Living the Jai Ali(fe)…

Living the Jai Ali(fe)…

Cigar City Brewing, Jai Ali IPA, Tampa, FL

Cigar City Brewing Jai Ali IPA poured into a nonic pint glass.
Cigar City Brewing Jai Ali IPA.

7.5% abv. Canned 9/5/17 so this is about a month old. I first had this beer at the Walt Disney World EPCOT Center Flower and Garden Festival in 2015 during a family trip. I remember it was about 97 degrees in May and I drank it way too fast to adequately rate it. I recently picked it up at Wegman’s in Easton, PA during my trip to the Martin Guitar Factory and Museum.

It pours a rich copper gold color with a thin white head. Wow, it is bursting with orange zest and grapefruit aromas. First sip is orange zest and pine with a touch of white pepper. Thirst quenching and therefore dangerous due to the relatively high ABV. Excellent Belgian lace. This is certainly a hop forward IPA, but the sweet caramel and candy sugar malt flavors try to help balance it. Hop flavors linger forever on the gums and the back of the throat. Papaya and pineapple flavors get stronger at finish. Some vegetative tobacco earthiness as well. This is a delicious IPA and I only wish it was something we could get distributed to Massachusetts.

Better than a Royale with Cheese…

Better than a Royale with Cheese…

Greater Good Imperial Brewing Company, Pulp, Williamsburg, MA

Greater Good Imperial Brewing Co. Pulp poured into a nonic pint glass.
Greater Good Imperial Brewing Co. Pulp

Can dated 8/15/17, so this is only 10 days old. 8% abv. Pours a dark gold color with an orangish hue with a thin white head. Good Belgian lace. Spruce tips, pine, and tropical fruit on the nose.  First sip is orange zest with touches of white pepper and pine. A quick warming in the belly and around the gums, but the alcohol is hidden quite well, making this a very dangerous beer. To put it plainly, this shit will get you drunk! Juicy tropical fruit flavors from start to finish with touches of candy sugar like sweetness. Some dry water cracker and caramel malt helps balance it. Earthy, tobacco leaf notes as well. I guess I was expecting something a little more chunky and more full-bodied with the name Pulp, but this is a solid IPA.

Lieutenant Starbuck approved…

Lieutenant Starbuck approved…

Clown Shoes Beer, Galactica Double IPA, Ipswich, MA

Clown Shoes Galactica Double IPA poured into a nonic pint glass.
Clown Shoes Galactica Double IPA.

Can dated 7/26/17 so this is about 10 days old. 8% abv. Pours a rich dark copper color with a thick white head. Awesome Belgian lace. Tropical fruit and ripe apple and pear on the nose with some herbal notes. Some white pepper spiciness from the alcohol with a subtle warming in the belly after a few sips. Chewy malt backbone with caramel, dry cracker, and maybe even a touch of spicy rye. Floral, herbal, and citrus hop bite at finish with juicy mango and papaya mixed in. Some pine and spruce notes as well. Pine resin flavors get more prominent with each sip. Certainly not a summer BBQ sipper, but a very solid example of the style that I would add to the rotation.

Argh…

Argh…

Foley Brothers Brewing, Skeleton Crew Imperial India Pale Ale, Brandon, VT

Folly Brothers Brewing Skeleton Crew Imperial IPA poured into a nonic pint glass.
Folly Brothers Brewing Skeleton Crew Imperial IPA.

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.

Pick a winner…

Pick a winner…

Fort Hill Brewery, Fresh Pick IPA, Easthampton, MA

Fort Hill Brewery Fresh Pick IPA poured into a nonic pint glass.
Fort Hill Brewery Fresh Pick IPA.

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.

This beer is bigger than giant…

This beer is bigger than giant…

Troegs Brewing Company, Nimble Giant Double IPA, Hershey, PA

Troegs Nimble Giant Double IPA poured into a nonic pint glass.
Troegs Nimble Giant Double IPA

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 and  Belgian 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.

Dank you very much…

Dank you very much…

La Cumbre Brewing Company, Project Dank IPA (bottled on 5/9/17)

22oz bottle of La Cumbre Project Dank IPA poured into a nonic pint glass.
La Cumbre Project Dank IPA

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!

Let the Sunshine in…

Let the Sunshine in…

Lawson’s Finest Liquids, Sip of Sunshine IPA, Warren, VT (brewed in Stratford, CT)

Can of Lawson's Finest Liquids Sip of Sunshine poured into a nonic pint glass.
Lawson’s Finest Liquids Sip of Sunshine

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.

Dang(ko) this is a great beer…

Dang(ko) this is a great beer…

Exhibit ‘A’ Brewing Company, Danko Double Dry Hopped Rye Ale, Framingham, MA

Danko Double Dry Hopped Rye Ale poured into a nonic pint glass.
Danko Double Dry Hopped Rye Ale.

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

This is a monster IPA…

This is a monster IPA…

Banded Horn Brewing Company, Daikaiju Double IPA, Biddeford, ME

Banded Horn Daikaiju Double IPA poured into a nonic pint glass.
Banded Horn Daikaiju Double IPA.

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, and overripe 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.