Monthly Archives: May 2014

648. Stoneface Brewing IPA

Stoneface IPAMy second beer from Stoneface Brewing and this is their straight up IPA. The first beer they brewed was meant to be an IPA but ended up a pale ale, they went back and tried it again and got a solid IPA.

Their IPA pours a deep hazy orange color with a bright white head. Aroma has lots of citrus, tropical hops. Taste does not live up to the aroma with a slightly more subdued hop flavor. Still a decent amount of hops here with some grapefruit and pine but not as potent as the aroma. Finish is clean and crisp with a very light bitterness.

Stoneface IPAOverall another quality beer but I enjoyed the India Red Rye Ale a bit more than the IPA.
Pros: 

Cons:
Alcohol Content: 7.2% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Stoneface Brewing
Brewers Description:

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647. Stoneface Brewing India Red Rye Ale

Stoneface Brewing India Red Rye IPAFinally made it down to Stoneface Brewing in Newington, thank you to Pete for letting me stop by for some beer. Impressive setup and quality beer. They had the pale ale, IPA and the India Red Rye Ale on so I grabbed a full growler of the IPA and a one liter of this one. Probably should have switched as I really enjoyed this beer.

What is India Red Rye Ale? Is it an amber/red, a rye or an IPA. Well it is probably all 3 with the coloring of a red, the hop profile of an IPA and the slight spicy/sweetness of a rye. Appearance is a typical red with a deep amber color and a nice white head. Aroma has lots of citrus hops, very nice. Taste follows but adds the spicy rye flavors and an added earthy hop profile to the citrus you get in the aroma.

Very nice beer from Stoneface brewing and if you have not stopped in to see them yet you should. 
Pros:
Complex but balanced
Cons:
Alcohol Content: 5.5% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Stoneface Brewing
Brewers Description: 

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646. Banded Horn Brewing Wicked Bueno

Banded Horn Wicked BuenoWicked Bueno was brewed by Banded Horn for Cinco de Mayo as an alternative to the Mexican Lager. Using 15% corn Ian made a very light, crisp and flavorful beer.

This may be the lightest beer I have reviewed to date, very pale yellow with minimal head even with an aggressive pour. Aroma is mild but what is there is fruity. Taste is surprising as I was not expecting a lot of flavor from such a light beer. Their is a nice hop profile but very little bitterness.

Wicked Bueno is far from your typical craft beer but it does a lot of things right, sessionable and crushable. 
Pros:
Cons:
Alcohol Content: 4.3% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): 15
Rating: 
Brewers Website: 
Brewers Description: 
This light beer has a good amount of body, flavor, and hoppiness. Brewed with 15% corn. Maltiness is present, but very simple. A slight green apple-like flavor that blends well with Centennial hops. It’s not bitter, but amply flavor-hopped for the style. Overall a super easy drinker. Body is crisp and smooth.

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645. Lively Brewing Mary Jane

Lively Brewing Mary JaneLion’s Pride in Brunswick recently completed its transformation to Ebenezer’s Pub which includes Lively Brewing. Michael LaCharite, formerly of Casco Bay Brewing and original brewer at Baxter Brewing spent a lot of time revitalizing a brewing system that had not been used in years. I visited before they started brewing but had not been back since they started serving. When they announced Mary Jane as an IPA brewed with the dankest hops I figured this was a good time for my first visit.

While there I enjoyed a flight of all of their beer and enjoyed every one. This included 5 beers all of which were excellent including the best ESB I have ever tried. At 3:00 Michael started pouring Mary Jane and I grabbed a pint at the brewery and a growler to take home.

Mary Jane pours a hazy orange with an off white head that leaves tons of lacing on the glass. Aroma is a nice mix of pine and some sweet malts. Taste is very well balanced with lots of pine resin, a very dry finish and only slightly bitter. This is a very well crafted beer. Might not be as dank as Blue Lobster’s Excess Columbus Edition but that was a double. Other dank IPAs to try; Headstache from In’finiti and Victory DirtWolf.
Pros:
Very well balanced, only slightly bitter but still hoppy
Cons:
Alcohol Content: 7.0% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): 70
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Ebenezer’s Pub (FB Page)
Brewers Description:
India Pale Ale brewed with the dankest hops

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644. Bigelow Brewing Dementia Dog

Bigelow Brewing Dementia DogBigelow Brewing is one of the newest breweries to open in Maine and one of the only breweries opening north of Portland. Located in a converted horse barn in Skowhegan your mind might think of an Oak Pond Brewing style setup. Bigelow is just the opposite with a very inviting tasting room. You can see photos on their Facebook Page here. Don’t get me wrong Oak Pond does what they do well and has the least expensive growler fills I have ever seen but it is not a place I want to go an hang out.

Jeff started with only two beers available; Lying Bastard Pale Ale and Dementia Dog Double IPA. Both are quality beers but I opted for a growler of the DIPA. This beer pours a super clean orange with a single finger white head. Aroma has a nice mix of sweet malts and earthy hops and taste follows with a sweet malt start before the hops really kick in. This beer is well balanced for a DIPA and very easy to drink even at almost 8% ABV.

Overall I am excited to see how this beer progresses as Jeff continues to tweak his new three barrel brewing system. I’m guessing this very good DIPA will get even better in the coming months. 
Pros:
Well balanced and flavorful
Cons:
Alcohol Content: 7.9% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Bigelow Brewing
Brewers Description:
Double IPA

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643. Baxter Brewing On the Count of 3

Baxter On the Count of ThreeWhen I drink beer for a review I typically drink them over the course of 30 minute (longer with stouts) to see how the taste, aroma, etc changes as the beer warms. For the most part this helps bring out additional flavor and aroma that are hidden when the beer is cold and it is usually a good thing.

With On the Count of 3 it was not. The beer while cold had a nice mix of yeast, spice, clove in the aroma and taste leaned more towards the lemon, fruit and sweet candy. OTCO3 was a solid beer while cold. I came back to the beer after about 15 minutes and it had changed significantly. The aroma was now a not so pleasant band aid smell that made the beer undrinkable. This is not the first time I have had a Baxter beer with a foul smell as the original batch of Summer Swelter (then named Celsius Summer) had an unpleasant aroma.

I believe this beer is basically gone from the local shelves but if you come across one buy it, toss in a cooler with ice and drink it cold!
Pros:
Tasty while cold
Cons: Foul smell as it warms
Alcohol Content: 7.0% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): 100
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Baxter Brewing
Brewers Description:

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642. Hop Valley Brewing Alpha Centauri

Hop Valley Alpha CenturaiMy second beer from Hop Valley Brewing that I grabbed on a recent trip to Vermont. With a brewery name like Hop Valley you expect them to know how to use hops and make quality IPAs and DIPAs. First beer was their Citrus Mistress which I enjoyed and now moving on to their Imperial IPA which comes in at a solid 9% ABV.

Appearance is pretty typical of a big IPA with a nice orange color and solid off white head. The beer is crystal clear and you can see the tiny bubbles of carbonation floating to the top. The aroma was a little more subtle than I expected but there still is plenty of citrus and pine. Taste starts with a fair amount of bitterness then the citrus hops come in, finished with a slight taste of alcohol but not bad for a 9% beer.

Overall quite pleased with the first two offerings from Hop Valley and would love to go to the brewery and taste these beers super fresh. 
Pros:
Solid DIPA, minimal alcohol taste for the ABV
Cons:
Alcohol Content: 9.0% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): 100
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Hop Valley Brewing
Brewers Description:
Big flavor, intense pine and citrus aroma. We keep the malt profile clean in this imperial IPA to let the love lights shine on the fine Oregon hops.

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641. 21st Amendment Brewery Brew Free or Die IPA

21st Amendment Brew FreePicked up this beer in a swap with someone in New Hampshire for some Bissell Brothers The Substance. When looking at the can and the name I thought this must be a New Hampshire beer as the state motto is Live Free or Die but this actually comes from California.

I think the can was a couple months old when I got it so the hop profile may have suffered slightly. You can see the beer pours a nice orange with a huge white head. I find the “can” shaped glasses tend to create more of a head than a regular pint glass but this was still bigger than I like to see.

Not a lot of aroma, possibly due to the age of the beer, the glass or that thick head. Taste was smooth but forgettable, starts with a hop bitterness, light citrus and sweet malt finish. Overall not a bad beer but not something that I would seek out. 
Pros: 

Cons:
Alcohol Content: 7.0% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): 70
Rating: 
Brewers Website: 21st Amendment
Brewers Description: 
BREW FREE! OR DIE IPA is brewed with some serious west coast attitude. This aromatic golden IPA starts with a sucker punch of six different hops to the nose, quickly balanced by a solid malt backbone. Our top selling beer at the pub, this IPA starts big and finishes clean leaving you wanting more.

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640. Tröegs Brewing Nugget Nectar

Troegs Nugget NectarThis bottle came in an exchange from Virginia, there were actually two in the box and I had one within days of getting the box to ensure freshness and then opened this one a few weeks later. My review below is based on the original bottle as it certainly lost something in the few weeks it sat in my beer fridge.

The first thing you will notice about Nugget Nectar is the excellent label art, love the hand wringing the juices out of the hop. One might assume with a name like Nugget Nectar that it would be an IPA or a DIPA however this is actually an Imperial Amber. The appearance is what I expect from an amber, deep copper coloring with a bright white head. Lots of lacing on the glass and very clear.

Aroma is a nice mix of sweet malts and piney hops. Taste follows with a very sweet start followed by those piney hops and a slightly bitter finish. Overall Nugget Nectar is well balanced and tasty for an amber. Certainly worth tracking down if you know someone that has access to Troegs beer. 
Pros: 

Cons:
Alcohol Content: 7.5% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): 93
Rating: 
Brewers Website:
Brewers Description: 
Squeeze those hops for all they’re worth and prepare to pucker up! Nugget Nectar Ale will take hopheads to nirvana with a heady collection of Nugget, Warrior and Tomahawk hops. Starting with the same base ingredients of our flagship HopBack Amber Ale, Nugget Nectar intensifies the malt and hop flavors to create an explosive hop experience.

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639. The Alchemist Focal Banger

 

The Alchemist Focal BangerSmall update to this post as The Alchemist has opened their new brewery in Stowe Vermont and with this new location Focal Banger is readily available for the first time. New can design but same great beer and in my opinion better than Heady Topper. Be sure to make a stop in Stowe next time you are passing through Vermont to check out the new space.

The Alchemist Focal BangerFocal Banger has been released in cans twice now so more people have had a chance to try this one than The Crusher and Holy Cow. I’ve heard this described by many as a lighter version of Heady and I tend to agree with this description.

Appearance is a nice pale orange with a thick white head. Aroma grapefruit, citrus and just a hint of pine. Very appealing beer in both appearance and smell. Taste does not disappoint either with plenty of juicy hops, but also some floral, pine and earthy notes. A lot going on with this beer but it all works well together.

I prefer Heady over Focal and Crusher more than any of them but they are all excellent. If you make the trip for a truck load sale buy all the beer you can as you will enjoy every sip. 
Pros:
Lots of complex hop flavor
Cons:
Alcohol Content: 7.0% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: The Alchemist
Brewers Description: An American IPA , hopped judiciously with Citra and Mosaic.

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