than the aroma made me think was on tap. It's sweet (I guess that's where the sweet smell was coming from) and the hops are lending their citrus flavor to the beer while the yeast is pronounced and slightly sour. The effect is act…

Wiseacre Rockets in the Complex Imperial Brown Ale

Wiseacre and I have met before, and I'm usually very happy with the results. I've given them crap for their fairly lousy labels, but this one is pretty clearly the best so far - it's easy to read, calm colors, and it even has drawings that have something to do with the name, so we're progressing!

The beer is a deep rusty brown with a slight head that goes almost completely away very quickly. The aroma is light, so I'm not getting much from it. I think I smell chocolate and maybe a little coffee. I genuinely can't be sure of the smell, as it is so minute.

First sip is mild, yet sweet. It has light chocolate and nuts with gentle grains. The taste is so light that I think I could sip it all day and... really not have a good idea of what it really tastes like. So, I swig.

Tip-in is carbonation burn with nuts and very light chocolate as the taste. The middle is even more muted with grains and light caramel joining the still very light chocolate. The finish is a slig…

Sweetwater Dank Tank Wookie Down Imperial Red Ale

This is another beer with the word "dank" on it. I read up on what that is supposed to signify, and I am not seeing anything that has to do with any aspect of beer. Instead, it appears to have a lot to do with cannabis. This particular can actually says that it was brewed for "420 Fest" which I assume has to do with the popular Sweetwater beer of that name and not necessarily of the marijuana enthusiasts' battle cry, but I could be wrong.

This beer is red, but it is a really, really deep red. It's not the "ruby red" that some black beer like Guinness is, as this is clearly red, but it is like arterial blood red. The very full and puffy head leaves a fair amount of Jackson Pollock-like lacing on the sides of the glass before forming pillows of foam floating on the top of the beer. The aroma is fairly mild, but I get grainy malt and citrus hops, which is nice.

First sip is significantly stronger than I had anticipated. It is sweet caramel and toffee…

Bearded Iris Red Handed Double IPA

Bearded Iris is a local Nashville brewery who has really impressed me. All their beers are thick and murky like juice, but they have an undeniable delicious uniqueness about them that sets them apart from the others. Mind you, they haven't been as good as, for example, Lagunitas, but they have been entertaining to say the least.

This one looks very similar to the others from the same stable - a thick, cloudy, juice-like appearance with a white top. The head boils away to a very thin layer on top with that ring around the rim that pretty much every beer gets (assuming it has ANY head at all). The aroma is tropical fruit, pine, and light crusty bread.

First sip is very strong. It's harsh in the way it treats the tongue and mouth with a strong, acidic juice and a scrape of the pine across the tongue. It's still citrus and tropical fruits, but this kind of jab with acid is definitely ruling this out for just sipping. Maybe gulping is the key.

Tip-in is hard carbonation burn wi…

Stone-Maine Dayslayer India Pale Lager

Stone. These people are just downright good. Maine, however, I have not a single experience with. But, if Stone decided to crew something off someone else's label, it really has to be a great beer. Am I setting myself up for disappointment? Possibly, but I'm going to jump in, either way.

The bright, clear gold beverage has a good enough head that dissipates to a ring and splotchy covering on the top. So, it comes off as a generic macro brew except for the stick-to-it-ive-ness of the bubble top. The aroma is more yeasty and floral than your average lager, and the pure wort smell that I normally detect in a solid German-style lager is lingering under it all.

First sip is bready, floral, and almost buttery. Along with that is a grapefruit citrus that really helps everything stay mellow while it is flavorful; I am not getting any of the bite or even a funk off of this beer. This is well balanced for the flavor that it is presenting - no bite is impressive.

Tip-in is bread, grapefr…

Terrapin Hopsecutioner IPA

This beer may as well have "For Tim, with Love." I mean, and IPA with an awesome name like Hopsecutioner from Terrapin, who (when they put their mind to it) can put out some seriously good beers. With the artwork on this label, I'm kind of surprised they aren't getting sued by Eastman & Laird (or whoever owns the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles these days).

The light amber beer has a remarkably sticky head that leaves lacing like its on sale at the dollar store and leaves a thin cap patchier than Patches, the dog who lives down the street. The aroma is suitably hoppy and a rich mixture of citrus and pine with a solid backing of bread malt. Honestly, I expected the hops to overwhelm the malt, but the malt seems to be holding its own here.

First sip is pine hops up front with malt behind. The finish is really odd - it is bitter with oranges and lingers a whole lot longer than you might expect. With it is a kind of dusty grain that makes me think of a wheat beer or jus…

Anderson Valley Bourbon Barrel Stout

There was a time when I would scoff at the idea of a beer aged in a bourbon barrel. I used to say that you should brew beer as beer and liquor as liquor, but I had a few good ones, and my opinion has been dramatically altered. Now, I know what they are trying for, and I can totally appreciate it.

The thick black beer sports a tan head, but not much of one. I was trying to ring out some bubbles, and I think the process of aging in bourbon barrels might be detrimental to the beer releasing carbonation or something. The aroma is delightfully oak and a thick, syrupy caramel and chocolate. It is very nice in the presentation, so let's see how the rest of this works out.

First sip is a little more watery than its contemporaries. It still has pleasant taste to it that is similar to the smell, but not quite. It has more nuts and even light coffee there with the water. I suspect that they really wanted to make this a mild beer, so they added more water to it. That explains the arbitrarily …

Evil Czech Bigsby White Stout

EVIL! Czech! Well, I can't tell you if this is evil, but it's brewed in Indiana, so it may have Czech roots, but this is American, and they should be proud of that. I've never had a white stout - or indeed any stout that wasn't some shade of black, so this'll be a new one for me; and I like new beers.

It's not black like a regular stout (or black ale, black lager, porter, or any of the others). Instead, it is an exceedingly murky kind of dull bronze with a tight white head that leaves the familiar ring around the glass and an amorphous blob in the center of the drink. The aroma is unexpectedly very coffee. There may be some vanilla in there with it, but holy crap is there a lot of coffee.

First sip is not as excessively coffee as I feared, but there is still a lot of it. I can confirm the vanilla in there with some flowers. If there's more, it is hidden under the coffee, and the coffee, like I said, is heavy, but it isn't quite as off-putting as most of…

Ommegang Game of Thrones Bend the Knee Golden Ale

The Ommegang beers I've had in the past have made me pretty much go out of my way to try new ones - I even bought a few for friends and relatives. This latest one comes just before Game of Thrones comes back on, and it makes me want to watch that show just by looking at this bottle.

The clear, golden beer cascades very heavily, and it has one of the more resilient heads that I've ever seen. It fell to about half an inch after a soft pour, and it is not going down any more than that. I respect that kind of stick-to-it-iveness. The aroma is floral honey and dusty yeast.

First sip is honey sweet and that dusty yeast with even a bit of fruit to straighten things out. As a sip, it isn't overly complex, but it's still pretty nice. I could see sipping this for a while and enjoying it well enough. But swigging is what I do.

Tip-in is lemon and honey - very sweet with carbonation tingle. The middle brings the yeast into the mix, but it maintains the sweetness without being cove…

Lagunitas The Waldos' Special Ale

Lagunitas is a tiny little part of a great big corporate macrobrew machine. It wasn't that way when I first started trying their wares, and so far it seems like their corporate overlords have not screwed with their particular and peculiar take on life and the way to make beers, so I still look forward to every bottle of it I get my hands on.

The very clear honey colored beer has a somewhat sticky head that leaves a familiar (to those of us who have had a few Lagunitas before) patchy cap. The aroma of funky yeast, dirty grapefruit hops, and vague spices is pervasive. I can't say that it is a particularly nice smell, but smell isn't everything.

First sip is better than the smell, but not a far way off. The kind of dirty, spicy, funky taste is more mellow than the smell, and it has so many damn hidden depths that I feel like I'm drowning in flavors that I can't even enjoy with a fairly quick sip. Fortunately, I have a process that figures this kind of stuff out.


Elysian The Immortal IPA

We've been here before, Elysian and I, and their beers have been absolutely sensational. So, when they say that an IPA is "The Immortal" I assume they have done their homework and know what kind of expectation level that is going to bring. If they bring their best, like they have before, then we're all good.

The amber-gold beer has a very nice white head with lacing and stickiness that tells the drinker that the beer is an IPA. The aroma? Well, it isn't as much IPA as the look. It definitely has a heavier malt and yeast in there like a DIPA might. Mind you, I can totally smell the citrus hops waiting for me, so maybe this is going to be an IPA after all.

First sip is all kinds of IPA. It is actually fairly nice with its grapefruit all up in my face and the malt managing to keep the bitterness in check. There is orange and mango in there to help things stay rounded out, but that grapefruit is really front and center. Will it be in the swig?

Tip-in is light carbona…

Sierra Nevada Devestation Black IPA

I never had a beer with a wax seal before. This one had a wax seal over a cap - I had really expected a cork. The label, even though Sierra Nevada is a big enough company to be known in pretty much every bar in the US, looks like it was printed out on someone's home ink jet printer - 10 years ago. So, it is an odd mix of intimidating craftsmanship and laughable guy cobbling stuff together in his garage.

It's a dark brown beverage. I mean DARK brown. The light brown head is really big, as you can see in the picture. As it goes away, it leave a lot of lacing on the sides, and it makes me just want more of the beverage. The aroma is strong enough to hit me from my chair, which is excellent. It has hops galore, a bit of spice, and maybe even some citrus.

First sip is more smokey than expected. The hops are still in here, slapping your tastebuds in the face with their bitterness, but the malt manages to hod it back, bro. It's good for a sip, so let's see if it's good fo…

Bearded Iris Acid Test Pale Ale

Bearded Iris started off very, very strong, but they have kind of petered out to the middle-of-the-range beers at this point. All told, I'm still generally happy with their beers, and I would gladly try a new one - which is what I'm doing, so I guess that's proof that I'm not lying.

Another yellow-orange juice colored and textured beer from Bearded Iris. The head took some coaxing just to get this little bit, but it sticks to the sides very well. The aroma is fruit, but it is more like a citrus spritzer - all sting on the nose and very little meat to the fruits.

First sip is - just as the name suggests - a fairly acidic citrus going on. Grapefruit jumps out and hits me in the face, and I usually actually eat grapefruit with quite a bit of sugar, so this could use something to seriously cut the bite. Still, a sip is looking through a keyhole through a spyglass through a monocle. Let's gulp!

Tip-in is actually not that acidic. Instead, it's bright citrus with a v…

Yee Haw Billy Beard Maibock Spring Lager

Yee Haw has been a nice surprise for a local brewery. The fact is, it is horribly named, but the beer has not been that bad. I'm not certain that the nutty name for the brewery should have an effect on the quality of the beer itself, and I have so far found that it hasn't. So, I'm confident that this should be pretty good.

That beer is a very darn clear amber-copper color with a semi-sticky head that has floating patches of tiny bubbles centered around much bigger bubbles. The aroma is all kinds of spring lager. I smell spices, malt, honey, and it is a pretty enticing smell.

First sip is very, very strong. The honey is pretty solid in there, but the spices are just freaking nuts. No, I'm not saying that I taste nuts, and I would probably not be able to over all those spices. The malt is the only thing really holding its own against the spices, and it is bringing a pretty solid bread.

Tip-in is light carbonation burn, fresh, doughy bread, light spices, and even some cit…

Anderson Valley Boont Amber Ale

Is Boont the name of the bear with deer antlers on the front of this, or is it an homage to the name of the place where this is made, or is it something we aren't supposed to know about? Well, the can doesn't say, and I'm not going to go nuts with trying to figure it out. Anderson has been good enough so far, and this should be no exception.

The dark amber beer has a very interesting head that, while leaving no lacing, maintains top that has a patchwork that looks like the results of a petri dish floating on it. The aroma of faint wood and light malt that reminds me of toast are dominating that really weak smell. What does this mean to the taste? All too frequently, not a whole lot.

First sip is a simple and very well balanced amber ale. It has that finish that is hollow and woody, which I pretty much remember from almost every amber I've had. That's good - shows that they are aiming at the right place with this. Altogether, I'm tasting the malt as toast and to…

Cranker's Bulldog Red Ale

The Professor IPA from Cranker's was very, very good. I don't know how a beer maker can come out of Michigan with a hit right out of the gate, but I assume it's because they A) love beer and B) tried a few different things before they started shipping beer. This is a technique I wish some brewers would follow. Let's see their red ale...

I'll be damned if this isn't a (dark) red ale. The creamy head becomes a lilly pad within a few minutes, and the aroma is pretty damn overwhelming for a red ale. I know that red ales sometimes have more character than, say, a Killian's, but this is definitely strong. the malt is just jumping out of the glass.

First sip is caramel, some dark fruit with grains, earth, and even a bit of toffee. It is luxuriously rich with all of the malt just heaped inside that glass, and the nuts and brown sugar seem to trail off into the distance. This is a very solid, almost decadent red ale; it might start bordering on a Belgian ale with th…

Bearded Iris Again & Again Pale Ale

Bearded Iris - these guys try. Do they succeed? Yes and mostly yes. Even their worst beer is still not the worst thing ever. And their better beers are pretty damn good. They seem to like to make ales, and I'm certainly okay with that.

My prediction was that this, like every other Bearded Iris beer I've had so far, would be a murky kind of juice-like yellow-gold. Sure enough, this is lighter in color than the others, but it could totally pass for a juice of some dank citrus fruit. The aroma does not follow, though. It is fruity, but it has a solid thick-crust biscuit malt really nailing it down. The head leaves a ton of lacing - possibly the most of any Bearded beer I've seen.

First sip is sharp and bitter. It's like a slice of a dull bitter knife that hits and then runs away really fast. Flavors are there, but they kind of get hit with that bitterness, and it's hard to really pick them out well. I did taste citrus, mango, pear, and maybe some plum. I don't thi…

Mantra Miel de Diamant Honey Saison

Mantra is pretty much one of the golden children at this point. These people produce some damn good beer, and they know what the hell they're doing. Will they be able to use their particular set of skills to make a saison that is worthy of the brand they are trying to build? Let's find out.

The amber beer with the white head has an aroma of lemons, orange rind, spices, and doughy bread. It's complex and exciting with the patchy bubbles floating on top and the very slight lacing on the sides of the glass.

First sip is not excessively nice. It is sweet and harsh with grains and spices overwhelming the malt and any hops that might have been in there. Instead, this beer just kind of slaps the tastebuds with all the spices and even a pretty hard yeast. I guess a full swig might sort it out a bit, and I don't want to continue to sip this thing.

Tip-in is significant carbonation burn and heavy grains. The yeast is also vying for attention, and it isn't a particularly inof…

Wiseacre Astronaut Status Imperial Stout

Wiseacre has been pretty darn good to me so far. I've had this beer waiting for me for a few weeks, and I don't know why I was putting it off (aside from the fact that the label is pretty cruddy). Well, I guess there is my fear of bourbon barrel aged beers, but I found at least one that I really enjoyed, so I welcome others to try.

The black-as-night beer has a red tinted tan head. The aroma is sweet bourbon and chocolate with some berries tossed in for good measure. There's smoke in there to compliment everything, and it seems to be performing as intended. All told, I already wanted a beer, and I want one more now.

First sip is a pointy mixture of bourbon, chocolate, and berries. There's a strange mix of sweet and tart going on with the whole thing, and I'm pretty sure I taste vanilla on my lips when the whole thing is through. A proper swig will tease out the true flavors.

Tip-in is a stern hit of bourbon with oak from the stout, while carbonation is a non-issue.…

Nebraska Mélange A Trois Belgian Style Ale

We here at are all about you, the reader. When you see a review for a brew from Nebraska that has the imagination to call themselves... Nebraska, you demand that I try it out, so I tried the first one. Was that enough? No. Instead, you demand even more of me with this second brew from the cornhusker state.

If you said that this beer is the color of wheat - with all the shades that entails - I wouldn't fault you. The stark white head is quite voluminous, even though I took great pains to try and dribble the beer slowly down the side of the glass. The lacing is thick and patchy, and the haze is a clear indication that this was bottle conditioned because they love me. The aroma is thick Belgian yeast with a heavy handed helping of grains.

First sip causes me to look at the bottle. Yes, I missed that this was aged in a chardonnay barrel. I definitely get the dry character of the wine, but it isn't overpowering the thick yeast and grains of the beer. It manages to be b…

Bell's Mars Double India Pale Ale

Bell's could only let me down after the hit of the Two Hearted Ale. As a result, all of the other Bell's beers have not been able to measure up, but some have been pretty good. This is the latest that I found from them, so I'm going to keep chasing that dragon - I will find the beer that matches that ale.

I don't know why, but I expected a beer called Mars to be red. I know, this is a DIPA, not a red ale, but that's what I expected. Instead, this is a copper colored beer with a sticky white head with big bubbles and the lacing is tremendous. The aroma is citrus and bread dough. I don't mean like bread or like biscuits or anything else. If you had a handful of wet bread dough in the middle of being kneaded, you would know what this smelled like.

First sip is snappy. It has the citrus and then there is some pine kind of adding a special twang. The bitterness is very prominent, but it's still not entirely off-putting. The malt is kind of like flour in the air,…

Dogfish Head Red & White Imperial Wit

Dogfish Head is pretty consistently in my 3-4 range, and that is a damn good place to be. As my 2.5 rating is an average beer, so that means it is good enough to order when you're at a bar, anything above a 3 is a very good beer. This one looks like they printed the label on a 1990 Cannon Bubblejet printer. I have no idea why this label looks so much worse than the usual ones, but it is what it is.

The beer is a nice copper-amber color with a fluffy enough head that sadly leaves almost no lacing. The aroma is very faint, and it is mostly grains and grapes. More grains than anything, really, but there's not that much in the aroma in the first place, as you may recall me saying earlier in this paragraph.

First sip is yeast, as far as I can tell. It's a funky, groovy yeast that has lots of fruits dancing around it, but it's certainly the life of the party here. The alcohol is noticeable, but it's not burning like a moonshine or something. Instead, it asserts that this…

Cigar City Florida Cracker Belgian-Style White Ale

Another Cigar City beer. The previous two were a little less than what I expected, but this is a Belgian white so... actually, these things tend to be kind of all over the place, so who knows what this Florida brewer is going to do with it? Well, I will in just a minute - come with me to find out.

The hazy, honey-colored beer briefly had a white head, and I mean briefly. That head ran away like something with big, scary teeth was chasing it. Now, it gives the impression of a gold-flaked used dishwater. The aroma is a pleasing sweet, grainy malt with citrus highlights. So, the looks are always nice to write about, but let's taste it.

First sip is solid grainy malt and citrus with an unmistakable coriander and spicy kick to it. It is like a jab in the tongue, as there is a lot going on for the mouth to process. But that's why we swig next, isn't it?

Tip-in is very light carbonation tingle with a floury dough and coriander taste. The middle is grains with citrus and spices mi…

Cigar City Invasion Pale Ale

Another crappy label. At least this one is easier to read than the first one, and the beer inside it might be just as different and improved over that one. I mean, that one wasn't terrible, and this pale ale produced by the same brewer might be able to fix the things that were wrong.

The hazy, dull amber beer has a head that likes to leave a little lacing, so it must like me. The aroma is very slight, but it is bready malt and distinctly citrus malt. So, is this just a milder version of its sister? A smell won't tell me.

First sip is a kind of tangy, weak citrus juice with that malt kind of hanging around, trying not to look too overpowering. That's pretty good, as the last one had way too much malt on the front end, and the hops could never make a proper recovery. So, the sip was not bad. How will a swig do?

Tip-in is watery citrus and light bready hops. The middle is spiky at the back of the throat with citrus and bitterness flowing freely over the tongue. A slight bit o…

Cigar City Jai Alai IPA

My first beer from Florida, and they totally have no idea how to make a label. Seriously, these colors are just wrong for this label, and I had a hard time reading the brewer's name, the location, and the ABV. This is a terrible label. This will go down in the annals of history as one of the worst labels ever. But I'm here for the contents of the can, so let's dig in.

The beer is a copper and honey color with a nice white head that is... clumpy more than sticky. Lacing is pretty minimal, but I've seen worse. The aroma is simply dripping with citrus and tropical fruits. So, clearly we have some citrus hops in our IPA, and we seem to have so much that there isn't really much malt getting through, but what there is kind of grainy.

First sip is pretty good. The malt is keeping the bitterness at bay while the orange, lemon, and mango hops are going their thing to the whole dang mouth. It's nice enough, but it is like sucking on the peel of some new, strange tropical…

Jolly Pumpkin Calabaza Blanca White Ale

The first beer I had from these guys was a bit... full of character, but it was certainly an enjoyable experience. A white ale is a good style for them to try, as it is difficult to get right, but it rewards patience and skill for a brewer who is willing to brew in the tradition of the style.

The pale gold beer has a little white head when first poured, but it goes away pretty quickly. There are still a few bubbles left, but not many at all. The aroma is exceedingly light, but I think I smell citrus and ... soap? Honestly, that might be coming from my hand, as the aroma of the beer isn't all that significant.

First sip is sour. Is this one of those sour ales? I am not looking to be challenged by my beer like it was a Warhead sour candy or something. This is supposed to be a white ale, dammit! This is why we can't have nice things! If we ruin something as perfectly nice as a Belgian White Ale, then we have no business brewing beer. Maybe it's just a sip, so let's go wit…

New Holland Dragons Milk

Out to watch a Steelers game at a local bar, I decided to ask for a good sized sample of the most expensive, most alcohol-rick beer they have. It's called New Holland Dragons Milk, and it is pretty self-evidently a stout. Unfortunately, I can't get any specifics about this beer (which I got on tap) from the waitress. A quick look on my iPhone shows that it is a bourbon barrel stout, and that generally doesn't help me out. I'm not a fan of mixing my strong drink with my frothy beverages.

The head is very much that of a stout. A light, spotty head with tiny bubbles cuddling around the rim. The color is a dark brown to the point of being impenetrable. The aroma is mostly smokey oat. There may be a hint of the aforementioned bourbon in there, but I can't smell it too well; it's possible the smell of the free popcorn is overwhelming it.
The first sip reveals a daunting and bold flavor. It's got a cherry rim around a smokey oak flavor with roasted malts just simm…

Victory Golden Monkey Belgian Style Tripel (Revisit)

I have already reviewed this beer, but that was kind of in the infancy of this blog, and I like to think I learned a lot since then. More importantly, I really liked this beer, and I have such good memories of it that I thought it deserved an updated review.

The golden beer is not murky at all, unlike my past experience with the beer, and that makes me look twice. The head is voluminous, which is also very unlike the previous version of this beer that I had. I'm a little apprehensive as a result of these changes, but I'm going to assume that Victory made changes based on improvements they thought they could make to the beer, and I'm not going to second guess them. The aroma is sweet malt and spices, and I have stopped caring how this compares to the original - I want to drink.

First sip is a snakebite of spices and malt. The spices are very, very heavy, and the malt is bread with all those spices heaped on top of it, but the dinner roll quality can definitely be tasted com…

Elysian Space Dust IPA

I've only had two other Elysian beers. On the whole, they were goddamn spectacular. Now, I get an IPA - which is in the center of my wheelhouse. I am told that they are the easiest to make, the hardest to get wrong, and I love a good IPA to death, so these guys are going to hit it out of the park.

The slightly hazy, flat copper colored beer has a remarkably sticky head that leaves lacing like it is putting up wallpaper. The aroma is WAY lighter than I would have expected. I think there is a pine or citrus hops, but I'll be damned if I can separate the two. It is really, really light is what I'm saying. If a normal IPA is a Charger Hellcat screaming away at a light, this is more like a Nissan Leaf.

First sip is a mild IPA, but it has a lot more hops than I would have guessed from the aroma. The hops are floral, and they have grains under them that are supporting them nicely. The overall effect is bitter, but not so bitter as some other very hoppy beers that I've had. I&…

Cranker's Professor IPA

I like the fact that Cranker's didn't try to give this beer too many names. A lot of the beers I've had lately have absolutely massive names that I either have to abbreviate something in or just ignore things like "Signature Series" or "Artisanal Ales." These guys cut to the chase, and they just put out some damn beer. Cheers, guys!

Hazy as a Beijing morning, this sucker has a full head. The picture here was actually after I let it go down and poured more beer in. I didn't have the patience to wait and then add the rest of the beer, but I assure you that all the beer is not in the glass at this time - all because of the fullsome head. The aroma is a very musty floral and pine hops. It's got a layer of dust on it, but that doesn't mean it will be bad.

First sip is significantly more citrus than I smelled. Maybe I'm hard of smelling, but it is bright and airy, which counters the musty smell that I had. I was really expecting it to taste li…

Climax Wood Fired Whiskey

So, I was told to try this. Someone I know watched a TV show that had this distillery in it, and they showed the business issues and decisions that resulted in this whiskey. Specifically, I was told that this is simply moonshine where they added wood chips, sent some alternating current through it for a while, and wound up with amazingly good whiskey. The bottle however, claims that this is an old family recipe. I don't care which story is true.

I have seen very few whiskeys before, and I usually notice that the amber liquids have a kind of swirling series of eddies where a series of nearly microscopic wood fibers and... stuff disturbed by being outside of the barrel now, and it is stretching its legs. This doesn't have that. Instead, it's a flat amber with an aroma like whiskey. Maybe it has wood, but not oak - more like maple or even pine (wood, not needles).

First sip is challenging. It's somehow managing to be overpowering and watery at the same time. The bur…

Climax Fire No. 32 Moonshine

When I picked up a whiskey from Climax, I figured I would also try out the moonshine that benefits a local North Carolina fire department with every purchase. After all, I like to help out the rescue workers who help support the public, and I also know that adding flavors to moonshine is the way to make it drinkable.

This is where I would normally describe the look of the beverage. Imagine water, vodka, flat 7-Up, or any number of other clear liquids and you know exactly what this looks like. The aroma is slight cinnamon sugar added to Aqua Net. I swear, I have totally like some moonshines in the past, and I'm not expecting this to be lousy, but the aroma is displeasing.

First sip is not the worst thing ever. It has the standard moonshine alcohol burn accompanying ground up cinnamon, but then there is a sweetness that kind of rounds things up just as it is getting to where it might be bad. The cinnamon takes the extreme edge off of the alcohol hit that really hurt the attempt at w…

Rogue Hazelutely Choctabulous Brown Nectar Ale

Dear Rogue, please do not include any kind of pun in your beer names from now on. You're pretty clearly not good at them, and your talents at making beer should be enough to sell it. When you start to pun, it makes me nervous that the brewer had been distracted and may wind up with a bad beer with a cutesy name.

This beer is not black. It may look that way in the photo, but it's actually semi-light-permeable. It shows the deep, deep blood red color when you shine a light through it, and the light tan head atop it allows the highly sweet, chocolaty aroma to spread out pretty well. The nuts back it up, and the beer is consequently pretty enticing.

First sip has a lot more smoke than I expected. The entire back-end of the beer is almost nothing but smoke after the sweet chocolate, nutty front. It's not bad, but the fact that the beer proudly claims that this is like candy in a bottle is counter to the actual taste. Maybe it's only because I'm sipping and not drinking …

Dark Horse Double Crooked Tree IPA

With Dark Horse, the results seem to have been a bit up and down. The most interesting one from this point is to consider the Crooked Tree IPA. That beer was okay, but I scored it just below average. Maybe what the beer needed was to be made into a double IPA, which, unlike what the name would seem to indicate, typically seems to be maltier than the average IPA, and that is exactly what Crooked Tree IPA needed.

This sucker is brown. Imagine what a brown ale should look like, and you have this beer. In fact, I'm pretty sure there have been some brown ales that could not achieve this level of brownness. The little head becomes a mere smear across the top while the aroma exudes a pine smell that makes me think of a dark, wet woods with about half an inch of snow on the ground that is slowly melting. That's right - an aroma makes me all poetic and stuff!

First sip is pretty much in your face with a fairly even mixture of pine and floral hops making out with a sweet caramel malt. I…

Stone Pataskala Red IPA

Stone makes some incredible beers, and I expect this red that is infused with hops is going to be fantastic. Sometimes, just adding hops to a good beer is a terrible idea that results in a less-than-stellar drink, but Stone is the kind of company that can make this work!

The nice, cherry red beer sports a white head atop a rich, spicy hop mix with a very nice, sweet malt lingering underneath. In fact, not just underneath - it also has a crunchy, sweet layer floating on top of it. This is a really intriguing mix of hops and malt that makes me want to jump in and take a bath in this. Instead, I will be a rebel and just drink it.

First sip is very nice. It has the traditional red kind of subtle mildness, but it has more lurking somewhere in the end and possibly in the middle. It is a little bitter and hoppy, but it's not overwhelming. This is the hoppiest mild beer I may ever have had. The two things are normally in opposition, but it's all working out right now.

Tip-in is sweet m…

Unibroue La Fin Du Monde Belgian Style Triple Ale

Hot on the heels of the Megadeth-branded stablemate, this beer is clearly showing that the corporate vision for what bottling should look like is needlessly flourishy with the aluminum foil top and rather bland, plain topographical map of ... Belgium? Sideways France? Whatever ... in a circle on the label.

In good sunlight, this is orange-gold, but it is murky as the political process. The white head leaves a fairly thick, patchy cap that is pretty solid and reliable. The aroma was noticeable from the moment I started to pour - dusty malt, oranges, and bread simply spread out from the top of the beer as it is dumped into the glass.

First sip is orange and bread with an interestingly funky yeast and a very odd kind of dry trail-off. This is clearly a complicated beer, but I don't know that it would be all that bad to sip all day. With an ABV of 9%, that might be the best thing to do, but swigging is the way I do things, and I suspect it will result in a better overall score for thi…