Monday, August 31, 2020

281. BrewDog (Columbus, OH) - Punk IPA

“Punk IPA is a contemporary British style IPA with an international twist. Making our flagship beer lighter, fruitier, less bitter and more session-ale than its American counterpart. Tropical fruits and caramel on the nose and an explosion of fruit in the mouth—lychee, passion fruit and mango precede a dry finish. With ingredients and inspiration drawn from all over the planet, Punk IPA is a fresh, fruity, modern take on India Pale Ale.”

Bright citrus flavor up front, with a little bit of tropical flavor in the background. I find the finish to be smooth rather than dry, and the whole thing to be generally less aggressive than most of the other BrewDog beers I have tried—and yet still very flavorful and with slightly higher alcohol (5.6%) than the…um…”session-ale” to which they seem to be aspiring. Makes me even more curious about their NA offerings, but there’s no way I’m paying craft prices for non-alcoholic beer.

Friday, August 28, 2020

280. Clown Shoes Beer (Boston, MA) - Galactica

“Defender of the intergalactic downtrodden, conqueror of bad beers and long-winded evildoers, Galacatica soars with ease from one star system to the next. Her dual-hop staff disperses justice, freedom, and intense hop flavor. Dry hopped with Galaxy hops, this Double IPA balances a hop profile of light bitterness and notes of tropical fruit, citrus, and pine with a clean malt backbone.”

The first sip was strongly malty up front, with an upright, bitter caramel finish; and then the fruit opened up a little bit as it warmed. At the moment, I am not sure that this particular beer really knows what it wants to be; but I also suspect that a second, poured into a cold, clean mug, might give me a better idea of where it’s at. However, at 8%, the second one will have to wait until tomorrow—or, actually…maybe Sunday. I can’t quite believe it, but I’m going back to work tomorrow. Granted…it’s the only day this week that I am going to work…and might be the only day I go to work until next weekend…but hey…um…yeah. I still get to file for unemployment, but since I will have to say that I have worked, that’s just going to send up a red flag that will take the unemployment people another eight fucking weeks to call me about. Yeah…you know what…I’m going to have that second one now. Fuck this shit.

279. El Segundo Brewing Company (El Segundo, CA) - Steve Austin’s Broken Skull IPA

“A bad-ass 6.7% IPA designed by Steve Austin and El Segundo Brewing Company for the working man & woman. It features Citra, Cascade and Chinook hops to deliver big flavor with an easy finish.”

El Segundo wasn’t shipping here when I heard about this one (I don’t remember how long ago, somewhere on the interwebs), and I didn’t even know they had started shipping here since then. I just happened to see it at Stoney’s today and had to try it (even though at $14.99 for six tallboys it’s at the upper end of what I feel comfortable paying for craft beer). It has a much lighter touch than I expected for a beer bearing Stone Cold Steve Austin’s name, and is also surprisingly complex (for the same reason). The flavors are light but pronounced, with strong grapefruit and pine in the first sip from the Chinook and Cascade, and then more mellow tropical notes from the Citra as it warms up. The finish is pretty smooth, too.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

278. Upland Brewing Co. (Bloomington, IN) - Oktoberfest

“No season is as synonymous with beers as autumn, when the most storied beer festival of them all, Oktoberfest, takes place in Munich, Germany. Since 1810, this celebration of good food, good company, and, most importantly, good beer, has most prominently featured Märzen-style lager—so much so that many refer to the beer simply as Oktoberfest. Our version is an authentic representation of a classic style, rich and malty without sacrificing any of the smooth, crisp character that defines true German lagers. It has a deep copper color complemented with notes of caramel and toffee. A blend of three German hop varieties provides perfect balance and a clean finish to this autumnal favorite. Bronze medal winner at the 2008 BTI World Beer Championships.”

See…they were going along just fine until they threw down that “perfect balance” gauntlet. Phrases like that almost always make me wind up thinking whatever is the opposite of “You had me at hello.” (And that almost always makes me wonder—yet again—why in the sweet blue fuck Cuba Gooding Jr. is an Oscar winner and Edward Norton is not. But I digress.) It’s bready up front, and then slides into a smooth finish that is almost crisp—but not quite. I’m not familiar enough with Oktoberfest/Märzen beers to know if this is a good example of the style or not, but it has a surprisingly high alcohol (6.7%)—and certainly isn’t bad in any way. It’s just not really my thing.

Monday, August 24, 2020

277. Heretic Brewing Company (Fairfield, CA) - Make America Juicy Again

“This is all about bringing the juice back to American beer. It isn’t about big football commercials and fancy packaging. It is about the liquid in the can. We spent our money (which is your money if you think about it) on an insane amount of the best hops available, so the can ain’t fancy, but the beer certainly is. Hazy, luscious, and full of juicy hops. This beer is brewed with no bittering hop addition, just whirlpool and insane amounts of dry hopping. That results in a gentle bittering and a huge, juicy hop profile. Vote Juicy!”

Smells like it’s going to smack me in the face with a mango, or maybe a big ripe peach; but the flavor and the dry finish are both pretty mild. First few sips don’t taste like it’s 6.5%. Drinks light enough to qualify as a lawnmower beer, but there’s the danger that if you have more than one or two, you might wind up also mowing your neighbor’s lawn by mistake—and not even caring.

276. Clown Shoes Beer (Boston, MA) - Rainbows Are Real

“From mythic hammer-wielding beasts to intergalactic agriculturists, here at Clown Shoes we think about some crazy stuff. But even we can barely comprehend the natural wonder of a big, beautiful rainbow. We will forever remain in awe of those massive swaths of vibrant color that stretch forever into the horizon. This Hazy IPA contains the terpenes Beta-Pinene and Linalool, aromatic compounds derived from natural botanical sources. They supplement the sweet malt backbone and lively blend of Azacca, Citra and Mosaic hops that make Rainbows Are Real shine with fresh, juicy notes of sweet citrus.”

I’m no stranger to the three hops listed in the description, but I come across terpenes much less often; and I don’t know exactly what they contribute to a beer, but there is something going on here that I have never encountered before—a piney flavor that is bright and fresh, and almost a little soapy. (And it also sort of makes me think that maybe the more run-of-the-mill piney flavor I’ve tasted in other beers is what brewers mean when they used the word dank.) This is my first beer from Massachusetts, which becomes the 22nd state in my odyssey of beer sampling.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

275. Stone Brewing (Escondido, CA) - Delicious IPA

“When creating an IPA deserving of the name ‘Delicious,’ intense flavor was paramount, and that’s just what this bright, citrus-forward standout brings to the table. Crafted to reduce gluten, the beer and its magnificent lemon candylike flavor and hop spice can be enjoyed by nearly everyone.”

Before taking the first sip, I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that this one will not be “exactly as advertised.” (And it is not.) The spice is way too heavy, and the citrus is more of an echo than a flavor. Not bad, just a little aggressive.

274. Bell’s Brewery (Comstock, MI) - Official

“Two of our favorite ingredients come together in the brewhouse; pungent American hops and delicious wheat malt. This Hazy IPA is double dry-hopped (a combination of Mosaic, Citra, Azacca, Amarillo and El Dorado hops) resulting in complex peach, stone fruit and tropical notes with a dry finish and balanced bitterness. A refined beer for those who love hops and for those who prefer wheat beers. Go ahead and make it Official.”

Exactly as advertised (although complex might be overstating things just a tad). Lightly flavored for a beer of moderate size (6.4%), but not really anything to write home about. Perfectly well-executed, but not at all remarkable.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

273. Chilly Water Brewing Company (Indianapolis, IN) - One Hop Wonder

No description, apart from “American IPA”—and what the fuck even is that?—so I’m going to have to wing it here. It’s got some Citra flavor up front, and a bitter, upright finish when it’s cold—but it’s smoother when it warms up a little bit, or when it’s poured into a warm mug. It works both ways. I’m supposed to go back to work on Friday, and I sort of don’t want to. No…you know what…I don’t fucking want to at all. So I’m going to have another one. And if y’all are reading this right now, while you’re working at jobs that other people think are essential, then, well, I don’t even know the fuck what. But I’m ready to jump the fuck off. Just sayin’.

Monday, August 17, 2020

272. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. (Chico, CA) - Life and Limb

“Life: This living brew is naturally carbonated to enhance complexity and refinement and to encourage aging. Limb: For the birch and maple trees, whose syrup give this unique ale its flavor and symbolize the collaboration between Sierra Nevada and Dogfish Head.”

When I was a kid, it seemed like we could only ever get birch beer when we went to New Jersey to visit my aunt and uncle and our cousins. It’s more prevalent out here in flyover country now, but somehow never tastes quite the same as it did when I was a kid. I’ve never seen birch syrup listed as an ingredient in beer, so I had to give this one a shot (even though the thought of maple syrup in beer does not sound at all appealing). I get a little bit of each flavor, but neither are very heavy. I don’t drink strong ales very often, but this one seems to be par for the course in terms of the style: a little bit sweet, and almost chewy from the high alcohol (10.2%) and the chocolate malt.

271. Fat Head’s Brewery (Middleburg Heights, OH) - Strange Magic

“The magic is in our masterful combination of hops that create this ridiculously good India Pale Ale. The strange thing is how we get as much of it as we do into cans before we drink all of it ourselves.”

The classic hop flavor from the Simcoe was very strong in the first one I had yesterday; but the one I’m drinking now tastes much more like the Citra triple dip (pellet, leaf, and cryo) advertised on the website. Each time, the less prevalent flavor emerged a little bit as the beer warmed up. This beer might actually be magic. (And even if it’s not, it’s still really good.)

Saturday, August 15, 2020

270. Black Acre Brewing Company (Indianapolis, IN) - Vertical Sun

“A classic Belgian style Witbier (wheat beer) brewed with grapefruit peel, orange peel and coriander.”

Yes, but how was the food? Didn’t you say you went for both dinner and drinks? Yes…yes, we did. I got the spicy garlic and herb peanuts, nachos, and a Chicago dog; and Amy got the pulled pork tacos and pomegranate guacamole. Everything was house-made, which is usually nice; but the queso on the nachos was made with some sort of processed cheese that stiffened up pretty quick, and the Chicago dog was missing celery seed and sport peppers. Amy seemed pleased with her tacos, though perhaps a bit disappointed with the pomegranate guacamole, which was really just regular guacamole with a couple of pomegranate seeds dropped on top. My second beer, however, was excellent—light, crisp, and refreshing, with the coriander out in front and the grapefruit and orange peel playing the 20 Feet from Stardom role. I’ve always been sort of gun-shy about this style, having seen a few too many glasses of Blue Moon garnished with top-heavy slices of orange (to say nothing of their non-independence); but every time I try one, I am pleasantly surprised.

269. Black Acre Brewing Company (Indianapolis, IN) - An Unforgettable Luncheon

“This Gose (sour) was brewed with pink Himalayan salt, with added apricot fruit!”

Amy and I walked over to the Black Acre Garden for dinner and drinks last night, because she had had a rough week at school. They’ve been pretty solid troopers over there since the world shit the bed five months ago, opening the Garden ahead of schedule for the season due to the taproom still being out of commission due to last December’s fire; and even though they have constructed a spectacularly pain-in-the-ass slow-as-fuck system of ordering food and drink from your phone (thanks to fuckwit Joe Hogsett ass raping bars and nightclubs yet again), it still manages to be nice to sit outside and have a couple of drinks with someone you love. Unfortunately, An Unforgettable Luncheon was not much to write home about. The fruit flavor was very faint, buried under a mouth-puckering mountain of sour. At this point, I am almost positive that I have lost my taste for this style of beer.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

268. Odd Side Ales (Grand Haven, MI) - Mosaic Dank Juice

“100% Mosaic hopped juicy IPA. Aromas of tangerine, grapefruit, and berries give way to a smooth beer with citrus flavors with a hint of pine.”

That’s the description on the website. What the can says is, “Double dry hopped with Mosaic® hops to create a slightly hazy beer rich in juicy tropical notes and aromas.” The latter description is correct. I let the first one warm up a tad, and the first sip had a little bit of tart to it; but the tropical flavor came through loud and clear. It’s too sharp to qualify as smooth, but there are a lot of lovely things going on here.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

267. Centerpoint Brewing Company (Indianapolis, IN) - Hex

“This hazy Session India Pale Ale was brewed with local honey from Hunter’s Farm in Martinsville, Indiana. We heavily dry-hopped Hex Haze with Citra, Nugget, and Amarillo hops.”

The honey is almost like a peacemaker between the bitterness of the Nugget hops and the fruit of the Citra and Amarillo hops, giving the whole thing very nice body and balance. I don’t usually go for sessions, because I don’t like to pay craft prices for weak beer; but at 6% ABV, this might be the biggest session I have ever encountered. Absolutely spectacular beer. Run…don’t walk.

Sunday, August 09, 2020

Deep Thoughts #222

Seriously…what in the motherfucking shitbag asshat cornhole buttplug dickbreath are you fucking kidding me? We deserve the fucking roni, yo.

Friday, August 07, 2020

266. BrewDog (Columbus, OH) - Pulp Patriot Raspberry

“This powerhouse of a double milkshake IPA is straight up raspberry. Delivering intense raspberry aromas and gigantic jammy flavor upfront. Tail-gated by citrus notes that balance out the sweetness. Milk sugar adds body and rounds out the chewy delivery.”

Yeah, that’s good and jammy up front, all right; and it would be cloyingly sweet if not for the big alcohol (9.5%, a Pulp Patriot trademark, methinks) on the back end. When I tried the blueberry version of this one, I said that the flavor was not as strong as the aroma. The opposite seems to be the case here—not much in the way of aroma, but lots of flavor. I feel like I like this one more than I have liked the other versions of Pulp Patriot, but that might be just be because I was having sort of a meh day when I poured it.

Thursday, August 06, 2020

265. Sun King (Indianapolis, IN) - Indians Lager

“When summer days have got you beat, reach for Indians Lager. Brewed in the Vienna style, Indians Lager features a balanced malt flavor that finishes crisp, thanks to the addition of German Noble Hopes [sic].”

Deep and roasty, but a little too rounded to qualify as crisp, I think. Probably a very fine example of the style, but it’s just not my thing.

Wednesday, August 05, 2020

264. The Devil’s Trumpet Brewing Co. (Merrillville, IN) - #Tryn2Bcool

“A DDH hazy juice bomb bursting with bright citrus aromas perfect bitterness and pillowy mouthfeel.”

Haven’t even taken a sip, and I’m already annoyed, both by the lack of commas and by what is possibly the dumbest name in the history of beer. It’s entirely possible that those are stupid things to be annoyed about, but what can I tell you—I got spare time. And, just to keep piling on, I taste stone fruit and melon rather than citrus; and that lactose seems to be obliterating whatever flavor there is. Oddly enough, though, I sort of like it.

Monday, August 03, 2020

263. Sun King (Indianapolis, IN) - Blood Orange Osiris

“Blood Orange Osiris Pale Ale is an assertive West Coast-Style Pale with a distinct citrus hop punch and flavors of blood orange.”

Not as strongly flavored as the other two Osiris variants, but the flavor does linger. All three are crisp and dry without being bitter. I don’t know if it’s good or bad that none of them tastes at all like the original Osiris. This one works slightly less well than the other two—but all three are very good.

Sunday, August 02, 2020

262. Sun King (Indianapolis, IN) - Coffee Osiris

“Coffee Osiris is an assertive West Coast-Style Pale with a distinct citrus hop punch and a coffee and light chocolate kick.”

Very rich coffee flavor right up front, with just a hint of bright citrus, almost like you might get a hint of citrus in a cup of actual coffee. I don’t get any of the chocolate flavor, but I don’t think that takes away from it. Not as good as the mango version, but pretty solid.

Deep Thoughts #221

Re-posting tweets is neither writing nor journalism, so you actually contribute to the death of the newspaper that you pretend to write for.

Saturday, August 01, 2020

Deep Thoughts #220

So Donald Trump is a narcissistic asshole who doesn’t care about anyone but himself? If you are surprised by this, you are fucking retarded.

260. Sun King (Indianapolis, IN) - Mango Osiris

“Mango Osiris Pale Ale is an assertive West Coast-Style Pale with a distinct citrus hop punch and the flavors of mango.”

This is like getting smacked in the mouth with a mango; it’s all mango and nothing else, and that flavor lingers, man. It lingers and then fades into a crisp, dry finish. It feels like there’s not enough going on here to warrant calling it spectacular, but I love this beer.