Foley Brothers Brewing, Skeleton Crew Imperial India Pale Ale, Brandon, VT
A gift from my friend and colleague Bridget Devlin. 8.5% abv. A whopping 100 IBU. Pours an unfiltered gold color with a fluffy white head that slowly dissipates. Fantastic Belgian lacing all around the glass. Lemon candy, pine, and orange rind on the nose with a touch of fresh cut grass. Papaya, mango, and pineapple juice flavors on first sip. Touches of floral and herbal spiciness as you move through it, but mostly juicy hop flavor. Dried apricot at finish with the slightest white pepper flavor from the relatively high alcohol content. Dry cracker and caramel malt flavors help balance it, but it is really all hops.No real alcohol esters at all, medium bodied, smooth and thoroughly drinkable. A very enjoyable Imperial IPA.
Fort Hill Brewery, Fresh Pick IPA, Easthampton, MA
7% abv. 50 IBUs. Pours a hazy gold yellow color with hefty white head that quickly dissipates. Sweet ripe mango aroma with a touch of lemon and orange zest and pine. Tropical fruit, including juicy mango and papaya on first sip with a touch of spicy white pepper. Hop flavors linger for a long time on the palate. A bread and honey sweetness at finish followed by a dryish hop bite. Medium bodied, but super drinkable at 7% abv. You do feel some slight warming in the belly about halfway through it. I have noticed a little bit of variation among batches, but this beer is delicious and a great value. I love that this brewery is producing high quality beer at an affordable price. Go find it now! For those locals out there, I have been picking it up pretty regularly at Rapid Liquors in Stoneham, MA.
Troegs Brewing Company, Nimble Giant Double IPA, Hershey, PA
9% abv. 16 oz can with freshness expiration date of 10/04/2017, so this can is pretty fresh. Troegs brews this once a year. Pours a dark orange color with a thick white head. Good head retention andBelgian lace. Fresh squeezed grapefruit on the nose with a touch of white pepper. Alcohol is definitely present on the first sip, but it doesn’t taste as boozy as I thought it would. Orange zest, apricot, unripened mango, and grapefruit flavors. Pretty smooth and drinkable for the high abv. This is a dangerous beer. Grapefruit flavors become more prominent with each sip. Interesting mix of hop resin oils, yet dry at finish. Some caramel, honey, and candy sugar sweetness sneaks through as well, but it does not become cloying. This is clearly not your everyday go to beer, but it is certainly something to look forward to this time of the year.
5.5% abv. Sent as a sample from the brewery. Pours a murky, straw gold color with a thin white head. Flowers, orange rind, and pineapple on the nose. First sip is pine, clementine, and lemon zest. It is balanced by a whiff of French bread and water cracker maltiness. This is a summer quaffer with just the slightest hop spice bite at the finish. Super smooth and thirst quenching. You could drink these all day. A touch of melon and fresh berries as you move through it. This beer actually borders on a hoppy pale ale, but whatever you want to call it, I like it.
Bell’s Brewery, Oberon, American Wheat Ale, Comstock, MI
5.8% abv. I first had this beer while attending the Museums and the Web conference in Indianapolis in 2009. I stopped in for a snack and a beer at Scotty’s Brewhouse and it paired nicely with some chips and guacamole.
I had it again tonight thanks to a beer swap with my friend George Schwartz . Bottled on 4/6/17 . Pours a murky copper gold color with a thick white head that slowly dissipates. Spicy aroma with a touch of funk and ripe banana. Great Belgian lace. Wonderful peach, apricot, and blood orange flavors. Orange zest and white pepper zip of hop spiciness. This is an American Wheat Ale with an extra punch of hop bitterness. This beer would pair equally well with a fresh fruit salad or a bratwurst, making it a perfect summer beer. It is medium bodied yet very thirst quenching. I literally drank this beer in about 10 minutes trying to rank it…that is generally a good sign of drinkability. Honestly, this is one of the finest American Wheat beers that you will find.
7.2% abv. Pours dark gold with a thin white head. Good Belgian lace. Orange zest and spruce on the nose. Medium bodied and hearty. Plenty of hops, but some great caramel malt weight that helps balance it with some sweetness. Touches of tropical fruit, apple skin, and sweet lemon candy. Toasted cracker, dark bread, and perhaps some oat malt flavors. An herbal and spicy hop bite at finish.A solid IPA with a great mouthfeel and drinkability despite the relatively high abv. Delicious.
La Cumbre Brewing Company, Project Dank IPA (bottled on 5/9/17)
Two very well-packed 22oz bottles sent from Pat Pruitt and Marla Allison. 7.5% abv. Juicy hop aromas jump out of the bottle. Mango, pineapple, grapefruit and fresh cut apple skin on the nose. Pours a dark gold color with a thin white head. Pine oil slickness with herbal and floral notes. Slippery smooth yet slightly drying at finish. Superb mouthfeel. It is medium bodied and crazy drinkable. This one is packed with a smattering of different hops that give it a unique bitter complexity. Sneaky 7.5% abv, but you wouldn’t know it, hops are dominant with just a touch of caramel and toasted malt trying to break through. This one gets better and better with each sip. Orange zest and spicy black pepper crusted crackers.I am drinking it way too quickly in trying to review it. This is an absolutely fabulous IPA.Trying a second bottle a few days later and it goes down just a smoothly. This is a very dangerous beer and I love it!
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