It's halftime in the South Carolina/Florida game, and I want to finish this post I started last night, so there's no time for dilly-dallying. Let's get to it!
Boulevard Brewing Company opens up this edition of BiR with their Tropical Pale Ale. Pouring an orange-to-gold color, with a ton of carbonation, this beer features massive tropical fruit aromas, including mango and papaya, along with some citrus fruit hints, as well. These major fruit notes continue into the flavor profile, which also features a mild hop bit at the very end of the drinking experience and almost pushing into the aftertaste. The mouthfeel of this beer is remarkable. The fruits used create a bright and slightly juicy feeling the mouth that is very enjoyable. Along with the carbonation, these notes from the mouthfeel give a powerful and refreshing liveliness to the beer.
Next up is Sweet Josie Brown from Lonerider Brewing Company. I find Lowrider to be a generally very solid, if unspectacular, beer producer, and the brown falls into this category quite well. It pours a deep brown color with some copper highlights, while the flavor profile brings plenty of caramel malts and some mild biscuity notes. Caramel and toffee also lead into a hint of smokiness, or some sort of burnt note. For me all of these flavors came together into a mild but noticeable French (very dark) roast coffee note for me--while I generally enjoy such coffee notes, this one went a little too far in the overroast/burnt direction. Again, very solid for the style, though I wouldn't mind a hair less of that burnt note.
Next up is Brown Ryed Girl from Unknown Brewing Company. It also pours a very dark brown color, and features nice roast (not as dark or burnt as the Lonerider) and cocoa and burnt sugar notes that bring an almost perfect level of sweetness. A slight spicy rye note is also present, and the beer has a nice malt backbone and just a bit of creaminess in the mouthfeel. This brown seemed to hit near-bullseyes for certain parts of my palate--not overly roasty, not overly sweet, nice mild spice note.
Finally, Southern Tier Brewing Company's Cherry Gose, which is officially an Imperial Gose (8.3% ABV) brewed with tart cherry juice. Beer is a pretty lightish red, but not pink, color, and I found the flavor notes to generally be on the mild side. Of course, there are cherry and berry notes throughout, though the gose has barely any sweetness, and there is a sour bite that pushes up at the end of the drinking experience. I found this gose to be straight forward. The beer hits its notes (mild sourness, very slight sweetness, cherry notes) well, and it all works out fine. I've had better goses in the past, though.
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.
Beer seasons move so quickly. It's always a tad disconcerting to see Samual Adams put up their pumpkin beers in JULY. And the excuse they gave me a few years back was that they "didn't make enough summer seasonal", so they decided to just ship the next seasonal. If that's their business plan, so be it. But I personally disagree with that sentiment.
But I digress. The point is, given Christmas is nearly upon us, we've moved out of the cinnamon/nutmeg/clove/all-spice holiday beers that dominate the 4th quarter of the calendar year and into the true winter season: heavier styles with typically high alcohol content, and typically darker styles like porters and stouts, and old ales or strong ales from more-ambitious brewers. We'll get to a couple of old ales later.
First up is the local, which is a bit of a revisit. I first did a quick Beer Flight fly-by of River Rat's Broad River Red in October while I was getting caught up on my beer tastings. I revisited the beer to bring more detail this time around. So, let's get to it. Broad River is among the tastier reds I've had. Malts dominate the make up of this ale, resulting in some grainy, toasty flavors followed by caramelly sweetness. It has a light-to-medium body, and is very smooth and easy-drinking. Arguably, this might be my favorite beer out of my favorite hometown brewery.
The first of our winter seasonals is Southern Tier Brewing Company's Old Man Winter. The Old Man pours a reddish brown color, and contained hints of caramel, nice dark fruit sweetness, and additional boozy sweetness. Piney hops also were present, and contributed a fair amount of hop bitterness to the taste.
The second seasonal was Great Divide Brewing Company's Hibernation Ale, which poured a muddy brown color. It contained a whole lot of boozy sweetness (coming in at 8.7% ABV) and not a lot of body to me. Flavors included coffee hints along with caramel and toffee sweetness. Roasty maltiness comes through in the finish of the taste, and remains in the aftertaste. The Hibernation Ale to me seemed more indicative of the kinds of styles that tend to come out during this early calendar year season.