Beers in Review: Back to a Threesome

I'm going back to doing three beers in this review, mostly because I had a really good beer today that I want to share. That will be the last one up.

But first up, a couple from the weekend. First up is an offering from one of A-B InBev's latest High End acquisitions, Virginia's Devils Backbone Brewing Company. Their core IPA, Eight Point IPA, clocks in a 6.2% ABV and 70 IBU. The particular watering hole where I had this beer was pretty dimly lit, so I called it a "roughly gold" color,but your actual mileage may vary. I also noted a highly carbonated mouthfeel. Overall, the flavor profile brought varied flavors to the tasting experience, but all were mild to medium in intensity, with no one flavor standing out or overpowering the others. I got a little bit of citrus, mild to moderate pine notes, some sweetness in the front half of the tasting experience, and a moderate (constant, but not overpowering) hop bite that carried into the aftertaste. This hop bite, really, was the most prominent flavor note of them all, so I wasn't a big fan of that. A decent, drinkable, if unremarkable, IPA.

Next up is the final beer from the Shiner Family Reunion variety pack from Spoetzl Brewery near Austin, Texas. The Bohemian Black Lager poured like a very dark cola to near black color, with 4.9% ABV, 18 IBU, and a medium-to-heavy body. It's a fairly basic schwarzbier (black beer). I got toasty and roasty malt notes with a slight graininess at the start of the drinking experience, and a very slight grainy note throughout. I also noticed that the beer had a fairly high amount of carbonation, but was a quite smooth and gentle drinker. Basic but good enough.

Finally, from Alpine, California's Alpine Beer Company is their Session IPA, Hoppy Birthday. Coming in at 5.25% ABV and 69 IBU, this beer pours a crystal clear gold color. Six different hops are used in this Session IPA, resulting in a bit of pine and lots of grassy field notes. I think I also got some hop candy flavors, fueled by a mild sweetness throughout the tasting experience. I probably need to track down some hop candy, just to be sure. It had a dank aftertaste, and the mouthfeel brought some interesting carbonation. It was a prickly sensation in my mouth, almost to the point of being a tad rough. This was a very minor note, as the flavors of Hoppy Birthday were truly outstanding.

Beers in Review: Sextet

With the upcoming series of Irish beers this week, I don't want to leave any kind of backlog of pending beer reviews. So, I'll be knocking out six different beers in today's review. Let's get to it!

Leading off is Goose Island Beer Company's Green Line Pale Ale. It pours a crystal clear gold or honey color. Generally mild and well-balanced, initial impressions are of piney and citrusy hops and a hint of fruitiness. This all leads to a mild maltiness in the finish, along with some herbal flavors. The ABV is slightly high to fit into this category, but this pale ale otherwise falls into the "sessionable" category.

Next up is Brewery 85's Quittin' Time. Pouring a pale gold with a moderate amount of body and a notable amount of carbonation (with a white, pillowy head), this beer had some grassy and biscuit or grainy notes, but the most notable flavors were that of banana, and some kind of spice, something in the clove/all-spice vein (though, that may just be me interpreting the banana flavor).

Westbrook Brewing Company's Bearded Farmer #5 (also called "Thornhill") is a combination of sour and non-sour ales. Westbrook's Bearded Farmer series is a series of Saisons, which makes this all add up to quite a complex beer. A pale-yellow color, the first thing that hits are the citrusy notes from the sour side. The sour kick is noticeable but pretty mild, not overwhelming like some sours (this is helped by the "hybridness" of the ale). Eventually, the flavors transform into some very light grains as well as some funky Belgian notes along with some fruity Belgian sweetness. I would have called this one of the most complex beers I've had recently, if not for what came after this last night...

Evil Twin Brewing always makes stuff that's out there. It's not a surprise--they're from Denmark. Their collaboration with Connecticut's Two Roads Brewing Company resulted in Two Evil Geyser Goze. Now, because I don't think you'll believe my impressions, I feel the need to quote the Two Roads website's description of this beer, where they used "Icelandic moss, rye, herbs, sea kelp, skyr (Icelandic yogurt) and birch-smoked sea salt" in creating this beer. The Geyser Goze pours a light lemon color, and has very little body. Flavor notes? Smoky. Vegetal. Seaweed, of course. Peas (like, the vegetable). Once my palate started to adapt a little bit, I got some sweet hints, most notably of strawberries, but it was very faint. It wasn't sour, and only barely sweet. I can appreciate what Evil Twin and Two Roads were going for, but at the end of the day, it wasn't a beer for me.

Alpine Beer Company's Duet IPA brought me back down to earth a bit. Maybe it was just my palate recovering, but I found this beer to be quite straight-forward. A nice golden color with some body, I got a strong grassy aroma. Flavors of piney hops and sweet fruitiness. Pretty light overall. I enjoyed this beer, but I probably need to give it a second chance considering how extreme its predecessor was.

Finally, Southern Tier Brewing Company's 2X Smash, a Double IPA. Again, this is a beer I may need to revisit at a later date, but my local watering hole seemed to be excited about it, and had it in very short supply. I found the color beautiful, a rose gold (reddish-gold) hue. The DIPA led off with mild dank hops that leads to lots of nice tropical fruit notes--things like passion fruit, mango, and maybe some citrus. The hops were present but there was no bite; a bit of hop sweetness blended well with these tropical notes. The result was pleasantly sweet without being overwhelming.