Wednesday, August 09, 2017

9. Indiana City - Tribute Pale Ale

“Tribute Pale Ale is hopped exclusively with the mighty Eureka hop which imparts dank aroma, smooth hop flavor and balanced bitterness.”

I’m not sure dank is a word you want to use when you’re describing your beer. I’m also not sure that the bitterness is balanced. But I’m also not sure either of those is a bad thing. I’m not sure they’re good things, either. I lack general overall certainty about this beer, but it’s interesting enough that I am totally willing to come back to it at some point.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

8. Daredevil - Lift Off IPA

“A bounty of American hops deliver the signature clean and crisp finish of a perfectly balanced West Coast style IPA.”

Aggressively hopped and punchy, like a spicy grapefruit wearing boxing gloves. I’m beginning to realize that it’s probably not a good idea to day drink this one if you still have things to do later. Sixteen ounces at 7.2%…yeah, you do the math. This is an aggressive and lovely West Coast IPA that would go toe to toe with Sun King’s Osiris. On the other hand, it’s exactly what it is, and nothing more. The finish is a little too bitter for my taste, and that bitterness tends to linger; but the citrus and spice up front are pretty good. A very good beer, but one at a time is probably enough. (Which for me is, indeed, damning with faint praise.)

Fifth Grade

Much more timely than last year, here is the fifth grade gallery. It's finally starting to look like we actually feed him. (Which we do. Seriously, nearly every day. Please don't report us.)

2012 - Kindergarten

2013 - First Grade

2014 - Second Grade
2015 - Third Grade
2016 - Fourth Grade
2017 - Fifth Grade

Sunday, July 23, 2017

7. Daredevil - Slipstream Pale Ale

“An exotic blend of hops provide a blast of flavor and break away aromas in a golden ale built for maximum momentum.”

Nice balance and strong hops, but more refreshing than aggressive. Feels to me like it might be a bit heavier than the 5.5% they advertise on the can. Approachable and uncomplicated, this is another one that would be good to talk about, if perhaps not quite as much as the One Night in Bangkok at Cannon Ball.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

6. Cannon Ball - One Night in Bangkok

NUVO posted a list of 10 Indiana beers you should drink this summer, and this was the one that caught my eye—not least because I knew that Erin Kem is the chef at Cannon Ball. Before that, she was the sous chef at R Bistro. If that name doesn’t ring a bell, it should. R Bistro was the first important local and independent restaurant in Indianapolis. Long before words like locavore and foodie were fashionable, Regina Mehallick was dishing up a new menu every week at the far end of Mass Ave. She ran that show for fifteen years before closing the restaurant in early 2016, but she had been easing herself away from the day-to-day grind of the business for some time before the restaurant closed. That’s a long way around saying that the chef at Cannon Ball today was previously, in all but name, the executive chef at what was arguably the greatest restaurant to ever open its doors in Indianapolis.

So after our last brewery get-together fell through, I suggested Cannon Ball for the next one. To my surprise, everyone agreed. I did a ride-by on my bike a few days beforehand, to see if it was workable; and since I found that it was, I arrived ahead of the group and wrote for a little bit while working on my first beer—the aforementioned One Night in Bangkok, which is a golden ale with Thai basil and ginger. It’s a light, easy-drinking ale with very subtle notes of Thai basil and ginger. Reminds me a little of how subtle the flavors are in the brews at Black Circle. If the words basil and ginger weren’t in the description, you might be hard pressed to guess that they were there. I missed the ginger in the first beer, (during which I might have been a bit off from a 20-minute bike ride in the heat and humidity) but picked it up on my second. Just a hair lighter than I prefer, but eminently drinkable and very fine for conversation.


Oh…and did you want to know about the food? The only thing I tried, apart from a bite of the potato salad that came with Dione’s sandwich after she threw in the towel, were the deviled egg tacos, which I had been lusting after since I first looked the place up and read the menu. And I just want to stop you right there. You’re either in or you’re out. Nothing I can say is going to change your mind. You’ve got deviled egg, beets, and beet greens salsa verde all piled on—wait for it—a beet tortilla. You get a little sweet in the deviled egg and beets, and a little savory in the cumin and chile in the salsa verde, and just…you know…holy crap. You can’t even believe it until you taste it, because it takes everything you thought you understood about the concept of a taco, and subverts it. It even made me slip into second person for a minute there.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Deep Thoughts #148

Fake President Donald Trump is a piece of shit. Jeff Sessions does the right thing and recuses himself, and that’s unfair? Fuck you, Donald.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

5. Black Acre - Saucy Intruder Rye India Pale Ale

“American style IPA with large amounts of rye malt & Falconer’s Flight hops, creating bold notes of citrus and & earthy spiciness.”

The large amounts of rye malt are very evident in the dry, almost bitter, finish; but the strong citrus notes in the Falconer’s Flight hops bring it almost into balance. They probably want it to be a little bitter so you recognize that earthy spiciness. Or I just like to make fun. Who can say? I’m not really making fun—at least, not of the beer. Sometimes the descriptions get a little precious, though, don’t you think? My reading and research into beer has not yet yielded hints as to what makes rye malt so freaking delicious, but I hope one day to find out. The only con to this one is the high alcohol (7.2%). I don’t enjoy a hard buzz anymore, and that’s sort of what I’m feeling after drinking two of these. Then again, I haven’t eaten anything today, either, so.

Sunday, July 02, 2017

4. Black Acre - Natural Liberty American Pale Lager

“Aggressively Citra hopped with plenty of bold citrus hop notes and a light pilsner malt body.”

It’s so warm up here in my aboveground lair that by the time I got to the end of this one, despite the fact that I had poured it into a frosted mug, it had warmed up to the point that the grapefruit notes from the Citra hops were quite prominent. So then I tried a cold one in the same now-warm mug to see if the grapefruit notes were there, and they were not. I detected more in the way of floral notes, and the beer, while possibly less complex, was more refreshing. Regardless of the temperature, it’s a little bit sharp for my tastes—but just a little. It’s possible that I am partial to Black Acre because they here my 'hood, yo—but they are making some pretty good beer (and more of it now that they’ve moved the brewery into larger digs).

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Deep Thoughts #147

If Melania Trump wants to end social media bullying, she should start by telling the ignorant liar she married to shut his fucking pie-hole.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

3. New Belgium - Citradelic Exotic Lime Ale

“A crisp, refreshing golden ale bursting with juicy Persian lime, freshly ground coriander and a hint of cracked black pepper.”

Aren’t we ambitious? I’m not too proud to say that the hint of cracked black pepper escaped me, but I did taste the lime and the coriander. “Crisp” in this case tasted more to me like “dry to the point of being bitter,” though not necessarily in an off-putting way. This one just didn’t work for me. (If I had two or three on a hot day while mowing the grass, that might be another story.)

Saturday, June 10, 2017

2. Three Floyds - Zombie Dust Pale Ale

“This intensely hopped and gushing undead pale ale will be one’s only respite after the zombie apocalypse. Created with our marvelous friends in the comic industry.”

I’ve never been bowled over by 3 Floyds, but as a collector I appreciate scarcity—so I was always going to covet Zombie Dust until I had the chance to try some. The “intensely hopped” part is entirely accurate, but it’s Citra hop, so there is less bitterness and the illusion of balance. That’s not balance, though; it’s the moderate alcohol (6.2%) kicking your ass. Entirely enjoyable, but I’m sorry 3 Floyds, I’m just not that into you. It’s me, not you. Okay? Can we still be friends?

1. Urban Artifact - Phrenology Wild Style IPA (Batch #5 March 2017)

“An IPA with the wild yeast Brettanomyces can be drank young or old.”

And then below the tagline is a timeline indicating that the beer will be hoppier right after it was brewed in March, becoming funkier as it gets older. March, of course, was three months ago, and there is, indeed, some of that funk beginning to develop. The foamy head lingers after the pour, and the first taste is all Brett, with a dry, hoppy finish. Oddly drinkable for a dry, high alcohol (7.3%) IPA.

Beer Run

So a few of us from the old juke joint went out to Big Lug Canteen a few weeks ago for the third stop on our local brewery tour, and we were joined by the lovely and beguiling Shane White, who has a whole blog devoted to his quest to quaff one thousand different malted grain and hops concoctions. We discussed the pros and cons of pouring into a mug versus drinking from the container, whether said mugs should be frosted or not, and the quality of the brews they’re tapping at Black Circle. Alas, Shane and I did not agree on much—except that Black Acre’s Cherry Ol’ Fritz is freaking awesome—but that’s okay, because lively debate is good for the soul. Plus, sharing one’s experiences with the metastasizing phenomenon that is craft beer can, I think, lead to only one thing—discovering and enjoying more fine craft beer.

Naturally, I decided to steal Shane’s idea, but with a couple of differences. (Those of you who remember Vanilla Ice explaining how the bass line in “Ice Ice Baby” differed from the bass line in “Under Pressure” because of a single one-eighth note will likely see where I am coming from with this argument.) I’m not shooting for a thousand, and I’m not making a whole new blog. See how different it is? So yeah, I’m stealing Shane’s idea. And I’m going to post pictures of beer I poured into frosted mugs.

Deep Thoughts #146

Does anyone happen to know the odds of randomly stumbling across a reference to the musical group Limbomaniacs while browsing the interwebs?