Showing posts with label North Peak. Show all posts
Showing posts with label North Peak. Show all posts

Oct 30, 2013

North Peak Hooligan

     Traverse City's North Peak Brewing makes simple, yet solid beers. They aren't all about frou-frou-ing them with unusual ingredients or a piling on a ridiculous bevy of spices.    
     A very liberal use of hops though?  Yeah! They are all over that tip though.
     When I spotted this, labeled as a Hoppy Pumpkin Ale, of course I was curious. My gal-pal, a foodie and wine fan with still a bit of a neophyte when it comes to all the great brews out there and after having feelings of pleasant to total disappointment on some of the pumpkin beers she's tried on her own in the past, asked me to keep and eye out for ones she hadn't tried so we could give 'em a shot. Hmmm. Beer and drinking it with girls? You don't have to twist my arm.
     The brew pours a transparent and bright pumpkin copper orange. The head was very minimal save for some spotty clouds and a few bubbles around the rim. Very little lacing because of this.
      On the nose there's good chunk pumpkin meat, a large bit of white pepper and fresh mowed grass from the hops and a little flourishes of graham crackers. Different from a from a huge number of other pumpkin beers that smell like all the spices that go into a pumpkin pie but stray away from the actual pumpkin itself not to mention still being a beer. 
      The hops jump right out front in flavor. At first it seems more about being an IPA (North Peak's Diabolical in particular) with a distinctive citrus and earthy bitters along with a counter balance of sweet malts. Fresh pumpkin flavors then start to emerge adding an interesting twist in the middle. As the brew breaths and warms slightly the pumpkin comes more to the forefront, mellowing out the very big (and good) hop forward slant along with some slight nuances of nutmeg and cinnamon. The finish is slightly dry and piney like one would expect from any beer that says "Hoppy" right on it's label.
     One of the most interesting things about this beer is that, as I mentioned before, the spice is something to add some character to the taste but not the main thing about the flavor. This one depends more on the hops to give it an oomph and bite. to give a short one line description of this would be a pumpkin juice infused Michigan styled IPA. Quite interesting and much different from the many sweet spiced ones that are can be found all around this time of the year.

Oct 31, 2010

North Peak Siren Amber Ale

Pretty sure I've gone off to some extent before about how I am on the fence with most amber ales. There's usually something about them that just doesn't strike my fancy with them. Either they're just bland or take the other end of the spectrum and end up to spicy or something. I guess it's one of those curses of macrobrew making something to get the mainstream beer audience to think they're purchasing something fancy or craft brewers flexing their know how and righting some wrongs. One of the things Traverse City's based North Peak Brewery seems to be shooting for is something traditional and true to the original pre-adjunct grains days-making something good but not going over the top with tweeking and experimentation.
Nice, reddish gold transparent color with a very minimal head from a medium pour. A slight ring of foam forms around the top of the glass leaving a spotty lace pretty much through the bottom of the glass. On the nose the malt is quite robust and earthy with some green apple and smokey notes. Slightly sour apple characteristics come out all through the flavor mixing well with the malt on the front of the tongue. It finishes up with a flourish of hop tinge. Not sticky but not buried either.
If you are looking for some amber that will blow your mind or filled with levels of flavor complexity this probably isn't going to be the one but if you are looking for a simple and solid one that is quite sessionable it's worth giving a try. Besides, with those stubby bottles and retro label design that have become a North Peak trademark you can invite an old-timer over and share a couple with them. It may get them telling some stories of the good old days.

Jan 31, 2010

North Peak Majestic Wheat Ale

I'm really wishing for summer. Not just for the obvious reasons like sun, sand, boats & bikes either. Here we are in the dead of Michigan winter and the beers tend to lean to the dark and thick persuasions and though some of them are the most stellar and incredible brews out there (after all this IS Michigan-the state where a place like Founders and New Holland make some awesome oatmeal stouts and what have you) but sometimes some of us get to a point of thinking "Man, we can't wait until the season is over so we can go onto the new spring and summer styles." Well, along comes Traverse City's North Peak Brewing earlier this winter unveiling three beers to the bottle market with this wheat beer being one of them.
In Smashin' Transistors previous review of their Diabolical IPA we already went over the whole cool retro feel of their bottles and label design so no need to do that already again except to mention that there's a flying squirrel on the label. Flying squirrels are always pretty cool but let's get right to the beer shall we?
Cloudy and dark gold in color which when held up to the light brings out a little sparkle from the bubbles. The initial head is about an inch this but fades fairly quick which isn't all that uncommon for American pale wheat beers anyway. The smell is somewhat earthy with scents lemon peel and grain.
Flavorwise it's very clean from start to finish. Some American brewers of wheat ales are always trying to amp it this way or twist it that way but this is just straight and simple. No need to get into any fancy descriptions of it because this isn't what this brew is about. A light wheat flavor all the through it with a slight tang, some glint of banana and a slight hop finish. The feel of the beer itself is firm but airy. Not too thick or sticky. I could see a bunch of these being drank while hanging out in a deck and basking in the sun. If you want something super fancy where every character of a wheat beer is turned up to some Nth level this wont be what you're looking for but if you want something with some nice but understated flavor that you could enjoy all day and into the evening this is one you might want to keep an eye out for.