Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Sierra Nevada Hop Bullet Magnum Edition Imperial IPA

 Sierra Nevada Hop Bullet Magnum Edition Imperial IPA.

9.5 % ABV, 48 IBU, Sierra Nevada Brewing, CA & NC. 

Clear, bright golden hue, large, lush and lasting ivory head. 

In the nose: floral and fruity, citrus and tropical, grapefruit and tangerine. Whiff of mango.

In the mouth: big bitterness and high alcoholic gets the party going right from the start. Light bodied, fairly smooth and palatable. Bitterness fades off a touch, but big hoppy flavors never leave. Delicious ode to hops. 

You can always count on Sierra Nevada. 

The mighty Magnum hop packs this edition of Hop Bullet with behemoth favors of grapefruit, orange rind, and pine resin. This thing’s a force, but it’s also fleeting. Stock up or miss out.

HeadFlyer / Wandering Leaf Dr. Green Thumb West Coast IPA

 HeadFlyer / Wandering Leaf Dr. Green Thumb West Coast IPA. 

7% ABV, 77 IBU, HeadFlyer Brewing, Minneapolis, Minnesota. 

Clear, copper colored (strike one! Wrong tone for a West Coast IPA,), slim white head.any

In the nose: do I detect caramel malt? Strike two. Anything else? Some citrus, deep down. 

In the mouth: Not clean and crisp by any means. Bitterness on the palate, but mostly murky and malty. Doesn’t taste a whit likes West Coast IPA. Not dank or resinous, missing the forefront classic West Coast hops

I skimmed Untapped reviews and I appear to be in the minority. Folks are noting the pine, but that hoppy character is swallowed up and covered by the malt. There’s more chocolate here than citrus. West Coast IPAs need to golden hued with bold, brash, highly aromatic hoppiness. This is all wrong. 

There’s copy on the back of the label that I won’t be copying, but let’s just say that this is not “the dankest of IPAs.”  I’m glad I got this for free. I’d be pissed if I’d paid for it. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Lagunitas The Beast of Both Worlds Bi-Coastal IPA

 Lagunitas The Beast of Both Worlds Bi-Coastal IPA. East Coast Flavor! West Coast Clarity! 

8% ABV, Lagunitas Brewing, Petaluma, CA. 

Mostly clear, vaguely opaque, bright golden hue, slim white head. 

In the nose: big, bold, citrusy sensation. Orange, mango, grapefruit and tangerine. 

In the mouth: bitterness begins. Pierces the palate with aplomb. Juicy, hoppy and bitter, all up and down, with rising alcohol to match. Lightish bodied, yet fully flavored. A hazeless hazy? A juicy Westy? Maybe, maybe….and I’m digging it at only $10 a 6-pack!

Actually, this is suiting me quite well. I may have to pick up more while it’s still around. 

Hazy flavors without haze? West Coast hopping without mega bitterness? This double IPA w/ Mosaic, Citra, Strata & Sabro is quite the contrary kaiju.

Monday, May 6, 2024

Spiral The Bottoms Porter

 Spiral The Bottoms Porter.

5.5% ABV, Spiral Brewing, Hastings, Minnesota.

Dark brown color, nearly opaque, slim layer of cocoa-toned foam.

In the nose: roasted malt, slight sweetness. Minor hops. Hint of chocolate.

In the mouth: full body, big flavor.  Roast malt flavors, long, dry finish. Moderate bitterness. Grows in richness as we go along. 

A tasty and satisfying porter, and I’ll definitely recommend it. 

Sunday, May 5, 2024

Pipeworks Pondering Pale Ale


Pipeworks Pondering Pale Ale.Dry hopped with Cryo Mosaic, Cryo Simcoe, Cryo Amarillo and Riwaka hops.

4% ABV, Pipeworks Brewing, Chicago, Illinois.

Clear, bright golden hue, slim white head.

In the nose: citrus explosion, orange and grapefruit with a pinch of berry. 

In the mouth: fresh, zesty, and delicious. Light bodied, exceptionally quaffable. Brief hoppy finish. Pale ale as pale ale should be. I’m thoroughly digging this. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

Junkyard Simcoe West Coast Style Double IPA

 Junkyard Simcoe West Coast Style Double IPA.

8.5 % ABV, 100 IBU, Junkyard Brewing, Moorhead, Minnesota. 

Wait, what have we here? A West Coast Double I PA from Junkyard? Not a hazy, or New England, or Vermont-style? The kind of IPA I like? No shit. Let’s drink it! 

Crystal clear, bright golden hue, snow white layer of foam.

In the nose: citrus and tropical, passion fruit and mango, orange and melon. I’m loving it.

In the mouth: hoppy blast bounces on the palate, with restrained bitterness and a jolt of the juicy. Light bodied and easy drinking, for the style. Alcohol hasn’t rung in too loudly…yet…nope, here it is. All in all, a noteworthy expression of my favorite style. I’ll happily enjoy this one again and again.

I’m not sure that I enjoy Simcoe all solo, but I’m not complaining, either. 


Thursday, April 25, 2024

Padraig’s Red Chimney Red Ale

 Padraig’s Red Chimney Red Ale.

Padraig’s Brewing (pronounced Patrick’s) is the newest brewery in town, having taken over from 612 Brew in NordEast. This was the first original beer they’ve released in cans, while keeping a few of the old styles. 

Clear, dark reddish color, fine creamy froth atop.

In the nose: sweet and malty, moderately hopped.

In the mouth: coppery twang of bright hops meeting rich malt hits the palate first.   Medium bodied, smooth and flavorful. Bitterness remains throughout, though it’s well balanced by the malt. Nice to have another Irish Red option made locally:

The Irish theme is strong in this brewery, and I hope that works out for them. I was able to try more of their offerings at an event at work (South Lyndale Liquors) and was quite take by their porter. I’ll have to take a trip out to the taproom to taste it fresh off the and see what else they’re pouring.

Hand crafted in the tradition of the red ales brewed by monks at the St. Francis Abbey in Kilkenny, Ireland. Medium bodied, hints of roasted caramel and a floral hop flavor with a clean bitter finish.

Three Floyds Age of Otters India Pale Ale

 Three Floyds Age of Otters India Pale Ale.

7% ABV, Three Floyds Brewing, Munster, IN. 

Clear, bright golden hue, slim white head.

In the nose: bright and beautiful, popping with citrus and pine. 

In the mouth: fresh, brash, buzzing with bitterness. Citrus notes of orange and lime and grapefruit blast the palate. Crisp and refreshing. Quite delicious. Just a little bit on the sweet/juicy side.

A pity it only comes in the variety pack. On the other hand, I like ‘em all. 

A graceful and harmonious balance of rich malt sweetness and piney hops await. Swift, agile, captivating . . . the age of otters is nigh.

Arbeiter Pale Ale

 Arbeiter Pale Ale. 

5.2 % ABV, Arbeiter Brewing, Minneapolis, Minnesota. 

You know I love a good ol’ American Pale Ale. I like them better with India in front, but plain pale suits me fine just as well. 

Clear, bright golden hue, lush, lasting ivory head. 

In the nose: bright and lovely. Slightly sweet and tropical toned, plenty of citrus on hand.

In the mouth: soft, yet bitter, but balanced. Light to medium bodied. Citrus glides along the palate, dripping grapefruit and orange, with a spicy touch. 

Quite an easy drink, fraught with delicious delights. I’d happily have another, every time I see it.

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Surly Mosh Pit Imperial IPA

 Surly Mosh Pit Imperial IPA. 

9% ABV, Surly Brewing, Twin Cities, Minnesota.

The “brand family” trend has been getting more popular these days. Goose Island has Beer Hug, Sierra Nevada  has “Little Thing” and Boulevard keeps expanding the Space Camper IPA series. Revolution has spun off many “hero” IPAs from Anti-Hero, and New Belgium has put the Voodoo Ranger brand at the forefront, going beyond an umbrella for IPAs, tossing the name and skeleton based imagery on a line of boozy teas. It’s like they don’t want you to think of a brewery once known for Belgian styles.

Locally, this trend has taken off lately among the bigger breweries. Early last year, Summit decided that the Saga name belonged not merely to their popular West Coast IPA, but also to a hazy version, an Imperial, and in the Goddess Series variety pack, a tropical variant. Fulton followed suit by creating the Hop Kingdom umbrella, folding 300 inside, and adding a hazy, a juicy and an Imperial. I haven’t yet had the latter, so I can say so far my favorite part of this brand family is the illustrative efforts of Brent Schoonover.

Mere months ago, Surly got into the game. One Man Mosh Pit Hazy IPA changed it’s name to merely Most Pit, Logic Bomb Juicy Pale Ale traded its dripping brain for an electric guitar and this beer I am about to drink made it’s debut. One name for three completely different beers. Customers are confused. Not sure if this trend is the wisest one to follow. 

Let’s go ahead and drink one….

Mostly cloudy, bright golden hue, strong, but soon settling, ivory head.

In the nose: big citrus, slight tropical. Orang, tangerine, mango. Pinch of pine. 

In the mouth: splash of bitterness up front, then the harsh blast of alcohol clambers on the palate. Mushy malts. I shouldn’t be surprised if this is an “imperialized” version of the Mosh Pit Hazy. (Shouldn’t it be labeled Imperial Hazy IPA, or were we just supposed to guess?)

Bit too much fuzz on the tongue for me, but that’s what everyone is into these days, so who am I to complain? Some beers, it is clear, were not made with me in mind.  

This was released first as 12-packs and I picked one up before it was released as 6-packs, to save a couple of bucks. I drank down most of them without any critical thoughts, but the last cans got me thinking that I probably won’t return to this one.  I will have to wait until the next Abrasive Ale rolls around.

Lace up your Docs, put on your cleanest dirty flannel, and dive into the waiting arms of your fellow hopheads. No frills, no keyboard solos, no guy in a cape singing about unicorns or hobbits. Just a full-on facemelter, with Idaho 7™, Sultana, Amarillo, Citra, and Cascade hops leading the attack and heavy citrus notes of orange and lemon landing like a double kick drum.

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Heller-Trum Aecht Schenkerla Erle Schwarzbier

 Heller-Trum Aecht Schenkerla Erle Schwarzbier. Mit Erlenrauchmalz. Schenkerla Alder Wood Smoke. 

Black, near-perfect opacity, small brownish head. 

In the nose: mild smoke meets dark malts. Uncured ham plus cocoa. 

In the mouth: exceptionally smooth and hearty. There’s nothing like this. I love a nice, malty schwarzbier, but this is another thing. Rich and delicious, with that unique smoked malt touch. I can’t tell you what makes alder wood distinctive, but it works. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Oliphant Rusket Dark Wisconsin Dark Lager

 Oliphant Rusket Dark Wisconsin Dark Lager.

5% ABV, Oliphant Brewing, Somerset, Wisconsin,

You know, it’s been a while since I’ve had a Wisconsin dark lager. Let’s fix that. 

Deep, dark, nearly black, opaque, slim brown head. 

In the nose; sweet and creamy, cocoa and caramel, altogether pleasant and delightful.

In the mouth: mostly malty, minor hops, well balanced. Light to medium bodied. Mild cocoa flavor runs through. Solid in every way, except that it’s a liquid. Quite nice. 

A collaboration with St. Paul's finest beer emporium, The Ale Jail.

They have everything you could ever want, even ghosts. Enjoy!

Yours truly,

The Lager Blogger 

Monday, April 8, 2024

Modist Gifts of the Sacred Father Doppelbock

 Modist Gifts of the Sacred Father Doppelbock.

8.5 % ABV, Modist Brewing, Minneapolis, Minnesota. 

Clear, dark reddish brown, lush, creamy head on top, looking good.

In the nose: caramel and toffee notes, just slightly sweet. Hits the mark.

In the mouth: smooth and lovely, with the slightest hit of alcohol at the top.  Clean, rich, delicious, abundant with malty flavors. Caramel is king, of course, but it’s never too sweet. Nice balance. All in all, an exceptional doppelbock. Quite yum a dum dum.  

Doppelbock brewed with decoction mashed pilsner, Vienna and Munich malts. Kettle hopped with German Hersbrucker then fermented and lagered with German lager yeast.

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Dual Citizen Rivertown Brown

 Dual Citizen Rivertown Brown.

6.4% ABV, 22 IBU, Dual Citizen Brewing, St. Paul, Minnesota. 

Clear, deep brown color, cocoa-toned, lace-leaving head.

In the nose: soft caramel notes, a hint of cocoa, a very malty affair. 

In the mouth: semi- sweet malt flavors, slightest hop bitterness, excellent balance. Medium bodied, extremely drinkable. Fine and mellow, this. Almost dry, never sweet. Got to admire this one. Many brown ales are dreadfully dull. Not here. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Destihl Deadhead IPA West Coast-style

 Deadhead IPA West Coast-style. 

7 % ABV, 60 IBU, Destihl Brewing, Normal, IL.

Slightly clear, bright golden hue, slim white head. 

In the nose: citrus and pine, grapefruit and orange.

In the mouth: crisp, clean, with large and long-lasting bitterness at the front. Medium bodied, with a long, hoppy finish. Pine and citrus blazes the palate, dank and bitter at once. Bracingly delicious, I am increasingly liking this particular IPA. 

Like the bold colors & patterns of a tie-dye shirt, this West Coast-Style IPA is bursting with psychedelic hoppiness, fruity aromas & balanced bitterness from Citra, Mosaic & Chinook hops with a vintage malt backdrop. Cheers!

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Dangerous Man Smash IPA

 Dangerous Man SMASH IPA. Golden Promise & Simcoe. 

6.8% ABV, 45 IBU, Dangerous Man Brewing, Maple Lake, MN. 

Clear, bright golden hue, slim white head, leaving lace. 

In the nose: high pine and jacked up citrus, grapefruit and orange galore. 

In the mouth: big bitterness spikes the palate, the s slightly softens as juicy malt rises up to meet the hops. Stone fruit and a trace of tropical lends sweetnesses. Light bodied, expertly drinkable and a long, bitter finish. Highly likable. 

Smash stands for single malt and single hop. This malt and hop combination balances and complements each other while letting each shine. Golden Promise lends a big, bold, malty backbone to withstand the huge amount of hops, while Simcoe hops bring bright notes of stone fruit, citrus, and a dash of woody pine resulting in a refreshing, approachable and well balanced IPA.

Monday, March 25, 2024

Destihl Destihlinator Doppelbock German-style Lager

 Destihl Destihlinator Doppelbock German-style Lager.

9.5 % ABV, Destihl Brewery, Normal, IL.

Clear, deep reddish brown, slim layer of creamy white froth atop. 

In the nose: sweet caramel malt, touch of toffee.

In the mouth: starts out sweet, but bitterness reveals and it’s all wonderfully smooth, while rich and full bodied. Excellent balance, but the heat soon unfolds. It’s a big one and the booze begins to shine. 

This is an exceptional doppelbock. Maybe some day it’ll show up in Minnesota, for now I have Kevin & Laurie to thank.

Our German-style Doppelbock is full-bodied and light brown in color with aromas of toffee. Flavors of caramel, malty sweetness and a warming finish make this a perfect beer for pairing with food or celebrating with friends and family. Cheers!

Ārpus Peanut Butter Vanilla Coffee Imperial Stout

 Ārpus Peanut Butter Vanilla Coffee Imperial Stout.

12% ABV, Ārpus Brewing, Latvia. 

Question: Have I ever had a Latvian beer before? Unsure. Maybe not. Other question: have I ever had a Latvian Peanut Butter Vanilla Coffee Imperial Stout before? Highly unlikely. Let’s do it. 

Fully ebony, complete opacity, large and inviting brown ring of foam.

In the nose: boom! PB…and there’s vanilla…coffee’s coming along.

In the mouth: starts out rich, sweet, delicious. Overly sweet? Possible. No, I like it just how it is. Nearly full bodied, and spectacularly packed with flavor. All the flavors are in harmony, with pb and vanilla shiny brightest. 

It’s cool that Latvian brewers are making beers like this, and they’re coming over here. Craft beer is a world wide phenomenon. Was it worth the $9 for the can? (Before my employee discount.) I’d say yes. I don’t spend $9 a can often, but Latvian Peanut Butter Vanilla Coffee Imperial Stout? C’mon!

Monday, March 18, 2024

BlackStack Morning Routine Granola Stout

 BlackStack Morning Routine Granola Stout.

7% ABV, BlackStack Brewing, St. Paul, Minnesota.

Look at this, boys and girls, it’s a BlackStack beer that I’m drinking and it’s not a triple dipple hazy IPA. Nope, this here’s a “granola stout”, and why don’t we find out what that is. 

Strictly ebony hued, thoroughly opaque, with a slim brown head on top. 

In the nose: malty, chocolatey, cream and cocoa. 

In the mouth: rich, mucho cocoa, some kind of sweet, plus smooth and delicious. Full bodied, richly textured, very rewarding and flavorful. I’m happy it’s not a “pastry stout” and only somewhat confused about the granola business. 

Getting into a new routine. Conditioned on granola for the full-on breakfast vibes.

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Odell Wire Walker West Coast Style Double IPA

 Odell Wire Walker West Coast Style Double IPA. 

8% ABV, 50 IBU, Odell Brewing, Fort Collins, Colorado.

Mostly clear, but not clear enough, with a bright golden hue, large, lace-leaving head.

In the nose: pungent, tropical tones and a whiff of citrus. A bit oily. Not really fitting a West Coast style so far…

In the mouth: bitter at first, highly hoppy and showing off the high ABV. More oiliness on the palate. Medium-bodied, a touch dry, but still a far cry from what I expect from the description. 

This one is simply “okay” and will not entire my pantheon of favorite double IPAs. It is very confused, and not really as balanced as it claims. Or, maybe “balance” is not what I value most in this style?