Sunday, February 28, 2021

352 and 353. Quaff ON! Brewing Co. (Nashville, IN) - X1 and X2

“Quaff ON! Xperimental IPA (X1) has a pleasant malty sweetness balanced with Centennial, Chinook, and, [sic] Simcoe hops featuring citrusy flavors of grapefruit and hints of pine.”
“Quaff ON! Xperimental IPA (X2) has a pleasant malty sweetness balanced with Mosaic, Equanot [sic][?], Cascade, Citra, and Simcoe hops that offer intense and unique flavors and aroma of fruit and citrus notes of melon, berry, lime, passion fruit, and papaya.”

So right now you can go to Big Woods and vote for which of the two new “Xperimental” IPAs you like best. You can try them by the pint, or get a “flight” of one five-ounce pour of each beer. X1 worked a little better for me; the flavors are more focused. X2 is also pretty good, but there’s a lot going on there. X1 is clearly a West Coast-style IPA, and they totally nail it. X2 tastes like they want the West Coast backbone and the more-tropical East Coast flavor profile. (And actually, now that I think about it, if that’s what they’re shooting for, they did pretty much nail it—I just don’t dig it as much as I dig the X1.)

Oh, and by the way—if you scan the QR code on the menu and fill in their voting form, they’ll send you a t-shirt. The winning beer gets added to the menu for the rest of the year.)

(X1 is on the left, and X2 is on the right.)

351. Quaff ON! Brewing Co. (Nashville, IN) - Six Foot Cinnamon Blonde

“Quaff ON! Six Foot Cinnamon Blonde infuses our popular Six Foot Blonde Ale with organic Indonesian cinnamon. A touch of natural vanilla balances out the flavor for a crisp and lean brew with the perfect amount of spice.”

Yep—although I would not have guessed the vanilla on my own. There is something smooth and almost sweet on the back end that gives a nice balance to the cinnamon flavor. I am not as personally enraptured with the cinnamon version as I am with the strawberry version, but they are both excellent blonde ale variants.

Friday, February 26, 2021

Deep Thoughts #248

Joe Hogsett is an inept mayor and a liar. He’s easing roni restrictions for some reason other than the NCAA tournament? Equine fecal matter.

Monday, February 22, 2021

350. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. (Chico, CA) - Wanderland

“Set out and see where the adventure leads. Roam until your paradise appears—like this juicy, golden sunset of a beer. Take it all in with an aroma of just-picked fruit, bold hop flavor, and a bright burst of nectarine. Enjoy the ride.”

The first sip is an absolute fruit bomb, a lingering shot of ripe nectarine that is full-flavored, but not sweet; and neither is it bitter or boozy, though it clocks in at 7.5% ABV. I get a little more of the complexity of the alcohol as it warms up, as well as a little bit of a shiny citrus finish. I will stipulate that it gets more interesting and complex the warmer it gets, while at the same time maintaining that it is more refreshing (deceptively so, I’m afraid to say) and more fully-stone-fruit-flavored when it’s very cold. Either way, one of the most interesting and satisfying new beers I have tried in a long time.

Monday, February 15, 2021

348. Black Circle Brewing Co. (Indianapolis, IN) - Pizza Scissors

I don’t like to credit Facebook with anything useful, but when that’s the only place for information on a local business, I sometimes have no choice; and I believe that one of Jesse’s posts described this—quite briefly—as a double-dry-hopped, hazy New England IPA. I’m not sure hazy is the right word, though—it’s more on the order of opaque (though that is not bad). There is a pleasant bitterness that tastes a little bit like grapefruit and smells a little bit like pine—and I kinda love it.

349. Centerpoint Brewing Company (Indianapolis, IN) - Social Distance

Another gift from my buddy Shane, this is an odd specimen. Centerpoint brewed it, but it’s in a Daredevil can with an Industry Relief Series label slapped onto it. Sort of a melon-y taste up front—either that or age. But hey…beer is beer; and as my wife has grown fond of saying recently, it’s better than a sharp stick in the eye.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

347. Black Circle Brewing Co. (Indianapolis, IN) - Spruce and Juice

This is a seasonal pale ale with spruce tips and grapefruit zest, and the first time I tried it, two or three years ago, I thought it was one of the strangest things I had ever tasted. Each year thereafter, though, it grew on me—to the point that it is now one of my favorite Black Circle beers. This year’s batch has a moderately strong flavor and a very smooth, almost sweet, mouthfeel. It’s not quite as aggressive as it’s been in the past, but it’s still awfully good.

Friday, February 12, 2021

346. 3 Sheeps Brewing Company (Sheboygan, WI) - Fresh Coast

“Fresh Coast is an East Coast-style pale ale brewed for the Midwest. Like most beers of the style, it pours cloudy...and that’s on purpose. The haze lets hop oils linger on the palate, enhancing their naturally citrusy and tropical fruit notes. To get that haze, we cultivate a special Vermont yeast strain that’s only used for Fresh Coast. It’s a pain to manage for just one beer, but it’s worth it. It’s the kind of beer you can drink all day, with your feet dangling in the lake. Because we live on the ‘Fresh Coast’ and that’s worth celebrating, right?”

Well shit…when you’re four beers into the afternoon and the pulled pork is rocking in the crock pot with your secret blend of seven spices (plus a little barbecue sauce and worcestershire sauce), you don’t really see the signs on the side of the road anymore, do you? Maybe the Vermont yeast strain gives it the piney backbone that resembles neither citrus nor tropical fruit, but it’s got something sharp going on that belies the advertised 4.8% ABV. I don’t really dig the way the flavors mix, but with that low an ABV, I could drink a few more of them; alas, this was a gift from my buddy Shane, so this is prolly my only one.

Monday, February 08, 2021

345. Books & Brews (Indianapolis, IN) - Clifford

“Clifford is a strong, roasty, and satisfying full-bodied Irish Red Ale. It’s [sic] big body and red hue make for the perfect malt bomb. It’s [sic] flavor may be mild, but the high ABV [7.4%] puts the fight back into the dog.”

Yesterday, Amy and I went out and about and contributed a great deal of money to the local economy. (Well, sort of local, I guess. We were shopping in Greenwood, so the taxes go to Johnson County, and not Marion County.) We were about to head home when she decided to make a u-turn and stop at Fresh Thyme to see if they had any Wildish Tea. I perused the beer selection while she (successfully, in case you’re into that kind of thing too, and haven’t been able to find it) hunted, and I was pleasantly surprised to find a Books & Brews beer that wasn’t Nancy, which so far is the only one of their offerings that I have seen in cans (as opposed to really expensive bombers). I’m not big on red ales, but I was intrigued by the 7.4% ABV (and the $10.99 price tag for a six-pack); and it does not disappoint. It has a sort of caramelized flavor that might have been cloying if they had opted for a lower ABV, but the strength of the alcohol provides an impressive balance. It ain’t no secret that I prefer hop bombs to malt bombs, but this one is kind of bad-ass.

Sunday, February 07, 2021

344. Scarlet Lane Brewing Company (McCordsville, IN) - Lenore Dry-Hopped Ale

“Northwest Pale Ale Double Dry-Hopped w/Meridian Hops”

Neither that brief description from the menu nor the website’s purple prose winking madly at Poe say anything about this being the less bitter and much fruitier version of Whiteaker Haze, but I suspect that it is. This one has the same flavor profile without that spectacular initial burst of bitterness. There are some floral notes in there, I think, but there’s lots of rich tropical and stone fruit up front, and then a shiny citrus finish.

343. Scarlet Lane Brewing Company (McCordsville, IN) - Whiteaker Haze

“Northwest Dank IPA w/Citrus”

The first sip is a huge, bitter gut punch, but then it smooths out a little bit. I still don’t know what dank is supposed to signify with respect to beer, but I guess that could be what I’m tasting in the wake of all that bitterness. I get more of a floral taste than a citrus one—and I still haven’t found a Scarlet Lane brew that really impresses me.

Tuesday, February 02, 2021

342. Revolution Brewing (Chicago, IL) - Valkyrye-Hero

“Valkyrye-Hero is a hazy new hero soaring into battle with bold rye flavor—balanced with a huge dry hop of Chinook, Cascade, Centennial, Amarillo and Citra. Tastes like victory!”

I have perhaps been conditioned on too much Saucy Intruder from Black Acre—or else I don’t know what the hell rye is supposed to taste like. (And of course I don’t mean the bread. You weren’t really going to go there, were you?) It’s fruity and light up front, with just a hint of crisp malt on the back end. Then it sort of lingers with a pineapple-y kind of flavor. It’s more interesting than I expected, so I may have to revisit this one after the remaining two have a chance to get cold.