Archive for the category “Beer Review”

Tart Attack – NoDa Brewing Company

noda-tart-attack-bttl4.3% ABV
Purchased through Rare Beer Club and poured into tulip glasses.

This blackberry-aged Berliner Weisse from Charlotte-based NoDa Brewing pours a clear, light gold with a filmy, bright white head.  The Rare Beer Club notes suggested aging Tart Attack for a maximum of 6 to 7 months, and this bottle fit right within that timeframe.  It offered a berry patch nose of blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, and a little mineral water, with some white wine grapes and honeydew melon on the periphery.  There is a succulent tartness on the first swallow dominated by berries and other fruits, including green apple and cantaloupe, but it finishes clean and crisp, without a significant amount of mouth pucker.  Some dusty funk asserts its presence on the nose and tongue, and a lemon-like tartness appears on the finish, giving Tart Attack the feel of a North Carolina terroir brew.

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TartAttack

 

 

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Black IPA – Hop Odyssey Series – Green Flash Brewing Company

green-blackipa-bttl

7.2% ABV
Purchased at Curtis Park Market ($6.99/22 oz. bottle) and poured into Green Flash tulip glasses.

This plainly named hoppy dark ale from beloved San Diego brewers Green Flash pours an espresso bean dark brown-black with a mid-sized and slowly fading tan-colored head.  The expected Black IPA aromas of leafy hops and burnt toast are present, but the supporting smells favor dark fruits and berries over the usual coffee-like roast.  Green Flash Black IPA offers an excellent mix of fresh hops and scorched grains on the first swallow, with a bitterness that is reminiscent of coffee without necessarily matching its flavor profile.  Fresh and assertive hop bittering helps to offset the chalkiness that can sometimes creep into black IPAs, and fans of the style should appreciate this beer, even if the flavors are a little overstated.

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GreenFlash-BlackIPA


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The Maharaja – Avery Brewing Company

maharaja_bttl

10.2% ABV, 102 IBUS, 21 degrees Plato
Purchased at Corti Brothers ($7.99/22 oz. bottle) and poured into pint glasses.

This famed Double IPA is part of  Avery’s “Dictator Series” (along with their excellent Czar, a Russian Imperial Stout that we reviewed here ), and it pours a deep gold with a frothy, eggshell white head.  Classic DIPA aromas make an impression on the nostrils even two full feet away from the glass. Upon closer olfactory inspection, Maharaja offers a very sweet nose of fruit syrup, strawberries, browned toast, and honey, an aroma that doesn’t seem like it could possibly be the prelude to a triple-digit IBU beer. The first swallow follows the lead of the nose, doling out honey-drizzled fruits like strawberry, peach, and pineapple, but ending in a wave of hop bitterness that closes on a note of spiced crackers. Maharaja is thick as tree sap and sweet as syrup, with a malt presence that is overstated for my taste, and an almost tyrannical mix of tastes that varies from spicy to sugary to full-on hop burn.

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Maharaja

 

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Arctic Soiree – Grassroots Brewing and Anchorage Brewing Company

 

grassrootsanchorage_arctic_saison_bttl6% ABV, 12 degrees Plato
Purchased at Pangaea Bottle Shoppe ($14.99/25.4 oz. bottle) and poured into tulip glasses.

This “ale fermented and aged in oak tanks with brettanomyces, lime juice and hibiscus” is another collaboration beer between Alaska-based Anchorage and Grassroots, a Vermont farmstead brewery.  Arctic Soiree pours a gorgeous, burnished color that is equal parts ruby red grapefruit flesh and ruddy apricot, with a mid-sized, bone white head.  It has a bright nose of barnyard must, brettanomyces, citrus juice, grapefruit, and oak tannins.  Sweet, candy-like citrus and white wine grapes push to the front on the first swallow, backed by tart and flowery notes courtesy of the lime juice and hibiscus.  Papaya, oak, aspirin tablets, cantaloupe, and other more rounded melon flavors emerge on later swallows.  This is a very refreshing and original beer, a worthy successor to last year’s Grassroots/Anchorage collaboration Arctic Saison, with none of the potentially offensive and discordant components over-asserting themselves.

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ArticSoiree

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Hoppy St. Patrick’s Day!

Here’s to a long life and a merry one.
A quick death and an easy one
A pretty girl and an honest one
A cold beer – and another one!
– St. Patrick’s Day ToastHoppyStPaddys

Black Hand – Speakeasy

BlackHand_bttl6.9% ABV
Purchased at Taylor’s Market in Sacramento ($6.99/22 oz. bottle) and poured into pint glasses.

This milk stout “brewed with cacao nibs” pours an impenetrable ebony with a short, brown head.  Big chocolate cake and heavy cream smells greet the nose upon first sniff, along with a curious mineral scent and a little bit of graham cracker, coffee, and milk chocolate.  The first swallow is dessert-y and delicious, with chocolate and milk mingling on the palette alongside a grassy taste that (if I know my old-guard West Coast breweries…) is probably courtesy of an amped-up hop profile.  The mouthfeel gets milkier on the finish, with flavors of chocolate syrup, cocoa powder, mineral water, and half-and-half also entering the picture.

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Speackeasy_BlackHand

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Valley of the Hearts Delight – Almanac Beer Company

almanac_valley_bttl7% ABV
Purchased at Corti Brothers (12.68 oz. bottle) and poured into mini-wine glasses.

This “ale brewed with apricots, loquats, and cherries and aged in used wine barrels” pours a pale, citrus juice gold with a tight ivory head and some fruit flotsam in the glass.  Sour fruit aromas beckon you on the nose, with a fantastic fruit bowl of smells that includes grapefruit, kumquat, kiwi, sour grapes, banana, and even watermelon.  Valley of the Hearts Delight offers lovely tart and sour fruit flavors on the first swallow, but it’s refreshing instead of face-puckering.  Except for the steady presence of oak tannins, all of the flavors are fruity – pulpy pink grapefruit, sour cherries, assorted juicy berries, lemon zest, kiwi, and guava.  This ambitious and brilliant beer hits a wide variety of notes on the palette, and all of them are perfectly in key.

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Almanac-ValleyHearts

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Vieille Artisanal Saison – Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project

vieille-bttl

4.2% ABV
Purchased at Capitol Beer and Tap Room (12.7 oz. bottle) and poured into tulip glasses.

This “artisanal saison aged in oak barrels” pours a clear, pale grapefruit juice yellow with a slight, bright white head.  It lovingly socks you with major farmhouse and tropical fruit aromas in front, and those are backed up in the nose by sour apple, hay, and earthy hops.  Well-rounded citrus dominates the first swallow, ending with a juicy finish of wet grass, mango, and lemon peel.  There is not much sourness here, just some citrus-y tartness, along with green apple, pineapple juice, dry crackers, and hops.  Vieille is one of the best beers I’ve had from Crooked Stave, a delicious and refreshing saison with a delicate touch on the palette.

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Vieille-CrookedStave

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Sour in the Rye with Kumquats – The Bruery

bruery-sourrye-kumquats-bttl7.6% ABV
Purchased through The Bruery Provisions (25.4 oz. bottle) and poured into wine glasses.

This variation on Sour in the Rye was aged in oak barrels with kumquats, and it pours a muddy, peachy copper with a vaporous white head.  The somewhat perplexing aroma contains sour candy, a little vinegar, puckering citrus fruits, and oaky wine tannins.  Sour in the Rye with Kumquats has a surprisingly refreshing sourness given all of the elements in play, with the intense kumquat juiciness asserting itself on the second wave of flavor.  Oranges, lemon peels, and papayas are all present on the tongue in addition to the kumquats, and while the rye never emerges as an independent flavor, it does seem to have imbued the citrus flavors with an extra intensity.

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SourRye-Kumquats

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CELLAR SERIES: Double Eye PA – Mikkeller

mikkeller-double-eye-bttl14.0% ABV
Purchased at Pangaea Bottle Shoppe ($6.99/11.2 oz. bottle), cellared for 11 months, and poured into taster glasses.

This super-sized double IPA from Mikkeller pours a cloudy butterscotch color with a tight, dirty white head and some flecks of yeast floating on the surface.  It has a super-strong nose of boozy citrus, mostly oranges and tangerines, along with some lemon and wood notes.   The first swallow is a wallop, with butterscotch, hard alcohol, and kindling wood most notably emerging, but there is also a grass and pine bitterness on the finish.  Double Eye PA goes through a number of flavor phases, and while 11 months in the cellar has not dulled the intensity, it does re-emerge from its slumber as more an intensely hopped blonde barley wine than an Imperial IPA.  However, the complexity and masterful storytelling have not diminished, as everything from blonde caramel, crackers, citrus fruits, brown sugar, honey, and whiskey makes an appearance on the tongue.

See our original review here.

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MikkellerDoubleEyePA-Cellar

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