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Showing posts from November, 2016

Lagunitas Born Yesterday Fresh Hop, Unfiltered Pale Ale

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Oh Lagunitas. Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou art more hop-filled and so expert at brewing beers.

Every damn Lagunitas review seems to be a love letter to that damn company, and I would be more upset if they didn't deserve it, but these guys put together an amazing beer time and time again, and they deserve the accolades I've showered them with. Let's watch that train of superbness pull into the station once again.

This cloudy as all hell yellow beer has a sticky (but not overly patchy) head with staying power. The aroma is fresh hops. These things are floral, slightly pine, and even more slightly citrus, and they are right off the farm and shoved into my glass. They are potent, and I can smell pretty much nothing under them.

First sip is not as nice and delicious as I'd hoped. Instead, it gives the impression of being watery at first, and it is rear-loaded with the hops to the point of overwhelming bitterness. I don't know where the malt is in her…

Devil's Backbone Vienna Lager

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I don't know if I've had a Vienna-style lager before. I can't seem to find one in the handy search box on this blog. So, with the Devil's Backbone having hovered around the "Just waiting to break out and have a giant hit" section of the blog, I figured I would scoop this up and try it out.

The beer is a fairly clear kind of amber-orange with what eventually amounts to almost no head. Lacing is something this beer doesn't have anything to do with. Instead, It is happy with a gentle ring of bubbles around the top, and that's it. The aroma is very fresh bread; it's like walking into a subway restaurant kind of fresh bread. It's an interesting smell, that's for sure.

First sip is more complex than just the bread, but it's still very malt-heavy. There are spices and apricots feeding into the malt to give it a little extra and make sure that the beer isn't too malty. Is this a great sipping beer? Well, I'd say it's not bad. It ha…

Tennessee Brew Works Southern Wit

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I picked up two cold Tennessee Brew Works beers the last time I hit the store. The first beer was, admittedly, not that great. That doesn't mean that this one will be as bad. I mean, these guys (gender neutral, as I have no special insight into their brewery) clearly got enough momentum to start a brewery and even distribute the beer (which is one aspect that CSB had and lost). Let's bring the awesome!

Another sticky head tops this pale yellow beer with a very grainy and lemony aroma that seems almost to be just this side of skunked. I'd have checked the date this was brewed, but they didn't decide to include the brew date on the bottle at all. It's okay, because it seems to just be flirting with the possibility of skunk, and it might just be me for all I know.

First sip is certainly not mild, but it's also not actually hitting me in the face. It's heavy on grains, and all other tastes are just there as dressing. There is a sour note in there that may very …

Tennessee Brew Works Cutaway IPA

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I can admit that I want this to work. I appreciate local brewers, and I want them all to do well and produce good, fresh beer for me to enjoy in large quantities (although I rarely actually drink in excess). This is from Nashville, my home away from the North, and that makes it about as local as it gets. Guys, let's do the hometown proud!

A patchy, sticky head lets you know that you're looking at an IPA, and the lacing will let you know even after the beer has gone away. The color of the beer is also classic IPA - a very murky gold-tinted brown. The aroma sure enough keeps the idea of an IPA going with citrus hops that have just a bit of floral to them. <insert comment about really wanting to drink it based on these attributes>

First sip is definitely more characterful than a run-of-the-mill IPA. It is very bitter, as you might expect, but it is filled with untamed grains and grasses in the middle, and they kind of push everything else aside. The hops are trying to get t…

Boulder Beer "Shake" Chocolate Porter

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Wait - Boulder Beer is in Boulder Colorado? Imaginative. As far as I know, there is no Nashville Beer, Inc. or similar, so I guess they have a unique kind of obviousness. I'm not sure why this is called "Shake" but I complained about the name of the brewery itself, so I shouldn't keep giving them a hard time. I genuinely don't know how an apparent microbrew from Colorado made its way to Tennessee, but I won't look a gift horse in the mouth.

The beer is a deep cherry brown like a very dark rendition of a cola. The head is thick and sticky with an aroma of coffee more than anything. I think I smell burned oatmeal, too, but I really wanted to smell the chocolate, and I'm not getting much of it at all. It's not that it's not mouthwatering - it's just not what I expected, and that's on me, not the brewer.

First sip is a bit confused. It has some chocolate, but it's certainly not a defining characteristic. Instead, there is the burned oatmea…

Terrapin Hi-5 IPA

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Terrapin's wares have been up and down, but they are generally right in the middle. As a consequence, I don't actually have very high hopes for an outstanding beer, but I also expect not to have undrinkable swill. I don't generally aim for the middle-of-the-pack beers, and I hope they don't, either. I want a very good beer... might this be it?

It's a yellow beer with a slight orange glow that has a nice head that leaves a lot of lacing, and I, as you probably know, love that. The aroma is expectedly citrus hops with a touch of spices. I can't smell much more, as the aroma is really gentle. I really like California IPAs, and I'm going to love this, I'm sure.

First sip is NICE. It has the easy citrus calmness of a California IPA, and I really like the way it's full of flavor without needing to assault the senses. As a sipping beer, I can already say that this is among the best of the all-day IPA styles. It is simple enough to just drain the can right …

Stone 02.02.02 Vertical Epic Ale

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Stone. They make beer, and I drink it. It seems like this would be a simple relationship, and it turns out, at least for these guys, it is. Sometimes beer makers try to do too much and go up in flames, and sometimes they try to do a lot and hit it out of the park every time. Stone is like the realistic girlfriend in the romance movie that the hero overlooks for the unattainable woman - yes, they have their faults, but ultimately they are in it for the long haul.

The light gold beverage has a lovely head that leaves enough lacing to let you know that beer has been here, and it knew what it was doing. The head is now a nice, patchy Mandelbrot floating on top. The aroma is a funky mix of funky yeast, coriander, orange, spices, and ... wheat. I didn't expect this to be a wheat beer, but this is a lot like the other wheat beers I've had before.

First sip is everything that the nose was but - get this - right in the mouth instead. The musty yeast is a bit much on the ass-end of the …

Stone Citracado IPA

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The Stone guys are good. This is an anniversary ale, and it was released in August 2016. It is currently October 2016 (at the time of writing), so this should definitely be fresh enough (assuming this is one of the beers that is best fresh). I buy beer hoping it is good - there's no reason to buy beer that you know isn't good - and that's why I tried the best that Budweiser had to offer, but I haven't gone full Bud.

I could probably go a lot of ways with the description of this color. Is it a reddish brown? A dark amber? Chestnut? Dirty mahogany? You decide, as I have too many descriptions to pick from. The head is somewhat sticky, so it definitely leaves some lacing... okay, it's actually a really nice amount of lacing. It also leaves a fairly thick cap on top of the beer. The aroma is floral and citrus hanging out together with kind of a caramel malt with it.

First sip is very nice indeed. It is a mellowing malt that tamps down the bitterness of hops - more citru…

Stone Citrusy Wit

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Stone knows how to make good beers, but they also experiment with it not actually paying out. The worst one I've had is still good enough to recommend in general, but it's slightly below average. I like a good brewer who isn't afraid to branch out and try new things, and they've proven that they like to experiment. Welcome to my lab.

Suspended in the hazy pale gold beer are many particulates of... I'm going to guess citrus stuff based solely on the title. It reminds me of the way the tiny little bits float in a nice glass bottle of Sun Drop (you know, the good one with the real sugar). The head dissipates to leave a very nice coating of bubbles as lacing on the sides of the glass as well as a thin layer on top that has lily pads of dense clusters of bubbles. The aroma is simple lemons and wheat grass.

First sip is wheat grains and citrus, so there's no big surprise. The sheer amount of tartness is kind of impressive. It seems to come from the heavy yeast, some …

Dark Horse "Kamikaze Kaleidoscope" Wit Ale

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My second beer from Dark Horse, and I have not made my mind up about them. They have these ludicrous drawings on their labels that look like rejected Grateful Dead covers, and their beer names are from the fever dreams of people on strange substances that might get smoked or ingested at one of those concerts.

The hazy, straw-gold beer supports a head that refuses to leave lacing no matter how much I beg. Instead, it boils away to a thin veneer on top of the beer, and it lets the aroma of heavy citrus and grains permeate it just fine. I've always said that if beer makers want citrus added to their beer, they should add it at the brew-house, and it looks (or rather smells) like these guys have done that, and I applaud them even before tasting it.

First sip is very much a wheat beer. It is heavy in grains with wheat and barley blowing in the breeze downwind of a citrus grove. I expected the citrus to be front and center, but it's really doing a pretty good job of just hanging in …

Dark Horse "Scary Jesus Rock Star" Pale Ale

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This is a beer that Jeremy from City Sliquors decided to "donate to the cause" even though he hadn't had a chance to try it himself, and I much appreciate his trust in me to review the beer on his behalf. For starters, this looks too much like a hipster beer from the get-go with its off-the-wall name and strange ingredients. Add to that the fact that "Dark Horse" is the name of a comic book company I remember fondly from my youth, and you have a beer that pulls me in two directions.

The beer is a surprisingly pedestrian shade of brown. This may as well be a brown ale based on color alone (no, I'm not judging based on color alone, but makers of brown ales can take note of just how UPS brown a beer can be). The head is gorgeous. Just look at it. It has the staying power to leave a good third of an inch floating on top, and that's while caking the glass with lacing. The aroma is expectedly citrus and flowers. There's an earthy malt hanging around, look…

Lagunitas Wilco Tango Foxtrot Ale

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No, I will not write yet another love letter to Lagunitas as an intro. You all know what I think about the amazing non-craft brewer from Petaluma (and also Chicago, for some reason) so I won't go on about it. Instead, I'll comment that the beer today claims to be a "jobless recovery ale." I don't know what it means, but these guys have an odd sense of humor and they don't really understand that a label is probably not the best way to get a complete thought across.

The patchy head doesn't leave the lacing of its brothers, but it leaves some, and that's a step in the right direction. The beer underneath is a very deep red with the sweet malt and floral hops sending their scent straight up through the bubbles and into my nose, and my nose is happy about the whole thing.

First sip reminds me a bit of a barleywine, but unlike those beers I really kinda like this one. It's very malty, got a bit of oatmeal, and lots of other little bits and stuff like ma…