Saturday, March 30, 2024

600. West Side Brewing (Cincinnati, OH) - Amarillo Pale Ale

“This pale ale uses a single hop varietal: Amarillo. An American hop, Amarillo lends big aromas of orange citrus to the beer, with backing notes of grapefruit and lightly floral tones.”

Not quite as strong as they seem to want it to be…but I get a sense that all of those things might be there. Not bad, but not especially interesting.

Sunday, March 17, 2024

599. El Segundo Brewing Company (El Segundo, CA) - Steve Austin’s Broken Skull 3:16 IPA

“Last fall, the good folks at Perrault Farms in Yakima Valley invited ESBC and Steve Austin up to sample their hops during their annual hop harvest. Steve was so blown away by them and their hops that it inspired him to make a new IPA. The hops in this beer were selected by Steve Austin himself. We hope you enjoy this beer as much as we do. Cheers!”

Okay, then. It’s a light, crisp IPA that sort of doesn’t taste like it clocks in at 7.2% ABV. Maybe some melon up front, and a dry finish that slides toward slightly bitter as it warms. Not bad, but it doesn’t make my socks roll up and down.

Sunday, March 03, 2024

598. Bloomington Brewing Co. (Bloomington, IN) - Simcoe Kid

“Return of the Simcoe Kid! Another brew from the BBC archives, Simcoe Kid is a single hop IPA showcasing…you guessed it, Simcoe! Smooth bitterness complimented [sic] by citrus and tropical fruit flavors. Pink grapefruit dominates the aroma, with subtle hints of mango, guava, and passion fruit, courtesty of Helio Gazer yeast.”

Very nice balance of citrus and tropical fruit, though I don’t get much of anything specific. Smooth and easy to drink, with just the barest hint of a dry finish. Very well done, but doesn’t seem to be in my wheelhouse.

Monday, February 19, 2024

Taproom: MashCraft Brewing (Indianapolis, IN)

Jackson had an all-day robotics competition at Greenwood Middle School yesterday, and Amy and I had a big chunk of time to kill between Jackson’s last match of the day and the time we were supposed to pick him up at school, so we decided to check out the MashCraft taproom in Greenwood. I’ve been wanting to try their beer for a while, but their three taprooms are just far enough out of the way of our usual haunts that we hadn’t gotten around to it. It was unclear when we arrived whether we were supposed to order from the counter or wait to be seated, and we ended up placing an initial order at the counter; but after that, it was still sort of unclear. A second person came around to the table a couple of times, but I went back up to the counter for a second round of drinks.

Amy ordered the Garden Pesto pizza, and I had an unsalted pretzel with mustard and the chips and dips. Her pizza was unevenly cooked, with the crust around the edge being way too hard and the crust in the middle being barely cooked—the classic sign of a packaged crust; but the pesto flavor was respectable. The pretzel was okay, but not especially interesting, served with what was clearly horseradish mustard out of a jar; and the chips were served with jarred salsa and something called “frontera ranch,” which is apparently their way of saying “ranch with hot sauce.”

595. MashCraft Brewing (Indianapolis, IN) - Galactus
“Named after the planet eating entity because of its big bold tropical flavors and slightly elevated ABV.”
Prominent orange juice flavor up front, with a sweet, creamy mouthfeel that makes me think lactose. In the middle, it’s a pretty standard New England/milkshake IPA (though I don’t get any strong tropical flavors), and the finish is sharp—not dry or bitter, but sharp, with a strong taste of alcohol. It’s a little off-putting at first, but smooths out as it warms.

596. MashCraft Brewing (Indianapolis, IN) - Jamaica Joe
“Our MashCraft Red infused with creamy and caramely Jamaican Me Crazy coffee beans from local favorite Strange Brew.”
Very light coffee aroma, with mild coffee flavor and a smooth caramel/red ale finish. Exactly as advertised, and well done; but it’s got nothing on Ryan’s coffee lager at Kismetic, which has strong coffee aroma and flavor, and a buttery shortbread finish.

597. MashCraft Brewing (Indianapolis, IN) - Let it Burn
“Take a smooth cream ale and hit it with some lemondrop peppers. What do you get? Ask Usher…”
Powerful pepper flavor and strong heat on the first sip, with a pretty fast burn; but as it warms up, the smooth cream ale malt flavors make that more of a slow burn. The slight hint of lemon from the pepper is a nice touch.

Sunday, February 04, 2024

594. Scarlet Lane Brewing Company (McCordsville, IN) - Irving Dark

No description apart from “shadow ale,” which is probably better marketing for the outfit that bills itself as “The Official Beer of Horror” than “boring porter,” which is what it actually is. I’ve tried it in the taproom before, but I saw it in cans at the Beech Grove taproom last night, so I brought some home. It was no more interesting in a different setting. I didn’t plan it this way, but I happened to pour the first one at home on the one-year anniversary of the closure of Black Acre Brewing Company. Scarlet Lane took over the space and claimed that they would continue to brew Saucy Intruder and Natural Liberty out of respect for Black Acre; but to my knowledge, they have not tapped a single keg of either beer since they opened the Irvington taproom. I don’t know if that has anything to do with the issues that forced the closures of the 46th & College and Bellefontaine locations, with the fact that one of the founders/brewers of Black Acre is now brewing for Black Circle, or with some other reason altogether; whatever the reason, it’s disappointing.

Sunday, January 14, 2024

593. Cigar City Brewing (Tampa, FL) - Peach White Oak Jai Alai

“The beloved and eccentric qualities of our White Oak Jai Alai IPA collide with sweet and juicy natural peach flavor for an innovative take on this CCB classic. White Oak spirals are used to impart sleek notes of vanilla and coconut to Jai Alai IPA’s bold citrus and caramel notes.”

The peach is strong up front, but what comes up behind it is less clear—but pretty tasty. All of the sweet flavors mentioned in the description could be there, and they lead that peach opener into a nice, dry finish. Lingers a bit too sweet, but otherwise quite fine.

Sunday, January 07, 2024

592. Moontown Brewing Company (Whitestown, IN) - Lincoln

“It’s time for another venture into our Pints for Parks series! We are headed east of Evansville to Lincoln City for our 10th park, Lincoln. We brewed an extra special bitter, better known as an ESB. Typically, when brewing classic beer styles, we use all the highest quality origin sourced ingredients (i.e. German grown malt for German beer), but with this being a state park beer we always keep it local with our Sugar Creek Malt Company crew out of Lebanon, IN. Utilizing Sugar Creek’s Ye Olde and a couple of their crystal malts, along with UK grown East Kent Golding hops, and the classic ESB yeast strain from one of England’s largest breweries we share with you our take on the English classic. Like with many beers, balance and interplay are key and we think you’ll love our malt and hop expressions in this one. Great malty character present, with a pronounced hop flavor and aroma that lingers a bit in the finish as your mouth keeps asking for more. Biscuity and bready, earthy and herbal, slightly sweet with a nice resiny bitterness. Lightly carbonated, complex, and refreshing, no wonder why there’s so much love for a pub ale. Cheers to our state parks, thank for your support!”

And here is another style with which I have very little experience. The finish is right on the line between dry and bitter, and the rest of it is a little faint, but well made. I don’t always like every new beer I try, but I sometimes get the feeling that even the ones I don’t necessarily like (and I haven’t made up my mind on this one yet) are well made. This beer falls into that category—though I have no doubt that my lack of experience with the style is to some extent precluding me from forming an opinion.

Wednesday, January 03, 2024

591. Guggmann Haus Brewing Co. (Indianapolis, IN) - Biergarten Days

“Traditionally brewed in Bavaraia, the Munich Dunkel offers a complex malt flavor with low bitterness. We’ve used a blend of of German Munich malts giving this beer a rich bready, nutty and roasty character with notes of light floral from German Magnum and Hallertau Mittelfruh hops. With a crisp and balanced smoothness, this beer is a nod to the fall biergarten days of Munich.”

This one is pretty much exactly as advertised, and I suspect that the fact that I can’t come up with anything of my own to say about it means that I am not impressed—and yet I like the beer. What the hell is that? I get the bready, nutty, and roasty, but then I get a hint of vanilla, rather than floral notes. I don’t know much about this style, but I dig this one.

Sunday, December 31, 2023

Deep Thoughts #315

It just occurred to me that I have not prepared a résumé since Dubya was president. I barely remember how to do this, and I want to do well.

Sunday, December 24, 2023

590. Guggmann Haus Brewing Co. (Indianapolis, IN) - Great Day

“Our go-to Haus IPA, this citrus-forward IPA features a bready malt profile with bright, fruity aromas & flavors from Citra and Galaxy hops.”

Finally succeeded in carving out a time to get out to the Guggmann Haus taproom last Sunday, and brought home a couple of four-packs from the extensive selection in their cooler. I was impressed with the Great Day I had in the taproom, but I think the one I’m having today at home in my frosty mug might be even better. There are layered flavors of strone fruit up front and citrus on the back end, with a vague hint of pine sort of overseeing the whole thing. The pine retreats as the beer warms, but the dry finish from the malty backbone remains. Very fine.