Wednesday, December 04, 2019

144. Metazoa Brewing Co. (Indianapolis, IN) - Cat Hops

“Some might call it catty, others captivating, but one thing’s for certain—Cat Hops IPA can capture your attention. Brewed from a mesmerizing clowder of Simcoe, Cascade, Centennial, and Columbus hops, Cat Hops carries a zesty aroma that’s likely to snuggle up on the tip of your nose and fall asleep there. Its notes of grapefruit, citrus, and caramel malt round out a crisp, dry body that’ll satisfy the senses more than an ounce of catnip and a laser pointer.”

Uh…all right. But don’t let the hyperbolic purple prose distract you too much. (I sort of did for a minute there.) This is a nicely balanced IPA with a strong bitter finish. Bright citrus up front and a very slight tropical sweetness that the bitter finish immediately obliterates. Not quite as good as Black Mamba, but still pretty good.

Sunday, December 01, 2019

143. Upland Brewing Co. (Bloomington, IN) - Juiced My Style

“Our Side Trail Series was born out of curiosity & a passion for innovation. This juicy Imperial IPA is audaciously hoppy dripping with bold tropical fruit, citrus, & pine with background notes hinting at dank & floral. Virtually all of the hops were reserved for after the boil to minimize bitterness, and amplify flavor & aroma. So, kick back, sip, & explore this juicy Imperial IPA.”

Needs a little time to warm up, or else all I get is tropical fruit up front and a little bit of bitter on the back end. Not as impressive as the other two Side Trail beers I’ve tried, but certainly not bad. Damning with faint praise again, perhaps. I start to get some of the citrus as it warms up, but not the dank so much. I’m still not entirely sure I know what that means.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

142. Heretic Brewing Company (Fairfield, CA) - You Can’t Handle the Juice

“Yeah, we know you’re tough. We get it. You can handle yourself. You do what most ordinary people don’t do; You seek out and support great craft beer each and every day. Big beers. Small beers. Crazy beers. Classic beers. Hazy beers. Nice. You have a passion and we really do appreciate that. But even so, plenty of extreme people still can’t handle the juice.”

Big, juicy stone fruit up front, followed by the powerful sharpness of the high alcohol (8.5%). Maybe a bit of pineapple in there, too. A little too big and sweet for me, but not bad. Reminds me of Evil Czech’s Nefarious Harbor.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

141. Black Circle (Indianapolis, IN) - Rusty 49

No description, but lots of tropical fruit up front, and a crisp, clean finish. Some stone fruit and citrus as it warms up, I think. I thought this was a one-off for Rusty Redenbacher’s birthday, but then a second keg popped up last week. Lower alcohol (5.6%) than most Black Circle IPAs, but definitely one of Phillip’s best efforts yet.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

140. Black Circle (Indianapolis, IN) - Jaycee Cones

This is a solid Citra IPA that was one of my favorites at Black Circle when Dan was brewing. Phillip has only made a couple of batches since he took over, and the first one subbed Amarillo for Citra and wasn’t quite as good. They’re back to Citra with this batch, and it’s very good. Phillip’s batches of Dan’s recipes tend to be a touch more bitter, but are still very good. Nice blend of tropical and citrus, and there’s something dank in there, too. Not the same as Dan’s, but maybe more interesting; and the flavors get bigger the more it warms up.

Thursday, November 07, 2019

139. Taxman Brewing Co. (Bargersville, IN) - Hop Audit: Lemondrop

“Hop Audit explores the endless combinations of boutique hops and saison yeast. The super-Cascadian hop known as Lemondrop features a uniquely expressive citrus and fruity notes. When paired with the complex, peppery esters of farmhouse yeast, this combination is one you won’t want to miss. It’s time to Hop Audit!”

Jumping the shark again, I have to say that I’m not sure we need exclamation points in beer descriptions. But getting to the beer itself, it’s got a nice, light citrus flavor up front. Not much else going on, but I get the idea that I need to let this one warm up. It gets a little funkier when it warms up, but not all that much. Not bad, but it doesn’t do much for me.

Sunday, November 03, 2019

138. Heretic Brewing Company (Fairfield, CA) - Evil Cousin

“Almost everybody has their favorite cousin. Ours is a resiny citrus and pine joy with an easy drinking malt character. We love hanging out with our cousin at the beach, camping, hiking and every holiday party. Why not welcome our cousin to your next family gathering?”

Surprisingly easy to drink for such a big beer (8.0%), with lingering citrus and a bitter finish. There’s some tropical fruit swimming around in there, too. Usually I get the tropical when it’s cold and the citrus when it starts to warm up, but that seems to be reversed in this case. Interesting, but not quite as interesting as the last two.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

137. Indiana City (Indianapolis, IN) - Scary Stuffed Animals

“Our 18th Craft Brew Doodle Crew DDH Hazy IPA features whirlpool and double dry hop additions of the brand new tropical juice bomb Sultana hop accented with Meridian and Amarillo.”

Nice crisp finish, with subtle fruit up front. The wide world of the interwebs tells me that Meridian hops bear flavors of lemon, mixed berries, and tropical fruit. Don’t think I recall “mixed berries” as a flavor note in anything I’ve encountered so far, but I do get hints of it. Sultana apparently features pineapple, pine, and citrus. I still have a hell of a time locating pineapple (or else it’s just so generically “tropical” that when I taste tropical fruit, I’m really tasting pineapple), and I don’t get much pine, either—but that might be hitting me on the back end with that slightly bitter finish. The lemon comes out more as the beer warms up, and it seems like there’s less lactose in this one than in the some of the others in the series. Another very interesting beer—I seem to be on a roll.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

136. SweetWater Brewing (Atlanta, GA) - 420 Strain G13

“This aromatic super-hybrid sticky IPA is first and foremost a phenomenally delicious and drinkable beer, with the added bonus of an olfactory experience that mimics that of the legendary G13 cannabis strain. The IPA base brew has a great body, good head and nice amount of haze at a pleasurable 6% ABV. To work with the malt bill, the brewers added some of their dankest hops, Columbus and Simcoe, plus two dry hop additions. To achieve the aroma, our brewers found the perfectly botanically-sourced, strain specific terpenes and married them with proprietary natural hemp flavor, both perfectly complementing the hops in the IPA.”

So, pot beer. I guess. Crisp and fruity up front, and then a slightly bitter finish with a hint of lemon. I don’t know what hemp is supposed to taste like, so that may be there and I just don’t know it. It doesn’t taste like pot—or at least it doesn’t taste like pot smells when you’re smoking it. I’m not sure that would be a good flavor for beer. The citrus is more pronounced on the second one, when the mug is slightly warmer. The finish is less bitter as it warms up, too. I like to read big, 1000-page novels sometimes for no other reason than that they are long and difficult; sometimes I like fiction to be challenging. I also like the flavors in beer to be complicated and challenging, and this one has a lot going on—some flavors are more prevalent when it’s really cold, and others stand out as the beer warms up. This is the most interesting beer I’ve tried in quite awhile.

Friday, October 25, 2019

135. New Belgium (Fort Collins, CO) - Voodoo Ranger Hop Avenger

“With it’s (sic) juicy tropical aromas and light sweetness, Hop Avenger IPA packs a powerful pineapple punch!”

Tried this a couple of weeks ago while we were on our little trip to southern Indiana, and didn’t care for it much; but this time around is much better. That light sweetness is much more apparent up front now, and it pairs nicely with the tropical flavor. I remember it being much sharper before, but this one is very smooth. Not sure if that’s because I poured this one into the mug and drank the other one out of the can or not, but hey—I’m still learning.