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Showing posts from July, 2019

Surly "Hell" Lager

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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…