Archive for the 'India Pale Ale' category
Slumbrew. No it is not a new term for 40 ounces of Malt Liquor, or Fortified Wine. It is actually the name of a new brand of beer from new Massachusetts beer maker, Somerville Brewing Company. Slumbrew started hitting shelves at the end of 2011 with three styles: Hefeweizen, IPA, and Porter. Now I am a fan of the Porter style (living by the saying “The more Porter, the more better”) but America being the country of IPA drinkers, I thought I would start with that one first. Lets hope the beer is more appetizing than the brand’s name makes it sound.
The amber-orange liquid hits the beer glass and produces a rocky off-white head that lasts a short amount of time, even with the fare bit of carbonation in the body. The aroma is quite fruity with orange, macintosh apples, and passion fruit greeting my nose. Mixed with the fruit is a light cereal grain and caramel malt character. The mouthfeel is enjoyable with the beer making its presence known and a subtle roughness around the edges. I get more earthy, black pepper spice characteristics in the taste then the initial aroma profile lets on. The fruit is still present, but less defined, and the earthy bitterness finishes quite strong. For a 7.5% beer the alcohol was well hidden.
For an incredibly crowded beer style, this one does stick out from the pack. I am not saying it is the best IPA ever, but it is different enough to a) remember and b) have again. Slumbrew is not the most appetizing of names, but at least they are doing something different with their beer, which is what matters the most (as long as people get past the name).
NB The name Slumbrew is “a cheeky, irreverant reference to a bygone era” for Somerville, MA. Marketing people… ya gotta love’em.
Photo Credit: walknboston, Creative Commons License
Listen. I know it’s been a long time since I rapped at ya’, and seeing as it’s been a solid 2 months since the last SevenPack post at all, I figure we’re a little overdue. So, I come at you know with a special Pacific Northwest posting of a brew that we’re nowhere close to getting on the East Coast. Tonight, I find myself in Seattle and, after being disappointed by the taps at some local restaurants, I decided to sidle into the local Safeway to see what they had in stock. As luck would have it, they had a number of brews that tempted my tummy, from a Fresh Hop Deschutes to an Elysian IPA to this little gem from a brewery I’ve never heard of. Long story short, I have one more night in town, so I had to settle for a single beer, and something called “Tricerahops” is bound to win. So here I am.
The Tricerahops hails from Eugene, Oregon which is, by all accounts, good hop territory. It pours a great deep amber color that is, while apparently not heavily filtered, not altogether too cloudy either. The aroma of the beer is absolutely fabulous – there is a lot of floral Northwestern hop here, but also a great bready sweetness. It’s the kind of beer that makes you want to hold your glass to your nose like a Halloween mask. The taste here is also excellent. Early on the tongue, there is a substantial hop burn – this is full of west coast fresh hops. The sting on the tongue is quickly mitigated by that malt backbone and some buttery flavors, killing the burn and mellowing out the hops while bring a strong sweetbread flavor through the mouth. The mouthfeel of the beer is thick and decadent, coating the mouth with sweet malts and fresh hops, and just a hint of citrusy grapefruit. In the end, the beer finishes with another pretty sharp hop blast that kicks back through the mouth. That sharpness sticks with you for several seconds, but eventually the malty sweetness reigns the aftertaste. Frankly, it’s one of the longer aftertastes I’ve tasted in a beer in a while, leaving a lot of flavor more than a minute after my last sip.
I don’t know much about Ninkasi, and this is their first brew I’ve tasted, but *man* am I impressed. I’m very excited to taste more from these guys, but sad that I don’t know when I’ll have the chance! See you tomorrow, North Carolina…
Given that today is IPADay, I thought I would write a post I’ve meant to write for some time. A while back Alan wrote a post titled “Mr Gillman On APA, SN PA, Liberty, Ballentines And Stuff“. Having just read about Ballantine IPA in Amber Gold & Black: The History of Britain’s Great Beers, I was curious to read if the post had any more nuggets of Ballantine information.
Boy did it! The post references a forum discussion on how to make a recreation of Ballantine IPA. The recreation utilizes two currently (albeit seasonal) brewed Sierra Nevada beers, Celebration Ale and Bigfoot Barleywine, in a “Half and Half” mixture.
Unfortunately I have neither beer in my beer stash, so I will have to wait, anxiously, for this year’s seasonal release of both beers. I look forward to trying the mix out and reporting back with my thoughts.
Happy IPADay everyone.
PS A good, quick read about IPA myths by Martyn Cornell.
So, I’m not going to spend a ton of time reviewing this beer from Odell, because I think my past reviews will indicate how I feel about this. I’ve never had a bad beer from the folks at Odell, I think their label art is swell, and I reach for IPAs about 75% of the time. Therefore, it stands to reason that I’m going to like this. A lot.
And I do. Frankly, I’m surprised by the pour, as it is much lighter than expected, coming out looking more like a pale ale or a lager than a full-bodied IPA. It is really quite clear, but I’d wager unfiltered – just a hint of cloudiness presents itself. The head is stark white, fluffing up quickly but then dying down to a thin ring around the glass. A substantial effervescence remains, with tiny bubbles rising to the top of the glass throughout the session. The aroma here is full of fresh hop – very flowery with a substantial citrus hint. In the mouth, this is an IPA by the book, and one of the better IPAs I can recall having. There is a ton of sticky fresh hop flavor with a bit of pineapple citrus throughout the mouth. I wouldn’t call this very complicated – it presents it’s flavor at the front of the mouth, and that flavor remains all the way through to the aftertaste. Perhaps the citrus flares up a bit in the middle of the tongue, relaxing into more of a hop aftertaste.
All in all, I’d rank this up there with the old standards of IPA-dom, like a Dogfish Head 60-minute or a Bell’s Two Hearted. It’s an incredibly tasty beer, mildly sessionable, and impressive value for the cost. Odell’s remains one of my favorite breweries…
Here is yet another brewery that I was not familiar with until spending some excessive time in the town of Minneapolis, Minnesota. I see quite a bit of Rush River around these parts, but I decided to take on the IIPA for my first dive into their catalog. This IIPA stands to be a bit more interesting (and boozy) as it is brewed with honey.
The pour of this is a surprisingly light golden color. Not quite cloudy, but not crystal clear, either – I’m guessing it is partially filtered. The head here is substantial but course, flaring up and then diminishing rather quickly. In the nose, I’m sensing an oddly nutty aroma. There is certainly a light sweetness from the honey and substantial hops, but the overall scent is more earthy than expected. In the mouth, as well, this beer is different than I had planned. Don’t get me wrong, it’s pretty tasty; but it isn’t what I expected. The initial flavor offers hints of ginseng – lightly earthy – before merging into flavors of bitter hops. The hops here aren’t entirely floral, tending more towards an English metallic hop style. Later in the mouth, I begin to sense the honey to a greater extent, almost as the beer is going down the throat. There is a sharp moment of sweetness before the honey diminishes into the background. In the aftertaste, I sense mainly metallic hop flavors. All in all, it is an interesting beer, but nothing I’d write home about. That being said, I’ve been hearing great things about Rush River from the locals, so I’ll likely try out some of their other brews.
Hey folks. I know it’s been about a 8 years since I last posted anything. In the meanwhile, Dave has done a good job of periodically holding down the beer blogging fort. However, seeing as I’m stuck in snowy Minneapolis for the better part of the next couple of months, and seeing as how I discovered a great bottle shop just down the road from where I stay, it would seem rude of me to not share some of my finds.
This week I decided to grab a couple of canned beers. First up on the list is this IPA from Tallgrass Brewing. I’ve never had a beer from Tallgrass, a brewery out of Kansas, but they appear to have a stable of pretty traditional varieties on the shelf. I figure an IPA is a good place to start with any new brewery.
This beer pours a medium golden color – certainly darker than a Bud Light, but not quite as dark as the bigger IPAs from Dogfish Head or Bell’s. Upon pouring, the head rears up a light caramel color and quite rocky. As the head subsides, substantial remnants are left hanging on to the sides of the glass. To be honest, the aroma isn’t anything to write home about – there is some light hop presence, overpowered by a more substantial bready aroma. However, neither aroma is very strong, rendering this fairly impotent in the nose department. The flavor, however, is a pleasant surprise. The initial flavor on the tongue is surprisingly sweet, bringing lighter malts to mind. Shortly thereafter, there is a decent floral hop note. As the flavor travels down the tongue, malt and hop blend, providing a well-rounded flavor that isn’t at all overwhelming, but still manages to hold a substantial flavor. The aftertaste here is a bit more hop than malt, leaving just a light floral bitterness on the back of the tongue. I didn’t expect to be too impressed with this given the aroma, but it actually turns out to be a great medium-bodied IPA. I’m not sure about the ABV here, but it strikes me as a great session beer – pleasing the palate but not blasting the tastebuds. I’m not sure I’ll be rushing out for other Tallgrass beers, but I certainly wouldn’t complain if one found its way into my hand…
With Reuter’s writing the sensationalist headline regarding the days of the British pint being numbered, me posting about Pete Brown’s video blog, and me in the midst of reading Martyn Cornell’s “Amber Gold & Black: The History of Britain’s Great Beers”, British beers have certainly been on my mind recently. So I thought, “what better time then now to review a British made beer?” With that, I picked up a Thornbridge Jaipur, I got out my imperial pint glass, and I got to drinking.
The beer poured a huge frothy white head with excellent retention and a ton of life, so much so the head nearly cascaded over the glass’ rim. There were lots of tiny excited bubbles throughout the beer’s hazy golden hued body. Lemony hop aroma intertwined with pale malt and a touch of yeast greeted my nose. The beer had a surprising mouthfeel. I was expecting something a little watery, but the beer had a bit of heft to it that allowed the beer to make its presence known. With a smooth carbonation, the beer moved effortlessly through the mouth. Mid tongue the beer was sweet malt centric with some floral hop flavors. The lemon hops, noticed in the beer’s nose, came out at the finish, which provided a nice counterbalance to the earlier malt profile. Bitter, dry and slightly metallic were other aspects of the beer’s completion.
Certainly nothing wrong with this beer, and it fulfilled my British beer craving.
It’s been a while since we’ve seen many new Shmaltz/He’Brew beers hit the shelves. But, if you look back in the archives here on SevenPack, you’ll find that I’ve been a fan of nearly everything these guys have put out. So, I was understandably psyched to see this limited release on the shelves here in Durham. This beer starts as a rye IPA which is, on its own, a pretty tasty beer. Above and beyond, these guys then age this in rye whiskey barrels. I anticipate this will be a rather flavorful brew…
The pour of this is a very clear and deep brown color with just slight hints of ruby and a pillowy off-white head. In the nose, I’m getting quite a whiskey tint from this beer, along with some tangy sweetness and, of course, a bit of hop, though the hop is admittedly diminished by the strength of the surrounding scents.
In the mouth, this is a flavor explosion. The first sensation I’m getting is of an almost cloying sweetness on the tip of the tongue. The sweetness is rich and deep, reminiscent of maple syrup. On through the mouth, the whiskey then takes center stage and, I’d dare say, you may shy away from this beer if you’re not a whiskey fan. It isn’t overpowering by any means, but sharp whiskey and rich syrupy flavors seem to pervade all aspects of the brew. There is a notable hop bitterness here. You can’t actually taste a lot of the hop due to the other loud flavors, but you can feel that tell-tale hop burn on the tongue, and some floral tones tend to flit around in the background. Finally, down the throat, the beer continues to let its presence be known with a burn all the way down to your belly. Honestly, this would be a much better beer on a cool evening than this hot summer night in Durham. Nevertheless, I think it’s fantastic. Even now that the beer is gone, I still have a sticky sweetness all around my mouth – the aftertaste here just seems to last forever. The longer I sit with the taste, the more I get additional complexity, with bits of chocolate and even a light salty flavor. A big beer, by all accounts, and a must try for fans of beers with giant flavors and equally beefy abv’s (10%).
photo credit: walknboston
For a Valentine’s Day gift my wife got me a few bottles of beer (she knows me oh so well). One of those bottles was Alpha Dog by Laughing Dog Brewing. I have never had a before, so might as well start off with the big guns of an Imperial IPA!
The beer poured a slightly hazy, orange-amber into my pint glass. Standing atop the beer was a thick, pillowy, white head. I mean standing too. The head was a full finger above the glass’s rim and none of it was cascading over. This head slowly receded after a good seven plus minutes, and even then it left stiff peaks, similar to well beaten egg whites. The aroma of the beer was a bit of a shock to me. Instead of the typical grapefruit or pine punch found in most America made IIPAs, this beer had a very heavy earth aroma. I like a good English style IPA, so an Imperialized one is a plus in my book. Though predominantly earthy in character, I did notice some pine, and fruit punch notes sneak in to the profile.
The taste was a continuation of the aroma,. The beer plays big with its earthy hop profile. Hints of fruit punch and a tweak of lemon round out the flavors. The presence on the tongue had a medium heft to it, and was a bit “gritty”.
Overall an interesting take on the IIPA, and one I would no issue getting again. Now to hunt down some more Laughing Dog beers.
Ben reviewed a couple of Dark Horse Brewing beers a while back, and they all seemed quite enticing. (Doing a quick search of Sevenpack I realized I had a Dark Horse beer at Beer Advocate’s Extreme Beer Fest Night of the Barrels, and put it in my “liked” list.) It turns out Dark Horse started distributing their goods here in MA a couple months back, and the local watering hole had Dark Horse’s IPA, Crooked Tree, on tap. Given the positive reviews of their other beers, I decided to give the IPA a shot.
The first thing I noticed about the beer as it sat in my pint glass, it was extremely cloudy. I thought it was the off-white head settling to its creamy consistency but the cloudiness never dissipated, even when the head started to recede. The cloudiness of the amber-orange body reminded me of a Metamucil commercial before the Metamucil had been fully stirred in. Minus the less then spectacular visuals, the beer’s aroma was spot on. Hops are predominant, with big grapefruit and citrus, and a finish of pine. There are some grain based malt notes to provide slight aromatic balance.
The taste is much like the aroma. Grapefruit dominates the mouth, with pine notes making an appearance, and then growing a few sips in. The beer finishes bitter and quite dry, which leaves the palate cleaned and ready for the next sip. The malt only comes through slightly with a sweetness mid-tongue. It provides a minimal counterbalance to the hop. With the beer finished there was some left over sediment clinging to the glass.
Though visually it was not the most appealing beer, the taste is what matters in the beer world, and I enjoyed the refreshing, strongly hoped taste of the brew. I look forward to future Dark Horse creations.
In my recent Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA review, I stated, “I would be interested in actually seeing the hop torpedo, but I can not seem to find a picture of it.” Well I went right to the source and emailed Sierra Nevada about it. I heard back from one Bill Manley, Communications Coordinator at Sierra Nevada, who, along with attaching a few photos of the hop torpedo, wrote:
We ferment our beer in large cylindroconical fermenters (400 BBL tanks in the ceiling).
There is a hose attached from the bottom of those large tanks to a port on the bottom of the torpedo. The fermenting beer is then pushed through about 80 lbs of whole cone hops in the actual torpedo device and forced out the top of the torpedo and then back into the fermeting tank. The beer cycles through the hop filter for about 5 days at cold temperatures picking up all of the resinous hoppiness from the whole cones inside.
That is how that thick hop oil gets into the beer, with a minimal amount of residual bitterness.
The torpedo essentially works like a giant coffee maker, except instead of coffee grounds they are hops, and instead of hot water, it is cold beer.
Top of Hop Torpedo
A single Hop Torpedo
A bunch of Hop Torpedos
Thanks for the info Bill, much appreciated!
Dave - September 27, 2009
Sierra Nevada makes some top notch beers, so I was quite interested in their latest year round release, Torpedo Extra IPA. Now I do not know if I was looking in the wrong places, or it sold out real quick, but I could never seem to find the beer on store shelves. Fortunately, after traveling to Maine, the stars finally aligned and I was able to purchase a six pack of this beer.
For those who do not know, Torpedo is a reference to the device, “conceived, designed and developed at the brewery”, used to dry hop the beer. Why did they have to come up with something of their own design? Unlike most breweries, who use hop extracts or pellets, Sierra Nevada uses whole-cone hops all the way through the brewing process (a fact I was unaware of… thank you press release). Sierra Nevada felt they could improve upon dry hopping with whole-cones and the “hop torpedo” was born. I would be interested in actually seeing the hop torpedo, but I can not seem to find a picture of it (searching for hop torpedo only returns photos of the Sierra Nevada bottle). Lets find out if the torpedo is mere marketing gimmick or hop revolution.
Poured into a pint glass the beer produced a pillowy, snow-white head, held aloft by tons of fast moving bubbles. These bubbles rose through a crystal clear copper body and kept the head alive for so long I lost track of time. This prolonged head provided ample time to inhale the beer’s aromas. Pine is the first smell that registered, but it was not an overpowering pine presence, like so many strong IPAs. I found the pine more reminiscent of fallen pine needles, and not pine sap. Along with the pine was a light earth characteristic, musty in character, a hint of fresh crackers, and hop spice.
Pine actually started the beer’s taste profile off, but I think that was more from me inhaling the beer’s aromas as I took a sip then any type of pine taste. As the beer moved through my mouth the beer provided a cracker and bread hybrid taste mid-tongue, with a spike of pine based bitterness to finish. As I progressed through the beer, leaving a visually pleasing strata of foam along the glass walls, the earthy mustiness, noticed in the nose, grew in strength. It never becomes overpowering, because I continued to notice the other flavor characters, but the beer definitely progressed in its flavor profile. The beer’s last swigs reminded me of a hoppy ESB.
This beer was certainly worth the wait. The beer definitely profiles the hops, but the hops do not come across as hitting you in the face, which so many current Imperial/Double/Extra IPAs do. Complex, with its taste progression, but very enjoyable and easy to drink, I can not wait to pick up another six pack of this beer.
Last, but not least, we come to the IPA of this month’s Beer of the Month Club shipment. This one pours a rather dark golden color with plenty of dense debris and a thick off-white head that just doesn’t quit and sticks to the sides of the glass all the way down. In the nose, there are mostly hints of grapefruit bite, giving this a rather nice citrus freshness. In the mouth, this is an interesting beer. There is a substantial hop bite on the tip of the tongue, but this quickly merges to a citrus sweetness – again of the grapefruit variety. On through the mouth is where things get funky. I can’t quite explain the taste, but it varies between hints of bitter citrusy hop, butter, and caramel. I know this sounds odd, but it’s really quite pleasing – the flavor at once is sharp and biting while being rich and decadent. These flavors linger around the mouth, eventually finishing with an aftertaste that, I think, is a bitter variety of caramel. Unique, indeed, and perhaps that’s what makes it ‘presidential’, though we’ve seen at the recent beer summit that our president might just have more mundane tastes in beer. At any rate, I’m finding this an enjoyable drink, and the first truly unique IPA I’ve had in a while…
I recently tried this beer during a trip to Richmond, VA. All the while, I realized I had a bomber of this sitting in my fridge back home. However, the folks at Capital Ale House were sadly out of their most primo and bizarro offerings on the menu. After running down the list of great beers (and being told they were out of stock), I decidedly had my mind set on a big, ballsy beer. Being a superfan of Clipper City’s big offerings, I had a feeling the Big DIPA was my option of last resort. And, I was correct. Now, here I am back home, so I’ma give you a short review.
The Big DIPA pours a fairly clear and very deep amber color with lots of carbonation and a thin caramel head that froths up, but quickly subsides to a silky sheet over the surface of the beer. In the nose, this is chock full of big, bitter, fresh hops – it smells wonderful, in fact. The flavor of this is just as big as we’ve come to expect from the folks at Clipper City. It is initially quite bitter on the tip of the tongue. However, a rather syrupy sweetness from the malt quickly rises up to squelch some of that hop (but not nearly all of it). A sweetness blended with a delicious floral hop rides the tongue all the way to the back of the mouth, where the malty sweetness slides down the throat while the hop flavor shoots up the nasal passage. These two flavors live, segregated, in the aftertaste for quite some time, giving this a flavor that sticks with you for quite some time. All in all, it’s a IIPA that lives up there with the best of the best. I’ve had tons of these, many of which are great. The Big DIPA exhibits both a strength of character and a balance of flavor that is quite impressive. So, I suppose I’ll keep waiting to eventually be disimpressed by a Clipper City beer, because this one surely isn’t the one to do it.
Always in the market for a good IIPA, I was happy to see this Harpoon offering on the shelves recently. I’ve managed to catch the Harpoon brewery tour on many occasions whilst in the Boston area, and while I’m not totally nuts about any of their beers, I was always impressed with the operation and their generous pours at the tour. I’m anxious to see what they can do with this genre…
This IIPA pours remarkably clear, which surprises me a bit. Usually, if a brewer is going to go all out with an IPA, they’ll let the sediment remain, but this is remarkably crisp and clear with a big sticky head and plenty of effervescent carbonation bubbles streaming from the bottom of the glass. In the nose, there is no mistaking what this beer is. The hop aroma positively smacks you in the face. It smells very fresh and sticky, like lots of flowery fresh hop buds. In the mouth, this tastes exactly like it smells. It is a true hop bomb, starting with flower sweetness on the tip of the tongue and quickly floating into some heavy hop bitterness, though never losing that floral note. A nice addition to this brew is a pretty heavy malt profile, leaving this tasting (and feeling) remarkably rich through the mouth. You can tell there is a boat-load of hop here, but it never quite overpowers the palate, as the richness of the malt cuts through the bitterness. What is allowed through, though, is a nice pineapple sweetness towards the back of the tongue and into the aftertaste. This is very, very good. I’ve been nursing a keg of Dogfish Head 90-Minute IPA for a few weeks now, so my palate is accustomed to a good hoppy IPA. I’m tempted to say this beats out the 90-minute for my current mood, and that’s saying a lot. The appearance, the freshness, and that fruity sweet pineapple taste from the hop just puts this right over the bar. An exceptional beer that, unfortunately, has a rather exceptional price tag. But, really, isn’t it worth $2.50/bottle for a beer that really exceeds expectations? Probably so…