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.