La Cumbre Brewing Company, Red Ryeot, Albuquerque, NM
A gift from my ever generous friends Pat Pruitt and Marla Allison. 6.5% abv. 75 IBUs. Pours a gorgeous rich garnet-ruby-red color with a thin white head. Great Belgian lace. Spicy rye and sweet anadama bread aroma. Crisp rye and hop bite on first sip, but it goes down super smooth. Hop and rye spiciness lingers a bit on the gums. Medium bodied with a heavyish malt bill that is full of toasted caramel sweetness, but well balanced by a citrusy and piney hop wallop. Hints of grapefruit as you move through it. Finishes with an interesting and wonderful salty pretzel flavor! This brewery never disappoints.
Lawson’s Finest Liquids, Sip of Sunshine IPA, Warren, VT (brewed in Stratford, CT)
I have tried a lot of beers, this is number 2,336 in my beer database. The legend of Sip of Sunshine has been around for a while now, but for various reasons this beer has eluded me. I tend not to chase beer and I rarely stand in line for it (especially during winter at 5am), but I can respect those that do! I got lucky the other day when I opened Facebook and saw that Rapid Liquors in Stoneham had just received a shipment of this beer. I live about 2 miles away and within about an hour, there were only 3 four packs left when I got there. Here is my review:
Tallboy can dated 5/2/17 so this is about a week old. 8% abv. Pours dark gold with a decent white hop head. Great Belgian lace. Huge pineapple juice aroma with bursts of mango. The sweet smells jump out of the glass and assault the nose. Some dried apricot and papaya notes as well. Simply put, this beer smells amazing. First sip is tropical fruit salad with a touch of pine. It has a distinctive floral and herbal hop finish. It is kind of a perfect balance between an old school IPA and the new juicy east coast variety. Almost immediate slow warming in the belly after a few sips, yet it remains ridiculously smooth for the high abv. Some caramel malt balances it out, but it is really all tropical fruit deliciousness. Gets drier and slightly more dank as you move through it, but not in any kind of negative way. Great, great stuff.
6% abv. Canned on 4/5/17.Made with Valley Malt Danko Rye and Simcoe hops. Pours a somewhat ugly murky tan orange gold color, but looks are not everything. Interesting aroma includes citrusy hops, fresh cut grass, and floral and citrus notes. A nice hefty mouthfeel with a subtle hop tingle all around the mouth.A mildly spicy and delicious rye bite compliments the hop bitterness. Ridiculously drinkable and thirst quenching. Again, love the mouthfeel on this beer. Some peach and dried apricot fruitiness as well. More and more grapefruit as you move through it. Some french bread and dried cashew nut maltiness balance it as well.I really love this beer
Banded Horn Brewing Company, Daikaiju Double IPA, Biddeford, ME
8.7% abv. Can dated For Little Z, 3/9/17. Pours a semi-opaque gold with a thin white head. Pineapple, mango, papaya, and a touch of grapefruit on the nose. First sip is a great mix of tropical fruit, white pepper, and herbs.Medium bodied, yet thirst quenching. You would never, ever imagine that this beer has a high abv. Some mild warming of the belly toward the end, but super drinkable. Mango, orange zest, andoverripe cantaloupe at finish.Some dry cracker and fresh french bread maltiness, but mostly all hops. This beer is a monster and it just might be the most dangerous double IPA I have ever tasted. Kudos to the folks at Banded Horn. I am looking forward to stopping by the brewery this summer.
Trillium Brewing Co. Double Dry Hopped Congress Street IPA, Canton, MA
7.2% abv. Born on 4/11/17 making this 3 days old. Many thanks to my friend Brian Souza, who dropped this one off on my doorstep wrapped in a plastic bag full of ice! Pours an opaque and murky yellow-gold-orange color with a thin white head. It is kind of the color of Trump’s face and hair combined. Grapefruit aroma jumps out of the can. My wife, who doesn’t drink beer, just turned to me and said, “boy that smells like grapefruit!” Some floral, grass, and pine notes as well, but mostly grapefruit on the nose. First sip is sweet pineapple and ripe mango with a strong grapefruit finish. Some white peppery spiciness all over the mouth as well. Medium to almost full bodied and a touch chewy. Perhaps the most viscous IPA I have ever consumed. Some malt sweetness, but mostly a delicious tropical and citrus fruit bomb. Love it.
Lawson’s Finest Liquids, Super Session #2 IPA, Warren, Vermont
Celebrating National Beer Day 2017. Can dated 3/28/17 so this beer is about 9 or 10 days old. 4.8% abv. Fresh hop aroma jumps out of the can on opening. Pleasant floral and piney hop scent with hints of citrus. First sip shows it is hop forward for sure, but it has a nice pale and caramel malt backbone that makes it ridiculously drinkable. Lemon, pepper and floral hop flavors linger and jump all around the mouth. Some ripe melon and berries as well.It is by no means a hop bomb, it is the perfect balance of crisp hops and smooth malt flavors. A great session IPA.
Aeronaut Brewing Company, A Year with Dr. Nandu. Somerville, MA
6.5% abv. 66 IBU. Can art by Raul Gonzalez III. Can dated 3/2/17. Pours orange amber with thin white head. Good Belgian lace. Mango, pineapple, and orange zest on the nose. First sip is sweet ripe mango with dried apricots and floral notes. Moderately carbonated with a nice mouthfeel.CO2 and hops create a pleasant tingle all around the mouth. Well-balanced with some toast, buttery cracker, and caramel malt flavors. Some pink grapefruit and papaya at finish. This is a rock solid and excessively drinkable IPA. Go out and find some!
Finback Brewery, BQE Imperial Chocolate Stout, Queens, NY
9.2% abv. 63 IBU. Brewed with local Mast Brothers cocoa nibs and Native Coffee Roasters coffee and aged in bourbon barrels. Pours jet black with a thin tan head. Rich dark chocolate aroma with strong coffee notes. Full-bodied yet silky mouthfeel. Not boozy at all, but slight warming on the back of the throat after a few sips. The alcohol is really well masked. Complex and truly enjoyable mix of flavors including dark chocolate, dark roast coffee, sugary street roasted nuts, fig, dates, molasses, bourbon vanilla. A little dry astringency at finish from the heavy malt billing, but that is expected. Some citrus hops add to the mix. This really is a delightful beer. It gets better and better with each sip, I want more!
Banded Horn Brewing Company, Vertumnus Ale, Biddeford, ME
Ironically I am trying this beer, named after the god of seasons and change, a few days before we receive over a foot of snow in mid-March!
6% abv. Dry hopped ale aged on oak with brettanomyces yeast. This beer starts with their Veridian IPA. Pours a rich orange-gold color with a fluffy white head. Spiced apples, cloves, and banana bread aroma. First sip is both fruity and spicy. Mix of dried mango and papaya with white peppercorn and cloves and the slightest note of vanilla. Very drinkable, but dry at finish, perhaps from the oak. Tropical fruit flavors linger on the gums and tips of the tongue after sharp hop and spice bite. Hops become more dominant as you move through the beer. Refreshing and very flavorful. Another solid and enjoyable offering from Banded Horn.
Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project, Petite Sour Blueberry, Denver, CO
5.5% abv. Gift from my brother Tim. Mixed fermentation ale aged in oak with blueberry. Blueberry and brettanomyces yeast aromas jump out of the bottle. Good natural carbonation. Pours blood orange with a fluffy white head. Awesome sticky Belgian lace. First sip is thirst quenching deliciousness. Berry lemonade, kombucha, blue flowers, and a touch of pepper and clove spice and herbs. This is a tasty treat that goes down way too fast. Becomes slightly dry at finish. Damn this is great fruit beer.