Friday, August 11, 2017

Town Hall Chinook SMASH

Town Hall Chinook SMASH pale ale. 5.3% ABV.

Clear, amber-hued, prodigious gathering of bright white foam above.

In the nose: Big malt juiciness comes out first, followed by bitter hop melange.

In the mouth: Citrus-y hops maintain a dry presence on the palate. Malty mouthfeel, medium body, tasty, and quenchable. Hop bitterness never quits, malt flavor keeps it real. Single malt, single hop, delivering a tasty ale. Quite nice, and a mini-growler consumed with the greatest of ease.

The Town Hall website was no help (in fact, had no information about any beers), but I pulled this off of Untappd: Unfiltered American Pale Ale brewed with Golden Promise pale malt and Chinook hops.

Elysian Space Dust IPA.

Elysian Space Dust IPA. 8.2% ABV, 73 IBU. Seattle, WA and other places, I'm sure.

In the eye: slightly hazy, bright golden color, vast white head, looking good, leaving lace.

In the nose: fresh blasts and citrus and pine, not too fruity, nice and dry.

In the mouth: Bitter bite starts it off and slides all about the palate. Bone dry, this, stripping the tongue, ready for the new swallow. Medium body, light malt presence, holding down the fort just barely. Hops are shining in this one.

My kind of IPA. I can have a few of these and be happy.

The hopping is pure starglow energy, with Chinook to bitter and late and dry additions of Citra and Amarillo.

Great Western premium two-row, c-15 and Dextra-pils

Chinook, Citra and Amarillo

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Dark Horse Bourbon Barrel-aged Plead the fifth

DH BBA PtF RIS. Dark Horse Plead the Fifth Bourbon Barrel-aged Imperial Stout. Dark Horse Brewing, Marshall, MI. All. 11% Alc. by Vol.

Utterly black, thoroughly opaque, slim wicked, evil ring of brown foam above.

In the nose: Boom! It's all here. Chocolate, espresso, char, ...amazingly deep and intense.

In the mouth: More of that, and more. Thick, rich, intense, viscous and, when it all comes down to it, delicious. Much chocolate, mucho coffee, many, many riches of the malt. A decadent treat that can't be beat.

This was my first time having a full bottle to myself. Next time I see one, I won't hesitate to pick it up.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Barley John's Mango Gnome Mango Double Pale Ale

Barley John's Brewing Company Mango Gnome Double Pale Ale. Brewed and canned by Barley John's Brewing Company, New Richmond, Wisconsin.

Unfiltered. Best Kept Refrigerated. Unpasteurized. Please recycle.

Clear, amber/golden hue, slim white head.

In the nose: Sweet fruit hits first, nice and mango as she goes. Minor hop presence, nothing but fruit.

In the mouth: Here they come. Hop bitterness hits, swiftly accompanied by the juice of the fruit. Mango has it going on in here. Big time. If you're here for the mango, you're in for a treat. How is it a double pale ale, though? 6% ABV, 45 IBU. Not sure what's double about it. Regular ol' pale ale? Yeah, that fits.

Aside from that, yum. Great taste, clean and lovely. Bring on the mango.

My Mango Double Pale Ale is a rich balance of hops and malt. It has a tropical aroma with notes of mango and a clean hop flavor. Dip your toes in the sand and gnome happiness. 

Monday, August 7, 2017

Oliphant Milkman Manbaby

Lately, I have been re-visiting the Adult Swim program "Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!", mostly due to the many references on Jeremy Hughes' chalkboard illustrations at Oliphant Brewing. Many of them make much more sense to me now, although I'd rather not re-live a few of them. Some of Heidecker and Wareheim's gross-out humor goes a bit too far for me, though I don't mind enduring the tasteless stuff to get to the inspired. Jeremy has chosen an image from a slightly disturbing Tim & Eric sketch for the latest Milkman Manbaby illustration, but given it a surrealistic twist. The name of the beer itself does not force us to consider man milk, the way the T & E sketch did. (oops. I gave it away.)

So, what is "Milkman Manbaby?" They alway call it a "German-style Milk Stout", which doesn't exist in reality. Germans don't brew stouts, and the milk stout is an English creation. Recently, the Oliphant Facebook book page called it a "Batman-style stout", for whatever reason, and when I asked them what this meant, they responded with a GIF of Adam West doing the Batusi, of course.

I like the mystery of Oliphant, and the surrealism, but I really like that the beers are well made and delicious. So, let's crack open a growler and contemplate their popular Milkman Manbaby beer for the first time.

6.8% ABV, 18 IBU.

Complete blackness, utterly ebon, under a creamy cocoa-toned head, looking luscious.

In the nose: Malty sweet, creamy, lactose, yum. Just about lovely. Very nice. Puts me in mind of a German schwarzbier. Interesting.

In the mouth: Smooth, creamy, malty, delicious. Very cool, very groovy. Some roast, a tiny toast. Just delicious. I'm getting it now. Milk stout meets black lager? And it's good. Very good. At the taproom, I was informed of it's popularity, but never got it. Who knows why. After having taken down this growler in it's entirety, I can see how this is such a pleaser.

There's nothing on this world like a German milk stout, just like we haven't seen a billionaire playboy philanthropist vigilante in real-life, either, but that doesn't mean we can't dream. Or drink, as the case may be.

I do kind of wish my craving for specific recipe information were satiated, just a bit, but as I said, I respect the mystery just as much. Here's as much as they'll tell us on the website:

in collaboration with the narrative voice of robert stack, we are excited to present to you: this beer. german-style milk stout. 6.8% abc

P.S. You know what I'm doing now, right? Checking out what shows Robert Stack narrated. Trying to solve those mysteries...

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Forager Twisted Zweig: Blue Fruit

Forager Twisted Zweig Blue Fruit. Berliner Weiss. 8% ABV. Forager Brewery, Rochester, MN.

Highly hazed, thoroughly pinked/magenta coloring...purplish, slim to soon-gone head.

In the nose: Sweet, tart, funky, fruity. Raspberries? Blackberries? Cherries? No, wait, of course, blueberries, or.....I'm totally wrong, as you'll read below.

In the mouth: Holy Tart! Whoa! Wow. Big time pucker. Intense fruit. Rich, ripe, and juicy. This puts so many other Berliner Weisses and fruity sour ales to shame, it's just got that much more going on. Wow follows wow. One of the most complex and playful brews I've put to my lips in quite some time. Holy Heck, they're doing it with this one.

Minnesota Weisse with blue fruit. Deep-purple, with a sangria/fruit punch aroma. Elderberries, Aronia berries, and Black Currants combine in this Twisted Zweig to create a complex interplay of overripe berry sweetness, with the tannin and acid structure reminiscent of red wine creating a beer with impressive drinkability considering depth of its character. These beautiful antioxidant rich organic fruits are grown by our friends at the Blue Fruit Farm near Winona, MN, Redefine what beer can be. Thanks, Jim!

Friday, August 4, 2017

Deschutes Brandy Barrel Abyss

Deschutes Brandy Barrel Abyss. Imperial Stout brewed with black strap molasses, licorice, cherry bark, and whole vanilla beans, 100% aged in brandy barrels for 12 months. Deschutes Brewery, Bend, OR. 13.3% ABV.

Complete blackness in the glass, with a tight ring of toasted brown foam on top.

In the nose: Chocolate, caramel, smoke, ash, anise. Roots and bark. Molasses, tobacco and leather. Dirty boots and coffee and soot. Campfire cocoa. Whoa.

In the mouth: Starts dark, rich, chocolatey and dense, and only gets muckier from there. Sweet, boozy, complex as heck. So many things lurking on the palate, getting it messy. Almost an overload. Alcohol hangs high in this one, though I don't get this distinct flavor of brandy in it. All the incredible flavors keep coming back, sip after glorious sip.  Damn. That is to say, Day-yum. And, mmm, hmm.

Crazy indulgent, crazy delicious. Goes well beyond anything else. I'm gazing straight into that Abyss. It gazes back. We're cool.

To celebrate the 11th anniversary of The Abyss we’ve bottled a 100% Brandy barrel-aged version for you to enjoy. This is a remarkably limited release so if you see it, grab a snifter on tap and a bottle (or two)!

Released December 2016

I am glad that I grabbed it when I saw it, but not entirely if it was worth $30-some. Almost. The brandy character wasn't as commanding. Despite what the brewer said:

Warm, smooth, sweet dried fruit and vanilla complement a commanding Brandy character.

LynLake Brewery Windburn Red Ale

LynLake Windburn Imperial Red Ale. 6.8% ABV, 77 IBU.
LynLake Brewery, Minnepolis, MN.

Clear, deep crimson, large and lasting cream-toned head atop, leaving some lace.

In the nose: sweet malt, fruity hops, moderate bitterness. Fine and mellow.

In the mouth: Again, the bitterness is fairly mild, kept firmly in check by a firm malt content. Bitterness grows in time and blesses the palate with hoppitude, but never going too far. Good balance in this big-ish beer. Medium-bodied, full-flavored. Caramel malt flavor coming through and blending well with the fruit and the hops. Long-lasting hoppiness, lingering finish. Tasty one, here. I could drink this again and again. (In fact, I finished the whole growler in one sitting.)

Candy sweetness meets strong fruit and citrus hop flavor in this gorgeous ruby pint. The use of 100% Falconer's Flight 7 C's hops creates a complex bitterness. Inspired by the red cheeks of winter biking, here's to a hoppy spring.

That's odd, they didn't have this on last time I was there, and I've never actually seen it on tap before. It's not a left-over spring ale, or is it? Or just back by popular demand?

Sisyphus Double Danger IPA

Sisyphus Double Danger. 5.8% ABV. India Pale Ale brewed for Tilt pinball bar. Sisyphus Brewing, Minneapolis, MN.

Clear, amber-hued, slim off-white head. Looking fine.

In the nose: light fruity esters, citrus notes, moderate hop presence.

In the mouth: Hop bite upfront, medium body, smooth and mellow. Perfect pale ale. (Looking online, I see it listed as an IPA. Okay, works for me.)  Citrus-y hop flavor persists throughout. Good'n'tasty.

Not too strong, not too hoppy, mainline, mainstream, just right for chugging while playing pinball. And there ain't nothing wrong with that.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Forager Kushy Hops Double IPA

Forager Kushy Hops NE IPA / Double IPA. Galaxy, Citra, and Azacca hops. 8.5 % ABV, 70 IBU.
Forager Brewery, Rochester, MN.

This is the 4th of the four crowlers I brought back with me from Rochester 3 weeks ago. I hope to all the Goodness we know that it isn't another year and a few months until I return.

I love the label on this, and I'm thrilled that they feature such lovely illustrations on their crowlers. Some kind of creature (be it cat or rodent, I can't tell) is luxuriating in his study, caught in contemplation, a hop connoisseur. And maybe a fond imbiber of some other relative of the lupulin plant. I know there's a cannabis reference here, but I'm not enough of a connoisseur of that to ferret it out.

But, to the beer:

Absolute haze. Thick and thoroughly opaque. If you like that. Slim white head. Golden hue.
 Let's go on.

In the nose: Plump, sweet, juicy tropical fruit notes. Papaya, mango, guava. Low bitterness. Pretty fruity, pretty nice.

In the mouth: Buzzes with brilliant bitterness, blazes the palate, treats the tongue. Just enough fresh, brash and bold hop flavor for Hophead Me. Rich and yeasty. Plenty juicy. Damned fine IPA. I enjoyed the heck of it.

This is probably the best expression of the NE IPA style I've ever had. (Keep in mind that I've tried some NE stuff like Trillium, but haven't had the opportunity to review them.) I like this style, but hope that it doesn't replace real American IPAs, West Coast IPAs, etc. I don't like NE IPAs that much. It's a nice diversion, but give me the bitter hops, please.

Juicy double IPA: brewed with barley, wheat, oats, spelt and rye malts. Hopped massively with Citra, Galaxy and Azacca for a tropical, juicy hop bomb. When you need some of the finer hops in life, get Kushy. 

Broken Clock Sundial Citrus IPA

Broken Clock Sundial Citrus IPA. 6% ABV. 83 IBU. bottled on 7/5/17.

Another Broken Clock sample bottle, the brewery whose name reminds me of either the saying that a broken clock is always right twice (which would be worrisome), or the opening lyrics of a Tom Waits song. But it's actually a different meaning. That's  when the clock is broken and time can stand still and cannot control us and we are not constrained to schedules and such. Which can actually explain those lines from "Rain Dogs." Whoa.

Clear, amber/auburn hued, lush white head, lasts long.

In the nose: nice and fruity, bright, pineapple and papaya, lemon and orange. Nice.

In the mouth: Smooth, malty, touches of caramel, but little hop bitterness. It's there, but fairly mild. It's certainly doesn't look or taste like anything labeled "Citrus IPA." for that, I'd expect less malt, especially caramel malts, and more spotlight on a citrus hop charcter. This is a fine beer as is, a decent IPA, but doesn't really deliver what's promised in the name.

Those minor quibbles aside, I'd happily drink another.