Archive for the category “Pale Ale”

Hop Savant – Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project

crooked_savant_bttl6.2% ABV
Purchased at Taylor’s Market in Sacramento ($8.99/12.7 oz. bottle) and poured into mini wine glasses.

This “100% Brettanomyces Pale Ale” from Denver-based sour specialists Crooked Stave pours a cloudy, citrus juice orange-yellow. The smell is very earthy and farmhouse-based, predominantly soil, mangoes, grapefruit rind, and grape must. Hop Savant has a uniquely sharp, citrus and cheese rind-like bitterness on the first swallow, with the sourness coming in several waves. A big grapefruit pulp presence dominates the next few sips, with dry wood and bitter fruits on the finish. Despite the name, the brettanomyces, the oak foeder fermentation, and the grapefruit bitterness make the strongest impressions, not the hops. Some band-aid aftertaste seeps into the palette towards the end, meaning this 12.7 oz. bottle is best shared among 3 to 4 friends.

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Leon – Omnipollo

leon-bttl6.5% ABV
Purchased at Bottlecraft in San Diego ($6.99/11.2 oz. bottle) and poured into tulip glasses.

Stockholm-based Omnipollo’s mysterious Leon pours an opaque apple cider vinegar orange with a puffy white head.  Leon has an earthy, bright smell that encompasses barnyard must, honey, grapefruit peel, and champagne ice cream.  The first swallow has richer and less interesting flavors than implied by the nose, including butterscotch and dark fruits like apples and figs, with only a slight, honeyed citrus zest on the fairly clean finish.  Belgian spices and seltzer water also introduce themselves on the finish, concluding a beer that is satisfying and drinkable enough, but overall struck me as a one-note novelty.

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Luciernaga – Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

Luciernaga_bttl6.5% ABV

Purchased at Davis Beer Shoppe ($13.99/25.4 oz. bottle) and poured into tulip glasses.

This Belgian-style ale from Michigan-based Jolly Pumpkin pours a sunny orange with a tight, off-white head, and a nose that gives off sour citrus, ginger, and white wine, with a distinctly puckering scent.  It is milder than expected on the palette, with a light and juicy body that offers muted grapefruit rind, subtle spice, some lemon, and indistinct spices.  Luciernaga goes down quite easily, with just a prickle of sour and some spices (coriander and grains of paradise, according to the bottle) piercing the tongue throughout the aftertaste.  Subtlety is the keyword for this brew – it’s as light and effervescent as its namesake, the “firefly”.

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