Monday, November 11, 2013

Victory, Dirt Wolf Double IPA

Here is a new offering from Victory Brewing Company that brings them up to speed with some of their hot and heavy competition in the global hops race! I have to admit that I fell in love with Victory when I first got into craft beers, but as the years have gone on and more and more craft breweries popped up with new exciting styles and hop profiles, I had written Victory off as stagnant brewery. Then Summer Love came about and gave me a chance to reevaluate the brewery. This latest offering is just the kind of innovation that will win back hardcore hop heads that no longer swoon over heavy malty offerings like Hop Wallop or Hop Devil.

Dirt Wolf double IPA is a big, bold, hoppy brew that clocks in at 8.7% ABV and has a great hop line up of Citra, Chinook, Simcoe and the newest hop Mosaic. The aroma is a big resiny, piney hop punch that does not disapoint on the taste buds. The big resiny hop flavor coats the tongue without being heavy and malty. The old philosphy that a big, hoppy beer has to be tempered with a rich, malty backbone has been offically debunked with great beers like Lagunita's Little Sumpin Sumpin and Uinta's Hop Notch. This light bodied but super hopped up brew has been compared to the famous Heady Topper (which I can't comment on since I haven't had it yet) which is very high praise.

If you like Sierra Nevada's Hoptimum, Firestone Walker's Union Jack or Weyerbacher's Double Simcoe they I think you will fall in love with this brew. A must try for anyone who didn't think Victory could wow your tastebuds anymore.

Personal Rating: 9.5/10
Style Rating: 9.5/10

Wanna try it now? Order it online at:

Colorado, Vixnu Imperial IPA

What we have here folks is the first Brazilian craft beer being imported into the United States. This is a Brazilian take on the very popular craft beer style of Imperial IPAs or as we call them DIPA (Double IPA). This Brazilian beer is named Vixnu after the Hindu god Vishnu the creator. It is brewed with a load of sticky hops and local rapadura sugar that kicks up the alcohol to 9.5%. The sugar provides a nice ABV without giving it a malty richness. This beer reminds me of the first IPA's that got me hooked on the hoppy bitter brew that has become my go to craft beer style.

The aromas on this beer are all tropical: pineapple, mango, passionfruit and a hint of lime zest. It is not very aggressive on the hop aromas, in fact I gave a sip to a few non-hopheads and they loved the smell but the hoppy, bitter finish did them in. The finish has a nice sticky, resiny finish that is not very long, but enough to satisfy. This would be a great session beer if it were not so high in alcohol. This didn't pose much of a problem for a professional like myself, as I downed the 600ml bottle in less then 15 mins while watching a great Eagles game (which doesn't happen every Sunday).

Overall this is a really unique beer that showcases the different takes on our American Double IPA style. The use of a local sugar and the fact that it is the first craft import from this country make this a high recommendation in my book. If you have some friends just dipping their toes into the IPA world, then this is a must for them. Look for more varieties from this brewery coming soon!

Personal Rating: 8.5 /10
Style Rating: 9/10

Wanna try it now? Order it online at:

Monday, October 28, 2013

Troegs Brewery Expansion

Here's some local brew news about tries Brewery out in Pennsylvannia. 
Pennsylvania’s Troegs Brewing Co. is expanding with the addition of 24 fermentation tanks—each holding the equivalent of 10,000 (2.25-gallon) cases—to its brewery in Hershey. Pennlive reports that Troegs has also started production on its new cork-and-cage bottling line, which is being used for larger format bottles, and is testing a new canning line, with canned beers—including Troegs’ Perpetual IPA and Troegenator brews—expected to hit the market around Thanksgiving. The cork-and-cage line is rolling out beers like triple golden ale Lagrave in 375-ml. bottles and Master of Pumpkins in 750-ml. bottles, both due at retailers around the end of this month.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Sixpoint, Autumnation (2013)

A great shift in focus for this Autumn beer from Sixpoint Brewery out of New York. The 2011 and 2012 versions of this beer were billed as pumpkin beers. They were brewed with fresh pumpkin from NY state. The old beers were delicious because they were copper colored hop bombs. Needless to say they didn't sell very well in the store because hop heads avoided the pumpkin on the label and pumpkin beer fans were disappointed due to the lack of pumpkin flavor. Finally the brewery bit the bullet and changed their Autumnation from a pumpkin beer to a hoppy fall beer (same basic beer but with a new label).
While this is the same basic recipe for this beer, each year Sixpoint Brewery lets the hops be decided by its loyal fans. This year, they have choosen the new hop Mosaic. This newly culitvated hop is (HBC 369) is an aroma hop variety developed by Hop Breeding Company that was released in 2012. It offers a unique and complex blend of floral, tropical, fruity, and earthy characteristics that translate very favorably into
several styles of beer. Mosaic is the daughter of Simcoe and a Nugget derived male.
This brew is definitely more aromatic then its past counterparts. It has a warm bready, carmel malty aroma upfront with a piney, resiny citrus aroma that wafts up from behind. The aromas falsely set up this beer because they trick you into thinking this is more of a Fall brown ale. The rich copper color and bready/nuttyness of the aroma definately say Fall beer with a little hop background. However, the first sip shows you what this beer really is, a secret hop bomb. Its no DIPA, but for a Fall beer it is quite hoppy. This reminders me of the new beer that Sierra Nevada just launched for Fall called Flipside. It too is a red/brown ale with a big hop wallop. Both are solid beers with enough hops to please the hopheads but a richness that goes perfectly with the cool Fall weather that just hit here. Plus, with the 6.7% abv, this is just enough to keep you toasty in front of a roaring fire at night!
Overall, I would highly recommend this beer. It is local, tasty and the best part, it comes in 16oz cans! This is a highly seasonal beer, so grab it before we drink it all.

Personal Rating: 9.5 /10
Style Rating: 5/10 (not sure what style this really fits)

Wanna try it now? Order it online at:

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Terrapin Brewing Company, RecreationAle Pale Ale

For all you Terrapin fans out there, here is the latest and greatest.... RecreationAle. This is the first Terrapin beer to be put into cans. The concept is that this is a beer you can bring camping, biking, hiking or any other outdoor sport. I was able to enjoy this after a long day of running around with the kids (kind of like a sport). It was very satisfying and refreshing but not devoid of flavor.

The brewers at Terrapin made an impressive Pale Ale here. They used Bravo, Centennial, Zythos and Amarillo hops with an addition of Galaxy hops for the dry hopping. It came out at 4.7% abv which is a nice "daytime" beer. The malts used to brew this beer give it a nice medium bodied mouthfeel without being heavy.

I was really impressed by this beer. As a canned craft beer advocate, it is great to see awesome breweries like Terrapin branch out and make a flavorful canned beer. The hops were nice and fragrant with a slight piney and light resiny quality. This is not an IPA, but it still packs a nice hop bitterness to make it a very flavorful Pale Ale.

Personal Rating: 9 / 10
Style Rating: 8 / 10

Wanna try it now? Order it online at:

Friday, August 23, 2013

Great Divide, Hoss Rye Lager

Here's a hidden Oktoberfest beer. We originally found this one in the variety pack that Great Divide sent us last year. This is the first year we have this beer in six packs. As you can see from the label on the right, the brewery is not billing this as a Oktoberfest beer however, according to the brewery, "Hoss is based on the Märzen lagers of Germany" which are what Oktoberfests are. 

This is a really interesting M
ärzen. With the addition of Rye to the traditional Vienna and Munich malt base this lager takes on spicy notes that complement the touch of richness from the malts. This brew is has layered sweet malt notes, with some hints of cherry and almond. The spiciness of the Rye definitely give this a more exciting feel then the run of the mill Oktoberfests. Even with the Rye, this beer still keeps the signature smooth finish of an Oktoberfest. 

I really enjoyed this beer from Great Divide. They took a traditional Fall beer and gave it a nice twist that makes it a little more crafty. If your in the mood for an smooth Oktoberfest beer but your tired of the same old selection, then you should definitely grab a six pack of this. Especially at $11.99 a six pack, it definitely delivers!

Personal Rating: 9 /10
Style Rating: 9.5

Wanna try it now? Order it online at:

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Great Lakes Brewing, Silver and Gold IPL

India Pale Lager, is this a new trend? I had never heard of any brewers doing a IPA in a lager style instead of the traditional ale style but recently Sam Adams released their Double Agent IPL and now Great Lakes is doing one for their 25th anniversary. This does seem like a good combo for Great Lakes because the beer that made them popular and started to win awards and accolades was their Dortmunder Gold Lager. Today, with IPAs being the hot beer category and Great Lakes producing a number of good IPAs, they have combined the past and present with an IPA brewed with their Dortmunder Gold Lager yeast. This makes for a very interesting combination with the hoppy aromatics but crisp lager finish.

When you pop open this beer the IPA lover in me is rewarded by a nice west coast style aroma. Citrus, pine and grapefruit waft from the glass giving this a good mark in my book for the IPA style aroma. This brew is clocking in at 7.5% ABV which seems to be a magic number with some of my favorite beers being right near this number (Lagunitas Little Sumpin Sumpin, Uinta Hop Notch and Troegs Perpetual IPA). When you take your first sip their is a slight hoppy bitterness up front but it is quickly replaced by light, crisp lager finish. This beer reminds me of Lagunitas Fractional IPA or Founders All Day IPA (both of which are below 5% ABV and taste like a hoppy Bud Light). I have to say that while I was not a fan of the two "daytime" IPA I just mentioned, it was more because the price point was too high. The beers were easy to drink but if your going to buy a case for a party it would set you back $40 or more. This IPL is very easy to drink and with the 7.5% ABV it at least gives you a bang for the $9.99 buck that you will shill out for this 4 pack.

Overall, I would recommend this beer for a nice warm Summer night where you want to session a few IPLs. Its refreshing enough that is will cool you down while a few brews will do the trick. Keep your eyes open as I have a good feeling you will be seeing more and more beers in this style.

Personal Rating: 9 /10
Style Rating: ??? for a new style

Wanna try it now? Order it online at:

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Cape Ann Brewing Company, Sunrise Saison

A new Summer seasonal for us but one that stands out from the crowd. What caught our interest was the Saison brewed with fresh strawberry and rhubarb. This sounds like it could be the perfect combination of sweet and tart.

The brewery elaborates on the inventive style saying they took "... a cue from a home brew recipe from Mr. Jumpers Home Brew club, we gave it our own spin and came up with the Sunrise Saison. Our first foray into Belgian styles of beer, Saisons were pale ales originally brewed in the farmhouses of Wallonia, the French speaking region of Belgium. Giving it our own twist, we’ve added 150 lbs of rhubarb and 250 lbs of whole strawberries. The result is a light pink hue and flavors that wonderfully compliment the natural tartness of a traditional saison." We normally don't carry much in the way of this brewery other than their pumpkin stout, but they do seem to have some interesting seasonal beers.

This brew clocks in at 7% which is similar to my other farmhouse saison Colette by Great Divide. When you pour this beer out you get a nice whiff of fresh strawberries. I clarify that statement with "fresh", because you don't get a fake, syrupy strawberry flavor. You definitely get that super ripe, juicy and slightly tart natural strawberry flavor. The aroma also has the classic farmhouse spice of lemon, coriander, clove and slight farm funk. I'm not quite sure what rhubarb smells like, but with the complexity of aromas coming out of this beer are very enjoyable. The flavor in the mouth is very tart and refreshing with just a ghost of sweetness at the end. A perfect beer for Summer that is both flavorful and easy to drink. I would highly recommend picking up a 6 pack especially at the $9.99 price while it is still in stock. I highly enjoyed this beer so I gave it a 9.5 rating, but I took a half a percent off the style rating simply because of the liberal addition of strawberries and rhubarb which while delicious are not normally found in farmhouse saisons. Cheers!

Personal Rating: 9.5 /10
Style Rating: 9 /10

Wanna try it now? Order it online at:

Friday, July 5, 2013

Stone, RuinTen IPA

Its Back! Stone Ruination's Tenth Anniversary Release was so popular when it was released last year in 2012 that they decided to bring it back for a second go around. These crazy son of a guns took the already super ampped up Ruination IPA, which is brewed to killed your taste buds, and exposed it to Super Gamma Rays and more then five pounds of whole hops in each barrel to create this Hulk of a beer. As any of our blog readers know by now, we LOVE hops. The more the better and we have not met an IPA or DIPA we couldn't easily kickback with. However, I have to turn in my man card and admit that I struggled to get through this beast of a beer. I did finish it but it was so super bitter and hoppy that I nursed it like a fine Cognac.

When you first crack this brew, it is a rich golden amber color with a sticky lacing from the creamy white foam. The aromas really do jump from the glass and fill up the room. My wife could smell the hops from across the room. They really do a nice combo of the classic Centennial hops blended with the relatively new Citra hop (almost 50/50 according to their website). The aromas are of concentrated citrus (lemon, orange, lime), resin mixed with tropical fruit, with a light spicy quality. It smells like a great IPA but it is very intense. The first sip is spiked with an aggressive tang of bitter hop and hot alcohol. After it does a number on your taste buds, it calms down a little bit. It does a good job of coating your taste buds with a sticky resin after coating. 

Overall, I did like this beer. It is a very extreme version of Ruination, but what else would you expect from Stone Brewery. This beer won't be here for very long but luckily it will be a yearly release from the brewery. If you like extreme beer and you want to give your taste buds a run for their money, then give this one a shot.  Hey, for $7.99 a 22oz bottle you can't go to wrong.

Personal Rating: 8 /10
Style Rating: 9 /10

Wanna try it now? Order it online at:

Friday, June 28, 2013

Lagunitas Brewery, Lucky 13 Brunette

Its that time of year for Lagunitas Lucky 13 which is a seasonal brew for them. This is brewed in the style of, as they put it "An ultra-mega-mondo red ale first made in 2006 to celebrate 13 years of brewing ultra-hoppy-mega-malty-mondo ales. Now it’s 2013 and we’re 20 years in," Whoa! 

There are actually two different versions of this beer. They make a "blonde" version in which the girl on the label is blonde and it is a super hoppy double IPA with is labeled "alt". This one is the original "brunette" version which as you can see from the picture on the right is a rich amber ale that is aggressively hopped with  mostly Amarillo hops. Both versions are fantastic, but I usually prefer the "blonde" version myself. 

This one is amazingly aromatic when poured into the glass. A big resiny hop punch greets you on the first whif. Filled with sticky, piney west coast hops and a caramel malt base to back them up, this combo does a one two punch on your taste buds. At first you get a classic orange peel, grapefruit, pineapple flavor washed over by a resin filled pine/juniper hoppiness. The sweet caramel malts balance some of the aggressive hop flavor, but it still leaves a nice lingering bitter bite. Definitely right up our IPA loving alley! 

Lucky 13 taps in at 8.9% ABV so it pack a little punch to it. It fits in our sneaky beer category because although the malt is rich it is surprisingly easy to drink. The high ABV can easily sneak up on you if your not careful. Overall though, another great one from Lagunitas Brewery. I look forward seeing their "blonde" version next year!

Personal Rating: 9.8 /10
Style Rating: 9.8 /10

Wanna try it now? Order it online at:

Breckenridge Brewery, Agave Wheat

"Nectar of the Beer Gods" is how Breckenridge bills this on there website and I completely agree! This is one of our favorite Summer beers here due to its light but very complex style. Unfortunately for many of us, this year the distributor did not stock any of this beer. Luckily, with our continued calls for them to bring it back, they relented and brought in 10 cases just for our store in Absecon, NJ.

I personally fell in love with this beer a few years back as it was the first Agave Wheat beer out on the market. Since then, even mainstream breweries like Blue Moon have jumped on the bandwagon (but not duplicated Breckenridge's subtle complexity). The idea behind this beer is that it is made primarily wheat (with a few other malts such as Caramel and Carapils to add more depth) so that it is light and refreshing. They don't filter this beer so it is hazy but the unfiltered style definately adds more flavor. The agave nectar that they add gives it a Mexican twist complete with hints of fresh lime zest. It is very refreshing and at only 4.2% it is something you can start drinking early for those all day Summer parties!

When you first pour this beer into a glass you will notice a bright yellow/golden color that is hazy due to the unfiltered style. The aromas that leap out are lime zest, lemon and light coriander spice. This beer is incredibly refreshing and thirst quenching with out being vapid and one dimensional. If you want a cold refreshing beer on a hot Summer day but don't want a macro brewed flavorless imitation of beer then reach for this one. Bottoms Up!

Personal Rating: 9.9 /10
Style Rating: 8.5 /10

Wanna try it now? Order it online at:

Friday, June 7, 2013

Terrapin Brewing Maggie's Peach Farmhouse Ale

A new addition to Terrapins' Seasonal lineup arrived at our door yesterday and was calling our name with the warm weather that hit us this week! As Terrapin says "This refreshing summer offering  has all the flavor and aroma of a freshly picked peaches (to the tune of 1,000 pounds per 100 barrel batch!) combined with the complexity of a well executed farmhouse ale.  Some of you may remember Maggie’s older sister, Side Project Volume 7, one of Spike’s first first foray into  farmhouse ales. This newest version is just as lovely, should age just as well and has the uniquely GA flavor of fresh summer peaches!"

When you open this brew, the first thing that hits your nose is the aroma of fresh peaches and light sweet spice. It also has hints of citrus, mild hops and a touch of malt. This beer smells like a fresh peach, but can the taste live up to the aroma. I poured it into a glass and it has a nice light golden color. It looks incredibly refreshing but looks can be deceiving. The taste is a nice farmhouse style ale. It has a nice light citrus base with just enough sweet peach flavor to be refreshing without making it one of those "sweet" fruit beers. This is a great Summer beer, light, refreshing and eminently drinkable. A must try on one of the upcoming hot Summer days we will be having. At 5.3% ABV, it is not to heavy nor to light. Enjoy! 

Personal Rating: 9.7 /10
Style Rating: 9.7 /10

Wanna try it now? Order it online at:

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Terrapin Hopzilla Double IPA

Here's a Double IPA from Terrapin that is doing a stint on the "Monster Beer Tour" circuit.  This is a new addition to their lineup. This previously was Side Project #12 by Terrapin and was so popular it made a comeback to this seasonal spot in the lineup. We just got our hands the new batch and were very excited to crack a few open and see how they compare to the other DIPAs (double ipa) out there.
First off, I would love to say that my beer purchases are not affected by packaging, but alas I can not do that. Terrapin has some of the best beer labels on the market today and I always find my self gravitating towards their beers because of that. This label is no exception with a huge Godzilla-esque Terrapin crushing buildings on the front of the beer. An apt picture for such a "monster" of a beer!
This DIPA pours an haze free amber color with a nice small head of foam. The aroma is blowing up with huge amounts of Centennial, Chinook and Bravo hops (a nice West Coast style blend). So far this beer holds up to its name. The first sip is supremely satisfying with a rich balance of hoppy and malty flavor that finishes with a good lingering hop bitterness. Definitely not a session beer due to its high alcohol content and rich Marris Otter malt backbone but it is very smooth. This one is dry hopped with Citra and it adds a nice dimension of citrus bitters on the finish.  Overall, a great double IPA that I will be buying on the regular despite its $13.49 price point.  

Personal Rating: 9.5 /10
Style Rating: 9.5 /10

Wanna try it now? Order it online at:

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Abita Spring IPA

Most of us have seen the ads like the one to the left and had been salivating at the idea of a new seasonal from Abita Brewing. Well it is finally here and it is good! This is a West Coast style IPA that clocks in at 6.25%. This is a light crisp IPA that is a great session beer. Just high enough in alcohol to satisfy, but not enough to knock you out for the count on a hot summers day. 
According to the brewery: Abita Spring IPA is a West Coast-style IPA with an up-front intense hop flavor and aroma. Amarillo and Centennial hops give the brew a rich and resinous flavor of citrus and spice. This bright pale ale has a malt sweetness that will give way to a pleasant bitter. It pairs well with Mexican or spicy Szechwan Chinese food. It is also a nice accompaniment for cheeses with strong flavors, like sharp cheddar or goat cheese. 
Try this one now before it is all gone! I would definitely recommend this one to our hop head following!

Personal Rating: 9/10
Style Rating: 9/10

Wanna try it now? Order it online at:

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Great Lakes Alchemy Hour Double IPA

Here's a new brew from Great Lakes Brewing Company. This one is a seasonal that is taking the place of DoppleRock (a dopple bock beer that was good but didn't sell very well). This beer follows in the current up trend in IPAs, which we are all big fans of here. This particular seasonal is a big, rich malty double IPA. As Great Lakes says "Our Alchemy Hour Double India Pale Ale pays tribute to the North Coast's unlikely surf bums and the ancient quest for liquid gold, wherever it may live: in the ocean, in the lake, in a bottle.". This sounds like a good switch to me, Dopple Bock for Double IPA!

What exactly is the Alchemy Hour? On the West Coast, surfers have a term for that perfect time of day, when the waves are breaking just right and they feel like they can ride forever. They call it Alchemy Hour. I bet a few of these and you will be riding the couch for hours. This brew clocks in at 9.4% which is pretty normal for the style. Upon cracking this beer, I am immediately hit by a nice blend of west coast style hops. Good citrus, grapefruit, kiwi and pineapple aromas with just a hint of herbs. The beer is very amber in color which suggests a pretty rich malt blend. On the palate, this beer has a nice hoppy balance with the malt blend that they used. It comes off with a blend on bitter hops on the front of the palate with a sweetness that washes away the bitter notes. Personally, I'm a huge fan of that lingering bitter hop flavor so I was a little disappointed by the semi-sweet finish. Overall a great double IPA that is a solid buy for Hop Heads! Enjoy this one while its here.

Personal Rating: 8/10
Style Rating: 9.5/10

Wanna try it now? Order it online at:

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Victory Swing Session Saison

A new Spring seasonal from Victory Brewing Company. This is a "Session" Saison which means it is lower in alcohol then most beers so you can drink alot of it in one "session". This sounds like a very promising beer.
Saisons are light citrus driven beers that are very refreshing and perfect for warm weather drinking. Hopped with German and American Hops and then spiced with peppercorns, orange peel and fresh lemon zest, this beer has potential to beer a great Summer sipper. Full disclosure, Victory's Summer Love is one of my favorite Summer beers as it is easy drinking but hoppy enough to satisfy so I have high hopes for this brew.
When I first cracked this beer, I was expecting to be hit with the classic citrus aromas of a typical Saison or at least a little citrus hop aroma. Neither are present even when poured into a nice Sam Adams glass (engineered to bring out more of the subtle aromas found in beer). The aromatics are more woody, with light pepper spice and a slight almond smell. The first sip is interesting. It is not light and crisp, which would be great for a Spring beer. It is also not hoppy enough to satisfy a hop head as a lighter pale ale. I find this beer neither refreshing nor enjoyable. I have to say that I like a lot of Victory's beers, but this one falls way short of my expectations and severely disappoints. I really thought this would be another home run from one of our local breweries. Great idea but poor execution.

Personal Rating: 2/10
Style Rating: 4/10

Wanna try it now? Order it online at:

Friday, March 8, 2013

Blue Mountain Barrel House Local Species

Here's a really cool edition to our craft beer shelves. This brewery is very new on the craft scene. It started in 2011 out of Nelson County, Virginia by the Smack family (great name right?) as a sister brewery to the original Blue Mountain Brewery. Blue Mountain introduced the concept of the rural craft brewery and set the standard for great beer in Virginia. As the new production arm of the Blue Mountain family, the Barrel House focuses on the higher-end beers from Blue Mountain that require special processes, special ingredients, and a whole lot of patience (most being barrel aged).
The first beer we will be tasting from this brewery is the Local Species. This brew is a blend of "deep-drawn well water, special barley malts, American hops and Belgian yeast". This says Belgian Pale Ale to me, but then it's aged in heavily charred white oak barrels for a unique twist. It clocks in at 6.6% but with only 24 IBUs. When first cracked open, this beer has some mild hop aromas but mostly it has a classic Belgian spice nose. The Belgian spice is then backed up by some rich oak flavor and a slight coconut/vanilla aroma. On the first sip it floods your mouth with a subtle but seductive flavor of spicy Belgian pale ales with a balanced oak smoothness. This is a great example when breweries should spend the time to put their beers in barrel. It costs more, but the result is well worth it. This first beer from Blue Mountain's Barrel House is well worth the price. I hope the rest of their beers are as delicious as this one. I look forward to see what else they have in their line up! Enjoy!

Personal Rating: 9.5/10
Style Rating: 9/10

Wanna try it now? Order it online at:

Founders All Day IPA

Hmmm. A super hoppy but light IPA? I'm skeptical, but if anyone could do it right Founders has a good chance at it. This hopped up IPA is clocking in at only 4.7% and is described by the brewery as: "The beer you’ve been waiting for. Keeps your taste satisfied while keeping your senses sharp. An all-day IPA naturally brewed with a complex array of malts, grains and hops. Balanced for optimal aromatics and a clean finish. The perfect reward for an honest day’s work and the ultimate companion to celebrate life’s simple pleasures." I was interested enough to crack a bottle at the end of a long day.
The aromas coming out of the glass are amazing! Really spot on for a killer IPA. Nice grapefruit, citrus notes with a rich herbal hop aroma. This reminders me alot of a Lagunitas or Stone beer (both known for their amazing work with hops). As much as I am blown away by the aromas the first sip is decent, but very light. From the nose, I was expecting a bitter hop kick after the first sip but it never hit. The flavor is light with a hint of hoppiness (42 IBUs). Overall, it's a nice beer to drink out of a nice glass because you definitely want to get all the aromatics of this beer. I would drink this all summer long, especially when mowing the lawn (gotta stay sharp for that). The biggest drawback is Founders put the price of this beer up with the rest of its everyday line ($10.49). I think this is pretty pricey considering this is a beer you would want to buy by the case for drinking all day long. I would say if your in the mood for an aromatic IPA and have things to do the rest of the day, it is a great choice. I would even say it beats Stone's classic levitation IPA if put to the test. Perhaps that will be a nice choice for a hot middle of summer post. Cheers!

Personal Rating: 6.5/10
Style Rating: 5/10

Wanna try it now? Order it online at:

Friday, February 15, 2013

Great Lakes Conway's Irish Ale

A reoccurring Spring seasonal from our friends at Great Lakes Brewing Company. I figured with St. Patrick's Day coming up I should try this Irish Ale.  I have been very impressed by other brews by Great Lakes in the past such as the Erie Monster, Nosferatu and Black Out Stout (All Four Packs).  

When poured into a nice chalice glass, it looks a lot richer then I originally expected. There is not much on the aroma, just some light malty bread and slight hints of caramel. It is an very smooth beer (very reminiscent of a lager) but with a light German sytle hop bitterness. To be brutally honest, this is not really my style of beer and I did not enjoy this one. I think it is pretty accurate for the style but unless your looking for something neutral and flavorless to wash down some corned beef and cabbage, I would pass on this one. 

Personal Rating: 5/10
Style Rating: 9.5/10

Wanna try it now? Order it online at:

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Boulder Honey of a Saison

A really interesting brew from Boulder Brewing. When I think of Saison style beer, I usually think of a light, crisp (sometimes low in alcohol) citrus driven beer that is perfect for a hot summer day. This is one that clocks in at 11.5% and is brewed with honey (a nice compliment to citrus). According to the brewery, it is fermented to full dryness. I had to pick this one up just for the shear juxtaposition of a light, crisp style with a heavy, sweet twist to it. 

When first poured into a pint glass, it foams up nicely (which is not common for such high alcohol beers). Its is light amber in color with a nice citrus, honey nose. It drinks surprisingly well for such a big beer. The Saison style defiantly works well with the honey! Think of this as a big brother to a Belgian Tripple style beer. It has a lot of citrus and spice complexity to the nose with a silky smooth finish without the expected burn of alcohol. Overall, I'm very impressed with this beer. It certainly doesn't fit into the typical Saison style but it is a really great, unique brew. Definately well worth the 7 bucks for a big 22oz bomber!
Personal Rating: 9/10
Style Rating: 5/10

Wanna try it now? Order it online at:

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Sam Adams Double Agent IPL

INDIA PALE LAGER!?!? Ok, so we can't really talk about Sam Adams in a craft beer blog without dealing with the hot debate over whether or not Sam Adams is really a craft brewer. It is obvious that due to the large amount of beer pumping out of Sam Adams everyday that their semi-large size puts them in about the same category of brewers as Sierra Nevada and the likes. These are brewers who are massive in size compared to most of the micro breweries out there, but still dwarf in comparison to brewers like Bud, Miller and Coors. However you feel about Sam Adams as a craft brewer, it is hard to argue with the fact that they consistently come out with new, often very creative beers. Here is a new very creative beer that splits the IPA and Lager style of beers.

As most of you know by know, we here at White Horse Wine & Spirits are solid Hop Heads. As such, I had to try this interesting Double Agent IPL experiment that is as Sam Adams puts it "What if we gave an IPA a second identity and used some of our favorite West Coast hops, with their grapefruit, piney, and tropical fruit character, in a lager?". 

I have to say that I did not go into this tasting with much hope for a hoppy beer. Most of the new "IPAs" coming out of the larger breweries just don't pack the necessary hop punch to satisfy. I was pleasantly surprised when the aromas of fresh West Coast style hops hit my nose. It is filled fresh grapefruit, citrus and pine notes that do an IPA proud. The taste is actually pretty hoppy and bitter when you take a sip which is really enjoyable. The finish is really the difference in this beer, because the hops fade away and it ends with a smooth lager like silkiness. Overall, I would definitely say I was impressed by this beer especially at under $10 a six pack. At 5% ABV, it is a nice session beer that is good for the new style Sam has created.

Personal Rating: 8.5/10
Style Rating: 10/10

Wanna try it now? Order it online at:

Friday, February 8, 2013

Nugget Nectar is here!

That pallet is just for me, but maybe you can get some before it's all gone.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Green Flash | Palate Wrecker

Green Flash Palate Wrecker (Hamilton's Ale).

Poured into my new Allagash Chalice : ) Palate Wrecker has a dark golden orange color with a dense inch of frothy beige head. While the head recedes a bit, there is considerable retention with lots of sticky lacing.

The aroma is loaded with hops all across the board; floral, citrus, pine, tropical fruit, lots of pineapple, very resinous and dank. Caramel malt is present just enough to keep my nostrils from burning.

The first sip attacks my tastebuds with lots of bitter resinous hop flavor. Bitter pine and grapefruit up front blends with a touch of sweet malt to soften things up a bit, but is far from balancing out this monster. The finish is filled with tropical fruit and orange zest; although the malt is present in the finish, there is a noticeable bitterness that lasts long after every sip.

Palate Wrecker has a medium-full body for an IPA, but the 9.5% ABV is hardly noticeable. This is one of my favorite aspects of this beer; most DIPAs that exceed the 8% mark generally become boozy, hot, and heavy. This booziness tends to overshadow much of the desirable malt and hop flavors. Palate Wrecker on the other hand, accomplishes a very high ABV while maintaining intense hop bitterness, with minimal booziness.

All in all, I don't think it has quite wrecked my palate, at least not to an avid IPA drinker, but it is one hell of a hoppy beer. A little pricey, but worth a try. Would love to see Palate Wrecker in a bomber for the right price.

Personal: 8.5/10
Style: 8.5/10

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Dogfish Head | 60 Minute IPA

Poured into a Dogfish Head snifter, 60 Minute has a crystal clear golden amber color with minimal white head. The aroma hints at bitter hops but mainly features a sweet, buttery, and bready malt. The flavor, while similar to the aroma, has more hop flavor, but is more akin to the east coast and british style of IPA: Bitter, pine, grass, and grapefruit.

What I feel this beer lacks in complexity, it makes up for in drinkability. 60 Minute is very easy to put down, and I could see myself finishing this six pack tonight.

There's nothing I really dislike about this beer, it's just that there are so many better IPA's out there. And I'm tired of all the Dogfish Head hype. Putting down the haterade… 60 minute is one of their reasonably priced beers, and represents the style well. While I might not want to buy this at a liquor store, if I saw it on the menu at a bar/restaurant, I would be very excited to get a pint. Ya feel me?

Personal: 6.5/10
Style: 8/10

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Maine Beer Company | Zoe

Maine Beer Company's Zoe, an American Amber Ale, made by a very small brewery in Portland, Maine.

Zoe has a nice deep dark amber - almost chestnut color with about an inch of fluffy off-white head. Lots of sticky lacing coats the glass. The aroma is loaded with piney, fruity, and floral hops with a nice strong amount of sweet caramel malt. The taste is intensely bitter at first with lots of pine hop flavor. Fruitier hop flavors mix with copious amount of sweet malt to really deliver a… dare I say, perfect beer.

Zoe is honestly like drinking the freshest and best tasting Stone Arrogant Bastard I've ever had; big malt, big hop. What makes it even better is that it's made by a super small brewery in the northeast that places more value on quality, freshness, and environmental stewardship, rather than money.

Personal: 10/10
Style: 10/10

Get this beer while you can, absolutely worth it!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Tröegs | Perpetual IPA

Tröegs Perpetual IPA, a beer meant to be a tribute to the Tröegs brother's desire to continue exploring. Keeping in sync with what Chad just mentioned a day ago, this beer also clocks in at 7.5% ABV. Perhaps that is the magic number for an IPA.

Poured into a Dogfish Head snifter, Perpetual shows its pale golden straw color with a nice big fluffy pillow of white foam on top. The aroma is full of citrus fruit and spice, while the sweet crystal malt adds just enough to the hop aroma to make it smell like delicious hop candy.

The flavor is along the same lines as the aroma, with a little more bite of hop bitterness up front. It actually makes the beer more crisp and refreshing than you might get from the aroma. The all around light body and choice of pale malts in Perpetual IPA make it easily sessionable, and a joy to drink, even at 7.5%!

I'd be lying if this was my first bottle of Perpetual IPA. Since Tröegs began releasing this in 6-packs in the fall of last year, I've probably started on my third case of this stuff. In the ever expanding world of craft beer (especially IPAs), this is one that will always be a home run. Bold hop flavor with just enough light malt to compliment, but not get in the way…. My kind of IPA. I wish I could have had this side by side with that Union Jack IPA.

Personal: 10/10 (extra points for being East Coast)
Style: 9.5/10

Live in the Atlantic County area? We'll bring this to your house!

Elysian Valhalla Red IPA

A beer to die for! Valhalla, the place where old Vikings go to die and drink for eternity, is something of legend. Lucky for us Elysian brewing has created a beer that we can enjoy before we travel to party with the Vikings and Norse Gods!
A very interesting Red IPA that is made with roasty Special B malts and two very unique hops (Citra and Sorachi Ace). Citra hops are a new experimental variety of hops known for being very aromatic while having a crisp citrusy finish. On the other hand, Sorachi Ace hops are an older Japenese variety of hops known for their lemony finish. Together the malts and hops combine for a nice rich mid-palate flavor with a refreshingly crisp finish. A very interesting beer that is better than most of the red IPAs I have had before. Definitely worth a try at only $6.99 for a 22oz bottle!

Personal Rating: 9.5/10
Style Rating: 8.5/10

Wanna try it now? Order it online at:

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Firestone Walker Union Jack IPA

Firestone Walker is known for their great barrel aged beers, but they still know how to make an amazing hop bomb of an IPA! This IPA from Firestone Walker weights in at 7.5 ABV (which seems like a magic number for brewers these days considering how many great IPAs weight in at this ABV) and is crisp and light on the malt body. This style differs from many of the IPAs produced just a few years ago when most brewers agreed that if you added more hops you had to add more rich, sweet malts to keep It balanced. This new breed of IPAs is rich in hop flavor and bitterness but without the heavy malts of the past which make them nearly unsessionable. The hops are both very aromatic and perfectly balanced in the slightly bitter finish. The brewery utilizes over four pounds of pacific-northwest hops per barrel to produce this brew. A new hit that is a year round brew from Firestone Walker.
If you like Lagunitas Little Sumpin Sumpin, Troegs Perpetual IPA, Uintas Hop Notch IPA, or Port Brewings Wipeout IPA then you have got to try this one next! Cheers and bottoms up!

Personal Rating: 9.8/10
Style Rating: 9.5/10

Wanna try it now? Order it online at:

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Harpoon Rich & Dan Rye IPA

Harpoons RIPA (Rye IPA) is a home run for price and quality! It is filled with the aromas of classic west coast hops with a hint of spiciness from the rye grain addition. A great IPA that delivers on the three best things we love in this style: aroma, taste and price ($8.99 per 6 pack). The ABV is 6.9 but still drinks like a session beer.
It definitely reminds me of Stone or Lagunitas breweries out of California but it comes from Harpoon Brewery out of Massachusetts. In fact, after 25 years of running a brewery together, this is the first beer that Rich and Dan (founders of Harpoon Brewery) have brewed together. The joke at the brewery was whether it would be Dan and Rich's or Rich and Dan's RIPA.
Overall, definitely a great pick up when you are in the mood for a good IPA but feeling like trying something different. Rye is the new hot adjunct grain for brewers to use so you will definitely see more of these style beers!

Personal Rating: 9/10
Style Rating: 8/10

Wanna try it now? Order it online at: