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.)

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.