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Showing posts from October, 2017

Crown Valley Imperial Pumpkin Smash

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I'm not sure the pumpkin is intended for beer. Yes, I've tried many different beers that had pumpkin in them, and some of them were very good – but that doesn't mean that pumpkin is really supposed to be in it. Nevertheless, Halloween is upon us, so I'm going to try out another pumpkin beer.

The very dark beer is not completely impermeable to light. There is a definite orange/red tint to the beer when the sunlight shines through it. The head is at least somewhat sticky and there's enough of the tiny little bubbles hanging around that the beer never gets naked. The aroma just about reeks of pumpkin. It's not like a pumpkin seed drink or something – this is all about the meat of the pumpkin. The smell is like an un–baked pumpkin pie. Not sure if that's a good thing or not, but I'm willing to try.

First sip is unusually sweet. The pumpkin is all right up in my face, but there's a sweet and toasted backend with spices that are giving this beer taste wit…

To Øl Boys Don't Cry Over Spilled Milk Imperial Milk Porter

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Wow. That's one crappy label. Wow. That's a lot of head. Wow. That's a strange and seemingly inexcusable name you got going there, To Øl. So, we are starting with a blank slate in terms of beers, this side of the fact that this is a Belgian beer, and I tend to like the kind of beers these guys come up with.

She's a black beer with a tan head that has more lacing than you can possibly want from a beer. The aroma is cherry, sweetness, wood, and light smokiness. It isn't as smoky as most porters that I've had before, but different isn't necessarily bad.

First sip is very sweet. That malt is certainly sweet, but I think the lactose sugars are just going hog-wild with the sweetness. I can also taste a bit of the wood and definitely the cherry from the smell, but this is without a doubt a dessert beer.

Tip-in is sweet like agave right from the get-go. Carbonation tingles as the wood and smoke drizzle down on the syrup-like sweetness. The middle hits much harder w…

Tailgate Dizzie IPA

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From the muddy banks of the Cumberland comes this Nashville brewer with the latest entry for my eventual prize of "Best IPA Ever." Now, I will technically have to try every IPA that has ever been made or will ever be made in order to actually give out this award, but I'm willing to give it a try.

The murky amber beer has almost no head, even though I tried to coax one out a bit during the pour. Instead, I get a very simple ring around the rim and the suggestion that I shouldn't try to get more foam. The aroma is pervasive and citrus. I smell grapefruit, mango, orange and maybe even some lime.

First sip is not as bold as I anticipated. Instead, it is all that fruit, a little tart, and not bitter like I would expect from a hoppy beer. I don't really taste the malt which is why I'm so surprised I haven't been hit with a bitter hammer. It's not unpleasant, but it's not really letting me know what it's all about.

Tip-in is grapefruit and oranges wi…

Boulevard Heavy Lifting IPA

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West Coast IPAs are quickly becoming my go-to for pure enjoyment with a nice, refreshing beer. Every time I look at a Boulevard, however, I remember that they couldn't do an IPA well. I wonder if they have learned since that fateful day in Kansas City.

The pale gold beer has a fluffy white head that leaves all kinds of lacing. The aroma is mostly citrus hops with grapefruit at the front. I can't really smell much malt, and I guess that'll be okay for a hoppy beer, but a west coast IPA would not tend to be all that hoppy, right?

First sip is not staggeringly good. It has the bitterness of the hops without the beauty of it. Instead, there is a bit of wateriness followed by a sense of citrus hops, acidity, and then the wave of bitterness that just keeps on giving after the taste has gone away. Will the swig do any better?

Tip-in is light flowers, honey, and carbonation sting. The middle follows with very mild grapefruit hops and light pine with an earthy undertone to try and …

Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA

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This beer has a very strange "Racer 5" logo that immediately puts me in mind of Speed Racer's brother, Racer X. The "5" may as well have come from the Mach 5, but they put enough of a twist on the name to avoid having to pay any royalties. This kind of perceived marketing sham doesn't bode well for the beer, but it's a West Coast IPA, so I'll take my chances.

The honey gold beer has a healthy, sticky head that is slightly off white. It is the king of sticky that results in patchy lacing that should be hung in the Guggenheim. The aroma is floury dough and bright citrus hops, and it makes a normal men weak at the knees (assuming that normal man is me, and - this particular time - it is).

First sip is very nice. At first, my thought was crisp, but that was only the beginning of the beer. The after-effect of the beer is much more lingering and kind of malty-citrusy than a beer that I would think of as crisp, but I don't know whatever the technical t…

Bearded Iris Sky Hopper IPA

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When Bearded Iris shows another beer, I pay attention. When it's yet another IPA, I wonder just how different it can be to all of the other IPAs that these guys have put out so far. Admittedly, many of these are very similar to each other, but they all have their own distinct personalities. Let's meet this one.

Another hazy orange-yellow beer that has the opacity of the darkest stout and the head of a good drink of freshly squeezed orange juice. The aroma gives it away with the light citrus hops and dough. The aroma is dull compared to others in the Bearded Iris stable, and I'm not completely sure why, but my curiosity has been piqued.

First sip is pretty freaking good. It's got pineapple, pears, oranges, and a whole bunch of other tropical fruits just dancing around with malt holding the bitter back like a dam holding back a tide. And it's doing a very good job of it, so the sip is juicy and sweet, and I want more. And I shall have it.

Tip-in is moderate carbonati…

Cammo's Drunk At Work All Day IPA

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It's been a while since Cammo came to me with a new beverage, and I'm always grateful when I get the chance to try something new. This is an All Day IPA, so, I'm particularly happy to get a chance to drink it. I like these kind of mellow beers with their intricate, but subtle hops and reasonable, yet gentle malt back-end. Let's see what Cammo brings.

The orange-brown beer has very little carbonation. This is unusual on its own, as Cammo beers are famously over carbonated. This one required a fairly rough pour to get the minimal .25 inch of head that is in the picture. The aroma is a LOT more malt than I expect from an IPA of any kind. It smells like freshly kneaded dough and lite citrus.

First sip is exceedingly mild. It is a very doughy bread with a very heavy yeast content just barely tainted with a citrus hop or two. If this did not use top-fermenting yeast, I would swear that this was a lager - a malt-heavy lager at that. But, I think Cammo knows what he's doin…

Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine Cherries

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Previous Ole Smoky attempts... well, there was only one other one, and it was their Apple Pie. It wasn't great. This is a kind of odd one to deal with, though. It's not technically moonshine - it's cherries that have been soaking in moonshine instead. I've decided to pour most of the glass as moonshine and leave a single cherry in it to make it pretty.

The moonshine is as red as the syrup (or whatever it is) that maraschino cherries steep in. The aroma is like a mild cherry cough drop in liquid form (not a cough syrup, mind you, but the more gentle drops). It definitely smells of the alcohol that you might expect of a 50% ABV beverage, but it's heavy on the cherries, so that works out just fine.

First sip is quite predictably cherry with an alcohol burn; the alcohol burn hits the eyes before the drink hits the lips. There is a sweetness in here beyond the cherries - like corn syrup was added. Yes, definitely corn. Normally, I would try to tear apart the flavor base…

Tennessee Brew Works Tenn.No. 12 Imperial Porter

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I do enjoy a good porter. Right when I started this blog, I indicated that porters were pretty much my favorite style. I think I've changed a bit, but I still really like a porter. This one is brewed here in Nashville, and this isn't the first thing I got from this brewer, but they HAVE to put out a good beer, right?

Black as pitch and proud of it, this beer sports a cap of light tan bubbles that stick around like a hunk of spinach in one of your front teeth. The aroma is that of maple, dark fruit, toffee, and earth. I was expecting some smoke or chocolate, but I really don't smell any. I expect the taste may not follow the nose.

First sip is a bit of a punch in the tastes. It hits hard with what seems like hard liquor like this was bourbon barrel aged or something similar.
<I check the label like I probably should have before I had a sip>
Yup, this was aged in barrels. No idea who or what George Dickel No. 12 is, but I'm going out on a limb and saying that this …

Victory Vital IPA

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Honestly, I will probably try any new Victory beer I get my hands on. As far as I know, they are still an independent craft brewer (unlike the unfortunate Lagunitas with their Heineken overlords). Just outside of Philly, PA, they produce some very good beers, and I expect great things with every new beer.

Had to pour this twice because it filled with head with a little more than half of the bottle in the glass. The head is a stark white, and the beer itself is a calming gold. The aroma is floral and spicy, just like an IPA from Victory is kind of expected to be.

First sip is mostly bittery hops and the various spices that I'm pretty sure Victory uses in their other beers in different quantities. The malt is actually pretty forward for an IPA, and it is cracker, but they are not quite done, so they are breaking easily with the moistness. Think Ritz rather than saltines.

Tip-in is crackers, spices, oranges, and honey. The middle brings more bread than crackers, and it drags the spic…

Honky Tonk IPA

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I expect a brand like Honky Tonk to be straight out of Nashville (like this is) and about as in your face with redneck as Yee-Haw is. This one has a picture of a dragon on it and some nonsense about dragon powers written on it like someone just picked up a batch of throwing stars and is really feeling the feng shui.

The light amber beer has a sticky white head on it and an aroma of biscuits and all sorts of hops (mostly citrus). It seems like it's been forever since I had a beer with such a sticky head that leaves so much lacing, but I might just be longing for it.

First sip is lip-smacking crisp. The hops are heavy, and the bite of bitterness is like a sweet embrace that I've been missing for a while. The hops are citrus and floral. Hell, I think there may be pine in there doing its strange piney thing as well. The effect is pretty powerful, but it is refreshing as well.

Tip-in is biscuit malt and more pine than either of the other hops. The middle is very smooth as the citrus…

Bearded Iris Cuda Double IPA

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The lovely folks at Bearded Iris have brought another beer, and I have to say that I look forward to their new beers about as much as a new Lagunitas. I mean, they don't consistently score as high as Lagunitas does, but they are so much outside the box and yet have such a distinct brand flavor that I just love these guys.

This isn't as juice-like as most of the other beers. It's like the orange drink to the other beers' orange juice. The top settles quickly, and there is simply a light dusting of bubbles on top as if there had been the slightest of snowfalls, and the few flakes left were blowing around in the wind right on top of the sidewalk. The aroma is citrus and bread, and it is thick enough to slice.

First sip is pretty damn good. It's more citrus than most DIPAs I've had, and the malt is struggling to hold its own against these fierce hops, but the hops have simply decided that they were going to make a statement with their taste, and anyone who doesn…

FireFly Caramel Moonshine

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Firefly is kind of my golden child when it comes to moonshine. Well, I say that, but I think I had one that I really liked and one that I hated. BUT, the Apple Pie was definitely the one that made me think that moonshine could be enjoyed, despite not actually being beer.

This is darker than the delicious Apple Pie, and it just about hits the head on the color of caramel. It has the aroma of caramel, too; it's the alcohol-tinted caramel like you might expect in a moonshine, but it is distinctly caramel. It's thick, too. I could smell that caramel as soon as I broke the seal.

First sip is not 100% caramel. The warm feeling going down into the gut is very moonshine, and there is something else there tinting the caramel with adultness. Alcohol twinges all around the caramel, and I imagine this is what the candy that is infused with liquor would taste like - it's very sweet.

Second and third sips reveal a tip-in that is quite unpleasant. It tastes almost like oil or something; …