Thursday, August 31, 2017

Half Acre / Short's Freedom of '78 IPA

Half Acre Brewing / Short's Brew Collaboration Freedom of '78. Brewed and Canned by Half Acre Brewing, Chicago, IL. Pure Guava India Pale Ale.

Lightly hazed, bright golden  lasting white head.

In the nose: Fruity aromatics, big citrus and sweet tropical, low bitterness. Kinda nice.

In the mouth: Juicy/fruity at first. Little bit sweet, with minor hop bitterness. After pouring this can, the fact that it is brewed with guava completely left my mind, unless I started drinking. Guava's all over this. A little bit of apricot/tangerine in here, too. Below it all, some of the alpha acids are peeking through, just enough to make it an IPA, not an APA. The guava flavor seems to tamp down, just a bit, but it's juicy all the way through. Very nice.

Pure Guava India Pale Ale. A true juicer, brewed in collaboration with Short's Brewing Company. Gallons of guava puree turn this IPA into a true hoser. Check for it around fireworks season. 7% ABV

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Cosmos Brewing Planet XPA

Cosmos Brewing, Hugo, MN. At last, I have a sample of Cosmos. I had some brought in at work, but it was one of those things were they cracked open a growler, and you had to drink it with them. I've seen their cans and bottles on sale, but haven't taken the plunge to spend my own money on their beers just yet, not being a fan of what I'd had before. At last, a new sample man came around with cans, and now I drink the XPA, they call it, the Planet XPA. Let's drink....

In the eye: Clear-ish, copper-y coloring, slim white head. Looking alright for the style.

In the nose: ah, yes. There's plenty of citric hop notes here. Grapefruit, lemon, pine, and plenty of malt. Lovely.

In the mouth: Mmm. Juicy, hoppy, just enough malts, and very tasty. Light bodied, lean, clean, delicious. Nice and hoppy. You know what? This one is good. I like it. And I like to like a pale ale. I like to drink a good one, and I love to recommend them. Guess what I'm doing with this one? Drinking it and recommending it. Go drink it, people, it's a fine one.

Let's read some copy from the label: "Where did we come from?" You've discovered the real Planet-X! Don't be mistaken, this Aleien planet is not Nibeeru. XPA is the first step on your journey through the Cosmos. Explore these suds with your buds. {Editorial: GACK!} Then: SAVE SPACE FOR BEER! And then: "A heavily Citra hopped pale ale with balanced malt character and a floral citrus aroma. Oats provide a frothy head and a full mouth feel." Brewed by Cosmos Brewing, Hugo, MN, 55038.

Pale Ale, 6.6% by Vol. 50 IBU.

As I said before, this one is good. Hope the rest are. Let's find out, a little bit later.

Modist False Pattern American Pale Ale

Modist False Pattern American Pale Ale. 5.5% ABV. Modist Brewing, Minneapolis, MN.

Highly clouded, very light yellow coloration, slim white head atop.

In the nose: Big lemon, huge citrus, traces of tropical. Trickles of pine. All kinds of nice.

In the mouth: Boom, there it is again, plenty of citric hop character, lots of bright hop character. Mouthfeel is smooth, clean, lovely. Oat malt flavor is coming through in this pale ale, and I really like it. Here is a good beer that you, I can surely state, can drink. Tasty stuff, thirst quenching, sessionable, utterly likable. Friendly and fun.

There's a lot of writing on this can that I can't read. Wait, let me get my glasses...Here's something I found: "A soft, hazy pale ale brewed with a grip of oats and juicy hops." A grip? What's a grip? More than a grab? Or less? No matter, it's a tasty beer that you can drink down with ease.

This is the replacement for Toats, due to someone thinking the name was too close to theirs, although it wasn't. Well, it seems like they found the right name, and I hope it sticks. This good beer that you can drink is one that I will return to again and again, and so should you.

Oliphant Smoked Wheat Erry Day

Smoked Wheat Erryday. Smoked hefe weizen with pineapple. 4.9% ABV. Oliphant Brewing, Somerset, WI.

Clear, amber hue, small white head.

In the nose: Getting the hefe yeast notes, the banana and the touch of clove, with the smoke coming on. Smoked malt, getting smokier. Nice.

In the mouth: There's the smoke, there's the wheat, but...what? Pineapple? Huh. Yeah, that's here, too. Smoked banana and pineapple, too. Light bodied, easy drinker. Plenty of interesting, while still palatable flavors. Why not make a smoked wheat, why not call it Smoked Wheat Erry Day (because, you know, Snoop Dogg, right?), and then pineapple? Got to be something else there. You tell me. I meant it, you tell, 'cause I don't know.

Who cares, it works.

Broken Clock Stand Up Stout Sweet Stout

Broken Clock Cooperative Stand-Up Stout. Last of the samples. 5.6% ABV.

Fully black, rich brown, creamy head on top.

In the nose: malty sweet, dusted with cocoa, nice and roasty. Very nice.

In the mouth: Slight sweetness here, too, cocoa and coffee in the flavor. Medium bodied, easy-drinking, light finish. Tasty, smooth, and sessionable. I like this. Good sweet stout, and you can drink it.

This sweet stout has notes of caramel, chocolate, coffee, toffee and wild berries; lightly hopped with East Kent Golding hops and has a slightly smoky finish. Inspired by Will Hubbard #3 *contains lactose 

Weihenstephaner Hefe Weissbier Bavarian Style

A few years back, I admitted my shame that I hadn't posted any reviews from this, the world's oldest brewery, the State Brewery of Bavaria, in good ol' Freising, Deutschland. Weihenstephaner. Say it with me: Vey-hen-steph-ahn-ur. Now, fast: Veinstephahner. So, I sat down with a bottle of the Korbinian Doppelbock, and then the Vitus, to redress this great wrong.

But, in the intervening 3 1/2 years, I plumb forgot to return to their biggest hit of the bunch, the Bavarian Hefe Weisse. I procured a bottle, and lo, and behold, I took notes on it way back in March of 2003. Here's what I said then:

Weihenstephaner Hefe Weissbier Bavarian Style. 5.6% ABV. Premium Bavaricum.

Hazy gold/pale orange in appearance, pouring an enormous, bilious white head.

Aroma is shockingly fresh, floral, citrus, lemon, orange, lively, and lovely.

Light and playful upon the tongue, brief finish, light body, slight texture.

No lemon required, unless you're a certified lily-gilder. Refreshing as a beer can be!

It's still true, all of it. Especially about the lemon. Folks, leave the fruit bits out of your beers. Just....just don't do it.

Town Hall Combustion Junction

Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery Combustion Junction Smoked Porter.

In the eye: solid blackness in this, with a rich, brown head atop, settling into a slim ring.

In the nose: Coffee, chocolate, smoke. Sweet, dark, delightful.

In the mouth: Full-bodied, rich and tasty, densely textured. Big chocolate malt meets robust smoke, with a little bit of heat. Here's a beer I can truly dig. This mini-growler is empty in no time at all.

A re-brew of Travis Lott's best in show Smoked Porter recipe from the 2016 Byggvir's Big Beer Cup at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival. 7.9% ABV. 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Disgruntled Guvnor English Amber Ale

Disgruntled Brewing Guvnor, A malt forward English Amber Ale. 5.6% ABV. Canned on 7/17.

My first crowler from Disgruntled, purchased at South Lyndale Liquors last Thursday. I was alerted to their presence there earlier last week, and told that there were only a few left. The hot ones, the IPAs and such were, in fact, sold out, and only the "boring ones", the browns, the pales, the amber, were left. But, you know, even boring beer can be good beer, when it's good.

In the eye: Clear, rich copper-y/amber hue, off-white head. Looking nice.

In the nose: Clean, malty, nutty, earthy. Just enough hops, just enough sweet.

In the mouth: Easy going as they get. Clean and malty, excellent balance and utterly smooth. This is the beer that I was told was their top seller when I first visited the brewery back last year, which caused some consternation to the brewer. He hated making it, he said. Well, if your clientele is tossing this back, and not complaining because isn't Miller Lite, you're doing something right. That was last year, this year they've successfully conquered the beer geek crowd. I haven't been able to return and am sufficiently jealous of those who make it up there for the big beer releases. I can't imagine when I'll be in Perham next, so I'll have to keep hitting the store and hope luck is with me.

I'm still drinking this big ol' crowler and more flavors are developing in the mouth, hops are getting bolder, citrus is shining. Remains on the sweet side, but hops are keeping it from going overboard. This is an overall excellent amber ale, and I recommend it highly.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Boom Island Bolleke Plus

Boom Island Bolleke Plus Belgian Double Pale Oak Aged. 7.2% by vol. Boom Island Brewing, Mpls., MN. Breaking the Boundaries Series #2. (#1 was the Belgian Strong Golden, which I had on tap at Acadia, but did not take notes on. I'm sure there are more bottles around somewhere.)

Clear, rosy-hued, magenta-isa, slim head atop.

In the nose: Dark fruit, stone fruit, raisins, and plums, a little tart and funky, with a mess of sweet. And there's the oak, matching the malt. Very nice.

In the mouth: Sweet malt meets sour, right off the bat. Dark fruit gets sour with a quickness. Light/medium body. Caramel malt flavor stays on top, mixing well with the oak-aging, and the richness that ensues. This is nice. Not too this, not too that, fruity and funky, and certainly drinkable and delicious. Nice, nice, nice. A very unique offering to this particular market. More power to 'em.

See that link up at the top? Click on it to read the post where Kevin describes in detail the origin of this beer. Here's how the label reads: This beer is the brainchild of a special collaboration with Mouterij Dingemans, Hopsteiner, and Cargill Specialty Malt for the 2017 Craft Brewers Conference. We started with our traditional Belgian pale recipe, then took it up a couple of degrees. Next, it was oak-aged for 8 weeks. Finally, we dry-hopped it with an Experimental variety #09326 from Hopsteiner. The result is an amped up Belgian Pale with a citrusy and fruity nose and hints of French oak.  Grain bill: Pale, Biscuit, Aromatic and Caramel malts, Hops: Bravo, Exp. #09326, IBU: 23.4

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA

Dogfish Head Brewery of Delaware.

I love these guys, and I'm so glad they're back in our market. I buy them in the stores when I know it's a beer that hasn't appeared here on the nib, yet. And if I get a new one in kegs at Acadia, I tend not to take notes from on tap at the pub. So, no Beer For Breakfast or Siracusa Nera, until I find bottles. And then, we got a keg of 120 minute IPA. I don't remember even asking for it, it just showed up. That's always nice, when you are found deserving. And so, 120 Minute IPA. Tapped last Sunday, and going so fast, that I had to take a pic, and not take notes, for I'd reviewed it from a bottle way back in ....November, 2003? Almost 14 years ago? Yes, for DFH had been here, and departed, and I traded for bottles back then.

So, instead of writing new notes on this beer from on tap at Acadia, I quick took a photo of the one I had this evening, and will share with you my notes from a bottle from back then, and I believe they are better than what I could scribbled down while sitting on a bar stool:

120 Minute IPA. 

Gorgeous bright ruby red color, very sizable, bubblingly creamy head...
Aroma...massive, intense, huge, towering, flowering, flowing over in the air, in the senses, in the soul, ...big, fat fruit, grapefruit, peach, apricot, mango, more...and not too bitter, surprisingly pleasant...
...and, to taste...Oh, my goo'niss! Ah, ah, ah!!!
INCREDIBLE occurence on the palate, prodigious, amazing, and highly flavorful...floods and gushes, uplifts, elevates, urges pleasure at the very instance lip meets cup and ale enters body...full-bodied to say the least, with a long, tantalizing finish, and additional candyish notes that linger on and on...
An IPA that lays me low, knocks me down a notch, and leaves me no recourse but to bow down and let it wash over...every subsequent taste provides further onslaughts of flavor...oh, yum, yummy, McYum-Yums...
During consumption of this ale, I had no idea of the ABV, for it's been carelessly omitted from the label...20%!?!?! damn!
Sticky, fruity, gummy, sweet, this surely transcends the boundaries of the India Pale Ale, and feels closer to a barleywine, or even a mead or brackett...but whatever the Hell it is, I love it!

Yeah, I think that one covers it. The current version is labeled as 16.5% ABV, not the 20% I talked of above, but who's to quibble. It's incredible, and it's dangerous. Don't ask, I just don't want to talk about it.....

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Lakes & Legends Great Wit North

Lakes & Legends Brewing Company Great Wit North, Belgian Wit Brewed with Orange and Coriander. Brewed in Minnesota. 5.6% ABV. 23 IBU.

In the eye: Clear, bright golden color, sizable ivory head, lasting long.

In the nose: Sweet and fruity at first, a little spice, and a whiff of something unpleasant. Plastic-y phenols emerge, a touch of the bandaid. Not big, but there all the same. Further in, it's harder to detect, but it was there.

In the mouth: Fruit, spice, wheat, and those off-flavors are back. This style of beer should be clean, light-bodied, and ultra-consumable, with just enough orange and spice to keep it fun and refreshing. This one misses the mark, and is a bit heavier in the mouthfeel than we'd like. Also, the threat of those off-putting off flavors are still lurking about.

I've been to the taproom several times in the nearly two years since L & L set up shop near Loring Park. (I've checked in on Untappd on 3 separate occasions, but have probably stopped in once or twice more than that.) I've never encountered a bad beer while there, though I've heard stories from those who have. I thought they'd get the kinks out before sending bottles to market. The flaws are mostly masked as we continue through the bottle, but that I noticed them right away is troublesome.

I'm finishing this one, but it's not leaving me happy. A good wit does the things described above and leaves the drinker fairly contented. Draining the glass, the missed marks are less evident, but the memory of them remains. This a beer that could definitely be better.

Oliphant Bird Up! Saison with turmeric & lemongrass

Oliphant Bird Up! Saison brewed with turmeric and lemongrass. 5.3% ABV. Canned on 6/16/17, purchased at Liquor Depot, next to Oliphant, 7/23/17.

Clear, bright golden, slim head.

In the nose: nicely spicy, citrus hoppiness, yeast. Very nice.

In the mouth: Smooth and easy-breezy, hops tingle the tongue, yeast delivers deliciousness, spices pounce the palate. Light-bodied, good drinker. Just a fine ol' saison, and you can drink it.

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.

Pipeworks Ninja vs. Unicorn Double India Pale Ale

Pipeworks Ninja vs. Unicorn Double IPA. Pipeworks Brewing, Chicago, IL. 8 % ABV. Lightly hazed, bright golden hued, vast, lush white head...