Sunday, July 23, 2017

Bent Paddle Kanu Session Pale Ale

Bent Paddle Kanu Session Pale Ale. (Why not just Pale Ale? Aren't they all session beers, ostensibly?)

This can is the last of my 12-pack, bought many weeks ago. That seems to be my way, lately, drinking the other 5 or 11 or what have you and enjoy without critical thinking, if it's good of course. And then leaving the last one and procrastinating, as it sits in the fridge, waiting to have those notes taken. Well, it's high time, dammit. Let's drink it!

4.8% ABV, 48 IBU.

Lightly hazed, bright golden, bordering on amber color, slim white head.

In the nose: soft, slightly spicy/hoppy, citrus and pine, all played in a minor key. Nice.

In the mouth: Hop bite is big at first, a great of bitterness, and the lemon and the pine needles on the palate. A little bit of tropical notes pop up here and there, too. Nice and spicy and dry. Lean bodied, easy-drinking, good to toss back and have another. Yum, quite tasty.
It's a classic American pale and a good beer, and you can drink it. Ain't nothing wrong with that.

The “Weekend Warrior”, the “Tin Tank” the “Camp Classic”- most canoeists experienced their first paddle in an aluminum canoe. They are perfect for the beginner - rugged, stable and not to mention glaringly bright! Kanu Session Pale Ale pays homage to that nostalgic entry point into paddling life. Brilliant hop expression with a structural malt “hull”, this Session Pale is designed to accompany your journey. Grab a 12’er and climb aboard our craft!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Drekker Wheez the Juice India Pale Ale

Drekker Wheez the Juice India Pale Ale. Fargo, North Dakota. 5.5% ABV, 59 IBU.

Heavily hazy, bright golden color, under a voluminous helping of ivory fluff above. Looks great. 

In the nose: Notes of peach, pineapple, lemon and orange. Popping with citrus, tropical and pine. Nice. 

In the mouth: Fresh and lively, bumping with bitterness, that mellows in a minute. Lush, lovely mouthfeel. Juicy, dank, delicious. Good IPA and I can drink it. 

Some triply hippie artwork on the can. If someone can clue me in to ....wait, it's a drug reference, right? I'm so naive. Actually, now that I think of it, it looks a lot like an R. Crumb drawing known as "Stoned Again" that was a popular poster in head shops back in the day.

I am not proud of the fact that after three weeks I finally
made that connection. It took me longer to figure out that the Viking in the Drekker logo has a hop cone for a beard.

The New England-style IPA is a very new and uniquely American style of IPA. What sets these IPAs apart from the more established West Coast IPA and traditional English IPA is the shift from bitter, piney hop flavor to less bitter, juicy tropical fruit flavors and the use of oats, wheat, and other ingredients to give the beer a noticably soft mouthfeel and a very hazy appearance.

Wheez the Juice uses a whole bunch of flaked wheat and oats to give it a soft, creamy mouthfeel and more than 3 pounds per barrel of Mosaic and Mandarina Bavaria hops make it burst with juicy, tropical fruit flavors and aromas with very little bitterness. Go ahead, wheez a little juice.

Forager Sherpa's Survival Kit

Forager Brewing Sherpa's Survival Kit. At last, at long last, I have you to myself. 8.5% ABV. Forager Brewing, Rochester, MN.

Deep, dark blackness, rich, brown head. Looking great for an Imperial Stout.

In the nose: Ah! It's here! Chocolate comes first, followed fast by coffee, rich and deep and dense and beautiful.

In the mouth: Bitterness takes hold first, matched swiftly with dense chocolatey malt flavors Coffee is right behind. Alcohol reaches up, kept company with fudge, brownie, espresso flavors, and more, and more, and more. It's incredible, really. Everything I want in one neat little package. Smooth, delicious, delightful. I love it. Love. It. Ain't nothing wrong with this one, and a helluva lot right.

I look back on my experiences with this beer. I did not choose a glass on my first visit last March, tasted Jason's, and regretted not having one myself. Wished they had crowlers available, but alas, no. My next taste was a crowler being shared at Sisyphus late last December, but according to the photo I used on Untappd, it was the Breakfast Kit variation. Cut to 10 days ago, when I journeyed down to Rochester with Dave, and once again this beer was on, and I made sure to get a glass and was thrilled that crowlers were on hand. Next time, I'm taking, I don't know, five home with me and make myself 5 times happier.

Black with a thick espresso foam. Cocoa, baking chocolate and rich nutty coffee waft from this complex stout. Flavors of brownie batter and fresh ground coffee complement the rich array of specialty roasted malts. This stout finishes smooth and medium dry with assertive bitterness.

Modist Deviation 008

Modist Deviation 008 Sour Golden Ale. 4.8% ABV, IBU:?. Modist Brewing, Minneapolis, MN.

Clear, bright golden hued, ivory head that slims down quickly.

In the nose: Nice and tart, fruity, lemon and funk.

In the mouth: Light bodied, clean and smooth. Little bit of vinegar in the flavor, a lot of citrus, a touch of stone fruit, peach, apricot, as well. And a ton of funk. Very little hop bitterness, clean malt mouthfeel, straight up tasty.

I'm liking this sessionable sour.

Sour golden ale fermented with Brett yeast and lactobacillus for a soft mouthfeel and a fruity sour finish

Summit Unchained 25: Vienna Lager

Summit Unchained Series Batch No. 25: Vienna-style Lager. Tom Mondor, brewer. Summit Brewing, St. Paul, Minnesota. 5.1% ABV, 23 IBU.

Clear, dark amber/copper color, milky white, slim head.

In the nose: There's that classic vienna lager malty nose, grain,  cereal, toasty, with a touch of caramel.

In the mouth: crisp, clean, snappy, smooth and malty. Just about perfect rendition of a Vienna Lager. Nice, warm malt flavors caress the palate, coating with well-balanced sweetness. Just enough hop bitterness to keep malt cool.

I have to admit a slight disappointment by this entry in the Unchained Series, in that it isn't an innovation or experiment or any new benchmark in brewing. But the point of the series is to set the Summit brewers free and let them do what they want, and if Tom Mondor wants more than anything to make a Vienna Lager, then who am I to judge him?

I kid. Vienna lagers are good, easy-drinkers, just right for summertime. And there ain't nothing wrong with that.

Summit Unchained 25: Vienna-Style Lager features balanced bitterness and spicy and herbal aromas from Hallertau Mittlefruh and German Perle hops. Additionally, Weyermann Barke Vienna and CaraFoam malts provide notes of toast, biscuit, and caramel, plus very little residual sweetness. Available on draft and in 6 packs of 12 oz cans for a limited time.

Sisyphus OPA2

Sisyphus OPA2. American version of Oatmeal Pale Ale. 7.2% ABV. 60 IBU. Sisyphus Brewing, Minneapolis, MN.

In the eye: Lightly hazy, bright orange coloring, sizable and staying slab of ivory foam above.

In the nose: Soft, and lightly hoppy. Subtle and likable.

In the mouth: Pop! There go the hops! Nice, bright and bubbly attack of the bitterness, followed by nothing but smooth. Silky smooth oat malt mouthfeel runs this one, and it is damned tasty. Citrus and tropical fruit notes continue to play on the palate.

This went down so easy, and tasted so good I was a little taken aback. Like, it was too good or something. Don't neglect this one, go down there and drink some.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Dogfish Head SeaQuench Session Sour

Dogfish Head SeaQuench Session Sour. Three parts German-style beer: kolsch, Berliner Weisse, and gose, "blissfully brewed with lime juice, lime peel, black limes, & sea salt."

Here's one I could have written about when I had a few kegs on at Acadia, but I've already established that I'm not too fond of taking notes at work. It was an enormously popular, and we'll bring it back soon. When we drop a beer like this, it's not, as people like to say, "getting rid of it." It's a rotation, folks, we move to something else. Also, the affordability of the pints of this one made some of the more expensive sour ales on tap fall from favor. It hadn't occurred to me that choices were being made not on the nature or the quality of the sour ales available, but on the affordability. Well, duh, why spend $10+ dollars on a 12 ounce pour when you can get a pint of $6 or $7. When all you want is the sour. I guess.

I got a can as a sample from a Sample Man who did not know that we were already on our second keg of the stuff. Fine, I'll use it to review, and so I crack the can and take the notes and away we go....

Alc. by Vol. 4.9% ........

Lightly hazed, bright yellow, slim white head.

In the nose: funky, wild, spicy. Tart. Vegetal, fruity. Lotta lime.

In the mouth: Starts tart and very refreshing. Lime flavors take command, and there's nothing going on butt the tart and the sour.  Bright and citrusy. And the salt, tons of salt. Lightish bodied, low bitterness, lean malt body. And oh, so refreshingly sour.

I like it. This is a great one for summer, of course. But, not for me, I need to switch it up for something hoppier, something beer-ier. But, by all means, you go right ahead. Drink it up.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Dangerous Man Watermelon Sour

Dangerous Man  Watermelon Sour. 5.4% ABV. Canned on 6/27.

Clear and yellow, slim head.

In the nose: BAM! There's your watermelon, all fruity and sweet and yum. A little bubble-gummy.

In the mouth: There it is, again, makes me wonder where the flavor came from. Is it from real watermelon, or some kind of extract, or??? Tastes like watermelon bubblegum more than anything else. There's a sourness, and a watermelonness, and not much else. Huh. Uh....yeah.

This will not go down among my favorite Dangerous Man beers. Unless this is how a "watermelon sour" is supposed to taste like? Like a Jolly Rancher? Eh. I'll finish it. But, I won't enjoy it.

Now, I've slagged two DMBC beers in a row. I feel just a little bad about it, enough that I should go back and find one that I like.

Oliphant Lizardize Mariguanas

Oliphant Lizardize Mariguanas. India Pale Ale. w/ amarillo, citra, warrior, wakatu hops.
6% alc. by vol.
Oliphant Brewing, Somerset, WI.

This IPA, along with Dg2c2mf, the rye saison, reviewed here when I had it on tap, is among the first Oliphant beers released in 16 oz. cans. Both of these brews were also the first Oliphant beers brewed at the Barley John's Brewing Company facility in New Richmond, Wisconsin.

Lightly hazed, amber-hued, large whitish head.

In the nose: soft, slightly spicy, citric. Very nice.

In the mouth: big hop bitterness greets the palate first, bold, spicy, citrus-y. Just right for a Hophead like Me. Long, hoppy, bitter finish. Medium body. Lots of flavor. I dub thee delicious.

Honestly, I dig it for real. I also have this one on tap at Acadia, and I wasn't going to take notes from a pint on tap there, I just had to get my hands on the cans. It's terrific both ways. And one day I will talk to artist Jeremy Hughes and find out the story of those lizardized mariguanas. And what is a mariguana. And why they needed to be lizardized. But, I won't worry about it too much before then.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Forager Blackened Gose (Lime)

Crowler brought home from Rochester last Sunday, 7/9. First one personally brought back by myself. Pretty excited about that, actually. Although, I never mind a mule. Hint, hint.

Blackened gose, lime. Forager Brewing, Rochester, MN. 4.4% ABV. 4 IBU.

Lightly hazed, bright amber color, slim white head.

In the nose: Intensely tart and lemony sour. Big time.

In the mouth: Fresh and refreshing. A lot of sour going a long way. Lean bodied, minimal texture, but a lot of sour going on. Mmm, big ol' black lime-y flavor going on.

Exceptionally easy drinking, an utter delight.

"German Gose: A culinary interpretation of this old German style ale gets the addition of blackened limes made in our kitchen. A mild salinity, and the citrus forward taste is reminiscent of yellow gatorade. Thirst quenching and unique after a day in the sun."

Borealis Fermentary Mumbling Mime

Borealis Fermentary Mumbling Mime. Ale brewed with spices. 8.5% ABV. 27 IBU. Knife River, MN.

Deep, dark brown color, vast cocoa-tinged head, very impressive.

In the nose: Malt, spice, dark fruit, a beautiful blend. Cocoa and cream, caramel and cola, with a dose of cinnamon and clove.

In the mouth: Sweetness and spice are on top here, it's large and in charge. All that from the nose bouncing on the palate, nicely spicy, malty, yum. Full bodied. Tasty. Smooth. Lots of anise in the flavor.

The Good King did not look kindly on the fact that the childrens' missing harvest licorice candy was found in his own court jester's quarters. Following a trial, the clown was given a lobotomy, and sentenced to hard labor, spading and drying peat to feed the castle's furnaces in the upcoming winter months.
Black,chocolate, and peat smoked malts. Star anise, licorice root, and four other spices give us The Mumbling Mime. A beautiful beer for any holiday occasion. Cheers!

Is it a crime to drink this in July? Then I am guilty.

Wild Mind Wit

Wild Mind Witbier. 5.2% ABV. 42 IBU. Wild Mind Artisan Ales, Minneapolis, MN.

Clear, bright golden color, slim white head.

In the nose: sweetness and funk, fruit, and spice. Delightful.

In the mouth: It's going on. Touch of bubblegum, twist of celery, splash of citrus. Little bit of bitterness. Smooth and easy-going. Light, wheat-y texture.

Just a great drinking wit. Nice, nice, nice.

Brewed with native wild yeast. Notes of light spice and citrus undertones.

Can you keep a secret? I liked this so much that I finished it in one night. Well, one night and part of the next morning.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Prairie Vs. True

Prairie Artisan Ale Prairie and Friends True Edition. (Or is it Trve?) Sour Red Farmhouse Ale. A Collaboration with True Brewing Company. 6.66 % alcohol by volume. In collaboration with Denver, CO's True Brewing.

Highly hazed, dark burgundy color, slim-isa ivory head. Looking good.

In the nose: Fruit and funk hit first. Very much Belgian, big malt. Oaky, tart, cherry-ish. Terrific.

In the mouth: Fruity and refreshing. Medium bodied, long, fruity finish. Tasty stuff. Here's a good one, guys. Go right ahead and drink it.

Friday, July 14, 2017

funkwerks Mango King

funkwerks Mango King. Imperial Saison Ale brewed with Mango. 8.0% Alc. by Vol.

Highly hazy, bright golden, nearly orange coloration, huge head of ivory foam. Looking good.

In the nose: Some fruit notes, but the spice and straw of a saison come first, just the way I like it. Just a little bit funky, now.

In the mouth: Nice hoppy bite up front, good bitterness, with a splash of tart and a touch of fruit. The mango is present, but plays quietly in the background. Medium bodied, full mouthfeel, great texture. Tasty stuff, and you never forget you've got a saison in your glass. Several shades of yum in this.
I like it!

Dangerous Man Blueberry Milkshake IPA

Dangerous Man Blueberry Milkshake IPA. 7.3% ABV. Canned on 6.20. Purchase 6.29. Notes taken 7.6. And published on 7.13, because.

If you read this post about Oliphant I'm A Righty Pooster, then you know about my first encounter with a "milkshake IPA." Well, the first I wrote about. I'd gotten a taste of Modist's version just before the final keg kicked. That Oliphant post was the first time I struggled with understanding this style.

A few weeks back, I stopped at Dangerous Man to get some crowlers for my birthday celebration the next day. I was hoping to get a taste of this beer, but it was off tap. In the crowler store, though, I was glad to see a few left in the cooler. I opened one and shared with  a gathering friends, but didn't think too hard about it. It wasn't that kind of birthday party. No notes, no swirling, no sniffing. Just drinking beers with good friends.

Almost a week later, I sat down at took notes, and that's when I put my thinking cap on. A week later, I finally share them with you:

Thoroughly hazed, oddly crimson coloring, nearly red? with a pinkish head above. Right from the gate, weird.

In the nose: Soft and sweet. Fruity. Yeah, blueberries. Creamy. Milky. Huh. Just as advertised.'s totally like a smoothie, or yogurt, for christ's sake. What?

In the mouth: Smooth and easy, creamy and fruity. Smoothy-y, yogurt-y, milkshake-y, but where's the IPA, and why???

Medium-bodied, long, fruity finish, low bitterness. How is it an IPA? Not sure. Label of the crowler reads: "Blue Milk IPA", and I think they're just trying to make a Star Wars reference. (Visit the crowler shop for nice view of Star Wars stuff.) It is tasty, but I just want to reject the concept outright, as being anti-beer. This is not what I signed up for when I joined the craft beer crusade. I want bitter, I want strong, I want roasty and deep and dark and impressive, and not a soft drink or a yogurt or a smoothie in a glass. My soul dies a little if I consider actually enjoying this. I can drink it, and it tastes good, but it doesn't feel like beer. Is anyone thinking: "We made beer better, by adding lactose and fruit!" I suddenly find myself in the shoes of those who rejected or questioned beers that I've enjoyed in the past, like lambics or barrel-aged brews, over-proof beers, crazy stuff like that. Through it all, bourbon barrel barley-wines, hot as hell Belgian crazies, thick as heck Imperial Stouts, I said, YES!, this is beer, what's your problem?!?!

This stuff, though? I'm thinking, Are you improving beer, or just, you know, warping it? There's not enough bitterness to call it an IPA, and the smoothie/creaminess is great, but very not beer. (What about cream ales, you demand of me, do you hate those, too? Well, yeah, I'm not that big of a fan, but they don't have milk in them, either.)

Am I a hater? Am I not on the bandwagon? Am I old and in the way? This is the second "milkshake IPA" from DMBC, after the boysenberry version, which I missed out on, and I remember a recent exchange on Facebook where one friend mentioned having this beer, and another friend who is very active in brewing asked "Do they still make beer there?" I got a good laugh out of it, but when the place has to keep up pace with the chocolate milk stout, the coconut milk stout, and the peanut butter porter, it seems pretty true.

Stop the gimmicks, before it gets way out of hand. Or is it too late?

 I'm a little worried that DMBC is pleasing the wrong people with beers like this. We shouldn't, they shouldn't be promoting and propagating weird not-quite-beers like this to a gullible, not-quite-craft-beer drinking public.  If this was all the rage at a brewpub populated by hard-core, heavily bearded beer geeks, and it got no further, that would be one thing. But DMBC draws a larger crowd and they have different demands. It echoes further, and I worry that people will soon think that all beers should have peanut butter and blueberries and milk and what have you. That you're nothing without your apricot and bacon beer. That you'd better have your year-round caramel apple kolsch or you're nothing.

These are the things that keep me up at night. It could be worse.

So, I sat on that for a week, and wondered if I should publish my late night ramblings as is, or edit them, or reconsider them. Answer: yes, no, no. I will not agonize over this stuff any longer. The next time I encounter a "milkshake IPA", I'll either skip it or keep my mouth shut.

Edit: I did edit it. A little. I'll add one thing: This is a well-made beer, it's just not for me.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Oliphant King Beezo

Oliphant  King Beezo India Pale Ale with Amarillo & Polaris hops. 6% Alc./vol. Canned on 5/30/17, purchased in Minnesota on a Sunday, by God, 7/2/17. somerset, wi.

Clear-ish, bright, bold gold, slimmed white head.

In the nose: Citrus and spice, mighty nice. A bit subdued at the start.

In the mouth: Big bitterness at the fore, leading the palate. Outsized citrus flavors here, pungent, astringent, intense, and just what a hophead craves. Dry. Oh, so, dry. Cleans out the roof of your mouth dry. Brittle, even.

A very digable IPA for Hophead Me. They don't all have to be "juicy."

What's a King Beezo, I wonder, of course, and when I Google it the first few hits are of the beer itself. When I look down, it could be a rapper of a character from a video game, or who knows what. Doesn't matter. Good IPA and you can drink it.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Sisyphus The First Beer That We Distributed IPA

Sisyphus The First Beer We Distributed East Coast IPA. 6.9% Alc. by Vol. Sisyphus Brewing, Minneapolis, MN. "It's Not the Size of your Brew System. It's How You Use It. Started Small to Stay Small. We Craft What We Crave. Other Generic Platitudes....." Brewed and bottled by Sisyphus Brewing Company, 712 Ontario Avenue W., Minneapolis, MN. Sisyphus

highly hazed, pale golden, big white froth atop.

In the nose: Nicely soft and citric, not too much bitterness yet. Grapefruit, lemon, and lime, with a touch of pine.

In the mouth: Soft, again, and smooth, with increasing hop bitterness, just the way we like it. Nice, nice, nice. Growing bitterness makes it my kind of IPA. Dry, bitter, crisp, and satisfying. This is exactly what I love in an IPA and precisely why I love them, it delivers it all. Hints of tropical notes pop up here and there, but citrus is king in this, and it's delicious.

More from the label: Citra and Equinox hops. Vermont ale yeast. Pale and White wheat malt.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Drekker Valhalla Series Cocout Killer IPA

Drekker Coconut Killer IPA, India Pale Ale with Coconut, Vanilla & Lactose. Drekker (not Trekker, damned autocorrect. "drekker" is a made up word, by the way) Brewery, Fargo, North Dakota.

My first canned beer from this Fargo brewery that I visited last summer. One day I'll get to that post. Just you wait and see.

Coconut killer IPA. There's a whole lot of writing on the label, but I can't read it. 5.6% ABV. 40 IBU.

Highly hazed, bright golden color, lush milky white head, leaving lace. 

In the nose: Getting the coconut right away, sweet and roasty. Citrus hop notes just below. Lemon and coconut, not bad. 

In the mouth: Sweet and bitter gets on board from the start. Hop bitterness blazes the palate, with coconut flavor keeping pace. Beautiful mouthfeel, more mix of bitter and sweet. Smooth oat malts keep it humming.

If you say "coconut IPA" to me, my mouth doesn't swing northward and my feet don't leave the ground. I can't really say the concept holds much appeal to me. Some flavor combinations belong with certain styles rather than others. Flavors that work great in a porter or stout don't necessarily lend themselves to be being blended into an India Pale Ale. But, this one? Not bad. I wouldn't reach for one on purpose (except when I just did), but it ain't bad. Go ahead and drink it. 

Unibroue Ephemere Poire (Pear)

Unibroue Ephemere Pear. Ale Brewed with pear juice, coriander, orange peel, and with natural flavors added. 5.5% ABV. Unibroue, Chambly, Quebec, Canada.

Slightly hazy, bright golden color, slim white head.

In the nose: soft, spicy, fruity, delightful. Pear all up in there.

In the mouth: More of that and smooth as can be. Wheat malt texture dominates, pear stays quiet for a bit, but rises in prominence. Lightly spiced, coriander, orange peel and more. Lovely stuff, and easy drinking. A refreshing fruit wit, indeed.

From the website: L’Éphémère Poire présente un doux parfum de poire Bartlett combiné à des flaveurs subtiles d’agrumes et d’épices et vous procurera une expérience sensorielle mémorable et rafraîchissante. Ce pur délice est offert pour une durée éphémère, tâchez d’en profiter.

Um, I forgot to hit "translate from the French", I guess. Well ...pear presents a perfume of Bartlett pears and combines with subtle flavors and ....spices...and a memorable sensory experience and refreshment. And stuff. See, my two years of high school French paid off.

Ommegang Rosetta

Here's one I had for the first time when I tapped at Acadia a couple of years ago. I didn't need a sample because I had full faith in the powers of Brewery Ommegang. At last, I got a sample from a rep who may have forgotten that I'd already ordered another keg. But the Sample Man's generosity means that Rosetta gets it's place in the Nib. (Truly, there should be many more Ommegang beers on here. I'm so behind and they're one of my favorite breweries.)

Ommegang Rosetta. Flanders Oud Bruin-style Ale. Ale aged on cherries with other natural flavors.
5.6% ABV. Brewery Ommegang, Cooperstown, NY.

Rich, burgundy coloring, nearly red and highly hazed, with a pinkish cap of foam atop.

In the nose: there's our cherry, there's our sour, with plenty of wood, as well. Tart and sweet, together. Very nice.

In the mouth: Tart from the start, with cherry flavor rising up to match it. A beautiful tango of sweet and tart. Complexity and richness abounds, while remaining easy-drinking, not-too-sour sipper. Long-lasting fruity flavors. Just the right amount of vinegar. Nice approximation of a Belgian Flanders Red from one of my favorite American Belgian breweries.

From the website: Ale aged on cherries. Traditional Belgian Kriek, pleasingly tart with a touch of sweetness. Brewed exclusively for Brewery Ommegang by Liefmans, a sister brewery, in Belgium.

It's called a traditional kriek here, but Oud Bruin in others places. Can they both be right?

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Surly Rising North Pale Ale

Surly Rising North Pale Ale. 5.4% Alc./by Vol. Surly Brewing Company, Brooklyn Center & Minneapolis, MN. Official Partner, Minnesota United FC.

Clear, pale golden coloring, lasting, if small, ivory head.

In the nose: bold, bright citrus, lemon, lime, grapefruit, tangerine. Highly likable.

In the mouth: Clean. Crisp. Lightish bodied, long bitter, citric finish. Smooth and enjoyable. Easy drinking as you please. Right on the money, citrus-y American pale ale. Nothing too interesting, or troublesome, or worrying or challenging, and that's exactly what you want when you're just drinking with your mates and cheering on your team. It's very tasty, if I haven't made that clear. Good, uncomplicated, tasty beer.

Good damn it, it's a good beer, and guess what? You. Can. Drink it!

From the can: "WE COME FROM THE NORTH. The winter months take their toll. It can make a person....well, Surly. Still, we rise.
And when the North rises, the North gets thirsty. This American Pale Ale was brewed to satisfy that thirst. Featuring bright, citrusy hops and a warming malt base, this is the official beer of Minnesota United. On match day, or any other....Forever United, together we rise."

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Harpoon Camp Wannamango

Harpoon Camp Wannamango Crisp Tropical Refreshing Pale Ale with Mango. Harpoon Brewery, Boston, MA & Windsor, VT. Beer with natural flavors, please do not litter. Crisp, tropical, refreshing, so says the label. Also, 5% ABV, 22 IBU, and let's not forget: "Mango-infused pale ale with a tropical aroma, malty sweetness, and subtly hopped. Sunblock, bonfires, music, some friends, this beer...Bring On Summer."

Clear, bright golden/amber hue, , slim white head.

In the nose: sweet fruit from the start, a little touch of tart, some citrus. Lime, grapefruit, mango.

In the mouth: There it is: crisp, tropical, refreshing, no doubt about it. Modicum of malt, lean body, easy drinking, tasty mango flavor, restrained bitterness. I'd have another, sure. Ain't nothing wrong with it. Tasty stuff. I like it.

I lied earlier when I said I was on a mango IPA binge. Mango pale ales, too. And I think there's a mango saison, too. They're coming! It's Mango-mania, people!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Destihl Amra Mango IPA

I went on a bit of a mango spree recently. Stay tuned, there's a bunch of them coming. If there's a mango IPA out there, I'm-a gonna drink it. To paraphrase a Louis Jordan song you've never heard but probably should, "I don't like mango IPAs, but I drink 'em every day, when they make mango IPAs, they just come my way." So, here's one from Destihl of Bloomington, Illinois. I've had this before on tap Acadia, but this is my first time with the can.

Destihl Amra (the sanskrit word of "mango) Mango IPA. 6.5% ABV.

Lightly hazed, brilliant golden hue, sizable layer of ivory foam.

In the nose: Sweet and fruity. Not too bold. Just nice. Getting pulpier and mango-ier as we go.

In the mouth: Here comes the bitterness, just the right amount. With splash of fruit on the side. Each dose of mango comes with a blast of bitter. Medium body, a good ol' drinking IPA. I'll be back for more.

Sisyphus Isaac the Waxman India Pale Ale

Sisyphus Isaac the Wax Man. 7.4% ABV. 80 IBU. Sisyphus Brewing, Minneapolis, MN.

Sure, you've heard of Isaac the Fax Man, but didn't you know about the Wax Man? I hadn't either, and when I saw it on the menu, I assumed it was a typo. Then, I heard about Sax Man, which I missed somehow. How many other Isaac the _-Axmans can there be?

There world may never know.  The
website only describes Wax Man thusly:
 "Multi-hopped wheat IPA." No, wait, there's more: "Extra wheat version of Fax Man." Is it also Citra/Mosaic like Fax Man? I heard it's a
completely different bunch, but I can't recall
which ones.

Lightly hazed, pale golden color, slim white head.

In the nose: Citrus-y, lemon-y, a trifle tropical. Very nice.

In the mouth: Bitterness hits first, pleasant and citric, then smooth and malty. Drinkable as they get, while still giving a hoppy kick. Medium bodied, smooth, light, crisp and delightful. Keep 'em coming, Ax Man.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Oliphant I'm A Crighty Pooster

Oliphant I'm A Crighty Pooster Milkshake IPA. 5.8% ABV "Milkshake" IPA, with lactose and vanilla.  Oliphant Brewing, Somerset, WI.
Growler filled on my visit June 11, consumed and notes
taken June 20, published July 5...because I'm blazy.

So, I'd heard that Oliphant had a "milkshake IPA"...huh? ....and it was called "I'm A Crighty Pooster"...double huh. I'd heard of the milkshake IPA before, but didn't quite get it. Why would you call any beer a milkshake? There have been some versions put out by Dangerous Man, but I hadn't had a chance to try them yet. I knew they didn't invent this style, though.

Who did? Tired Hands Brewery in Pennsylvania and the gypsy Swedish brewer Omnipollo combined their talents to craft the first of many versions of this style that was named out of spite. co-founder Jason Alstom gave a poor review to one of their cloudy ales and spoke vehemently on Twitter about these "Milkshake" beers. "Bah!" he bellowed, and Jean Broillet IV raised his fist and cried out to the heavens that he would show him, and craft the milkiest milkshakes ale of them all. And now it's all the rage from coast to coast. (Maybe.)There's an in-depth article here.

So, here's what I believe is Oliphant's first stab at the style, but probably not the last.

Highly hazed...."milky"?...bright orange coloring, beautiful, slim white head, looking good.

My first taste of I'm A Crighty Pooster, while
watching Bugs and Elmer in "The Rabbit of Seville"
In the nose: nicely hopped, plenty of citrus and pine, lots of fruit, but moderate bitterness. All is pleasant. Utterly delightful.

In the mouth: the shock of the bitter comes, as it inevitably does, then the creamy, smooth mouthfeel, then more bitter, then more deliciousness. Creamy, yes. A little sweet, fairly yummy. And bitter, and fruity. It does the trick, but...I'm not so sure this is what I want to drink. Is this the ultimate evolution of IPA? Do we want the creamy with the bitter? Is that best? I'm not sure if I'd say yes.

It's interesting. It's different. But, this milkshake IPA thing....what's the point? Is it supposed to be better than a regular IPA? Am I becoming a grumpy old man? I liked the old IPAs the ones that were bitter, and unpleasant, and hard to drink, and you liked it!



Oddly, I didn't get a good picture at the taproom of the chalkboard illustration of this beer, which
is my normal fashion, but I was in awe of the chalkboard for the St. Paul Beer Fest, which was hanging in the lounge.  As you can see, Pooster has been erased, but look at the rest, aspects of the other beers
enter into the Star Wars spoof: David Cross/Gobias as Han Solo, Xuul from Ghost-
busters as Yoda, Josh Miller of Oliphant as Ant Ray Cow Pants, and Mothra as him
(her?) self. I don't know who the other guy is, but it doesn't look like Pootie Tang.
In any case, I've never seen a more elaborate or artistically accomplished
illustration on a beer fest chalkboard.
Oh, yeah, the mystery of the name. At the taproom, Jeremy #2, not chalk artist Jeremy Hughes, told me they had the beer at the St. Paul Beer Fest the day before and public reaction was so negative they may consider changing the name. (It was not negative towards the beer itself, or course.)Why, was it offensive? Was it because it was so strange and hard to remember? Is it a worse name than dg2c2mf?

So, it got to Googling and found that the phrase is from a scene in the film "Pootie Tang" (original title: "Pootie Tang in: Sine Your Pitty On the Runny Kine") from 2001, and a song performed by the title character and one played by Missy Elliot. The meaning? None. Offensive? In your imagination, perhaps. I'm glad they gave it this title, though, for it finally got me to see that film, written and directed by Louis C.K., who took his name off after studio tinkering. It is silly and slightly childish, much like making an IPA into a milkshake. Ah, well, beer is in new hands now, young ones, fresh and imaginative ones. And that's a camma camma leepa chai, my damies, you dig?

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Broken Clock 2Brew Coffee Kolsch

I've reviewed a couple of American versions of the German light ale style from Koln called kolsch recently, and now here's one from a new Minneapolis brewery with a home brewing theme. It's also the second Minneapolis brewery working on a collective model. I still haven't been to this brewery which took over the space that 56 Brewing was in, haven't visited the taproom, but I do have samples from the brewery, and now I'll share the notes on the second bottle I opened.

Broken Clock Coffee Kolsch. AKA 2 : Brew. 5% ABV. 28 IBU. Bottled on 5/31.

Clear, lightish amber coloring, small white head.

In the nose: Hey, there's coffee in there. And some fruity esters beneath.

In the mouth: Coffee tastes dominate the flavor profile here. Gritty, earthy, yet smooth. Little touch of hops. Light-bodied, long malty finish. None of the qualities of a kolsch really show themselves, outside of light body and high drinkability.

Here's the thing. There are some styles I think shouldn't be messed, tinkered, and toyed around with. Make it pure, don't screw it up. Kolsch is one of those for me, also hefe weizens and pilsners. But now we this trend of adding coffee flavors to lighter bodied beer style, like lagers, golden ales, lagers and the like. I'm a little torn by this, but I'd really want to know how they'd make a true kolsch, that's what I'd like to judge them against. I can't say I'm against the coffee-ing of a kolsch if I like it being done to others styles, but when you say "kolsch", I don't want different flavors, I want the light, delicate subtle fruit and hops.

That said, not a bad beer in the slightest. Got two more in the sample selection, stayed tuned Bitter Ones.

Broken Clock Brewing Cooperative Lavender Uprising IPA

The new local breweries won't stop, it seems. Two grand openings (or is it three?) and a soft one this weekend, and not long ago another new one in NorthEast Minneapolis. This one, Broken Clock Cooperative, has taken over the space formerly used by 56 Brewing, and will not be able to have a taproom, without certain changes to the building. My opportunities to visit and have a pint or three will be just as limited as they were for 56. Like 56, they will be open for samples and growler sales, and maybe some day soon I'll make it out there on a day off of work. But, I don't have to wait to try the beer, thanks to the Sample Man, who hooked me up with four sample bottles. Let's get to the first one right off, a lavender IPA.

Broken Clock Lavender Uprising. 7.5% ABV. 89 IBU.

Lightly hazed, bright golden, solid snow-white head atop.

In the nose: soft, floral, slightly sweet. Light bitterness.

In the mouth: More bitterness jumps on board the palate, matched swiftly by the lavender flavor. What? Yeah. Okay. Huh. And the bitterness grows, and we know it's an IPA, and that lavender never leaves. Interesting. Intriguing, even. Not really what I want to drink, but not bad in the slightest.

Huh. It's a curiosity, but does not deliver the sort of satisfaction I desire. I can't see this being a "regular IPA", and every brewery needs it's regular IPA.

Editor's note: I originally wrote these notes a few weeks ago, hence the untimely comments about brewery openings. I think I was going to do all of the Broken Clock beers in one post, but I've changed my mind about that.

Left Hand Travelin' Light Kolsch

Another Kolsch? Yeah, another kolsch! As long as they're good and kolsch-y, bring them on!

Left Hand Travelin' Light Kolsch-style Ale. Brewed / Canned by Left Hand Brewing, Brewed on the banks of the mighty St. Vrain, Est. 1993. Longmont, CO, USA. 4.8% ABV, 22 IBU. Ingredients Rocky Mountain Water, Malted Barley, Malted Wheat, Hops, Yeast.

Lightly hazed, bright golden-hued, pure white head, leaving a little lace.

In the nose: light fruity notes, lemon, pear, apple. Delicate and delightful. Slight spice.

In the mouth: Crisp and dry up at the front, then lightly fruity, stone fruit, some citrus, apple and pear. Then, turning dry at the end. Slight bitterness. Good and drinkable. Light bodied. Easy-breezy.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Insight Dankbot IPA

Ignore the Ommegang bottle cap. Sometimes at the Bitter
Nib we don't clean up as well as we'd like.
Insight Dankbot IPA. Insight Brewing, Minneapolis, Minnesota. 6.5% ABV. 91 IBU.

Chapter CDXX, The Autonomous Nature of Dankbot.

I reviewed this before, when it was known as merely Dank IPA, from a sample bottle. You can read that here. Now that it's a seasonal in a can, I thought I'd review it again.

Clear, bright golden color, nice, lasting, lace-leaving white head.

In the nose: citrus and pine and everything fine. Lovely.

In the mouth: Big bitterness, Some astringency, and yeah, lots o' that dank, sure. Fresh, fierce, and lively. Medium body, long, bitter finish. Bitterness turns to sweet for a spot, and it's ridiculously delicious. I like it.

Boulevard American Kolsch

Boulevard American Kolsch. Boulevard Brewing, Kansas City, Missouri. 4.6% ABV. 18 IBU.

Clear, golden-hued, big white head.

In the nose: delicate, light fruity notes, apple & pear. Lightly hoppy. Very nice.

In the mouth: nice little hoppiness at the front, lean and clean, light bodied. Impeccable drinkability. Very subtle, and twice as tasty.

I like a good, refreshing kolsch and this is one of them.

Sisyphus Big Wet Baby Double IPA

Sisyphus Big Wet Baby. 9% ABV. 120 IBU.

Hazy, bright golden hue, slim white head.

In the nose: soft and fuzzy. Plenty of pine and citrus, but gently. Whiffs of tropical. Nice.

In the mouth: It's a malt monster with a barrage of hop bitterness at first sip. Huge attack on the palate, wave after wave of juicy citrus and pine and dank. Yeah, I said "dank" and I meant it. It's a sticky one, and it's just the way I like 'em. A ton of bitter with a dash of sweet. Massive. Alcohol creeps in quick. And HopHead Me digs this all the way.

It's a great big hoppy IPA and I can sure as heck drink it. Don't know what the name means. Maybe I don't want to know?

Monday, June 26, 2017

Golden Road Wolf Pup Session IPA

Golden Road Wolf Pup Session IPA. Golden Road Brewing, Los Angeles, CA. 4.5% ABV. 50 IBU.

"Refreshingly Hoppy with a wildly aromatic citric character." they said. And the name, I get it. The hop plant is known as "the wolf among the weeds," and here's a junior version.

Lightly hazed, bright golden he, slim-ish white head.

In the nose: Big, bold citrus, lemon, grapefruit, pithy peels, just shy of astringent.

In the mouth: Brash hoppiness meets the palate first, but pleasantly. Very nice bitter buzz. More lemon and grapefruit, persistent bitter buzz. Light bodied, minimal malt, easy drinker. Very nice session IPA, West Coast-style. Go ahead and drink it.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Oliphant 1000% Guapo

Oliphant 1000% Guapo Dessert Stout with Cinnamon and Lactose.  7.5% acl. by vol. Canned on
5/31/17. Purchased 6/11, consumed 6/23. Oliphant Brewery, Somerset, WI.

Guapo is Spanish for handsome. 1000% Guapo? Knowing Oliphant, there has to be more behind this....and a little Googling leads us to a wrestler named Jose Luis Jair Soria, aka Shocker, aka 1000% Guapo. Sure, that makes sense. Not sure what Jeremy's chalkboard art has to do with that, though. They need annotations for that thing, man, or it's just mind-bending. What is? Who? Why? Huh---???

Deepest blackness, fine ring of tan head atop, looking very nice.

In the nose: Sweet, but balanced: vanilla, cocoa, caramel. Little bit of roast. Small amount of bitterness. Slight cinnamon popping up.

Now, to drink! In the mouth: Sweetness is bigger on the tongue, lactose plays a big part. Creamy, milky, vanilla-y, chocolate-y, ...pretty much yum. Not getting much cinnamon on the palate, yet, but it's still early.

I've never heard of a beer called a "dessert stout" by the brewery as it's designated style. But, why the heck not? It's what it is. And it is nice. It's wonderfully warm and comforting. Should be a bigger hit in winter, especially around the holidays. It's at least 100% Guapo, but, hey, why not go all the way?

Ommegang Fruition

Ommegang Fruition, Dry-hopped Wit Bier brewed with Passion Fruit, Mango, and Kiwi. 5.3% Alc. by Vol. Brewery Ommegang, Cooperstown, NY.

Clouded, straw yellow/gold appearance, lush white head above, looking good.

In the nose: Deeply funky and tart, wildly fruity. Sweetness rises up, but funk is in command. Fresh and zesty.

In the mouth: Sweet, fresh, smooth. Delicious. Little bit of fruity funk is still there, but the witbier base is in command. Not quite a sour ale, but plenty of tart at play here. Can't really pick out the mango, the kiwi, the passion fruit, but it's a complex mix. The sweet fruity stuff pops in from time to time and mixes up the rest of it. Tart continues. Sour and satisfying.

Victory Summer Love Ale

Victory Summer Love Golden Ale . 5.2% ABV. Victory Brewing, Downington, PA.

Crystal clear, bright golden color, lovely ivory head above.

In the nose: slightly tart and citrus-y, interesting blend of fruit and funk and floral.

In the mouth: jumps on the palate sweet and succulent. Light, but definitely discernible bitterness. Nice fruity notes to match the bitter hops. Good texture. Playful mouthfeel. Light bodied, extra drinkable, certainly suitable for summer. Yeah, I could toss back a ton of these in the heat.

From the can label: "Earthy flavors of noble European hops, and fresh, clean German malts settle in a burst of lemony refreshment from fistfuls of American whole flower hops."

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Lupulin Hooey IPA

The first few tastes of Lupulin's beers I ever had were from growlers brought to gatherings of friends or family, and I liked what I drank. I didn't get a chance to visit their taproom and try more until last July, and I wrote about that here. Since then, bottles and cans have appeared in local stores, and I have had the privilege to host a showcase of six of their beers at Acadia, last Friday. It's just the beginning of a relationship that should go on and on. As long as they're brewing great beers, I'm with them.

When I was at the taproom in Big Lake, I gazed at the beautiful display of branded glasswares of all styles and had to tell myself no, no, I don't need more glasses. Throughout my year of visiting Minnesota's craft breweries and their taprooms, I did a commendable job of avoiding the allure of adding more glasses to my already unwieldy collection. I moved twice in the span of one year, and the mere process of packing them up, let alone finding space for them is exceedingly tiresome. (I did some moving by bicycle last year, and when arriving at the new home, found that some of the bumpiness had caused a few favorites to crack. "well," said my friend, "you said you had too many." Yeah, but Brother Thelonious! I need that one!)

And then they deliver a whole case of Revival style glasses to your bar before the event, and there's no way you can't bring one home and use it every chance you can get. I'm kind of in love with this glass. I'm throwing out all my shaker pints, and will only drink from tekus, pokals, revivals, and such forth from now on.  And so I used one to drink one of my new favorite beers, Hooey from Lupulin. Hazy IPA. 6.2% ABV. 60 IBU. Brewed by Lupulin Brewing, Big Lake, MN.

Crazy, Juicy, Hazy, Hooey! (From the can label.)

Hazy, cloudy, amber/golden hued, with a long-lasting lather of snowy white foam atop.

In the nose: aw, yeah, it's going on here, all the goods are in plentiful supply. Piney, citrusy, pineapple, vibrant, fresh and beautiful. Everything a hophead wants in the aroma is all present and accounted for.

In the mouth: Hops aplenty on the palate, but not a trace of harsh or bitter. Smooth as can be. Juicy malts. Easy-drinker, and ever-delightful. Just flat out scrumptious. Hooray for Hooey. I can drink this one, and then again drink again.

Is this supposed to be in the New England-style IPA, with all it's juicy and hazy and not so bitter? I think maybe, and I think it succeeds very well.

More from the can: "This IPA is hopped with a ridiculous amount of the juiciest hops available. In order to bring you the most hop flavor possible, we intentionally leave yeast and hop oils in the beer by not filtering them out. Some say that's a lot of hooey! What the hell do they know, anyway..."

Friday, June 23, 2017

Dave's BrewFarm XJA/436 Single Hop Lager

Dave's BrewFarm XJA/436 Single Hop Lager, 6.4% ABV. Dave's BrewFarm, Wilson, Wisconsin.

Clear, bright golden color, lush white head atop, looking good.

In the nose: fresh, citrus-y, lively, maltiness in the aroma. Very clean and lean. Nicely hopped. Classic  pilsner-y nose.

In the mouth: Nothing but clean, and lean, and tasty. Nice, hoppy lager here. Good drinking, nice tasting, deeply satisfying. It's time to just drink a beer, and this does the trick. Lightly spicy hop profile, very dry, yet smooth, etcetera. Nice meets nice plus nice. Nothing but smooth. Light caramel malt taste, beautiful balance, wonderful blend, it just hangs together really well.

It was BrewFarm menu #200 when I went out to Wilson
and picked up this growler. Historic. 
This beer reminds me of a friend who invited to come along with me to visit the BrewFarm, and responded: "don't they do lots of saisons and lagers? I don't like those styles." Yeah, but he does them so well, and so differently, that you're missing out if you count them out because of your style prejudices. I don't drink a lot of lagers, either, but this is so much better than your average lager.

Here's the description from Farmer Dave: "Pils, Cara Red, and Caramel 20 malts, and hopped with three additions of experimental XJA/436 hops. Fermented with a lager yeast."

Damn, it's so good. I want this to be the lager I point out to lager haters and lovers alike.

These growlers are meant "to share", of course, but I can't take these notes in company, so drink by myself, and this is so good, I'm finishing it all in one setting. So good.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Steel Toe Almost Special Bitter

Dusting off some old notes. These were taken on May 29. Why did I hold on to them for weeks? Well, there's a story there, but it's boring, so I'll keep it to myself. So, here's a bit of an English bitter from Steel Toe Brewing of St. Louis Park, enjoyed from a growler in my home in Minneapolis, after having a pint at the taproom. 5% ABV, 24 IBU, more info after my notes.

Steel Toe ASB. Almost Special Bitter.

Clear, dark amber, nearly brown color, slim whitish head.

In the nose: malty, earthy, a little bit nutty. Slight sweetness, nicely balanced.

In the mouth: there it is, again. More malt, earth, nuts, just a touch of bitter, ending with the dry. A very cool, tasty, and specially drinkable British style ale.

This one is part of something I hadn't been aware of, the Brewer's Evolution Series, and here's what they say on the website:
Inspired by the seasonal shift; Fat Tuesday, Fasching, Spring, Solstice, whatever…it’s the time of year when we start to see the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel of winter. The sun is higher in the sky, its coming warmth apparent, even on cold days. This is that transitional beer; malty, slight nutty character balanced with a spicy bright English hop aroma and defined earthy bitterness. This beer occupies the space where malt and hops collide. It’s not an English Pale Ale, it’s not an E.S.B…but it’s almost there! Enjoy!

I did, don't you know. And I will be back more often, Steel Toe, now that I'm a 12 minute bike ride away.

Sisyphus Semi-Imperial Peanut Butter Stout

There's a bit of a peanut butter war going on with Minnesota brewers and their fans. There are many who claim fealty to the one, true peanut butter porter and defend it's virtues against all comers, and the brave ones who dare contend that another porter or stout with peanut butter is worthy. More and more contenders come up and vie for the title. Dangerous Man, Waconia, F-Town, and don't forget Junkyard, out there in Moorhead. Who did I leave out? Oh, yeah, Sisyphus, whose "Safe Lady" I wrote about here.

And then along comes another from Sisyphus, this one a little different.

Sisyphus Peanut Butter Semi-Imperial Stout. 9% ABV. 44 IBU.

Deep and dark, utterly opaque, under a long-lasting, lace-leaving layer of cocoa/tan head. Looking good.

In the nose: sweetness and nuts, with a healthy helping of cocoa. Pleasant peanut butter-y aromatics.

In the mouth: Peanut butter flavor is at the front when the liquid hits the lips, but not as forceful as some may prefer. How do I prefer? Well....The peanut part is playing it mild. It's there, but not very full, and it obscures the other flavors I like to taste in an Imperial Stout, even a Semi-.

However, if you go in without the demand that this be the most peanut-butter-y beer, or the boldest imperial stout, you have a fine, tasty beer. Sometimes, that's good enough. Good peanut butter semi-imperial stout, and guess what you can do? Drink it up.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

NorthGate Bourbon Barrel Aged Barleywine

NorthGate Bourbon Barrel Aged Barley-wine. ABV 12.4%. NorthGate Brewing, Minneapolis, MN.

Clear, burgundy color, slim, tight ring of beige/tan head atop.

In the nose: Rich. Deep. Caramel. Toffee. Vanilla. Molasses. Anise. Spice. Dark fruit.

In the mouth: Delicious. Big and beautiful. All malty goodness, with growing alcoholic strength. Those flavors from the nose --the vanilla, raisin, caramel, and ever-lasting rich malt tastes--have boarded the palate and brought along traces of tobacco, leather, smoke. Full-bodied, full-flavored, never-ending finish.

An impressive beer, indeed. Sublime.

I bought this months ago, and saved it until today. This would be better in colder times, not in the middle of summer, but I couldn't wait any longer. I tell you this much: If I see another on any store shelves, it's coming home with me.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Unibroue Ephemere Elderberry

Unibroue Ephemere Elderberry. Or, as they say in French, "sureau", Belgian style fruit flavored wheat ale. Ale brewed with elderberry juice and flowers, spices and with natural flavors added. Chambly, Quebec, Canada.

In the eye: hazy, bright crimson/berry-ish coloring, lush pink head.

In the nose: Tart and sweet and very berry. Belgian funk lurks around every corner, as well as requisite witbier notes of wheat and spice.

In the mouth: Sweet, fruity, refreshing. Light and breezy, fresh and zesty. Tart takes turns with sweet, and it's a delight. Tasty. If you need to feed your elderberry jones, look no further. Good elderberry wheat beer, and you can surely drink it.

Oliphant Ayguantu! ESB with Apricot

Last Sunday, I had the opportunity once more, after an absence of a few months, to do that one-two trip of Oliphant Brewing in Somerset, then off to Dave's BrewFarm in Wilson, Wisconsin, thanks to my buds Jason and Angie.
Whenever this happens, I try to take full advantage and bring home as many new-to-me beers as I can to review for this here blog-y thing.
At Oliphant, there were five beers that haven't had a post devoted to them at the Nib, and I brought home four of them in growlers and crowlers. Why not five? Well, I watched as Jason and Angie enjoyed their Hobotown Gose and sampled a little, but when I went up to the bar to get my own, it was all gone, dag-nabbit, and there were no pre-filled crowlers. The hot weather of the weekend demanded a salty sour wheat ale, and this gose comprised 70% of their sales, they said.

Oh, for sad, I guess I'll soldier on, with these notes on an apricot ESB:

Oliphant Ayguantu! ESB brewed with apricot. 5.4% all. by vol. canned 6/7/17. Purchased 6/11, consumed 6/18. Oliphant Brewing, Somerset, WI.

In the eye: Heavily hazed, dark amber, chestnut coloring, large, lace-leaving whitish head.

In the nose: fruit, malt, hops. Sweet, but balanced. The beer stands above the fruit, mingles with it, doesn't let it take center stage. Plenty of earthy malt notes to match the fruit.

In the mouth: hops are more prominent on the palate than hinted at in the nose. Juicy malt, tasty fruit, clean hops, medium bodied, and quite a drinkable treat. I will enjoy this entire crowler.

What is Ayguantu? A meme? A youtube video? Something from Dragon Ball z, or Tim & Eric? And why is Goofy, or some version of him, involved in the chalkboard illustration? I forgot to ask, and shall relish the mystery for the moment.

Sweetland Orchards Perennial Cider

Sweetland Perennial.

Clear, yellowish, no head. Cider.

In the nose: Sweet. Apples. Then, dry. Clean. mmm.

In the mouth: All that and more. Dry, crisp, apples. Nice, and then some. “A fine hard cider made from heirloom apple varieties,” says the label. Clean, crisp, apples. Thin body (aren’t they all?)

What else is there to say? Refreshing. Drinkable. Dry, apples. Yup.
Quite a nice cider, even if I haven't the cider-specific vocabulary to
say any more about it. Does anyone have any cider schools they recommend, or cider night classes?