Tuesday, December 31, 2019

161. Triton Brewing Company (Indianapolis, IN) - The Hempire Strykes Back

“Feel the fearsome power of this Hemp IPA brewed in honor of GenCon. This “juicy” IPA is crisp, clean and approachable for the hophead and non-hophead alike! Featuring Falconer’s Flight, Summit, Liberty, and Citra hops. This IPA is also infused with hemp flour from Sipp Industries!”

I still don’t know what the hell hemp is supposed to taste like, but this one opens up with a big burst of pineapple, and finishes very smoothly. I get a little bit of citrus as it warms up. Oddly refreshing for an IPA, and easily the best thing I’ve tried from Triton so far.

160. BrewDog (Columbus, OH) - Jack Hammer

“Get ready to hammer it. Press the button. Take the ride. Hop overload awaits. Kick-start with massive grapefruit aroma. Then accelerate hard into mind bending bitterness. Ride the spike of caramel craziness until the end of the line. And let the bitterest of bitter finishes nail your taste-buds to the floor. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.”

This beer gives me heartburn. It’s just as aggressive as the hyperbole indicates. Remember the caricature of Hemingway in Midnight in Paris? This is the beer equivalent of that character.

159. Bad Dad Brewing Co. (Fairmount, IN) - Tapestry of Obscenity

“Hops so smooth and citrusy, you won’t bleeping believe it.”

Oh, but I do believe it. I also believe that there is more tropical flavor going on here than citrus flavor. I could be wrong, though. It has yet to warm up much, and this is the last one I have. The world may never know. I do know that there is a good amount of sludge that comes out of the can at the end—sort of like the grounds at the bottom of a badly filtered cup of coffee. There is a bit of lemon going on there, but I still think it’s mostly tropical.

158. Quaff ON! Brewing Co. (Nashville, IN) - Peanut Butter Busted Knuckle

“Our flagship Busted Knuckle infused with peanut butter.”

Damn. Best thing I’ve had on this trip, and it ain’t close. Strong peanut butter notes up front, and a lingering chocolate bitterness. Had this at Big Woods in Bloomington (third of three, so I was a bit altered at the time), and told Amy, mostly joking, that it was like making sweet, sweet love to a Reese’s Cup. The moderate alcohol (7.2%) balances the sweetness and makes this—easily—the most complex and interesting porter I’ve ever had.

157. Dogfish Head (Milton, DE) - Flesh & Blood

“Brewed with mouth-puckering lemon flesh, sweet orange peel and blood orange juice, Flesh & Blood balances the resinous hoppy characteristics of an American IPA with the explosive zesty fruitiness and subtle drying tartness of citrus to deliver a highly quaffable ale that’s incredibly unique and lovely to down the whole year round.”

Had this one at Big Woods in Bloomington because most of the things I saw on the menu and wanted to try were sold out. I may not have been in the best of moods when I drank it, and might have disliked it disproportionately for that reason. That said, the orange flavor is very mild. If they’re really going for balance, they nailed it. If they’re going for something with the bright, strong essence of orange—not so much.

156. Quaff ON! Brewing Co. (Nashville, IN) - Hu Dang

“Hu Dang Hazy IPA is a New-England style India pale ale brewed with our house strain of yeast, offering a creamy mouthfeel & flavors of mango, nectarine, and citrus.”

Very drinkable, relatively low-alcohol NEIPA. Not the best example of the style, but not at all bad.

155. Bloomington Brewing Co. (Bloomington, IN) - Java Porter

“We’ve been brewing this beer as our cold weather seasonal for nearly the entire 20 year history of BBC. Always looking for slight improvements in flavor, this year we decided to tweak the formula a bit. We upped the amount of coffee, and where in the past we’ve added the coffee directly into the boil, this time we cold-brewed it and added the liquid during fermentation. This technique has given us beautiful coffee notes without the attendant tannic bitterness this beer sometimes had. The coffee beans were Brazilian, 20% dark and 80% medium roasted. Two big thumbs up to our coffee roasters, Nick and Audrey Schultz of Brown County Coffee.”

Big coffee notes up front, and the drinkable finish of a solid porter. Second really good dark beer I’ve had on this trip. Even Amy thought it tasted good.

154. Bloomington Brewing Co. (Bloomington, IN) - Rooftop

“Golden with a smooth mouthfeel. Dry hopped with Cascade. Malt undertones balance this hop bomb before its long, bold and bitter finale.”

Not as dramatic as the description claims, but not bad.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

153. Function Brewing (Bloomington, IN) - Oval

“Pale Ale brewed with Eukanot, Michigan Copper, and Mosaic hops.”

Also unremarkable. Neither this nor Diameter were bad, though.

152. Function Brewing (Bloomington, IN) - Tangent

No description that I can find, but it had a strong bitter finish that was a little bit off-putting at first, but became more and more interesting as it warmed up.

151. Function Brewing (Bloomington, IN) - Diameter

“NEIPA with Citra and Idaho 7 hops.”

Should be right up my alley with the New England style and the Citra, but I found it unremarkable.

Monday, December 23, 2019

150. Quaff ON! Brewing Co. (Nashville, IN) - Common Necessity

“A silky smooth sweet stout brewed with hazelnut and coffee.”

And, in this particular case, at the original Big Woods in Nashville, carbonated with nitrogen. Very low carbonation, and very strong hazelnut and lactose presence. A little too sweet for me, possibly somewhat obscuring the hazelnut and chocolate flavors—but the creamy nitro texture more than makes up for that.

149. Quaff ON! Brewing Co. (Nashville, IN) - Blood Orange Yellow Dwarf

“Yellow Dwarf infused with blood oranges for added citrus flavor.”

Very drinkable and very refreshing. The orange flavor is strong, but not overwhelming—but I didn’t squeeze the slice of orange into the beer, so maybe I was missing out.

148. The Tap (Bloomington, IN) - Hull-n-Oats

“Medium-full bodied, deep gold and cloudy pale ale, triple dry hopped with Mosaic giving big pineapple and passionfruit notes and soft mouthfeel.”

This one was also very lightly flavored, but also not bad. A little more hop flavor going on here than with Bionic Dragon.

147. The Tap (Bloomington, IN) - Bionic Dragon

“Traditional American IPA packed with Waimea and Mosaic hops giving a tropical, citrus and floral aroma and flavor with assertive bitterness.”

I didn’t find this bitter at all, but I also didn’t find it to be terribly flavorful.

Drinking My Juice in the Hood, Yo

So we took another trip down to south central Indiana this past weekend, but it was too soggy to do much in the way of hiking. We wound up spending most of our time walking around Bloomington and having drinks at local breweries. Over the course of three days, we stopped in at the Tap in Bloomington, Big Woods in Nashville and in Bloomington, Lennie’s (Bloomington Brewing Co.), and Function Brewing in Bloomington. We ate at the Tap and the Big Woods in Nashville, but the food was just okay—except for the pulled pork sandwich Amy had at Big Woods, which was excellent. I didn’t get pictures of the two beers from the Tap, and I didn’t write down notes at the time I was drinking the beers, so the posts that follow may be a bit thin.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

146. Cigar City Brewing (Tampa, FL) - Jai Alai

“The merry game of jai alai provides inspiration for this citrus-forward India Pale Ale with notes of clementine, orange peel and caramel malt creating an IPA that’s both bold and approachable.”

Pleasantly bitter finish, but the orange flavor is very strong. This is the second time I’ve tried this beer, and I keep going back and forth on it. Sometimes I really dig that bitter finish after the big orange hit up front; and other times it’s like a boozy Creamsicle, but not in a good way. Loses some of that initial sweetness as it warms up.

Deep Thoughts #184

How is Lindsey Graham still able to perform the basic functions of speech when he spends so much time with Donald Trump’s dick in his mouth?

Deep Thoughts #183

Um, Lindsey? The American people chose Hillary. We got stuck with Donald Trump because of the Electoral College, not the will of the people.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

145. 18th Street (Hammond, IN) - Sex and Candy

“The enticing smell of Chinook and Cascade hops waft forth from this IPA, benefiting both you and your special friend. Fruity, and faintly sweet Sex and Candy is simply a dream.”

The first one I tried last night, out of the can, was more than faintly sweet. This one, out of the mug, is much better. The sweetness was caramel and malt last night, but now it’s more like a ripe peach. Chinook and Cascade both advertise grapefruit, but I’m not getting much of that. I was disappointed in the one last night, but this one is pretty good.

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.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

134. Dogfish Head (Milton, DE) - Liquid Truth Serum

“An unfiltered IPA that’s bursting with ALL the hops, Liquid Truth Serum is brewed using a unique process that incorporates four different states of hops: whole leaf, liquefied, pelletized and powdered. The result is a blissfully inefficient IPA full of citrusy and tropical notes, that’s truthfully hoppy without being deceptively bitter…honest.”

Very tropical up front, with just a touch of dry on the back end. I’m hoping the citrus will come out as it warms up. After that initial tropical hit, I get a bit of strone fruit, but not citrus. This is going to sound strange, but here goes: this is a very good beer, but I’m not sure I like it.

133. Windmill Brewing (Dyer, IN) - Two if by Citra

“This beer is all Citra hop aroma and flavor with very little bitterness. It’s sure to please fans of the style, make some new converts, and continue to anger those who don’t think hazy IPAs should be a ‘thing’.”

Can’t really argue with the description—it’s very hazy and very Citra-y—but it doesn’t do much for me. The tropical flavor does linger nicely, though.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

132. Terre Haute Brewing Company (Terre Haute, IN) - Powerline

“Powerline—Warning: Sparks fly when you sip THBC Powerline New England-style IPA. An electrifying mix of Citra, Mosaic, and Calypso as late addition and dry hop. Shock your senses with pineapple, mango, and piney hop character. Hazed to perfection with flaked oats, and balanced with Golden Promise malt to amp-up the flavor.”

If I’m commenting more on the writing than on the beer, then I’ve jumped the shark, haven’t I? I like when people use the Oxford comma, though. It demonstrates an attention to detail that I value. Hyperbole? Not so much. But hey…maybe they just really like their beer. There is a nice combination of tropical and piney hop notes, and a strong bitter finish that provides an odd balance to the fruity hops. And I feel like it opens up a little bit when it gets warm, but I might be wrong. It’s 8.0%, and I’m near the end of my third, so I might be the wrong guy to ask.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

131. ZwanzigZ Brewing (Columbus, IN) - Triple Z

“Our India Pale Ale is assertively hopped with Cascade, Columbus and Centennial hops, creating a perfect balance with the pale malt character of this fine American IPA.”

It’s a little bit too malty for me, and I’m not really getting the hops; but it’s not bad. Tastes a little bit like metal straight out of the bottle, but it’s just fine once it’s poured into a glass. (Which sounds like damning with faint praise because it is.)

130. Heavy Seas Beer (Baltimore, MD) - TropiCannon

“TropiCannon, the unbound wanderer with a sense of adventure. A refreshingly fruity, citrusy twist on an American IPA. Its bold citrus flavor will set you adrift in a tropical paradise.”

Not a milkshake IPA, but it has the heavy, forward fruit flavor of one. It’s almost like drinking a glass of sparkling Sunny Delight, but it has enough of a bitter finish to disabuse you of that notion pretty quickly. It also sort of tastes like one of those sweet, fruity medicines you liked having to take as a kid because they tasted good. And if all of that sounds like an odd way to describe beer, well…I guess it’s because this is an odd beer. Not bad. Just different.

Sunday, October 06, 2019

129. Deschutes (Bend, OR) - Only Slightly Exaggerated

“Wild skies. Whimsical waters. Paradise found. Impossibly aromatic with a slightly exaggerated tropical hop profile, this enchanting IPA is, like Oregon itself, truly extraordinary.”

Strong stone fruit flavor up front, with a crisp, dry finish. I’m not sure the hyperbole in the description is warranted, but it is a fine beer. Maybe the best thing I’ve tried from Deschutes so far.

Saturday, October 05, 2019

128. 18th Street (Hammond, IN) - Cone Crusher

“Bursting with an overwhelming amounts of citrusy Amarillo hops, Cone Crusher showcases tropical fruit overtones of orange and mango, while being backed by a pleasing earthiness to make for a crushable beer.”

Well…okay. I’ll give the bad writing a pass, because this a very romantic beer. Those fruit flavors are soft and sweet up front, and I get maybe a little bit of grass, too. Or else I’m just grasping for the “earthiness” they describe. I don’t know what “crushable” means, but a quick Google search tells me that, as it pertains to beer, “crushable” means “easygoing, super-drinkable beer” that is “well-balanced…with low-to-medium alcohol…but tons of flavor that make you want to go back for more again and again.” At 8.6%, this is way too big for me to want to back again and again, but the first one is very fine. Still pretty sweet on the back end, and the alcohol lingers. Drink a couple of these with someone you love…

Wednesday, October 02, 2019

127. Upland (Bloomington, IN) - Juicy Harvest

“Each year, we pick local hops fresh off the bine to brew in small batches within 24 hours of harvest. This season, to celebrate our love of local farmers, we’ve partnered with our friends at Growing Places Indy to support their efforts to grow community wellness through urban agriculture. So, kick back, sip, & join us in celebrating the fruits of nature with this juicy wet-hopped IPA made with Indiana-grown hops boasting fragrant notes of citrus & pine.”

Whew. That’s a mouthful. But now I’m starting to rethink what it means for a beer to be “juicy.” I usually associate that word with sweet-ish beers, moderate alcohol, and lactose—none of which are present here. Instead, we have a beer that is crisp and dry up front, and then expands with wave after wave of fruit flavor on the back end. I get lemon, peach, and melon, and that’s just on the first beer in a cold mug. The second one didn’t open up all that much, but I got a hint of pineapple. This one isn’t on their website yet, but I’m loving this Side Trail Series.

Deep Thoughts #182

If you don’t get why McConnell is bad, then you’re not going to get why a classical guitar version of “Echoes” is fucking awesome. You lose.

Monday, September 30, 2019

126. Central State (Indianapolis, IN) - Nice Pair of Slacks

“This sharp looking beer is brewed to be as dry and hop-forward as possible. From the effervescent carbonation to the low residual sugar, this beer is designed to showcase the copious amounts of Hallertauer Blanc & Mosaic hops used to produce it.”

Bright and crisp up front, with very light melon and stone fruit flavors. Unusually big (8.0%) for something so smooth and refreshing. I don’t get the pleasant funky taste I usually get from Central State, but I can’t tell whether that’s on purpose or not. They’re using a different yeast here, which might not contain the Brettanomyces yeast they usually employ. Either way, it’s a great beer.

Friday, September 27, 2019

125. Bier (Indianapolis, IN) - Lil’ Wiz

“This batch, Lil’ Wiz, is a triple dry hopped American Pale Ale. Simcoe, Citra, and Eureka hops are just a few of the hop varieties that make up the layers of flavor that provide a unique depth to this bier. A clean, clear, and traditional style American Pale Ale.”

I was expecting something a little more intense from a brew billed as “triple dry hopped.” Nice Citra up front, and dry, piney goodness on the back end. Not bad, just nothing to write home about. I have yet to find the offering from Bier that makes me sit up and take notice.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Deep Thoughts #181

It’s almost hard to believe this blathering monkey is the same guy who projected the calm voice of reason after “some people did something.”

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

124. Indiana City (Indianapolis, IN) - Gojira Siren Clash

“The next installment in our Craft Brew Doodle Crew series, Gojira Siren Clash is a Double Dry-Hopped IPA clocking in at 7.5% ABV. This beautifully hazy beer was brewed with Idaho Gem, Dr. Rudi, Mosaic and Eureka hops.”

Like many of the beers in this series, Gojira Siren Clash starts off with a creamy, low-carbonated mouthfeel that screams milkshake. Then it moves into a sort of turf war between fruit and pine, with a slightly bitter finish that benefits from the balance imbued by the lactose.

123. Toppling Goliath (Decorah, IA) - Pompeii

“This IPA is created with the same attention to detail as the beautiful mosaics that graced the walls of prominent buildings in the city of Pompeii. It features mango and pineapple hop flavors with a medium-body feel to tantalize the senses.”

Mango and pineapple are subtler than citrus and stone fruit, at least to me. They are, however, tropical; and tropical was the first word that came to mind when I tasted this beer. So, nice tropical notes up front, leading quickly to a sharp—but not bitter—hop finish. Surprisingly refreshing for a relatively big (6.2%), flavorful beer. For some reason, I only wrote one sentence about Pseudo Sue, the other Toppling Goliath brew I’ve tried; but I remember liking it. And I really like Pompeii.

Sunday, September 08, 2019

122. Avery (Boulder, CO)* - Avery IPA

“A Colorado IPA with crisp, juicy, and resinous hops and a rich, malty finish.”

Very bright citrus up front, and a very bitter finish. Might be a little too crisp to be juicy, and I don’t know about you, but resinous makes me think of pine; and I don’t get any pine here at all. However, I want to do my due diligence, so I’ll have another one, and see if the flavors change at all after the mug has warmed up. Nope…still no pine. Very drinkable, though.

(Note: I just read a book about Goose Island selling out to AB InBev, and most of me wants to avoid the craft- and micro-breweries that sell themselves to Big Beer; but I also get that it’s a complex issue, and the market is too (ahem) fluid to be 100% up-to-date at all times. I’m sure as hell not going to do any research while I’m standing in the beer aisle, or in front of an open cooler. So I may, from time to time, wind up drinking and blogging about a beer that is no longer, technically, “craft beer,” since I was not aware of its assimilation at the time of purchase. But I will look into it while drinking the first one, and if they have been absorbed by Big Beer, I will avoid them in future.)

*Avery sold a 70% stake in their company to Mahou-San Miguel Group in 2017.

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

121. Centerpoint (Indianapolis, IN) - Duality

“Duality is our newest DIPA, brewed with a combination of Amarillo, Centennial, and Loral hops in hefty boil and dry-hop additions! Expect a bitter beer, with minimal alcoholic warmth.”

Yes, they do in fact describe the beer (at least on Untappd, because at the moment their current lineup feed isn’t populating on their website) as having minimal alcoholic warmth, despite the fact that it clocks in at 8.3%. And I would call it dry, rather than bittter; but let us not pick at nits. This is a very balanced beer, with strong orange notes and lots of malt, which gives it an almost—almost—sweet back end that opens up very nicely as it warms. Way too boozy to drink more than one or two of, but the flavor profile is excelllent. Would that there were a session version…

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

120. Books & Brews - Nancy

“Nancy is the perfect brew for the hop-head looking for a ton of tropical flavor - mango, passion fruit, and papaya. We used a little bit of a stronger malt backbone on this brew than you’d normally see in a Pale Ale in order to hold up to the massive dry-hopping additions.”

This is the first time I’ve seen something from Books & Brews out in the wild in something other than a bomber, and I was eager to try it, both because I’ve never had anything from Books & Brews and because I love Citra hops. Alas, that stronger malt backbone takes away some of the Citra joy and delivers a slightly bitter finish. Not bad, but a little disappointing.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

119. Indiana City (Indianapolis, IN) - Undersea DMV

“This double dry hopped hazy IPA with lactose is the 16th release in the Craft Brew Doodle Crew series and features artwork inked by @invisible_hometown and colored by @ronlewthorn. The beer features whirlpool additions of Australian Summer hops and dry hop charges of both Comet and Amarillo.”

I’ve never heard of Australian Summer hops, but they supposedly deliver a nice “apricot and melon bouquet.” It has a soft fruit feel up front, and a boozy, dry back end. It also has a beautiful haze in the glass, and a sweet lactose mouthfeel. Not the best of the series, but damn. Indiana City. You know?

118. Upland (Bloomington, IN) - Coastbuster

“Welcome back to the beginning. Coastbuster Imperial IPA launched our Side Trail Series in 2014. Testing the boundaries of space and place, we created a traditional West Coast Style IPA right here in the Midwest. It quickly deveoped a loyal following with its tropical, fruity, and floral notes along with a crisp, bitter (but not too bitter) finish. So, whether it’s for the first time or you’re welcoming back an old friend, kick back, relax, and enjoy our coast busting crew.”

Big notes of pineapple and stone fruit up front, and I think their description of the finish—crisp, bitter (but not too bitter)—is bang on. Becomes even more fragrant as it warms up, and I might be crazy, but I thought I detected a hint of licorice in there.

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.)