Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Summit Hefe Weizen

Here's an old favorite, if this is the same as the original, and why wouldn't it be? Summit's Hefe Weizen was surely the first of the style that I ever tried back in the 90's. And then, they stopped making it, some time around 2009 or so. Or, wait, no, they still brewed it, but only for Chicago. What? That's crazy. Was it really that poor of a seller? How could a classic hefe weizen not be hit here at home? Well, I certainly put back my share, when I wasn't in the mood for an IPA, or a porter, or a pale ale, or a saison, or a stout...or a barley-wine or a tripel, or bourbon barrel aged imperial whatsiwhovitz.

And now here it is in the Boundary Waters collection. Or, on tap, wherever. And I'm going to drink this can, poured into a glass.

Highly clouded, pale orange color, slim white, lace-leaving head.

In the nose: Classic Bavarian hefe weizen yeast character dominates the aromatics. There's the banana and a little bit of clove, with plenty of citrus hanging around. Nice.

In the mouth: Soft, clean, smooth. Delightfully drinkable. Medium/light bodied, expertly drinkable. Did I say smooth? Super-smooth. Just enough flavor to keep the mouth happy. Make more, Summit, make enough to last all summer long!

Just for kicks, here's a Beer Advocate.com review I did back in May of 2003:

Cloudy golden color, hazier up at the top, with an impressive head, 2" thick, white as a cloud and fluffy as one, too, with a slow, lacey crumble. (Perhaps the Aventinus glass I poured it into aided in this.)
Aroma is overall soft and subdued, but full of weizen character, spikey with citrus, spicy, but mellow and dry.
Rich, tangy, grainy, mouthfeel at first, with a tasty, rewarding finish. Body is light/medium, and smooth. Lacking complexity, but high on the drinkability, with just enough flavor.
A brew I return to every summer, over and over.

School's Maifest German-style Maibock

I can't keep up with all the new beers, though I try and try. But I do feel that I have to check off the old beers, of course. Have I not had Schell's Maifest once in the past six or so years? Sadly true. So, I'm drinking this one, and looking back on notes from 2004. April 21 to be exact:

School's Maifest, German-style blonde bock. August Schell Brewing, New Ulm, MN. 6.2 % ABV.

Clear, faded crimson color, adequate, spotted beige head.

Aroma is clean and malty, rosy sweet, subdued.

Taste: smooth, very light, unobstrusive entry on the palate and definitely classifiable as tasty, rich, buttery, bright, with toffee-ish malty tones.Good mouthfeel, hangs fully and solidly on the tongue, a very tangible maibock, bright coppery, I like the way this lays in the mouth.

Good drinkability, too, but I like bolder, more substantive maibocks better, so, as much as I appreciated this bottle, Schell's has to get in line behind some superior offerings.
Good, though, I'd never say no to one!

Looking back on my thoughts of 13 years ago, what was I thinking? How does higher alcohol mean "superior"? Simply untrue. Ain't nothing wrong with a maibock under 8% ABV. In fact, it's pretty normal. This one is damned delicious, without the buzz of high alcohol.

21st Amendment Hell or High Watermelon Wheat Ale

Here's a beer I had to check and make sure I haven't reviewed already, it's been around for so long. I've certainly tried it many times, but have never had a can of my very own to sit down and sample. Thanks, Mr. Sample Man, for helping make this happen, at long last.

I'm looking at the can and I wonder: How did the Statue of Liberty get to San Francisco, and why is she hanging out on top of the Golden Gate bridge? Did she swim? No, that's impossible. Did she walk? How did she avoid causing massive death and destruction, crushing buildings, people, plants and livestock under her the enormous weight of her gargantuan feet? Did she fly? Can she fly? How does the bridge withstand her incredible weight? Where did those gigantic watermelons come from? What other amazing properties and talents does this amazing living statue possess? And here I thought it just stood in New York harbor, all lifeless -like. So many questions.

But, the beer: Hell or High Watermelon Wheat Ale, 4.9% Alc./Vol. Wheat beer brewed with watermelon. Brewed and canned by 21st Amendment Brewery, San Leandro, California.

Hazy, pale yellow, slim, milky white head.

In the nose: soft, wheat-y, increasingly fruity.

In the mouth: Sweet, fruity, nice wheat-y texture. Light bodied, easy drinking. Yup, it's a beer and it's got watermelon in it, and you can drink it. I can't think of anything else to say about it. Not bad, not great, just about good enough. I'm not big of a fan of watermelon flavor to actually go so far as to choose to drink it again. I'll ear watermelon if it's there in front of me, but I just don't care about having it in a beer. And we're going to have to leave it there, ladies and gentlemen, and off to the next one.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Harpoon Fresh Tracks Spring Pale Ale

Harpoon Fresh Tracks Bright Floral Hoppy Spring Pale Ale. 6.2% ABV. 38 IBU. Product of USA. India Pale Ale. Harpoon Brewery, Boston, MA & Windsor, VT.

Clear, pale yellow color, slim white head.

In the nose: bright, citrusy hops, and that's about it.

In the mouth: Citrus bomb, as the kids say these days. Light bodied. Low bitterness. Hoppy. Clean, crisp malt. Not too much to talk about. Let's read the label for a bit: "bright golden with citrus and pine notes, light and ready-for-spring ale. Hibernation be damned. Get outside and make some fresh tracks--hooray for spring!"

Wait, there's more: "Our brewery parking lot can be a pretty good indicator of the season. Some cars have ski racks. Others are decked with bike racks. Some even have both. Spring here keeps us on our toes. So we're always ready for anything."

Well, it's a good spring IPA and you can drink it. And there ain't nothing' wrong with it.

Bear Republic Pace Car Racer Pale Ale

Bear Republic Pace Car Racer. 4% Alc. byVol. Brewed and bottled by Bear Republic Brewing Co., Cloverdale, CA.

Hazy, deep yellow, slim, lasting ivory head.

In the nose: big, bright, bold citrus. Lemon and orange and grapefruit aplenty, with a splash of pine.

In the mouth: more and of that and then some. Big bitterness. And more bright, more bold. Light bodied, easily consumable. Very clean, very crisp, and so much citrus. Good drinking pale ale.

From the label: "Hoppy aromas of pine and citrus, with a smooth malt flavor that empties your glass at a speedy pace. This Session India Pale Ale is the newest addition to the Racer family."

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Deschutes Swivelhead Red India Style Red Ale

Deschutes Swivelhead Red. 70 IBU. 6.5% ABV.

Clear, crimson coloring, slim off-white head.

In the nose: lively, grassy hop notes. Piney, then malty.

In the mouth: Sweet malt starts it off, quickly met with hops. Low bitterness, high flavor. Grassy, herbal hop notes lay long on the palate. Caramel/toffee malt flavors dominate. This is interesting. And  tasty. Good IRA and you can drink it.

From the label: "Profile: A head turning IRA with herbal hop aroma and smooth caramel maltiness."

Summit Wit Bier

Summit Wit Bier. 4.8% ABV. 15 IBU. Available only on draft and in the Boundary Waters sampler pack.

Heavily clouded, pale yellow, large and lasting ivory cap on top, leaving lace.

In the nose: soft and sweet, coriander pops out. Flood of citrus. Right on for style.

In the mouth: Sweet and fruity starts it off. All is soft and smooth. Medium bodied, light and quite consumable. Minor hop bitterness. Just enough spice. this will be really good in the summertime. Hope it lasts that long.

Good wit and you can drink it.

"A traditional Belgian white beer with aromas of spice, citrus and flowers, this summertime thirst-quencher puts the "rad" in "traditional." Kettle additions of orange peel, grains of paradise and fresh-ground coriander give this refreshing, citrusy and herbal ale a light body and slightly tart, dry finish. Find Summit Wit Bier on draft and in 12-oz. cans, exclusively inside the Boundary Waters Box."

This is not their first wit, over at Summit. I recall many years ago, eleven to be exact, that they released a version of a wit called Scandia, for some reason. It was made unique with the addition of cardamom, added to the coriander and orange peel of a traditional wit. It didn't really work. They continued to make it until 2009, when it was discontinued. I never understood, either, the emphasis on Norwegian roots when making their first Belgian-style beer. This one I can dig, for real. Though I don't know why there's a cow on the can.

Lupulin Blissful Ignorance Double IPA

Lupulin Blissful Ignorance, Unapologetically Hazy, Blissfully Ignorant. 9% ABV. 70 IBU. Lupulin Brewing, Big Lake, MN.

Hazed and clouded, pale amber/golden hued, big, beautiful white head atop.

In the nose: ah! Wow! Pungent and powerful, popping with tropical and citrus fruit notes, flooded with pineapple, lemon, grapefruit, mango.

In the mouth: Pow! Pow! Powerfully bitter and juicy, bouncing about the palate. Bitterness blazes a trail all over the tongue and spills about the back. Lush and lovely, for this double IPA-lover. Dee-lightful. Man, this is good. I could drink a few more of these. New favorite? Just about maybe.

This Double IPA is loaded with waves of some of the juiciest hops available. Citra, Mosaic, Columbus blend together to make this hop juice. Intentionally left hazy to create a soft mouthfeel and enhance the flavor of this wonderfully hoppy beer."

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Lupulin Resin Rapture Imperial Red IPA

At last, Lupulin bottles and cans are leaving the brewery and the Big Lake area and finding their way into Twin Cities stores, if only a select few. I'm going to do my best to keep on top of them, and here's the first one I took notes on from a can, though I did try it before.  (Actually, I tried Jason's.)

Lupulin Resin Rapture. 100 IBU. 8.0% ABV. "Get caught up in the rapture!" Brewed by Lupulin Brewing, Big Lake, MN.

Hazed, reddish-brown coloring, vast, and lasting ivory head, leaving lace.

In the nose: Ah! Yes! Resinous is right. Sticky, hoppy, fruity, dank. (Though I despise the term, here it fits.) Very nice.

In the mouth: More of the same at play on the palate. Deep bitterness from hops, thick and rich and resinous, long on the tongue. Gooey. Caramel malt flavors lurk below. Big flavors in this, very tasty stuff. Bitter and sweet, back to back, toe to toe.

If you want one good and sticky, go here.

"Get caught up in the rapture as waves of malt and hops do battle across your tongue. Rich European malts balance out the 4 pounds of dank Pacific Northwest hops, carrying you away on waves of flavor with each sip."

Lagunitas 12th of Never Ale

Ale 12th of Never Lagunitas. (that's how it reads on the can!)
5.5% 45 IBU.

Clear, pale yellow, fluffy white head, lovely as a cloud.

In the nose: .......minor citric hop character. Rather quiet.

In the mouth: Lightly hoppy, citrusy. Light bodied, long-lasting bitterness on the palate. Nice and lemony, and, yep, papaya-y, bright and shiny. Lean bodied, expertly drinkable. Smooth and hoppy. Zesty and downable. Yeah, it's a good beer and you can drink it.

The label of this can is overflowing with gobbledygook that I can't read (much of it having to do with Lagunitas finally putting a beer in cans despite previous protestations to the contrary), as usual, but I pulled this off the internet:

"The magical, mystical 12th of Never is a blend of Old and New School hops that play bright citrus, rich coconut, and papaya-esque flavors, all on a solid stage of English puffed wheat. Tropically hoppy. Light, yet full-bodied. Bright and citrusy. The 12th of Never Ale is everything we’ve learned about making hop-forward beer expressed in a moderate voice. Pale, cold, slightly alcoholic and bitter. It’s all we know."

Sorry, I'm not getting the "rich coconut", though. I don't know what they're smoking.....