Showing posts with label DIPA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label DIPA. Show all posts

Apr 23, 2016

Stillwater Artisanal Ales Projector Readymade

     I've been shying away from IPA's (of the regular as well as the Imperial/Double/Triple of the breed) the last year or so. I used to quite a fiend for them. A roasty malt foundation with hops bringing things like funk, flowers, tang, bitters and bite. Outside of a few amazing new (to me) one I've just haven't been feeling a lot of them. Seems they want to be hop bombs and not much else. Roasty and sweet malts being told to go hide and don't come back out. No character. No complexities. I guess chewing on nothing but grapefruit peels and pine nibs for a couple hours isn't as appealing as it once was.
     This Imperial IPA from Maryland brewery Stillwater first got my attention because of the label design. It looked more like a Crispy Ambulance record cover than a beer label. It sent me some sort of message that this was not shooting to be another "I dare you" to a beardo walking his dog down to the coffee house. It seemed to be something different.
     Pouring hazy amber in color with a modest and creamy head, aromas start wafting through the air once it settles into the glass. Tangerines and papaya come to find first. Then some peaches and cherries. There's some candied bread in there too. It's all makes for a bold but well mannered scent.
     They use 5 different hops in this. On first sip you notice the levels and what they are there for. They don't taste all mashed together in some loud blare. It's more like they're part of an flavor orchestra. They all have their parts and they play them well. Fruits like mango and oranges sprinkled with black pepper and bitters first. Next it's some raw honey. Grassy (as in the lawn, lemon and Mary Jane) earthy dankness come along closely afterwards. As it breathes the middle and towards the end cherries, some white grape dryness and a bit of lime zing become more pronounced. The malts string it all together with sweet caramel and fresh bread. Watch out though, the abv hits 9% and it keeps itself unnoticeable until it pulls a sneak attack.
     Complexities, flavors and some innovation (they use flake rice in the malting process which will probably drive some people nuts due to its adjunct history.) Stillwater whipped up great one here.

Oct 21, 2012

Lips Of Faith Series: Super India Pale Ale

     Now that the New Belgium Brewing Company has rolled into Michigan with fistfuls of marketing money all the ladies (and it DOES seems to be pretty much gals exclusively) who say "I sure like Fat Tire Ale and sure could go for one. Too bad you can't get them in this state." now can stop in almost any party store in any part of town in the state and get their fix.
     Good for them and you go, girls! Personally though I have always found Fat Tire a bit insipid and, after trying it again after more than a few years, I still do. I would hold it against them though as there are other beers in the line that may prove to be interesting.
     Super India Pale Ale find them collaborating with California brewery the Alpine Beer Company who are best known for being the American contract brewer of AleSmith's McIlhenney’s Irish Red. Being fond of hops and this one sporting Amarillo, Columbus, Simcoe and Centennial it seemed to be a good place as any to start. 

     The color is a slightly hazy gold in tone with good amount of bubbles but not too much so even a medium pour didn't turn cause a mountain of foam on the top. The head was pretty slight but what it had held on tight all through the sipping with a good amount of lace all the way through the glass. 
     Scents of pineapple stand out high in the aroma with notes of other tropical fruits such as mango and passion fruit following it. A tart forefront as far as the nose was considered with a touch of biscuits, caramel and honey in the malt backbone. A slight bit of a boozy tinge too but nothing that would make you think it is hitting the over it's 9% abv range.
     The flavor is very upfront in a tart juiciness. Pineapple and Guava are really pronounced at first along with some bitter lemon and grassy notes. In the middle the hop bite is tamed slightly with the malts taking on a bit of a roasted nuance. The ending is slighty piney along with a dint of strawberries. The finish is also brings on the alcohol bite which is muted up until that point.

     All in all a pretty solid, well balanced and interesting Double IPA.

Nov 7, 2011

Dogfish Head Burton Baton 2011

     There are some rare "occasionals" the breweries whip that make me say "Woo!" Then there are SOME that make me say "WOO! HOO!" and punctuate with the feeling of total beer geek bliss and flavor nirvana with a "HOT DAMN! YES!"
     Dogfish Head's Burton Baton is one that always goes into the latter camp.
     The first impression of any beer is how it looks and the hazy, slightly burnt orange color of this, topped with a one finger sized fizzy, cream colored head that melts away at a moderate pace to a constant cap that sticks by all the way through. It's pretty much announcing that there's gonna be a good number of complexities to take in through the sipping so get yourself ready now.
     Aromas of orange peel, vanilla, caramel all wrapped by a woodsy oak cask project itself boldly out of the glass. There's a dint of alcohol in the smell too but not overwhelming considering the brew's 10% abv potency. DAMN! It's been well over a year since I've last tasted one of these (and this only the 2nd beer I have revisited ever in this blog so far) so enough of these pleasantries and let's get down to some sipping.
     The sweet/buttery/malty meets the citrus pucker power of Dogfish Head's 90 Minute IPA is here in spades on the initial sip. It's followed by a bit of honey then a bit of woodsy, whiskey nuances in the middle. The finish starts with a bit of an orange tartness but is mellowed out again with something that I can only describe as a smokey vanilla thing. At the very tail end of it all the more top end of the alcohol spectrum comes out but still subtle enough to not realize how potent this brew is.
     A very, very limited amount of these hit this area (word was two cases for the entire county) and the beer merchant I picked them up at had their allowance of them reserved for those of us who have professed our love to them. I have two bottles left out of my 4 pack. I'm gonna hide those down in my beer cellar for at least a few months and see what happens.

Feb 1, 2011

Bell's Hopslam Ale (Year 2011 issue)

It's been not even a month since Bell's Hop Slam 2011 edition hit the shelves and here we are in the midst of what is said to be the nastiest blizzard to hit the Midwest in 5 to 25 years depending on the source you get such information from. In an effort to stock up on supplies in case of a few days being snow bound I thought I would look around a couple local stores today to see if I could find a six pack still hanging around. Nope, Not even here in Michigan does it seem there are any orphaned sixers or mini-kegs someone hasn't noticed and snagged already. I guess it's a good thing when it first came out a few weeks back I made sure I stockpiled a few extras because, even though previous years it's been great, this year's batch seems to be the best one yet.
Lush, rich amber in color with just the right amount of bubbly head that takes it's time to melt away leaving waves upon waves of lace behind. Right at first opening and pour it's aroma is already fills the room. At a distance it's smell of bright citrus and pine. Once it's held a little closer to the nose though apricot, peaches and honey really come to the fore.
The taste of the hop profile brings out all the scents above along with a bit of pineapple and mango. Then it's all tied together with hints of honey. There's so many levels here and it all bursts with so much flavor. It's sweet and tarty calling card is then finished out with white pepper bitters and a warming all through the body courtesy of the 10% abv.
There has been quite a bit of hype surrounding Hopslam in previous years and this year it seemed more fevered than ever. The reason? Because it lives up completely to it reputation. Seriously one of most favorite beers in the world.

Sep 29, 2010

Dogfish Head Burton Baton

Ahhh, those occasional/rare brews that some of this nation's fine microbreweries produce. As a beer dork you have to get them when you see them sitting on the shelves without hesitation because who knows when they'll be spotted again. This double oak aged IPA from Dogfish Head is one of those one's where, at least in these parts, multiple 4 packs of them are purchased at once so they can cherished and sipped on while others are saying "I didn't even get to try those this year."
Cloudy amber in color and a good sized head that hangs on for quite a long while leaving a thick lace all the way though. Caramel scented malts is the first thing that tingles the nose followed by citrus, campfire smokiness and a dint of booze (but at 11% abv not as much as expected).
The mouthfeel of the brew is chewy but creamy and the flavor is packed with a whole bunch of complexities. The sweet warmth of the candied dark fruit flavored malts and tart grapefruit bite of the 90 Minute IPA are the first thing most, if they are familiar with that Dogfish Head flagship, will notice. The oak aging gives it a twist of vanilla and spices as well as a slight smokey twist. As it breathes the bitters do mellow a bit and you find yourself not believing, or at least surprised the higher end alcohol content this has....that unless you've sat down having a few and try to stand up a little to quickly.
One of the best brews of it's type and always worth waiting for it to come available again.

Aug 29, 2010

Iron Springs Pub's Casey Jones Imperial IPA

Here's another brew courtesy of a care package from Chris Owen. I mentioned my constant crush on IPA's to him and he slipped some California style ones. This one, from Fairfax brewpub Iron Springs, is one I've never heard of before and from the way he made it sound is pretty much just regional to his immediate area. I'm all about checking out the local flavor so bring it on.
The color is dark orange at first glace. It appears opaque when sitting on the table but since I'm in the backyard I hold it up to the sunlight and a golden haze can be seen glowing around the edges. The head was modest but leaves a good cap behind that laces all the way though. On the nose the hops aren't the kind that punch at it but do have a nice fresh zing to them while the malts give the aroma a pleasant sweetness. Sorta reminds me of sourdough bread sprinkled with some lemon zest and a fresh sack of apples.
On the lips and tongue the brew itself has a nice and creamy feel to it. At first sip a rich molasses flavor is noticed then pepper and pine hop bite takes over the proceedings hanging on almost to the end but the malts smooth step in again it with warmth and sweetness. The finish features a dint of hotness from the 9.5% abv which is, for the most part, masked up until then.
Not really into sparking another one of those "What defines East Coast/West Coast/Michigan IPA" debates again but if I was to go into this one blind I think I would still define it as a solid west coast (double) IPA and there ain't nothing wrong with that.

Feb 28, 2010

Dark Horse Double Crooked Tree IPA

For some reason it seems in a lot of beer circles Marshall, Michigan's Dark Horse does not get the attention it deserves. One of the reason's why we've heard around the Smashin' Transistors stomping grounds is because of something as silly as people thinking that their label designs look too cheap and people put them off simply for that.
That's a damn shame. Sure, we won't disagree that whoever the brewery has in charge of their label art needs to learn a few things about a little more color separations and layout design but that kinda stuff takes time and costs silly money. The people at Dark Horse know you can't judge a book by simply looking at it's cover and honestly they'd rather just spend their time making the best beer that they can.
Double Crooked is very dark & rich amber in color. A shade that is almost of maple syrup really. The one & a half inch heads holds on strong and even as it melts away it doesn't totally disappear leaving a 2mm cap on top all through the beer and a good amount of spotty lacing. Amongst the rich caramel and freshly squeezed orange juice aroma's there's a campfire of maple and oak smokiness in the scent as well. What I'm noticing the most though is not much of a note of alcohol which is somewhat surprising because this pushes almost a 14% abv.
First thing noticed on tasting is how creamy this is. A lot of the high test IPA's aren't usually highly carbonated anyway but there's something about this that sets itself in a different realm as far as the usually mouthfeel. It fills and coats the tongue but more like a soft blanket that gob of burr's you get of some other double IPA's. The malts here are full on rich & cocoa-ish and take on a slightly maple tinge (which seems to be a theme running through this brew with yours truly) and hold on tight all the way through each sip but the hops aren't neglected or overshadowed-especially towards the end when the citrus comes shining through. There is a bit of warmness in the finish from the alcohol but all the through is his percentage is well hidden.
For anyone out there passing up on Dark Horse just because of their lack of pretty labels and packaging you are missing out on something very well made. Correct that as soon as you can and enjoy.

Jan 9, 2010

Short's The Liberator

This is another of the limited run beers that Bellaire/Elk Rapids, Michigan brewery Short's released to the market last month. It's a double IPA which us here at S/T central are always up for and that it was from Short's we more than ready to pop the cap.
A very nice, rich & cloudy burnt copper color gets us even more intrigued at first glance. A very strong orangish head hangs on for quite a while. It's thick but soft. When it fade the lacing reminds one of watching snowdrift blow across the road. Man, oh Man! It's almost declared a winner on looks alone.
Talk about a beer who's scent bursts with juicy aromas as soon as the bottle was open you could already smell it in the air. Peach, green apple, tangerine, white pepper and bubble gum all seem to float through the air when giving this a whiff. All of them distinctive and very flavorful smelling and though all very pronounced not one of them stepping over the others. All one can say is "Wow!"
The scent is just a primer for the gigantic sour fruit punch the brew packs. This very full and fluffy feeling brew stokes up the tongue instantly with a straight up tang. Full of earthy zest and oily, grassy pucker power. Once again "Wow!" We're talking hop juice here. A peppery bite comes through in the middle and stands out more in the finish.
I've heard a few people have said that this is pretty much Short's turning up their Huma Lupa Licious twice as loud. It's very understandable why. There's a whole lotta flavor punch in one of them and the same kind of flavors in it hit here doubly.