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!
Portland, Oregon continues to rise to the top of the beer geekdom world, as places like Hopworks continues to turn out one good beer after another. As we settle in on winter, the lighter beers have drifted off into old hangovers, and have been replaced by thicker, darker, more aggressive stouts like the Organic Motherland Russian Imperial Stout. This seasonal brew is quite the beast at 9.8% abv, so sit down, relax, and prepare to drink this dark, roasted monster.
Hopworks has pretty much run the gauntlet in different types of styles and tastes, and this winter they have released a solid, Russian Imperial Stout. The Motherland is part of a revolving series of imperial ales that are released throughout the year. They’re not meant for the chug and fall down type-of-a-crowd, but are better meant for the slow-sipping, sniff and smell type of connoisseurs.
A nice pour into a pint glass delivers a dark color, not quite the ‘black as a Siberian winter’ as mentioned on the brewery website, but more-so a dark, intense cola color. A one finger tan head fills the upper part of the glass, but dissipates somewhat quickly. It’s a nice looking beer, and from a foot away, it’s easy to smell the loads of cocoa, some anise, and dark chocolates. It’s a solid looking beer, and it’s now time for consumption.
The taste is a bit unexpected, after initially smelling the chocolate and cocoa. As the liquid bounces across my taste buds, I’m greeted with more of a roasted barley, some nice toffee notes, and a generous dose of alcohol, thanks to that aggressive 9.8% abv. It delivers a nice warm feeling in the gut, as the booze flows around and swishes throughout my insides. It makes me want to put on a nice warm hat, some thick winter clothing, grab another bottle of the Motherland, and wrap this bad boy up in my favorite 22oz bomber jacket and take a seat by a raging fire. This is a cold weather beer, no doubt about. You won’t be sipping this guy at your next raging pool party, or kick back barbecue with the in-laws. Nope. This beast is meant for the winter months, so seek it out because it won’t be long before this one is off the shelves and the next in the series of imperial ales shows up.
Overall, the Organic Mother Land Russian Imperial Stout was a solid beer. Does it stand up against some of the world-class stouts of the world? Probably not, but that would not stop me from grabbing a few of the 22oz’ers and knocking back a couple (slowly of course, because as mentioned, this is not a chug-a-lug-lug type of beverage). This is for those looking for something big, bold, and something that will provide a nice punch of alcohol to fire up the evening. Nostrovia!
The holiday season may be winding down, but that’s no excuse not to go out there and get your hands on a 22 oz bomber of the seasonal, Jolly Folly IPA from Green Flash. This is one of those beers that will knock you back a step and make you think—that is, after taking a couple of decent sized gulps of course. Known for crafting some brilliant, dialed in brews, Green Flash actually kind of made a huge blunder with this one, but albeit, it happened to come out quite good. Sometimes, mistakes can force breweries to step outside of their comfort zone, and it may be a way to discover the unknown.
So, how did this brew come to be? Well, it turns out that that one of their bright tanks had been filled about two-thirds with the always popular Pure Hoppiness from their batch of Alpine brews, and was then accidentally topped with one-third of the always heavenly Soul Style IPA. Looks like there may have been too much cheer around the brew tanks within the hallowed walls of Green Flash Brewing Co. The result? A 7.7 percent IPA that’s laced with a citrusy, piney, and resinous hop-profile. It appears that this holiday mishap has worked out in their favor, and low and behold, an excellent brew was conceived.
A nice hard pour results in a lacy white head that dissipates somewhat quickly, but fills the glass in a burnt orange, coppery color. There’s a nice malty backbone in this beer that mends beautifully with the bitterness of the 71 IBU count. Escaping from the glass are giant aromas of the hops, and they attack your senses in a second flat. It hits you like a freight train that has been loaded with citrusy attributes like grapefruit, or lemon peels. Mixed in, there’s a nice underlying aroma of pine-needles, and deep, dark resins.
Drinking it results in a nice, crisp finish, and is very drinkable at the 7.7 percent. It’s a nice pleasant surprise, and unless one knows about the mishap about how this creature came to be, it would stand out as just another really solid IPA from Green Flash. These guys consistently churn out one good beer after another, and it’s a great testament to their abilities to craft good brews, when they can even deliver a really good one that was a bit of a mistake. Although, mixing two stellar IPA’s together would not exactly be a major reach.
The holidays may have delivered a nice surprise for IPA enthusiasts, and although the season to be merry may be nearing its end, there’s still plenty of 22 oz bottles of this Jolly Folly IPA floating around. Word around town is that they brewed 500 barrels of this stuff (15,500 gallons), so go out there and get your brew on. Green Flash’s mistake is many a man’s treasure!
A 22 oz. bomber of this hop monster is the way to go, and from the moment your crack the top of this thing, you will be met with a big hop flavor that mixes well with some hints of tropical fruit and peaches. A nice hard pour with give you a beautifully golden, darkish amber creamy white head, and again, the aroma will just leap out of the glass and straight up into the nose. Can’t say it enough…the hops come through big time in this release, more so than some of their previous special releases. The use of Ahtanum hops come through big time, and just in case you don’t think there was enough out of this world aroma, Stone was sure to add some Simcoe, Delta, Target, and Amarillo hops near the end of their boil. But that wasn’t it—the then decided to dry hop this monster with Galaxy, Nelson Sauvin, Motueka and Helga hops. Might seem like a bit of overkill, but let’s get to the taste.
As one would expect, the hops nearly dominate this beer, but the somewhat dryness, and some smooth malt and a nice touch to this beer. It’s right on the verge of being too much of a hop-bomb, but thanks in part to some of the pungency and notes of peach, this beer balances out a little better than expected. At 88 IBU, and 9.4%, you pretty much know what you’re getting—an intense hop flavor that will nearly fry the nose hairs, but tickle the palette with a moderately carbonated brew.
Stone has really hit the nail on the head with these Enjoy By beers, both from a brewing standpoint, and as a clever marketing tactic. These brews are meant to drink fresh, and are not meant for keeping on the shelf, or stashed away in the closet for aging. What keeps them interesting is that each batch is tweaked, and consumers are always presented with a new and unique beer. It’s never quite the same, so there’s time when they will really nail the latest release, and other times where it will fall a bit flat. This latest Enjoy By 12.25.15 is definitely on the side of being a winner. The clock is ticking, and it’s ticking fast to go out there and grab this one. However, if it’s a bit too late, just look for their next release, and go out there and stock up on some 22 oz bombers of these traditionally hop-dominated beers.
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Well it's that time of the year again when stouts become the main attraction on beer list around country! Honestly I think limiting such a great style of brew to one season is lame, you may find me drinking a New Hollands Dragons Milk on a hot summer St. Louis day. Anyway Monday December 15, 4 Hands Madagascar release tickets go on sale in the tasting room. You will be allowed to purchase up to six 22 oz bottles on December 28th at the same location. They will also have Madagascar on tap, as well as Volume 1, another great beer from 4 Hands. This imperial milk stout is aged in bourbon barrels with whole vanilla beans. I have to say it is currently on my top three list of best beers. It's rich balanced body radiates aromas of bourbon with a hint of chocolate. It truly is like desert in a snifter.