Founders Brewing Company, Azaaca IPA, Grand Rapids, MI
7% abv. 70 IBU Gift from my brother Tom and my future sister-in-law Kristen who loves it when I name drop her in a beer review. Pours dark copper with a big white head. Sweet tropical fruit aroma includes papaya, mango, and grapefruit. Some caramel and honey malty sweetness helps balance it a little, but hops dominate. Great body and nice mouthfeel. Great Belgian lace. Hop flavors linger on the tongue and the 7% abv and peppery hop spiciness leave a pleasant burn on the back of the throat.This is a six pack worth investing in, but be careful, you will move through it very quickly!A great IPA, but you would expect nothing else from the folks at Founders. Full disclosure, I reviewed the beer and then read the label and my tastebuds were reading everything the brewery was describing. I really love it when that happens.
Founders Brewing Company, Dark Penance Imperial Black IPA, Grand Rapids, MI
8.6% abv. An insane 100 IBUs. Pours dark brown with a thin white head. Decent Belgian lace. Coffee, roasted nuts, dark chocolate, and citrus aromas. First sip is dark chocolate cake with orange zest frosting. Full bodied and rich with an aggressive mouthfeel. The acidity in the hops and astringency from the malt profile assault your tastebuds. The hops linger a long time and continue to tingle all over the mouth. Dark chocolate flavors and aroma seems to get stronger with each sip. Other flavors include burnt toast, anise, burnt salted caramel, pine, and a touch of black pepper. Alcohol is masked well behind all of these flavors.Noticing a touch of dark maple syrup toward the end of the bottle. Delicious and definitely a beer worth trying, but I don’t think I’d choose to have more than one of these in a sitting. This beer really does taste like dark chocolate cake with orange zest frosting!
Black Rye, Founders Brewing Company, Grand Rapids, MI
7.5% abv. 78 IBUs. Pours a very dark brown color with a light tan head. Coffee, chocolate, caramel, and citrus on the nose. This is a great smelling beer with a well-balanced aroma. The first sip tells you that it is excessively drinkable and one to be careful with. The abundant hops and rye combine to create a delicious spiciness that is not overwhelming. The rye is not as prominent as I expected, but is it there for sure. They used a delicious blend of American and European hops that gives it a somewhat subtle and complex bitterness that you might not expect from a beer with 78 IBUs. As you move through the beer you notice that it is well-balanced by a toffee, roasted nut, and chocolate sweetness. I am a big fan of black IPAs and this is a great one. Ironically it was developed well before black IPAs became all the rage in beer geekdom.