Showing posts from 2019

Rogue Chocolate Stout

The only question I had when I picked up this beer was if there was any chance the chocolate stout would be as good as the double chocolate stout from the same brewery. It certainly seems unlikely that it will match that fantastic beer, but maybe this will come close. And close is good enough when the double chocolate is so good. Well, only one way to find out.

She's a black beer, and I'm not sure that I could tell the difference between this and her sister based entirely on looks. This is the same color, and it has the same head with virtually no staying power. However, I don't notice the red hue that I'd seen in the double chocolate. It's entirely possible I was seeing that because of the red bottle that it was sitting next to. I mean, I don't think that's likely, but it's possible. The aroma is the familiar dark chocolate and smoke that I've come to expect with these chocolate stouts.

First sip does not go as well as I had hoped. The chocolate is…

Tennessee Brew Works - City Winery Pinot Noir Barrel Aged Ale

This was made in conjunction with a winery. So, the tag I use for pretty much anything that is aged in a barrel - Bourbon Barrel - doesn't technically fit perfectly, but I think the very essence of being aged in barrels is the same. The big difference is that this will have remnants of wine. I don't normally drink wine, and I don't normally drink bourbon, so this may not really be much of a difference to me.

The tanned leather-colored beer starts with a head, but where it went, I may never know. Instead, there is the impression of a wisp of bubbles in the middle of the beer, and nothing else indicates that this is a carbonated beverage. This isn't too strange for a barrel-aged beer, and this sure is one, given the aroma. The smell is wood and wine without a doubt. The grapes smell almost like a jelly has been added - and that includes the natural sweetness.

First sip is dry and wine-like. There are grains from the beer in here, but I don't know what kind of ale thi…

Theoretic / Overall "Amarillo Afternoon" Farmhouse Ale

Another combo effort. I should really add a tag for combo beers; I'm pretty sure the net effect of two breweries trying to brew a beer together is the same as when you have an Employee Engagement Group or the like - the dull, mind-numbing result is always exactly the wrong solution to any problem.

The bubbles on this thing are pretty odd. I don't mean that bubbles themselves are strange to me, but they are odd for bubbles on top of a beer. They look like big, lazy soap bubbles from a bath where a beautiful lady has just kicked back to read from her favorite book and drink an adult beverage as she unwinds. She better bathe quickly, though, as the bubbles don't hang around long, so this scene will get an R rating. The partly hazy, dull bronze beer is also putting off the aroma of funked yeast and vaguely tropical fruits.

First sip is sour. It's not so sour that I grab my glass and throw it against the nearest wall, but it's sour enough that I give it a stern look and…

Bell's "Quinannan Falls" IPL

How would I describe Bell's? Well, I went ahead and created a chart (I'm working on a standard - don't judge me) to reflect how they have done so far, and I added it below (the chart does not include this rating). Anything above a 2.0 is good enough to drink, and anything over a 3.0 is a definite recommend. If the brand has a 0.0 (which Bell's does not) it would really make me hesitate to get another beer from them. If they have a 5.0 (which Bell's does) I'll pretty much try anything they have.

This is a particularly pungent beverage. Floral and pine hops are perched atop a wet dough of a malt, and it emanates a notable distance from the top of the glass. The word "pale" in the name of this beer certainly fits, as it is a very pale yellow with a very light haze to it. The head is pretty substantial, but it's not overwhelming, and it is sticky enough that it could be mistaken for a regular IPA.

Firs sip is a little more tart and tangy than I expect…

Bell's "Official" Hazy IPA

I have really liked this brewer, but the last beer I had from them fell short of the mark. I was really taken aback by just how off the mark that beer was, but I don't expect that to be indicative of a shift of capability or desire to put out a solid product. They've been pretty consistent up till now, and the last one was a real disappointment, but I anticipate glorious things on the horizon.

The yellow beer is hazy just like it says on the can. It's head is made of tiny little bubbles that never completely go away, but I wouldn't call this beer particularly frothy. The aroma is interesting in that it seems to be on the edge of having a funk, but it doesn't actually get there. Instead, there's wheat lifting up a citrus blend that is dominated by lemons. The fruits are so forward that I'm kind of surprised they went with calling this a hazy IPA instead of a juicy IPA (which they actually say in the small print underneath that I didn't read until just no…

Bell's "The Oracle" Double IPA

Only one Bell's beer so far has fallen short of my "recommend" rating of 2.0-3.0. Anything higher is kind of a strong urge for others to try, and anything less is a suggestion to avoid. Better than that, they are one of the few brewers to score a perfect 5.0 with a beer, and that gives you a golden ticket to try whatever you want.

The copper-colored beer has a dense and patchy head that leaves lacing that reminds me of the thin veneer of sand that you get on your legs after walking along the beach on a breezy day. The aroma is more yeast than I expected, but that is supported by the caramel and toffee malt that has a pinch of bread about it that may just be me mixing the yeast with the malt. There's a hint of lemon, but it's not a citrus-heavy beer.

First sip is not the laid-back ease that I expect from a DIPA. It's yeasty, bitter, and it has the anger of an old man who is sure that the kids next door are screwing with his wi-fi, and he's not able to Face…

Redstone "Nectar of the Hops" Mead

Here's the thing. I think I used the wrong glass. What I found was that cold mead should be served in a glass with a stem, so I grabbed one of the rarely-used wine glasses that we have. I'm pretty sure I could have just gone with one of the beer glasses that I have with a stem, and you would have a better idea what color the mead is. Ah well - you live and you learn.

The beverage is a clear gold almost the color of a watered down honey. The aroma is really weak, but I think I smell honey and sweetness. The problem is that I only think that I do - I can't know for sure. Honestly, there is an aroma vaguely similar to that Blue Flame moonshine that I had a while back; this doesn't make sense, and I don't know why I smell it.

First sip makes me want to say the same thing I said about almost every other mead I've tried - it taste like a sweet white wine. I'm not familiar with wine at all, and maybe I should just start running these things past my sisters for the…

Perennial "Abraxas" Imperial Stout

I had two other stouts from these guys, and they fell equidistant on either side of my imaginary 2.5 middle ground for ratings. One was a good beer, and the other was a dessert beer that really didn't hit the mark well enough. So, we come back to an imperial stout, and that is the exact kind that got the higher mark. I have no reason to think that this one won't get at least as good if not a better rating.

A very dark brown head sits atop an impenetrable-to-light black beer. Cinnamon hits me first, and chocolate with molasses seem to back it up. It says that there are peppers in the beer, but I don't smell them; I may be getting the ghost of a shadow of some capsaicin, but I also might be imagining it in my head. Actually, where else would my imagination happen? That's hard to imagine.

First sip is thick, sweet, cinnamon with molasses, earth, chocolate, and there are those peppers, lurking in the background. I have to say that most other beers with peppers that I'…

Fifty West "Doom Pedal" White Ale

I was suitably impressed with the surprise-from-left-field IPA from Fifty West, and I figured I would seek out more of their delicious nectar. For this second sampling, I'm going for the white ale, and they tend to bounce around in my ratings, but they generally score above average. Most of you will know the style from the very good (although often maligned) Blue Moon Belgian White, and most people just refer to this as a "Blue Moon" as if they only have one style.

The white ale is unsurprisingly not white. It makes me wonder if the person (or people) who named it had ever seen milk before. Instead of white, this beer is clear amber-brass with a reasonable white head that is gone within a minute or so. A light dusting of bubbles here and there are all that tells you this is carbonated. The aroma is crisp cracker malt and lemongrass.

First sip is more complicated than the smell, and it presents a bit of tartness with coriander, lemons, and cracker malt. I'm still goin…

Goodwood Bourbon Barrel Stout

So far, their wood may be good, but I haven't been that impressed with their beer. Presumably, they named the brewery after the wood that they used to age the beers. Well, I have found a proper appreciation for beers that age themselves in barrels, despite my first batch just not working out, so let's see if we can find the balance here.

The black beer has some white specks settling on the bottom of the glass, and that's how I know it isn't completely opaque. It is topped with a light tan head that is quite voluminous and takes a while to descend; this is quite odd for a beer from a barrel, as I have found that most of these can't retain a head worth a darn. The aroma is a slight bit of bourbon with a caramel and toffee malt.

Firs sip is very restrained and quite nice. Normally, these barrel aged beers are heavy with liquor and tend to be a bit overwhelming, but this is very easy to sip. It has brown bread, toffee, caramel, earth, and that lingering bourbon that is…

Burial "Hawkbill" IPA

I don't know who names their brewery Burial, but I like where they're going. It reminds me of the Church Brew Works that I went to a couple times when I was in Pittsburgh. They had taken an old church and retrofitted it to make it a brewery. There were some fringe complaints about it being sacrilegious, but the beer made up for that. I don't know why the name of this puts me in this mind.

The thick orange brew has noticeable amounts of white detritus that settles at the bottom of the glass while the good-sized head dissipates into a patchy cover that leaves just enough lacing to be identifiable as an IPA. The aroma is orange and grapefruit with pear and coriander rounding things out; it's a good presentation.

First sip is dry and tart, but the juices keep bitterness at bay. The effect is kind of smooth, but it's not crisp or clean. If anything, it's muddled and dirty, but the dryness evens the beer out.

Tip-in is very tart, orange, grapefruit, and light carbona…

Bell's "Hopslam Ale" Double IPA

This is one of those rare beers that I've had before. I don't like to go into these reviews already knowing a decent amount about the beer being featured, but a friend of mine came over a few days ago and we both had one of these. I already know I'm going to enjoy this, but I didn't go through my normal process of dissecting what parts of it I was enjoying. Unlike a joke, enjoying beer can benefit from further analysis.

The copper colored beer has a stout head on it (not to be confused with a stout head) that leaves a big, thick clump floating in the center and enough lacing on the side to make me appreciate the effort. The aroma is yeast, honey, flowers, and baked bread. The aroma is sweet and thick, and I want the beer in me now.

First sip is smooth citrus and flowers wrapped in honey and surrounded by bread. While the beer itself is cold, the effect that it has is warmth, but it's not the relatively high 10% ABV (this heat isn't like a moonshine) it is somet…

Hi-Wire/Nola "Flippy Flop" Imperial IPA

I've had beer from Nola and Hi-Wire before. I've enjoyed both of them, but I found that good breweries don't necessarily work as well together as you might hope. It's always as if they're trying to experiment with things that they didn't think would work for their own label, and this is just a method of splitting the cost of a failure between two different breweries. I hope that's not the case this time. I really like these guys.

There isn't much head to speak of on top of the very opaque, pumpkin orange beer. The little head that exists is reminiscent of fruit pulp in thickness and consistency. The aroma is much more faint than the IPA moniker and giant hop on the front of the can would have made me expect. What there is combines a mellow citrus with a strong tropical fruit; this is going to be different and probably pretty good.

First sip is an odd combination of not enough flavor and the wrong flavor. It's bitey and scratchy in some aspects, but …

Fifty West "Coast to Coast" IPA

The fact that this was called coast-to-coast IPA may be seriously wonder whether or not 50 West (the road) actually made it the whole way from one coast to the next. So, I looked it up. Turns out, it does. In fact, it's got its own Wikipedia page. I've traveled from one state to the next quite a bit recently, and I don't think I ever took this road at any point. Is that some kind of personal flaw? It's possible, but this blog isn't about my failures in life; this blog is about the joy of beer.

The very hazy orange-amber beer has a dust devil of debris making a nice little funnel cloud in the center of the beer with a smattering of small white bits on the ground like a miniature destroyed barn in the Midwest. The head is pretty substantial, and it at least tries to leave a little bit of lacing on the sides of the glass. The aroma is citrus, pine, and a bit of funk. Is there supposed to be funk in this? Well, that's what I'm smelling.

First sip doesn't br…

Left Hand Raspberry Milk Stout

It has actually been quite a while since I had a new kind of Left Hand Brewing beer to try out (September, 2016). I had my first beer from them before I even had this blog, so it was one of the early reviews that wasn't as structured or as loquacious as my more recent reviews. However, I have really enjoyed their total run of beers. Let's add another one to the list.

The dark ruby coloring is deep and is surmounted by a relatively small head that definitely has a bit of a maroon tinge. The aroma is 50 shades of raspberries. I would like to say that the raspberry is subtle, and I'm really looking forward to the berry on top of the already great milk stout, but I suspect this is going to be all berry and no stout.

First sip is governed by Marion Berry. It's all about a berry Christmas. It's probably been brewed by Berry Berry Quite Contrary. So, yes, it's a pun-filled berry beverage. Is there a milk stout under it all? Well, if we are to believe Left Hand, yes. I…

Blackberry Farm Classic Belgian-Style Ale

This is a terrible label. I don't want this to get into some kind of graphic design debate or a treatise on the visual expectations of consumers as they stroll by crowded cases of beer, but this beer is hopefully better than the label on its can. It looks like someone who wanted to be a quilter but couldn't was also a fan of snowflakes. I don't know why this is relevant to the beer.

The pale yellow-gold beer has enough head from the get-go, but it leaves precious little lacing as it fizzles away to a fairly drab, uneven skin across the top of the beer. The aroma of Belgian yeasts and honey malt greet my nose right in the... well, in the nose. So, this might be a pretty good beer.

First sip is all the Belgian yeast you can hope for with that honey malt acting as a plate, just serving it up. Aside from that, this is a very simple beer.

Tip-in is lemon zest and grains with the carbonation tingling all around the place like scattered Christmas lights. The middle spreads into a…

Blackhorse IPA

You can't really judge too much by the cream ale that I had before from Blackhorse. The fact is, a cream ale is a very difficult brew to get just right. Instead, this IPA has every possibility of being exactly what I want. As for the brewer, I certainly hope they can rise to meet the challenge.

She's a frothy beer, isn't she? As soon as I opened the can, foam cascaded out like I had just unplugged Mt. Vesuvius at my kitchen counter. This foam leaves lacing in the glass, and it leaves a big sponge of fun bubbles right in the middle of the slightly hazy honey-colored beer. The aroma of biscuit malt supports the citrus and floral hops nicely.

First sip is sweeter than most IPAs, and it has a lot more floral and pine hops than I'm used to these days. I will admit that I like citrus hops and the tropical ones quite a bit, but this shows a darker, more warm side to the hop that I don't get as often, but I certainly don't discourage it.

Tip-in is sweet biscuit malt wi…

Blue Pants Chocolate Oatmeal Porter

I've been looking forward to this one. I've only ever had two other beers from Blue Pants, but they were both very good. A chocolate oatmeal Porter is the kind of nearly boutique beer that caused me to start this blog in the first place. I've always liked porters, even though IPAs are kind of become my standby. But see what's down the pant leg of this brewery.

The black beer is only black to the uninitiated. To those of us in the know, it's a deep, chocolate-covered cherry of deep mahogany. The minimal head is bashful, and it runs away as soon as it can; it leaves only the faintest of rings around the top of the glass. The aroma is chocolate, coffee, oatmeal, and (very light) cherries.

First sip is stronger coffee than I would ever have imagined with light chocolate. This isn't one of those beers where the coffee is just a note from the malt, but the other ingredients are good enough to compliment it. Instead, someone made this a coffee beer and didn't put …

West Sixth IPA

My first West Sixth the beer could've been better. The fact is, I gave it a 1.5, but that was before I let it warm up a little bit. By the end, I had given an extra quarter of a point. This still didn't bring it up to the mid range beers that I would say are perfectly acceptable for a night out or giving one to a friend. Let's hope this one fares a little better.

The bronze-gold beer has the slightest of hazes going on in the middle of the beer. The off-white head is sticky enough to leave a respectable amount of lacing on the sides of the glass. The aroma of pine hops taint the floral and citrus overtones, and the sweet malt makes the whole beer seem like it just wants to pull the lever to start this roller coaster going.

First sip is significantly more pine and flowers than I expected, and they turn the drink a little bitter and a whole lot dry. The sweet malt isn't really assertive, so it's not having much of an effect of tamping down the bitterness. It's no…

Surly "Hell" Lager

I think Surly is a good name for a brewery. It gives a general menacing tone for the brewery and its resulting beer, but it's not outright aggressive. Instead, it's kind of a mellow grumpiness that I'd kind of expect from the loners who eventually figure out how to brew and bottle (or can) beer and get it to my door.

The pale straw-colored beer had so much carbonation that the sucker spilled all over the place when I cracked the top. So, I got a lot of the smell as I cleaned up the spill; it's wheat grains with lemon highlighting some bread dough. I'm seeing a bit of lacing as it goes down, and I really get more of a pilsner impression from the aroma than a lager, but what do I know?

First sip is a little dry, a little sweet, a lot grainy, and a good backing of doughy bread. There aren't a whole lot of lagers that I would happily sip instead of drink like I normally do, but this sip is certainly nice enough to make me rethink my normal way of acting. But, if I …

Bearded Iris "Chaos Agent" IPA

Whenever I think about chaos, I remember back to my days in college with my old college roommate. We talked extensively about chaos theory and stare as the fractal generation program ran on the ancient Macintosh computers that the computer lab had. Now, Chaos is come to Nashville in the form of this beer. God help us all

The beer isn't nearly as opaque as I expect from Bearded Iris. Instead, it's a somewhat hazy deep gold with a white head that grips the sides very well (yes, we have lacing, and I'm loving it) with its tiny little bubbles. The aroma is sweet and floral with citrus backing it up solidly. I know I always say I'm looking forward to it, so I won't say it this time (but I am).

First sip is delightfully understated with the citrus, sweet malt, pine, and flowers all coming in a soft pile, yearning for the attention of the tastebuds, but they aren't all yammering on about it. Instead, it's full of flavor and relaxed at the same time, and this is a …

Bearded Iris "Portal" Double IPA

If I could paint a picture of what a brewer should be, that picture would be of  Bearded Iris. No, they're still not as consistently great as some others, but they are definitely trying very hard with all of these different kinds of IPAs and Double IPA's. They know what kind of beer I like, and they're aiming for the sweet spot. I admire that.

That's a stinky beer. Hops are jumping out of the glass right now, and the citrus, mango, pineapple, orange (yes, I know pineapple and orange are citrus) waft right up the nose with sweet grain carrying it out of that meager beverage container. This beer is bigger than the room that it's in. The hazy coppery beer has almost no head, and it scatters its bubbles pretty quickly.

First sip is a strange combination of creamy and harsh with citric acid and carbonation, but then it peters out with bitterness as the drink is gone. It's not an unsatisfying beer, as the solid meat of the fruits is right in the mouth with a flavor a…

Gate City "Carl Black Roswell" IPL

This is my third Gate City beer. The first one didn't work out so well. That one was a double IPA, and that particular style is much more likely to get a good rating from me than an IPL. BUT, the IPA was very good, so I'm filled with hope for this fairly rare style of lager.

The yellow beer has a burnt orange tint to it under the thick, foamy head. The head is stickier than a normal lager head, and it looks pretty nice. The aroma is a sweet citrus covering a bready malt. It's a good presentation, and I'm up for it.

First sip is not great. Where is the sour coming from? The sour is joined by tart and it is adding to the mix of citrus, off-putting bread with a thick crust, and resin to create a very unpleasant result that actually made me involuntarily cringe when I sipped it, as it is the opposite of sweet - and sweet-ish was what I expected.

 Tip-in is carbonation sizzle right at the front of the tongue while the tart citrus and pine intermingle with a bit of bitternes…

Gate City "OTP" Double IPA

This is my first Gate City beer. I have no idea what I'm in for, but I know this is a double IPA. For the past year or so this is been my go-to style, so they're starting off on the right foot. Let's just hope that foot lands solid.

The somewhat cloudy orange-gold beer has a slightly off-white, sticky head that leaves just a hint of a Jackson Pollock of lacing on the sides of the glass. The aroma is fruits with a bread backing, but it's very faint - don't really know why.

First sip is ... what the? Where did the dank come from? This has a dank and a funk going on that I was unprepared for. I mean, the fruit is there, but it tastes mostly like rind, and that funk/dank is just not doing anyone any favors. Seriously, what the heck?

Tip-in is sweet, but the funk is on the fringes with the citrus and tropical fruits kind of bunched up in the middle of the mouth. The middle is more of a caramel malt than expected, and the funk is just a dust around the outskirts with the…

Lost Coast "Fogcutter" Double IPA

Five years ago I had a review of a Lost Coast beer. It's hard to believe that I've been doing this blog for five years and still don't have any ads on it. I mean, how much money am I throwing away with my *looks at visitor numbers* dozen or so loyal readers? There has to be some way to monetize this better. I'll think about it while I drink this beer.

The halfway hazy orange-gold beer has a very nice, sticky head that leaves some veins of lacing on the sides, and that's plenty. The aroma is floral right up front with a sweet, tangy malt lurking behind it that has been lovingly soaked in a citrus blend.

First sip is less on the smooth side, not exactly crisp, and I'm not sure what category is should fall into. It's kind of a muddled mess of flowers, bread, tartness, and a haze of confusion with citrus, more (other) flowers, and a load of spices or something that is just ruining the taste. The swig shall resolve this.

Tip-in is mild carbonation sizzle with sw…

Unibroue Maudite Belgian Style Double Ale

I only had two other beers from these guys before, and both of them got four out of five. Anyone who knows anything about my rating system knows that it is incredibly difficult to get a four or above. Heck, anything above a three is a definite recommend. I wonder if these guys can get another four (or maybe even higher).

The very dishwater brown beer has a full head and piles high quickly. I don't expect any lacing from these big, lazy bubbles, and it turns out that I'm right; no lacing for me. The aroma of sweet malt and Belgian yeast is a delicious mix that immediately puts me in mind of the tremendous brews from Chimay, and I hope this works out as well.

First sip is full bodied, sweet malt, crisp yeast, and it's got all the raisins and plums that you would expect from a beer like this. The sip is good. Indeed, it's very good, but it's not enough to judge the beer on.

Tip-in is light carbonation tingle, spices, brown sugar, and a bit tart. The middle spreads its…

New Belgium "Voodoo Ranger" Imperial Black IPA

Oooo! Look at you! You're all dark and foreboding and crap. Well, this probably inspires a lot of people to try this beer. I guess you do have to set yourself apart when you're just in a cooler with all the other beers, but this really smacks of trying too hard. On the other end of the scale, Bearded Iris tends to make their cans a little too bland for my taste, but their beers are a totally different story. Let's see what this beer is like.

It says "black" on the label, and I can attest to it being close enough to black that I'll give the very, very dark ruby red beer a mulligan. There's not much head going on, and that is unusual for an IPA, but the color is also unusual, so this is going to be different than most of the IPAs that have graced these pages. The consequently unmuffled aroma of light molasses, earth, and toasted grains is a lot more malty than an IPA has a right to be, but there I go comparing this to a standard IPA again. It's been too…

New Heights Belgian Tripel

I want triple the fun. I'm willing to bet that New Heights is going to get me triple the fun. These guys have been pretty good so far, and I'm just going to keep trying what they put out. Maybe it's the fact that I'm so close to these local breweries that I enjoy their beer so much, or maybe it's just that they're really good. Fact is, not all of them are great, but New Heights is definitely one of the better ones.

The very hazy golden beer has a very nice, frothy top that is just about the right size. It's that way straight out of the bottle, and the bubbles keep coming to the surface to maintain that perfect head. The aroma is Belgian yeast and wet, doughy bread. There are spices lingering, but they are undefinable and effervescent.

First sip is a bit tart, sour, bitter, and yeasty. I have to say, the sip isn't brilliant. It's got a lot of the components of a good beer, but they are a mess. Why do I need any sour in this? What's the tart suppo…

DuClaw "For Pete's Sake" Imperial Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter

Here's the thing about these chocolate peanut butter porters and stouts: they're all pretty much the same, aren't they? I'm not trying to paint with too broad of a brush, but it seems to me that the chocolate and peanut butter tend to overwhelm all of the natural aspects of the beer. That said, the base beer often makes it stand out. I may be just talking nonsense.

The very deep brown beverage needed quite a bit of coaxing to get any head at all - it's very much like a bourbon barrel beer in that respect. The minimal head that it gets is a medium tan, and it has enough staying power to make things interesting, but we aren't even looking for lacing from this. The aroma is lovely; chocolate, smoke, peanuts, and charred oats.

First sip is a lot more than the log-as-heck name would lead you to believe. The chocolate and peanut butter have hit a wall of charred oats, scored wood, and sweet vanilla extract. It's a full sip, and it might be too much for the sip to…

Bearded Iris "Wavelength" Double IPA

Why not? Why not another Bearded Irisdouble IPA? You ask me, there aren't enough of them. Now, many people may disagree with me. Those people may say that the dozen or so that they currently put out are really enough for anybody, but the people who make that argument should really just shut up. I'm busy drinking. Don't screw with my enjoyment of beer.

Now we're talking. This is the juice orange that I've come to know and love from these guys. A reasonable trace of lacing is left like footprints in the snow along the sides of the glass. The aroma is that familiar citrus with a moderate helping of tropical fruits to balance out the hoppy goodness.

First sip is sweeter than I imagined or expected from one of these hop-centric Bearded Iris DIPAs. It sure has the hops in it to give that fruit tang, but the malt is doing an amazing job at sweetening the whole experience. I don't know what to think other than that I have to drink this properly now.

Tip-in is agave swe…

Tyskie Gronie

This is a Polish beer that my mother gave me to try after she was given a case of it by a Polish priest that she knows. The problem is, I'm not exactly sure how long this sat around before I got to it, and I'm afraid this might be a little out of date for me to even be trying. Nevertheless, I'm gonna try it.

The very pale gold beer has a white head of dense, scattered foam. What hits me first is not the color or even the head - the beer has a distinct skunk aroma to it. I check the date, and for sure, the "best by" date is two months past. I'm not thinking two months should be that far out of spec for the beer, but the aroma is really telling me different. Of course, I've had other beers that had a bit of a skunk funk that was just part of what they are.

First sip is ... not skunked. I guess that aroma is just part of its deal. Instead, it is a sweet malt and very light hops that might be pine, but they are really light, so don't hold me to it. It def…

Almanac "Love Hazy" IPA

When I started this review, I was genuinely surprised to find that I already had at least one Almanac beer posted on my blog. I had no idea what it was, so I looked back to see. I'll be damned if it wasn't the sour cherry beer that I absolutely hated. That alone might have gotten me to not even try this beer, but I can't judge a brewery based on a single beer, can I? After all, I've since had a pilsner from them that was certainly fine. This is an IPA. I like IPAs. I'm going to like this IPA.

She's a very hazy (opaque) melon-orange color with a white head that is reluctant to come out and fizzles away as quickly as you like. The aroma is grains and light, bubbly citrus from grapefruits and oranges with some tangerine in there to spice it up a bit. This is starting off really well.

First sip is a little more untamed than I anticipated. The spices are high, and the fruit juice is tart and bitter at the same time while it's almost as if a pineapple skin is bei…

Tallgrass Sweet Tooth Belgian-Style Dark Ale

These guys produced the two Buffalo Sweat beers that were so good that I'm not sure I'll be able to find fault with any of their beverages. It reminds me of when I had my first Left Hand Brewing milk stout and that led to quite a few Left Hand beers that I very much enjoyed. If Tallgrass keeps making beer, I'm gonna keep trying it.

It looks like... raisin juice? And the head is pretty nice until it dissipates, and it does that a lot faster than you might think. The aroma is very sweet caramel, brown sugar, old wood, and some dark fruits. It's inviting enough for me to want to get another, even though I haven't had one yet.

First sip is like a sweet, approachable version of the Chimay or St. Feuillien dark ales. The dark fruits are sweetened with the caramel and brown sugar while the salt is quite noticeable. It's a pretty good sipping beer, and I'm not sure I've said that about any of these dark ales before.

Tip-in is salt, caramel, and brown sugar with…

Southern Grist "Hoppy Timbs" Double IPA

I figure 3 beers into any particular brewer is enough to see if there's a pattern. These guys had one outlier that I didn't particularly care for, but then they had two that I would definitely recommend. So, maybe everybody is due at least one mulligan. They had theirs, so I would expect a double IPA - a particular favorite of mine - will do really well at this point.

The very hazy beer is straw yellow with a white head that leaves lots of lacing. The aroma is very light tropical and citrus fruits with a heavy, sweet malt lingering in the background, propping up what is mostly orange, tangerine, and grapefruit hops.

First sip is heavy on the grapefruit above the others with the tangerine and orange in tow - there may be a little mango tossed in there. The malt is light crackers, but it's very light; it's doing just enough to hold back the bitterness of the hops, and that is exactly why it exists.

Tip-in is mild carbonation burn with grapefruit, mangoes, tangerines, and…

Clown Shoes Baked Goods Hoppy Pale Ale

So far, these guys are really lingering in the average to below average area of my scale. I don't know what their deal is, but they seem like there really trying to send a home run into the bleachers with some of the strange beers that they produce, but they all seem to fall just short of being really a recommended beer. Well, hops make good beers. Let's see what they did with a hoppy pale ale.

The somewhat cloudy yellow straw-colored beverage has a very nice, fluffy head that leaves enough lacing to keep things interesting. Points of nucleation abound in the depths of the beer. The aroma is a mixed bag of hops with citrus, tangerine, and a hint of pine.

First sip is more gentle than I expected from a very hoppy beer. I guess I know why this is a pale ale and not an IPA. It has definite fruitiness and a slight bitter end with a biscuit malt hovering all around it like a bready fruit basket, but it's in moderation.

Tip-in is mild carbonation tingle with a very light, watery…

New Heights "Holy Mole 2" Milk Stout

Who's your favorite Nashville-based brewer? I ask that only because Nashville seems to have quite a few really good breweries these days, and this is just one of them. No, small breweries aren't usually the most consistent, but their experimentation often results in some pretty spectacular brews. So, let's see what this Mexican mole has to offer.

This is a milk stout, so it's going to be black. This particular one is black only because it's a really, really, really dark brown. The light tan head is filled with really big bubbles that fizz away to a few lily pads in the middle and a pretty strong ring around the sides of glass. The aroma is sweet chocolate and light spices. I'm not sure what else they put in this, and I'm not goona read the label. Let's just dive in.

First sip makes me read the label. There are five types of chili peppers in this beer. It's a really weird sensation to have the frothy, creamy milk center with the Chili's all bitin…

Burial "Ulfberht" Baltic Porter

Don't go all floral on me, Burial. The can says it was made with juniper, and I hope it was used sparingly. Definitely used sparingly were vowels in the name of this beer. I tried to pronounce it, and it comes off as a kind of sneeze when I say it out loud. The H and the T need some vowel in there to maintain structure.

The black beer has a light tan head that isn't much to talk about to begin with, and it fizzles right away to a very thin ring around the glass - no lacing for us today. The aroma is all porter. There might be a little highlighted floral scent added to the dark chocolate and coffee with earth tossed in to make it darker and more bitter, but this is about a textbook smell for a porter, and I'm happy to smell it.

First sip is kind of bitter, sweet, chocolate, coffee, oak, earth, vanilla, nuts, and a little black licorice. The juniper is giving it a little highlight of flowers that compliment the deep darkness of the other flavors very well. If I were to sip t…

Nola "Hoppyright Infringement" IPA

I've only ever had one Nola beer before, and it was an Irish stout that I was okay with, but I wasn't really sold on. This one's an IPA, and anyone who knows me knows I like IPAs. The fact that this is an Imperial IPA means that, honestly, I may not like it as much. I find that Imperial stouts, Imperial porters, and Imperial IPAs tend to be less approachable than their standard counterparts. If you really want to do something with an IPA, I'd say go for a double IPA. But that's not what I have, so I'm just gonna drink the beer they made for me.

The hazy beer is the color of damp straw, and it has an off-white head that grips the sides of the glass, but it's not to be leaving any lacing. The smell is of lots of fruit. I'm getting citrus and tropical fruits, and they seem to be backed up with a kind of reedy malt. It's a good start.

First sip is surprisingly sweet and smooth. Even though this seems to have a whole bunch hops in it, they are definitely…

Saugatuck "Neapolitan" Milk Stout

I don't like beers that make you guess. Fortunately, this beer doesn't make you guess. Instead, it's very clearly going to be a dessert beer. So, I can go into this knowing that it's gonna be a heavy beer that's kind of sweet and I probably don't want to drink too many of them in a row. That's just fine, as I'm not in this to get drunk; I'm just here to taste good beer.

The beer color is just like most stouts - impossible to see past the black but for the edges. The edges tell the story of a very dark auburn. There isn't much head, and it boils right down to an absolute nothing fairly quickly. The aroma is sweet with strawberry and vanilla on top of roasted grains. It smells really good, and Ima get me some.

First sip is a bit more coffee than I expected, and the vanilla is definitely there, but I don't taste the strawberries or even much of the chocolate. It's sweet enough to be a dessert, but it just doesn't seem to reflect the lab…

Boulevard "DDH Galaxy" IPA

I'm pretty sure they intended for the "Galaxy" to be separate from the "DDH," but that's not the way I'm putting in the quotation marks. In fact, I'm still not even sure that I really like putting the name of the beer quotation marks, but it seems like some of the beers really need me to set off what the brewer decided was the proper name of the beer as opposed to the style of the beer. If you don't like it, feel free to ignore it.

The pale yellow beer has a bit of a tangerine coloring and an interesting amount of white sediment at the bottom of the glass. The head is medium-sized, and it leaves just enough lacing to show that it wants to, but it just doesn't have the skill level for it. The aroma is sweet tangerines and grapefruits with a lingering tartness behind it.

First sip is a surprising amount of thick fruit meat with a dankness that doesn't seem to stifle the sweetness that is deeper down from there. It's a good sip, but it …

Hi-Wire "Man Eater" Double IPA

When I visited the brewery in Asheville, North Carolina, most of the beers that I had there were absolutely delicious. This reaffirms my belief that beer simply taste better whenever you're closer to the source and you get it fresh. Of course, this is particular to whichever style of beer you decided to try. Now that I'm back home, a double IPA sounds like it should be just about perfect here (having been given a bit of time to age).

The copper beer has enough head to bubble up and... there's the lacing of a beer that I have been longing for. The foam is a patchy and sticky substance that leaves splotches of big bubbles and trails tiny bubbles after them. The aroma is musty pine and citrus over a yeasty malt. I like DIPAs, and I really expect to like this one a lot.

First sip is more pine than I expected, and it is rounded out by the meat of a heap of citrus fruits and that malt is sweetening everything up very nicely. The bitterness and tartness re-enter before it finishe…