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Showing posts from August, 2018

Country Boy Cougar Bait American Blonde Ale

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My second Country Boy beer, and it's too early to call. I am still guessing that Georgetown, KY is a town, so it's not strictly speaking the country. Now, if the guys who are running this consider themselves country boys, I can't really argue, as I don't know them. I do, however, know quite a few people who I would consider country boys, and it might be interesting to setup a kind of test. But that would be for a different blog.
The head of this beer isn't big, and it doesn't stay very long. What remains is barely a mote of dust like the slight haze of smoke from a smouldering ember. The beer itself is a murky, dull brass color with the aroma of lemon crackers. No, I've never had anything that was labeled as a lemon cracker, but if such a thing exists, it would probably smell the same as this.
First sip is a little tangy with the lemon mixing with some other citruses and the cracker adding a more thick biscuit to the mix. It's decent, but it's not …

450 North Star Burst IPA

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450 North is from Columbus, Indiana. I genuinely don't know how I have wound up trying more than one of their beers, but I have, and I'm cool with it. The can design (and the fact that it's a pint) puts me in mind of Nashville's Bearded Iris, but I know I'm just conflating the two in my mind-brain. Still, if 450 can be as good as them...

Clumpy, fluffy head? Check. Straw color with proper haze? Check. Lacing? Well, probably not much, but I can deal with that. Aroma? A bit dank with citrus and odd powdery dust on top that makes my nose crinkle a bit. I was not expecting dank.

First sip is rough on the back-end. It is a bit sour, a bit dank, a bit bitter, and a bit tart. Everything else is boiler plate IPA with citrus and pine hops dominating everything. That ass is... not what it should be. But that's only a sip, isn't it?

Tip-in is a biscuit malt with orange, mandarin orange, and tangerine. The middle is the meat of the orange with grapefruit and mango. The…

Country Boy Cliff Jumper IPA

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Another Country Boy beer. What? I never had one? Wait... what about.... no, that was Yee-Haw, wasn't it? Okay, let's start off by pointing out that this Lexington-based brewer has a handsome can. It's distinctive without being bland or gaudy. One of the complaints I had about Bearded Iris is that their cans look too similar, and it's not easy to tell them apart. Clown Shoes has the opposite problem with too much going on with their label (but I haven't published any of their reviews yet).

The yellow-honey gold beer has a head that isn't sticky, but it's patchy, and that'll get you points. The aroma is more malty than anything, and that seems especially odd for an IPA. I'm not saying there isn't a citrus hop or two in there with it, but the bready malt is really a lot stronger than I would normally expect. But, these country boys clearly think they have something, so let's get 'er done (apologies for pandering).

First sip is an unbalanced…

450 North Crystal Vision Double IPA

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A 450 North beer that doesn't claim to be dank is something I can buy into. I wasn't a fan of that Dank Candy Gummy Haze (What name could more accurately indicate a bunch of guys who were high came up with it?) Well, Crystal Vision sounds... like... oh crap. They were high with this one, too, right? Dangit.

This is another patchy, sticky head that leaves a nice selection of fluffy pillows floating on top. This time, the beer under it is a hazy gold-amber color, and it emits a delightful doughy bread malt and citrus hops aroma featuring grapefruit.

First sip is a quiet start with a sudden bang as it goes out. It's got mango, grapefruit, tangerine, and oranges that are almost nowhere in the beginning which is just the fairly mild taste of the doughy malt. As a sip, I can't say it scores very high, as it is just too wobbly.

Tip-in is juicy juice of the grapefruit and tangerine while the carbonation sizzles lightly. The middle arrives with a well balanced bready (not dough…

Garr's Juicy Trip IPA-Hopped Tripel Ale

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Garr's and I have had a sketchy relationship so far. The fact that I root for small breweries means that I really want them to win. The intelligent and approachable Jeremy from City Sliquors has explained that they basically partner with one brewery after another to brew their beers, and that leads to a certain amount of inconsistency in their end product. I'm trying again, and this time an IPA-infused Tripel should be about the best shot so far.

The honey gold beer has a relatively sticky head (good enough lacing for a non-IPA) made of tight, white bubbles. The aroma is faint, but bready malt leads the slightly fruity hops that are really more of a background noise than anything. I'm not sure what balance they were going for, but I'm okay with a malty tripel.

First sip is a hollow mix of grains, doughy bread, and some very light tropical fruits. It's not a bad sip at all, but like I said - it's hollow. I wish I could describe it better, but it is like there is…

Garr's Red Vanilla Porter

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Garr's and I haven't really had the greatest start to our relationship. I really wanted to like them as a brewer, but I must have not picked the right beer to start with. This would be a porter, and everybody who reads my blog (hi mom!) knows my affinity for porters. This beer wasn't actually brewed by them, though. Instead, it was brewed by Straight To Ale, a brewer I am definitely familiar with, and quite a fan of. Actually, has Garr's made a beer without the help of Straight To Ale? Ah well, let's leap before we look.

The ruby dark beer has some fairly big bubbles to start off with, but when the head settles, the bubbles that are left are tiny indeed. There is no lacing left on the sides of the glass, but I expect that more from a hoppy ale then a porter (yes, I know that a porter is a kind of ale). The aroma is dark fruits and earth, but I can definitely smell the vanilla coming through. The should be fun.

First sip is surprisingly tame. The beverage is plenty …

Ommegang Three Philosophers Quadrupel Ale

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Ever work so hard that you set a precedent for the quality or volume of work that you do, and then you find that you started off too gung-ho, and now things are going to go downhill? Well, I really suspect that Ommegang has painted themselves into that kind of corner, but I want to keep seeing what they are doing.

The beautifully dark brown beer defeats light that tries to go through it pretty well. The head is significant and has a bit of staying power to the point that the settled head is still a powdery blanket across the top with thickness around the edges. Lacing is a no go, though, as the head just isn't sticky enough. The aroma is predictably raisins and plums, but cherries are highlighting it all nicely. If all goes well, they won't be sour cherries, but my luck couldn't be that good, could it?

First sip is a mixed bag. The cherries are sour, but the sourness isn't taking over the whole beer. Instead, the beer's inherent Belgian Ale qualities are kind of he…

Diskin Cider Bob's Your Uncle Dry English Cider

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I have experience with ciders. Strangely I think I may have had more cider brands and styles than many of the people I know who actually drink ciders regularly. That said, I don't really consider myself a cider guy. I want to know what the beverage is about, though, and the only way to know is to keep trying them.

The exceptionally pale yellow cider has fairly minimal carbonation; even the usual points of nucleation don't really amount to many bubbles - I don't know how to feel about that. The aroma is dusty, tart apples. I'm not smelling the hops, but it might be me.

First sip is a little underwhelming at first. Turns out, the finish is a bit stronger than the actual cider, and the actual cider is really watery. The finish does overcome that, though, with a not-quite-tart apple. Mind you, it's not sweet. It's an odd sensation.

Tip-in is semi-sweet grape and apple. The middle is the weakest, most watered down from-concentrate apple juice I've ever had; it&#…

Tennessee Brew Works Nashweizen

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The Tennessee Brew Works guys have produced other beers that I've tried, and I'm not going to sugar coat it - they haven't all been winners. The friendly Jeremy seems to think more highly of them than I have so far, and I like that guy and think he has a pretty good palate, so I'm going to go with this hops-infused wheat ale. Let's all hope.

The clear gold beer has a white head that has some impressive staying power, but it leaves little lacing. Still, the puffy cap on top of the beer is almost like how a child might draw a picture of a beer. That I'm forcing children to draw idyllic pictures of alcoholic beverages is okay, isn't it? I hope so. Otherwise, my master plan for taking over the world is ruined. The aroma is hoppier than I expected - with a kind of orange and wheat smell.

First sip is a whiplash of styles with a well balanced IPA and a slap of an outside-the-box hefeweizen with all that wheat and grains and ... it's really hard to wrap my hea…

Tailgate Fire Emoji IPA

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Has Tailgate jumped the proverbial shark? They named this IPA after an emoji, so I am going to assume their target audience is hipsters. Actually, I don't even know if hipsters are still a thing. Who is the fire emoji supposed to appeal to? Well, I've had their beer before, and I like their beer, so I'm ignoring the name for now.

The quite hazy golden beer has a stark white head that leaves no lacing, but it does leave a smattering of bubbles covering the top well enough. The aroma is a great big pile of citrus, but the malt is definitely there to bring some bread to this meal in a can. There's grapefruit, lemons, and tangerines in here, and the smell is mouth watering.

First sip is exactly what the nose prepared me for - citrus with a malt backing. The bitterness is kept in check with that malt, and the hops are allowed to sing the sweet song of grapefruit, mango, lemon, and tangerine. The beer has a strong taste in general, and the bitterness seeping into the edges i…

New Holland Dragon's Milk Bourbon Barrel-Aged Stout (Revisit)

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The first time I tried this beer, I had no idea what I was getting. I was at a bar with a football game on, and I was in the mood for a Guinness, but this was the only stout they had on tap. Anyone who knows something about beer would have told me that you don't go drinking any stout expecting it to be Guinness, or you will be disappointed - even by a great beer. It's like eating popcorn expecting butter and getting cheese; cheese popcorn is great, but when you are expecting butter, you aren't getting what you want.

The dark brown beer is indistinguishable from black, and the light tan head is difficult to coax out of the beverage that isn't as syrupy as other bourbon barrel beers I've had in the past. I'm not complaining - just noting the difference. Likewise, the head stays at least a little bit as a very thin sheet of bubbles right in the middle of the glass. The aroma is cherry, oak, bourbon, and oats.

First sip is rich and interesting. It's definitely …

Taft's Gavel Banger American IPA

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When two brothers agree that I should try a particular Cincinnati beer, who am I to argue? I mean, they both have been drinking beer longer than I have, and they know my penchant for hoppy beers, so they know the audience and the topic - seems like a sure thing. Well, I've never had a Taft's before, and it's time to break that streak.

The delightfully amber-gold beer has just what I like to see - a sticky head that leaves lacing and a patchy quilt on top of the beer. Many of you may wonder why I always comment about liking a patchy head that leaves lacing, and I'll tell you that it just happens to be my preference, and I think the good IPAs tend to have this kind of head - but I haven't systematically gone through my reviews to validate this anecdotal observation. The aroma is citrus and biscuits.

First sip is very nice indeed. It isn't really hard-hitting at first, but it builds up (and this is just a sip, mind you) to a full throated citrus and hoppy bitterne…

Urban Artifact Finn Berliner Pale Ale

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My tour of Cincinnati breweries continues with this other gift from my brother. I may have some of the best siblings a person could have, and I have very few hobbies any more, and this is an easy one to contribute to. So, my family has figured out that they can please me with the gift of beer. Pleased I am.

The pale gold beer starts with an okay head, but that head disappears into a very wispy group of uninspired bubbles floating on top. The aroma is mush more vibrant than the head, though, with citrus juices overflowing and a kind of wheat or grass alongside them. It's an intriguing beer smell from the little brewery.

First sip is pretty tart and juicy, but there is more earth in this and that indeterminable grass-wheat that is also throwing things into the mix. I think I'd prefer something to sip that just had the fruit all forward and crap like some of the other beers I've had, but this isn't a DIPA or even an IPA. As a pale ale, I guess you can have a lot more room…

Blackstone Black Belle Imperial Stout

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This is possibly the nicest looking bottle I've ever gotten from Blackstone. I've been exceedingly underwhelmed by their beers so far, but maybe something that says it is a "Limited 2017 release" would be more up my alley than their other beers have been (this is being reviewed in 2017). I want all of the Nashville breweries to be great, so let's see how close to great this can get.

The syrupy-thick black beverage has no head, but the little that I am able to coax out is definite brown - no tan here. There are tiny little bits of stuff floating on top of the beer - but it isn't head, it is stuff. As soon as I start to pour this, I can recognize the syrup, no head look of a beer that has been aged in bourbon barrels. The aroma backs up the idea that this was aged in bourbon barrels (also evident on the label where it says this was Blackstone in cooperation with Belle Meade Bourbon).

First sip is a rough one. There is too much going on in this beer. I taste bit…

Rhinegeist Cidergeist Dry Hopped Hard Cider

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Rhinegeist? The very name is too intimidating. From the previous beer, I know that this Cincinnati brewer can put out some good beers, but does that make the name any more approachable? The name means "Ghost of the Rhine" because the brewery is in the "Over-The-Rhine" area of downtown Cinci. What does this mean about the beverages? Damned if I know.

The clear yellow-gold drink had a head like that of a Sprite or 7-Up that was full and very, very short lived. Now, there is not a single bubble to be seen on top, but the inner points of nucleation are definitely still streaming bubbles to the top where they can meet their death. The aroma is tart granny smith apples.

First sip is more tart and watery than I expected. The very tart green apples are there, but the tartness is imparted while the flavor is very muted. Instead, the water flows in like there's no tomorrow. So far, this is pretty weak for a cider.

Tip-in is significant carbonation burn with the tartness …

Yee Haw Blackberry Beret Wheat Ale

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This beer may have the lowest alcohol content of anything that I've reviewed that had any alcohol at all. I've had a few 4.0% ABV beverages, and I had one non-beer 0% that I'm not counting, but even the hard sodas that I've had were more potent than this beer's paltry 3.8%. I also admit to leaving this in the fridge for a little while, as I grabbed other, more attractive beers before coming to this one. I just don't have a good feeling about the blackberries, even though I generally like blackberries.

The blackberries are definitely giving this beer a dark red tint, but the base light yellow is evident. The beer is exceptionally clear - you could read a book that was on the other side of the glass. The head goes away almost completely - just a very light dusting, clumped in the middle of the glass remains. The aroma is blackberries and ... nope, just blackberries.

First sip is very tart. It's like a sweet-tart without the sweet. The berries are just unpleas…

Lagunitas Sakitumi Ale

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I've never had sake before. So, I really don't know what I'm about to have, and I just hope it's great. For some reason, I've been looking forward to having a beer since about lunchtime today, and it's about time I got around to drinking one, isn't it? Lagunitas has produced this thing is a QUART bottle. I don't know why or what it might mean, but I'm on it.

The very light yellow-gold beer has a strangely IPA-like sticky, spotty head that leaves a perfectly honorable amount of lacing. The aroma is heavy on the yeast, light on resin, and then it has a background of tropical hops and a bread malt. When I say background, I mean I struggle to smell it.

First sip is... a beer. It has the taste of one of those popular sour beers that the hipsters love these days, but it's not nuts with it. Instead, it's a bit of meaty, bready malt that has lots of that yeast on it. It's interesting, but too brief.

Tip-in is oddly watery with a sweetness like s…