Beers in Review: Odds and Ends

5 beers up for review today, including a couple of homebrews from a family friend. Let's get to it!

We start off with River Falls Red Ale from Thomas Creek Brewery. Their award-winning flagship ale pours a nice copper color, and is medium-bodied. It features a solid malt backbone with dark fruit flavor notes, along with some nice additional caramel and toffee notes. As I said, I am big on malt-forward beers, and this is one of my favorites. A really tasty red ale.

Next up is Firestone Walker Brewing Company's summer seasonal session IPA, called Easy Jack. It's a nice gold color, and opens delightfully grapefruity with a mild hop presence. Citrus notes dominate, with orange joining the initial grapefruit notes. It is an IPA that's pretty smooth, with a pretty clean finish. With a great citrus flavor, and checking in at just 4.5% ABV, this beer nails the definition of "sessionable".

Schlafly Beer's/The Saint Louis Brewery's summer seasonal American IPA pours a nice, hazy golden color. It has a complex flavor profile, leading off with spicy and hoppy notes. This gives way to assorted special citrus notes, including sweet orange candies and orange rind. There is an initially mild hop bitterness, which ramps up big time as it warms. A really nice AIPA.

Finally, two home-brewed beers made by a friend of the family, called Coyote Cool Brewing. The first was supposed to be a Double IPA, though it poured a brownish-copper color. This beer really seems to be more of a brown ale, featuring a nice maltiness and cocoa notes. There was also a minor red wine note, along with some kind of candy. I really enjoyed this beer--it's absolutely delicious. But it was not a Double IPA.

The second offering was a Black IPA with Cocoa Nibs. Pouring a pitch black, this beer had a really good malt/hop balance, with mild bitterness and mild unsweetened cocoa notes towards the back. In talking with the homebrewer, he acknowledged that he wanted more cocoa out of it, and I agree. But I really enjoyed the balance in this beer. I feel like Black IPAs can be tough to nail, but this was a really solid first effort.