Monthly Archives: December 2014

732. Starr Hill Brewery King of Hop

Starr Hill King od the HopsThe last of the IPAs from my New Jersey box and another one that probably suffered due to age of the bottle. The Starr Hill website notes a July 1 release date for this beer and I drank it in mid-December. Assuming this was a single release the beer would be 5+ months old and that can really kill an IPA.

Pours a slightly hazy orange with a fluffy white head that left lots of lacing. Aroma was dominated by floral hops, pleasing but almost perfumy which is not what I prefer in an IPA. Taste started out sweet and then those same floral hops come through with a bit of lemon and a big bitter finish.

Not bad and something I would like to try fresh to compare as I bet it would be a lot better.
Pros:
Cons:
Alcohol Content: 7.5% ABV
IBU (Bitterness): 50
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Starr Hill Brewery
Brewers Description: King of Hop Imperial India Pale Ale is brewed with heaps of American hops from the Pacific Northwest. This medium-bodied beer is dry-hopped to achieve an invigoratingly fresh aroma, which highlights the powerful citrus characteristics of the hops. Flavor notes of orange peel, passion fruit, grapefruit, and gooseberry lend balance to the bracingly herbal bite.

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731. Voodoo Brewery Hoodoo

Voodoo Brewing HoodooThis beer was part of the box from one of  my underwriters in New Jersey. Voodoo Brewing is new to me but I am always willing to try another IPA.

Hoodoo pours a nice orange color with a minimal head that left almost no lacing. Aroma was the best part of the beer with lots of juicy hops; grapefruit, citrus and some pine. Taste falls short of the aroma with a sweet start, hoppy middle and fair amount of bitterness in the finish. I had high hopes after smelling this beer.

To be fair I have no idea how fresh this bottle was so that may have contributed to the lack of hops in the flavor.
Pros:
Cons:
Alcohol Content: 7.3% ABV
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Voodoo Brewery
Brewers Description: Forged in the bowels of the Meadville bayou, this IPA ushers your soul down a twisted journey on the 7C’s.  This Voodoo brew will insight your dark side and open a portal to your hoppier senses. The 7C’s alchemic concoction of 7 different hop varieties starting with the letter “C” conjures your taste buds into a piney-citrus paradise fit for a Hoodoo doctor.

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730. Bissell Brothers Brewing Angels with Filthy Souls

Bissell Brothers Angels with Filthy SoulsUpdated 2015 batch: I got a fair amount of push back on my original review of AWFS. Many felt that I was far too generous of the beer but I did enjoy the 2014 batch even though it was a bit unorthodox. In 2015 Noah completely changed the recipe for AWFS making it more of a traditional porter and added maple syrup to give it a bit of complexity and that probably also helped to bump up the ABV a bit. Overall a different beer but still enjoyable.

Original review 2014 batch: The fourth beer release from Bissell Brothers Brewing is their first dark beer and it comes in the form of a heavily hopped porter. Angels with Filthy Souls is a reference to Home Alone that I completely missed but both my wife and eldest daughter picked up on it immediately. For those that have not seen Home Alone 100 times Angels with Filthy Souls is the black and white movie playing while Kevin is in the hotel room, the one with the machine gun noise and “keep the change, ya filthy animal”.

As you can see in the picture this beer pours a deep brown with a very thick tan head. Aroma has mix of roasted malts and floral hops, interesting aroma but nothing too exciting. Taste follows the same path a very mild chocolate/coffee start that is quickly replaced by the Amarillo hops and leaves a slightly oily film on the tongue and teeth.

An interesting beer and one I enjoyed but seemed thin for a porter but it wouldn’t really fit into the black ipa/Cascadian dark ale category either. Certainly worth trying if you can find a can of it.
Pros: Unique
Cons:
Alcohol Content: 6.3% ABV
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Bissell Brothers Brewing
Brewers Description: Our first dark offering; this porter is laced with lactose sugar to balance the tremendous amounts of amarillo hops contained within. Debuted in December 2014 to commemorate both the holiday season and our first anniversary, this unique celebratory ale will always rear its yellow, no-good, fore-flushing kiester around Christmastime.

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729. Hobbs Tavern Something Went A Rye IPA

Hobbs Tavern Rye IPAMade my first stop at Hobb’s Tavern to try their beer and grab a growler. They had a sampler of 5 beers available which included a cream ale, brown, rauchbier, pale ale and this rye IPA.

Sadly the beer was not very good, in fact the rauchbier and pale ale were almost undrinkable. I decided to take home a growler of the Rye IPA more for the growler and this review than for the beer itself. This beer pours a nice orange with a thick off white head. Aroma was slightly sweet from the rye and only a small amount of floral hops coming through. Taste was OK with the same slightly sweet and rye spice coming through. Carbonation was on target and there was minimal bitterness.

Overall Hobb’s Tavern has a wonderful facility in a beautiful setting but the beer has a lot of room for improvement.
Pros:
Cons:
Alcohol Content: 5.2% ABV
IBU (Bitterness): 55.3
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Hobb’s Tavern
Brewers Description: IPAs were originally developed with greater amounts of hops to help preserve the beer on the long boat voyage from Britain to India. The style has persisted because so many people love the extra flavor. We added rye round out the flavor profile. The mash got “stuck” creating even more work for our brewer, thankfully it is a labor of love and we pulled this very tasty, well rounded brew out of it.

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728. Captain Lawrence Brewing Imperial IPA

Captain Lawrence Imperial IPAI received a nice box of beer from one of the companies I write brewery insurance with in New Jersey. They filled the box with a bunch of IPAs that are not available in New England including this DIPA from Captain Lawrence Brewing in New York. This is a new brewery and new beer for me so I had no idea what to expect.  

What I found was a to notch DIPA and probably one of the best DIPAs from a bottle that I have had in a long time. Appearance is typical of the style, orange with a thick white head. Aroma gives you plenty of grapefruit, citrus and a bit of pine. Taste was top notch with loads of citrus and resiny pine. Carbonation, mouth feel and finish were all what I expect.

This was an excellent beer and if you find yourself in an area where this is distributed keep an eye out for it. 
Pros:
Hoppy and well balanced
Cons:
Alcohol Content: 9.0% ABV
IBU (Bitterness): 90
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Captain Lawrence Brewing
Brewers Description: This beer is a salute to the ingenuity and creativity of the American craft brewers. A uniquely American style of beer the Double or Imperial IPA, is big, hoppy and not for the faint of hear. Be prepared to experience a sensory overload as you savor this Imperial IPA.

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727. Bigelow Brewing Lying Bastard Pale Ale

Bigelow Brewing Lying BastardI picked up some fresh bottles of Bigelow Brewing’s Dementia Dog and their Lying Bastard pale ale. Dementia Dog was actually better from the bottle than I remember it, may be that the newer batches are an improvement on the first batch. If you tried their beer early on I would recommend trying it again to see if you notice a difference.

Lying Bastard is Bigelow’s answer to the transition beer and meant to be drinkable by both craft beer drinkers and those that typically drink Bud/Miller/Coors. Because of this it may not appeal to the experienced craft beer drinker. Lying Bastard pours a very clean orange with a thin off white head. Aroma is minimal with a bit of sweet malt but no hops to speak of. Taste reminds me a lot of Sam Adams Boston Lager with a light fruit character but little to no hop flavor.

Overall this beer works well for what it is intended, a transition beer for non-craft drinkers but it does not compare well to other craft pale ales. No doubt it is easy to drink and enjoyable but it will not knock your socks off, if you want hops try the Dementia Dog. 
Pros:

Cons:

Alcohol Content: 4.8% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Bigelow Brewing
Brewers Description: 

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726. Foundation Brewing Blaze

Foundation Brewing BlazeUntil recently Foundation only offered beer in growlers either directly from the brewery or at the Bier Cellar in Portland. This changed recently with the introduction of 750 ml bottles available both at the brewery and through select retailers. I picked up this bottle of Blaze at the brewery.

Blaze is Foundation’s hoppy saison using their house yeast with six different varieties of hops to create a very interesting beer. Appearance is an unfiltered orange with a nice off white head. Aroma is a mix of citrus/tropical hops and the spice from the saison yeast. Taste starts with the spicy saison then the hops come in with a nice juicy flavor.

The hoppy saison, Belgian IPA, hopped farmhouse ale or whatever you want to call it continues to grow on me but I still prefer a straight up saison or American style IPA.
Pros:
Cons:
Alcohol Content: 6.5% ABV
IBU (Bitterness): 68.5
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Foundation Brewing
Brewers Description: Vivid hop aromas, citrus, and tropical fruits meld with pine and spice. A touch of malt sweetness finishing with a smooth yet crisp bitterness. This is our marriage of classic American hop flavors with the fruity, spicy nature of our yeast. Honoring the tradition of a Saison, while exploring the spirit of the American IPA, this farmhouse IPA blazes its own path.

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725. Baxter Brewing Bootleg Fireworks

Baxter Bootleg FireworksI went directly to Baxter Brewing for the release of Bootleg Fireworks. Baxter is actually the closest brewery to my home and office so making the trip over for the release only took a couple of minutes. Bootleg Fireworks is entirely different from the well balanced In’finiti’s DIPA but Baxter’s intent was to make a hop bomb and they were not concerned with balance.

Bootleg Fireworks is packaged in 16 oz cans like the other special releases from Baxter. I find this interesting as most of their beer comes in 12 oz cans so you might expect a 9% ABV DIPA to be released in the smaller packaging, instead you get the full 16 oz like you do with Heady Topper and many other canned DIPAs.

Appearance is a deep orange with large fluffy head. Aroma has some citrus and tropical fruits but also a fair amount of booze. Taste follows with layers upon layers of fruity hops. Very little bitterness as the alcohol takes control in the finish. I drank all four cans within the first week and I wish I had another to try after a few weeks as I expect it would develop a bit without losing a lot of the hop character, if I come across another 4-pack I may grab it both to make a comparison and because it was an enjoyable beer.
Pros:
Hops!
Cons: A bit boozy
Alcohol Content: 9.0% ABV
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Baxter Brewing
Brewers Description: This beer is intentionally a bit off balanced. It makes sense too, as the beer features 8 different hops, and 4 different dry hops over the course of 2 weeks. The malts are as light as possible to the chunks of hops added to this beer shine.

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724. In’finiti Fermentation & Distillation Infinitly DIPA

Infiniti Infinitely DIPAMaine had two new double IPA releases in a week with Baxter Brewing releasing Bootleg Fireworks (see next review) and this one from In’finiti. If you toss in Dinner from Maine Beer Company being released again we had a lot of hoppy beers hitting the market in a short amount of time.

In’finiti chose to use 16 oz aluminum bottles for their DIPA. I believe this is the first beer I have tried from an aluminum can and I like the format. While grabbing my 4-pack I also picked up their new stemware and bottles of their barrel aged brett beers which are tucked away in the cellar.

Appearance is a deep orange with a slight white head that left plenty of lacing. Aroma had some alcohol, some tropical fruits and a nice malt sweetness, overall quite appealing even if the hops were not the dominant feature. Taste follows with a nice sweet start, plenty of tropical and a bit of pine in the middle with only a slight bitterness in the finish. This is a very well balanced double IPA and very enjoyable. Will certainly grab some more bottles when this is released again.
Pros: Nicely balanced
Cons:
Alcohol Content: 8.8% ABV
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: In’finiti
Brewers Description: Clean double IPA with a light body made from domestic pilsner malt.  Charged with 5 varieties of hops from New Zealand to give notes of tropical fruit, pine and citrus.

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723. Toppling Goliath Brewing Golden Nugget

Topling Goliath Golden NuggetSecond of three beers from Topling Goliath Brewing Company. Golden Nugget is their year round IPA brewed with Golden Promise malt and Nugget hops.

Appearance is what I expect from a single IPA, clean orange with a nice white head. Aroma has a nice mix of tropical, pine and floral hops, little bit of everything here. Taste leans towards the grassy, flower and onion hops. Everything is balanced out by a nice malt character and finished clean with only a light bitterness.

One of the better single IPAs I have tried in the past few months. 
Pros:

Cons:
Alcohol Content: 6.0% ABV
IBU (Bitterness): 56
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Toppling Goliath Brewing
Brewers Description: This spectacularly golden, medium bodied IPA was crafted from a winning combination of Golden Promise malt and Nugget hops.

Fall in love with the big hop aroma of our Golden Nugget as it mingles with fragrances of citrus and evergreen, followed by a floral sweetness. Tropical fruit flavors entice your taste buds before immediately captivating you with a bold, hop forward taste and a pleasant bitterness that lingers in the finish.

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