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.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

107. Taxman (Bargersville, IN) - Peach Tangerine Golden Parachute

“Reap the benefits of being fully vested with Peach Tangerine Golden Parachute. This robust golden ale, fermented with Brettanomyces, required months of aging in barrels in order to develop striking funky aromas of grape must and berries, balanced by the sweet tang of tangerine and peach. One sip and you’ll feel rich.”

Pleasantly funky and fruity, with a nice, dry, Brett finish. Tastes stronger to me than the 6.2% ABV they advertise, which sharpens it up a little bit. Naturally, I feel as though I should try a second one, to see if my doubts hold up. Alas, they do. Still sour, funky, and sharp, in ways that I usually find pleasant, but here do not.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Deep Thoughts #180

LaVar Ball definitely behaves like the most ridiculous human being alive; but in a world that contains Mitch McConnell, he ain’t even close.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

106. 3 Floyds (Munster, IN) - Alpha King

“A bold yet balanced American Pale Ale with slight caramel sweetness and aggressive citrus hoppiness. This is our flagship beer.”

I used to be completely against drinking beer out of a can, preferring draft or bottles; but canning technology has changed since the mid-90s, and Sun King came along ten years ago and embraced that technology. I took a tour of the Sun King facility downtown, a year or so ago, and one of the things I learned that stuck with me is that hoppy beer—and that’s the vast majority of craft beers these days—degrades at an alarming rate if it’s bottled and not kept cold. It’s to the point now that I won’t even look at pale ales in bottles unless they’re in the cooler at the liquor store. (And that means no bottled pale ales from the grocery store, because Indiana.)

3 Floyds has always distributed their beer in bottles, and since that Sun King tour, that has been one of the main reasons I haven’t tried much from 3 Floyds (other than that six-pack of Zombie Dust, back when Zombie Dust was hard to come by). But as Bob Dylan sings, things have changed. 3 Floyds is now distributing some of their mainline beers in cans, including this flagship American Pale Ale, Alpha King, in tallboys.

I don’t remember what I thought of it when I had it in a bottle, but out of a can, this beer is a lovely experience. The caramel sweetness is more aggressive up front than the citrus hoppiness, but there’s a smooth citrus flavor on the back end. This becomes more pronounced as it warms up. I also get sort of a floral hit there at the end. This is a nice beer to linger over, and it sort of makes me remember the old days at Nicky Blaine’s, when it was located in the basement of the King Cole building, before it moved across the street to the basement of the Guaranty Building and took on a hip-hop-geisha motif that almost entirely betrays the Rat Pack stylings of the original concept.

Monday, June 17, 2019

105. Sun King (Indianapolis, IN) - Highway Queen

“Highway Queen is a Sour Ale aged over French oak with raspberries, cherries, and zinfandel grapes. The beer is part of our tenth anniversary collaboration four pack—10-4 Good Buddy—and was brewed with our friends at Cigar City.”

Nice and fruity, with a crisp tannin finish, but not aggressively sour. The sourness mellows out when it warms up a bit, and that fruity flavor becomes nice, ripe, rich fruit. Probably the most interesting of this Sun King anniversary four-pack.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

104. Sun King (Indianapolis, IN) - Maximum Overdrive

“Maximum Overdrive is a Baltic Porter made with an international mix of hops, malts, and yeasts. The beer is part of our tenth anniversary collaboration four-pack—10-4 Good Buddy—and was brewed with our friends at 3 Floyds.”

I’m not big on porters, but this one isn’t heavy or offensive. Nice and crisp, with a dry, but not bitter, finish. It gets a little heavier when it warms up, but still not bad.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

103. Sun King (Indianapolis, IN) - Collabergé

“Collabergé is an Imperial Brut IPA with a full managerie (sic) of hop flavor and a dry finish. The beer is part of our tenth anniversary collaboration four pack—10-4 Good Buddy—and was brewed with our friends at Austin Beerworks.”

Very dry finish, but a nice, almost sweet tropical flavor up front. A little too big (8.5%) and bitter to be refreshing, but lovely to come home after a 16,000-step day at the old juke joint.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Deep Thoughts #179

When a frat boy working for the Colts calls with advertising I know the home office won’t buy, that makes we want to not root for the Colts.

102. Sun King (Indianapolis, IN) - Hoppiness Jones

“Hoppiness Jones is an IPA aged in both Pinot Noir and Tequila barrels with hibiscus. The beer is part of our tenth anniversary collaboration four pack—10-4 Good Buddy—and was brewed with our friends at Rhinegeist.”

The wine and the tequila play nicely off of each other up front, but it’s very bitter on the back end. It’s an interesting mix of flavors, but that lingering bitterness keeps it sitting in the interesting section, trying to see around the beers in front of it in the enjoyable section.

Sunday, June 09, 2019

101. Taxman (Bargersville, IN) - Deduction

“Take a Deduction, our abbey-style dubbel. This effervescent ale showcases malty sweetness with rich notes of raisin and fig. Although dark in color, this approachable dubbel features a light and dry body, accented by caramelized candi sugar.”

Raisins and figs are two more fruits I’ve never encountered in beer descriptions, and “candi sugar” calls to mind the sort of bimbo that Dan Fielding might hook up with one night after court. Not really my thing, but the dry finish helps to mitigate the off-putting upfront sweetness. I was afraid I might have trouble choking one of these down after I had the first sip, but it was surprisingly smooth; the glass was empty was sooner than I thought it would be.

Thursday, June 06, 2019

100. Cerveceria Hondureña (San Pedro Sula, Cortés, Honduras) - Salva Vida

“Salva Vida is an American-type lager with a crisp, refreshing and balanced taste—not too sweet, not too bitter—that can be enjoyed by everyone.”

I didn’t do any kind of research into beer while we were in Honduras at the end of March, but I did find out that hanging out at the local Texaco gas station is sort of a hip thing to do, in a little town called Catacamas. Inside the Texaco is a sort of restaurant where you can get chicken wings, pizza, and sandwiches. You can also get cold beer out of the cooler—but you can’t drink it inside the Texaco station, or in the “dining room” at the back. You have to go outside. You can drink wine inside, which my wife and a couple of other people did. Those of us drinking beer had to go outside and sit on a picnic table. And while that was sort of punk ass, I did wind up thinking that it was kind of cool that I was chilling with some people and drinking a beer in Honduras.

Salva Vida lager seems to be the default “national” beer of Honduras. It is an unassuming caramelly lager that is crisp and smooth and goes down pretty easily. Not as good as the Gallo beer I had in Guatemala—but then again, nothing about the trip to Honduras was as good as the two trips we took to Guatemala. This is certainly not the best of the 100 beers I have so far blogged about, but it’s definitely a unique one for the 100th post.

99. Taxman (Bargersville, IN) - Hop Audit: Cashmere

“Hop Audit explores the endless combinations of boutique hops and Belgian yeast. This release incorporates Cashmere hops, bestowing intense lime, lemon and mango hop notes, which are elevated by the soft malt bill and complex, peppery esters of farmhouse yeast. It’s time to Hop Audit!”

A little bit fruity, and a little bit funky. Crisp and refreshing, and not at all bitter.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

98. Indiana City (Indianapolis, IN) - Fishoid Family

“The 13th DDH IPA in our Craft Brew Doodle Crew series, this hazy IPA was brewed with Callista and Cascade hops, with a final round of Barbe Rouge hop addition near the end of the fermentation.”

Oh Indiana City…how much do I love thee? This is an excellent milkshake IPA, super hazy and a little bit sweet, with nice tropical and stone fruit notes and a moderate alcohol (7.5%) that sneaks up on you. And then some citrus when it warms up a bit. Get thee to a nunnery!

Sunday, May 19, 2019

97. Dogfish Head (Milton, DE) - 120 Minute IPA

“Clocking in at 15-20% ABV, 120 Minute IPA is continuously hopped with a copious amount of high-alpha American hops throughout the boil and whirlpool, and then dry-hopped with another pallet of hops. Unfiltered and abundantly hoppy, it’s the Holy Grail for hopheads!”

I never would have noticed this if Shane hadn’t blogged about it. I drank this one by itself, and I suppose it was nice to try; but the super-high alcohol (15-20%) gives it a syrupy feel and lands it in hybrid territory, an unincorporated community between beer and liqueur. I suppose those are hops I’m tasting, but if you dropped an Alka-Seltzer in a glass of brandy, I’m not sure I could tell that apart from this. Which possibly makes me uncultured, but so be it. Didn’t enjoy this one so much as I finished it because I could not quite bear the thought of pouring a $10 beer down the drain.

96. Indiana City (Indianapolis, IN) - Grungeist, Yo! Hazy Pale Ale

“Grungeist hops lend intense peachy, passionfruit hop character with hints of lemon and floral notes.”

More light and refreshing than intense, I think. Certainly not bad, but not exciting, either.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

95. Heretic (Fairfield, CA) - Juicier Than Thou

“This is a juicy IPA with mango. We helped make America a little more juicy with our Make America Juicy Again, but some “juiceheads” just can’t get enough. So now we’re making things even more juicy. We’ve upped our game by adding delicious mango and a bit of creamy lactose. This beer is full of juicy hops and juicy tropical fruit. And it could be so juicy, it is juicier than thou.”

The lactose smooths things out and really lets the fruit come through. Refreshing and dry, but not bitter, with some nice citrus on the back end. Loved it.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Nude Beach Beer Run

I am recently returned from a short trip to Big Sur, California, where we attended a memorial celebration for my late uncle. It was a very California send-off for a very California kind of guy who left us far too soon and will be deeply missed. In fact, it was so California a celebration that we illegally scattered his ashes at a beach that could potentially have contained nude bathers. And—of course—there was beer.

90. Firestone Walker (Paso Robles, CA) - Union Jack IPA

“This aggressively hopped West Coast IPA showcases stunning pineapple, citrus and piney aromas along with exceptional dry hop flavors of grapefruit and tangerine. This intense brew finds its balance in honey-like pale malt sweetness. The name Union Jack is a nod to the colonial origins of the IPA style, and to the British expatriate who co-founded our brewery.”

According to the website, there are nine different kinds of hops in this beer. I got more of a tropical flavor than citrus or pine. Had two of these at the restaurant inside the Big Sur Lodge, so could not investigate further; but if I see this one out in the wild here in flyover country, I’m all over it. (I believe I may have mixed my tenses there.)

91. North Coast (Fort Bragg, CA) - Scrimshaw

“Named for the delicate engravings popularized by 19th century seafarers, Scrimshaw is a fresh tasting Pilsner brewed in the finest European tradition using Munich malt and Hallertauer and Tettnang hops. Scrimshaw has a subtle hop character, a crisp, clean palate, and a dry finish.”

Drank this one at the Nepenthe restaurant between the illegal scattering of the ashes at Pfeiffer Beach and the memorial fête at the Henry Miller Memorial Library. It was not bad, but not especially memorable.

92. Firestone Walker (Paso Robles, CA) - Luponic Distortion

“No fruits. No flavorings. No shortcuts. Just the magic of 100 percent natural hops, expertly blended to offer mindbending flavors with each numbered release.”

Yeah, but I didn’t know about the numbered release thing until just now when I looked it up for the blog entry, so I don’t know which one of these I had at Nepenthe. I did like it, though. I tasted tropical notes that made me think it was hopped with Citra. According to the website, I should have been drinking Luponic Distortion 012, with “explosive flavors of tangerine, honeydew and strawberry gummy.” I do not recall tasting any of those.

93. Anchor Brewing (San Francisco, CA) - Anchor Steam

“Anchor Steam© Beer owes its deep amber color, thick, creamy head, and rich distinctive flavor to a historic brewing process like none other.”

Okay. And to show just how thoroughly uncultured I am when it comes to this stuff: to me, this is basically just beer. If someone offers me one of these, I take it and drink it happily. It’s beer. Do I go looking for it when I’m out buying beer? No.

94. Anchor Brewing (San Francisco, CA) - Brewers’ Pale Ale Citra Hop Blend

“Brewers’ Pale Ale is an evolving hop series, yet it remains a crisp and quaffable American Pale Ale packed with hop aroma and flavor.”

I really used to prefer bottled beer to canned beer, but no longer. This one was really good, especially while girding my loins to read some remarks about my uncle that my mom had written. I have never done public speaking well, but I think I pulled it off. I don’t give all the credit to this Citra brew, but I suppose that I am not too proud to acknowledge that it might have helped. Would love to run across it in cans or on tap somewhere.

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

89. Black Circle (Indianapolis, IN) - Pixel Punk

This is one of the regular house beers at Black Circle, one of their best, and this might be the best batch yet. I’ve seen the word dank used to describe beer quite a bit, but I’ve never understood it. It’s possible that I do now. Very strong pine flavor, but not at all bitter. Both smooth and sharp at the same time. I can’t say enough good things about Black Circle, and if you haven’t been, then run—don’t walk. Great Cuban food out of the Elena Ruz kitchen, classic movies on VHS, more metal shows than you can shake a stick at, and absolutely, positively, the best craft beer we have going for us in Indianapolis right now—hoppy pales, flavorful stouts and porters, and all kinds of beautiful goses. Get thee to a nunnery! Or, you know, something.

88. Black Circle (Indianapolis, IN) - Ghost Camp

I’ve never posted a Black Circle beer because I have never been able to take a picture of one while I was there drinking it. But hell seems to have frozen over, and I am now able to take pictures of beers out in the wild. No description of this one since they don’t put descriptions on the website and there’s no can, but this is a Berliner Weiss that they asked me if I wanted to add a syrup to. I declined, thinking that syrup and beer probably shouldn’t mix. It’s very light and refreshing, and very low alcohol (4.3%) for a Black Circle joint. A little bit sour up front, but clean and crisp on the back end. Could I drink this all day? Probably.

87. Taxman (Bargersville, IN) - Raspberry Ginger Exemption

“Triple the fruit, tripel the flavor. With an intensely flavorful trifecta of raspberry, ginger and citrus, this limited variant of our Belgian-style tripel will be your go-to refreshment this spring. Bright and tart berry notes, zesty lemon peel and ginger spiciness will leave your taste buds in full bloom.”

I feel like I should be more impressed with this beer than I am. The raspberry and ginger play well with each other, and the high alcohol (8.5%) makes it nice and romantic, but…I don’t know. It just didn’t do it for me.

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

86. New Belgium (Fort Collins, CO) - Voodoo Ranger Jucifer IPA

“Brimming with citrus aromas from Galaxy and Citra hops, this moderately sweet and hazy IPA is devilishy juicy.”

To me, the high alcohol (7.7%) masks the juicy profile a little bit—and drives a pretty bitter finish; but the citrus up front is nice. As it warms up, I get some of the peach flavor, but that finish gets more bitter, too.

85. Toppling Goliath (Decorah, IA) - Pseudo Sue

“This single hop pale ale showcases the Citra hop for a well-balanced beer that is delicate in body with a mild bitterness in the finish. She roars with ferocious aromas of grapefruit, citrus, mango and evergreen. Pseudo Sue’s unique taste is clean and bright with just enough bite!”

Very bright and refreshing, with nice lingering notes of citrus zest and an aromatic whiff of pine.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

84. Indiana City (Indianapolis, IN) - Ice Cream Apocalypse

“This double dry-hopped IPA was brewed with Eukanot, Zythos and Ariana hops and boasts significantly more lactose than our previous DDH IPAs for even more haze to love.”

Nice balance between the lactose and the hops, but nothing else really stands out for me. All that lactose tempers the fruit a little bit, but it’s sort of an interesting effect. Finish is dry without being bitter. Not bad at all, but it just doesn’t knock me out the way most Indiana City beers do.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

83. Revolution (Chicago, IL) - Brut-Hero

“A new hero is soaring in from a completely new direction—the effervescent Brut-Hero, sparkling with white grape, passionfruit, and lemon notes and capped with an extra-dry champagne-like finish.”

Possibly the first time I have encountered “white grape” in a beer’s description. Unfortunately, the Brut-ing of the beer has robbed it of most of its flavor—not bad, just not specific, and a finish that feels more bitter to me than dry.

82. Collective Arts (Hamilton, Ontario, Canada) - IPA No. 9

“Our newest in our IPA seris is a Double Dry-Hoppped Brut IPA. Crisp, bubbly and utterly bursting full of fresh Azacca and Citra hops. The aroma and flavour of bright citrus and mango come from the large 16g/hL dry hopping.”

I’m not sure what to make of the Brut style. They’re very crisp, and very dry, and I think that the push toward de-sugaring (there’s probably a real word for that, but I don’t know it) and champagne mouthfeel sometimes comes at the expense of flavor. Here, however, the Citra hops practically stand up and shout at you. I’m not familiar with Azacca yet, but the profile sounds interesting (and very similar to Citra, which I love). This is another one I got from the gettin’ place, so I couldn’t have a second if I wanted one—but the 7.1% alcohol might have put the kibosh on that idea anyway. Does that tell you what I thought of it? I haven’t the foggiest. But since I’m not sure what I thought of it either, why don’t we call it a draw?

Sunday, April 07, 2019

81. BrewDog (Columbus, OH) - Hazy Jane

“East Coasts collide and crank it up for this new New England IPA retuned in Scotland. Brewed with oats and wheat and left unfiltered for a hazy appearance and super smooth delivery. Dry-hopped for a full-tilt fruit hit with pineapple, mango and a hint of zesty lime. Low on bitterness, high on haze, heavy on hops.”

This one is bright and refreshing, but not excessively complicated, and dry without being bitter. Hope the rumors I hear about these guys opening a taproom in Indianapolis wind up coming true.

Wednesday, April 03, 2019

80. Ballast Point (San Diego, CA) - Aloha Sculpin

“With Aloha Sculpin, we used Brux Trois yeast to turn our award-winning IPA into a tropical oasis, with bright and refreshing notes of mango, pineapple, and guava. This yeast also adds a slight haze to the beer, creating a smooth mouthfeel to round out its juicy character. Simply put, this is paradise in the palm of your hands.”

Nice balance of tropical notes and straight hop flavor, with a lingering, very bitter finish. Maybe even a little lemon in there, too. I’ve tried two so far, and I’m not sure I like it—but I am sure it’s one of the more interesting beers I’ve tried recently.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

79. Indiana City (Indianapolis, IN) - Fruit Brüt

"Bone-dry, effervescent beer brewed with strawberry purée and orange peel."

Crisp and subtle and drinkable, but not quite as special as their original brut IPA. (And truth be told, that original was so good that I probably had my expectations raised to an unrealistic degree for this one.) Really looking forward to our visit to the Indiana City taproom next month.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

78. Revolution (Chicago, IL) - Anti-Hero

“Our flagship IPA is supremely aromatic, crisp, and drinkable. This iconic ale features a blend of Citra, Crystal, Centennial, and Chinook to create a crisp clean bitterness and imparts massive floral and citrus aromas. An American hop assault for all the ambivalent warriors who get the girl in the end. ‘Look, I ain’t in this for your revolution, and I’m not in it for you, Princess.’”

Bragging about the bitterness once again, but this one’s not so bad. They’re all kissing cousins, really. This one is possibly slightly more tropical than the other ones. Maybe. It’s definitely more balanced. In order, then…

1. Crystal-Hero
2. Anti-Hero
3. El Dorado-Hero
4. Cashmere-Hero

77. Revolution (Chicago, IL) - Cashmere-Hero

“A mountain of flavors rise above this silky, Cashmere-hopped IPA—lemon, lime, and ripe cantaloupe with a touch of grapefruit.”

Still. Haven’t. Rinsed. Out. The. Mug. Also still sitting upright. Rated the least bitter of the three I have tried, this one actually feels at least as bitter as the one that bragged about its bitterness. The flavors are a little less pronounced in this one—or possibly my taste buds have gone numb—and when I read lemon and lime in the same sentence, I think of Sprite. That sort of kills it for me.

76. Revolution (Chicago, IL) - El Dorado-Hero

“The continuing expedition for perfect hops has uncovered a new wonder-the-gold-veined El Dorado hop and its pear, watermelon, stone fruit and citrus flavor bounty.”

Anarchist, eh, White? Well, how about this? The mug was no longer frosty, but I didn’t rinse it out after I drank the Crystal-Hero. This one is less forthcoming than the Crystal-Hero, but the stone fruit sneaks up on you the same way. This Hero series in general seems to work better once they warm up a little. I got these in a 12-pack, and saved the last four to blog about all at once. I’ll rank them after the fourth, but they’re all moderately drinky, so I suppose that presumes that I am still able to sit upright after the fourth. Onward!

75. Revolution (Chicago, IL) - Crystal-Hero

“A crisp and refreshing IPA exploding with fresh floral hop character, named for a somewhat forgotten yet amazing hop variety named Crystal. A unique hopping program gives this beer a massive, clean bitterness and fresh hop aroma bursting with hints of citrus and fresh fruit.”

That bitterness is a little bit aggressive at first, but it makes way nicely for the bright lines of lemons and stone fruit. Maybe even a little tropical fruit action in there, after it warms up a little.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Deep Thoughts #178d

Also, if you think Black Panther and BlackKklansman would have been better Best Pictures, you should say why, and not just drop their names.

Deep Thoughts #178c

I know it’s so important to be as woke as possible, but what you meant to say is that more producers should be women and/or people of color.

Deep Thoughts #178b

Of course, with two decades of reporting experience, you know this; but it’s just easier to shit on Green Book by pretending that you don’t.

Deep Thoughts #178a

Brian Truitt’s self-righteous woke-ness would sound less foolish if someone had explained to him that producers get the Best Picture Oscars.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

74. Elysian (Seattle, WA) - Dayglow

“A touch of wheat hazes the malt bill, softening this bright and crisp IPA. Dayglow is packed with juicy hops featuring pineapple and tropical fruit flavors and aromas.”

Definitely more balanced than some of the IPAs I have tried recently. Crisp and dry and drinky (7.4%), but still approachable. Sort of a refreshing change of pace.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

73. 450 North (Columbus, IN) - 450 Nugs

“450 Nugs is brewed with a 50/50 blend of Citra and Mosaic.”

The hazy New England IPA is quickly becoming one of my favorite styles, and this is a good one. Sweet and fruity with a nice tropical finish.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

72. Black Acre (Indianapolis, IN) - Emodynamics

“Citra and Mosaic hops lend tropical aromas and flavors to this juicy India pale ale.”

Another semi-drinky (6.5%) pale with big fruit and tropical notes, but sweeter and less carbonated than Evil Czech’s Nefarious Harbor.

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

71. Black Acre (Indianapolis, IN) - TV Wolf

“A generous medley of citrus hops makes for a crisp, clean, and balanced everyday IPA with a smooth, decisive finish.”

Somewhere between everyday and special occasion, tropical and fruity up front, and pleasantly bitter on the back end. Maybe even a bit of lingering pine.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

70. 18th Street (Hammond, IN) - Rise of the Angels

“Helping to resurrect your palette from the doldrums, Rise of the Angels bursts onto your tongue with a blast of grapefruit zest that is quickly followed by a parade of floral, citrus hops.”

And purple prose, but the beer is pretty good. Imperial IPAs sometimes go high on the alcohol just for the sake of going high on the alcohol, but this one is surprisingly moderate (7.7%) for the style. Very similar in flavor profile to the Evil Czech Nefarious Harbor I just tried, but more citrus forward and a little bit smoother.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

69. Evil Czech (Mishawaka, IN) - Nefarious Harbor

“Our version of a New England/East Coast IPA. Very hazy with armoas of citrus and pine. Smooth and balanced with a delicate bitterness.”

Almost sweet, which I usually don’t like in a beer—but it works here. Tastes more like stone fruit than citrus to me, with just a hint of dry on the back end. Probably a little bit too drinky (7.2%) to have more than one of at a time, but I’m going to take one for the team and do a little experiment. I do get a little bit of lemon, and maybe a bit of orange, when it warms up a bit, but still mostly peach, and the slight ping from the alcohol. None of that is a bad thing; this is a lovely beer.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

68. Indiana City (Indianapolis, IN) - Brüt IPA

“Straw-pale, bone dry, low bitterness & effervescent. Dry-hopped with Zythos for tangerine, grapefruit, pineapple aroma.”

Bright and fruity, but not overpowering. Just had one can as a sample from the gettin’ place, and I wish I had a few more. Only moderately boozy (6%), but it sort of sneaks up on you. Absolutely spectacular.

Deep Thoughts #177

Now here’s a shock: These ignorant Trump monkeys were from a segregated Jesus school in Kentucky. Sometimes the jokes just write themselves.

Sunday, January 06, 2019

Deep Thoughts #176

Hang on…I’m not sure I can get my head around this. You’re saying that the prices at one of Martha Hoover’s Patachou spin-offs are too…high?

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

67. Hoosier Brewing Company (Greenwood, IN) - Shake-It! Milkshake IPA Strawberry

“A New England Milkshake Double IPA featuring a double dry hopping of Citra and Mosaic hops and a great touch of fresh strawberries.”

A bitter finish takes a little bit away from the playful pairing of the strawberries with the citrusy hops, and makes it less milkshake-y, too—but neither of those things makes it bad. Not quite as well rendered as its Cosmic Crush cousin, but still pretty good.