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!
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.
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!
Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project, Hop Savant Brettanomyces IPA, Denver, CO
7% abv. Gift from my brother Tom and my sister-in-law Kristen. Pours a murky gold orange color with a massive marshmallow head.Lots of yeast sediment. This one smells amazing with an interesting mix of cloves, banana and pepper from the wild yeast, but citrus, tropical fruit and floral notes from the hops. Thick Belgian lace all around the glass. Smooth, almost buttery mouthfeel and moderate carbonation. Brettanomyces funk with first sip followed by ripe mango, mild white pepper, raisins, apricot, peach and pear skin. Peach flavor becomes more dominant as you move through it. Damn this beer is delicious and I wish it was a larger bottle. Amazingly juicy, but finishes a touch dry.Sad that I just quaffed the last sip.
Bissell Brothers Brewing Company, Substance, Portland, ME
6.6% abv. At Empire Chinese Kitchen in Portland, ME. I tried this just before I headed to the brewery to pick up two 4-packs of it and some Lux Rye Ale (which is amazing – review forthcoming). Pours murky goldish-orange with a huge white head. Citrusy and flowery aroma. Grapefruit, pine, and maybe a flowery hibiscus flavor. Super smooth and drinkable. This is pretty well balanced, with a light caramel malt finish.I am surprised that the hop flavors don’t linger too long. Some orange zest, ripe mango, and apricot as well. Wonderful mouthfeel.These guys know what they are doing. I can’t wait to get my hands on more of their beers.
Ruhstaller Farm & Yard, Dixon Cascade IPA, Sacramento, CA
6% abv. 52 IBU Cascade Hops with California Metcalf and Copeland barley – A gift from my friend, the amazing designer Jamie Okuma. Pours gold with a touch of copper and a white head. I love the smell of this beer. It has a wonderful flowery cascade hops aroma with light citrus notes, but the sweet caramel and bready malt scents are right there as well to help balance it. I swear you can smell the freshness of the ingredients. The hops were grown, dried, and baled, and stored on the farm.
First sip is pine resin with distinct floral notes. Just a touch spicy, but citrusy as well. The flavors are subtle, complex, and delicious. I really love the delicate spiciness and mild citrus bite. With a relatively low abv, this beer is excessively drinkable and flavorful throughout.
This isn’t a typical west coast style IPA, but it is a delicious old school take on the style that I could drink every single day.
Night Shift Brewing, One Hop This Time IPA (Topaz hops, 7/5/16), Everett, MA
Canned 7/5/16, 6% abv. Brewed with only Topaz hops. This beer pours a gorgeous milky yellow color with a big white head. You can smell it as you pour. Solid Belgian lace.First sip is slick and incredibly thirst quenching. All hops but it isn’t astringent or overly bitter. Grapefruit, lemon zest, and floral notes all combine to create a series of hop explosions in the mouth. Bursts of ripe clementines, apricot, and mango as well.Bitterness lingers on the gums, sides of the tongue and back of the throat in the best of ways. I’ve had this on draft at the taproom and in the 7/5/16 canning and it was delicious and a joy to drink on both occasions.