Friday, January 17, 2020

Oliphant Brewing's Damn You, Bog Boy!

Oliphant Brewing's Damn You, Bog Boy!
5 % ABV. Oliphant Brewing, Somerset, WI.

Clear, bright crimson coloring, large pinkish head.

In the nose: Tart, vibrant, fruity. Nice.

In the mouth: Nothing but cran-tastic. Clean, crisp, light bodied, and sour. Cranberry's fully in charge, with the orange and cinnamon off to the side. Just enough spice to make it all a little extra nice. Not too sweet, not too tart. If there's any flaw, it's a little thin.

Other than that....Tasty. Refreshing. This is a good one, and I recommend it.

Cranberry sour with orange zest and cinnamon.

Lupulin Make IPA Piney Again IPA

Lupulin Make IPA Piney Again IPA.
7 % ABV. 70 IBU.
Lupulin Brewing, Big Lake, MN.

So, I like the name of this beer, and the idea behind it.  And I don't know if liking a joke like this puts them, or me, on the side of the MAGAs, or against. Can't say for sure, let's just leave it as good joke and hope the beer is as good.

Oh, but it's hazy. Got to be hazy. (Does it?), with a bright golden hue, and a thin ivory head.

In the nose: bursting with citrus and pine. Pow! Pow! Grapefruit, orange, and forest floor. Nice.

In the mouth: Mmm. big and juicy. Intense hop flavors. Dripping with bitter delights. Not a trace of the tropical notes that are all the rage these days, hardly a touch of sweetness. Good old bitter hop attack, plenty of citrus and pine. Medium bodied, long, fruity/hoppy finish. Juiciness continues.

If you look at their description below, it's odd that they seem to be rejecting "hazy, juicy" IPAs by making this "piney" IPA, but nothing of the sort has happened. Tropical hops have been swapped out for piney ones, but it's still hazy and juicy. Nothing's really changed, here. Make IPA clear again! Make IPA bitter again! Make IPA dry again!

I like it, though. It's a good IPA, and you can drink it. It's just not as good as it could be. Not piney enough, come on, you can do it. Go all the way. Do it! For real.

Many people are saying that juicy, hazy IPAs are all the rage. Sad! Fake news! Everyone knows piney IPAs are the greatest IPAs in the history of IPAs. Believe me, the bold, piney hops and rich malt of this beer are tremendous, just tremendous. It's fantastic, everyone agrees....China!

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Boulevard Space Camper Cosmic IPA India Pale Ale

Boulevard Space Camper Cosmic IPA India Pale Ale. "Juicy. Hop. Blast."
5.9 %. 50 IBU.
Boulevard Brewing, Kansas City, MO.

Hey, here's a new IPA. And it doesn't say Hazy anywhere on it! Whoa....Could it be? Maybe...

No, it's hazy. Bright golden hue. Slim white head.

In the nose: Popping out citrus fruit and tropical notes galore. Getting orange, grapefruit, passionfruit, pineapple.

In the mouth: Nice bitter buzz up front. Juicy fruit flavors shuffle softly onto the palate. Medium bodied, fairly easy drinking. Consistently hoppy and lightly bitter.

Not bad. Good IPA and you can drink it.

Space Camper Cosmic IPA is an exhilarating initiation into a mind-bending alternate universe of India Pale Ales. Our brewers employ massive hop additions at the end of the boil, and during fermentation, to minimize upfront bitterness and create a juicy IPA bursting with tropical fruit flavors and aromas of nectar and citrus.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

New Belgium Voodoo Ranger American Haze IPA

New Belgium Voodoo Ranger American Haze IPA.
5 % ABV, 30 IBU.
New Belgium Brewing, Fort Collins, CO.

I remember when New Belgium's name meant something. Now, it seems they just put out IPA after IPA. And this it Hazy? Only one way to be sure.

Clouded, bright gold color, slim white ring of foam.

In the nose: Citrus and pine-forward, all muddled up with the haze, bro.

In the mouth: Big hop bit up front, fading slowly thereafter. Grapefruit, orange and lemon lead the citrus charge. Body's on the lighter side, hop bitterness persists on the palate, but fades in the finish. Stays plentiful in the juicy for the duration.

So, it's not an NE IPA, but it's hazy and a little juicy. An American IPA with the haze. Okay, cool. I like it.

With notes of passionfruit and freedom, American Haze is a supremely drinkable, juicy and unfiltered IPA brewed with all-American hops

Town Hall Eye of the Storm Honey Ale

Town Hall Eye of the Storm Honey Ale. 9.2 % ABV.
Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery, Minneapolis, MN.

It continues. I need to keep checking, rechecking, researching beers to see if they've appeared here over the past nine years, or have I reviewed them before and posted them elsewhere?
Today, I stopped into Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery, and a plethora of great beers were available, including this one. Has it ever appeared here in the Nib? Amazingly, not in it's original form, no. On Yes, over twelve years ago, when I used too much punctuation.

I will now share that original 2007 review, while I drink it fresh from a crowler bought tonight. If there's any deviation between tasting now and remembering then, I'll let you know.

Eye of the Storm, 10th Anniversary Beer, 2007

10% alcohol, 10 varieties of honey.

Slightly hazed orange coloring, slimmed white head.

Aroma is sweetness and citrus, honey and orange...which blossoms where harvested here? 10 of them, we know, but what kinds are a mystery. Flowery, almost, but not quite perfumey...with a solid malt base behind. Quite intriquing and utterly unique.

Taste: slick, and sweet, with a bold, big flavor. One of the fullest bodied of any honey ales I've ever had. There's a tidy hop buzz going on on top, and just the right malt ballast below, but this tasty honey base makes this ever-so delicious.
Supposedly 10% alcohol, for the 10 years of Town Hall, but I'm not feelin','s starting to blaze!

Is it an ale? Or a mead? Or a honeywine? Or...???
Not that I care, it's just super-delicious in my book. Any time a brewer takes chances and comes up with some incredible new wrinkle in the folds of the beer style catalog, I'm on the cheering squad...but, only if it tastes as good as this!

Big carbonation in the mouthfeel with this one, bristling along the tongue, who knows what hops are at use, but the honey is larger in the profile of this guy. Full-bodied, with a big, thick, nearly viscous mouthfeel.

Dang, it's good! Wish their bottling lines were ready in time for this one, it's one to keep, and share, and have around for the good times and celebrations!

Damn! Wow! Cool! Other! One! Word! Exhultations!

Honestly, outside of Dogfish Head's Midas Touch, I don't think I've had any beer quite like this...and that one was far too thick and un-beer-like. This is so's good enough to salute 10 years of great beers and plenty of innovation, too! Hats off to Pete and Mike and the whole crew, long may they wave!

I have checked into this beer three times previously on Untappd, each time at the pub. It's never been released in a growler/crowler before? Never? Amazing. I have reviewed the red wine barrel-aged version, Eye Wine Red, and then there was Vine's Eye, which was somehow different, and while researching these, I noticed that I copied and pasted, just as now, the original Eye of the Storm review back then, in April of 2017.

Oh, well, too late, I already did it. Maybe I thought I'd never have that beer again. This week, Town Hall has been bringing out the original versions of the barrel-aged beers, and making them available in the to-go formats. I like this. I'll be back for more.

As for this beer, would I change anything from my original review? Maybe less exclamation points, and toss in a yum-A-Dum, Dum.

This crazy honey ale is made with local MN honey and German pilsner malt. The result is a strong beer that tastes like you just "licked the spoon" from the honey jar.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Invictus Blaine It On The Rain Amber

Invictus Blaine It On The Rain Amber. "Caramel. Toffee. Bready."
6 % ABV. 24 IBU.
"Beer for the Unconquerable Soul."
Invictus Brewing Co., Blaine, MN.

Clear, dark amber/bronze color, slim off-white, cola-tinged head.

In the nose: Clean, malty, semi-sweet.

In the mouth: Brief bitterness up front, swiftly supplanted by slightly sweet malt, with touches of caramel & toffee. Medium bodied, well-balanced, and utterly easily drinkable. Tasty stuff, classic rendition of a neglected, but popular style.

Malty Sweetness along with notes of caramel, toffee and slightly bready notes start off this classic Amber. Brewed with 2-Row, Crystal, Munich and a touch of Black Malt for color with just enough hops for balance.

Firestone Walker Mind Haze IPA

Firestone Walker Mind Haze IPA. 6.2 % ABV. 40 IBU.
Firestone Walker Brewing, Paso Robles, CA.

It's all got to be hazed these days. Even the mind.

Heavily clouded. Bright golden. Slim white head.

In the nose: Slightly sweet, fruity, yeasty. Minor hops. Fairly muted and simplistic.

In the mouth: Tasty buzz of bitterness up front on the palate. Just enough juicy on it. Tasty turns to yum, even yum-a dum, dum. Especially smooth. Bitter buzz continues to ride the palate. This has got a little of both worlds, keeping me mighty pleased.

I like this one. And I wish I had another. Good hazy IPA and you can drink it.

From the coast of California comes Mind Haze, a free-spirited beer made to elevate your perceptions—juicy yet balanced, hazy yet lasting, and loaded with an imaginative array of tropical hop flavors.

In the words of Brewmaster Matt Brynildson, “Mind Haze offers the best of what you expect from a hazy IPA. But we’re going about it a little differently, and that’s what gives Mind Haze its own unique signature. We’re finally ready to do a hazy IPA the Firestone way.”

Number 12 Cider Trilogy

Number 12 Cider Trilogy. Semi Sweet.
8.2 % ABV. Number 12 Cider House, Minneapolis, MN.

Clear, pale golden hue, no head.

In the nose: subtle, fruity, apples & melon. Pleasant.

In the mouth: Light, clean, slightly sweet, ultimately dry. Tasty and smooth. Light bodied, imperceptible ABV. It's good, go drink it.

Tasting Notes: Fruity, melon rind, hint boozy
Apples: Chestnut Crabapple, Cortland, Keepsake
ABV 8.2%

Friday, January 10, 2020

Oliphant 2blazed2bphased Peaches & Cream Sour

Oliphant 2blazed2phased Peaches & Cream Sour. 5 % Alc./Vol
Oliphant Brewing, Somerset, WI.

A few weeks back, I made the final pilgrimage to Oliphant of the year, number four for 2019.
It was important that I make the journey before year's end for I'd purchased a Smug Club membership and still had more beers coming to me. They don't follow over to the next year, so if I didn't make it, I'd lose out. I had two more crowlers coming to me and talked the staff into dropping the cost of two crowlers from the price of the 12 Days of Tangus boxed set. That's right, 12 crowlers of Oliphant sours, most that I hadn't tried yet. All for a mere one hundred dollars.How could I pass this up?

So, here we are with number two from those seven, another in the series named for a condition of intoxication that deals a lack of ability to function, in some way or another.

Clear, bright golden color, large and lasting ivory head.

In the nose: Tart at the start, fruit fast behind. Salt and cream detected.

In the mouth: Sour kicks it off at the outset, fruit comes in, flashes of peach, then it settles down. Sweetness, cream persists, eventually subsides. There are delectable delights in this. The fruit is somewhat subtle, downright manageable, never too anything. Just enough of everything. And especially refreshing.

A perfect example of the combination of the parts being the better than the individual elements.

Sour ale brewed with peaches, sea salt, and lactose.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Modist Floor Model DDH Oat Milk Double IPA

Modist Floor Model DDH Oat Milk Double IPA.
8.3 % ABV.
Collaboration with Blackstack Brewing.
Brewed by Modist Brewing, Minneapolis, MN.

Hazed. (naturally), dull golden color, lasting white head, leaving lace.

In the nose: Arousing blend of citrus and tropical fruit hops up in the aroma. Orange and pineapple and mango galore, all kept in check with unfiltered yeast. All murkied up.

In the mouth: Nice snap of hop bitterness smacks up the palate, then fades back. Mild and cool. Smooth. Creamy. Lush. Sweet. Scrumptious.
Bitterness goes away and it's nothing but easy peasy. If you like that. Ho hum.

It's tasty. Has a nice buzz. Giving off the old DIPA vibes, alcohol-wise.

This one is starting to grow on me, now.  Big time. It's a funny thing with these new-fangled DDH DIPA hazies. They hit me in waves. Waves of boredom, waves of disappointment, then out of nowhere, I get it. They hit me with waves of hoppiness and bitterness, underneath all that murk and haze. Then the booze comes around. Redeeming qualities pop up out of nowhere, after being obscured by the tell-tale signs of this style I generally despise.

This Oat Milk Double IPA made in collaboration w/ Blackstack comes fully loaded w/ our house-made oat milk, plus Citra, Strata, Nelson Sauvin & Sabro hops then DDH w/ cryo Citra & cryo Sabro

Ballast Point Citrus Cove Gose

Ballast Point Citrus Cove Gose. Lemon-lime session ale.
4.2 % ABV. 5 IBU.
Ballast Point Brewing, San Diego, CA.

Clear, dull yellow, slim head.

In the nose: Loud lemon and lime. Outsized sourness. Bright and citrus-y.

In the mouth: Tart. Citrusy. Big ol' lemon and lime. Slightly salty. Simple, but does the job. If you want a nice, light citrusy ale, you can't go wrong here at all.

I'd love to say more, but there's nothing more to say.

I'll let this guy say it: Citrus Cove captures the salty spray of an ocean wind mingled with a bright tropical character that begs one refreshing sip after the other. Crisp, lemon citrus acidity leads the way to a nice, dry, salt and lime zest finish. The result is a surprisingly fresh take on the classic Gose style, turning all hours into happy hour.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Hop & Barrel Big Mik's Favorite Coffee Stout

Hop & Barrel Big Mik's Favorite Coffee Stout.
5.8 % ABV.  30 IBU.
Hop & Barrel Brewing, Hudson, WI.

Full blackness, truly opaque, slim brown head atop.

In the nose: Intense coffee bean aromatics, earthy, nutty, semi-dry. Arresting, rewarding.

In the mouth: Coffee and dark malt flavors dominate the palate. A touch sweet at times, but clean and dry in the end. Slightly fruity and nutty, with a bitter, roasty flavor that never flags. Full bodied, with an long malty finish.

I love a good coffee stout, and this is one of them.

 I'm looking for more information online, and coming up short, so let's scan the can: "Big Mike's. Through the mists of time in ancient Hudson, WI, comes the legend of Big Mid, a giant among men who worships stout ale and coffee. So naturally he took his beefy hands and smashed them together creating Big Mik's Coffee Stout. This robust, smooth coffee laden beer goes perfect with eggs and bacon or whatever you have laying around for breakfast."

Offshoot Beer Retreat Hazy Double IPA

Offshoot Beer Retreat Hazy Double IPA. 8.8 % ABV.
From your friends at The Bruery, Placentia, CA.

Haze for days. Bright orange glow. Sizable, lasting ivory head.

In the nose: bold citrus and tropical fruit notes. Orange, grapefruit, guava, pineapple, and the like.

In the mouth: Smooth and luscious. Just enough bitterness to keep me happy, and plenty of the pillowy that others seek. Big citrus flavors covers up the sweetness of the occasional tropical.
Medium bodied. Moderate, but present, bitterness. Slowly growing alcohol.

I tend to rag on the hazy, but when they're good, they're good. This one's good.

This hazy DIPA is brewed with a simple malt bill and hopped heavily with fruit-forward Mosaic, Cashmere
and El Dorado. Laced with delicate and aromatic tropical notes along with a bright berry medley and a crisp mouthfeel, it’s like diving into the Pacific on a 90 degree day. Seriously, nothin’ beats the heat, like Retreat.

Blake's Hard Cider Traffic Jam

Blake's Hard Cider Traffic Jam. 6.5 % ABV.
Blake's Hard Cider, Armada, MI.

Clear, bright crimson coloring, no head at all.

In the nose: Nothing but berries, tart and sweet and oh, so fruity.

In the mouth: More sweet than tart at first, and very juicy. Tartness takes over, and it's clean and refreshing. Light bodied, crisp, and quenching. Turns a bit dry, but never strays from the sweet.
Not bad. not great, but not bad.

Inspired by the juicy berries we grow on our farm each summer, Traffic Jam is the perfect balance of ripe sweetness with bold fruit aromatics. Bursting with strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries, this semi-sweet captivates the nuance of our farm, in each and every taste.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Inbound BrewCo Hazy Shades

Inbound BrewCo Hazy Shades. India Pale Ale.
6.9 % ABV. 57 IBU. Inbound BrewCo. Minneapolis, MN.

All clouded up. Bright golden-ish. Lasting white head.

In the nose: Hoppy, floral, citric, fruity, and soft. Very mellow, very muted, and entirely pleasant.

In the mouth: Citrus fruit, orange, lemon, grapefruit, with a touch of tropical, just a bit of passionfruit and guava. Maybe mango. Bitterness is low, mouthfeel is lush, finish is fruity and long. Exceptionally smooth.

It's an excellent example of an IPA for people who hate IPAs. That's why I keep saying: call it something else! If you're taking the bitterness out, why is it still an IPA? Yes, Old Man Still Yells At Cloud. Get Off My Lawn, Kids, etc. I'll keep howling into the wilderness.

Oh, no, wait, we say, "OK, Boomer" now, despite the actual age of the person involved. Someone said that to me the other day. I am not a Boomer. Ah, youth and their snark.

A New England IPA brewed with seven rounds of Amarillo, Citra, and El Dorado hops. The tropical, fruity, citrusy trio make their debut appearance in the first wort, then show up for three rounds in late kettle additions, followed by three rounds of dry hopping. A mouthfeel more pillowy than your bell bottoms and a citrusy hop profile more flavorful than your disco suit.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Town Hall MMXX IPA

Town Hall MMXX IPA. 6.7 % ABV.
Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery, Minneapolis, MN.

A new IPA from Town Hall is always reason to celebrate. I picked up this growler on Tuesday night, December 31, and cracked it open on January 1. 2020. Or, as the Romans would say, MMXX.

Clear, bright golden hue, slim, creamy toned head. Looking good.

In the nose: fruity, sweet, lightly bitter. Nice. Interesting blend.

In the mouth: Hop bitterness graces the palate, deploying flavors of citrus and pine, the classic combo. Zesty orange, grapefruit, and forest floor. Just a touch of juicy, ending on the dry side. A little sticky, a smidge of dank.

Once again, Town Hall makes an IPA exactly the way I like them. They just have a way with that, cheers to more great beers in MMXX!

Hop loaded IPA with notes of sweet tropical fruits and mandarin orange zest with smooth maltiness.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

oliphant animals with human lips tropical sour

oliphant animals with human lips tropical sour. with passion fruit, mango, & pineapple.
5 % ABV. Oliphant Brewing, Somerset, WI.

Hazy, pale golden, slim ivory head.

In the nose: sweet, tropical goodness, mango and passionfruit/pineapple aplenty. Nice.

In the mouth: Sour takes command from the start, with tropical fruit flavors coming in behind. Sour at the top of the sip, sweetness creeping in and taking over for a bit, until it all starts anew. The sour never stops in this one, and the fruit keeps it a delight.

Surly Black Horsemen Danish-style Black Lager

Surly Black Horsemen Danish-style Black Lager. Collaboration with King Diamond.
5 % ABV, Surly Brewing, Minneapolis/Brooklyn Center, MN.

Knowing very little of the musician King Diamond or the beers he prefers, or whatever the heck a Danish black lager is, this will be all a surprise for me.

Dark brown color, edging on black, fully opaque, under a greenish/beige head, leaving a little lace.

In the nose: Grassy/floral hops take center stage. A touch of sweetness, a little fruit, surrounded by malt flavors. Interesting.

In the mouth: Fruity and sweet at the top once more, a bit hoppy, but lacking any bitterness. Light bodied, and easy drinking. Just enough malt for flavor and balance. Berries and grapes dominate over caramel and cocoa. Tasty stuff, all in all, but nothing especially special. Good dark lager and you can drink it, that's for sure.

Here's where the marketing crew waxes rhapsodic about all associations evil, metal and otherwise:

Brewed in collaboration with heavy metal royalty King Diamond, this Danish-style black lager pulses with wicked intentions, enormous riffs, and apocalyptic imagery. Roasted malts lend rich flavors of cocoa and dark bread with a hint of sweetness and a smooth, clean finish.


Warrior (bittering)
Danish Lager


Lift Bridge Barrel Dessert Series Tan Van Coconut Candy Bar Stout

Lift Bridge Barrel Dessert Series Tan Van Coconut Candy Bar Stout.
8 % ABV. 30 IBU. Lift Bridge Brewing, Stillwater, MN.

So, they story goes that Dan had a tan van, and ate Mounds bars while he delivered the Lift Bridge beers, in early days. I can't help but think of a certain old Sesame Street sketch featuring Frank Oz as Lefty, when I hear "tan van." See below. Makes me wonder if there was a Fran involved. Or a golden an.

Dark, opaque, brown head.

In the nose: whiskey hits first, with coconut crawling out from below. Chocolate spills out beneath.

In the mouth: Bourbon is big and boisterous, nearly hot. Vanilla and cocoa, full-on whiskey flavors. Whatever was supposed to represent a Mounds bar is under a mountain of whiskey doused malt. Full bodied, rich, and tasty, but I feel this would be more improved with less bourbon barrel and a touch more coconut.

TanVan is inspired by one of our first delivery vehicles, a tan van that was fueled by coconut candy bars. A blend of a sweet dessert stout and a bourbon 
barrel aged stout, combined with natural 
chocolate, caramel, and coconut flavors.

Wild State Cider Raspberry Hibiscus

Wild State Cider Raspberry Hibiscus. 6.1 % ABV.
Wild State Cider, Duluth, MN.

Clear and rosy. No head.

In the nose: Bright and tart. Very berry, brisk and floral.

In the mouth: More of the above, playing on the palate. Crisp, fruity, floral and delightful. Berries aplenty. Light bodied, delicious. Refreshingly tart. Go drink it.

A cider on the sweeter side, this tart pink cider is a must-have. Raspberry, hibiscus, tart, bright. 

Monday, December 30, 2019

Drekker Lizard People Double IPA

Drekker Lizard People Double IPA. 8.5 % ABV.
Drekker Brewing, Fargo, North Dakota.

I don't know who the artist is, but I have always loved the art on the Drekker can labels. So much so that I forget that when I read that it's a Double IPA, which I prefer, it usually turns out to be an NE, aka Hazy DIPA, which I do not. These days it's a surprise bonus when an IPA is not among the hazy variety. I end up having to applaud the rare breweries brave enough to make them. Because, you know, trends, they've got to be followed.

Anyway, on to the beer:

All hazed up, murky, dirty dull golden, sizable ivory foam caps it off. Hazy IPAs are not pretty, people.

In the nose: zesty, hoppy, citrusy, yeasty. Nice.

In the mouth: Big citrus, certain bitterness, blocked by the yeast. All the things that I want in a DIPA seem to be there, but that "hazy" is getting in the way. Huh. Yet, I still like it. I'm a pushover.

Bright fruit flavor, back up with hop bitterness, smoothed over. Lightish bodied, long hoppy finish. Juicy, tropical. Goes down nice and easy, gives me (most of) the treats I delight in with the style, hazy or no.

Lizard People Double IPA brewed with a super secret blend of some of our favorite juicy hops that was decided in a smoky back room under an oath of secrecy. This one will give you hints of ripe mango, berries, and interstellar lizards in people suits.

Number Twelve Cider House Black Market

Number Twelve Cider House Black Market. Black Currant cider
"Reinvent tradition." "Creating distinctive ciders that celebrate the fruit, the growers, and cider drinkers alike."
6.1 % ABV. Number Twelve Cider House, Minneapolis, MN.

Clear, bright crimson coloring, no head (naturally).

In the nose: Quite tart. Bold berry flavors. Quite fruity.

In the mouth: Tartness kicks it off, accompanied by berry & grape flavors, tons of tannins. Crisp, dry, tart, and delicious. Hey, I'd drink this again.

Tasting Notes: Rich, jammy aroma, crisp black currant
Apples: Chestnut Crab, Connell Red, Cortland, Fireside, Honeycrisp, Regent, (Black Currant)
ABV 6.1%

Mpls Breweries Day by Day #6: Sisyphus & Jim Beam Me Up Imperial Stout

In the effort for this project, I saw 5 Minneapolis breweries in a row, and on the sixth day, I rested. No, that's a lie, I definitely d...