With all the Michigan breweries out there these days some people have asked me why I haven't covered many of them in my beer posts here. It basically boiled down to that the few places that stock GOOD beer in this hamlet have had a hard time finding a distributor in the area that carried them. Sure, you can find Bell's (who, as we all know RULE), Michigan Brewing Company (who do have make some good stuff but also got a couple of real dogs that come from their tanks) and Atwater (which is good when you get it on tap but not so much in a bottle and are responsible for one of the grossest concoctions ever with their Vanilla Porter) at even the major grocery stores but New Holland, Founders and Arcadia spottings are rare. Luckily though, the guy's at Ryan's (No. 1 in my book of the few places around here that do stock the good stuff) went that extra mile to keep the customer happy and now I'll have some homestate stuff to talk about for at least the next few months.First things first. You can't judge a book by it's cover or, in this case, a beer by it's label. The Mad Hatter looks like some creepy morph of Phil Spector and Bill Wyman rendered by a high school artist. Don't let it scare you though because it's what's in the bottle that counts.Scentwise it's a bit more grassy than what is usually expected from an IPA but the smell of sweet hops are easily detected as well. A slight grapefruit tartness and a malt base is found in the taste but not to overbearing from either and I found it to be a nice balance. It's not over the top in the hops as a lot of IPA's are going for these days and times like this it's a good thing. After all, not everything can be as crazy as a Dogfish Head-which I enjoy an awful lot but can be a bit too much sometimes-nor do I expect them too. A very crisp and clean in the mouth with light carbonation. The aftertaste has a bittersweet thing to it that lingers just for the right amount of time. Kinda bums me out that summer will be coming to an end soon cuz if I could've gotten my hands on this earlier in the season it would've been one of my main choices for the summer when I was in an IPA mood. Oh well, IPA's are always standard for me so when the mood strikes for some in the colder months coming this will one of the one's I'll have on the top of my list. I'd put in the same neighborhood I put Victory's Hop Devil and that's a good place to be.
Yeah, yeah...I know. Here I am lamenting summer though I'm pretty sure we have more than a few awesome warm days ahead before that blanket of grey takes it's place in the sky for at least a 4 month stretch so I have should savour them instead of already naming curses. It's now past the last official long weekend of the season though...which means I'll eventually have to fire up the snowblower and there'll be no choice in the matter. Zoomer's label TOTALLY reminds me of relaxing summer days. The beach chair, the colors. It totally speaks to me. What's inside the bottle though doesn't so much. A citrus and slight doughy wheat aroma had me expecting a bit more in it's taste (especially after digging the Mad Hatter) but it is too light. I have a problem with Wit's when they seem really watered down and try to make up with it with too much "summer" flavoring. The taste here is that of reconstituted Lemon juice being dumped into a bottle of Peligrino something. Don't get me wrong I find a glass of mineral water with a slice of lemon effervescent and refreshing, but dammit, I'm drinking a beer not sitting in a kitchen and discussing next year's family reunion plans with my Aunt Eleanor. I poured a glass for the better half telling her nothing more than "it's a beer you may want to check out" cuz she summer seasonals are some of the ones she likes the best and knowing that it would get me an unbiased take from her. After a couple of sips she asked if I was trying to be funny by pulling the lemon peel of the spice rack and shaking it into to a can of Busch Light. That's a little too harsh and it's not going to stop me from trying what else New Holland makes in purchases down the road (Cuz I really liked the Mad Hatter so that puts them at an even score right now) but I'll be passing on Zoomer.