Beers in Review: Dangerous Wits

I'm starting off today's BiR with a ramped-up version of the Wildflower Wit from Natty Greene's Brewing Company in Greensboro, NC. Wilderflower Imperial Wit checks in at a powerful 9+% ABV. It pours a hazy peach-to-orange color. There are plenty of spices coming through the flavor profile. That profile also features plenty of fruit notes, including some citrus specifically. There is a mild level of sweet booziness present as well--not a shock at the ABV level. But a really enjoyable beer, and perhaps a bit dangerous, as it is quite drinkable at over 9%!

Next up is a sessionable Blonde Ale from North Charleston, SC's Freehouse Brewery. Folly's Pride is designed to be drinkable in any situation, most notably the long, hot summers so present in the Carolinas. Pouring a crystal clear pale yellow, this Blonde is brewed with grapefruit, and that serves up the primary flavor notes in multiple ways. While there is a general citrus note, as well as the meaty grapefruit flesh, I found the bitter grapefruit rind to be the most-forward flavor note, with a fair amount of bitterness accompanying it. Personally, I could have used with a hair less of that bitterness, but otherwise, this is a light, crisp, low-ABV (4.8%) ale that serves as a solid summer option.

Beers in Review: Notables from Craft & Draft Octoberfest

Greetings from PRB Northern Command!




It's my parents' house.

And no, I did not run away from the hurricane (though I hope anyone reading this that was in its path is safe and secure), but traveled up here for personal reasons. But travelling won't stop me from writing about beer! I still have to write about quite a few beers from the Craft and Draft Octoberfest event, and this intro is already overly long, so let's get started!

First up is a seasonal lager from Hi-Wire Brewing. The charmingly-titled Zirkusfest pours a nice deep copper color, and opens up with a slightly sweet malt backbone. Also among the flavors is a semi-sweet caramel note, along with some other burnt sugars. This all leads to a crisp and fairly clean finish. I found this to be a pretty solid Marzen overall, though it was perhaps a bit overshadowed by some of the other offerings at this event.

Next is another fall seasonal, Thicket Autumn IPA by Natty Greene's Brewing Company. Also pouring a copper color, a standard of most fall beers, I was quite impressed by the hop/malt balance. The nice, spicy malts blend well with dank and piney hop notes. I found little-to-no sweetness in this beer, though it should be noted I had this immediately after the Zirkfusfest, which DID have a bit of sweetness to it. Such can be the hazards of reviewing at such an event. I found this to be a really nice beer, though. The balance of flavors was very pleasing to me. I probably need to try to track this down and try it solo, away from all other beers. Perhaps as a video review?

We now switch gears into more fruity selections, beginning with a fruited Berliner-Weiss from Southern Barrel Brewing Company. Wild Bramble pours a pretty fruity reddish-pink color with a considerable amount of haze. The flavors are pretty straight forward; the Berliner-Weiss is made with raspberries and blackberries, and so those tart berry flavors come through in a strong way. This beer is light, crisp, refreshing, and pretty tasty--everything you would want out of a Berliner-Weiss.

Today's final entry comes from Good Times Brewing. Not Your Grandma's Peach Cobbler is a Bourbon barrel-aged Brown Ale. The color follows suit to the style: a somewhat cloudy brown color. While there were some malt hints detectable in this beer, a few other flavors overtook those malts. Peach and peach skin are quite present, along with a little bit of a brown sugar note. There is also perhaps a hint of booze. Even so, a nice tasty beer that brings some differing elements from your standard Brown.


Beers in Review: Fruity

Today's trio of beers have one thing in common: all have some sort of fruit used in their recipes. Let's dive in!

Leading off is the Lexington Spring IPA from Natty Greene's Brewing Company. This IPA uses smoked malts and fresh peaches for their unique flavor. Pouring a hazy deep gold color, the peaches merge will with hops for lots of citrus and tropical fruit flavor notes. There's plenty of peach specifically, of course, though the beer is not especially sweet. There are also some dank and piney hop notes, as well, and the beer has a pretty clean finish.

Next is Harpoon Brewery's Summer seasonal Camp Wannamango pale ale--feel free to guess the fruit addition. It pours a light gold color, and has some citrus hints, but the big hitters are mango and peach, with a bit of funk also present and a moderate hop bite at the very end. There is plenty of fruit pleasant in this pale ale, but like above, is isn't overpoweringly sweet, which I enjoy.

Finally, SPF 50/50, which is Red Hare Brewing Company's version of a Radler. Radlers are a German mixed-style of drink, where some type of beer is typically mixed with lemonade or something similar. Red Hare has taken their core Gangway IPA and mixed it with their own house-made grapefruit juice to create their unique India Pale Radler...can we call it an IPR? Anyway, it pours a pretty hazy straw-gold color, and is quite sweet, far sweeter than anything else reviewed here. The sweetness is cut slightly by a very light hop bite and some piney hop notes. Sweet grapefruit is the primary flavor note to this Radler--everything else is pretty well in the background. A well done beer, but a hair too sweet for me to enjoy more than one or two.

Beers in Review: A pair of pales

A pale ale and an IPA on tap for today's reviews. Let's do it!

Natty Greene Brewing Company's Southern Pale Ale, their only year-round pale ale (also have 2 seasonal IPAs) pours a gold color and has a medium body. Interesting blend of hop flavors, initially showing off bright citrus flavor before leading into a hint of piney hops as well. Not too complex, but a very solid flavor profile coming out of this pale ale. It is pretty crisp to drink and has a pretty clean finish.

Next up is Eight Point IPA from Devils Backbone Brewing Company. A similar light gold or rich hay color with a light-to-medium body, the flavor is bold, hitting you with rich piney hops, along with some dank hints and maybe a something a little bit herbal or peppery. Despite the strong flavors, there is only a moderate amount of bitterness that tends to occur towards the end of the sip. The overall result is a beer that is surprisingly NOT overpowering, as some hop-powered beers can be. That hop bitterness hangs around the palate and the throat for a little bit after drinking.

Coming this weekend, two words: Beer spa!

Beers in Review: Including a Triple Collaboration

Returning to the realm of the written word (expect the next video review early next week), we'll open with a live tasting of Natty Greene Brewing Company's Red Nose Winter Ale. Having a red ale base, it pours an almost iced tea-like color and a pretty heavy body. The first impression is that of malty sweetness, and gradually, a number of other flavors blend into that sweetness. I'm getting some citrus hints, and a little of what I call the "fall/winter spice blend"--maybe a bit of nutmeg or cinnamon, something in that vein. It's not very strong, which is fine with me. There is a non-hoppy bite at the end from something--I can't quite identify the flavor, but doesn't really feel out of place.

Next up is a triple collaboration from Stone Brewing, Ecliptic Brewing, and Wicked Weed Brewing. Points Unknown IPA is labelled as a "double IPA blended with a barrel-aged Belgian-style Tripel". I typically don't want to quote bottles or websites, but given this beer's complexity, I feel they explaining it best:

The Tripel was transferred into barrels that originally housed red wine before finding a second life as vessels for aging tequila. Four months later, that beer was excavated, then blended at one-fourth to three-fourths ratio with the freshly brewed double IPA to create...a blend of the traditional and the new, presenting a variety of diverse flavors that coalesce into something more unique than any one beer

The beer poured cloudy and apricot-colored, and contained a mild hop bitterness. Coming in a 9.5% ABV, and with the use of wine/tequila barrels, boozy notes were pretty prominent, along with even some straight-up alcohol flavors. In addition, lots of fruit and red wine notes were present. I had a 22oz bottle of this, and really enjoyed about the first half, but the second half of the bottle became a bit of chore to drink. That's just me.

As one last note, I also had a draft of Sam Adams' Cold Snap winter seasonal, but I think there might have been something wrong with the keg or the system. I might just need to stop trying to judge drafts from this particular local watering hole. I will try to give it one more chance before the spring beers come in, but we'll see.