Showing posts with label IPA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label IPA. Show all posts

Jan 23, 2019

Kuhnhenn DRIPA Double Rice IPA

How many times in the place now have I declared that I've grown completely done with IPA's only to go ahead and then say "Well, ok, maybe I am but this one is pretty unique/amazing/etc and after it, I am done with the style?"

Probably about a billion, right? Spoiler alert here is gonna be that this will make that a billion and one.

After observing that it pours a rich and hazy golden color with a firm head that leaves a good amount of lacing in its tracks of each sip, the first thing noticed are the aromas this brew gives off. Bright floral notes, a lot of citrus zing and, when given a deeper whiff, is that stewed apples I am thinking.

The hop profile comes on strong at first on the sipping side. It is one of a slightly different character though, bold but not as blustery. Mellow orange and lime nuances rather than sticky pine oil or grapefruit stings. A slight dent of dankness hangs so lightly as it is kept calm by slight touches of caramel, honey and cheesecake. There also seems to be some sake flirting going on here, which is probably the rice coming into play. The finish of this medium bodied brew is peppery and bright.

The 9.5% abv is quite mighty though it is highly disguised underneath all the interesting balancing of flavors going on. I can attest that these sneak up on ya.
Marvel the monocot at Kuhnhenn Brewing Co

May 10, 2017

OLD NATION M43 N.E. IPA

Y'know, every time I've declared that I will not drink any IPA for a particular set period of time, it always gets cut short because something will come along the pique my interest and I think "Awww, man. I gotta taste some of that."

The latest thing in the beer geek world is the "haaaaze, man." I haven't done much research where this latest unfiltered IPA trend started (apparently the Northeast as all of them carry an NE identifier on them) and this one from Williamston, Michigan beermaker Old Nation is is the first one that I've had a chance to try.

Having not tried a N.E IPA, the color and aroma of this alone would be enough to understand why some of the brewers that are making them have been taking a juice angle in their description and naming of them. This one looks like orange juice and even after a few sniffs, it still smells just like citrus smoothie. Enough so as where you could tell people it is grapefruit juice and they'd believe you.

Such things really hold over in the flavor too. The combination of hops here bring a clementine sweetness right out in the front. That's followed by a tangy juicy orange and mango tang then a grapefruit bite toward the end. The oats and the wheat in the malting process give it an earthy grain sweet pillow for the usually brazen mix of Amarillo, Citra and Simcoe hops to kick back on, making every sip of this interesting and complex without anything becoming overbearing. It's a hop bomb for sure (and at 6.8% not shabby in the ABV department either) but as where most just simply explode everywhere and wreck palates simply because they can, this is one is quite stealth in its target.

I've had plenty a beer with tropical notes or fruit infused but none of them have been as lush in flavor or a fluffy in mouthfeel as this one has. I asked myself several times if I was really even really drinking a beer. I then decided this is maybe the kind of tasty brew they not only do up in the Northeast but maybe also on fun beer planets galaxies away.
oldnationbrewing.com

Sep 20, 2014

Odd Side Ale IPA and Grapefruit Wheat

 
     Odd Side's Pineapple IPA pours a rich and luminous amber in color with a minimal head that melts fairly quickly. The pineapple comes out even before the nose is near the glass. Not not overbearing and is not unlike the smell when I slice up a fresh one on a summer morning. Giving it a more investigative whiff aromas of orange peel and caramel notes of the malt sit on top of a piney hop character.
As I sit here and write this it is one of the warmest days of the year here. I also just so happens, even though most people write it all off after Labor Day, that summer ends and fall starts in two days. Seems a good time as any to compile my notes on the last strays of these two I have had on the stash for later shelf in my fridge.

     A mix of tropical fruits such as tangerine, papaya and mango come into play first in the flavor along with the pineapple which though, based off the the scent, is not as dominant as expected at first. That is followed by some toasty grains and slightly sweet malts. A hop bitterness finds itself getting comfy with some refreshing fruit juices in the finish.
     As the beer breathes and adjusts to room temperature the pineapple seems to step up it's roll as the star of the show but still doesn't hop the limelight. Due to a bit of stickiness I don't know if I would have classified this as a beach beer but, then again, the weather kinda jacked most beach days this past summer. Either way I enjoyed my share of them for the season and it worked well while out in my backyard today while doing some end of the summer work and surveying the things I gotta do before the snow starts to fly.
     Though I have been a serious IPA head for many years and plenty of times over the last year it seemed that I have gotten a little jaded on the style. I like them getting ridiculous but there's been a few where I'm like "Calm down dude" in more recent times. This is a cool twist on the style though. It's different and in no way doing it over the top just for the sake of doing so. Looking forward to having some more of these when they come around again next summer.

     Slightly cloudy and gold in color Odd Side's Grapefruit Wheat produces a small foam cap as a head which slowly melts away. The smell of grapefruit is very faint on the nose but the bready and banana like characteristics that come with along for the ride when it usually comes to wheat beers is there. Giving it a little time to breathe some fruit scents come out but it seems to me more along the lines of white grapes along with a dint of earthy raw honey.
     The taste is dominant of that of a standard wheat beer. Light and easy summer drinking in that respect. The grapefruit flavor comes out much, much more in the flavor than it does in the smell but also leans more towards the rind of it than the juice. The finish has an odd sticky bitterness that doesn't seem to work right to these taste buds though..  
     Everything I've tried by Odd Side I have enjoyed immensely but there is something missing. Not saying it struck out when it went up to bat but never got past 2nd base for me either. Worth giving a shot if somebody offers one but no worries passing on investing 10+ bucks on a six pack of it.
www.oddsideales.com

Oct 13, 2013

Founders Inspired Artist Black IPA

    
     Though this had been floating around a little bit in the past as a rare experimental beer that a lucky few got a sample of here in there it was officially introduced earlier this summer. It's name is in tribute to ArtPrize, the world’s largest art competition held annually in Founders home base of Grand Rapids, Michigan and it's limited batch run that was sold in the Mitten State only proceeds are going to benefit ArtPrize's future competitions.
    The brew pours almost black in color but when held up to the light shows off a dark crimson in color. The medium soft pour brought out a minimal head but what is there leaves a pretty solid cap and ring that holds tight and leaves drifts of lacing all the way through the drinking session.
    Roasty malts, a bit of maple wood smoke, bakers chocolate and more than a touch of the aroma that is standard for Founders other IPA's come out on the nose. None of the scents are aggressive and have a muted but pleasant relationship going on.
     The taste is right along the lines of the smell but all much more pronounced. The first thing in medium & creamy weight in mouth feeling beer is the flavor is something of a less sugary Nutella. You know what I am talking about. Hazelnuts & cocoa happening. Since I am not one to ever turn down some Nutella-I am already charmed as soon as it hits the taste buds. That is followed by a hint of charred wood which then gives way to some grapefruit tang. It finishes with a mix of dark coffee bitters and lingering citrus with the 7.5% alcohol being pretty well hidden.
     My experience with some other black IPA's have been hit or miss but this one hits it not only out of the park but the ball is found 3 blocks away from the park when it finally lands.
     Been hoping that I could find another six pack somewhere (because sometimes there is that rare stroke of luck locating a stash in a out of the way store that doesn't realize what it has) but all I got from clerks were a chuckle and a "Yeah, good luck with that, Bub" in a scoffing tone.
     I don't know if Founders plans on releasing this every year but one can wish so wish I do.
http://foundersbrewing.com

Aug 19, 2013

Right Brain Dead Kettle IPA

    India Pale Ale. I've tasted well more than my share in the many years now I have been drinking beer. They are usually my go to when trying a brewery I have never tasted before too.This especially rings true for any Michigan beer maker with me. The state seems to have set it's own standard or style for the way they are made and the way they taste.      
     Though Traverse City's Right Brain has been around for awhile and has been bottling things for a bit now-their stuff is not normally seen in my little portion of the state. I have had a little sip of some of the things they have made that were not an IPA courtesy of some friend here and there but my first time to pick a bottle of the stuff for me to sit down, examine and do the beer geek thing didn't happen til this weekend when I was an other part of the state and scanning the shelves. 
     Naturally I went for the IPA.     
     Dead Kettle pours a color between egg yolk orange and new penny copper. It's off white head grows a little at first the slowly melts to a 3mm head that stays constant throughout the sipping. The aroma is split down the middle between buttery & caramel malts and lime tinged hops. Neither seems dominate and they work well together.
     On the first sip the thing that sticks out in my mind is the texture of the brew. Though bubbles are floating all around in the glass it seems slightly thick fluff feeling in the mouth. A citrus zest, aforementioned the lime along with MICHIGAN peaches (because, yes, we do grow peaches here and they do have their own distinctive sweet-tart thing going on) and something that gets me thinking raspberry candy) is the first thing to strike the palate. A lot of Michigan IPA's tend to have an overly aggressive hop forward attitude that can beat up the tastebuds in the most awesome way possible but this one it's a obviously flirty but not mauling the tongue and mouth. It's followed by flavors of toasted wheat bread with honey and caramel covered Granny Smith apples. The finish is somewhat dry with a linger of white pepper and orange peel. 

     Due to these days where it seems like everybody and their brother, mother and dad are dabbling in making the IPA to give them their flagship distinctiveness I declared myself bored of the saturation of them and have told my beer drinking cohorts "Anything but an IPA for the next 6 months." 
     Obviously that hasn't happened and it's ones like Right Brain's Dead Kettle IPA that reel me right back in no matter how many times I declare my personal moratorium on the style. It's near perfect in it's balance and, with a lighter abv than some of the other Michigan IPA's (5.5%), one that could be a weekend long session without getting tired of it.
www.rightbrainbrewery.com

Jun 6, 2013

Cental City Red Racer IPA

     At one time Canadian brew was a right of passage for any young beer swiller who grew tired of of swiping whatever cheap stuff friends would pool their cash on or following in the footsteps of whatever they saw their folks drinking. It was always thought be stronger, better and more wicked. And, at the time compared to whatever swill we were usually downing around a bonfire or at the beach.
     One time I was talking to a guy who was in Johnny Paycheck's band (the last tour before he croaked...and I am not talking about the way he sang. Johnny Paycheck sounded like a frog more often than not that night and that was even when he's would ask the audience to sing the chorus) and he was telling me a story about the time he was touring with Jerry Reed. He told me a story that Jerry had his tour bus equipped with special secret compartments for when he toured the Great White North so he could smuggle things back across the border when the shows were over.
     What was Jerry sneaking back?
     Not illegal drugs.
     Not back bacon.
     Yep, that's right. He was smuggling back CANADIAN BEER! (And I must add that the cat who was telling me the story noted, with a big laugh, that Jerry did "stay well drunk the whole dang way!")
     As we have all learned the last couple of decades or so, Canadian macrobeers (or their foreign counterparts like Beck's, Heineken and St. Pauli Girl) were not the end all of brews. It also makes one wonder if Jerry ever had a chance to check out many craft beers before he died and, if he did, still insisted the Canadian ones are the best, which one would be his favorite? And would have found a way to run a pipeline of it to his house. Maybe if would've even been this brew out of Surrey, British Columbia. I would like to think he would dig the can design if nothing else.
     Very nice and clear dark copper in color. The eggshell white head is moderate and fades quickly but a good dusting of chunky white lace sticks to the side of the glass all we way down. The aromas are big and bright green smelling. Pine, a just squeezed lime and perhaps a bit of that BC bud come to mind while giving it a whiff. None of them come out punching hard on the nose but do give off a nice tease as to what the flavor may entail.
     First sip is a mix of the strong sub-tropical fruit notes of Citra hops that gives it a bit of bitterness which is then tempered by a malt sweetness that gives off and honey & maple flavor in the mix. A nice balance of simple complexities to start off with. The medium carbonation serves as a buffer in the middle giving the taste buds a little break before a sharp bite of citrus and grassiness start to appear toward the finish. There is a bit of stickiness in the end but is subtle and smoothed out by a carmel malt sweetness compared to the aggressiveness of a lot of hop bombs out there that find a home in my glass from time to time.
     All in all this is really great take on a traditional British IPA meeting it's more flavorful and complex west coast cousin.
http://centralcitybrewing.com/

Mar 2, 2012

Tommyknock Pick Axe IPA

     When you, the dear reader, come across a beer maker you have never tried before what style of their style of their wares do you try first? 
     Nine out of ten times for me it's their standard IPA. Along with straight pale ales they were my first introductions to the world beyond the standard beer would what is now a couple of decades ago. I still stay true to trying any companies IPA first if at all possible. 
     I first got to try Idaho Spring, Colorado based brewery Tommyknocker's Pick Axe IPA almost ten years ago for the first time. I thought it was stellar and wasn't able to have another one since. You see, up until a few months ago though Tommyknocker brews weren't really seen much around Michigan. I am happy to report that that has, somewhat, changed.
     Rich copper in color with a slight amount of bubbles climbing to the top. A firm and fluffy two finger thick eggshell white head slowly melts leaving a creamy, drifting snow type lacing behind all the way down the glass. Warm toast and pineapple aromas mingle nicely together blending as one in each sniff on the nose.
     A big bite of floral and citrus notes in the front, malt backbone all down the middle and a white pepper at the end. Let the beer breathe in the glass a bit and it takes on some lemon peel and tangerine nuances and only a slightly sticky finish.
     6.2% abv and completely sessionable.
http://tommyknocker.com/

Jul 10, 2011

Frog Island Castle Bravo IPA

     Named after the bomb a thousand times more powerful than the one's the US dropped on Japan in World War II this double IPA from Ann Arbor's Frog Island brewing claims on the side that it's "the taste the frightened Eisenhower". Now, I consider myself somewhat of a 20th century US history buff. I know our country's 34th president used to smoke four packs of cigarettes a day but I don't recall ever reading anything about his take of craft brews, let alone double IPA's, so we'll just leave that claim to bravado for now and get down to the eyeing, sniffing and sipping.
     A cloudy maple syrup in color with a two finger fluffy head that melts fairly face leaving a consistent lace all the way down the glass. It's aromas are a bit earthy with some sweet malt, rolled oats and a dint of lemon peel.
     The first thing announced in the flavor is something woodsy. Almost an oak aged thing is what reminds be of with a touch of of malty almost brown sugar sweetness that flirts slightly with something akin to a Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA. Next this chewy but fluffy/soft but full textured brew takes on a little bit more caramel flavors that still don't really give a hint that it's hitting at an 11% abv. It finishes with a burst of citrus With the average amount of stickiness one would expect from a DIPA. Not more and not less. Just right down the middle.
     Castle Bravo is the first Frog Island beer I have tasted and though my mind (or tastebuds, as the case may be) weren't exactly blown away making me declare "This is one of the best DIPA I've had ever" it was still quite decent (much better than what the first takes on Beer Advocate have been on it at least) and has now piqued my interest on trying some of the other things they have to offer.
http://www.frogislandbeer.com/       

Sep 10, 2010

Short's Hangin' Frank IPA

Short's developed this IPA for the City Park Grill in Petoskey, Michigan. The place serves some good grub but is most famous for it being a place Ernest Hemingway like to hang out/hide out at and it being haunted by a ghost named Frank who hanged himself in the cellar of the place about 100 years ago.
Short's has already made a name for itself for it's superpacked with hops flavor of their Huma Lupa Licious. In contrast to that this is a more mellow take on the style. The brew color is a nice burnt orange in color and sports a moderately sized off white head that holds on pretty tight all the way down the glass leaving a lace all over the place. Pine like hops are noticeable in the aroma but there's also a lot of fruit nuances such as pineapple and peaches that come out. It's all anchored by a sweet biscuit like smell of crystal malt.
The hops aren't as aggressive and have more of a sweet fruit flavor than that pucker up sting Huma is known for. That's not to say this lacks the bright-n-green bitters that other Short's more than hop friendly brews but this has a friendly pinch to the tastebuds more than an angry bite.
For anyone who has been considering delving into the craft beer world and doesn't know where to start (and no Leinenkugel, Blue Moon and those specialty Michelob's don't count no matter what the commercials say, how bartenders repeat what the beer salesman told them and what the guy behind me at the beer store who was behind me line was saying while I was purchasing this) here's a great place to begin your discovery.
http://www.shortsbrewing.com/

Aug 6, 2010

Green Flash West Coast IPA

Oh, the American IPA. Most craft breweries have their take on it nowadays but there are some that set the precedent or are the benchmarks. Vista, Ca. based brewery Green Flash is one of those. Unfortunately they are also one of those beers that doesn't distribute to Michigan so it's a rare treat whenever one comes my way in a beer trade or a gift. Many thanks go to Chris Owen, he of Killer's Kiss and the Hook Or Crook record label fame, for sending one my way. Now, as I sip on it (Yes, sipping and savoring because who knows when the next time one will come my way) let me share my notes about it with you.
Dark copper color and a light orange color tinged creamy head that melts a bit but still hangs tough and leaves a snowdrift effect like lacing all the way though the sipping. The label tells you that this is extravagantly hopped and if you didn't believe them the aromas that come out just from simply pouring it and letting it breathe in the glass for a few are enough to tell you they aren't lying. Big citrus scents, grapefruit along with some lime, stick out most but there are some underlying sweet caramel and bready malts that seem to set a foundation.
The flavor is one of those examples of what a stellar American IPA (be it west coast, east coast, Michigan or what ever other sub genres the style claim) is all about. Bright and bold floral hops packed with a grapefruit bite and a slight pineapple sweetness upfront that tingle and tantalize, a malt backbone taming a bit of the hop sting and nuances of almonds and fresh biscuits. The brew itself is of creamy medium body that's not too fizzy or too thick. It's finishes dry and though somewhat sticky doesn't hang for way too long like some other hop bombs of this caliber can.
http://www.greenflashbrew.com/