Saturday, June 15, 2019

Sisyphus Replay NE IPA III

Sisyphus Replay NE IPA III.
7 % ABV. 33 IBU.
Sisyphus Brewing, Minneapolis, MN.

Highly hazed, deep crimson hue, slim whitish head.

In the nose: Nice and dank, big hops. Fruity, citrus and other.

In the mouth: Aggressive bitterness and juicy malt are the hallmarks here. Dripping with juices. Merely than merely citrus, there are traces of apple, cherry, stone fruit and more. This one is working for me, it's got the right stuff. Tasty.

Every Pinball Wizard's dream... The Replay. Thankfully, this beer is scientifically proven to help you reach that elusive replay score. This rotating IPA features new hops each time we brew it.

I do wish that they'd let us in on which hops are used. It would help me get an idea of how these flavors come together.

Utepils B.R.D. (Beer Ready to Drink) Munich Style Helles

Utepils B.R.D. (Beer Ready to Drink) Munich Style Helles.
5.1 % ABV.
Utepils Brewing, Minneapolis, MN.Clear, bright golden appearance, slim white head.

In the nose: clean, light malt, grain-y, slight sweetness.

In the mouth: Mild hops, well-tempered malt sweetness. Light bodied, clean, crisp and highly drinkable. Refreshing and likable. Good Munich Helles and you can drink it.

Pale gold lager that is elegantly bright with a clean refreshing balance. 10% of proceeds go to supporting 

Schell's IPA

Schell's IPA. India Pale Ale.
5.8 % ABV. 40 IBU.
August Schell Brewing, New Ulm, MN. A Family Tradition Since 1860.

Slightly hazed, bright golden color, slim white head.

In the nose: mildly hoppy aromatics, light citrus notes. Pleasant enough.

In the mouth: Fresh and vibrant blast of hoppiness upon the palate. It's hitting on all cylinders, before politely backing down. Light bodied, slightly sweet malt character at the base. Citrus-y and sweet tropical fruit notes dominate. Bitterness mellows and deliciousness takes over. Easy-drinker. I'll have another. And another.

For the first IPA ever from the 159-year old German brewery, it's an excellent entry in the field.

Schell's IPA is hop-forward and bursting with tropical fruity aromas. This brew pours a light golden color and has a low hop bitterness.

From the label: Yes, you read that right. We're not just slaying with lagers, we've got some mad skills with IPAs, as well. Schell's IPA is hop-forward and bursting with tropical fruity aromas. The brew pours a light, hazy gold color. has a creamy mouthfeel, and low hop bitterness. You've all been asking for it, so here's your IPA!

Friday, June 14, 2019

Deschutes Li'l Squeezy Juicy Ale

Deschutes Li'l Squeezy Juicy Ale.
5% ABV. 40 IBU.
Deschutes Brewery, Bend, OR.

It's interesting how trends and their adherents lead the way. You may notice that the label of this can does not refer to the beer inside as a pale ale, but as a "juicy ale." It's not an IPA, which is the style that the juicy lovers are chasing, but they perhaps wouldn't pick up on the pale style. Just call it "juicy ale" and you've got 'em. But, wait, it's not a "hazy"? Alright, juicy is close enough.

Clear, bright golden color, slim white head.

In the nose: soft and citrus. Pinch of lemon.

In the mouth: Bracing bitterness first greets the palate, then swiftly fades back. Juicy malt texture. Easy squeeze, lemon peasy. Nice and drinkable, with a lasting hop bitterness. You know, I'm a little surprised by this. It's a pale ale version of Fresh Squeezed IPA, but I didn't think it would be so darned tasty. Well, why would I think that, Deschutes rarely misses.

Brewer Notes
Refreshingly juicy. Effortlessly drinkable. Freshly Squeezed. No fruit was harmed in the making of this beer. Malt 2-Row, Munich, C15, Golden Naked Oats
Hops Nugget, Citra, Azacca, El Dorado, Chinook
Alc. 5.0% IBU. 40

Kick back with a breezy blend of juicy hops and delicate malt character that’s dripping with fresh citrus flavors and zesty aroma. Lil’ Squeezy is gluten-reduced which means we took that gluten out!  Check out our report to learn how many parts per million in that can you’re holding.

Perennial Artisan Ales Saison de Lis

Perennial Artisan Ales Saison de Lis. Belgian-style ale brewed with chamomile flowers.
5 % ABV. 20 IBU.
Perennial Artisan Ales, St. Louis, MO.

Lightly hazy, golden toned, slim white head.

In the nose: Bright citrus notes, lemon and spices. Floral. Belgian yeast. Whiff of funk.

In the mouth: Light bodied. Smooth. Crisp and delicious. Belgian malt and yeast play on the tongue. More citrus notes, a modicum of hoppiness, and, yeah, a little more floral. Tasty stuff, and quite refreshing. Fits the saison style to a T.

A straw colored Belgian-style Saison brewed with chamomile flowers. It is fermented with a traditional saison yeast strain that imparts fruity and spicy notes that dovetail perfectly with the tea-like quality of the chamomile. Finishes dry, tart, and refreshing.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Grain Belt Southwest Cerveza

Grain Belt Southwest Cerveza.
Mexican Style Lager with Natural Lime Flavor.
4.5 % ABV.
August Schell Brewing, New Ulm, MN.

Clear, bright golden color, slim white head.

In the nose: Clean, crisp, lightly hopped. Some cereal notes, in classic Grain Belt style. Not picking up anything extra yet.

In the mouth: Light. Light. ...Let's see, what, there's some lime flavor, as promised. And....not much else. I've already mentioned it's best properties. If that's good enough for you, go for it.

Southwest Cerveza is a crisp, copper lager, both dry and refreshing. This easy-drinking lager puts a twist on the friendly beer with its subtle lime flavor.

Beaver Island Tribute Summer IPA

This may not be the best IPA in the world. But it's a tribute to the best IPA in the world.

Beaver Island Tribute Summer IPA. Dam. Fine. Beer.
4.7% ABV. 50 IBU.
Beaver Island Brewing, St. Cloud, MN.

Clear, bright golden hue, slim white head.

In the nose: Bold hop presence, bumping with citrus and pine. Beautiful and balanced.

In the mouth: Big time bitterness. Fierce hop bite. Lean bodied. All the sunny, spicy flavors we want in an IPA are at play on the palate. Easy-drinking, for a hophead like me.

I'll glad take another, please.

What makes this a Summer IPA? What is a "summer IPA", anyway? Does it have summery attributes, whatever those are, or is it just an IPA they make in the summer? Not sure, and currently not caring.

Bold Amarillo, Mosaic and Citra hops hit all the right notes for a jam session IPA that salutes Minnesota's fabulous bands.

Availability: April – August
Malts: Maris Otter, Cara Munich
Hops: Magnum, Cascade, Armadillo, Mosaic, Citra
OG: 1.050
IBU: 51
SRM: 6.6

ABV: 4.7%

Monday, June 10, 2019

New Belgium Voodoo Ranger Juicifer IPA

New Belgium Voodoo Ranger Juicifer IPA.
7.7 % ABV. 50 IBU.
New Belgium Brewing, Fort Collins, CO (& elsewhere).

Thoroughly hazed, bold orange hue, bright white. lasting head. Looking good.

In the nose: aggressive hop presence, potent, powerful, gorgeous. Citrus, pine, and a twist of tropical.

In the mouth: Hops are busy from the start, but never obtrusive. Quite mellow, smooth, even. Lands on the palate and softly glides on. Citrus zest and juice plays a primary part in the flavor. Just enough bitterness in this IPA to keep my tongue happy. Medium bodied, easy-drinking. Good ol' IPA, this one. They've got my number here.

Brimming with citrus aromas from Galaxy and Citra hops, this moderately sweet and hazy IPA is devilishly juicy.

Sisyphus Uff-Da Pilsner Foeder Fermented Lager

Sisyphus Uff-Da Pilsner Foeder Fermented Lager.
4.2 % ABV. 40 IBU.
Sisyphus Brewing, Minneapolis, MN.

Clear, golden-hued, slim white head.

In the nose: Clean, crisp, hints of cereal/grain and not much else. Touch of sweetness, not much else.

In the mouth: More crisp, more clean, slightly fruity, just a touch of grain. Clean, smooth, easy. Where's the oak come in? That's where, I think. Nice and balanced, keeping it all in perfect flux.
Not too much, not too little. Well-tempered and tasty. I like that in a pilsner, or in any beer.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Fulton Solar Vortex Session ale with Blood Orange

Fulton Solar Vortex Session ale with Blood Orange.
3.8 % ABV. 10 IBU.
Fulton Beer, Minneapolis, MN.

Lightly hazed, bright golden color, slim white head.

In the nose: Bold, citrus-y aromatics. Ooozing blood orange and grapefruit. Beautiful.

In the mouth: Fresh and vibrant. Orange is all over this. Underneath all that, light and lean and thirst quenching. Mild malt, meager hops. Evaporates without effort, leaves the palate with no fuss.

This was certainly not made with me in mind, but I'm sure plenty will be pounded on many a patio.

It's raining. It's snowing. It's too hot. It's too cold. In the land of partly-cloudy we sure do enjoy our talk about the weather. And in that spirit we've crafted our newest beer-a Blood Orange Session Ale we're calling "Solar Vortex". Inspired by a yet-to-happen summer weather phenomenon (call it wishful thinking) it's dry, low in alcohol, and perfect for the summer ahead. Pick up your 4packs of tallboys beginning next week around the Metro.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Fair State / Modern Times Crankin' Foamers Lager

Fair State / Modern Times Crankin' Foamers Lager.
4.5 % ABV "American Slammin' Beer. " 18 IBU. "#corniscool."
Fair State Brewing Company, Minneapolis & St. Paul, MN, in collaboration with Modern Times Beer, San Diego, CA.

And now we have my fourth can of this beer, so that means I have to review it. Until I hear a compelling tale about the name, I'm going to have to count it as among the worst I've ever heard. As a "foamer" really a term for beer that's slipped past me all these years?

It's crystal clear, bright golden, with a outsized ivory head, leaving lace.

In the nose: Dry as a cracker. Lightly floral, grainy.

In the mouth: lightly hoppy, trace of bitterness. Excellent balance. Stays far from the sweet. Subtle citrus flavors, clean mouthfeel, ease of drinkability.

I'll admit that I picked this up without knowing much about it. "Hey, a new Fair State can, I'm sure that it'll be just like their last collaboration with Modern Times." And I finished off the first can a bit surprised and maybe disappointed that it wasn't an IPA. Got through the next two with no trouble, and this one is really hitting the spot.

As it is, this is quite good. I'm a bit shocked that I enjoyed a beer that boasts of it's use of corn.

I'm just a little iffy on all this pounding and crushing and "American pace" nonsense. I like my own, sometimes slow, pace.

Just some regular American lager for drinking at a regular American pace. Made with real corn, the old-fashioned way. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Wild Mind Spontane' Bramble Fruited Coolship Wild Ale

Wild Mind Spontane' Bramble Fruited Coolship Wild Ale.
6 % ABV. 5 IBU.
Wild Mind Artisan Ales, Minneapolis, MN.

Bright red coloring, slim pinkish head. Opaque.

In the nose: Tart and fruity. Very berry. Blackberry, cherry, & boysenberry. (I peeked ahead.)

In the mouth: Seriously sour. Big funk in here. Juicy, fruity, tasty. Medium-bodied, and exceptionally refreshing. Rich and complex. Dark berries aplenty, applied to the sour, producing deliciousness.

Damn, this was good. I should have bought a couple of them, but they were $25 a bottle. Worth it, though.

This single-year blend of our first 100 percent spontaneously fermented wild ale was inoculated overnight in our custom-made coolship and then fermented on blackberries, cherries, and boysenberries. The truly wild ale was refermented in the bottle and has notes of dark currants and fresh berries with a strong base of barnyard funk.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Bauhaus Cosmic Headshift IPL

Bauhaus Over the Charts Series Cosmic Headshift India Pale Lager with Passionfruit.
6 % ABV. 80 IBU.
Bauhaus BrewLabs, Minneapolis, MN.

Very hazy, bold & golden appearance, slim white head.

In the nose: Nice and hoppy, bursting with tropical and citrus fruit notes.

In the mouth: Big, beautiful blend of juicy and bitter. Passionfruit aplenty in the flavor. Body is medium, soft-ish, slightly smooth. Grapefruit pops up and does it's thing. Hops are at play long on the palate.
Quite nice, this one.

This is where the italicized copy normally goes, fished from the brewery website. I can't find anything additional on this one, anywhere. I'll keep looking, though.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Orval Trappist Ale

Let's keep tripping through Trappist country. And we'll be sampling the single ale produced by the Trappist monastery of Orval in Belgium.  (Besides the patersbier brewed just for the monks, only at the monastery.)

This is a bottle I picked up from a local store the other day, knowing full well that it was missing from the Nib. I just don't see it often enough. (It seems that I checked in to it on Untapped nearly 4 years ago, and now I'm trying to remember where and how I had it. Did I buy a bottle and forget to review it? See it at a bar or restaurant, or maybe a tasting party?)

Now, something was telling me that I had taken notes on it before. I had to have, it makes no sense that I didn't. A little research unearthed those notes, published on in February of 2003. Sixteen years ago. Here's the notes from way back when, with further notes afterward.

Brassie d'Orval Pale Ale.
6.9 % ABV.
Viller-devant-Orval, Luxembourg, Belgium.

To the eye: Color is a pure golden, edging into orange. Head is full, and frothy white.

In the nose: Aroma is overwhelming and enticing from afar: extraordinarily spicy, very enticing and seductive, though I haven't even even brought this brew close to my nose yet.

In the mouth: An arousing blend of the sweet and the sour, with some citric notes speaking up here and there. Loads of sugar and spice, and, well, everything nice. Fierce hops on the palate, and an excellent texture, great hop bite and play upon the tongue. Full of body and flavor. Long lasting finish. Delicious, with plenty of citric tang. Deeply satisfactory, very mellow and pacifying.

This is a brew that tastes of the history it contains. A very unique, pleasurable and pacifying beverage.

In 2019, I note that I failed to mention the ineffable whiff of that Belgian funk, the yeast, the malt, the uncertain something that I love. Starts sweet, funky, fruity, and ends on a dry note. Other than that, I'll stick with my sixteen years younger-self, and keep those notes. And vow to sneak it into rotation a.little more often. Damned good beer.

NOTE: The ABV-value of this beer varies, in the United States 6.9% is used.
The Orval’s brewery produces only one beer to sell, a beer with a high fermentation that continues in the bottle. It is 6.2% ABV. This beer is brewed exclusively from spring water, barley malt, hop cones, candy sugar, and yeast. The aroma and the fine taste are due more to the hop cones and the yeast than to the malt that is used.

What’s special about Orval’s beer is that hops are added at two different stages of the production process. First, in the brewing room, a large quantity of very fine hops are added – this produces the famous bitter taste and is the reason why the beer keeps for a longer period of time. Later, in the storage cellars, hops are once again added. This is the so-called British “dry hopping,” which produces the delightful aroma that completely enraptures even the most carefully forewarned taster.

In the tasting room, Orval’s beer and cheese make a really good pair: the unique shape of the bottle and the glass, the design of the label, the coasters and other publicity materials – it’s all a legacy from the early 1930’s. Show Less

Grain Belt Blu Blueberry Lager

Grain Belt Blu Blueberry Lager.
4.7 % ABV. Made with real blueberry juice.
August Schell Brewing, New Ulm, MN.
"Go ahead. Be the blu sheep of the family."

It's time for a blueberry lager. Why? Because it exists and is in my possession. That's the long and short of it.

Well, it ain't blue. It's deep red with a pinkish head, leaving some lace.

In the nose: Fruity. Sweet. Berry-ish, of course. Nice enough.

In the mouth: Sweet and juicy from the start. Malty, smooth, easily drinkable. Barest hint of tart. Stays fresh and berry-vicious without getting too sweet. I'm starting to like it. Can't imagine having more than one, but it's surprisingly tolerable.

A blueberry lager that is tart, balanced, and refreshing. A delightfully sweet twist on the classic American lager. 

La Dona Suenos de Cafe

La Dona Suenos de Cafe.
5.5 % ABV. Brown Ale with Mexican Coffee.
La Dona Cerveceria, Minneapolis, MN.

Full ebony coloration, rich, cream-toned head, entirely opaque.

In the nose: earthy, nutty, cocoa-y, and totally coffee. Nice. Like dipping the nose in leftover fresh grounds.

In the mouth: There we go. Here it is, the contents of the aroma, now on the palate. Tasty stuff. Rich, nutty, earthy, gritty, espresso-ish. Bit of fruit, touch of cherry. Slice of vanilla. Medium-bodied, easy-ish drinking. Malt-forward, little hops, and very, very delicious.

I enjoyed the entirety of this crowler, and I'll be back to see the brewery again very soon.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Hammerheart Valkyrie Tears Double India Pale Ale

Hammerheart Valkyrie Tears Double India Pale Ale. (Triple, according to Untappd)
11.6 % ABV.
Hammerheart Brewing, Lino Lakes, MN.

Here's one that took me a bit aback when I saw it in the store. Have I reviewed this one yet? Sounds familiar. Solved the mystery when I looked it up on Untappd. Checked into it twice, from servings on tap at Acadia, way back three and 1/2 years ago. But I never took notes, so I put down the $12.99 (before tax) and now it's time to drink.

Hazy, deep golden color, nearly orange, with a thin, ivory ring.

In the nose: Powerfully pungent hop presence in this nose, bursting with citrus and tropical tones.

In the mouth: Juicy. Bitter. Slightly sweet. Begins big and gets bigger, turning gargantuan on the palate. Turns from cool to hot. Alcohol sticks out early. Flavors come together with such force that it earns the label of Triple IPA, coming close to a barley-wine, even.

Full-bodied. Rich, lush malt, with potent hoppiness. I'm pretty much in love with it.

This bottle was kept warm and it wasn't fresh. This may explain the "floaties" that swam in my glass as I emptied the bottle. I don't mind it, but it reminds me to pick up on these a little quicker. I'm scared off by higher prices, though, and this one was on the lower end, thus attracting me. And the whole double (triple) IPA thing. That lures me in.

Let's read the label for more information (I can't find it anywhere else):
Bottled 8-24-18. (There we go.)
Valkyrie Tears is a hazy double IPA dry-hopped with smoked Cascade hops with a biscuity, grassy malt base and notes of grapefruit, orange rind, and smokey citrus.

"Smokey citrus." Only Hammerheart. Only Hammerheart.

Ballast Point Lager

Ballast Point Lager.
4.2 % ABV. 10 IBU.
Ballast Point Brewing, San Diego, CA.

Clear, bright golden, clean white ivory head atop.

In the nose: Slightly floral, lightly hoppy, grainy/malty.

In the mouth: Clean, crisp, light bodied, easy on the palate. Little bit of hops, brief citrus blitz. Little bit of malt. And altogether light and drinkable.

That's about all I have to say on the subject. I'm sure that the brewery has more to say.

Our Ballast Point Lager is the quintessential cooler beer for lively adventures or leisurely days. At only 99 calories, this incredibly bright lager still packs a ton of flavor. Brewed with 100% 2-Row barley and a light touch of Apollo hops, Ballast Point lager is a refreshing choice for any occasion. Whether you’re docked or at sea, it’s the perfect companion for whatever destination lies ahead.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Surly Space Race Double Dry Hopped Hazy Double IPA

Surly Space Race Double Dry Hopped Hazy Double IPA.
9.5 % ABV. IBU: low.
Surly Brewing Company, Minneapolis/Brooklyn Center, MN.

Holy--! Wait, not just a double IPA, or a hazy IPA, or a DDH, but...are you fucking with me? No! OMG! The latest entrant in the race to be all the things that the modern beer geek just straight up adores.

It's all hazed up, with a bright golden tint, and voluminous ivory head. Looking good.

In the nose: There's that DDH aroma everyone digs. Kind of a soft, muted melange of citrus and pine, a fuzzy, hazy whirl of what we like.

In the mouth: Intense, hoppy bite from the start, a big burst of bitterness boarding the palate. Just a touch of sweet, and a little dance with the bitter. All is calm and mellow, and pretty much delicious. Tasty stuff. Juicy. Citrusy. Dry. Nice. This one's got it going on.


In the immortal words of JFK: “We chose to make this hazy IPA not because it is easy, but because it is hard.” The good news is, it’s easy to drink. Brewed with El Dorado, Citra, and Simcoe hops for a juicy flavor that will send you straight to the moon.

Dark yellow

El Dorado
Unmalted Wheat
English Ale


Lift Bridge Hard Seltzers (Hard Seltzers?!? What?)

Lift Bridge Hard Seltzers . These are the days when a brewery has to make more than beer to get by. Or so they tell us. And the latest thi...