Friday, April 20, 2018

Dogfish Head / The Flaming Lips Dragons & Yum Yums

Dogfish Head / The Flaming Lips Dragons & Yum Yums.  Pale Ale brewed with dragonfruit, and yumberry. Passionfruit, pear, and black carrot juices. Brewed and bottled by Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Milton, DE. 6.5% ABV, 25 IBU.

Clear, pinkish hued, with solid ivory head. Weird and good.

In the nose: Lightly sweet and fruity. Very berry. What other berries? I can't say for sure. (I'm drinking this

In the mouth: Slight tart, big fruity. Dragonfruit? I love Dragonfruit! I don't go out of my way for it, but if it's there, I'm drinking it. Or eating it. Plenty of dragonfruit, and who knows what else pounds the palate on every sip.

Light body, smooth, easy drinking, lots of fruit....tasty and tart.

I haven't any familiarity with the music of The Flaming Lips, and can only imagine what their song about dragons and yum yums can possibly sound like. Maybe it's out there somewhere, or do I have to wait for Record Store Day?

An explosion of fruit in every sip, Dragons & YumYums is an intensely tropical - yet subtlety bitter - pale ale brewed with a combination of dragonfruit, yumberry, passionfruit, pear juice and black carrot juice. Clocking in at 6.5% ABV and 25 IBU, Dragons & YumYums is a first-of-its-kind beer and vinyl collaboration with American rock icons, The Flaming Lips. 

A sensory enveloping experience at the intersection of creative beer paired with creative music, the energy of this union inspired Flaming Lips front man Wayne Coyne to use ingredients from the beer - dragonfruit and yumberries - as characters in two original songs, The Story of Yum Yum and Dragon and Pouring Beer in Your Ear … making this the first beer with its own theme song!

With dragonfruit and yumberry as the main elements, Wayne transformed them into storyful lyrics in the song like, “Yum Yum and Dragon went out for a drive, but Yum Yum doesn’t have any eyes….Yum Yum and Dragon, they’re happy they’re friends…”

The psychedelic influence of the label artwork, designed by Marq Spusta as part of Dogfish Head’s Off-Centered Art Series, was influenced by the legacy of the Flaming Lips and the culinary components in Dragons & YumYums shown through radiating lines, movement of fire, dancing lips, rainbows and bold pink colors.

Inbound Apricot Pale Ale

Inbound Apricot Pale Ale. Currently bearing the name of The Fuzz in the new cans that are out, though I am drinking from a crowler I bought about 10 days ago.

5% ABV, 24 IBU, Inbound BrewCo, Minneapolis, MN.

I'm looking on Untappd and it shows 3 check-ins to this beer, the first one being October 17, 2016, which was my first visit to the Inbound taproom. I liked it, good apricot pale ale. Check-in number two was from a sample bottle, provided by the brewery, enjoyed at my home, but I didn't publish the notes that I took on December 16 of 2016 for some reason. Again, I liked it. Why didn't I order kegs from the brewery for the bar that I work at? Good question. And check-in #3 was at Acadia on January 17 of 2017, when I had it on tap at Acadia, but ...well, there's a story there, and I'm going to tell it to you, soon, dear reader.

But for now, I'm just going to go ahead and drink Apricot Pale Ale, aka The Fuzz one more time and take notes from this crowler that I purchased at the taproom, because it's good enough, it's tasty enough, and doggone it, people like it.

Clear, dark amber coloring, slim, whitish head.

In the nose: bright, fresh, bold, fruity. Plenty of apricot aromatics at play, amidst the hops and malt.  Just delightful.

In the mouth: tasty, fruity. Sweet and hoppy. Juicy. Malty. Delicious. Fresh and zesty. Medium bodied, with a long hoppy/fruity finish. It's scrumptious. I don't use that word very often, but it naturally fits right here. Scrum-diddly-umptious. This is one apricot pale ale that I honestly and truly absolutely fully enjoy.

And you should, too.

Or, do you need everything to be hazy, or milk-shakey, or vanilla-y, or bourbon barrel-y? Ah, nertz to that. Good old simple apricot pale ale is good enough for me.

Venn Brewing Batch #48 White Stout

Venn Brewing Batch #48 White Stout. 7% ABV. 22 IBU. Venn Brewing, Minneapolis, MN. Filled 4/12/18, opened and consumed 4/19.

White Stout? White. Stout. White Stout? What? No, I mean it, what?
Well, first off, it's not white. In the nitro version, maybe, but CO2, not quite, more amber/bronze, and clear, with a short-lived whitish head.

In the nose: Coffee hits first, with cocoa right behind it. Semi-sweet, rich, lively, vibrant, terrific.

In the mouth: There's that dynamic duo again, hitting the palate hard from the start. Medium bodied, easy drinker. Tasty stuff. I like it. Quite nice. I'm going to enjoy finishing this growler. Just enough sweetness, just enough hop bitterness for balance. It's interesting, as we say in Minnesota, and it's a good beer and I can drink it.

I've never had a "white stout" before, and I still don't get it. It doesn't really have all of the flavors, or the mouthfeel and texture of a stout. It isn't a stout. There's no roasted malt at all. Just call it a coffee/chocolate ale, but this nomenclature doesn't fly. A term of art, perhaps. But I know what a stout tastes like, and it's not just coffee, chocolate and vanilla added to an amber ale.

(Understand that I have no problem with the beer itself, merely the name.)

Actual chocolate, actual coffee, it’s not dark?
A pale colored ale infused with a heavy dose of Ghana cacao nibs, a blend of coffee roasts, and vanilla. Served on either co2 or nitro.

Malts: Simpsons Maris Otter, Flaked Barley, Flaked Oats, Caramel 20.
Hops: Warrior, Willamette.
Yeast: American Ale.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Summit Skip Rock White Ale

Summit Skip Rock. "A crisp white ale with citrus peel and spice." "Proudly brewed in St. Paul, MN by Summit Brewing Company. "4.5% ABV. 18 IBU.
Cloudy, bright golden-hued, milky froth atop. 

In the nose: ah, there's the spice! Coriander hits the nose, some citrus, light, airy, delightful. D'lovely. Slightly sweet and fruity. 

In the mouth: Sweetness, smoothness, fluffy wheat texture. Fruit, Belgian yeast. Low bitterness, juicy malt. Delicious. I could waste a day away on the dock with a ton of these. That is a fact. Though at this writing, such a thing is only a dream in the mind. Come spring, and send summer not far after you. ( Looks at snow outside. Sighs again.)

Not a bad version of a witbier in the least. Not at all.

A floral white ale featuring tangerine peel and fresh-ground coriander, Summit Skip Rock offers notes of zesty citrus, clove and biscuit. Unfiltered and brewed with a complex malt bill including wheat and oats, it’s full-bodied, slightly sweet, and a little tart beneath the surface, leading to a crisp, refreshing finish.

And more: Summit Skip Rock features tangerine peel from California and New Mexico, a fresh and fruity variation on the Curaçao orange often used in white ales. Hopsteiner’s new Lemondrop hop enhances the final beer’s citrus flavors and aromas. You may be tempted to garnish this beer with an orange wedge, BUT DON’T DO IT. As Head Brewer and noted Irishman Damian McConn says, “They don’t drink ’em like that in the old country.”

No, they don't, Damo. That all started as marketing from Coors, to get people into dipping orange wedges into their Blue Moon, and just as Widmer started the whole lemon wedge in your Hefe Weizen thing. That a beer contains a certain flavor doesn't require that we junk up our glasses with other representations of that taste. Should every stout have a Kit Kat bar dunked in the glass? Do we bejewel a framboise with a wreath of raspberries? Let beer be beer, I say!

Ale Asylum Hush Money India Pale Ale

Ale Asylum Hush Money India Pale Ale. 7.8% ABV. Ale Asylum Brewing, Madison, WI. "All natural, unfiltered ales and lager made with passion and best enjoyed that way."

Lightly hazed, bright orange coloring, lovely ivory head, leaving lace, looking good.

In the nose: soft, sweet, citric. Touch of tropical: passion fruit and guava.

In the mouth: Sweet and fruity, low bitterness. I had no knowledge of this one before opening the can, but is this their version of an NE/hazy IPA? Could be. Bright and juicy, yeasty, tasty. Medium bodied, long, hoppy finish. Lacks the bitterness I desire, but once more, it seems they're shooting for that low bitter, high juicy, hazy business everyone's going for. Not me, but who am I to fight the maddening crowd?

This IPA is bright and fruity with a juicy flavor of white grapes being shot from a cannon. Hu$h Money will be available February through April 2018, both packaged and on tap throughout Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Warpigs Salmon Pants Lager.

WarPigs Salmon Pants Lager. 5.3% ABV, 45 IBU. WarPigs

I don't own any salmon pants. Who does, anyway? Or are they referring to the pants that belong to salmon. Salmon don't wear pants. My head hurts. Never mind, let's drink a beer.

Clear, bright golden, ample head of ivory froth.

In the nose: Clean, sweet, malty, little hops or bitterness. Scant traces of fruity esters.

In the mouth: I'm getting more hops and touch of bitter once on the palate. Growing more and mores. Light-bodied, excellent drinkability. Quite tasty. Nice, fruity flavors from hops mixing with the malt.

A full-flavored and hoppy WarPigs lager forged in collaboration between 3 Floyds and Mikkeller. Grainy malt aromas mixed with floral, citrus and melon notes. A light body and a dry finish.

ABV 5.3% IBU 45

Sisyphus Citra Lager

Sisyphus Citra Lager. 4.7% ABV. 25 IBU. Sisyphus Brewing, Minneapolis, MN.

Clear, bright golden, high carbonation, slim white head on top.

In the nose: Clean, lightly fruity, slightly hoppy. Citrus notes.

In the mouth: Fruity, citrusy, lean bodied, and delicious.
Ah! Bright and citrus-y, and utterly delightful. Downable as anything. Sisyphus hasn't done a lot of lagers, and I'm not big on lagers. Citra lager, though? That's gonna work. And it does.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Surly First Avenue +1 Beer

Surly First Avenue +1 Beer, Golden Ale. 5.1 Alc. by Vol. Surly Brewing Company, Minneapolis & Brooklyn Center, Minnesota.

This is a different kind of collaboration. We don't have two or more brewers/breweries getting together to craft a recipe. Instead, Surly showed First Avenue three different beers and asked which one they'd like their name on. Not really a collaboration at all.

Clear, bright golden, brilliant white head atop.

In the nose: Cereal notes, malt-forward, hop-backward. Slight sweetness, but well-balanced.

In the mouth: clean, lean, light bodied, low hops. Added corn to a golden ale is not my favorite aspect of this beer. It is a golden ale, it is not unpleasant, and it can be consumed. In fact, it is pleasant, you can drink it. Unfortunately, the corn keeps nagging at me. I can't shake the adjunct.

Definitely better than Hamm's or PBR. Something that can get rocked out at First Ave without too much thinking involved. I don't love it.  But it's okay. Just okay.

{Editor's note: When I stop thinking about the beer, and merely drink it, my opinion is improved. I think that's the whole point of this one.}

An old Minneapolis bus station. An abrasives factory in the ‘burbs. From these humble beginnings sprang the last great rock club in the country and one of America’s leading craft breweries. A collaboration just makes sense.

First Avenue and Surly Brewing are proud to present +1, an easy-drinking, classic-style golden ale ideal for the Mainroom, the Entry, the Turf, or anywhere the music hits you.

“It’s an honor to be working with First Avenue on +1,” says Surly founder Omar Ansari. “It’s a Minnesota institution, and we’re thrilled to be a part of it.”

“We wanted to make the kind of beer we like to drink at a Mainroom or Entry show,” says Surly Head Brewer Ben Smith. “We went over a few styles with them, and this one emerged as the clear winner.”

The key to +1 is balance and simplicity. Subtle hop notes, low bitterness, and a refreshing malt profile carry this light-bodied, low-ABV beer. And not to take away from the beer, but the can is an absolute beauty:

Monday, April 16, 2018

Venn Batch #43 Golden IPA

Venn Batch #43 Golden IPA. 7.1% ABV, 70 IBU. Venn Brewing, Minneapolis, MN. Filled 4/11, purchased 4/12, opened 4/15.

Clear, bright golden/orange-tinted, sizable ivory head. Looking good.

In the nose: Citrus notes and tropical tones aplenty in this one. Soft and fruity. Light on the bitterness.

In the mouth: Clean, lean, and outstandingly drinkable. Long hop presence on the palate. Moderate bitterness, but long-lasting in the finish. Definitely dank. Lots of hop gooey goodness. I'm digging this big-time. Plenty of enjoyment occurring here. Man, I like this.

Dank, resinous, bitter.
A single hop IPA featuring Idaho 7 hops, AKA, “the Golden Hop.”

Malts: Domestic Pale, Munich.
Hops: Idaho 7.
Yeast: American Ale.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Uinta West Coast-style IPA

Uinta West Coast-style IPA. 6.3% all. by vol. "great tasting & gluten reduced.""Parked by Uinta Brewing, Salt Lake City, Utah." (Parked?)

To the eye: Clear, bright golden. good sized layer of white foam for the cap. Nice. 

In the nose: Hop bitterness and citrus notes team up, with pine lurking behind. Grapefruit rind, orange zest, and a patch of forest floor. 

In the mouth: Bold bitterness, bright citrus flavor.  Medium, to lightish bodied. Absolutely delightful. This one's got it just the way you want it.

Our bold and citrusy West Coast-style India Pale Ale—brewed using four different hop varieties—features pronounced aromas of pineapple, mango and pine.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Oliphant Just Horseplay Barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout

At it's very essence, this blog is just a place where I write about the beers I've had. I can't guarantee that your experiences will in any way resemble mine. There are instances where the beer I write about may no longer be available. Why am I telling you about it if you can't have it? Go to the first sentence of this paragraph.

This is one of those beers. I was lucky enough to have a crowler socked away by a certain friend at the brewery, and picked it up a few weeks ago. There are no more to be had. You may not be able to go there, or anywhere else, and find it, and drink, but at least you'll come away with a different understanding of one of my favorite little breweries and perhaps make the trek to Somerset, and you'll become an acolyte of Oliphant, like me.

And that's cool with me. So, on to it:

Oliphant Just Horseplay Barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout. 10% ABV. Ale aged in Woodford Reserve bourbon barrels. Brewed by Oliphant Brewing, Somerset, WI.

The label is a contour line poem by Jeremy Hughes, depicting the horseplay from the title, between Matt and Josh one day. Or was it night? Or morning? Did Josh really pin Matt to the ground and release his soul? That's what Jeremy seems to be saying, and no one else was there.

Utter blackness, perfectly opaque, rich ring of brown foam above. Beautiful.

In the nose: Big & Rich, deep and delightful.  All sorts of dark associations creep in: chocolate, molasses, brown sugar, coffee, and more. Dark rum. Whiskey.

In the mouth: A lot of sweetness, a ton of malt, full and rich. Ah, mmm, yum. Heavy-bodied, and fully mouthfeeled. Viscous, thick, slick, sticky. A cosmic ton of luxurious deliciousness.

This was an I'm taking my time with this and definitely sleeping in tomorrow, AKA later this morning, or maybe afternoon, kind of beer. The kind of beer that makes you ponder. Ponder what? Ponder lots. Just lean back and ponder the day away. What were we pondering about? How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop? How many roads must a man walk down before he gets to the other side? Who put the boom in the boom sh-boom sh-bop? Who knows, ponder some more.

story: mattwallace
art: jeremy hughes

while josh tries to slot the keycard into the lock, matt startle-jumps him into the door -- his perfect hands are crushed! mangled!


screaming,  his eyes wild and hoggish, then snorting,  his jaws locked and boarish, josh torques his body to face matt. his legs were still facing the door! and josh one-hand grabs matt under his armpit and pitched him into the room over his body. 

pink balloon lettering formed the onomatopoeia "aieieeeeeee!!" in the air following matt's thrown body.

fat globs of sweat streak from josh's pores as he stomps into the hotel room that has become filled with a red, pounding mist. it oozed from the doorway and into the hall over my shoes.

matt's body contorts between the bed and the floor with a leg akimbo in the air and both arms pretzel-twisted somewhere near his torso.

the mist laps a gentle shore over matt's body; josh is pleased and i saw him rub his mangled hands together like a chunky preying mantis. 

using his red-headed stephen king powers, josh picks matt up using only his mind and the muscles in his arms and legs and back. "it's a choke slam! it's gonna i'm choke slammin' you now! now!?" and grasping matt's throat and underjaw he lifts him,  with some effort, and gravity -slams him forcibly onto the bed. 

panting, with one eye larger than the other, josh towers over matt and rains down a steady beating of passive-aggressive "sorrys" and "i'msosorries!" with each blast blood spurts, matt's face is pulped burger -- i saw 30 gallons of blood ejaculated out of his mouth! it broke the hotel window!

i thundered by josh and yell "what's the meaning of this!?this!?thisthisthisthis" and i can visibly see the words echo into their ears. 

shrugging matt and josh looked at me and responded, "it's just horseplay!" 

...just "beyond belief," is what i thought. 

Friday, April 13, 2018

Town Hall Balance IPA

Town Hall Balance IPA. 7.5% ABV. Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.

Clear, bright golden hue, slim ivory head. Looking right for the part.

In the nose: sweetness, bitterness, fruit. Many citric notes. Grapefruit and orange, with a touch of tropical.

In the mouth: Fruity, juicy, and pleasantly bitter. Big, bold citrus. Resinous. Lightly piney. Medium bodied, easy drinking, for the hopheads among us, of course. A little touch of malt at the base, but hops are the main thing here. Balanced in just the right way.

I don't know if this has become apparent, dear reader, but I like a good India Pale Ale, and this one is one of them.

A balanced American IPA with a couple classic "C" hops as well as a couple newer varietals. Golden Promise and Vienna malts lay the base, with just a touch of wheat and oats for body and complexity. Hopped in the kettle and fermentor with Cascade, Centennial, Citra, and Mosaic.

Finnegan's Cluster Truck IPA

Finnegan's, the non-profit, charitable brewery contracted for many years at Summit, has been around for around 10 years, but hasn't had a brewery of their own. Until now. On Saturday, March 30, the new Finnegans House taproom opened up to the public, after a soft open on St. Patrick's Day. Last Thursday, April 5, I decided it was time to check them out. .

I was on Hennepin Avenue and took a light rail to Government Station, got off and walked. I knew I'd be able to find my way to 817 5th Avenue South without any problem, just a walk of a few blocks. The Brewery itself is adjacent to the new Kraus Anderson construction company building. I'd heard that the original concept was for a brewery/hotel concept, but that doesn't seem to be in effect just yet. I walked in to the beautifully appointed room, warm and comforting, gorgeously furnished. Found a seat, scanned the chalk. Six beers on tap, two of which I'd had before, the Irish Amber and the Blonde Ale. There was a Czech Pils that I chose to skip, which means that there were three beers that I tried and did not take notes on. I was satisfied with the saison, and thrilled with the barrel-aged Biere de Mars. No growlers for this one, but bottles were available. I didn't feel like dropping twenty buck on them, not that day. That left the Cluster Truck IPA. Hey, I like IPAs. Why not take it home in a growler?

And I did. And here are the notes:

Finnegan's Cluster Truck IPA. 6.5% ABV. 65 IBU. Finnegans Brewery, Minneapolis, MN.

Clear, golden hued, slim white head.

In the nose: Yes, this I like. Delightful tropical and citrus notes, with a trace of pine, and just enough bitterness to tickle the nose. Very good. Right on for this hophead.

In the mouth: More yes, more fresh and zest. Right amount of citrus-y hops, right amount of bitterness to please the palate. Grapefruit, orange, lemon, pineapple plus. Light malt flavors. Easy drinker. Very refreshing and utterly delightful. Good ol' IPA, this one. I recommend it.

An American IPA with a truckload of hops. Cluster Truck is brewed with close to four pounds of Columbus, Comet Amarillo, and Citra Hops per barrel, creating a taste profile with hints of grapefruit rind, fresh cut grass, and rolled down windows. It’s hoppy but not too bitter. Perfect for having a few without filling your tank.

"Rolled down windows"? Are they suggesting we drink and drive? Or just a nonsensical automotive related pun? Or something.

More info: 6.5 % ALC/VOL • 65 IBU

Is there more you'd like to know about this new Finnegans Brewery? What can I tell you? All the beer brewed on site is for the taproom. The cans and bottles and now brewed at Badger Hill in Shakopee. There's usually a food truck, just not that day. There's a foosball table on a stage above the other tables. It's a brand spanking new room and looks ever-so lovely. The service was excellent. I had a nice time, and I'll be back, and tell you more about the beers.
How's that?

Inbound Brewco Chinook IPA

Inbound Brewco Chinook IPA. 7% ABV, 70 IBU. Inbound BrewCo., Minneapolis, MN.

Clear, golden/amber color, beautiful ivory head, leaving lace and staying strong. Looking good.

In the nose: Grapefruit, orange, and lemon. Big citrus, with a touch of tropical. Juicy, resinous, a little floral. Delightful.

In the mouth: Nice bite of bitterness from the start, chomping on the palate, then smoothing out. Brash, bold citrus attack offers more delights. Light bodied, lean and clean malt, little bit of cracker/biscuit. Some caramel coming in. Beautiful balance. I like the push and pull between the malt and hops. Good and tasty. This one is A-alright.

(That's my new catchphrase, I'm testing it out. I refuse to jump on the bandwagon of such idiocies as "fire" and "whatever AF".Bleh. Boring. Yech. )

Brewed with 100% Chinook hops. Bouquet of pine and spice characteristics.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Against the Grain Citra Ass Down Double India Pale Ale

I became aware of Against the Grain many years ago, and wasn't exactly curious about their beers after being turned off by the artwork. Just too weird for me. Made me question everything about them. What, you ask, you like Ralph Steadman, but this illustrator you can't get behind?. Yeah, too strangely perverse. The nipples and costumes, it's just...what? When I heard they "Randallized" their Brown Note beer through a pair of underpants, in tribute to the stained shorts on that beer,s label, I was, just, like, "Huh?" Come on.

This explains why I have been very slow to investigate their beers. They've been available here for a few years now, it seems, and The Sample Man has finally put a can in my hands. That's why, at long last, here's the first ATG on TBN. I expect it to go well. I'm all about the double IPAs and this is one of the least baffling labels I've seen. No weird touching or filthy underwear anywhere.

Against the Grain Citra Ass Down Double India Pale Ale. Against the Grain Brewery, Louisville, Kentucky. 8.2% ABV. 68  IBU. "Drink From The Can." (No, thanks.)

Clear, pale crimson coloring, sizable ivory toned head, leaving lace and looking fine.

In the nose: Fresh 'n' zesty. Bright citrus. Lemon-y, orange-y, grapefruit-y.

In the mouth: Big, bold, strong citrus flavors dominate the palate from the start. Bright and piney, mucho resinous. Bitter and ripe. Hop character remains sharp and strong, matched by the book, with toasty malt back-up holding on. Juicy. Tasty. And the beat goes on.

Yeah, it's a good one. I give it the old thumbs up. And not, you know, any weird thumbs tweaking nipples, or anything. Regular ol', wholesome thumbs up.

"Citra Ass Down & Crush this Beer. This beer is not candy or mother's milk. It is not brewed by gypsies or aliens, nor does it contain any zombie dirt. This is a Double IPA brewed with Citra hops. It is sticky, hoppy and delicious. Simply drink it and enjoy it. Don't hoard this beer. Citra Ass Down and drink it down."

Then there's the technical side: This is a very hop forward American style IPA. Brewed with Pale, Vienna, Munich and wheat malt for a solid base for all American hops, focusing mainly on the variety “Citra.” Citra hops are a relatively new variety introduced in 2008. It was bred as a hybrid of a number of different hops, including Hallertauer Mittelfrüh, U.S. Tettnanger, East Kent Golding, Bavarian, Brewers Gold, and other unknown hops. The resulting hop, Citra, has a distinct citrusy and tropical fruit flavor and aroma. In Citra ass down we used American Columbus for bittering and 11# of Citra at the end of the boil for late kettle addition flavor and aroma. Then we added 6 more pounds Citra and 5# Centennial post fermention for aroma. Rebrewed for your tasting pleasure!
ABV 8.2%     OG 17.0      IBU 68.0

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Sisyphus Raspberry Weizenbock

Sisyphus Raspberry Wheat. 6.9% ABV, 10 IBU. Weizenbock. Sisyphus Brewing, Minneapolis, MN.
Filled and purchased 4-2/ consuming 4-10 (or 4/11, if we're being technical).

Lightly clouded, hazy crimson coloring, slim white head atop.

In the nose: fruity, perky, rosy, and slightly tart. Lots of raspberry in here. Liking this a lot.

In the mouth: Fruit flavor smacks the palate first, then the lush malt is revealed. Nothing but smooth and easy-drinking, light bodied, and likable. Sweet, but balanced. Low bitterness, easy drinking. Tasty stuff.

I don't drink a lot of raspberry wheats, but I sure as heck don't mind them. This is a good one.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Hop & Barrel Lactose Panda Milk Stout

Hop & Barrel Lactose Panda Milk Stout. 6.1% ABV. 30 IBU.
Hop & Barrel Brewing, Hudson, Wisconsin.

I often gripe about lactose in beers, especially IPAs, but you'll never hear me complaining about milk stouts. Somehow they just work better that way. Milkiness goes best with chocolate malt flavors, rather than hops. Let's drink it and find out if it works in this one.

Solid blackness, slim brown head.

In the nose: Creamy malt, light roast, coffee and cocoa.

In the mouth: More creamy, more smooth. Medium bodied, easy drinker, nothing but tasty. Chocolate and coffee plays it light. Sweetish, but ending dry. Very nice.

This is the third of the three crowlers I brought back from Hop & Barrel two weeks ago. I feel like I didn't choose the beers that would most appeal to me. I'm looking forward to tasting a few more and get a better sense of what they're capable of out there in Hudson town.

Our Taproom Manager Eryka made us put the word "Panda" in a beer name. Her first choice was Lactating Panda, so... Hope you're happy, Eryka. 

Bauhaus Short Pants Lemon Shandy

Bauhaus Short Pants Lemon Shandy. 4.5% ABV. 15 IBU. Bauhaus BrewLabs, Minneapolis, MN.

Clear, bright golden hue, large, lasting pure white head. Looks good.

In the nose: Loud lemon. Big citrus. Quite fruity.

In the mouth: Big lemon bursts out from the start. Slightly tart, refreshing. Light bodied. Lip-smacking. Lean and clean. Quenching.

I don't care for shandy, but I understand their appeal. Believe it or not, we do feel the heat in the summertime here, we can get above 100 for awhile, and beers like this come in very handy. It's too lemony and light for me now, when it's the second week of April AND SNOWING!...but, when the time is right, I wouldn't refuse one, that's for sure.

For now, it's too early. I know what they're going for, but I'm not ready for it. Want to be. So want to be.

Oliphant Party On Garth Righteous Black Ale

Once more, just like Party On Wayne, here's another Oliphant beer that's been brewed for a while, but I'm just getting around to it. The answer to "why?" can only be that there were other beers that caught my fancy, and you can only take so many home at one time. (According to Untappd, I had it at least once before, a little more than two years ago.)  It's 6% ABV, IBU unknown, Oliphant Brewing, Somerset, WI.

Deep, dark brown, under a creamy tan head. Leaving a little lace. Lovely.

In the nose: soft, malty, caramel-toned, mild, with minor cocoa notes. Nice enough.

In the mouth: Chocolate-y, malty goodness aplenty, with a cool sprinkle of hop bitterness. Medium bodied, bordering on full, rich and delicious. I'm liking this one a lot. Is it a "Black IPA", a porter, a stout? No, it's it's own thing, and I can dig it. Nearly sessionable, and altogether likable. Roasted malt, a little toasty, notes of espresso and dark fruit. So tasty, and definitely downable.

Another must-try Oliphant beer. If you see it, don't hesitate: Drink one. Do it.

this is quite lit. almost as lit as my first time meditating. there was no transcendence, but i did meet a guide with a bowl cut and fancy suit. also there were a bunch of characters getting ready for a journey or a real long hike. my guide wanted to feed something in a tent i had in my yard...but then i came back to the real world via a goose honking. darn goose. if you're wondering, it's the same goose that chased me once. 

black ale. 6% abv
There must have been some reason that there was an illustration of Shrek
that Jeremy transformed into Mike Meyers, who doesn't portray Garth,
but did, of course, create him. Would a Dana Carvey Shrek-Garth
 have been any better?
I'm not sure, but I'll say no. Observations on this got me, inevitably, in a
discussion about the great William Steig, Shrek's creator.
 If you ever want to talk
about William Steig, hit me up. 

Flying Dog Tropical Bitch Belgian IPA

Flying Dog Tropical Bitch Belgian IPA. Belgian-style India Pale Ale brewed with orange and pineapple. 8% Alc./Vol. 55 IBU. Flying Dog Brewing, Frederick, Maryland.

When first I tasted the beers of Flying Dog Brewing Company, then of Colorado, now of Maryland,many, many years ago,  I was more delighted by the Ralph Steadman art on the label, I must admit. There's quite a large segment of the beer-drinking public with a contrary opinion of his work. I don't care what they think, he's one of my all-time favorite cartoonists. And the beer isn't bad, either. It's another area in which we don't agree.

And now we have a fruity twist on one of my favorite Flying Dog beers, which was also one Steadman's most controversial labels. The head of the original bitch (hey, they're a dog-themed brewery. It's not out of place.) has been isolated and is floating amidst a display of flowers. Apparently, they've been making this for a few years, yet this is my first time with it. And I'm striving not to give the beer a gender, as the label copy likes to do. (It's a riff on "The Girl From Ipanema", and I always saw her as aloof, not as a bitch, but, whatever.)

Anyway, let's crack it open and see what we have.

Clear, golden/amber color, lasting layer of ivory foam on top.

In the nose: alcoholic/phenolic fruity & floral notes flit out of the glass before I get a closer sniff.  Citrus overload. I'm getting a little pineapple. Overall, very promising.

In the mouth: Hop explosion on the palate, the tastebuds take a gentle pounding. Slightly harsh, but pleasant, with tropical fruit notes and hop bitterness expanding.Light-ish body. Easy drinking, for a DIPA.  It hits hard like other double IPAs I like, but the Belgian yeast quality seems to be missing in this one. Did the orange and pineapple take over for the Belgian funk? I can taste the orange and very little of the pineapple, and ...Well, it's a good beer and I can drink it, but it's not shooting up the charts and taking over for any of my favorites. I'm going to keep Tropical Bitch on a lease.

The aroma begins with the familiar Belgian yeast notes found in Raging Bitch, paired with aggressive notes of bright pineapple and bubble gum. The flavor follows the aroma with a peppery, phenolic profile that becomes dominated by orange citrus flavors and subtle pineapple.

Sisyphus Double IPA

I have a confession to make. The Sisyphus Double IPA (Sam doesn't give his beers  particular names beyond the style designation). ...