Gate City "Awe Juice" IPA

It says to drink straight from the can, but that would rob me of the picture I usually take. Screw them and their imperialist instructions - I do things the way I do them, and they don't get to own me. That said, I totally roll the can as instructed, as I am a good boy who behaves and does what he's told underneath all this rebellion.

As soon as I open the can, the juicy nature of the beer smacks me in the nose. The tangerine, grapefruit, orange, and lemon are all bringing their fruitiness to bare on me, and I'm here for it. The murky copper-gold beer's sticky white head is just the container for the juice, and I want some in my belly.

First sip is more bitter, pine, mustiness, and dank than I expected from the very juicy nose. In fact, I'm not sure I tasted any of the fruits at all past that bitter side effect of the hops. Where's the malt? Why isn't the malt doing something to tamp down these problems? Seems like this beer needs balanced quite a bit - the…

Bearded Iris Voyager Double IPA

The Bearded Iris guys are all about their mixes. I don't know how many IPAs and DIPAs I've had from them, but it has been quite a few. They aren't consistently great, and I'm not even sure I can say that they are progressively getting better, but I think their idea is that they will just pump out variety until they can't pump out more or they find the perfect beer. I hope it's the latter.

This is a bit more gold in color than the usual Bearded Iris fare, so it looks a lot less like fruit juice. It's still hazy to the point that minimal light can get through from one side to the other. The head isn't much, and it simmers down to a thin covering for modesty's sake. The aroma is a mix of citrus and tropical fruits, so the usual Bearded Iris touch may bring joy to my face after all.

First sip is all the citrus and tropical fruit that you would expect from a Bearded Iris brew, and it's got a little bitter twinge to it that I'm not particularly us…

Man Crate Moscow Mule

Anyone who's read my blog knows that I don't normally dabble in hard liquor - let alone mixed drinks. This particular crates was a gift from a friend, and I'm certainly grateful for the chance to try this out. However, I'm just letting you know right up front that I don't really know what I'm talking about, so I can only relay my experience with this particular Man Crate.

For starters, the beverage is clear and fizzy. This makes sense, as the main ingredient is nonalcoholic ginger beer. Now, the ginger beer was the only ingredient that was included in the Man Crate. Reading their description of the Moscow Mule, it would appear that it only has one other ingredient: vodka. This is self-evidently incorrect, as the can of ginger beer has the Moscow Mule recipe on it, and it includes a lime. So, after gathering up the other ingredients, I'm finally able to use the Crate.

I would really have appreciated detailed instructions with this Crate. I don't know why…

Bearded Iris Forecast Mexican Style Lager

Let's get this clear right off the bat: I don't normally add any citrus or whatever else may traditionally or anecdotally be added to a particular kind of beer. When I did my review of Shock Top, Blue Moon, and a few others, I did not add an orange or lemon or whatever the particular tradition was for that beer. That was because it wasn't actually written on the can or bottle. This one explicitly states that you should add a lime, so that's what I'm doing. I'm still against the idea of adding an external citrus to a beer that should be controlled by the hops, but I will follow instructions.

The beer is already a vaguely green-tinted yellow with a whole heaping of bits floating around all up and down the beer; these bits are not bothering to settle on the bottom. The head is pretty aggressive, but it's certainly manageable in its white yet foamy state. First sip is unsurprisingly lime with other citrus flavors tossed into the mix. While I don't condone a…

St. Arnulf Alery Hexagram Milk Stout

There was only one reason I bought this bottle of beer, and I don't even know how much I spent on it. I bought it for this weird paper wrapped around the bottle packaging. I'm not normally one to go nuts over a particular kind of packaging, but this really stood out in the beer store. It's odd that this strange and seemingly foreign beverage comes from Kentucky, but I think that just goes to show that good ideas can come from anywhere.

I can normally hedge the color of these black beers by saying they have a little bit of ruby or brown around the edges just where the light is coming through, but that's not this beer. The sucker absorbs all light. The tan ahead absolutely does not want to come out and play, and what you see in this picture is the closest I could come to coaxing some out, and there isn't much to it. The aroma is downright boozy with heavy alcohol, sweet malt, chocolate, and roasted wood. In the background, there be berries.

First sip is much heavier …

Knee Deep "Breaking Bud" IPA

This is my second Knee Deep beer, and it shares the strange anthropomorphic hop on the front of the can that its sister did. I guess it's just kind of their thing? In any event, this is an IPA from a brewer who clearly knows their way around beer, and I am welcoming to any kind of strange label that might surround a good beer. Aside from Nazis. I don't want Nazis.

The hazy, dull gold beer has a proper, thick IPA head on it that leaves lacing more than I had dreamed of (and I dream about lacing a lot more than you might expect). The aroma is predictably citrus and it has a good, wet dough malt backing it up with a hint of pine on the horizon. The whole presentation is making a thirsty man even thirstier.

First sip is much, much smoother than I anticipated. The citrus hops are playing very well with the doughy bread and it is backing it up like a champ. The resin is more than I could smell, but it's all very... harmonious in its presentation.

Tip-in is a bit tart, and the re…

Bearded Iris Finesse Pils

What the? Is this a Pilsner from Bearded Iris? That doesn't make any sense. When you're Bearded Iris, you make IPAs and double IPAs – you do not make Pilsner's, right? Well, this can would lead me to believe that I have been mistaken this whole time. So, I'm going to try this Pilsner from a beloved local brewery.

The pale yellow beer sports a seriously frothy white head to the point that it starts to drizzle down the side of the glass. The aroma of wheatgrass, heavy sour yeast, and flowers dominates the smell. I'm not used to pilsners from Bearded Iris, so I didn't have an idea about what to expect, but this is straight out of the pilsner playbook.

First sip is grass, spice, wheat, honey, and a dour yeast. The floral and spice nature of the beer tries to make it light, but the yeast seems like it's dragging it down a bit. Of course, that's what happens when you sip, and sipping is for tea and sacramental wine - here, we drink.

Tip-in is lemon, carbonati…