Friday, July 18, 2014

#249: Jack's Abby Brewing » Session Rye IPL

Jack's Abby Brewing » Session Rye IPL | ABV: 3.8% | IBUs: 40 | Rating: 8.6%

My partner and I kicked off last Friday's at-home tasting with this new brew from Jack's Abby. Everything Jack's has been solid or impressive, so I was intrigued at the prospect of a quality, very low ABV beer from these MA lager innovators.

This Session Rye is a hazy, translucent amber with plenty of foamy, fluffy white head. The nose puffs up a soft plume of spicy citrus aromas. From first sip, it's a clean, refreshing, drinkable ride, but with ample character.

Having Centennial, Chinook, Columbus and Crystal hops at the very end of the boil, provides a distinctive, but subtle hop bitterness that never gets too biting. Rye heat and floral notes compliment nicely.

Overall, an excellent alternative to the session-IPA craze with a bit more character and subtle quality than most, though not the most hop-forward, if that's what you're seeking. Great body for such a low ABV. I'd encourage this to find its way to 6-packs.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

#248: Flying Dog Brewery » Easy IPA

Flying Dog Brewery » Easy IPA | ABV: 4.8% | IBUs: 50 | Rating: 8.0%

Stemming from Flying Dog's Brewhouse Rarities series, Easy IPA has made it's way into year-round rotation and was second in our home tasting.

This session IPA pours up a transparent straw color crowed with a fluffy white head. Soft, mild hop aromas rise with a touch of pine and citrus. The flavor is quite mild with a minerally, mid-level bitterness in the finish.

Overall, there's really not that much going on here. I see this more as a brew that I'd grab while out at a bar when something other than beer is the focus. It's pleasant, well-balanced, but a bit too safe for this beer enthusiast's liking.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

#247: Tröegs Brewing Company » LaGrave (Belgian-style Tripel)

Tröegs Brewing Company » LaGrave (Belgian-style Tripel)
ABV: 8% | Rating: 8.7/10

I've unfortunately only been privy to a couple of Tröegs batch brews, so I'm not as well versed on the full-caliber of their offerings, but Nugget Nectar, Flying Mouflan and others have always been impressive, so I've been looking forward to this LaGrave since it first caught my eye with it's classy, caged cork.

As the 3rd bottle in, during an in-home tasting session, LaGrave meets us with a hazy golden body and fluffy, staying white head whose lace clings for the full drink duration.

The nose is somewhat transparent, with mild notes of yeast, banana, and confection sugar. Lively carbonation follows onto the palate, presenting a firm, traditional Belgian-tripel body and mouthfeel. Firm flavors of savory spice and very slight chili give this strong brew a shot of complexity. Soft, sweet malts caress the palate the whole journey through.

Overall, a pleasant foray into Belgian-styles in bottles for Tröegs and worth a try for any Belgian fan, however it's a bit shy of much of what's going on across the pond and other Belgian-style American houses. Curious how this one would age and where Tröegs continues with this solid offering.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

#246: Dark Horse Brewing Co. » Double Crooked Tree (IPA)

Dark Horse Brewing Co. » Double Crooked Tree (IPA)
ABV: 12% | Rating: 9.3

Aptly names, this DIPA is a double version of Dark Horse's Crooked Tree offering. Only my third Dark Horse, having nearly missed Smell Like A Safety Meeting, I've jumped on to make sure I get a bit broader view of their offerings.

Double Crooked Tree pours up with a deep, amber body and thick, staying, head of lace. The nose is impeccable - sweet raisin, cane sugar, caramel, coconut... a damn fine and potent collection of aromas.

Down the hatch it's barelywine characteristics up front quickly followed by a chili-hot DIPA - WOW. There's tons of hop heat on the finish here.

A sipper of a beer for sure. Rich, buttery mouthfeel, complex and huge the whole way through with charcoal notes in the finish; all wrapped up spicy and dry.

Overall, a heck of an IPA that holds its own amongst the big-ABV IPAs and recommended for the big-beer fans.

After some time between my first Dark Horse and these last two, I've surely discovered what all the buzz is about. I personally was a bit more struck with the unique palate of Smells Like A Safety Meeting, but my bet sees this DCT as a more widely-cheered brew.

Monday, July 14, 2014

#245: Dark Horse Brewing Co. » Smells Like A Safety Meeting (IPA)

Dark Horse Brewing Co. » Smells Like A Safety Meeting (IPA)
ABV: 8.5% | Rating: 9.3

I picked up a handful of single bottles from the newly expanded Fingerlakes Beverage Center that hadn't yet checked out this spring / summer that we'll run through this week, starting with Dark Horse's curiously monikered, 4/20 release.

Smells Like A Safety Meeting arrives with an amber-coffee colored body topped with a tuft of lacy, ivory head. Huge hop aromas permeate even before the pour is finished. Sticky fumes of resin, raisin, toffee, tangerine, and honey follow upon a closer whiff.

A strong, unique burst of flavors drops onto the palate - like a barelywine-meets-IPA. Dank notes of pine and sap with a curious flavor that follows all the way to the throat... we'll find it.

It's herbal, sticky up front and devilishly dry on the finish. Upon further discussion, grilled rum-pineapple is the flavor we pull out further out which seeps through slightly charred and burnt sugar notes.

Overall, a unique, high-power, hop-tastic brew that's a few clicks shy of sane. Recommended.

#244: Victory Brewing Co. » White Monkey (Barrel-Aged Tripel)

(bright days sometimes = grainy pics!)

Victory Brewing Co. »  White Monkey (Tripel aged in Oak White Wine Barrles)
ABV: 9.5% | Rating: 8.8/10

This barrel-aged version of Golden Monkey has been on my wish-again list since catching it at a tasting in 2012.

It starts off with a sweet nose that's elegant and soft, fueled by savory spices and sweet coconut. Lively carbonation rushes onto the palate with flavors of smooth stone fruits like white peach and apricot, threaded with distinct notes of vanilla and a breath of oak. There's even a touch of hot, mineral notes that peak through later on.

Overall, a great variation on a popular favorite and a great value from a barrel-aged brew for the price.

Friday, July 11, 2014

News: Fingerlakes Beverage Center expands!

Our good friends at Fingerlakes Beverage Center are expanding!!

(just a short walk down the end of their East Coast isle...)

(welcome to their bigger, beautifully brighter cold case!)

(West Coast...)

( East Coast!)

More info & better picks coming soon.