Saturday, November 18, 2017

New Belgium Fat Tire Special Release Belgian White

New Belgium Fat Tire Special Release Belgian White. Alc. by Vol. 5.2%. Brewed and bottled by New Belgium Brewing, Fort Collins, CO & Asheville, NC.

New Belgium has many many witbiers over the years, but never one that was also called Fat Tire. Is this going to be a new thing for them, I wonder? Easier marketing, using the FT brand, since everyone seems to think the brewery is called Fat Tire, anyway?

Hazy pale yellow, slim ivory head above, looking perfect for the part.

In the nose: coriander, big ol' coriander, slice o' citrus, wheat, Belgian yeast, smooth, but spicy.

In the mouth: Nothing but smooth and easy drinking. Lightish/medium-bodied, light malt, low bitterness, just enough of the coriander, a touch of the citrus. Pretty tasty and easily pushed past the gullet.

Our Belgian Master Brewer's classic white wheat ale brewed with juicy Seville orange peel and freshly ground coriander. 
Also: 25 years ago we started brewing Fat Tire Belgian Style Ale. It became an iconic beer, and a symbol synonymous with craft. Now, for the first time, we’re adding a new beer to the Fat Tire family: Fat Tire Belgian White. Taking inspiration from our decades of experience brewing Belgian beers, Fat Tire Belgian White is made with Seville oranges and Indian coriander, both freshly ground less than a mile from our Fort Collins brewery. It’s a fresh, perfectly sweet, natural tasting Belgian White.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Junkyard Peanut Butter Bandit Stout

Junkyard Peanut Butter Bandit. 5% ABV, 20 IBU. Junkyard Brewing, Moorhead, MN.

Rich brown color, nearly black, toasted tan head, large and looming, slowly drifting.

In the nose: Incredible aromatics, peanut butter flavor wafts out and floods the atmosphere. Take it in for a closer sniff: sweet, creamy, rich, nutty, incredible. Insane. Whoa. Chocolate and other stout characteristics lurk beneath, but the peanut butter is all over it.

In the mouth: Thick and rich, lush and wonderfully rewarding. Again, there's a stout here, but the peanut butter component commands over all. Hop bitterness keeps a lid on the sweet, it's there but just to tamp down the malt and the peanut butter of it all. Some of the coffee and the cocoa of a stout creep up in to the flavor and are greatly appreciated on the palate, but there's never a moment where PB is not king in this. (Brings to mind, of course, Junkyard's other PB beer, which I've tasted once, and need to secure a crowler of ....that's the next hunt.)

I had this on my first visit to the brewery last summer, and was impressed then. Great to finally get my hands, and my lips around a full crowler (since I wasn't able to buy any then). So nice.

In time, sweetness is tempered, and the bitterness reigns over the malt, which is how it ought to be. I will not rank this against other PB beers, claim one as champion, crown a king. But I will pose a question: when you ask which is the most "peanut-butter-y", do you really want that? Do you want the most "peanut butter" in your beer? And if so, why? Do you want beer, or peanut butter? Are you an adult who drinks beer, or a child who eats peanut butter?

And I should shut up, because there are those, including this brewery who are adding jelly-like additives to the mix, because, of course, why not. And the breweries that I admire are doing the things I detest. Like "milkshake IPAs", Dangerous Man, of course, but Modist, Forager, and Junkyard are all doing them, and I can't keep from despising the infantilization of beer. I don't want to drink beers that remind me of things I consumed when I was a child. I will read my comic books and watch cartoons with a real beer in my glass, not something that tastes like candy or a smoothie. So, there.

A lot of blah, blah, blah to get out of my system. Sorry, if I'm an old grump. But, damn if this isn't good. And I'll try all of their beers, peanut butter and jelly or milkshake, etc, I'll try all of them once, at least, and try not to make the same old grumbles, and root for the real stuff. Just bring me a good ol' stout, keep the peanut butter.

(but, again, this is good!)

Oliphant blizzard of '91 pecan pumpkin pie blizzard ale

Oliphant blizzard of '91. "Pecan pumpkin pie blizzard ale." 4.1% Alc./Vol. Oliphant Brewing, Somerset, WI.

I recall that blizzard of '91. Who among us can forget it. Shut the whole darn town down. Except the muffin shop I worked at back then. They wanted me to come in. So, I waited and waited for the bus, like an idiot, to wait around for customers who weren't there because they took the day off and stayed home, like smart people. I'll bet this beer won't suck, unlike that Halloween blizzard.

Clear, Amber/bronze. large and lasting ivory head. Nice.

In the nose: Sweet, malty, vegetal. If there's pumpkin here, I'm getting it. Pecan? Yeah, sure. Spicy, pumpkin-y, nice, once more. A little toasty, tasty, mmm....

In the mouth: more sweet, more spicy, more tasty. Medium body, long malty finish, vanilla, pumpkin, sweet, spice, yum. A sometimes treat. I'm taking down this big ol' crowler by myself, but it's more than enough. It's definitely delicious. Has everything in just the right amounts, not too much, not too little. Damn.

I'm going hunting for more of this. It'll be perfect for Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Fair State BFD#

Fair State BFD#/ Barrel Fermented Du Pounde. ABV: 5.2%, IBU: 25, OG: 11.2, 750 ml of beer, brewed and bottled by Fair State Brewing Cooperative, Minneapolis (and St. Paul), MN.

Clear, bright golden hue, slim, soon-gone head. Not especially impressive, but is what is.

In the nose: white wine and vinegar, sharp and sour, funk and more funk.

In the mouth: more funk, more funk, more funk. A touch of sweet, and a ton of sour. Sour, sharp, slightly sweet, utterly delightful. Light bodied, low hop bitterness.
Tart 'n' sour 'n' fruity. Nice. Terrifically acidic, and quite refreshing.

Barrel-fermented Du Pounde is the mixed-culture, oak-fermented version of our flagship saison. Historically, saison would have been skewed toward the very bitter or the noticeably sour, depending on wort composition and fermentation. Brewed with malted wheat and barley and lightly hopped, this version is tart, funky and oaky. BFD# is a blend of our favorite barrels from the cellar. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Summit Unchained No. 26: Westie 7th

Summit Brewing Company hasn't done a lot of Belgian-style beers. There were some witbiers in their past and a recent Belgian pale, but their other attempts at the Belgian styles have all been in the Unchained series. They've done a dubbel, and a strong golden, and a few saisons, but never anything quite like this. The name nods once to the nickname for the most famous trappist beer of all, Westveleteren, and the chummy nickname that some apply, and also to the West 7th St. neighborhood so near to the Summit brewery. It's clever, and fun, and how is the beer?

Summit Unchained Series Batch no. 26: Westie 7th Belgian-style Dark Ale.  Nick Hempfer, brewer. 7.5% ABV, 25 IBU. Brewed and canned by Summit Brewing, St. Paul, Minnesota.

To the eye: dark, deep, burgundy-hued, with crimson highlights, and a slim, brownish head.

In the nose: Belgian funk, sweet and fruity, stone fruit, dark fruit, pitted fruit, plums and raisins and figs. We've got the general tenor of the Belgian quad, the Trappist high orders, the wild and the wonderfulness. It's beautiful.

In the mouth: So tasty. Delicious. Nails it. All the flavor of a dubbel or a quad, but below 8% ABV, and just a straight-up tasty treat. All that detected in the nose settles onto the palate. Not too big, not too heavy, but still loaded with flavors. Hangs hard on the sweet side, with just enough bitterness to keep it nice and balanced.

I like this one, and can see myself taking down a pint when I see it, but I only have one quibble. This brewery is canning their beers more and more, but seem to switch off when it comes to the Unchained Series. Of all the beers I'd like to see not in a can, it would have been this one. It just doesn't feel right.

With rich notes of dark fruit, dark caramel, and — lucky us — rum, Summit Unchained 26: Westie 7th features a complex blend of specialty malts, subtle, noble-type hops, and dark Belgian candi syrup. Finished with a Trappist-Style Ale yeast, expect traces of fig and raisin to round out the beer.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Utepils Alt 1848 Dusseldorf-style Altbier

Utepils Alt 1848 Altbier. 5.4% ABV, 50 IBU. Utepils Brewing, Minneapolis, MN.

To the eye: clear, light bronze hue, slim, off-whitish head.

In the nose: malt sweetness, molasses, brown sugar, kept fairly dry with the right amount of hopping.

In the mouth: clean, smooth, and ever-so malty. Sweetness is alway kept just in check. Right on the money here, downright delicious. Medium body, clean finish, just perfectly delightful.


Sunday, November 12, 2017

Warpigs Lazurite India Pale Ale

Warpigs Lazurite India Pale Ale. 6.8% ABV. 70 IBU.

Clear (-ish), bright golden hue, beautiful ivory, lace-leaving head.

In the nose: assertive hop bitterness screams out, spraying citrus notes and pine. Aggressive, but not unbalanced. Lovely.

In the mouth: It's off the hook, what seemed assertive in the nose is an all-out attack on the palate, but matched with malt to keep it under control. Citrus-y hop bite on each subsequent swallow. Grassy, piney, lemon-y flavors never quit, rage upon the tongue and the roof of the mouth. The senses are under siege.

I got tired of waiting for the sample man, so I got a six-pack myself and finished in off in no time. Good thing Sample Man finally came around so I could review it, (and I definitely will get a keg, or two!).

Medium bodied, long, bitter finish, delivers all the IPA flavor you're screaming for.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Omni Lake Day Citra Ale

Omni Brewing Lake Day Citra Ale, Omni Brewing, Maple Grove, MN. 4.9% ABV. 30 IBU.

You know we love our lakes around here. And we love talking about them on beer labels, as you'll see below. For now, let's concentrate on the beer:

Slightly hazed, golden hued, slim white head.

In the nose: bright and sunny, citrus-y. Altogether pleasant.

In the mouth: Nice hop buzz up front, good dose of bitterness. Lean -bodied and likable. Tasty and quaffable. Creamy mouthfeel and citra hop flavor carries you through.

Good pale ale and you can drink it.

Hop a wave of happy. Dive into aromatic goodness. Immerse your face in a personal 16-ounce inland body of natural wonderment. LAKE DAY brightens any day with it's soooo drinkable flavor profile, thanks to an ideal splash of citra hops. Our always lovable and lake-able citra ale. Enjoy the view and have a great LAKE DAY. 

Olvalde Farm Ale From The Old Vale

In writing this next post, a realization came over me. An embarrassing one. I have always referred to this brewery as "Olvalde Farms". It is not. It is Olvalde Farm, singular. Armed with this new knowledge, I must now go back and edit all past entries. And if you've never read, you would never have known of my mistake. So, I admitted this for nothing. Once again, the Bitter Nib is the beer blog that bares all, to no avail. You're welcome. (Strangely, I always copied the correct name off of the label, but went ahead and said 'farms'" anyway.)

Olvalde Farm Ale From the Old Vale, or the Brave Little Brewer, ale brewed with natural flavors, unfiltered and refermented in the bottle, local & native herbs, local hops. Olvalde Farm and Brewing Company, Rollingstone, MN. Also on the label, the words "Cepuros" and "Pandecter", which mean nothing to me. 7% ABV, 68 IBU.

Clear, bright golden color, slim white head.

In the nose: tart, fruit, spice. Wild & funky. I like it.

In the mouth: More wild, funky, & strange. Moderate hopping, medium malt, light body. Oddly flavored. Not bad, just odd. Not quite like any other flavor I've gotten from your average beer. Well, Joe Pond doesn't make average beer.

Citrus-y, slightly sour, and uniquely spiced. Certain to put many off, this is not for everyone. Polarizing, you might say. Me, I stand on the other side. I find this to be a delightfully quirky and refreshing Belgian-style brew.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Oliphant Also Bort Belgian-style Tripel Ale.

Oliphant Also Bort. Tripel Ale. 9.2% ABV. Oliphant Brewing, Somerset, WI.

It's crazy. This beer has been around for nearly two and a half years, and I've just recently got my first taste of it at the taproom. I'm never there when it's on, or it's brother, just plain Bort. You can be sure that I would have if it were, for I certainly wouldn't have skipped a beer of a favorite style named after such a great Simpsons reference.

I'd seen it in a crowler recently at a local liquor store, but passed, knowing that I'd be at the taproom soon and wanted to get it straight from the source. Went with a glass growler on this, instead of the crowler. This way, instead of having to finish one can in one night, I can reseal it and finish it off tomorrow. See how smart I am. S-M-R-T! I am so smart! I mean, S-M-A-R-T!

Enough palaver, it's time to drink some Also Bort. (And maybe, just maybe, someday I'll get some regular Bort, too. We can't have everything we want all at once, can we?)

To the eye: Clear, bright golden hue, under a slim, but sturdy, ivory head.

In the nose: Classic triple aromatics, slightly sweet, fruity, spicy, candi sugar and bubblegum. Orange, peach, and puree of pineapple.

In the mouth: Sweetness and spice lead the charge again, with moderate hop bitterness, and mostly malt on the playing field. High alcohol is also apparent from the start, but it's not troubling in any way shape or fashion, not yet. As I mentioned above, I'm not finishing this in one sitting, no mama, I'll drink half now and down the rest tomorrow....or, maybe I won't, and I'll just wish I hadn't in the morning? With all the fruit and the spice and the booze, I am throughly digging it. It certainly reminds me of Delirium Tremens from the days when that beer was novel and fresh.

Remarkably smooth and terrifically tasty. Starts sweet, ends dry. It only tastes a little bit like burning.

(If you're confused, that's another Simpsons
reference. Classic Ralph. )
In this permanent chalkboard illustration, Jeremy has used
an old Tommy Roe Greatest hits album as his canvas.
It's called 12 in a Roe, and a large Tommy looms over many
smaller Tommys. Jeremy replaced Mr. Roe with Bartholomew
J, and his miniature selves. 

also bort
dangusrous is what this is. it's also what we aim to beeeeeee. c'mon and flap, flap away with us to a land where everyone is also bort. that's nice! peace.

Bonus: I got a keg of it recently that I will soon tap at Acadia. Every day we can all drink all the Also Bort we want!

Sisyphus Hades The River Cinnamon Styx

Sisyphus Hades The River Cinnamon Styx. 11.5% ABV, 80 IBU. Sisyphus Brewing, Minneapolis, MN. Imperial Stout with cinnamon, vanilla, cocoa nibs & ancho chilies.

Dark brown coloration, nearly black, with a large tannish hued head, looking very nice. Very, very nice.

In the nose: Sweet and spicy, earthy. All cinnamon. A bit of anise and molasses behind, backed by a bunch of malt.

In the mouth: More and more cinnamon. When I first had this on at the taproom, it was bit too spicy and hot for me. But I went back and bought a crowler, because I had to tackle it. I couldn't skip this one. Left it in the fridge for a week, and tonight's the night to drink it. It's still hot, earthy, malty, spicy, hoppy, huge.

This is also a beer you could not order at the bar, and could only take home in the crowler. Wait, you're asking me, didn't you say you had it at the taproom. Yes, a sample. And that sample was enough to say, "hmm, maybe, maybe not." Drinking it now, it's a fine stout, if you're up for the heat and the spice. I can't see myself returning to it over and over again. This one crowler should do it for me. Or, I could see sharing one with friends. But, it doesn't give me what I really want in an Imperial Stout. And how often do I want to drink this much cinnamon?

I'll give it this: it's certainly it's own thing. And there ain't nothing wrong with that.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Warpigs Foggy Geezer Hazy India Pale Ale

Warpigs Foggy Geezer. Hazy India Pale Ale. Warpigs Brewing, Mikkeller/Three Floyds.
8% ABV, 70 IBU.

Here we have the collaborative effort between Denmark's Mikkeller and Indiana's Three Floyds Brewing, Warpigs. They had a Copenhagen brewpub, and now there's one in Chicago under the guiding hand of our old friend, Todd Haug. The names are the same as those brewed in the Danish pub, and these cans are produced by contract in Wisconsin, under Todd's watchful eye. (The can reads  in a combination of English and Danish: "Bryggit af Warpigs USA Brewin USA Verona WI USA.")

To the eye: Lightly hazed, bright golden color, slim white head.

In the nose: bursting with the tropical. pineapple meets pine and citrus.

In the mouth: Bold bitterness, fresh citrus/tropical hop flavors, and a clean entrance on the palate. Medium/light body. Refreshing. Slightly sweet for a bit, with hop bitterness subdued. Remains sweet and fruity throughout, a bit too much for me.

Toward the end, a bitter astringency comes roaring back. Seems just a touch confused.

Good India Pale Ale, and you can drink it.

A super fruity and dank Warpigs hazy IPA forged in collaboration between Three Floyds and Mikkeller.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Summit High Sticke Altbier

Summit High Sticke Alt. Proudly brewed in St. Paul, Minnesota. 12 fl. oz. Ale. 7.5% Alc. by Vol.

St. Paul is a hockey town.  So naturally a "sticke altbier" out of that town would get a hockey pun for a name. This is not the first altbier from Summit. The style was once a fall seasonal for them, early on. In my early days of buying beer for a bar, I tried to bring on all the Summit seasonals, and had a hard time moving that one when it's turn came. I'd explain to customers that the name meant "old beer" and they'd bellow "I'd don't want any old beer! Bring me fresh!" and wave me away callously. That hurt. Maybe consumers are more receptive to beer education now,  and will stop yelling at me when I provide them with new information?

And, hey, let's just call them German brown ales, why don't we?

(It was also, I forgot for a moment, the 20th in the Unchained Series, two years, as evidenced here.) (And it slowly sinks in that this may be the very same beer, especially after my FaceBook post got a like by brewer Mike Lundell.)

Clear-ish, brown colored, slim off-white head.

In the nose: light caramel malt sweetness, low bitterness, nice. Warm and pleasant.

In the mouth: Big malt boards the palate, with more of the same character found in the nose: moderate hop bitterness, tasty malt sweetness, caramel and brown sugar, nicely toasted.

From the label: "Crisp hop spice, assertive bitterness, and notes of caramel and biscuit."

You know what? It is crisp and assertive, lasting long into the finish. Not the kind of hop presence a big-time hop-head like me is looking for, but more than you'd expect in an English- or American-style brown ale.

Quite drinkable, even at 7% +. I can't rightfully call it a session beer, but so tasty that I could go for a few at a time.

More information, and hockey puns, from the Summit website: With big aromas of stone fruit and toffee, plus a slap shot of spicy hop flavor and assertive bitterness, Summit High Sticke Alt basically runs the rink. Cross-checking, throwing elbows, talking trash — the beer just does what needs to be done. Deep copper in color, traces of toast, caramel, and biscuit come from a complex blend of German malts, while a huge hop load and a long period of cold conditioning result in crisp, refreshing drinkability. Find our newest limited beer on draft and in 12-oz. bottles, only inside the Summit Penalty Box.

Conversation Starter
Inspired by the Altbier style famous to Düsseldorf, Germany, High Sticke Alt has roots that go back centuries. “Alt” is literally German for old, referring to the beer’s method of fermentation, and “Sticke,” on the other hand, means secret — a nod to the special-occasion seasonal beers brewers would make for themselves and their favorite customers.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Dave's BrewFarm Hibiscus Lager

I know that some of you will read my posts and be interested in the beers, hoping to get yourself a taste of it, too. I have to disappoint you with this one. I picked it up on the final BrewFarm date of the year. Dave will close for 2 months to pursue projects in Cambodia. Maybe there's some left in January? Let's go there and find out. Meanwhile, these notes.

Dave's BrewFarm Hibiscus Lager. 6.1% ABV. Bottled on October 27, 2017, purchased 10/29. Consumed 11/5.

Clear-ish, crimson colored, beautiful ivory head, with a slight pinkish tint, soon to crumble.

In the nose: fresh, vibrant, flowery. Lovely.

In the mouth: Starts out with a palate-gripping slight tartness, then that fades and all is smooth and mild. Some graininess in the texture. Hibiscus flavor brightens up the mouth on the regular. Nice hoppiness keeps it interesting, lively, and fun. Light-bodied, easy drinker, soft finish.

"Another in the botanical series, using lager yeast, couple with Pils and Ashore Mild malts, Mount Hood and Nugget hops, and a late addition of hibiscus flowers. Pretty beer."

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Oliphant Leche Dorado de Kittay

Oliphant Leche Dorado de Kittay Cream Ale with vanilla, lactose and spices. 4.8% ABV. Oliphant Brewing, Somerset, WI. Canned on 10/16/17.

Lightly hazy, bright golden hue, slim white head.

In the nose: the milk comes first, the cream, the smooth, the sweet. The vanilla. Delightful. Not what I'm on the hunt for on an average day, but pretty damned pretty.

In the mouth: Creamy, sweet, lush, vanilla-y. Minimal hops, moderate malt. Quite tasty. Smooth. Delicious. Give this to the person who "doesn't like beer", asks for "the least hoppy", would normally be drinking a "Sex on the Beach." Or some such.

At last, the mystery of Garfield as Occtoberboi is
revealed. He started as the illustration for this one.
Creamy, yummy, .....and yet, I still don't like lactose in beer. Except sometimes. But particularly not in a cream ale, which is a style I don't prefer. But people who like cream ales should love this. So, why am I drinking this one? Because, as I stated previously, I have an uncontrollable urge to try all of the Oliphant beers and write about them. It's impossible, but I try nonetheless. Someday I will also have every appearance of Benjamin J. Grimm in a Marvel comic book from 1961 to say, 1986. I will, someday. I promise this to you.

Meanwhile, this beer? Sweet, but balanced, and oh, so, drinkable. And not what I like to drink. Someone in your life will love it, though Someone in everyone's life should.

the city of gold was never a city but instead a fancy, lovely kittay. 

cream ale w/ lactose, vanilla, and golden milk spices. 4.8% abv. 


Saturday, November 4, 2017

Bent Paddle Valve Jockey #3 Session Barleywine

Bent Paddle Valve Jockey #3 Session Barley-wine. 7.1% ABV. 50 IBU. Brewed and canned by Bent Paddle Brewing Company, Duluth, MN.

Dark burgundy hue, with crimson highlights, sizeable, cream-toned head.

In the nose: a mostly malty affair, with a healthy dose of hops. Nutty, fruity, complex and intriguing. Has a handle on the sweetness.

In the mouth: Meaty, beaty, big and bouncy. Rich and smooth, a medium malt monster. Caramel and toffee at play on the palate. At "only" 7.1% ABV, this is a much smaller version of a barley-wine, hence the "session." But most of the attendant flavors are here, just holding a lid on things, making it nice and easy. Flavors of apple, berry, stone fruit abound, with citrus hop bitterness keeping pace with the malt.

It's a great idea, really. Giving us the flavors we love in a barley-wine, with making us incapable of operating heavy machinery. (Another term used to describe it has been "think of an Imperial ESB.")

The choice of tallboy cans in a 4-pack, versus the bombers of the previous entries in this series, may be another nod to subverting the normal vessel for a barley-wine and re-direct our intentions. And yet, I put away the pint glass and couldn't help myself from pouring into a snifter.

One tasty beer. Let's say I like it.

This beer was designed to celebrate the role of barley in a brewer's arsenal. This "Session" Barleywine ale is a chance to reflect on the role of malted barley in a beer recipe by creating an homage to the style that you can enjoy in a larger glass. Brewed with primarily English malts and yeast, you can expect a nuanced dried fruit/breadiness with a solid supporting a surprising citrus hop presence from the use of citra and cascade hops.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Junkyard Galaxy Experimental IPA

Junkyard Galaxy Experimental IPA. 6.7% Alc. by Vol. West Coast IPA. Junkyard Brewing, Moorhead, MN.

My first ever crowler from Junkyard (though I've sampled from others'), bought at Minnehaha-Lake Liquors. Along with another one I'll tell you all about later.

Hazy, bright golden hue, full ivory head, leaving lace. Looking nice.

In the nose: floral, slightly sweet, moderately bitter. Lightly fruity, citrus-y, dry. Lemon peel and pine needle.

In the mouth: Fresh, hoppy, dry and delicious. Bristlingly bitter, citrusy, lovely. Drinking down nice and easy. Smooth, not too bitter, not too fruity, just juicy enough. My kind of India Pale Ale. Very enjoyable, highly recommended.

My first of many more Junkyard crowlers to come.

Sisyphus Banana Boss

Sisyphus Banana Boss. 5.1% ABV. German-style HefeWeizen. Sisyphus Brewing, Minneapolis, MN.

Highly hazed, golden hued, sizable head that drifts down to nil in no time.

In the nose: Ah! Banana cream pie! There it is. The weizen yeast, the smooth wheat malt, banana and clove, with a hint of citrus.

In the mouth: Mmm, yeah. Perfectly quenchable and crushable smooth hefe weizen here. Slightly sweet, well balanced, light bodied. Nothing but right on the money with this one. Fits my dinner of Thai Chicken Drunken Noodles just right. Douses the flames delightfully.

A beer with appeal for everyone - we weren't monkeying around with this crisp Hefeweizen. Crisp wheat taste means that once you have one you'll want bunches. Drink it now before it splits.
Flavors: Banana, tapioca, dry finish with a touch of sweetness.

Bell's Winter White Ale

Bell's Winter White Ale. Bell's Brewery, Comstock, MI. 5% ABV.

As you may know or have surmised, I try my best to put all the beers I try, or have tried, into the Nib. But if a beer appears here, I have to be drinking it now. This mean that for the past seven years since I began this blog, I have not had any Bell's Winter White Ale, which I did a review of long ago. And thanks to the sample man, a bottle finally came my way, and so I'll these notes that I originally posted on oh, so long ago.

I've since had this one many more times, fresh off of a new keg, and found more to appreciate than before, and have raised my ratings from the original appraisal to reflect this new appreciation. No, it's not what I'd look for in a winter beer, but that's no reason to rate against what it is...which is a smooth, tasty's the original, but I'd definitely recant the low opinion of the aroma...maybe it was the bar I was in at the time...also, banana is felt keener, as well...

Appearance: cloudy dull orange, opaque, with a solid, bone-white head, 1/2", long-lasting.
Aroma: on the mild side, yielding minor notes of spice and citrus, doesn't stand forward in the least, though, but nicely woven, nonetheless.
Taste: neat spiciness starts off on the palate, coriander, chiefly, with the citrus character continuing in the taste, though terribly muted compared to other wits. Compared to their own Oberon, which is a bright, juicy explosion of fruity/yeasty goodness, it's a mellow affair, with the finish, too, on the downlow, though it fades happily off the tongue. The citric twang on the palate is persistent and well-liked by this tongue.
Drinkability is quite good, but in the final summation, this Bell's fan would sooner reach for a TwoHearted or one of their spectacular stouts. I hope it appeals to others, as it's not a bad beer in the least. Just not great.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Omni Muddy Runner Coconut Porter

Omni Brewing Muddy Runner Coconut Porter. 5.8% ABV. Omni Brewing, Maple Grove, MN.

Solid brown body with ruby highlights, slim brownish head.

In the nose: Sweet, nutty, coconut. Yup, it's there. Much malt beneath.

In the mouth: Boom! Coconut from the start, rich and sweet and tasty. Medium body, good drinking. Long lasting coconut flavor. Cocoa, maple syrup, molasses, nuts, other flavors at play. Sweet, balanced, low bitterness. Damn good beer.

As for me, I don't normally like coconut in my porter, but you know what? It ain't bad. Not at all. In fact, it's pretty good. In fact, damn good, as I said before.

Toasted coconut in the fermenter give this Porter a coconut nose and sweet coconut finish that is not overbearing. All combining with a light body to make this so much more than a dessert beer.

Or, "Ever want to go out and just play in the mud? MUDDY RUNNER is a dark, but lighthearted, Coconut Porter. A collection of malts rolling happily in the mud with a dash of Cascade hops. This is one savvy coconut that even surprises those who aren't fans of the cc-nuts. Get off that well-worn pavement and dive into a MUDDY RUNNER. All Beer, No Pretense., Maple Grove, MN."

Toppling Goliath X Hops Maroon

Toppling Goliath X Hops Maroon Pale Ale. Toppling Goliath Brewery, Decorah, Iowa. 5.3% ABV.

Hazy, bright golden coloring, lighter and more transparent at the bottom, with a large, looming ivory head.

In the nose: Ah! Beautiful citrus and pine, plenty of grapefruit, orange, lemon/lime. Just right.

In the mouth: Juicy, fruity, bitter. Just enough bitter to keep tabs on the pithy citrus fruit. Lean bodied,  sweet malt, just enough balance to let the hops shine through. Just enough biscuity, cracker-y malt, with an abundance of blisteringly bitter, bright and juicy citrus flavors flowing. Tasty and satisfying, this.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Oliphant cats, cats, cats, CATS!!! India Pale Ale

Oliphant cats, cats, cats, CATS!!! India Pale Ale, 6.7% ABV. Oliphant Brewing, Somerset, WI.

Clear, golden/amber hue, slim ivory head.

In the nose: bright, citrus-y, orange and grapefruit, all the C-hops are at play here, yes, indeed. Everything you want in an IPA, if you're not one of these trend chasers like all those kids these days! (Damnit, where'd I put my pills!)

In the mouth: Smooth and clean and oh, so hoppy. All the C's abound, with tons of citrus/pine flavors.  Bitterness on top, smooth and malty below. Just about perfect. This is IPA.

good news everyone! even if you are allergic to cats, you can still enjoy this beer. it's made with only the finest hypoallergenic cat hairballs.

india pale ale with chinook, cascade, centennial, and columbus hops. 6.7% abc

In some places on the board, the chalk art of Jeremy
Hughes has now been replaced by the vinyl on
album cover art of Jeremy Hughes. The canvas that
Also Bort was painted upon is Tommy Roe's Greatest
Hits, yes, Tommy Roe of "Dizzy" and no other classics.
Put to good use at last, I'd say.
(Note from the Editor: I have once again become the victim of a technological failure. Some time yesterday, my MacBook Air that I used to download and edit pictures no longer recognizes the iPhone I'd been using to take them. The picture of the crowler of cats, etc that I consumed Sunday night and took notes upon will instead be represented by the first beer I had at the taproom Sunday afternoon. Until I get it working again, I'll have to use the iPod Plus that I used to take photos previously, which it does recognize, oddly enough.)
Editor's Note: Fixed.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

New Belgium Voodoo Ranger Special Release Passion Fruit Imperial IPA

New Belgium Voodoo Ranger Special Release Passion Fruit Imperial IPA. 8% ABV. New Belgium Brewing, Fort Collins, CO (and wherever else.)

Hazy, bright golden appearance, beautiful white head, leaving some lace.

In the nose: Tropical fruit. Funk. Tart. Weird. Hops? Hmmm.....

In the mouth: Ah! Sweet, fruity, tart, funky, and, yeah, weird. Fresh, lively. Not much hop bitterness. Okay, there's some. The tropical fruit overpowers it. But I like it. I like it, yes, I do. And the body is medium, the mouthfeel is semi-smooth, fruity, funky. And, still, huh.

I'm not getting the Imperial IPA I want out of this, but if you don't mind your passion fruit being all passion fruity, then there we go.

A double IPA bursting with breezy, tropical flavors. This Voodoo Ranger special release features a hefty amount of passion fruit, which pairs perfectly with the fruity citra and galaxy hop additions.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Clown Shoes The Barista Breakfast Brown Ale

Clown Shoes The Barista Breakfast Brown Ale, brewed with espresso, oatmeal, and milk sugars. Clown Shoes Beer, Ipswich, MA. 8.5% ABV.

Dark brown color, with crimson highlights, under a toasted tan head, leaving lace. Nice.

In the nose: largely malty, rich, warm, lush. Slightly bittersweet, roasty-toasty. Dark fruits. Decadence.

In the mouth: Big malt. Tasty. Coffee flavor is in here, but not dominate, mixing well with the malt and sugar. Reading the label is see that it's Brown Angel with coffee, and a little more booze in it. I'm getting the oats now, and the grassy/citric hop nature of Brown Angel returns to the palate. I don't seem to recall if the original BA had oatmeal as well, but it's definitely coming through here. Brown sugar, molasses, and more coffee. So nice.

This is a good one, and I'm really enjoying it. Very smooth and comforting. Relaxing, luxurious, and invigorating, all at once.

It's also the first part of my correcting the mistake of having only reviewed 10 Clown Shoes beers in the past 7 years. That's way too low. Way, way too low.

A Clown Shoes legend, Brown Angel put away her dancing shoes to focus on extracting espresso, brewing coffee and pouring latte art with zen-like focus.   The Barista Breakfast Brown is crafted with Maris Otter malt, flaked oatmeal, cold brewed espresso, milk sugar and the spirit of angel wings.

Surly Darkness 2012, Five Years On

In late December of 2007, I was one of a few hundred people who made the trip to Surly Brewing in Brooklyn Center to buy 2 of less than 500 bottles of Darkness Russian Imperial Stout. The event continues year after year, though in 2008 it occurred in October and the allotment per person rose to six bottles each. And each year, I return to keep that collection going. This year, like last, I biked 10 miles from my home in Minneapolis on a Saturday morning in order to volunteer and pour beer for the attendants. This means no standing in the cold (or in the case of this year, rain) for hours. I like that.

The intent is to have enough bottles that I can annually host a tasting event with a "vertical" of Darkness. The first time I did this was six years ago, when I opened a bottle each from every year 2007 -2011. I had every intention of taking notes on everyone's opinions, but we were having too much fun for such seriousness. Since then, I make no pretenses to taking notes in the company of friends and merely enjoy.

But why not takes notes on vintage bottles as they take on the effects of time? Why not, indeed. The only appearance of Darkness here in the Nib, aside from the notes taken on 2015 Barrel-aged last year, was my posting of notes on the original 2006 version taken while consuming on tap, after having had a bottle of 2010, in 2011.

So, let's start things off with a 2012 bottle, now five years old, consumed last night.

Surly Darkness Russian Imperial Stout, Surly Brewing, Brooklyn Center, MN. 10% ABV.

Solid Stygian, utterly ebon, under a lush brown head that coats the glass with cocoa lace. A pinnacle of RIS appearance. Just flat out gorgeous.

In the nose: Aroma screams out of the glass. I love it when that happens. The aromatics are not shy here. Smoke, char, ash, chocolate, molasses, anise. Richness, decadence, deepness and sublimity.

In the mouth: Mmmm. Sweet, and bitter. Chocolate kisses. Caramel and cocoa and toffee and rich delights. Immense body, but not too thick, not un-manageable. Has time tamed it, made it more relaxed and easier to slide down the gullet? Perhaps. Right now, it's smooth and lovely, mostly malty, and totally chocolatey.

This is just about perfect. Nothing is lost, nothing has left, and what has been gained? It's all here, in full force. Yum upon yum, compounded by yum. So, five years on....yes, indeed. Six? We'll see. I should open an '11 soon, right? Oh, yes.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Utepils Ewald the Golden Bavarian Style HefeWeizen

A number of Utepils cans came in to my possession not too long ago, but I wasn't in a big hurry to sample them, since I'd already tried them at the brewery, and in this case, already had a keg on tap at Acadia. So, I saved them for review and the time has finally come. Need to clean out that fridge. (Once in a while, I think about visiting breweries and picking up growlers or crowlers, and then I remember that there are 3 dozen or so bottles, cans, crowlers or growlers awaiting review, and then I'll order a pizza and stay home to drink them up.)

And while I'm at it, there's that one Utepils beer review I've never posted, because it's tied to my report on the brewery itself, which I've procrastinating on posting. Time's up, got to do it. And we'll start with this one....

Utepils Ewald the Golden Bavarian-style Hefe Weizen, Utepils Brewing, Minneapolis, MN. 5.2% ABV. 15 IBU.

Thoroughly hazed, pale golden color, beautiful ivory head, leaving lace behind.

In the nose: Straw first, then comes the fruit. Banana, citrus, then a little touch of clove. Light, airy, lovely. Just right.

In the mouth: slightly sweet, fresh and refreshing. Smooth wheat malt texture. Light bodied and quaffable. Spot on rendition of the style. Hefeweizens are great summer satisfiers for sure, but they are terrific drinks at any other time as well. And this one is quite tasty. I'd rank it among the better locally made versions, hands down


Wild Mind West Coast Vibes

Wild Mind West Coast Vibes. American IPA. 7.2% ABV. Wild Mind Artisan Ales, Minneapolis, MN.

Slightly hazy, bright golden color, slim white head.

In the nose: bitter, funky, fruity.

In the mouth: More tropical fruit hops, a touch of citrus, just a little bitter, just right.
Lean bodied, mellow malt. Easy drinker. Smooth and refreshing. A twist of tart in the finish. Quite tasty, goes down with ease.

Has me wondering what yeast they used to get this slightly funky flavor. I'll ask around.

Hoppy, piney, tropical.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Lynlake Sirius Pale Ale

Lynlake Sirius Pale Ale. Lynlake Brewery, Minneapolis, MN. 5.7% ABV.

Clear, bright, golden/amber coloring, slim, soon-gone head.

In the nose: Citrus notes, grapefruit and lime, nicely hopped. Minor malt. Just right for a pale ale.

In the mouth: Good and bitter up front. Big, citrus blast from the hops, long on the palate. Each new meeting of ale and tongue is one full of delight and deliciousness. Really. Honestly, that's how I feel. It's damned tasty stuff. I'm going to keep on drinking it.

Pale Ale-ABV: 5.7% IBU:-35 SRM:5

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Abbaye Val Dieu Cuvee 800

I haven't done a true Belgian ale here in the Nib in a while, and that's a shame. Partly because my focus has been turned to the local scene, and partly because I can't find a lot of affordable new ones. This bottle was fairly priced, and one I knew I was gong to like, having had it before. That's a story I'm going to leave until the end.

What we have here, The Cuvee Speciale 800 Ans, the anniversary beer for the Abbaye Val Dieu, was released late last year, a Belgian blonde ale, 5.5% ABV. Brasserie de l'abbaye Val Dieu, Aubel, Belgium. "Let's celebrate this historic event with a beer brewed in the cisterian abbey of Val-Dieu. Rich in authentic taste, roundness and complexity, this beer also offers a subtle touch of hops. Unleash the art of beer craftsmanship and enjoy this Belgian-brewed beer. Limited edition." (Update: It's coming back.)
So, yeah, let's. Here are my notes:

Lightly clouded, bright golden, slimmed ivory head, looking very lovely.

In the nose: sharp and shimmering, alert and lively, brimming with the elegant promise of Belgian yeast and hops. Stunningly gorgeous.

In the mouth: Sparkling. Citrusy-y. Sunshine. Alive. Nothing short of wonderful. Lush malt, vibrant yeast character, and transcendent flavor. Not shy of saying it, this is one of those beers. Lifts up and separates from the common. Impossible to put into words. Neither sweet nor bitter, nor sour. Flat out wonderful.

Really. Honestly, Find a bottle yourself. (They're out there, believe me, despite the amazing quality, these didn't fly off the shelves.) If you put this past your lips and aren't lifted into realms sublime, well, buster, you and me don't see eye to eye, see? Citrus and spice and everything nice, little bits of angel dust, plus unicorn sweat and dragon wings. Gossamer fairy fuzz, smurf spittle, gnome niblets, ....all the good stuff.

I first had this one early this year when I had a keg of it at Acadia. I bought it late last year at the urging of my sales rep from the distributor, who also sold it on the basis of those gorgeous chalices you see above. I didn't tap it until early this year, and it was a bit of a hard sell, but only to those who are not devoted followers of Belgian ales. The price was too high for a "boring blonde" of "only" 5.5% ABV. Far too many people look at a high price point (based, of course, on a high cost for the keg), see a medium-range alcohol level and assume that they aren't getting "bang for the buck". If the only draw is a beautiful flavor, not a big buzz, they feel their money isn't well spent. It's too bad.

I started seeing this beer in bottles, and eventually picked one up, holding on to it until the other night. I needed to have enough time to take proper notes on it. Those of you who have stuck it out and read this far, get this beer if you see it. It's well worth the price.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Modist Deviation 10

Modist Deviation 010. 5.6% ABV. Lager brewed with huskless barley. Modist Brewing Company, Minneapolis, MN.

Clear, bright golden color, smallish white head. 

In the nose: no bitterness, light hops, cereal grains, mostly malty, but altogether clean. 

In the mouth: Clean, malty, fruity. Just about nothing but nice. Smooth, easy, drinking. I have to educate myself on the difference between husked and huskless barley. One guess I'd offer is makes for a hearty, yet clean malt flavor. Little hops, no bitterness, good balance, moderate sweetness. Good ol' drinking lager, this one. 

I like it. Good lager, and guess what? I'm drinking it. 

 Deviation 010 is a smooth, full-flavored lager brewed with CDC Clear malt from experimental huskless barley from our partners at BSG CraftBrewing, lightly hopped with Denali, Huell Melon, and Bravo, and then fermented with our house lager strain. It’s lightly fruity, bready, drinkable, and clocks in at 5.5% ABV.  It’s good. Come and try it.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Sisyphus Mashtadon Barley-wine

Sisyphus Mashtadon Barley-wine. 11.3%. Sisyphus Brewing, Minneapolis, MN.

To the eye: hazy, burgundy-hued, slimmed, but lasting, off-white head, looking the part.

In the nose: fruity, flowery, malty. A sweet thing in the nose. Promise of things to come.

In the mouth: rich, super-malty, thick and nearly viscous. All kinds of caramel-y, sticky, juicy, fruity flavors coalesce on the palate. Some spice in this, a hint of cinnamon, nutmeg, just a little. Not as profoundly heavy or bombastic as I sometimes like, but very likable all the same.

What if you don't need them burly and ballsy, though? Maybe something more manageable is more your style? Maybe I should try something like that....more something less commanding, less punishing, would be nice for a change?

Yes, maybe. You know what? Yes. But, still, I'm talking about an 11.3% beer. I forgot that. And the proverbial chickens are coming home to roost. Boom, boom, boom, boom. (Cue John Lee Hooker.)

This is flat out delicious. Man, do I dig it.

Made with 100% real mastodon - do you know how hard it is to find good mastodon these days? Seriously - if you know someone we can buy more mastodon from please let us cellarman Andy know - he's looking for more. 
Flavors: Caramel malt, more caramel malt, mastodon.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Firestone Walker XX

Firestone Walker XX. A blend of barrel-aged beers. Firestone Walker Brewery, Pasa Robles, California. 13% ABV.

Full-on darkness, extra black, with a thin, brown ring of foam up above.

In the nose: bourbon barrel richness. Vanilla, molasses, dark rum deliciousness. Cherries, chocolate, and a hint of spice.

In the mouth: Mmm. Big, sweet, vast, deep, and luxurious. I still haven't figured out what the base beer is on this one. Something strong. I will take to Google to find the answer. Huh. It's blend of barrel aged beers. 40% bourbon barrel Parabola RIS, 20% bourbon/brandy barrel barley-wine (Stickee Monkey), 17.5% Velvet Merkin Bourbon barrel oatmeal stout, 12.5% Bravo bourbon barrel imperial brown ale, and 10% Helldorado bourbon barrel blonde barley-wine. Oh, my. It's a wide one.

I've only had one of those base beers before. They're terrific together.

My notes did not go as far as I'd wanted them to. This one just kind of knocked me out. Thanks to Chris for the bottle. I only had to give him one of my last remaining Surly Two posters. It was worth it.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Fulton Specter India Pale Ale

Fulton Specter India Pale Ale. Alc. 7.1% by Vol. 35 IBU. 1 pint can. Brewed and packaged by Fulton Brewery, Minneapolis, MN.

This beer is the new name for the IPA formerly known as Grog, which was named for a Fulton employee who left us tragically too soon.

Hazy, bright golden appearance, slim white head atop.

In the nose: soft tropical fruit notes, pineapple and papaya, less bitterness than your average "IPA." Just a little bit on the sweet side.

In the mouth: right off the bat, there's something a little off, neither bad nor good, just different. Creamy. But no lactose in this one, I don't think. Very smooth. Oats? I'll find out. Some citrus-y, grapefruit-y character starts to jump on board the palate. Lots of hop flavor, but still very low bitterness. It's a tasty one, very interesting, and a good drinker. Much complexity in this.

This is fine, if you like those NE-style IPAs. I'm not entirely sure if I do all that much.

Specter, our NE Style IPA has a number of very distinct traits that separate it from the rest of our IPAs. It’s smooth, creamy mouthfeel and it's hazy appearance are by-products of a number of ingredients and process. We used nearly 20% oats in the mash, a chloride-heavy water chemistry, and low flocculating yeast. We aggressively hopped Specter with late boil and whirlpool additions, leaving it with little perceived lingering bitterness, but rather a tropical and juicy finish. If that wasn't enough, we dry-hopped this beer twice with Citra, Mosaic, Amarillo, and Nelson Sauvin to add aromas of citrus and stone fruits.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Wild Mind Vivid Gold Triple IPA

Wild Mind Vivid Gold Triple IPA. 10.8% ABV. 75 IBU. Wild Mind Artisan Ales, Minneapolis, MN.

Lightly hazed, amber-hued, slim white head.

In the nose: big fruit, big, bold, pithy hop bitterness and fruit notes aplenty. Sweet, hoppy, bitter, beautiful. Me, I like it.

In the mouth: Big bitterness, huge fruit, tasty all the way. Alcohol creeps in, assuredly. A veritable cornucopia on the palate. Bigness upon bigness.

I have to admit it. My notes ended there. I did not go on to write the Great American Novel on the subject of Vivid Gold triple IPA, alas. But, I swam in it, I luxuriated in it, I drank in all and had a restful slumber. And there ain't nothing wrong with that.

"this was a crowler filled on 8/3/17, and purchased by me some time later, and opened on August 30. The notes remained to a state of suspended animation, while I wondered what to do about their unfinished-ness. I finally decided that they were good enough to go forward. Meanwhile, I still wonder what VGML stands for. Anyone know?)

Brewed with five pounds per barrel of hops that include Citra, Cascade, Azacca & Motueka. Notes of sweet grapefruit, pineapple, mango, papaya, bright Citrus, Fresh hay, and Stone. 

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Minneapolis Town Hall Fresh Hop 100 2017

It's October, 2017, and time to celebrate 20 years of Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery. This year, the annual Fresh Hop Ale was released just before the week-long anniversary events, so it would still be on tap as well as the other special goodies. And this year I had to make sure I got there in time to get a growler, because something disturbing, unsettling had occurred to me. In the seven years of this blog, and over 100 reviews of Town Hall beers, the Fresh Hop, now called Fresh Hop 100, is missing!

How can this be? I honestly don't understand it. In the days before I published my beer thoughts here, I posted reviews on and rate The debut of Fresh Hop was in 2005, and at the time there was nothing else like it. We had only recently been seeing Sierra Nevada's Harvest Ale locally, and there were no other local breweries doing anything of the kind. (And, need it be said, a general paucity of local breweries to do so.) I posted reviews every year, each one an effusive missive on the merits of these bold hop bombs. Many exclamation points were misused, and there was expressive profanity, as well. No holds barred in my enthusiasm. Those were the days when new beers were being released almost every Monday afternoon, it seems, and I was there at each new release, taking home a growler to type up my notes on them. The first batch of growlers usually had a surprise inside, a single hop cone floating on top of the beer.

For five years straight I did this, but as time went on I wasn't always there for the release date, and would get my growlers without the hop cone. Then, in 2010, I wound up being too late to get a growler at all and took no notes, of course. But how could be so unlucky, or so bad at planning that for the next six years that I never got the beer to take home at all? Not once? I scanned through the 118 listings under Town Hall, stupefied that this had happened. It was imperative that this slight be corrected. I brought one home Tuesday night, along with a small growler of Three Hour Tour (too late, alas, for Six Hour Tour, the doubled-up and barrel-aged version of their venerated coconut milk stout) to save for a special day, and took these notes:

American IPA. 7% ABV. IBU:?

Clear, bold bronze coloring, hefty head, egg-white hued and lace-leaving.

In the nose: citrus, pine, and more. Apple? Blueberry? Mosaic hops keep me guessing. A cornucopia of fresh hop flavors at play. Lovely and lively.

In the mouth: Hop bitterness grabs the palate from the start. Grips it fast and holds it down. Lot of malts keeping it interesting on the back end, caramel and I'm not sure what-all. English varieties, I'm guessing. A little bit of spicy kick in there, too. Much more complex and flavorful than previous entries. Long, bitter finish. Medium bodied, excellent drinkability.

I have to admit, though, that I don't like this one quite as much as previous iterations that were straight-up palate piercers, with less malt to cushion the blow. But there's room for all kinds of expression in the big, wide world of beer. They can't all be Cascades and Centennials. Make room for Mosaic. Although, that Mosaic/Citra combo is so hot, what if....maybe....?

Hopped exclusively in the kettle and hop-back with wet whole cone Mosaic from Yakima Valley, WA.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Stone 21st Anniversary Hail to the Hop Theif Double IPA

Stone 21st Anniversary Double IPA Hail to the Hop Thief, brewed and bottled by Stone Brewing, Escondido, CA & Richmond, VA. 9.8% Alc. by Vol.  80 IBU.

 "A double india pale ale fit for our 21st year."

Hazy, bright golden, voluminous ivory head, and composed of a multitude of "floats". Did I get an old bottle? Not sure. Huh.

In the nose: lovely hop expression, floral, lightly citrus, slightly tropical, delicate fruit notes. Nice.

In the mouth: Bold, brash bitterness at the start, resinous, oily, hop-forward for sure. A barrage of bitterness, a brisk blast of hop flavors. Lean bodied, mellow malt, all here is in service of letting the hop flag fly.  Creamy, smooth, and big and bitter. Just like I like my double IPAs. Yum. Yu-um. Or even, as I like to say from time to time, Yum-a-Dum, Dum! (Don't forget to quote me when you use that next!)

This is awfully good, forgiving the floaties. (Storage issue? The bottle was sitting at room temp at the store where I bought it.)
There's a whole lot of gobbledygook on the label....maybe I'll find a link for it. I'm sure it's amusing and informative.

The big wide world inspires our imagination and fuels our passions. Anything from music, film, beer, literature, architecture, food, engineering, poetry…all art forms essentially, including more beer. We steal with any and all things that possess the one value that we hold most dear: authenticity. The important thing of course is that ‘It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to.’ So, what are we saying about this beer, exactly? We gave it our take. We took all there is to love about the IPA, got creative, dry-hopped it a lot, left it unfiltered and shared it openly in the hopes that in some way it may, in turn, inspire you. Hail to The Hop Thief, an original.

That's much shorter than what's on the label. Guess I've got to break out my reading glasses....

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Coronado Orange Ave. Wit

Coronado Orange Avenue Wit. 5.2% ABV. 15 IBU. Coronado Brewing, Coronado, California.

Clear, light golden color, slim white head.

In the nose: fruit forward, orange and other citrus, slight spice, sweet wheat.

In the mouth: Generous flavors up front, loaded with coriander, orange peel, etc. Abundant fruit, , mellow malt, and a bit hoppier than your average wit. Lean bodied, easy-drinking, definite sessioner.

Good balance in this one, and definitely an American/ Californian take on the style. Misses a little something more special to the Belgian style. But a good beer nonetheless.

Our spiced California style Wit is both refreshing and complex. Brewed with wheat, coriander, California orange peel and local orange blossom honey. From the first sip to the last you’ll find subtle flavors of bread, spice, citrus and a thirst quenching orange honey finish.

Monday, October 16, 2017

LynLake Dougie Fresh

Dougie Fresh. Double India Pale Ale. 8.4% ABV. 77 IBU. Lynlake Brewery, Minneapolis, MN.

Clear, bright amber/crimson coloring, enormous ivory froth atop.

In the nose: ah! yes! fresh, floral, lively, beautifully hoppy. Citrus  and tropical notes aplenty.

In the mouth: Big bigness, big bitterness, largely fruity, slightly floral, absolutely lovely. Medium bodied, long hoppy finish. An absolute delight.

This one ranks up there with my favorite beers put out by this brewery. Go get some before it's gone.

Brewed with Centennial, Mosaic, Ekuanot and Summit hops. Succulent hop little hop bomb.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Modist Deviation 09

Modist Deviation 09 Double IPA, 8.1% ABV. Modist Brewing, Minneapolis, MN.

Bright golden, hazy, big ol' ivory-toned head. Looking good.

In the nose: nothing but nice. Beautiful hop flavors abound, tropical tones, citrus, pineapple meets grapefruit, orange....banana? Nah....or, maybe? Bit of Belgian funk, as well.

In the mouth: Yum. Hoppy goodness all over the palate. Remember my latest catchphrase? I haven't used it in a little bit, but it applies here: Yum-a-dum-dum! TM, C, R. Big hops, Fantastic Belgian yeast delivering the delicious oddness. Bright, bold citrus hop character carries through. Lean bodied, long, bitter finish, fruity, delightful, delicious.

Double IPA made entirely from wheat and oats, fermented with Belgian yeast, and hopped with Bravo, Amarillo, and Ekuanot hop powder.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Oliphant Mr. Samurai Karateguy India Pale Ale

Oliphant Mr. Samurai Karateguy India Pale Ale. 5.8% ABV. one pint can. Brewed by Oliphant Brewing, Somerset, Wisconsin (at Barley John's Brewing Company, New Richmond, WI.)

To the eye: Slightly hazy,  bright golden hue, large, lush cloud-white head. Looking fantastic.

In the nose: big citrus aromatics, orange, tangerine, lemon/lime. Lovely. Not too bitter, not yet. Some pine, too. Just about right on the money.

In the mouth: Mmm. Bitter, hoppy, fruity, yes, delicious. Fresh, zesty, arresting. Flat out tasty. Medium bodied, long-lasting flavor, eternal finish. I want to say yum. I want to say damn, this is nice. Maybe I will. So smooth, so hoppy, so nice.

he may seem like an ordinary fry cook or chef, i don't know which one he is, but look closer at those hands...gasp! those aren't hands, they are karate swords!!!

india pale ale with citra and centennial hops. 5.8% abc

And also: he's never known the pleasure of scratching his own back. sadly, mister double sword hands here lives a life of utility and he knows it. 

Sisyphus Sisy-fest

Sisyphus Sisy-fest, Oktoberfest-style beer. 6.3% ABV.  36 IBU. Sisyphus Brewing, Minneapolis, MN.

Clear, deep amber/bronze color, slim, short-lived ivory head.

In the nose: classic fest bier nose, German malt, sweet, but balanced. Nice.

In the mouth: Tidy little taste of hops up front, then malty and smooth. Clean, crisp, slightly sweet, but altogether balanced and beautiful. Smooth and delicious. Good ol' drinking oktoberfest, all done in style.

I like this one. Pretty good O-fest.

Sisy-Fest, n: 1) Our Oktoberfest bier 2) A large gathering of cowardly people 3) A party where everyone talks about death and the embrace of life's absurdity 4) All of the above
Flavors: Caramel malts, slight bitterness, dry finish

Tallgrass Blueberry Jam

Tallgrass Blueberry Jam. Blueberry Berliner Weisse. German-style tart wheat ale brewed with blueberry. Brewed and canned by Tallgrass Brewery, Manhattan, Kansas. 4.3% Alc. by Vol.

Clear, golden/amber hue, smallish ivory head.

In the nose: tart, sweet, wheat, blueberry-ish.

In the mouth: More of the same: crisp, tart, fruity, delightful. Light bodied, easy drinking, smooth but slightly sour. Very nice. Go for it, if it's your, ahem, jam.

After a successful solo tour, we decided to put a band together with our Jam series. Jam out with this refreshingly tart, German-style wheat ale brewed with blueberries. 

Cosmos Buzzed Aldrin

Cosmos Buzzed Aldrin. Coffee Ale. Alc. 7% by Vol. 20 IBU. Cosmos Brewing, Hugo, MN.

Golden toned, lightly hazed, nice ivory head that slims down in due time.

In the nose: Earthy, nutty coffee notes hit first, with juicy malt just below. Smells of fresh ground beans. Delightful.

In the mouth: Straightforward, simple, and tasty as heck. Juicy malt mingled with coffee flavor. Virtually no hop presence, just the proverbial kiss. Maybe a little too sweet, though, but I get what they're going for. I'm really not liking lactose in beers these days, though there's no denying the affect it has, and the taste it delivers.

I like this. It's a bit like a beer Frappucino, but that's not going to be something I'll want too many of. One and done for me. (And I come off as a hypocrite for railing against "milkshake IPAs" while enjoying a beer like this.)

"Is there alien life out there?" Golden cappuccino ale is the best way to describe Buzzed Aldrin. A large coffee addition imparts both aroma and flavor, lactose bring sweetness and flaked grains round out the body. Looks like a pale, drinks like a stout. SAVE SPACE FOR BEER! Made with Alaska Artisan Coffee." 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Omnipollo Shploing!!!

Omnipollo Shploing!! Mango S'mores India Pale Ale brewed with marshmallows, graham crackers, salt and lactose sugar with mango and vanilla added. 12 fl. oz. All. 7% by Vol. Brewed and canned for Omnipollo by Dorchester Brewing, Boston, MA. Product of the United States, store cool and dark.

Once again, it's the last can of a 4-pack that cost much more than I normally like to pay. The first three was consumed by gusto and alacrity, and not much contemplation. With the final can, I take a wider scope of consideration. I've liked all the Omnipollo's I've had before, and this one? Just had to try it.

Clear, bright golden, enormous ivory head.

In the nose: nothing but fresh, bright, bold citrus. Exactly what you want in an IPA.

In the mouth: more bold citrus hop flavor, smooth 'n' fruity. Nice bitterness, medium bodied, easy drinker. I can taste some of that mango, but all those other ingredients are a bit lost in the shuffle. Don't really get the "s'mores" aspect at all. I wouldn't call it a failure, but the parts are not greater than the whole, here.