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Showing posts from March, 2019

Smith & Lentz Mosaic IPA

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Have I gotten jaded when I scoff at a 6.5% ABV on an IPA as being way too low? I mean, there was a time not too long ago when here in Tennessee you had to go to a liquor store to buy beer above... was it 6.2%? It was something like that. Well, this is the green-spined beer from Smith & Lentz here in middle Tennessee (do beers have spines?) where the last beer had a blue spine. Again, I took a picture of the pretty front with a crest, but it's not the thing that tells you what the beer is.

The thick, dense head sits atop the deliciously copper-brown beer. The aroma emanating from it is caramel, earth, and a bit of bread. Some people claim to smell citrus or berries or something, but they are nuts (or have better noses than me). The scent is particularly light, and I have to get right down in there to sniff it out, but I'm game.

First sip is very nice. It has the caramel forward, and there's bread and flowers tossed in, but the back end is a bit more straining - like the…

Smith & Lentz German Pils

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Look at you. Just look at you. Another startup brewer based in Nashville. And look what you did. You decided to produce a pilsner, but you didn't give it any weird name. You call it something simple. I'm not really sure that I can deal with this lack of pretension. I mean, yeah, that's a huge logo on the front of your can. And, it's also really hard to tell what kind of a beer it is without looking at the side of the label where there's a blue stripe with the details of this particular can (I picked up another from this brewery that has a different colored stripe to tell me it's a different kind of beer).

The slightly hazy pale yellow beer does not require effort to coax out the foamy top. No, I'm not going to get any lacing from this, but the big bubbles look like they're in the right place on top of this Pilsner. The aroma is a freshly baked bread loaf with floral notes added to the mix. Actually, it's more than notes - it's like there were fl…

Baltika 6 Porter

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I think this may very well be my first beer from Russia. It says it was brewed there, and it is "premium," but that seems like a very subjective term. The bottle itself is embossed with the seal of the brewer, and it looks fantastic. It has this odd little pull tab attached to the cap that makes it easy to open without a bottle opener, but it seems like it's different just for the sake of being different. I wish some US brewers would spend this much time designing and making their cans and bottles.

The black beer is tainted slightly red and slightly brown at the fringes of the glass, but the middle is pretty implacable. There isn't much head to start with, and it pretty much goes away almost completely (yes, there is a semicircle around the rim, but it feels like it doesn't want to be there). The aroma is thick and rich with heavy liquor, wood, oatmeal, and smoke.

First sip is caramel, coffee, chocolate syrup, and even some cola. It's a striking beer that is …

Bearded Iris Hotline IPA

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I'll admit that all of these orange-colored, thick, and citrus IPAs coming from Bearded Iris are starting to run together. I think I may have to start a leaderboard of just their beers so I can keep track of which ones I like and which are just okay. But, since I haven't produced one for the overall beers in the first place, I'm inclined to do that one first - if I can find the time.

Yup, it's another orange beer that is so thick that light does not seem to penetrate through the middle. The head took coaxing to get to this unimpressive level, and I'm not particularly impressed with the staying power or the lacing. Instead, it's just a dusting of tiny little bubbles languishing on the top. For all my excitement at getting new brews from these guys, this beer is not really enticing me with the look, but the aroma is a fine - sweet citrus with a zest to it that I can't help but try.

First sip is harshed by the acid of the hops while also delivering pineapple, …

Bearded Iris Denali Vision IPA

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I'm not sure if it's just my perception, but I feel like I didn't have any Bearded Iris beers for the longest time, and now I have a bunch of new varieties that I wasn't expecting, so now I'm just overjoyed. These guys are headquartered right in Nashville proper. They're not just on the outskirts of Nashville where I lump them all together - these guys are the real deal. But, geography isn't what you came here for. Let's drink some beer.

This beer is more translucent than most of the beers that I get from these guys. I can see a lot more light coming through the center of the orange-gold beer with the relatively small head. I can't even tell you if there's going to be lacing or not, as there just wasn't much of a head to start with, and what there was at the beginning sticks around a long time. The aroma is grapefruit, orange, melon, and maybe some yeast.

First sip is a tad underwhelming. This has flavor, and it's citrus in nature with p…

Bearded Iris Chasing Rainbows SIX IPA

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What? Didn't I already do this beer? Oh! I get it! This is the sixth version of this beer. Wait, did I miss four versions? I guess I did. Well, the previous one appears to have been the very first version of this beer. I'm hoping they improved it a bit, as that beer got a 2.25/5, which isn't bad, but it's well below the average for this brewer. Well, their subsequent beers have proven to be very entertaining. I know they've grown as a Brewer.

The color is a bit more pale than its brother, with more yellow hues managing to worm their way in. The head is pretty much the same with very small bubbles that go away almost completely except for a thin layer on top. The tart and bitter citrus aroma puts me in mind of almost any of the Bearded Iris beers, but I think I'm recalling the previous iteration of this particular sample.

I had described the first sip of the previous version as prickly, but this one has none of that. This is a smooth drinking beer with just enou…

Bearded Iris Voltage IPA

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Another love letter to me from the folks at Bearded Iris. So, it is just as well that I write one back - hence, my review of Voltage IPA. There are the words Nelson, Motueka, and Taiheke under the word IPA, and I'm pretty sure these are types of hops. Mind you, I'm not to bother Googling, as that would require more work than just drinking and writing.

The beer is ever so predictably hazy and thick like fruit juice. It's a rather vibrant orange with a head that looks oddly reminiscent of orange juice pulp. The aroma is more than just orange juice, as tropical fruits mixed in with the citrus delights in an effort to make my mouth water. Good news! It does!

First sip is more tart and watery than I expected. It's not that this doesn't have flavor, but I expected more fruit juice to be splashed in my face than I'm getting. I certainly can taste both the citrus and the tropical fruits and maybe even some stone fruits, but they are very laid-back to the point that the…

BriarScratch Unincorporated The Ungoverned Ale

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Bless these guys. I guess living in Cottontown, TN (where I think I've only been two or three times while passing through) figured out that the best thing to do is to brew your own beer and get drunk for the day. Mind you, with a 4.6% ABV, you're either not getting drunk, or you're going to be peeing a lot. I wonder if this will be more like an All-Day IPA.

The copper beer had more head than I expected, and it overwhelmed the craft beer glass I had set aside for it. Even after the head goes down, there is a nice little cap right in the middle of the beer with lovely lacing on the sides of the glass where the foam used to be. The aroma is yeast, rye, and caramel malt with light floral notes.

First sip does not follow the nose well. It is bitter and has spices all behind the wheat and rye (rough and tumble rye). The yeast is pronounced, but the rye is definitely telling everyone where to go and what to do. It's not so great for sipping.

Tip-in is rye with spices and mild…

Innis & Gunn Gunpowder IPA

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I'll admit that the great customer service I got from the Innis & Gunn Twitter team was the reason I tried their beers twice. As I became more familiar with beer aged in barrels, I gave them yet another chance, and I found out that the problem had been (partially) me all along. I just didn't know what to look for in one of these beers. Well, I do now, and I got a new one to try.

The copper-brown beer has a luxuriously sticky head that leaves lacing like a wall of webwork on the sides of the glass. The aroma is wood-tinted malt of the bready variety. I smell a bit of seared grains in it as well, but I'm not smelling much in the way of hops, and that doesn't seem right coming from an IPA - aged in a barrel or not.
First sip is smooth and woody. The malt is actually a bit more caramel than I thought with the sniff, but those hops aren't asserting themselves at all. There are some spices highlighting the wood, but other than that, it's very simple.
Tip-in is ve…

Tailgate "Marcus Maris Otter" Hazy IPA

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I've had a look, and this is my 11th Tailgate beer. Generally, their beers have been on the positive side with a few outliers. I've even had a couple beers that I labeled is pretty outstanding. So, I have no compunction going out to find another one of their beers to try out. This hazy IPA is only the latest in their attempt to take over everything from right here in Nashville.

Just pouring this beer out into the glass bathes me in the aroma of citrus and tropical fruits. And when they say hazy, they're not kidding. No light comes through the center of this orange hued and almost pumpkin colored like beer. The head wasn't much to begin with, and it goes away pretty quickly. There isn't going to be any lacing going on today. Still, that aroma is very enticing.

First sip is pretty meaty. It's got a whole lot of fruits going on with some light melon, grapefruit, peach, and apricot all kinda vying for the right to dominate the taste buds. Even with a little sip, th…

Mill Creek Transcendent IPA

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Another chance to try a Mill Creek beer, and I'm again looking forward to it. These guys are local to Nashville, as they are from nearby Nolensville, TN. I am pretty sure this place was not named after the famous director of the Dark Knight trilogy, but I can't verify that without doing research, and who wants to do that?

That is one of the most interesting shades of copper I've seen in a beer. I was immediately struck by it, and I'm not sure it comes across in this picture as striking as it is in person. The head isn't much to worry about, and it becomes a very simple dusting on top with minimal lacing. The aroma is sweet, thick malt with the meat of an orange backing it up nicely.

First sip is very stiff resin with a bread backbone, grass, and citrus chunks. I'm not sure I like it, though. The resin is pretty rough, and it masks any nuance that might be hidden in the depths of the beer. Instead, this becomes exactly the kind of beer that a ponce would slog th…

Baker Company "Kitty" Coffee Whiskey Barrel Stout

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From my recent trip to what turned out to be very rainy Asheville, NC, I was given this beer is a gift. I met the dog on the label, Kitty, and she's a working dog; she's a great little helper, and she loves to chew on antlers in her free time. I wasn't sure about going after another coffee beer, but I think I've learned enough about what I should be looking for in one of these. So maybe I won't toss this out before even try.

The very, very dark brown beer is pretty much as near as black as you would expect. There is quite a bit of sediment at the bottom of this bottle, yet the top sports almost no head. This is not unusual for beer that has been mixed with harder liquors. When I take a whiff, it's the hard liquor mixed with coffee. Yep, this is going to be very coffee. It may be too much.

First sip is certainly more coffee than I'd normally like in here, but it's not overwhelming right up front. Instead, there's bitterness and dryness of the harder …

BrewDog Piña Playa Gose Ale

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I can't help but notice the precipitous drop in average rating of the BrewDog wares. They hit a high point with the Hazy Jane, and they have disappointingly trailed off since then. Since I kind of put this one off to be the last of the most recent three that I picked up, I am not anticipating this bucking the trend, but these guys have the talent for brewing, so let's see what they did.

The full head of big, off-white bubbles boils away to a patchy cap that leaves very little lacing. Under it all is the mostly clear, yellow-gold beer with an aroma that isn't knocking me off my chair. It's much, much lighter than I expected, but it brings lemons, pineapple and... coconut. Some people might think that I'm a picky person with my choices, but I don't like coconut (in addition to the sour ales, coffee, and a bunch of other stuff).

First sip is not good at all. It has the pineapple and lemons, but it has the coconut and a sourness that I should probably have expected…

Hi-Wire Irish Stout

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I recently visited the Hi-Wire brewery, and I sampled quite a few of their beers. One that I didn't bother trying was the Irish Stout, as I knew I had some sitting in my fridge at home, waiting to be reviewed. Yes, even when I'm away from this computer, I have your concerns about my objectivity at heart. Also, they had a lot of other very good beers for me to try.

The beer is black with a very deep red hue. The head is pretty minimal, and it leaves not more than a dusting on top of the deep black beer. The aroma is strong roasted oats and wood with a sprinkling of vanilla and molasses sweetening the deal. While very few Irish stouts can be on par with Guinness, I appreciate the effort, and this is a good start.

First sip is harsh, bitter, and dry. The toasted oats are there, but there is a sharp bitterness that cuts through any malt that the brewer intended to lay down. I don't know what they were going for, but they don't appear to have hit it right. This sip is a mis…

Decadent Multiflora Double IPA

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So, I had this one sitting in my fridge for a little while now. I don't know if it was the freakish looking bees, a strange color of seafoam–teal of the label, or the fact that it says multi-flora, and I assumed this meant it would be one of those ales brewed with flowers or plants or something like the hideous Magic Hat crap that got me completely turned off of that brewer. But, today's the day to try it.

It's hazy in patches with flows of detritus suspended quite delightfully in the center of the beverage. The color is orange overall with a bit of honey where the glass is thinner. The head isn't much to write home about, and I don't expect there to be much lacing if any. The aroma is tropical fruits instead of the flowers I was afraid of. The good news is, my mouth is watering.

First sip is sweeter than I anticipated, even though I know most DIPAs are relatively sweet. The tropical fruits have their tanginess and bitterness, and the yeast is adding an interesting…

B Nektar "The Dude's Rug" Hard Cider

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I have a confession. I never saw The Big Lebowski. I saw previews, and that was enough to tell me that I didn't give a crap about this movie. A friend of mine points out that I watch a lot of bad movies, but I don't watch them when I know for certain that they are bad going in. And I don't think I would like this movie. Still, I may like this beer.

WAY darker than any cider I've ever encountered means that this is a cider unlike any that have come before it. It's a dark amber with negligible head, but definitely sparkles of carbonation bubbling to the surface. The aroma is almost like a pumpkin spice apple cider. It's heavy on the spices, but apple is clearly the base.

First sip is like the world has been invaded with pumpkin spice (without the pumpkin) and this cider is on the front lines. So, the granny apple base (maybe not granny apple, but tart) has spice just pounded into it in a way that puts me in mind of pumpkin spice without the pumpkin. It's a st…

Omnipollo Fatamorgana Imperial IPA

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The name is on this weird label, but it's on the side, and it's in some kind of stylized, stretched font that makes it kind of hard to read. At first, I thought this was "Fat Morgana" and they were naming it after Morgana The Witch from the King Arthur story, but now I don't get the reference. If only I had access to Google. Ah well, let's just drink some beer.

The beer is a dense orange with a minimalist off-white head that leaves a few patches across the top. The aroma is citrus juices. This whole presentation (once you get past the label) puts me in mind of pretty much any of the Bearded Iris beers. This has GOT to be a good thing, because I love trying those beers.

First sip is grapefruit, oranges, flowers, dust, yeast, and bitterness. It's more intimidating than I had expected. I don't know if it's the spate of dessert beers that I've had lately that have put me in mind of a sweeter beer or my remembering the Bearded Iris beauties that we…

Mayday "Boro" Blonde

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I've been in the 'boro for quite some time now. Mayday is the big brewer here, and I've had many of their beers while out and about, but I've had relatively few of them to review for the blog (my "on the go" reviews tend to not give the complete picture and generally reflect my mood rather than the beer). But, today, I review one of their best sellers.

There was more head on this beer than just about any beer I have ever poured. I don't have an exact count of the number of beers I've poured over my lifetime, but the number is not insubstantial - and that's not counting multiple beers of the same kind. The color, lest I forget, is yellow-gold, and there's an aroma of flowers, fruit, and honey.

First sip is honey, spices, flowers, citrus, and a basic love of life. I've had a bad day today, and this is already starting to lift my spirits a bit. The taste is bright and shiny. I'm not usually that big a fan of the blonde style - and this ha…

Honky Tonk Country Style NEIPA

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This is the first time I have seen a New England-style IPA abbreviated into NEIPA, and I'm not sure I even like the idea. Yes, I've come around to DIPA for Double IPA, but it seems like we're abbreviating for no particularly good reason. We need to reserve this treatment for the biggies, and if WCIPA hasn't already become a thing for the West Coast variety, then NE is jumping the gun.

The orange beer has an off-white head that is patchy and leaves a good amount of lacing on the side. The aroma is lots of citrus and stone fruits with some tropical in the mix. There is a lot going on, and it's all hops. I'm not saying it's a great smell, but it's a pretty great smell.

First sip is not the bitter pill that I expected with all those hops. Instead, it's a very nice mix of honey and molasses as a bed for some pine, grapefruit, nectarines, and a solid resin. It has a LOT going on, but it seems like it is well coordinated right off the bat.

Tip-in is orange…

Omnipollo "Nebuchadnezzar" Imperial IPA

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I didn't like the previous beer that I got from these guys, but I like the cut of their jib, so I'm going to keep giving them tries for now. This one is an IPA, but it's an imperial IPA. Imperial Stouts and Imperial Porters have been around the edges of the styles that I like, but they are generally a little stolid and unapproachable. I'm hoping the Imperial IPA won't be.

The head doesn't stay around for long, but it's a little off-white while it's there. The beer under it is a pale straw-orange color with the aroma of citrus and grains. Oranges and apricots seems to be forward with pears and wheat in tow.

First sip is much more harsh than the aroma made me believe. It's tart and very bitter, but it has a dust of funk and a very forward yeast. All together, the beer is somewhat caustic and antiseptic - strangely not what I'm looking for in a beer.

Tip-in is oranges, tangerines, pears, and carbonation burn. The middle rises with a nice world of g…

Half Batch "The Fulkin" Scottish Ale

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This is the second Half Batch beer I've had. The first one was good enough, but it had its issues. As this one is a Scottish ale, it certainly has the potential to be pretty good or pretty bad. One of the best beers I ever had was a Scottish ale that I had long before I started to document my beer samplings in this blog. I have been longing for a beer that could replicate that experience. Maybe this will be the one.

The deep red beer has some brown tossed into the mix as the off-white head boils right on down to nothing but a ring around the glass. The aroma is nuts and caramel malts with a bit of molasses sweetening it all up. It's good on presentation, that's for sure.

First sip is more caramel and toffee than nuts, but the nuts are all up in there. Strangely, I also get wood and a hint of coffee grounds. The beer is pretty clean and smooth as beers go. I could certainly sip this for a few hours, but I'm going to swig this.

Tip-in is nuts, caramel, and toffee with a …

Half Batch "Two Foot" Ale

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From Hendersonville, TN comes this cheeky brewer who touts the hashtag #NeverHalfAss. I guess that's a good hashtag? I mean, it's going to be confused with a lot of other stuff, right? They couldn't have integrated Half Batch in it? Ah well, kids will learn.

The golden beer is doing its imitation of apple juice from concentrate, but it has a lot more carbonation. If it didn't retain the white head as well as it does, I would say this was a hard cider. Well, that would be until I smelled it. It is grain central in this house. Is this an ale? I got nothing but grain, bread, and I guess I might smell some lemon, but the aroma is definitely very lager-ish.

First sip is following the nose just like you might expect. The grains are corn-based, and then they have a bit of barley with the lemon shining somewhere behind it. I don't taste any cream in here or anything, but it is not all that bad to sip.

Tip-in is the heavy grains and even a lemon zest. The middle rolls in wi…

Highland Brewing Daycation IPA

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I'm told that these beers are available in bottles elsewhere, but I was only given the option of cans. It's probably cheaper to produce the beer in cans, cheaper to ship, and you can fit more in a truck without that weird bottleneck that's just taking up more room than it needs to do. Still, I'd have preferred a bottle.

The light yellow beer is hazy with quite a bit of detritus. It's got a fairly decent sized white head with medium-sized bubbles, and it's gonna leave some lacing; how awesome is lacing? The aroma is vaguely floral with some fruit backing it up. The carbonation in the nose is a kind of fizzing, and I don't normally notice that with beers.

First sip doesn't have as much in the way of flowers as I expected. It certainly has some, but the tangerine and mangoes are really kinda coming up front with lemon in tow. The flowers are more of a backdrop kind of like I would normally expect a malt to be. As for the malt, I'm not sure I'm real…

Highland Brewing Gaelic Ale

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It's hard to believe that Asheville, North Carolina didn't have a brewery until 1994. I realize to some of you that may have been a long, long time ago, but I remember the 90s. It just seems like there would've been an established brewery headquartered in a city like Asheville for quite some time. But, I'm going to take these guys at their word. They were the first!

The very clear, deep amber beer has a reasonable head that has a lot of staying power. The lacing it leaves on the sides eventually dribbles down, but it's very nice to look at while it's there. The aroma is grains and sawdust with some caramel, maple sugar, and maybe some candied yams mixed into it. It's an interesting presentation, and it's not as imposing as I feared when I picked it up.

The sip shows a beer that has a lot of lightly toasted malt with spices kind of sprinkled on top with a very thin caramel glaze. The hops are there to enjoy themselves as well, but they're not jumping…

Evil Twin Super Duper Stout

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What can I say about Evil Twin? They can do beer right and do beer wrong. They have lots of styles, but it's a shotgun approach where they don't seem to have a standard that beer has to meet before they slap a label on a can and ship it to Nashville. So, we take the good with the bad - kind of a reflection on life.

The brown-black beer pours thick like syrup and had to really be coaxed to leave any head at all. The small amount of brown head that I was able to get for the picture was gone by the time I started writing this. The aroma is coffee, cocoa, and sweetness. It's a good smell, even for those of us who don't particularly like coffee.

First sip is thick and rich with coffee, chocolate, wood, raisins, earth, and dark fruits. It puts me in mind of an oil patch that has been "made safe for human consumption" by adding a bit of sugar and coffee. It's not an approachable beer.

Tip-in is syrup-thick, bitter coffee and bitter chocolate with dark fruit peel…

Clown Shoes Bubble Farm IPA

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So far, these guys are shooting in the middle of the pack at around the 2.0-3.0 range. With my rating system, this means that they are completely average - and there's nothing wrong with being average. After all, the average person is average, isn't he or she?

The orange-gold beer has very little head, but it still has enough gumption to leave lacing like an IPA should. Points of nucleation are plentiful from the depths, and the aroma is sweet malt. I'm fearing a sweet dessert beer is going to be in this glass, and I was revved up for an IPA.

First sip is definitely not the normal IPA. Also, it's not a dessert beer. I'm not sure what it is. Is this Punk'd? Am I being scammed by someone? It's sweet and bitter and tart and tastes... off. The resin and the yeast are building a temple to the god of WTH was I thinking?

Tip-in is thick sweet bread with a sweet glaze on top while the carbonation sizzles. The middle is unexpected grains and a load of citrus and tr…

Fat Orange Cat "F.O.C.Less Monster" IPA

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You see what they did there? They had their name, then they put their initials in it too! How clever these guys are. They gave me a pretty horrible first taste of their beer with that white stout, and I'm not gonna forgive them anytime soon. That said, I had more of their beer already in my fridge, so I'm going to try it out. This is another "Twelve Percent Beer Project" beer that doesn't have 12% ABV. So, they have that going for them.

The orange beer nearly matches the color of the can, and the off-white head is patchy and pretty sticky. My predisposition to lambaste this beer might already be in jeopardy, as the presentation is pretty good. The translucent and murky beer has all the visual effect of a do-over. The citrus notes coming from the aroma just add a little exclamation top of the "Here, try me!" look of the beer.

First sip is a little tart and kind of savory with a lot of citrus going on and a firm malt acting as the backbone. I was tempted …

Fat Orange Cat "All Cats Are Gray in the Dark" White Stout

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Saw a few beers from Fat Orange Cat being sold at the local beer purveyor, and I figured I would give them a try. I don't know much about them beyond the fact that they are based in Boston (possibly) and that this is part of the "Twelve Percent Beer Project", but this is a beer with a 7.2% ABV, so I'm not sure what the "Twelve Percent" is supposed to be.

By color, this may as well be a pale ale or an IPA of some sort. It's orange-brown with a patchy head made of tiny little bubbles, and it leaves lacing like a proper ale. The aroma is damn coffee grounds. You jerks. Put that stuff on the label! I hope there's more than coffee in this beer when I drink it, but I don't smell more.

First sip is the expected and hated coffee grounds. I have at least two more beers from Fat Orange Cat already sitting in my fridge, and I don't know that I even want to try them. These guys can get into a plane with the Prairie Artisan folks and fly to the middle of…