Tuesday, August 20, 2019

117. Collective Arts (Hamilton, Ontario, Canada) - Ransack the Universe

“Galaxy hops from Myrtleford, Victoria in Australia and Mosaic hops from Yakima, Washington, USA, deliver aromas and flavours of tropical fruits, mango and citrus. Light malt body lets the hops shine through, and finishes crisp but not bitter. A hemispheric hop mashup.”

Big fruit flavors up front, but I think it is somewhat bitter on the back end—especially after it warms up. I get a little bit of stone fruit to go with the tropical, and maybe a little bit of lemon after it really warms up.

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

116. Indiana City (Indianapolis, IN) - Hazy Tribute

“We kicked our classic Tribute APA up a notch by brewing it in the style of a Hazy Pale Ale—Double Dry Hopped solely with super dank Eureka hops for bright citrus aroma & a smooth finish.”

Very nice lemon and stone fruit notes up front, and just a hint of dank on the back end. More interesting than the original Tribute, but less so than the Craft Brew Doodle Crew offerings.

Sunday, August 04, 2019

115. Sun King (Indianapolis, IN) - Brewtron 9000

“Brewtron 9000, the Official Beer of Gen Con® 2019, is an anime-inspired Tart Golden Ale with hibiscus, citrus, and yuzu.”

I’m not big on golden ales, but I love sours. This one is a nice combination of the two—crisp and bubbly, and a little bit tart up front, but smooth and rounded on the back end. The fruit and the flower pair very well. Though not overcarbonated, it bubbled like soda when I poured it into the mug. I’ve never seen beer do that.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

114. Metazoa (Indianapolis, IN) - Black Mamba

“Hop-forward and bursting with citrus and tropical fruit. Smooth and balanced with touches of Munich carapils, caramel, and honey malts.”

A little more hoppy than fruity, and more tropical than citrus. Maybe a little bit of stone fruit, too. Collaboration with the Indianapolis Zoo for the new exhibit featuring black mamba snakes. Hope it sticks around, because this is the best thing I’ve tried from Metazoa.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

113. Deschutes (Bend, OR) - Fresh Haze

“A hazy twist on your main squeeze, this juice bomb explodes with orange citrus and a soft malt body.”

Exactly as advertised. That soft malt body rounds out the citrus flavor, which is often sharp in aggressively-hopped IPAs. It masks the alcohol (6.5%) a little bit, too—especially while it’s still cold.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Deschutes Brewing Comes to Indiana

You’ll be shocked to learn that I don’t think much of Facebook, but from time to time I find that it proves itself to be not entirely useless. The liquor store that I frequent in Irvington, Stoney’s Liquors, has a Facebook page of sorts, and I checked it last week to see if they would be open on the 4th; and while that information was not present at the time I checked, I did find myself scrolling down the page, because it seems as though they post from time to time about new beers that arrive in the store.

And one of those posts stopped me in my tracks. It mentioned that Deschutes Brewing, from Bend, Oregon, would soon be landing in Indiana for the first time—but not at Stoney’s until the 11th.

I immediately flashed back to our trip west last year. We flew to Seattle and then drove across large swaths of rural Washington and Montana until we arrived at Glacier National Park, where we spent a week and a half hiking in bear country.

Beer wasn’t top of my mind when we started this trip, but the hotel where we spent our first night, in Seattle, had beer in its little lobby store, and I got a couple of Washington brews. The next day, which was Father’s Day, we spent most of the day walking around Seattle, and stopped for a late lunch/early dinner at B’s Po Boys (since closed, I am sorry to report), which started out as a restaurant in Fountain Square here in Indianapolis, before decamping for Alki Beach in West Seattle. I never imagined that I would get to have their food again when they left Indianapolis, but there we were, eating po boys and sweet potato fries with remoulade, just like we had done so many times here. I also had another fine local beer, the Roasted Rye IPA from Reuben’s Brews.

At that point, I began to realize that Pacific Northwest craft beer had a lot to offer, and I began to look out for it. We passed through the narrow top part of Idaho on our way to Glacier, and I tried a session ale from Grand Teton Brewing. Our first night in Montana, we ate at a place called the Back Room, in Columbia Falls, Montana, on the recommendation of the lady at the front desk of the Western Inn and Campground (since renamed the Glacier Base Camp Lodge).

And that was where I had a Fresh Squeezed IPA from Deschutes Brewing, out of Bend, Oregon. I tried a lot of different beers, from a lot of different places, while we were in Montana, and that Fresh Squeezed was one of my favorites. I was beside myself when I learned that I would soon be able to get Deschutes beer right here in Indiana. (When I checked online after I got home, I found that none of the great beers I had in any of those three states—Washington, Idaho, or Montana—were available here [apart from a couple of offerings at Mackenzie River Pizza Company, which is a terrible restaurant]).

But I stopped at Stoney’s on my way home from the old juke joint tonight and picked up a six-pack of 12-ounce cans of Fresh Squeezed IPA. (Not only was the beer good out west, but it was also cheap. Even here the Fresh Squeezed was only $11.99.)

They weren’t cold, so I put a couple in the freezer as soon as I got home, and pulled one out an hour later and poured it into one of my frosted mugs.

I’ve had a lot of juicy IPAs in the year and change since we went to Montana, and Fresh Squeezed isn’t quite as good as I remember it being that night at the Back Room in Columbia Falls—but it’s still pretty good. Incredibly well-balanced between fruity hops and caramelly malt, with a lovely moderate alcohol (6.4%).

I think about Glacier National Park every day. It’s the best trip I’ve ever been on, and the best national park I’ve ever seen. The excellent beer was just the icing on the cake. After the picture of the beer are a couple of the pictures from Glacier. Walk…don’t run.

Lake Sherburne, near the Many Glacier entrance

Red Rocks Falls, on the Swiftcurrent Pass trail in Many Glacier

Saturday, July 06, 2019

112. Black Circle (Indianapolis, IN) - Carney Rye’d

Another one of my favorites at Black Circle, this rye IPA hasn’t made an appearance in some time, and this was Phillip’s first batch since taking over as head brewer. I was going to ask what he hopped it with, but he left before I had the chance. It tastes like Centennial to me, but I’m no expert. Bright and fruity up front, and nice and bitter on the back end. More bitter than I remember from the last time, but it’s been awhile. Not bitter in a bad way, though.

Thursday, July 04, 2019

111. 18th Street (Hammond, IN) - Rubicon

“Brewed with Centennial and Amarillo hops, this West Coast Style IPA comes in at 7.2% and is deliciously bitter and dank!”

There’s that word dank again, and this time with an explanation mark! But it works. The bitterness and the fruit both linger in pleasant ways. Not as straight-up “hoppy” as you might expect from a West Coast IPA. More interesting than Daredevil’s Lift Off or Sun King’s Osiris—though I sort of wish I had one of each to compare this one to.

One of the things I’m learning about beer as I try all these different styles is that the ones I really like let me know that they’re the ones I really like—by which I mean that I want to have another one right away. That is definitely the case with here, but it’s so romantic that I want to save at least one (and probably two) for when my wife finally gets back from fucking Myanmar. (“You most likely know it as Myanmar, but it will always be Burma to me.”)

Still…that leaves the fourth from the four-pack. You can see me running downstairs to put in the freezer now, can’t you? They’re that good. And they weren’t that pricey, either. $10.99 for a four pack of tallboys at the liquor store. (So I’m probably getting more next weekend.)

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

110. Black Acre (Indianapolis, IN) - Killer Robots

“American wheat ale with blackberry & ginger. Refreshingly brewed with sweet, ripe fruit and subtle spices.”

I find the ginger to be quite strong, and the blackberry to be subtle—but either way, this is a lovely brew. The flavors pair very nicely, and it’s surprisingly refreshing. Becomes decidely less refreshing and far more bitter as it warms up, so quaff this one while the mug is still frosty, yo.

109. Indiana City (Indianapolis, IN) - Monster Family Tree

“Our 14th Craft Brew Doodle Crew Series, a hazy double dry-hopped IPA with lactose and whirlpool additions of Centennial hops and featuring expert dry-hopping with Amarillo hops.”

Whew. You know, because I was afraid there might be some amateur hopping shit going on. Very quick hits of fruit and sugar up front, but the bitter back end comes on fast. Not in a bad way, though. It’s oddly compelling, I think because that stiff bitter finish is so different from the usual lingering sweetness of a hazy/milkshake/New England IPA. What lingers in place of that sweetness is grapefruit and tangerine. Very satisfying, and further evidence of my belief that Indiana City is doing the best beer in Indianapolis right now.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

108. Centerpoint (Indianapolis, IN) - Blood Orange

“Using Amarillo and Simcoe hops, with added Blood Orange fruit, gives this IPA a sweet and refreshing flavor with a touch of bitterness.”

The touch of bitterness is definitely there, and it’s too pronounced for something on the low end of the alcohol scale (5.2%). The orange flavor is bright and refreshing up front, but that bitter finish gives it something of an identity crisis. I want to put three or four of these in a bucket with ice and go mow the grass, but the bitterness makes me want to sit in a smoky bar and talk about poetry.

Not to be deterred, however, I decided to go out on the porch and try one in the fucking summer soup, along with a Red Apple. Because when your wife is in fucking Myanmar and your kid is spending the weekend at his friend’s house, you can go out on the porch for a Red Apple whenever you fucking want. It’s still pretty bitter on the back end, but about halfway through the second one, I didn’t care as much. And my wife is still in fucking Myanmar.