Beers in Review: A Pair of Pale Ales

Opening up today’s BiR is a highly-regarded offering that comes out every February from NoDa Brewing Company in Charlotte. Hop Cakes Imperial IPA comes out of their bi-monthly Specialty IPA series, and stays true to the name, with loads of Vermont maple syrup included in this recipe. The numbers on this beer are massive: 10.2% ABV, somewhere in the neighborhood of 110+ IBU. It pours a clear solid gold color, and the maple syrup first comes through in a powerfully sweet aroma. In the beer itself, I found plenty of booy sweetness and maple syrup notes, but they surprisingly didn’t overwhelm me (and I’m one that can be overwhelmed by that sweetness fairly easily). Other flavor notes include just a hint of pine and a mild hop bite, and the booziness ramps up as it warms.

Second up today is COAST Brewing Company and their Dead Arm American Pale Ale. 6% ABV, this beer pours a pale gold color with a very slight haze. I found the beer to be fairly light in flavors and body, with citrus and other fruit notes. A mild hop bite with some nice grassy and crackery notes are also present—that hop bite tended to really come through in the finish.

Beers in Review: Out of the box hoppy beers

All of the beers in today's write-up are hoppy, but have a little twist to them. Let me tell you, this is a trio of really good beers, so let's get to it!

Juicy Mandarina is an IPA from New Belgium Brewing Company's Hop Kitchen series, and features a whole lot of wheat beer characteristics, including 3 different types of wheat as well as a Hefeweizen yeast. It pours a hazy gold color with a thick white head. It leads with nice mild-to-moderate citrus notes that support a decent hop bite. I got some grassy notes and maybe a hint of dankness as well. There is also a slightly juicy quality in the mouthfeel-definitely present, but not quite biting-into-a-fruit level. I enjoyed this IPA--it hits a good avenue of what I like, combining the wheat qualities into an IPA.

Next up is a seasonal hoppy Red Ale from Coast Brewing Company called Carnie Fire. The first things I picked up were malt with spicy and earthy notes, along with piney hops and a good amount of bitterness. There was also a slight sweet note in there--maybe vanilla or something sugary. Overall, there is nothing mild about this beer. It is a big time flavor experience.

Finally, Founders Brewing Company's ReDANKulous Imperial Red IPA. It pours a deep brown color with some ruby highlights, and some of the initial flavor notes include fruits like cherries and perhaps plum and other dark fruits. There are also some spice notes and plenty of dank hoppiness. For clocking in at nearly 10% ABV, it's not really boozy, which has its advantages and disadvantages. Another beer where these great flavors really push through strongly. Great stuff.

Beers in Review: Two from NoDa, one from Coast

Let's dive right in.

A have a pair of beers from NoDa Brewing Company. First up is the Ramble on Red, pouring a reddish-copper hue. Leading off, flavor-wise, were some bready malts and some fruity notes. I also detected a little bit of funkiness and some mild hop bitterness. Overall, I found it quite straight-forward, flavor-wise.

Next up from NoDa is the Woody and Wilcox IPA. Similarly straight-forward in flavor, there were some pine hop notes at the start leading to some citrus and just a hint of dankness as well. A very hop-forward beer, it tends to bring a lot of hop bitterness that carries through the entire sip.

For the final beer of this post, I just poured Coast Brewing Company's Dead Arm APA (American Pale Ale). The Dead Arm pours a hazy lemon-gold color with a decent amount of fluffy, white head. The first sip yields a complex hop variety--dank and piney hops lead off but very quickly lead into juicy, fruity notes, most notably apricot. Some citrus notes are also hanging around, mostly orange and slight grapefruit. There's maybe a little bit of a white wine hit there, but it's very faint. The end brings some mild bitterness, nothing too off-putting, along with some spiciness. I was delightfully surprised by the flavor complexities in this beer. It is a well done APA.

Beer in Review LIVE: COAST's HopArt IPA

I'm fighting off the tryptophan (which is a misnomer, but this isn't a culinary blog) with a can of HopArt from COAST Brewing. Enjoy this quick live review!

This IPA is opaque, and the sip starts with a brief slight kick of alcohol followed by powerful sweet malty notes. The middle is a bit of a transition, and so it's a little tough to figure out what's going on. The transition leads into some bitter hop flavors that doesn't really hang around too much.

COAST, from Charleston, is one of the highly-regarded breweries in South Carolina. HopArt is a very good beer, though some of the flavor notes tend to make me want to push this into either the American Pale Ale or (given the 7.7% ABV) Double IPA territory. Still, this is a solid representative from COAST.