Friday, October 30, 2020

323. New Belgium Brewing Company (Fort Collins, CO) - Accumulation

“This winter, IBUs start accumulating like snow in Colorado with our new Accumulation White IPA. Brewing a white IPA was not only a way to salute the white beauty falling from the sky, but a direct revolt to the longstanding tradition of brewing dark beers for winter and winter seasonal beers. At least that’s what our rebellious brewers like to claim as they shovel in plenty of mosaic [sic] and Amarillo hop varietals and a bit of wheat for a smooth mouthfeel. Stack up a few cases of Accumulation White IPA to keep your long nights glowing blizzard white.”

Um. Okay. The hops taste more like Citra to me, but I think they’re bang on with respect to the smooth effects of the wheat. It’s also bigger (6.7%) than it tastes. That could be either Citra or Mosaic, and I don’t fucking care anymore. I’m out.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

322. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. (Chico, CA) - Dankful

“A better tomorrow is why we brew Dankful, a resinous West Coast IPA that supports nonprofits standing up for social equality, economic well-being, and environmental protection. Through this philanthropic pledge, we work with nonprofit partners dedicated to moving our communities forward. We’re Dankful for that.”

And if that means doing everything they can to vote Republicans the fuck out of office, then I’m buying stock in the company.

(Yeah? Bite me. Nothing they said was about the beer, either. I don’t know why that particular blurb on their website put this bug up my butt, but there it is. When we were down in Madison a couple of weeks ago, I had the misfortune of having to endure Fuckwit McConnell ads on TV between segments of Jeopardy!; and those ads desperately made me want to vote for Amy McGrath for U.S. Senate, even though I don’t live in Kentucky. I am so Dankful that I met good people in college, people whose examples made me finally understand that all of the conservative shit my father has been spouting since I’ve been born is fucking ridiculous.)

Friday, October 23, 2020

321. Black Acre Brewing Company (Indianapolis, IN) - Glitteratae

“No Hollywood elite influence here! This baby is straight out of New England. If we could turn back time, we’d make this beer again and give it all to you.”

Nice pine aroma, but the flavor is too sweet, and passes so quickly that I can barely tell it’s there. That could maybe be melon, or maybe pineapple—and it’s not bad, but it’s sort of soft in a way that does not eventually become interesting. Black Acre’s one-off IPAs are usually pretty solid, but this one is disappointing.

320. Firestone Walker Brewing Company (Paso Robles, CA) - Luponic Distortion No. 016

“Our Luponic Distortion IPA series makes a statement with this newest release featuring bold flavors of peach, pear drop and dragon fruit, all derived exclusively from 100 percent natural hops from Germany, the Pacific Northwest and New Zealand.”

Nothing stands out, bit it’s round and light and very drinkable.

319. Hi-Wire Brewing (Asheville, NC) - Hi-Pitch

“A balanced Western North Carolina IPA with bright citrus and tropical fruit aromas. Expect big grapefruit, tangerine and subtle melon flavors from the chorus of Mosaic & Centennial hops to balance out the malt in this dank & drinkable ale.”

Nothing really stands out here, either, except an echo of pine from the Mosaic and of that vague qualifier dank on the back end—and both of those mellow as it warms up, letting a little bit of citrus shine into the mix.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

318. Stone Brewing (Escondido, CA) - Tangerine Express

“This creation’s uniquely hazy appearance is a credit to the glorious whole tangerine purée in every batch. Using the whole fruit allows us to harness every bit of its natural depth of character. Pithy, crisp bitterness complements its distinct juicy citrus. Just the right amount of pineapple and, this being Stone, a whole lot of hops round out this beer in an amazingly hazily citrusy tasty paradise of flavors and aromas.”

Citrus shine and moderate bitterness up front seem to mask any specific fruit flavor, but the citrus lingers on the back end a little bit—and makes me feel like I should be tasting something specific. The bitterness gets a little more pronounced as it warms up, but so does the fruit flavor. I hope I’m not losing my sense of taste—or smell—or coming down with a cough.

Oh, shit.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Deep Thoughts #232

It just occurred to me that maybe I should have blogged about an Indianapolis beer for #317. Should I rewrite history or let the train sail?

317. New Belgium Brewing Company (Fort Collins, CO) - Voodoo Ranger

“Bursting with tropical aromas and juicy fruit flavors from Mosaic and Amarillo hops, this golden IPA is perfectly bitter with a refreshing, sublime finish.”

The description is a little bit hyperbolic, but the beer is fine—tropical and dry, but not exactly bitter or juicy. If this is the original Voodoo Ranger, then it’s a pretty good baseline for the multiple variants they’ve brought out since.

Monday, October 19, 2020

316. Hi-Wire Brewing (Asheville, NC) - Lo-Pitch

“This easy-drinking hazy IPA packs a bright citrus hop punch without all the bitterness. Juicy American hops and a light malt bill make Lo-Pitch the perfecft pairing for sandy shores, mountain tops, or backyard hangs.”

Starts off citrusy and dry, with a little bit of strone fruit as it warms up, and then fades into a soft echo of Fruity Pebbles on the back end. Oddly compelling for such a light, simple beer.

315. New Belgium Brewing Company (Fort Collins, CO) - Voodoo Ranger Xperimental IPA

“Our latest IPA experiment. Exclusively dry hopped with Citra Hops.”

There are apparently at least two versions of this beer, and I’m pretty sure I have the first. The second one sounds much funkier and hazier, and the one I have is crystal clear and tastes like it might very well have been brewed with nothing but Citra, as the description on Untappd would indicate. It’s bright and refreshing, with good flavor and aroma. I had a huge crush on Citra there for a while, but that fervor has diminished somewhat. This is a fine beer, but it doesn’t rock my world.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

311. Against the Grain Brewery (Lousiville, KY) - Gettin’ Limboed in Kentiki

“Inspired by D.C.’s vacays on the Ohio River banks here in Kentiki, we give you a pineapple, mango sour ale that’s as tropical and tikified as D.C.’s riverside cabana. It’s so tasty you might find yourself doing a lil’ limbo. So go ahead, Kentiki, bend over backward and blow out a flip flop for this one!”

Um…well. It does not taste strongly of either pineapple or mango, which strike me as flavors that are far too subtle to make themselves known in a sour. However, this beer was only moderately sour, and not the aggressive slap in the face toward which the style seems to be trending. I got a little bit of pineapple as it began to warm up, but nothing that brought the word mango to mind. It was a pretty good sour, just not an especially flavorful one.

309. Crown Brewing (Crown Point, IN) - “The Dude” Java Porter

“Our Industrial Porter flavored with cold-brewed White Russian coffee for a distinct smooth yet robust profile. One of the best coffee porters around. But that’s just our opinion man…”

Yes, and their Industrial Porter boasts “roasted and caramel malt flavors”—and I wanted to like it, I think, but there’s just too much going on. It doesn’t say what kind of coffee they used, but I’m guessing it was some sort of White Russian-flavored coffee, and that it’s the White Russian flavoring in the coffee that is the overwhelming component here. I don’t know if the caramel is working against everything else, or if it’s a Kahlua-based White Russian that doesn’t play nice with others—but something isn’t right here. It’s pretty rare for me to actively dislike something, but I do not enjoy this beer at all.

308. New Madison Brewing Company (Madison, IN) - Raspberry Wheat

“Our wheat beer brewed with lots of raspberries, dry and refreshing.”

This is the aforementioned offering that I was lucky enough to happen upon when we stopped at the Off Broadway Taproom. Amy’s parents were kind enough to let Jackson stay over for a few days, so that Amy and I could take the little three-day trip we like to take each year during her fall break, and this year we went to Clifty Falls State Park, in Madison, Indiana. Madison boasts two independent craft breweries, but their open hours do not coincide with the time that we were going to be there. I was afraid that I would miss out on the chance to try their beer at all, but we decided to walk around “downtown” Madison on Tuesday afternoon, and we stopped for drinks and appetizers at the Off Broadway Taproom. They had this offering from New Madison on tap, and it was solid. The wheat backbone is nice and crisp, and the raspberry flavor is strong without being tart or overpowering.

313. 450 North Brewing Co. (Columbus, IN) - Pumpkin Pecan Spice Latté Slushy XL

“Pumpkin Pecan Spice Latté XL is conditioned on Pumpkin, Pecans, Spices and French Vanilla.”

This is, without a doubt, one of the strangest things I’ve ever tasted. They call it a Berliner Weiss, but it pours thick like I sort of imagine pumpkin juice would pour in the world of Harry Potter. It has a bright sour tang, but also sweet notes of pumpkin and spice. Pecan and vanilla may be there, but they’re bit players. Not sure if I like it or not, but it’s an impressive beer.

314. 450 North Brewing Co. (Columbus, IN) - Swirrrly

No description for this stout, apart from “chocolate and vanilla” and the 8.5% ABV notation on the board at the taproom. I tried it cold, and I also let it warm up for a good long time; but I don’t get any kind of chocolate apart from the chocolate malt. There might be an echo of vanilla in there, but the high alcohol gives it an almost astringent shine that is right on the cusp of unpleasant. It gets better as it gets warmer, but we’re not talking the 15-20 minutes it takes to drink it; we’re talking an hour or two. This is the first beer I’ve ever had where I feel like it needs to breathe like a fine wine.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

310. Country Boy Brewing (Georgetown, KY) - Cliff Jumper

“Your foot leaves the rock ledge and now you’ve committed. That split second of euphoria is trapped in the can you’re holding. Cliff Jumper is a straight forward, all-in citrus IPA. With a blend of four different hops over a balanced malt backbone, this ale is approachable to the uninitiated, but bold enough for the serial hop lover.”

This is my first Kentucky beer for the blog, which brings my total to 23 states—or 21 states and 2 commonwealths. Right out of the can and into a cold mug, it’s got a light, tropical flavor up front, with some citrus shine on the back end. Picked this up on our three-day jaunt to Clifty Falls State Park—the 9th State Park we have visited since the world shit the bed. Unfortunately, Madison, Indiana, is not yet a serious player in the craft beer scene. They have two breweries, and neither of them are open Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday. I was lucky enough to happen upon a beer from New Madison Brewing Company when Amy and I stopped for drinks and snacks at the Off Broadway Taproom, but that was the only distribution I could find.

(Madison isn’t nearly as hip as it thinks it is—way too many Trump flags and In God We Trust license plates, plus a paucity of liquor stores and the worst craft beer selection I have ever encountered at the only grocery store we visited while we were there. That said, the Off Broadway Taproom is fantastic. Decent tap list and great snacks—the hot pretzels came with a honey-dijon mustard that was so good, I could have happily eaten it all by itself, out of a cereal bowl with a spoon. And while Madison is no Columbus, if you’re into rugged hiking, Clifty Falls State Park will definitely scratch you where it itches.)

And now that I have gone on and on about all of that, the beer has had a chance to warm up a bit, and the profile hasn’t changed very much. Pretty solid beer, but maybe not the citrus bomb they wanted it to be.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

307. Maplewood Brewing Co. (Chicago, IL) - Charlatan

“An American Pale Ale generously hopped with Citra, Centennial, and Simcoe hops for fresh citrus flavors with mild earthy pine notes.”

This is lovely. Excellent balance of tropical, pine, and citrus flavors, with just a hint of a dry finish. I think it works a little bit better very cold—all of the flavors are there, and it’s crisp and refreshing. It’s still very fine when it warms up, but that crisp, cold punch in the first sip is where it’s most impressive.

Wednesday, October 07, 2020

306. Bier Brewery (Indianapolis, IN) - PDG

“Continuously hopped, this pale ale showcases the balanced hop and malt profile.”

A little bit citrusy, a little bit flowery, and a little bit dry at the end. Utterly unremarkable.

Monday, October 05, 2020

305. Big Lug Canteen (Indianapolis, IN) - Ragged Company

“Hazy, low bitterness with high hop flavor and aroma. ‘Juicy’ character, with notes of tropical fruit.”

I can’t quite make out which fruit flavor that is, but it’s huge up front, and almost cloyingly sweet. Could be vaguely tropical, I suppose…so I’m going with papaya. Perhaps a little bit of citrus shine on the back end. I had three of these yesterday, and I thought they all had that cloying sweetness I mentioned earlier; but it’s much less pronounced in the one I poured today, and the fruit flavor isn’t as big up front. It’s still a little too round and sweet overall, but really not bad.

Sunday, October 04, 2020

304. 3 Floyds Brewing Co. (Munster, IN) - Barbarian Haze IPA

“At long last, we bring you our take on a Hazy IPA. It’s no secret that most of our portfolio is hop forward, flavorful, and unfiltered. With Barbarian Haze, we took the hopping protocol a bit further, using some new age brewing alchemy coupled with our old school heavy handed approach. Fans of the style will recognize the complex soft malt character that helps balance the generous hop additions for supreme drinkability.”

This is surprisingly drinkable for a 3 Floyds offering, with a very light mouthfeel and strong flavors of stone fruit and citrus up front (plus a little pineapple as it gets warmer). The finish is too smooth for it to be thought of as balanced, but the whole thing is oddly appealing. I don’t know if I would go so far as to call myself a 3 Floyds convert just yet, but I might be starting to come around.

Friday, October 02, 2020

Deep Thoughts #231

And I hope you pass it on to your greasy offspring, so they can pass it to the rest of the Republicans and all of you motherfuckers can die.

Deep Thoughts #230

Hey Donnie, I heard you got the roni, you ignorant asshole. I hope you and the Balkan wop you married die choking in front of your children.