Beers in Review: Pre-Thanksgiving Edition

Leading off today's BiR is Yeoman's Brown Ale from Greenville, South Carolina's Brewery 85. It checks in at 7% ABV (UPDATE: Current batches are 6.4% ABV. I got 7% from the Brewery 85 website.) and 16 IBU, and the beer pours a medium brown color with maybe just a hint of haze. Yeoman's has a decent malt backbone, and a very slight sweetness with caramel notes and a hint of cola in there, as well. I also detected a roasted coffee note, as well as something I couldn't QUITE place. I wanted to say it was something like coconut, or dare I say, artificial coconut. I'm in no way certain that that is what I tasted, and the tasting notes make no mention of coconut, but that is how I'm best interpreting that last flavor note. Despite that last bit, I found this to be a decent brown ale.

(UPDATE, 9:30pm: The folks at Brewery 85 were kind enough to reach out to me via Twitter regarding what I was perceiving as coconut. They pointed out, as is indicated on their website, that additional chocolate and rum flavor notes are typically found in this brown ale, and that may be what I was interpreting as the coconut flavor, somehow. Heck, I may also have been misinterpreting the cola note, as well. -J)

Next up is Service Brewing Company, a Savannah, Georgia-based brewery owned by veterans. Ground Pounder is their year-round core Pale Ale, and named in honor of the infantry soldiers of the Army. Sessionable at 4.6% ABV, the beer pours a nice, hazy orange, and had a solid roughly 2 fingers of head coming out of the can. A massive, bright citrus note was obvious at the start of the drinking experience, though it shortly gave way to peppery notes and just a hint of pine. While there are plenty of flavors generated by the hops, there is almost no bite--just a slight kick at the VERY END of the drinking experience. This is not shocking, given the relatively low 37 IBU (I find that most pales and IPAs tend to clock in at a bare minimum of 40 IBU, though there are exceptions). Just a hint of maltiness rounds out the flavor profile, though both the actual malt and hop presence are both mild enough that I can't really comment on a balance between the two. Still, those hops are creating plenty of nice flavor notes that result in a tasty pale ale.

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.