Showing posts from 2018

Yellow Bridge Horatio IPA

This beer was picked up direct from the brewery two days ago in Delmont, PA. It features a crab on the front, seemingly commanding some waves. Now, I'll admit it has been quite some time since I read Horatio Hornblower, but I don't think he commanded the seas, and he almost definitely wasn't a crab. Maybe they should have named this Sebastian.

The murky orange-gold beer doesn't sport a whole lot of the white head, and it boils right down to a very thin and patchy covering with a lot more around the edges of the glass. The aroma is delightfully hoppy with citrus and tropical fruits; I think I may smell a cracker malt, but it's buried.

First sip is not nearly as smooth as I expected. It's prickly all around the edges, but it smooths as the beer goes down. The prickliness comes from pine and maybe a bit of flowers, and I don't know why I didn't smell it. The fruit meat is what smooths it out at the end, and this is a really complex - yet very simple - beer…

Revolution Anti-Hero IPA

I don't know who this Chicago brewery is trying to revolt against, but the picture on the can has a raised fist reminiscent of any number of socialist revolutions. And then there is a hop with a general's military uniform (and an eye patch). So, I'm guessing more than one Che Guevara t-shirt is on display in the brewery.

The honey colored beer has a very healthy head that leaves a spattering of lacing on the sides of the glass that I can only describe as very pretty. The aroma is musty pine and citrus hops with a sweet bread malt lingering under it, waiting for the unwitting capitalist dog.

First sip is hops of the citrus and pine variety with that malt doing a good enough job of smoothing out the bitterness, but there's no way of getting away from the bitter hops as the main ingredient. There is a tartness to go with the bitterness, and the musty overtones are really odd and counter the malt quite a bit.

Tip-in is wheat bread malt with the citrus and pine jumping up a…

Ole Smoky Blue Flame Moonshine

From what I understand from the shelf tags and stuff that I saw for this moonshine, Ole Smoky basically just said, "We're through screwing around - we're ramping up the alcohol to what moonshine should be. I hope you enjoyed the flavored drinks with a little alcohol added, but moonshine was designed for getting people messed up. You need to get used to something more aggro."

First things first - the beverage is blue in the jar, but it's such a light blue that the glass reads as pretty much clear. What does this mean? This means that - unlike the other Ole Smoky shines I've tried - this one is presented in a tinted jar. The fluid is clear, but they didn't want people to mistake it for White Lightning, so they shaded it. I'm not particularly happy about this - I feel like I've been duped. For the love of all that's holy, just add some damn food coloring. The aroma is the usual kind of lighter fluid smell, but it's sweeter and... maybe corn?

New Heights "Damguday IV" New England Style IPA

From Nashville, TN comes this "Specialty Batch No. 1" beer. I point this out as this is - my Roman numerals are a little rusty - the FOURTH of the Damguday beers. So, were the other three not a specialty batch? Why is this specialty? What's with all the numbers? Is this some sign from the Illuminati? Let's see what the powerful underlords drink:

The hazy, honey colored beer has a very sticky head that would make me think of a Belgian ale or a bog-standard IPA. But this is a New England IPA, and I have not seen this much lacing from one of these before; I hope it's a trend. The aroma is not unpleasant with its colorful citrus, but it has something more acidic than that in there with it, and it's almost acetone.

First sip dispels fears. It's a very rich and sweet citrus blend with a crusty malt backing it up with an almost oatmeal-like quality. There is bitterness on the back-end, but the sweetness of the fruit is counter to anything I expected. It's no…

Platform Speed Merchant White IPA

One of my brothers got me the cute bottles with the antlers on them, and I couldn't have thanked him enough. I didn't like them all evenly, but I like trying new beers, so any beer is welcome (except for you, Magic Hat - you know what you did). This comes from my OTHER thoughtful brother in Ohio who gave me beers that were all local to him; and no, I can't thank him enough.

The golden beer with a brassy tone absolutely does NOT want to release any head. When it is forced out, it is a white dusting of tiny bubbles with the occasional adult bubble thrown in. The aroma is just what it says on the can: citrus fruits, tropical fruits, and pine. It adds a bit of bready malt to the mix, but the hops are out in front having a parade to enjoy just being hops.

First sip is a lot smoother than I expected, but it has a bitter trail that makes you wonder if all the hops were worth it. I joke, because they totally are. The mangoes and pineapple are joined by oranges and papaya to dance …

Unveiled Vanilla Dark Ale

What might I have done in a previous life to deserve brothers who would send me beer like this? I'm not worthy of their unspoken affection, and it doesn't need to be spoken so long as the beer talks for them. This is my second beer from unveiled, and I certainly have high hopes for it.

This dark brown beer is so dark in the middle that light will not pass through, but it's definitely brown, as I can see through the corners and the bottom of the glass. There wasn't much head to start with, and it scatters to the winds leaving only a ring around the sides of the glass that sticks a little, but I'm not expecting any lacing from this. The aroma is delicious. It's sweet and syrupy with chocolate and vanilla garnished with nuts and maybe a sprig of coffee. Maybe coffee is just some malt having been roasted; it's hard to tell.

First sip is excellent. This is a really smooth beverage that is a lot more mild than I expected. The vanilla and chocolate malt are playin…

Unveiled Double IPA

Yet another beer that I got as a present. I thank the stars that I have such generous siblings. This beer says it was brewed and canned in Abita Springs. I'm genuinely surprised that something other than Abita has come out of Abita Springs. Well, this is a double IPA, so this has a darn good shot at winning my heart.

That is a beer colored beer. It's a gold with a little bit of an amber hue added. I think if I was gonna be a little more professional with these reviews, I probably have to get out a chart full of paint chips and try and match exact colors, but beer is kind of a messy subject, so I think a little slop is okay. The head isn't much, but it sticks pretty well. There isn't going to be any lasting lacing, but the heads impressive enough. It smells of sourdough, flowers, and some citrus. This is a good start.

First sip is downright excellent. It has that raw sourdough bread malt that is a nice base for the citrus and flowers to lean into. The fruit is bright an…

Rivertown Kontrola Pilsner

My first Rivertown beer was in the very early stages of this blog, so I would take the 2.5/5 rating with a grain of... barley? This one is from my brother, and I will enjoy it more, I'm sure. After all, this was hand-selected to fit my discerning tastes (okay, my try-and-try-again tastes) by someone who cared. I expect great things.

The very golden beer doesn't sport much of a head, and it consequently doesn't leave any lacing. The aroma is beer. I mean, this is what I traditionally think of as a beer smell. If you took the low-end American macro-brew lagers and mixed them with all the mid-range Canadian beers, you would wind up with almost this exact smell. It's light grain in a heavy, yeast-tinged malt with a whiff of hops. It's not bad that it smells like this, but I'm trying to give you, dear reader, the idea.

First sip is much more than I expected. The yeast is right out front with the grains and sweet, honey malt in tow. It's a deep beer that is fille…

BrewDog Lost Lager Dry-Hopped Pilsner

Dry-hopped? Usually an IPA or a pale ale. Lager? Yes, that's a thing. Hell, the American-style lagers are pretty much the best selling beers in the world. Pilsner? Technically a type of lager, but it's distinct like a stout is distinct from an ale. So, I don't know where these guys are going, but I remember the truly fantastic Hazy Jane, and I'm along for the ride here. With an approachable ABV of 4.7%, I think I could ride this all night.

The beer looks like a classic pilsner. It's a pale gold that is a bit too rich in gold color to be confused with a Bud, but it might be confused with a Coors or something like that in a darker room. The head isn't really trying; it's not much to start with and leaves only a slight patch on top with no lacing. The aroma is lemons and grains without the slightest hint of the dry hopping I was promised on the can.

First sip is grainy with lemon zest, grasses, and some honey. I think there is citrus around the outsides, but t…

Moerlein Christkindl Winter Warmer Ale

One brother glues antlers to bottle and makes some genuinely entertaining bottles filled with entertaining beer. The other brother gives me cans filled with entertaining beer. Honestly, I appreciate them both equally. After all, I clearly like trying new beers, and these guys are contributing to the cause.

The deep ruby colored beer has very little head, and what it has goes away entirely. A few faint bubbles around the rim are all that remain, but that lets the aroma of spices above dark fruits and earth come through a bit better; chocolate and sweet malt are laying the groundwork for this effort.

First sip is solid; coffee, chocolate, spices, and a definite earth are all heavy-feeling tastes loading the beverage down. It's nice, but it's not smooth, dry, or otherwise easy to define. It's so stiff that the spices on top of it seem almost to belong to a different beverage. The earth and coffee and chocolate are really solid and deep while the spices are really light and ai…

Sweetwater Festive Ale

Sweetwater has been kind of all over the place. They haven't had any real stinkers, but their best standout... actually, it was really good. What the hell am I thinking? My brother wouldn't steer me wrong (much like he wouldn't disappoint me by giving me bottles that didn't have antlers at X-mas).

So brown that it has turned black, the beer has a head with an off-white hue made from many tiny bubbles and a few big ones. It attempts to make some lacing on the sides of the glass, but it's failing pretty miserably. The aroma is smoky chocolate with a mocha bend. The spices are light and barely perceptible.

First sip is a lot heavier with the coffee than the aroma let me know. The chocolate is dark and bitter, and it intermingles with the coffee and smoked oats. I don't know where the spices are, but I might have been taken off-guard by the coffee. I'm not a coffee fan; this isn't enough to ruin the beer, but it's not welcome.

Tip-in is sweet and vanill…

Boulevard Snow & Tell Scotch Ale

Yup, it's another beer from my brother with antlers inexplicably glued on it. Look, it may not look great for the picture, but I like that my brother went through the effort to glue the little googly eyes on the beer with that stupid, beautiful shiny nose. So, a Boulevard has this decoration, and they were on my "naughty" list, when I had my first, but they have bounced back, so this might be very good.

The very dark amber beer is liberal with its head, but it's not too much to handle. The tight bubbles nestle nicely on the top of the beer like a sweet little mattress. Speaking of sweet - the brown sugar, molasses, and syrup sweetness is carried right over to me from a foot away, and I'm also digging the oaky addition at the outskirts of the smell.

First sip is smooth, but the end has an oak dryness to it that doesn't let go in a hurry. I can definitely taste the brown sugar and molasses, and there is some vanilla added for brightness. Still, that oak finish …

Great Lakes Christmas Ale

The only other beer I've had from Great Lakes was their amber, and I liked it very much. I'm going through the Christmas beers that my brother stuck reindeer antlers and faces on before giving to me; This one is from his current home state of Ohio. So, let's see if he picked me out a good one.

This surprisingly clear copper beer didn't have much head from the get-go, but what little head I coaxed out is fluffy enough, and it never really goes completely away. The aroma is sweet with spices and honey (just like it says on the label) with very little thought given to the hops. The spices are prickly, but I'm not getting a bite of floral or citrus hops that I might come to expect. I don't even think I smell pine.

First sip makes me forget all of the worries I had about there not being hops in here. No, hops are not forward, but they do seem to be backing up a very nice warmly spiced malt with that sweet honey bringing up the rear beside the hops. The hops are defi…

Brooklyn Winter Lager

Brooklyn has given me some good performances in the past, and - as you can see - my brother hooked me up with the festively-decorated bottle. So, this one is another one that is classified as a winter beer, but this is a lager. How will it do against the ale I had last time?

The dark brown beer has a good amount of head that fizzles down to a quarter inch or so of foam that makes the whole festive countenance of the beer seem more like a party. The aroma is roasted grains, bitter dark chocolate, and alcohol just nestled into the warm rug of malt.

First sip is the roasted grains joining coffee grounds and vanilla. The sip isn't particularly bad, even for someone like me who doesn't like coffee. It seems like it has a lot of carbonation, and that's making me burp a bit just from the sip. Odd.

Tip-in is mild carbonation tingle with the roasted grains and a caramel malt mixed with some earth under it. The middle widens to include more grains, some dark fruit, and that's ab…

Abita Christmas Ale

It's that time year again. My brother furnished me with a few of these reindeer–inspired beers. I think this year they are all some kind of Christmas ale or winter warmer, but I wound up labeling this here as a brown ale, as that's what their website says. They cover their bets and also call it a dark ale, so they're getting two labels. This particular beer sparked my interest, as Abita has not really inspired me in the past, but this is just the kind of niche that might be their breakout hit.

Well, they call this a brown ale, but it has more of a mahogany look to it. The head is thick with this one, and it sticks around for a while. Even after it is left to settle, the foam is like a sponge sitting on top; I'm kinda digging it. It's got a sweet, bready malt aroma with maybe some brown sugar and a hint of the mahogany that is coloring it. I can tell you it certainly smells intriguing.

First sip is a little rough. These Christmas ales tend to have a rather stoic per…

Southern Grist Loud Whisper Pale Ale

Is it wrong that I now think of any beer below 6.5% ABV as kind of quaint and pedestrian? Well, no small brewery in Nashville should be considered pedestrian. I've run into so many that are really outstanding that above average is the new norm. Does that mean the average raises? I'm not here to do math, so no.

The pale yellow beer is misty and has a nice, thick white head that leaves more lacing than you might expect, but it's not like IPA-level lacing. The aroma is dank citrus and wheat. I expected a bit of pine, but I really can't smell much past the citrus and faint grains. Maybe wheat was the wrong word, and I should stick with grains - it's definitely a grainy smell, but when you get right down to it, is there a big difference between wheat smell and barley smell?

First sip is lemon zest with oranges, tangerines, and grapefruit backing it up. The grains assert as wheat (kind of disappointing after my whole "wheat v barley" tangent). It's a simple…

Southern Grist Process Control Double IPA

I would have sworn up and down that I had already tried something from this Nashville-based brewery, but I looked through my reviews and found nothing. In reality, this blog is really just so I can keep track of the beers I've had, what I liked or didn't like about them, and if I should have them again when I'm out and about. As a bonus, I share the experience with the world in general.

Okay, it's possible I've been drinking too many Bearded Iris beers lately, but I'm now almost expecting what this beer looks like: very hazy, juice-like orange with a full head that you can balance a quarter on (not actually, but you get the point). The aroma is citrus hops and mild grains (that may be toasted).

First sip is tangy tangerine, nectarine, orange, grapefruit, and the texture of papaya with the grains mixing in for the background. It's definitely got character, and I want to know more about it. There's only one good way to do that - the swig!

Tip-in is tart an…

New Heights 5th & Oak Pale Ale

On tap at the reliable City Sliquors is this local Nashville beer. I was going to make some joke about this being brewed on the banks of the muddy Cumberland, but this is technically brewed in Franklin, I think, so it's not going to be anywhere near the river. Still, this is a rare enough beer that they don't actually mention it on their website (as of my writing).

Hello, hazy copper-brown beer. How are you? Oh, you say you've found yourself with a fairly thin head, but you leave as much lacing as you can with the little head you have going for you? Well, I don't think that anyone could hold it against a bready-citrus-scented beer like you. Your presentation is just fine - and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

First sip is a sweet caramel and bread malt with citrus lovingly caressing it. Am I anthropomorphizing this beer too much? Yeah, I probably am. So, let's just back off and say that the personality of this beer is precious, and you shouldn't judge a…

Perrin 98 Problems IPA

When Michigan produces an IPA, I start to think, "Why should I drink something from Michigan instead of one of those great West Coast IPAs that I've had so many of?" Well, I'm not sure I have an answer better than the idea of why to climb a mountain - because it's there. The fact is, beauty can come from anywhere - even Michigan.

The somewhat hazy orange beer has quite the head on it, doesn't it? Lacing left on the sides is big old bubbles of awesome. Pine and citrus dance their sweet dance of hoppiness while the malt is ... let's go with understated to be honest. But, the presentation overall is pretty damn good.

First sip is a little more watery than I expected. It has definite flavor in there, but there is way too little of it in the middle. I know there's a malt and there are hops with bitterness. Aside from that, this is a watery mess that I had not been expecting or wanting. But, that's the nature of a sip, isn't it - a limited picture.

New Holland Hoptronix Double IPA

When the world asks you what kind of beer you want, you have to pick. These days, I've kind of pivoted from my IPA or Guinness go-to. Now, I think I may be a DIPA man. The DIPAs always seem to have a good mix of strong hops with a malt that imbues the beverage with a lot of character and balance. Let's see if the trend continues.

The orange-amber beer has a fairly thin head that clumps together and spits lacing at the wall of the glass like an insulted waiter spitting in the soup. The aroma is sweet oranges - blood and mandarin oranges to be specific. Maybe there is tangerine in there with it, but the whole effect is a lot sweeter than any IPA and most DIPAs that I've encountered. Of course, that's just the smell, and we're about taste here.

First sip is solid but not as sweet as I'd expected. It has a lot more of the wheat and grains of the malt than the sweetness that I thought it was bringing. So, the hops? Those oranges and a spritz of grapefruit are lighti…

Hutton & Smith Igneous IPA

This tiny brewer from Chattanooga has the unfortunate name of a lawyers' office or an insurance company (maybe a large computer manufacturer, but I'm just spitballing). I'm not sure why they couldn't come up with some kind of cool name like Choo Choo Brew or Rock City Beer, but I'm not here to criticize marketing blunders - I'm here to drink beer.

The very hazy copper beer has a LOT of carbonation - it overflowed as soon as I cracked it. The picture here was four pours to let it settle, and I can already see that it's pretty good on lacing. The aroma is dusty pines and bright citrus; it is absolutely mouth-watering.

First sip is strikingly different from most of the other recent IPAs. It has a solid caramel malt for the citrus and pine to sit atop, and the bitterness is there, but it is fleeting; the malt is doing its job very well. So, as a sip, I'd say this is a keeper, but a sip isn't enough, is it?

Tip-in is caramel malt, light carbonation tingl…

Gueuzerie Tilquin Stout Rullquin Belgian Ale

The label of this beer is a bit of an enigma. It has half a dude's face and half a tree on the top label, and it has the dude (creepy as hell dude) leaning on the name of the beverage on one side of the main label with the other side as a black abyss from which no man shall walk out alive. Don't know what vibe they're going for, but this would be the bottle on the counter in a good slasher movie.

The very dark brown beer has a tight, tan head of tiny bubbles. If you were to judge by simple appearance, you might say that the reason it says "Stout" so large on the front of the label is that it is, in fact, a stout. The aroma is NOT that of a stout, though, as it is wild Belgian yeast, spices, and honey. It's pretty nice.

First sip is a goddamn sour. Is that what Rullquin means? Sour? Jeebus. What is wrong with this world when people can't label their beers properly? Well, it's sour and yeasty. I'm not happy about this right now, but I have a large b…

Mantra Citreamsicle IPA

Mantra produces good beer. I've encountered so many good labels through this process - CSB, Lagunitas, Bearded Iris, Founders, and even this brewery - Mantra. So, I have another beer to try out, and it is clear from their past attempts why I should expect a delicious outcome.

The copper, hazy beer has a VERY aggressive and sticky head. The aroma is more of a bread malt with citrus dribbled on top than I would have expected from an IPA. It's got a bit of vanilla and orange just kind of resting on a fresh bread.

First sip is sublime. It's got that thick malt that is bread with a bit of cracker and maybe even biscuit in it, and on top of that is the orange, vanilla, tartness, and sweetness. It's a good sipping beer, that's for sure. The sweetness might be too much for some people, though.

Tip-in is sweet with a slight carbonation topping the sweet malt and citrus brightness. The middle is where the beer reveals its true self with the vanilla highlighting the sweetness…

Modern Times Orderville Hazy Mosaic IPA

Not sure I've ever had a stronger recommendation from the esteemed Jeremy of City Sliquors fame (he is quick to point out that they are in La Vergne, TN and not Smyrna, as I have mistakenly said in the past). He said how much he liked this beer as he placed it into my cart, knowing that I would want to try it. He was right.

The very hazy beer is honey gold and has a very nice white head of foam that only shows slight signs of lacing. My wife got me the new set of glasses to make the presentation of the beer a bit nicer, and this is technically designed for a stout or something, but it still makes it look pretty, and this beer has enough aroma to overcome the smaller mouth of the glass. That aroma is musty citrus with grapefruit and mangoes out front; it's more inviting than a flashing "OPEN" sign.

First sip is sharp. It's got that snap of a citrus fruit with all those mangoes and grapefruit joined by oranges and a thin layer of oats at the bottom of the metal keg…

Bearded Iris Tunnel Vision IPA

Don't tell me about my need to take a step back from my passion for Bearded Iris; I know what I'm doing. No, I'm no professional beer snob or anything, but I like to consider myself aspirational in that regard. Instead, I will simply say that I always take the opportunity to try another Bearded Iris beer, and I don't care who is judging me.

The traditional (for Bearded Iris) thick, hazy orange beer has almost no head - just some lonely bubbles meandering around the top of the beer like they aren't sure what they are expected to do. The aroma is citrus with a curious floral bend to it. I Didn't expect that.

First sip is different than anything else. It's the familiar pineapple and lemons, but they mix with some mangoes and maybe some apricot, kiwi, nectarine, and even some cantaloupe. I didn't get any of the floral that I smelled, but this thing hits you right in the face with the fruits.

Tip-in is grapefruit and mango with carbonation tingling right acr…

Blackberry Farm Peel Your Face Orange IPA

My fourth Blackberry Farm beer, and this one has been sitting on my shelf for a while. I've been kind of avoiding a few of the beers I got, but I do so subconsciously. I don't know if the label has turned me away from them or if two out of the three on this particular shelf said they were some kind of beer I'm not usually a fan of. This is a mystery that scholars will debate for ages.

Ignore the strange dark distortion at the top of the glass in this picture - that's the Guinness label on the glass that I hoped would be blocked by the nice, fluffy white head, but it didn't work out in my favor. What IS working in my favor is the smell - orange and grains aplenty. To make things even better, the clear gold beverage is one of those beers that looks exactly like you would picture as a beer.

First sip is sour, bitter, spicy, and citrus. I didn't expect the sour - there's nothing about it on the bottle, but that's what I taste. I don't like sour beers, b…

Mother Earth "Born Blonde" Blonde Ale

A blonde birthed from Mother Earth. This is my fifth from this brewery, and they have proven to be unfortunately fairly average. Almost every brewery has the one standout, and Mother Earth's, was pretty good, but I wasn't really nuts for it. Maybe this will be the real standout.

Lemon scented air causes waves in a grainy pasture (more grains than I would expect from a blonde, but not so much to be a wheat ale). The head isn't really much, and the slight, patchy cap that it is isn't really going to leave any lacing, but that's okay. The gold beer still draws me into its coolness and warmth.

First sip is lemon heavy, but it has bread backing it. It's a bit of a grainy bread, but this is definitely bread, not wheat or anything. The lemons have a little more (non-lemon) citrus flavor added to them, and that's for the better.

Tip-in is carbonation sizzle with lemons and light acidity. It leads into a middle that features bread with the carbonation seriously taki…

Mikkeller Hallo Ich Bin Berliner Weisse

There are a lot of things about this beer that shocked me right off the bat. I didn't take the pictures of raspberries on the can seriously enough to anticipate the pink hue that this beer has, and I didn't expect to see that the ABV was an amazingly pedestrian 3.7%. I mean - is this even a beer at this point? I wasn't impressed with the first Mikkeller beer I had, and I don't really have high hopes now.

The color, as I said before, has a definite pink hue, but it puts me in mind of someone who has a very bad injury to their urinary tract, so their urine is intermingled with blood; sorry, but that was what I immediately thought of. The head is pretty nice, and it leaves a solid hunk of bubbles floating on top of the beer. The aroma is raspberries and little else.

First sip is sour, sour, sour, sour raspberries. WTF? I'm not buying another beer from these people. I don't like sour beers, and this is so damn sour. I have described the Warheads sour candies before…

Mikkeller Us Alive Belgian Wild Ale

That's on odd name you have there, Mikkeller. I also see that the small print on the back of the beer is in ... what do you speak in Belgium? This isn't French, so that leaves Dutch or German, I believe. Based solely on the fact that I don't see any umlauts, I'll say this is Dutch.

That's one beer-colored beer, too. What color is it? Beer color. If you had to say a specific color, what would you say? Copper with brown? Sure. How about that head? Umm... off white? Well, the smell I can at least tell you is interesting. It's sweet caramel, fruits, and a few scattered flowers. Nothing more to report at this time.

First sip is not to my liking. I think it must be the "wild ale" part of this beer that is putting a funk and bit of sourness to it that I really find off-putting. It's odd, too, as the beginning of the beer had a lot of promise with the sweet caramel malt.

Tip-in is sweet malt and carbonation and a lot of effervescence on top with a sizzle …

Old Forge Bananas Foster Moonshine

This hand-forged Tennessee spirit is distilled in Pigeon Forge with wholesome ingredients like Yellow #5! Mmmm. #5 is like the best one. I never wondered before, but why are the ingredients listed on these bottles? Are bananas even included in the recipe? I don't like the not knowing.

The yellow-gold beverage is poured inexpertly from the insanely difficult to pour from traditional jar (not a real Mason jar, but close enough for this purpose). Instantaneously, the aroma of bananas rise up into my nostrils. It's sweet and has a tiny little bit of crust on it, so I can see the bananas foster instead of just bananas.

First sip is like burning bananas on my lips. It is the familiar moonshine burn going down and pretty much through the mouth, but the sweet bananas are really kicked into high gear to ensure that the acetone taste of the donor white lightning doesn't manage to overcome the beverage.

Tip-in is a light, sweet crust with the strong banana and alcohol burn. The middl…

Mother Earth Boo Koo IPA

Good old Mother Earth. She brings us the trees, wind, and water. She protects us from the nasty solar winds and radiation that would likely kill us. On top of all of that, she gives us hops, barley, and Nampa, Idaho. Without these things, we might not have an IPA to drink today. How sad of a day would that be?

The honey gold beer has a good enough amount of head with a patchiness that is common for an IPA, but the lacing isn't quite as good as it should be. Still, no one is perfect, and this might just have the taste to pull out a winner. After all, the nose is a delicious tangerine and mango citrus that puts me in mind of some of the best of the breed.

First sip is citrus, indeed, but there's pine in here with it to give it a leg up on the world. We're not just dealing with a one-flavor beer; this is something with depth. The honey malt is tossed in there to try to keep the pine and citrus in their respective corners, but they are dueling, and my mouth is the battleground…

Small Town Brewery - Not Your Father's Mountain Ale

Not my first Small Town beverage, and this isn't even the first beverage I've had that is supposed to replace Mountain Dew in the great scheme of adult-style soda beverages. I figure these things exist in the space where Zima was or a wine cooler might still (although I hear Zima has returned). Let's hope it's better than what it replaces.

It is not the color of Sun Drop, but I think it is vastly closer to Mountain Dew than the WG version. It's an electric yellow with a head that, predictably, doesn't hang around for very long. The aroma is sweet and heavy with alcohol. Is it the sweet citrus smell of The Dew? Yeah, I guess it is, pretty much.

First sip is sweet and citrusy. It has the twinge of alcohol, but it's not doing much more than letting you know it's there. Instead, the sip just lets you know how crushable this beverage is and how much better than regular Mountain Dew this tastes. I definitely prefer it.

Tip-in is syrupy sweet citrus with loads…

Mother Earth Cali Creamin' Vanilla Cream Ale

Mother Earth was new to me, but now, they are like some old friends coming over - and they bring beer! If only my real friends came over with beer :-(. I'm just kidding - my friends don't come over. Instead, I just drink alone and complain about Magic Hat.

The mostly clear gold beer has a head that is... nope, it's gone now. It's still got quite a bit of carbonation, though, so bubbles are still coming up to the surface to die. The aroma is light vanilla, and it's also strangely grainy. I'm digging it.

First sip is vanilla backed with the grains. The grains are pretty light, so it's like a vanilla cream with bitter, unloved malt from a blonde or a pilsner. I can't say this is working well from a sip. Maybe there's more to this underneath.

Tip-in is carbonation above all else, but there is a sizzle of slightly lemony water under it. Then, the middle is where the vanilla asserts itself with a very light breeze of grains. The finish is a whip-smack of …

Founders DKML Imperial Malt Liquor

Founders hands-down knows what's going on. From their Grand Rapids brewery, I hope they have a good picture of what the beer market likes at this point, as there are few brewers I would trust with something simply called a "malt liquor." I think Zima might have been labelled a malt liquor, but I don't remember, and the internet is a whole click away - who wants to put that kind of effort into this?

The hazy golden brown beverage has a thick, big-bubbled, splotchy, sticky head that puts me in mind of some of the finer IPAs. The scent, however, lets me know that this is a whole different thing entirely. It has that particular bourbon scent with the alcohol-laden wood. 14.2% ABV? Yes, that is exactly what I'm smelling. I wonder what I'll taste.

First sip is wood and bourbon. There is a corn base for everything, and there really isn't a whole lot that is going to overcome that alcohol hit. I mean, this pounds home the fact that it is high in alcohol and it me…

Against the Grain Citra Ass Down Double IPA

I genuinely can't remember if this beer from Louisville, KY, was given to me as a gift by my pal Jeremy of City Sliquors. Sometimes, I go there to buy beer and he yanks some stuff from his fridge that he wants me to try, and I graciously accept his kindness. Either way, it's not the brewer giving it to me, so it doesn't change any of my ratings or feelings, but I like to know if I should thank him. I'm guessing I should; Thanks, dude!

The blotchy head settles on the somewhat hazy amber color beer and emits a delightful citrus, honey, and bread aroma that absolutely makes the mouth water. This smells like something special.

First sip has a very approachable personality. Lemons and bread lead the way, and there is a distinct tang to it that I'm not sure I'm putting in the camp of either of these two tastes. It's likely yeast, but I can't tell from just a sip. So, bottoms up!

Tip-in is oranges, lemons, and tangerines with honey bringing a sweetness. The mi…

Tin Man Rivet Irish Red Ale

In a tin can comes the TinMan that says very clearly on the label (which does not present the words particularly well and results in a blurriness that makes the tiny words on the back difficult to read) that "Cans Are Better" and proceeds to explain why the recyclable cans are better for the environment.

She's red alright. Not sure if a beer from Evansville, Indiana can be Irish, but it's a red beer, so they aren't complete fibbers. There's a slight head with patchy bubbles that really doesn't stick to the glass, and why would they? This isn't an IPA; it's a red - an Irish Red! The aroma is fantastic with its delicious smelling powdery dough with a definite sweetness to it that is quite enticing.

First sip is not causing streamers and sparklers to go off in my belly. Normally, my complaint about reds is that they tend to be a bit watery, but that's not the problem we have here. Instead, this is muddy with the grains and the sweetness fighting …

Perennial Prodigal Imperial Stout

I didn't know if I had tried any Perennial beers before, so I looked back at my blog. Really, that's the reason that I'm doing all of these reviews – so I don't have to try and remember what beers I've tried and what beers I haven't tried. In this case, I have had one of their chocolates stouts before. My beer slinger tells me that this is the beer that they use as a base for all of their other beers, so let's see what the base tastes like before they start adding chocolate, mint, or even hibiscus and cucumber.

From the pitch black bottle with the pitch black label comes a pitch black beer. The beer poured syrupy thick like a bourbon barrel aged beer, but I don't remember seeing that on the label. The head needed to be coaxed out, and it's a wisp of a thing. The tiny little light tan bubbles are patchy at first, but they eventually go away almost completely. The aroma is toasted, almost charred oats and grains. Underneath the remnants of the fire is…

Mother Earth Sin Tax Imperial Peanut Butter Stout

This red can has a little picture of a pretty brunette with some kind of cosplay sexy devil costume holding what I assume is a glass of this beer and a pair of handcuffs. The actual logo appears to have more demonic devil wings or something in a different shade of red behind it. It's a lot to take in, but that is usually the case with the imperial stouts in general, so I can accept it from the label.

Hello there, black beer! See, when a black lager claims to be black, and then you come across something like this, you would also wonder what the "black" lager people were thinking with their dark, but not actually black, beer. The head on this is a very light tan, and the aroma is predictably that not-actually-peanut-butter beery smell that these kind of stouts get from, presumably, all of the non-peanut butter ingredients.

First sip is coffee bitterness right in the face with the peanuts and some sweeter malt managing to separate the beer from the coffee beers that don'…

Rahr & Sons Ugly Pug Black Lager

Pugs can be cute. I really like dogs, and I have some of my own. Pretty much ever since I grew up, I've tried to have at least one pup around the house. Ugly pugs? Yeah, I've seen them. Sometimes they are so ugly that they're cute, and that may very well be the idea behind the name of this beer.

This is more of a mahogany than a black beer. I have no shortage of truly black beers where manufacturers hint at their "ruby" or "dark wood" colors when, in reality, they just need to embrace the blackness. Unfortunately, it appears this deep mahogany ale has been labeled "black," and it seems I can't win. There's no head on this beer, BTW, and the aroma is roasted coffee and dark chocolate.

First sip is pretty nice. It has the roasted coffee grounds, but they are light, having been derived from the malt, which I've always argued is the place for them to come from. As a result, the chocolate and grainy malts are allowed to play around with…

Rahr & Sons Iron Thistle Scottish Ale

Many times, I have discussed the difference between a Scottish Ale and a Scotch Ale. Here's the thing about this beer: they haven't chosen. Yes, this particular can says Scottish ale, but I did a quick search on the brewer to find out a little more about them (like to see if they were founded by Scotsman or similar) and I found that this beer has been labeled as both kinds. You can't believe anything you read on the internet these days, am I right?

The red-hued beer is deep and dark like the depths of a giant ruby. The head is pretty minimal, and the little that you can see in this picture is the result of some serious coaxing on my part, but it winds up patchy and white. The aroma is distinctly that of a wee heavy ale with wood, caramel, and toasted grains.

First sip is caramel malt forward with a toasted grain giving substance to the whole endeavor. There is a slight coffee to the toastiness, but it's not taking over or anything. If you're going to have coffee in…

Rahr & Sons Dadgum IPA

Hailing from the Lone Star State, this Fort Worth beer sports the name "Dadgum." My dad used to say that all the time (dad never swore) and I never even thought twice about the word. Turns out (if the internet is to be believed) it was made up by Warner Brothers to circumvent censors on TV. They just took "god damn" and swapped the first two letters on each to "dag gomn" and Mel Blanc pronounced it "Daggum." From there, it was a natural progression to add the second "D."

The brassy orange beer doesn't have much head right off the bat, and the inkblot-style pad of bubbles that is left on top doesn't really cover much more than 50% of it. The aroma leaks out as a pine-citrus-bread mix that is shy of what I would think of as an IPA proper, but it might be strong enough for a farmhouse ale or a similar weak-yet-tasty style.

First sip is pine, resin, bread, and various sources of citrus (leading the way is grapefruit). It's not …

Mantra Roots Double IPA

Mantra produces good beer, they are made here in Nashville, and I've enjoyed most of what I've had. So, it is in that vain that I accept the challenge of a beer that has added carrots. The last one that I had with something added was tangerine, but it's not uncommon to add chocolate, coffee, or something to the mix. Sometimes it works out, but I would kind of rather that brewers master the usual ingredients first. Also notable was that all but one can distorted the top from internal pressure when I pulled them from the standard four pack holder.

Holy foam, Batman! This beer's head shot out of the can as soon as I opened it. When I tried to pour, I wound up with like 2" of beer and the rest was just foam that took too long to go down. The hazy, orange-bronze beer has the aroma of ... beer. I don't smell the carrots, and I'm quite the fan of carrots, so I would think I would detect the scent. Ah well, let's see if we get beer or a vegetable garden for th…

Grimm Brothers The Griffin Blood Orange Hefeweizen

"Let's name our brewery after the Brothers Grimm, but we will reverse the name to make it OURS!"
"That's a great idea, Bob. Is that legal?"
"We're in The International House of Pancakes. This is international territory. EVERYTHING is legal!"
"Bob, you're drunk."

The head is the most interesting thing about this beer. It is like slightly thick soda bubbles in the way they are all so big and they go away almost as quickly. Points of nucleation keep a steady stream of smaller bubbles rising to the top, but they die almost immediately upon reaching the crest of the bronzed orange beverage. The aroma is ... you know, I don't actually know what a blood orange smells like, but I bet that is exactly what it is. It's kind of a cross between mandarin oranges and regular oranges with maybe some tangerine and grapefruit tossed in.

First sip is about as tart as you can get. It's so tart that it seems to start to sour. Presumably bl…

Honky Tonk LeBrown James Barrel Aged Brown Ale

I'm not going to lie to you - this brewery has been quite the surprise since the word go. So far, I've only had two of their beers, and they were both 4/5. Now, anyone who knows anything about my ratings knows that this is a very, very good score on my scale, so I'm expecting even the brown ale (not my favorite style) to be tremendous. The fact that it is barrel aged will no doubt help.

Brown. Deep, dark brown. I mean - you thought you knew brown, but this isn't the lame UPS or cardboard-style brown. This is a deep, cosmic brown. Like all of the Honky Tonk beers, this has a substantial head and it takes a while to go down. Even settled, this has a good .25 to .35 inches covering across the top, and (while not sticky) it is lovely. The aroma is strangely a little chocolate, nutty, and woody.

First sip is sweet, woody, bitter, coffee, chocolate, and nutty. There's a lot is what I'm trying to say. No, it isn't the world's absolutely most complex beverage, …