Braxton Revamp IPA

It's the first time I have had a beer from this little Kentucky brewer. I drink a lot of different brands of beer, so this really isn't all that noteworthy, but it's noteworthy for me in that I like to find out what each new brewmaster thinks about what makes a good beer. Indeed, will this even be good beer?

The wonderfully cloudy copper beer has a somewhat off-white head that sticks around like an IPA head should. It's sticking to the sides with a fierce gusto that lets me know that lacing is certainly on the menu tonight. The aroma is a lot more muted than I would have expected, but the pine and citrus dance together serenely. Quite inviting.

First sip is sweet and bitter up front with a dusty coat of pine bitter bringing up the rear. This is pretty clearly not a sipping beer. It has too much bitterness and not enough taste to balance it out, so the mouth winds up all cattywampus with a feeling that the mouth is tipping forward where the sweetness is barely helping t…

Fat Head's Head Hunter IPA

A present from one of my favorite brothers, this is direct from the outskirts of Cincinnati (technically from Middleburg Heights, OH) and hand delivered to me. So, it seemed only right that I give it the old college try. I mean, they MUST have colleges in Ohio, right? I hear that have football teams in the NCAA, so that must mean there are colleges associated with them.

The beer is honey colored with an orange twist and a minimal, yet full-hearted head with a good mix of tiny and big bubbles that eventually leave a simple, splotchy cap that still lets the dusty sourdough bread and resin aroma with lots of citrus spread all around the area, and I'm loving it.

First sip is like a dam holding back a wall of bitterness from the citrus, and I kept expecting it to break, but it never does. It's not sweet, but it's not the torrent of bitterness that all the citrus would generally lead to. Instead, it's held back by the malt and the yeast to allow the citrus to thrive, but a t…

Bearded Iris Entangled Saison

As a kind of break from the Bearded Iris IPAs (of which there are SO MANY) is this saison. These are, I understand, supposed to be a kind of laid-back pale ale that can be confused with a summer ale or similar. However, this one has been dry hopped, so it will probably have a stronger taste and bitterness than your average summer ale. Of course, the easiest way to know is to start drinking it.

The pale yellow beer has a suspiciously large head of big, lazy bubbles. The aroma is fruits and yeast above it all. The yeast is wet and like dough that has been baked a little, but it's still in the process of becoming bread, yet the yeast has already started to rise. It's fresh and fairly powerful.

First sip is sharp. It's lemon and a wheat bread dough with that full yeast and the carbonation is a bit too much. It tastes more like a stolid pilsner than a relaxed summer or farmhouse ale.

Tip-in is carbonation burn with lemon zest and maybe a bit of grass. The middle comes with a cr…

Tailgate That Roller Coaster Thing Double IPA

For some reason, I always think that Tailgate is brewed somewhere else, but it's brewed right here in Nashville. I went from moving here and being told that Blackstone was my only option to finding little breweries left and right (and then seeing some of them go away entirely, much to my chagrin).

The beer is so murky that I would have suspected this to be a Bearded Iris brew, but it sure enough is Tailgate. There isn't a whole lot of off-white head on this amber-brown liquid, and I noticed that the bottom has chunks of... I assume hops or yeast or something. Never heard of a can-conditioned beer, but I guess there is a first for everything.

First sip is a delight. It's all sweet and cuddly with a creamy malt that is highlighted by lots of interesting tropical fruits. The fruits are meaty more than just juicy, and there is passion fruit, grapefruit, and possibly too many others to name, but they taste very nice.

Tip-in is absolutely meaty fruit edged with a bitterness I ha…

Midnight Moon Apple Pie Moonshine

This claims to be Junior Johnson's family recipe. If you're unfamiliar with Junior, he was one of the NASCAR greats back when stock cars were actually mostly stock cars. As NASCAR started its life with moonshiners comparing their cars, this is supposed to have some legitimacy - it even says it is made using corn, and that is (at the very least) the correct ingredient for it.

The beverage appears like a syrupy Juicy Juice apple juice. So, it is pretty much what you'd expect. My initial reaction when I opened the jar was AHHHHGH! What the hell is that overpowering acetone smell? Well, I still don't know what it was. Maybe it was something to do with the jarring process (please note that this is not a usual Mason jar - it's a sad copy) because I now can only smell heavy alcohol, apples, and cinnamon. So, maybe everything will be okay.

First sip is very strong. The alcohol absolutely overwhelms the mouth, but I still get apples and... cherries? Why am I tasting cherrie…

Evil Czech Voodoo Vanilla Rye Porter

The American Czechs are at it again. Will they managed to tame the giant of a rye porter (known to be a bit intimidating) by adding a little vanilla and a whole lot of attitude? Well, your guess is probably as good as mine. Actually, it might be better.

This beer brings a lot of head. I had to carefully pour three different times (letting the beer settle in between) to get this glass full. The copious head is frothy and thick with the aroma of burned coffee grounds and earth. It sounds like it would be bad, but it's a good mix of bitter and sweet, so I'm okay with the smell of this black beer.

First sip is bitter as all-get-out. The malt is not burned - it's charred with vanilla poking it's cheery little head out of the coffee and earth blackness to see what has happened to all of its friends after that giant bitter meteor hit. It sees nothing, so it heads back down the hidey hole never to be seen again. A sip is not the right way to look at a big beer, though.

Tip-in …

Ballast Point Sea Monster Imperial Stout

Here's the thing about Ballast Point: they do what they are supposed to do. They pick up challenging styles of beer, look to see what makes the style unique, and they produce beers that match the expectation of the style. In this case, I have found Imperial Stouts to be a bit intimidating and stolid compared to the affable nature of an Irish Stout or Milk Stout. So what will they bring here?

As black as Batman's cowl and topped with a light tan head, this stout has the makings of something very good. The aroma is chocolate and oatmeal with earth backing it up nicely. So, my fear about this possibly not being approachable seems to be unfounded, but that's only according to the smell.

First sip is more bitter than I expected, but there is the earth and chocolate simmering under it with even some sweetness chilling underneath it all. I think the main thrust of the beer is like tree sap that has been scorched. It's a good start.

Tip-in is sweet, roasted wood with chocolate…