Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Oliphant Commander Wm. T. Ryeker India Red Ale

Oliphant Commander William T. Ryeker India Red Ale. 6.5% ABV. Oliphant Brewing, Somerset, WI.

The look: Deep reddish hue, dark and muddy complexion, slim but staying creamy, off-white head. Looking very nice.

In the nose: warm and malty. Some dark fruit, stone fruits. Earthy. Very pleasant.

In the mouth: spicy rye malt. Nicely hopped. Beautiful interplay on the palate. Tasty, tasty, tasty. Medium bodied, long, malty finish. Richly rewarding malt flavors. Love the rye malt character. Damned good beer and you can surely drink it.

Stone Ripper Pale Ale

Stone Ripper San Diego Pale Ale. "A ripping' swell of juicy hops." 5.7% alc. by vol.

This pale ale is a tribute to surfer culture both in California and Australia. From Oz, they take the Galaxy hop and from Cali it's Cascade, of course. Read more here.

Clear, bright golden color, large white head, slowly slimming, leaving lace.

In the nose: bitter and sweet at once. Big hops, oily and resiny. Plenty of citrus.

In the mouth: bright and citrus dazzle on the tongue, more oily, piney, resiny. Juicy. Delicious. Lean bodied, light malt, hops are on fine display. Bitterness turns to dry. Tasty, refreshing pale ale.


Town Hall Simcoe SMaSH

Town Hall Simcoe Smash. 5.3% ABV.

An American Pale Ale in the style of that popular NorthEast-style IPA that's becoming all the rage. Where once Vermont's The Alchemist told drinkers that their Heady Topper IPA should be consumed from the can, so that they don't decant into a glass and become unnerved by the haze and the cloudiness, the new approach is to see that glass that resembles orange juice and a taste that approaches that of pulpy grapefruit juice is a thing to be desired. There's a new standard of beauty in town. Are the nay-sayers merely being sticks in the mud, unable to see this new paradigm for the revolution that it is? Is it a gimmick? a trend? a flash in the pan?
I took a much better pic at the pub
than I did at home. 



When will we have the answer? No one knows. Meanwhile, Town Hall has made one. Here it is: Simcoe Smash.

Hazy, orange-ish hue, slimmed white head.

Bold, citrus-y, sweet, and bitter, too. Orange, tangerine, some grapefruit, lemon. Nice.

In the mouth: Boom. It hits with bitterness first, citrus fruit blasts the palate, with an undercurrent of sweet. Delicious. Nice, bitter, fruity, yum. Lean-bodied, and extra-drinkable. This one works for me.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Rhombus Guys Iconic Blonde

Rhombus Guys Brewing Company Iconic Blonde Ale. Proudly brewed in Grand Forks, North Dakota. All. 4.8%  by vol.

Crystal clear, bright golden color, lush ivory head atop.

In the nose: Lightly hoppy, floral, notes of honey and grain.

In the mouth: Slips onto the palate soft and easy. Clean. Just short of crisp. Light bodied. Exquisitely consumable. This is a tasty blonde ale, alright. Sure to please anyone. I certainly wouldn't turn it down.

(And for my next one, I'd go for something hoppier, but that's just me, of course.)

Friday, February 24, 2017

Barley John's Brewpub Citra Smashsd

I received a growler of this beer from the man who brewed it, Andy Rosenthal, the ginger elf himself.

I tried finding information about it and went in search of it's Untappd entry, but that was a chore, indeed. I was searching through all of the recent entries under Barley John's Brewpub in New Brighton, MN, but all that I ended up wading through was check-ins for cans from Barley John's Brewing Company of New Richmond, Wisconsin. Much confusion. Many of them are the very same beers, names, brands, recipes, etc, as the ones that originated, and are still brewed, at that premier spot in NB, MN. Eventually, I just sorted the beers by "most recent" and this one popped up first.

After all my blather about people confusing these two
operations, here I am using a Brewing Company glass
with my Brew Pub beer. I had a Brew Pub glass once,
years ago, but busted it up by accident, like so many.
I still miss it so. 
6.5% ABV. IBU:?. I tried to find out more from the website but it's not there. What did Andy tell me? That it's a SMaSH (single hop, single malt) with Citra. What else do you need to know? (The malt, maybe?) Let's drink it....

Clear, bright golden coloring, lush white head, leaving lace, lasting. Looking nice.

In the nose: lemon, grapefruit, orange. Huge citrus. That's why it's called Citra, right? Little piney, but mostly citrus fruit. Beautiful.

In the mouth: Bright fruit, low bitterness. Supremely drinkable. Light-ish bodied. Clean, and well-balanced. Fine pale ale with bountiful citrus flavors. Big bitterness increases on the palate. Is this more IPA than APA? It's got the hops. It's got the bold citrus, and a bit of the tropical, too, a hint of pineapple and mango. Tasty, tasty stuff, indeed. Delicious.

I keep wondering, though. Maybe the website is up to date, and it's no longer available.  The last entry on Untappd was a full 4 days ago. Did Andy give me the last of it before it ran out? If so, thanks, Andy, thanks, this is a good one, indeed.

I also tried looking this one up on BeerAdvocate but it was unlisted there. Not enough users keeping up with the place. Maybe that's why I turn to Untappd more and more these days. Unfortunately, Untappd calls it "Citra Smashsd", and I know that can't be right. My lid merely reads "Citra", so I can't be sure. They're not bad spellers over there at Barley John's. They're better than that.

Breaking news: I've been informed by both Andy and Brewing Company head brewer Bob McKenzie that the "sd" at the end stands for "single decoction." Well, that's cool, and there we have it.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Modist Deviation 04 Mexican Chocolate Stout

Modist Deviation 04.  Mexican Chocolate Stout. 6.7% ABV. 41 IBU.

I bought this crowler with an idea of what the beer was, then forgot that. Drank the contents unaware of what I was tasting, then had to check the website to be sure.

Solid blackness, slim brown head.

In the nose: toasted malt, caramel, toffee, a hint of cinnamon. Cinnamon. Toast Crunch. Almost. Spicy, just a little. And a good dose of cocoa.

In the mouth: more of that and then some. Malt, spice, warmth. Chocolate abounds in this. Tasty and toasty. Cinnamon, anise, what else? Smooth and delicious. What a treat!

I'm not sure what else to tell you, and I don't have any further information. good beer and I drank it.

Wait, I found the information! "A stout brewed with velvety smooth dark chocolate and vanilla bean with a well balanced cinnamon and red chili smolder."

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

New Belgium Voodoo Ranger 8 Hop Pale Ale

New Belgium Voodoo Ranger 8 Hop Pale Ale.

What happened to Ranger IPA? Now it's Voodoo Ranger? Why Voodoo? Why not? I don't know, don't ask me. Apparently, they've re-branded and newly created a bunch of beer with this voodoo theme.

Brewed and canned by New Belgium Brewing, Fort Collins, Colorado. & Asheville, North Carolina. 12 fluid ounces. Acl. by vol. 5.5%.

It's a hazy orange color, with a thick, lush slathering of ivory foam on top. Looking great.

In the nose: big, bright, beautiful citrus. Fresh and piney, pithy, pungent. Grapefruit, orange, lemon. Nice.

In the mouth: More of that and then some. Juicy, fruity, and deliciously bitter. This is tasty. And it suddenly dawns on me: is this the New Belgium version of a NE IPA, hazy, juicy and lightly bitter? Maybe, maybe. It's a tasty IPA, and you can drink it. Yum.

Sweetland Orchard Scrumpy Original Hard Cider

Here I go again, trying to write about cider. And Scrumpy. I have no idea what a Scrumpy is, but it is 7% ABV and proudly made in Webster, Minnesota by Sweetland Orchards.

Let's just open and drink and see what we see:

Lightly hazy, pale yellow coloring, nearly white, with a thin ivory head atop, and intense carbonation throughout.

In the nose: Fruit. Apple. Pear. Lightly fruity, lightly spicy. Just a little bit sour. Very nice and likable.

In the mouth: Tart starts it off, then clean, fruity, satisfying. Dry. Quenching. Leaves the palate and begs for more. I like this. It's alright.

Let's look at that label" "Small Batch. Farmhouse hard cider. Drink Cider. Eat apples. This is our workhorse. Not too sweet. Not too dry. An easy drinking cider that's perfect for any day of the week. We're growing, pressing and fermenting Minnesota's original farmhouse cider. sweetlandorchard.com. Sweetland Scrumpy original."

I still need to know what I "scrumpy" is, so I found this on Wikipedia: "Scrumpy is a term for certain types of cider originating in the West of England, particularly Devon, Somerset, Dorset, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire and Herefordshire. Traditionally, the dialect term "scrumpy" was used to refer to what was otherwise called "rough", a harsh cider made from unselected apples.

Today the term is more often used to distinguish locally made ciders produced in smaller quantities and using traditional methods, from mass-produced branded ciders."

Well, alright, then, Scrumpy. I guess I like you.


Sunday, February 19, 2017

Sisyphus Ben Gone But Not Forgotten

Sisyphus Ben Gone But Not Forgotten. Imperial Milk Stout. 9% ABV. 44 IBU.

Another in the employee design series, this one in honor of Ben Steingold who left Minnesota for North Carolina. Bye, Ben! I miss you, already.  But, how's your beer?

Solid blackness under a sizable, long-lasting, creamy, tanned head. Looking terrific.

In the nose: Fruit. Spice. Spruce tips? Pine? Ginger? Something's going on here, and I like it. Citrus notes, too. I wonder what's going on?

In the mouth: there's more sweetness on the palate than mere malt suggests.. There's a gentle spiciness, and a suggestion of fruit. Ginger comes back to mind, and citrus fruit too. Bright, spicy, malty, smooth and beautiful. Strength doesn't yet become apparent, but flavor continues to contribute to some sort of deliciousness. Tas. Tee. Stuff, indeed. Yum -a- dum, dum.

Town Hall Bavarian Express Schwarzbier

Town Hall Bavarian Express Schwarzbier. 5.2% ABV. German black lager.

Dark brown, nearly black coloring, slim brown head.

In the nose: cocoa first, then coffee. Dark malts, little hops.

In the mouth: all the dark malt flavors: we've got cocoa and coffee, some ash, and anise. Lightly bittersweet. Tasty. Nice dark malts, nice flavors, good drinkability. Has everything I want in the flavor department. Bitterness remains there, but lightly, and the flavor is largely malt-derived.

I love a good schwarzbier, and this is one of them.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Oliphant Toraifosu Belgian-style Dubbel Ale

Oliphant Toraifosu Dubbel Ale. 8.9% ABV.

I can't recall what Toraifosu refers to, although I did ask Matt the last time I saw him. Something. It's got to be something. But, how about the beer?

Dark brown, rich, full, flowering head of creamy-toned head.

In the nose: sweet, creamy, nutty. Caramel and toffee, with Belgian yeast, Special B malt. Vanilla, cocoa, ...just nice. Nothing but nice.

In the mouth: Smooth, sweet, caramel and toffee, cocoa and dark fruits. Delicious. Medium bodied. Long, sweet finish. Little hops. Very true to style. I didn't like this the first time I tried it at the taproom. That was then, this is now. Now, I'm digging it. Digging it big time. So much chocolate, and so much smooth. Richness aplenty. And that ineffable quotient of wow. Mmmm.....wow! Love it.

Tasty, toasty, rich and chocolatey. Mmmm...I said I loved it, right? So delicious. Just flat out yum.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Barley John's Brewing Company Cone Gnome the Barbarian Double IPA

Another one in a blank can, straight from a distributor rep. This one is not canned, merely available in keg form. How do I know what it is? Because they told me. Now it's time to open and drink...

Conegrnome the Barbarian. 10.1% ABV.

Clear, amber colored, slim, but lasting ivory head atop.

In the nose: soft, light....not too much happening, not the typical hoppy aromatics.

In the mouth: big bitterness, big fruit, big sweet. Increasing bitterness, with the backdrop of citrus and tropical fruit. Bitterness remains strong, relentless. Sweet and malty, with hoppy kick carrying through. Tasty. Strong. Bitter. I like it.

I tore this off of the internet to share with you: Conegnome is an imperial IPA that is fit for a king. This beer has a massive malt base and has been battle tested by Huell melon hops.

Rhombus Guys Invincible Pale Ale

Rhombus Guys Invincible Pale Ale. Rhombus Guys Brewing, Grand Forks, North Dakota.

Sample can brought to me by the Sample Man.

Lightly hazy, amber color, large white head, leaving some lacing.

In the nose: bright hoppiness, citrus and pine. Floral. Grapefruit-y. Beautiful. Ahhhh....I can dig it.

In the mouth: bright citrus-y hoppiness, lean body, crisp and delicious. Goes down easy, with a long bitter finish. Tasty stuff. Just right. Smooth, refreshing, and, yes,  I'll take another.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Town Hall Cross Pond Porter

Town Hall Cross Pond Porter. 5.2% ABV.

Dark brown coloring, slim tanned head.

In the nose: roasted malt. A little caramel, a little sweetness, some dark fruit, then all ending dry on the palate.

In the mouth: Gets on board the palate with gusto, stays smooth all the way. Layers of flavors, coffee, toffee, caramel, a little cocoa. Staying mostly malty, with hardly a peep out of hops. Just enough flavor to keep interesting while being superbly drinkable.

Merely described on the website as "English-American hybrid porter." I'd be curious to learn more about that. What parts of each style were combined? What left, what stayed.

Flat Earth Red Cape Irish Red Ale

Flat Earth Red Cape Irish Red Ale. Flat Earth Brewing, St. Paul, MN. 5.1% ABV. Winter Seasonal.

This Flat Earth beer is one that I'd always passed on when I saw it on local shelves in bottles. There was always something else that seemed a little sexier. The sample man came through with these unlabeled 12 ounce bottles. I wondered if I should include these for review, but, why not? They came from the brewery. It has to be the same beer as the one you find on the shelves, right?

Dark brown color, showing clear and crimson at the edges, with a slim tanned head.

In the nose: caramel malt's in charge of this one. Sweet and toffee-ish at the start. Mostly malty, hops are hidden. Nice.

In the mouth: Malt grabs the palate at first, keeps things sweet and supple, before losing the grip. Stays malty-sweet throughout the sip, before ending on a lightly bitter edge, then fading away. Definitely down able. A friendly ale, to be sure.

But something is a little off. It doesn't really fit the parameters of an Irish Red. Certainly doesn't look very red. I wondered if they'd mislabeled the cap, and then checked some reviews on BeerAdvocate, and it does seem like we were all drinking the same beer. A different take on an Irish Red Ale, that's for sure, but not bad at all.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Sisyphus Steam Beer

Sisyphus Steam Beer. 6% ABV. Canned on 2/05/17.

Lightly hazed amber hued. Slim white head.

In the nose: Clean, lightly fruity, ester-y. A touch of hops.

In the mouth: Hops are bigger here, just a dose of bitterness, then all is smooth. Much maltiness, but moreover, smoothness and deliciousness. Very nice. Simple, easy drinking, tasty. Nothing wrong with that. Good beer, and I can drink it.

Personally, I like a good beer that you can drink.

Bent Paddle Valve Jockey #1: Oatmeal IPA

Here's an example of how I could have saved myself eleven bucks. Two weeks ago, I hosted the local release of the first in Bent Paddle's new brewer's series, Valve Jockey, at Acadia Cafe. Brewer Neil Caron was there, as well as BPBC reps, and the fine beer-minded folks who had the good sense to come on down. And I could have taken a moment over the next 8 days to pour myself a pint and compose some notes, but as has previously been stated, I don't always do that for beers on tap where I  work. Or other bars, for that matter.

So, off to the store to find a bottle. (Eleven bucks?)And you know what, I also need to find a bottle of Climate Generation Black IPA, which we had on tap before and after the Oatmeal IPA. Why did it stay on tap longer than than the other? Is it, I suspect, because IPA drinkers are really racist? Oh, no, I didn't!

Okay, bad joke. I've stated over and over my indifference to the "black IPA". But I protest too much. Some of my best friends are black IPAs. Black ales matter, folks.

Onward to the beer.....

Bent Paddle Valve Jockey #1: Oatmeal IPA (aka Oatneil), 7.2% ABV, 80 IBU.

Clear, golden colored, fresh, ivory head atop.

In the nose: bright, citrus-y, hint of tropical, a little bitter, a little sweet.

In the mouth: Yeah! That's right. Big flash of bitterness, bold citrus flavors, with a trickle of astringency creeping down the throat. Medium body, smooth and tasty. Hop flavor never quits. Malt flavors are a joy on the tongue. Flat out delicious and definitely drinkable. This bomber is going down in no time flat. Damn good IPA, and, yes, you can drink it.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Toppling Goliath Tsunami Pale Ale

Toppling Goliath Tsunami Pale Ale, Brewed by: Toppling Goliath Brewing Company, Deborah, IA. under special agreement with Lakeland FL.

Hazed, pale amber coloring, lush white head, lasting long and leaving lace.

In the nose: An explosion of citrus and pine. Beautiful bitterness. Lovely and lively.

In the mouth: Hoppy. Juicy. Citrus-y. Then, dry and even more bitter. Medium-bodied. Easy-drinking, and just as hoppy as you need in a pale ale.

"A tsunami, powerful and unwavering. And that's just the beer. Tsunami pale ale rolls onto the scene with waves of Mandarin orange aroma and a refreshing crash leaving your palate asking for more. Are you brave enough to surf it's delicious turf? Take the plunge and ride the wave."

Surf it's turf? Ugh. Gag me.

Castle Danger Castle Cream Ale

Castle Danger Castle Cream Ale. 5.3% ABV. Castle Danger Brewing, Two Harbors, MN.

I thought I'd had all the packaged Castle Danger beers, but I keep forgetting this one. I tend to pass on cream ales, just not my favorite style. Luckily, the Sample Man came around with a can, and now I check it off my list. Hooray!

Clear, amber colored, slim white head.

In the nose: mild. lightly hoppy, some cereal grain notes.

In the mouth: sweetness and malt. Light bodied, high ease of drinking, quenching and quaffable. Smooth and tasty. Is what it is. Good beer. You, my friend, are capable of drinking it. Me? Eh. You? Yeah, go ahead. There's an audience for mild sessionable brews like this.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Inbound RIS

Inbound RIS. Russian Imperial Stout. Bottle #168/500. Inbound BrewCo, Mpls, Minn. We've got the government warning, the address and the weird logo, but no other information.

This is the first Inbound BrewCo beer here in the Nib. I've been to the taproom a couple of times, had their beers and enjoyed them, and received many samples, but never took notes. I even had 5 of their beers on tap at Acadia, and had plenty of chances, but again, didn't. I'm going to stop now, before I come off as a complete failure. I do need to go back and take notes if  I'm ever going to write them up as Minnesota Breweries One by One #93.

Well, after all that no-note-taking, this bottle wound up in my possession, and it wouldn't be right to continue that woeful streak, would it? So, at last, I cracked it open and here's what I had to say about it:

Solid blackness, with a slim brown ring of foam up on top.

In the nose: big roasted malt aromatics, charcoal, anise, blackberries. Molasses. Motor Oil.

In the mouth: Clambors aboard the palate, with bells a clanging. Thick and rich. Massive malt. Big and bold, and boozy. A lot going on here, a big bunch of complexities. Not a bad one, at all. Nice work, boys.

Oliphant Ant Ray Cow Pants

Oliphant Ant Ray Cow Pants. Red Ale with ginger, lime and curry. 7.4% ABV. Oliphant Brewing, Somerset, WI.

Brown coloration, large and lasting creamy off-white head, looking great.

Aroma: sweet, creamy, curry. Little bit of lime, some fruit, some sort of perfect. Light spice, lots of sweet, major malt, absolutely incredible.

In the mouth: Just as scrumptious as promised by the nose. Mostly malty, and full of the ginger, lime, and spices. Wonderful blend. Medium-bodied. Easy drinking, and incredibly delicious. With each new taste, I like it more and more, again and again. Just delicious. Mmmm.

An earlier chalkboard illustration re-uses the robotic
Scratchy head that was probably used for either
Bort or Also Bort, and, I think, embellished with
elements from Hindu gods...or something. Is that
an ant on top of Hindu robot Scratchy's head?
Ant Ray Cow Pants. What does it mean? (Sounds like a Captain Beefheart song.) I seem to recall asking Matt about it, but I can't recall his reply.) Where does it come from? Who really cares? Me, I just like how damned tasty it is. Just ...oh, I said that. Caramel malt, toffee-ish. so
At my last visit to the brewery, ARCP is
illustrated with a twist on the Marvel Movie
version of Ant-Man as played by
Paul Rudd. All chalkboard artwork by
Jeremy Hughes.
delightful......so delicious. Ant. Ray. Cow. Pants. Mmm, mmm, yeah.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Oliphant Yara India Pale Ale

Oliphant Yara India Pale Ale. 6.8% ABV. Oliphant Brewing, Somerset, Wisconsin.

Here we have the sixth Oliphant beer I've tapped at Acadia Cafe. Took these notes after finishing an afternoon shift. I can't do reviews of the beers we have on tap on the three days I close for several reasons: it's dark, the chairs are up on the bar, and I'm usually in a rush to catch a train or a bus home. (And I don't review before I start work, because I just don't drink before work.) I used to review beers after bar close at my old place, the Blue Nile, because we didn't put the stools up (gets in the way for taking pictures), and there were no windows, so no one could see what I'm doing after bar close.

Yara is also one of four IPAs brewed by Oliphant that make reference to a 4-issue comic book series published in 2015 by Black Mask Press and going by the name of Space Riders. They all feature Galaxy hops, because, duh, and one other. Capitan Peligro was another one of those, named for the one-eyed son-of-a-bitch who pilots the badass Skullship Santa Muerte, which is the third IPA, and I may have sampled it, but not reviewed. Pretty sure I never got to taste the one named for Mono, the baboon first mate of the SS SM.


I felt compelled to check out this book myself, since it was inspired by the cosmic artwork of Jack "King" Kirby from the pages of Thor, Fantastic Four, and other Silver Age classics. That's a pretty easy in for me, and I was glad when I finally got my hands on the collected hardcover that the volume was dedicated to Kirby.

So, I'm in the middle of my second reading of issue #2, and something leaps out at me. Capitan (don't call him "Captain") Peligro asks Mono to share his story, and when the baboon tells of finding a holy book while in prison, I couldn't believe what I saw on the cover. Is that the Oliphant logo? Could it be? I mean, it just might
be any old elephant skull on the cover of an ancient tome, right? I asked Matt, who hadn't noticed it either. Perhaps artist Alexis Zerritt and writer Fabian Rangel, Jr. are secret Oliphant fans, but it's probably just coincidence. A crazy, cosmic coincidence.

But enough about the strange things I'm seeing behind four-color comic books, let's look at the IPA with Galaxy and Citra hops named for the kick-ass robot named Yara who joins in the Capitan and Mono's adventures. Notes, ahoy!




Clear, bright golden color, with a thick full, creamy white head.

In the nose: bursting with citrus, lemon and lime, and orange and grapefruit aplenty. Potent deployment of piney notes, too. Mmmm. Alright, now.

Let's drink it: Bright, so bright, and citrus-y. Big bitterness, bit citrus, while smooth and drinkable. Light bodied, full flavored. Juicy, too, juicy and bitter. Just the way I love an IPA.


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Deschutes Pacific Wonderland Lager

Deschutes Pacific Wonderland Lager. 5.5% ABV. 40 IBU. Deschutes Brewing, Bend, Oregon.

Lightly hazed, bright golden appearance, lush, large snow-white layer of foam.

In the nose: fresh, zesty, clean and hoppy. Slightly floral. Good ol' lager-y smells.

In the mouth: Crisp and clean, with a good hop profile, starting slightly fruity and ending dry. Light bodied. Spicy and citrus-y all over the flavor of this.

Supreme consumability. This is my kind of lager.

Ballast Point Grunion Pale Ale

Ballast Point Grunion Pale Ale. Ballast Point Brewing, San Diego, California. 5.5% ABV.

Clear, golden hued, solid slab of egg-white head atop.

In the nose: bold and citrus-y. Lemon and grapefruit. Just right.

In the mouth: Starts out sweet, then quickly turns to the bitter, and malt catches up with hops. Lean bodied, light and quenching. Citrus hop flavors cling to the palate and remain prominent throughout. Long, hoppy finish. Smooth and lovely. Hey, this is my kind of pale ale.
Refreshing and delicious.

Good one, and you know what you can do with it. Drink up, friends.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Crazy Mountain Shane McConkey India Pale Ale

Crazy Mountain Shane McConkey IPA.

Lightly hazed, bright golden/amber hued, slim ivory head atop.

In the nose: bright, citrus and pine aromatics, classic hop notes. Just right for an American/West Coast IPA style. Oranges and lemons galore.

In the mouth: Bitter up front, juicy in the back. Delicious. Lean bodied, but fully hop-flavored. Tasty IPA. Good beer, go ahead and drink it.

After drinking this beer, though, I still don't know who Shane McConkey is and why he skis in the nude. Or, skied. I should check this out, shouldn't I?

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Sierra Nevada Beer Camp 2017 Golden IPA Spring Seasonal

Sierra Nevada 2017 Beer Camp Golden IPA Spring Seasonal. 6.5% ABV. 50 IBU.

Crystal clear, golden hued, lace-leaving ivory head.

In the nose: bright, bold, fruity, tropical. Beautiful hop flavors in this aroma.

In the mouth: Bitterness off the bat, but sweet and creamy, too. Bitterness calms down just a bit, then does a 2-step with the sweet, juicy part. Little dry, little bitter, little sweet. I like this tango a ton, and I'm enjoying this style of IPA more and more. Good beer and you can drink it.

From the website: At Beer Camp, no beer style is off limits, so we jumped at the idea of doing a Golden IPA using wheat malt for a light, dry body and bold American and experimental hops for intense citrus flavor. The perfect spring seasonal, we invite you to enjoy this year’s Beer Camp encore.

New Holland Dragon's Milk Bourbon Barrel-aged Stout

New Holland Bourbon Barrel-aged Stout. New Holland Brewing, Holland, Michigan. 11% ABV.

Solid blackness, thin, but lasting rich brown head.

In the nose: it delivers. Huge chocolate, gigantic bourbon, very vanilla, mucho grande. Powerful whiskey. Fills the nose to the rafters.

In the mouth: Big and creamy, wide and expansive. Huge malt, richness and deliciousness. Vanilla, oak, whiskey, ....chocolate, espresso...everything nice.

This one was a night-capper for me, and I drifted away from the notes. Said what needed to be said, then got lost. It happens sometimes. Sometimes, it happens before the words get written down and I lose a review. Ah, well. Worse things have definitely happened.

Edit: This new label design threw me off. I thought it was a new iteration of Dragon's Milk, but it's just a new look. This beer first appeared here in the Nib nearly six years ago, using the first time I reviewed it from a bottle, almost 13 years ago. So, I've reviewed a beer twice, once more. Again, first world problems.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Schilling Hard cider Lumberjack Rhubarb

What, another cider? Hold on, there's more after that.

Schilling Hard Cider Lumberjack Rhubarb. 100% Fresh Pressed Apples. 6.0% ABV. Produced and bottled by Schilling Cider, Seattle, Washington.

A lot of gobbledygook on the the label that I cannot read.

Rhubarb? Rhubarb Cider? Sure, of course, why not?

Clear, light pinkish hued, high carbonation.

In the nose: what am I getting? Is it mostly apples? Yep. With some rhubarb mixed in? It's not really coming through, just slightly.

In the mouth: big carbonation, rhubarb coming through sticking it out right next to the apples. Big Tart, lightly sweet. Increasingly tart.

If I were an active enjoyer of ciders, I could see the appeal here.

Uncle John's Hard Cider Blueberry Apple

The Bitter Nib is a beer blog, this we all know, but sometimes a bit of cider comes my way. I could just drink and say "it's alright" and not chronicle it here. Or I could write about cider. So, here's the first of two that popped into my fridge recently, and I popped their cans open and notes away...

Uncle John's Hard Cider Blueberry Apple Seasonal. Produced and bottled by Uncle John's Fruit House Winery, St. John's, Michigan.

Clear, pinkish red color, active carbonation.

In the nose: apples first, hints of blueberries. A little sweet, a little tart.

In the mouth: there it is: blackberry flavor coming through, coming on top over the apples. Nice and tart, with sweet on the side. Light and drinkable, tasty. Nice.

Guys, you know me, I'm a beer man. Not a cider drinker. Unsure of how to write about cider, but I'll keep trying. All I can tell you is: here's a good one. I wouldn't pass one up, but I'd always wish I had an ale instead.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Dave's BrewFarm HBC-438 Single Hop Lager

Dave's BrewFarm HBC-438 Single Hop Lager. 6.4% ABV.

Hazy, golden/amber tone, lush ivory head, looking great.

In the nose: soft, malty, slightly sweet, smooth.

In the mouth: Light hop bitterness at the beginning, nice blast of citrus, with malt keeping it's pace right behind. Tasty, and smooth. Low hops, just enough malt. drinkable as heck. Good beer and I can drink it. Mmm, mmm.

The word from Farmer Dave: "Pils, Cara Red, and Caramel 20 malts, and hopped with three additions of experimental "HBC-438" hops. Fermented with a lager yeast."

Central Waters Space Ghost Imperial Stout with Chili Peppers

Central Waters Space Ghost, Imperial Stout brewed with Chili Peppers. ABV unknown. Brewed and bottled by Central Waters Brewing, Amherst, WI.

Solid blackness, resting under a toasty brown cap. Looking perfect for the part.

In the nose: Right off, this has everything we want from an Imperial Stout. Tremendous depth, absurdly rich, evocations of all the dark delights, chocolate, espresso, anise, dark fruits, smoke, caramel, and more. We haven't even gotten to the peppers yet.

In the mouth: There they are! Peppery heat boards the palate first, charging ahead and setting it all aflame. There's plenty of richness and sweetness behind to back it up. With each new sip, the heat is ahead, but the rich malt is right behind it, holding down the fort, and keeping the palate safe from being burned to the ground.

I try to avoid the chili beers, but on the other hand, I'm partial to tasting all the Imperial Stouts. So, I had to check this one out, right? And you know what? I like it. Not going to turn into a favorite, but somehow I like it. Ain't bad at all. Very flavorful, very tasty, very delicious, and the heat's not too
much. I do not mind this at all. That's how much I like it. Just right.

Okay, Central Waters, you won me over. Just kidding. You already did.

From the label: "Out of the light and into the darkness comes an Imperial Stout with ghost peppers added. Space is full of mystery, darkness, and the heat of 1,000 suns. Don't fear the heat. It's the ghost that will get you!"

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Summit India-style Black Ale

Summit India-style Black Ale. "India-style"? What's that? The style they make in India? Does India brew anything close to this? Inspired by Indian styles? Are there any?

No, India brews lagers. India Pale Ales refer to the style's invention in the 1700's, when the English were colonizing India. But with the introduction of the hoppy black ale, called Cascadian Dark Ale, by the people of Cascade, aka Oregon and Washington, there arose a conundrum. If you don't call the brew a CDA, as they would want you to, you're probably using the confusing nomenclature Black IPA. Spelled out, that's a Black India Pale Ale. How can something be "black" and "pale" at once? It can't. Personally, I prefer just "black ale." Or "hoppy black?" No one's figured it out yet, and while some are still happy with "Black IPA" we may never get this thing fixed. But, India-style? Nah.

6.8% ABV.

Solid blackness, lush off-white head, lace-leaving.

In the nose: grassy hops, some piney notes, chocolate malts rushing in. Yeah, I can dig it.

In the mouth: Chocolate malt takes command, but the tingly, tasty hops don't waste a minute getting in on the action. Roast-y malt base with hops as spice. I can get into this, although "black IPAs" aren't normally my thing. I recall enjoying the Unchained version, just called Black Ale.

Honestly, though, I'd rather have either a stout or a porter, or an IPA, true, through and through. I'm just never gonna be big on this style.

This one is only available in the new IPA sampler pack, or on tap. I've got one coming for Acadia, in conjunction with an upcoming Summit event. Here are some more words about it from the folks at Summit: Summit India-Style Black Ale

This powerful black ale features roasted wheat and roasted pearl barley, creating
notes of espresso, dark chocolate, toffee and black cherry. U.S. hop varieties Denali and Equinox
produce big pineapple and lemon-lime flavors, along with traces of grapefruit, spicy pepper and
pine. Finally, a Yorkshire yeast strain provides a distinct stone fruit profile — think apricot and
peach — and a hint of minerality to balance out those malts and hops.

“With IBA, we’re trying to showcase the integration of roasted malt flavors with spicy, citrus-
forward hops,” says Damian McConn. Summit India-Style Black Ale finds inspiration among the porters and stouts exported from the UK in the 19th Century — beers that were often heavily kettle-
hopped and then dry-hopped in the cask. “We’re aiming more toward that concept,” McConn
adds, “but with less of the scorched, dry, acrid notes often associated with export stouts.