Friday, December 6, 2013
I wasn't a big fan of Upslope Brewing's Imperial IPA back in June, but that didn't stop them from sending me their Christmas Ale. This beer is packaged in a 16 ounce can dressed up to look like a candy cane. Nice design. Ingredients include Snowmelt, Malt, Hops, Abbey Ale Yeast, and Holiday Spices. 8.2% alcohol.
Cinnamon, cloves, brown sugar and a little plum for an aroma. Ridiculously sweet caramel almost put a halt on this beer from the first sip. Luckily, the alcohol came in and knocked it down a little, though not being disguised at all itself was already a second fault of this beer. And we didn't even get to the way overdone clove and ginger and nutmeg gang stepping in. Ugh.
Flat cola, prunes and plums, and a little bubblegum round out a beer that is pretty much all over the place. Texture is yeasty. Weird and alcoholic. That's it. I didn't like it at all.
Thursday, December 5, 2013
Grabbed myself a summer seasonal deal this morning at the local liquor store. Pay attention to my Untpd checkins (LOL) and you can probably figure out what beer it involved. Yeah, I did them a favor and cleared some space for the winter and soon-to-arrive spring beers. Anyway, besides the deal, I of course did some other shopping. I decided Victory Brewing's DirtWolf Double IPA sounded like a charming option.
Now I had no clue about the name. No Hop Devil or Hop Wallop cartoons, just an illustration of some crazy plants. After reading the story on the side, it turns out that the those plants are hops, and DirtWolf is the nickname for them and their comeback in the American Craft Beer scene.
Pine aroma with sweet orange and tropical mango. Very nice. Big bitter pine flavors start, chewy and sticky. Powerfully hoppy and spicy with the 8.7% alcohol intensifying that aspect. Yet there is still a softer fruity elegant side, some juicy orange and mango and peach. Great balance, leaning bitter as expected and desired.
Now, the alcohol is on the alcoholic side, a little hot. And the mouthfeel of the beer in general is a little rough on the palate, but those are the only places this beer loses any points (not that I'm keeping score). The delicious flavors and complexity make this a complete success! Check it out for sure!
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Magic Hat sent me a bottle of their newest winter seasonal, G-Thing Ginger Spice Ale. The label depicts a gingerbread man flipping an electricity switch and bringing himself to life. In fact, the neck label says "It's Alive... With Spice!" about the beer. And here I thought G Thing was a Dr. Dre and Snoop Lion song! 5.7% alcohol.
Chocolate roasty aroma with lots of ginger. Gave it a vigorous swirl and interestingly smelled black licorice and some smoke. And the ginger seems less intense after a few whiffs.
Cocoa powder and a nice malty roasted flavor start things off. That roast gets intensified as the flavors seem to become more smokey and charred after a few sips. The ginger is also definitely there--OK at the start but built to an annoyingly dominant crescendo. Didn't like that part and didn't finish the bottle. Amen.
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
After my appearance a few weeks ago on the ByTheGlassShow featuring Saint Arnold Brewing, I talked the brewery into sending me a few samples to review for this site. Remember, eventually they will be distributed here in South Florida. One of the beers not featured on the show, Icon Bohemian Pils, was part of the package.
The label is black with a red foil Saint Arnold and lettering over it. Very difficult to read because of the lack of contrast between the two. The story on the back label explains that the brewery uses their Icon Series to experiment with new recipes and put out some new beers. Bottled 110513.
Not a very powerful aroma, hoppy with lemon and grass. Nice sweet and bitter contrast with the flavors. You start with some lemon and grassy bitterness, quite spicy with a nice fresh sharpness on the palate. Grainy sweetness with toast add balance before you are again whisked into an excellent bitter finish. I liked it. Simple, easy drinker, good flavors, recommended.