Like an immediate firestorm, the summer has dropped heavily upon us, so you can gently put away the big, malty, coffee-drenched imperial stouts and porters and exchange them for something crisp, lighter, and refreshing. As warmer temperatures rise, my thirst for something that still has a nice hop profile, but provides the thirst quenching crispness increases. My choice on one of the very first days of the summer season is the Prima Pils from Victory Brewing Company. To keep this sucker nice and cold, I dropped it straight into my favorite Beer Bomber Koozie to ward off the penetrating rays and the brutal blast of the sun.
Did I say I was thirsty? Yes I did! I popped the top off of this native of Downington, PA, and didn’t even bother pouring this one into a glass. I know how it looks; kind of like many other pilsners. I’m sure it pours a nice, straw colored gold with some mild head retention and a nearly see through appearance. For this one, I’m more concerned about keeping it nice and cold and savoring the crispness of a good summer brew.
One thing is for sure…this one has the nice, mild hop presence that I really enjoy in a properly brewed pilsner. Some nice, pleasant floral and citrus aromas escaped from the top of the bottle, and snapped with some fairly decent carbonation. From the get-go, this one already had me excited to take my first sip.
The first sip was nice and cold, just as a pilsner should be consumed. The taste was very nice, with some minor sweetness, a tad of spicy bitterness, and the presence of traditional Germany yeast. Sometimes it is difficult to find a good pilsner that can match up with the masters from Europe, but the Prima Pils holds its own against some of the best. It’s light, it’s refreshing, and what do you know…it tastes like beer! It’s not watered down, it’s not flavorless…it’s lightly hopped, well balanced, and very easy to consume. Bring on the summer heat! As long as this bad-boy is wrapped up in this Beer Bomber Koozie, I might as well drink it slow and savor the taste of this one. Then after that, I just might go get me another!
There’s nothing like a monstrous 12.0% abv Imperial Stout to get you revved up and ready to go. The seasonal release of Evil Twin Brewing’s, ‘Liquid Double Fudge,’ is one of those monster beers with big, dark flavors that make this dessert in a bottle something worth remembering.
First thing you must do before consuming this sucker is to wrap it in a 22 oz bomber jacket to keep it at a good temperature. Even though it’s okay for a stout like this to warm up a bit, the thickness of this will make it a slow drinker, so be prepared. Upon cracking the top off of it and pouring it into a traditional pint glass, there was immediately some big, strong aromas of cocoa, chocolate syrup, and heavy dosages of caramel. The name itself summed up the smell of this beast perfectly. The pour on this thing was as dark as the midnight sky, like motor oil, and a nice dark brown head that rested undisturbed in the top of the glass.
After taking some deep whiffs of this brew, it was time to consume it. If it tasted as good as it smelled, I was in for a treat! Oh yes, just like the smell, I’m greeted by big and bold flavors that attack the time of the tongue with a frenzy. It’s low in carbonation but the heavy, dark and rich chocolate fudge flavors feels like a ton of bricks resting on the top of the tongue (in a very good way). There’s definitely a pretty heavy dose of alcohol, obviously from the 12%, but the darkness of the malts and richness do a solid job of not making it overbearing. That’s not to say that you won’t a fairly decent wallop of booziness that jumps out at you in the aftertaste.
Sitting back, sipping this brew slowly is the way to go. Its thickness and richness is like a huge satisfying piece of chocolate cake that makes you want to savor every single bit. This is a very solid beer from Evil Twins Brewing, so if you happen to run across this one, don’t hesitate to snatch up a bottle or two. Just look out, it could get downright evil on you, and knock you for a loop after mowing through a couple of them.
The great Northwest has some of the most pristine wilderness, raging rivers, unmatched beauty, and yes, some of the most fantastic beer in the country. Located in Eugene, Oregon is the home of Ninkasi Brewing Company; one of the breweries that seems to be popping up all over the place. I have tried several of the brews in the past, and have yet to be disappointed by any of their offerings. With that thought stirring in my head, I spotted the colorful bottle of “Maiden the Shade,” swooped it up and decided to give it a go.
This American Pale Ale is a great way to kick off a day of consumption, as it comes in at 6.8% abv, which makes it good to get the party started, but won’t knock you out flat before the party has shifted into high gear. Anyway, as beautiful as the bottle was, I knew that this would be a slower consumption, so I wrapped it in my favorite bomber jacket to keep it snug and cool and was ready to give it the almighty taste test. To get a good idea of the look of this sucker, I still poured it directly into a pint glass to get a better look at the color, clarity, and the makeup of the bubbles.
After a good solid pour, a nice two-finger head of foamy white sat atop of the medium golden color brew. It looked very nice in the bottle, and upon first whiff of this stuff, there’s definitely that strong pungent grapefruit aroma that is so prevalent in so many west coast IPA’s. It smelled nice and balanced, which was a nice change from some of the hop-bombs that come out of some of the western states.
Tasting it is where you really get a good amount of the citrusy, piney hop flavors. The earthy hops of this brew blends so well with the biscuit type of malts that leaves a nice lingering bitterness on the back of the tongue. As the foam head subsided, the lacing covered the glass, and the aromas continued escaping from the top of the glass. As I sat there on a warm, spring-day, I couldn’t help but think that this is a really fantastic beer for this type of weather. As the days get longer, the sun begins to burn a bit brighter and a bit warmer, this very consumable beer is big enough that you can tie one on after a few, but not such a beast that you’ll be done by nightfall. I say wrap this sucker in your bottle bomb to keep it cool, sip slowly and enjoy the warming of the seasons. Next time you’re out an about and see this colorful bottle staring back at you, it may be a good idea to grab a couple. A bit of “Maiden the Shade” on a warm, spring or summer day? Yes, please!
If there’s a beer that’s going to jump up, grab a hold of you and not want to let go, it’s the Nelson from Alpine Beer Company. This 7.0%abv rye IPA from Alpine, CA, is one of those beers that’s almost delicious beyond belief. For a long time, it was a mysterious beer that was tucked away into the hills outside of San Diego like some type of mystical creature. With the brewery being so small, it was difficult to get your hands on this stuff, but thanks to a recent partnership with Green Flashing Brewing, Nelson, along with a string of other Alpine beers are more widely distributed in beautiful, 22 oz bottles. Whether it’s Nelson or one of the others, be sure to pick up a couple of bottles, wrap it in your favorite bottle bomber and go to town on these delectable brews.
Let’s go ahead and begin with the aroma on this one. Immediately upon cracking the top, there’s big New Zealand, Nelson Sauvin hop aromas that immediately fly out of the top of the bottle. With a good pour into the glass, you will immediately get smacked right in the face with some up front pineapple, grapefruit and tropical fruit smells from the hops. I love the Nelson hops, and the way they are featured in this brew is tough to match. Simply delicious.
The pour is not what you would really expect in a traditional IPA. It’s got a bit of a cloudiness or a haze throughout. The color is a peach, and oh my goodness, those hops continue to attack the senses. By this time I’ve just about had it, so it’s time to dive into this beauty.
The first though I have upon consumption is that the rye comes through beautifully to blend well with the New Zealand hops. It gives it a bit of a nutty flavor with strong notes of the tropical fruits, perhaps a bit of pine, an overall just a fantastically balanced brew. The flavor is big and bold, but far from being overpowered and bitter. Alpine Beer Company just has a way of churning out some fantastically delicious brews, and this is without question no exception to that rule.
As Green Flash continues to expand their production and expand to new locations along the East Coast, the country and world will be seeing a lot more of Alpine and the Nelson. This mythical creature has spread its wings and is now taking fight throughout the county. As soon as you see this sucker on the shelves, grab at least a couple, allow it to get nice and cozy in your classiest bomber koozie and take this hazy New Zealander from San Diego for a whirl. Trust us, you will not regret this one!
Hola! Green Flash Brewing Company! You have really done it this time with your Dia De Los Serranos brew. Released in February 2016 as a year-round beer, the brewers over at the San Diego-based brewery have added a little bit of spice to the lineup of delectable beers. This American Stout that comes in at 8.8% abv has the perfect blend of roasted malts, minor chocolate notes, and a beautiful mild chile backdrop. We recommend wrapping this mildly-spicy beverage in your favorite 22oz Bomber Jacket, slapping some barbecue onto the grill and pairing them together for the perfect combination.
The day of the Serranos! The name already had me chomping at the bit to break this bad boy open to see what it’s all about. Beers containing chile peppers can be hit and miss, so I kept my excitement at the bare minimum. However, immediately upon cracking the bottle top, some strong roasted notes and mild carbonation escaped from the top. Immediately I grabbed my favorite pint glass to get a good look at what this guy was all about. A nice hard pour left dark as night brew with a mocha-colored, thick milkshake type of head to it. It poured beautifully, and the aromas were already popping out at me. I could smell the serrano peppers hiding gently behind a nice layer of roasted malt, dark chocolate and some smoky characteristics. So far, everything was muy Bueno!
The taste was much more than I was expecting, and I was pleasantly surprised that the peppers were not overwhelming. The heavier roasted malts do a nice job of balancing out the heat, but are present enough to still be noticeable on the back of the tongue. Much like the aroma, a nice dose of smokiness and roasted malts greeted the palate, and finished with a big, dry finish. Surprisingly, for this brew nearly pushing 9%abv, the alcohol is very well hidden, and is much easier to toss back than expected. What can I say? This beer had me ready to scarf down some carnitas on the side or pair it with some good, smoked meat.
Green Flash has consistently put our some very good beers for some time now, and sometimes beers like this can fall on their face, if not careful. However, they kept the peppers at a mild level, which can be difficult to do because of the varying degrees of heat and spice that is found from one batch to the next. We recommend that you snatch up a few of these bottles, fire up the charcoal or wood-burning grill, and show off your favorite beer bomber koozie that reduces warming rate by 50% so that you can enjoy this spicy beauty until the last drop, and get to drinking! Taste La Dulce Vida!