Friday, May 30, 2014

Tyranena Sheep Shagger Scotch Ale Review

Note: Since this photo was taken, my Tyranena glass broke
Name: Tyranena Sheep Shagger Scotch Ale
Style: Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy
ABV: 7.5%

Based out of a sleepy little town called Lake Mills, Wisconsin, which is just 15 miles west of Madison, Tyranena Brewing was one the many craft breweries I dabbled in when I first got into craft beer. They are also the makers of, in my opinion, one of the best pumpkin beers out there: Painted Ladies Pumpkin Spice Ale.

However I'm here to look at their Sheep Shagger Scotch Ale, which to my knowledge is a seasonal beer. Beer Advocate claims it's a fall seasonal but I've always seen this beer come out around March/April. Now some of you are probably wondering: Why such a bizarre (disturbing) name? Well according to Tyranena's website, the term "shagging" means retrieving and sure enough, the dictionary can back up that claim, though they refer to it as "pursuing."

Sheep Shagger pours cloudy dark brown color with a thin light-khaki colored head and some sparse lacing.

Aroma-wise, it starts off with a nice caramel maltiness, peated scotch and some vanilla notes. There's also a subtle roastiness and a light hint of maple syrup on the back of the nose.

In the flavor, the vanilla and peated scotch characteristics take more of a center stage. These are backed up with a solid caramel maltiness, some roasted barley and there are even some floral hoppiness thrown in for good measure. The aftertaste is mainly caramel and toffee sweetness with a hint of smoke on the back of the palate.

When it comes to the overall mouthfeel, it's pretty thick bodied almost to being chewy but the carbonation is very subdued so it's easy to drink. All of this gives this beer a nice creamy texture.

At the end of the day, Sheep Shagger is a quality scotch ale that possesses a vibrant flavor and some easy drinkability to boot. If this were a year-round offering, this would be a regular visitor in my fridge. If you're able to get Tyranena in your area, this is a beer worth checking out!

Tyranena Sheep Shagger Scotch Ale - 8.5/10

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA Review


Name: Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA
Style: Imperial IPA
ABV: 9%

There are few craft breweries in America that have become household names like Dogfish Head Brewing has. Based out of Milton, Delaware, you could find this beer in places around the Eastern United States and even parts west of the Mississippi River. That was until 2010 when Sam Calagione, founder of Dogfish Head, started his own TV Show called Brew Masters, which focused on the brewery discovering new & different styles to make.

Though the show was cancelled after 5 episodes due to lack of ratings, it created enough buzz for the the brewery that they had to pull back distribution to the East Coast because the demand had grown tremendously. In fact, it wasn't until last year that the brewery started redistributing westbound again and last week, I received word that Dogfish Head was coming back to our area, which I'm extremely excited about since Dogfish Head was one of my goto breweries while I lived in Chicago a couple years back.

While I was down in the Twin Cities a couple weeks ago, I grabbed some Dogfish Head while I was over in Hudson, WI. The first beer I'm going to take a look at from them is their 90 Minute IPA, which is highly regarded as one of the best Imperial IPAs on the market and considered by some to be their flagship beer.

90 Minute IPA pours a rather hazy dark amber color with a thin foamy head that has some decent retention. Visually I'm not picking up any carbonation and the lacing is somewhat sparse but still there.

The nose has starts out fairly malt heavy with caramel sweetness and a light hint a of chocolate. This is followed up by a strong mix of floral & piney hops and some grapefruit notes.

The flavor on the other hand pretty much levels the playing field. You've got a nice robust floral & piney hop profile matched with a solid caramel malty backbone, and a slight chocolate and toffee sweetness. The aftertaste is on the maltier side with notes of caramel and a slight grapefruit flavor.

This beer possess a heavier body that also quite thick, giving it an almost chewy like quality. However since it has very mild carbonation, it comes across as very creamy and smooth on the palate.

90 Minute IPA's robust flavor profile and easy drinkability make this beer standout. Anyone whose into Imperial IPAs that has not checked this out yet owe it to try it out. You will not be disappointed, I promise!

Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA - 9.5/10

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Milwaukee Brewing Hop Happy IPA Review



Name: Milwaukee Brewing Hop Happy IPA
Style: India Pale Ale
ABV: 7.7%

Milwaukee Brewing Company (or MKE) based out of.....you guessed it, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, has recently started shipping to Minnesota; Although right now we currently don't get them in my neck of the woods in cans. Up until now, my experience with MKE has been their Louie's Resurrection (Fantastic beer, by the way!) from the growler fill station over in Superior.

So on my recent visit to the Twin Cities, I decided to grab a can of their Hop Happy IPA since I have trying to get myself back onto IPAs as of late, along with a few other goodies which I'll be reviewing in the near future.

Hop Happy pours a mildly hazy orange color with a thin foamy head. The lacing is quite abundant and there is very little carbonation to be seen.

The nose has a nice scent of citrus hops with some sweet caramel maltiness, and a mild floral hop profile at the very end.

Flavor is more of the resin/piney hops side along with citrus & floral hops and a solid caramel malt backbone. Each type of hop used in this beer (Columbus, Fuggle, Cascade) are nicely put on display here and are distinguishable to the point where I would say they co-exist for the most part.

The palate is fairly heavy when it comes to body weight but the carbonation is mild at best and it helps keep the drinking experience a steady one.

Judging by the flavor and overall quality of Hop Happy, I would say that this is a very well balanced and put together IPA that is worth your attention. Anybody looking for a robust yet balanced tasting IPA would be wise to give this one a shot.

Milwaukee Brewing Hop Happy IPA - 9/10

Monday, May 26, 2014

Ballast Point Sea Monster Review



Name: Ballast Point Sea Monster
Style: Imperial Stout
ABV: 10%

Last year Ballast Point Brewing started distributing to Minnesota and we have since seen an expanded lineup from the brewery. The other day I was at the store and saw this new offering from them....or at least I think it's new.

I may not be the most knowledgeable about the craft beer industry but I do know that this is an older style label that was once used by the brewery; The label even has an expiration date of 2014, which happens to be this year. Well, I'm going to tempt fate and give this beer a go. This is Ballast Point's Sea Monster, which is their Imperial Stout style ale.

Sea Monster pours a pitch black color with a khaki colored head. There is some mild carbonation climbing along the sides of the glass and the lacing is fairly abundant.

A strong chocolate malt profile kicks things off in the nose with a vanilla sweetness, roasted barley, and a mild but noticeable hoppiness.

Flavor-wise, you've got a chocolate malt base, with notes of vanilla, a strong roasted barley/coffee flavor and a surprisingly strong hoppiness, even by Imperial Stout standards. The aftertaste is a mild roasty aftertaste with just a hint of vanilla.

The palate is quite heavy in terms of body and the carbonation has a moderate feel. It's not creamy by any means, but it allows some of the flavors to sink in.

Sea Monster isn't going to blow you away with it's flavor but it is still a pretty vibrant Imperial Stout with a nice hoppy kick to it. Fans of the style will no doubt find something to enjoy with this beer.

Ballast Point Sea Monster - 8.5/10

Evil Twin Molotov Cocktail Review


Name: Evil Twin Molotov Cocktail
Style: Imperial IPA
ABV: 13%

Recently when I was down in the Twin Cities, I took it upon myself to grab some beers that we currently don't have available up in Duluth or Superior. One of the breweries I have been hearing about is Evil Twin Brewing, whom are based out of Copenhagen, Denmark but contract brew all of their beers at different breweries both in Europe and here in America.

Originally I was going to grab some Justin Blåbær and Hipster Ale  but they were out so I settled for their Molotov Cocktail Imperial IPA, which clocks in at 13% ABV. Normally the highest I've seen Imperial IPAs go is around 10% ABV.

Molotov Cocktail pours a hazy orange color with a fizzy head. The visible carbonation is moderate at the most and there is no lacing to speak of along the sides of the glass.

The nose has a nice citrus hop & honeydew melon flavors with a solid caramel malt backbone and some booziness. It's also got a fairly pungent aroma to it that gives it a strong feel.

Sure enough, the flavor possess some strong booziness with an equally strong yet bitter citrus hoppiness, grapefruit notes and ending on a substantial caramel maltiness. The boozy flavor actually does have a bit of a burning kick to it too, which makes the name of this beer all the more appropriate.

The body is quite thick yet moderate in terms of actual weight. The carbonation is also moderate too though in this case, I would prefer it to have mild to almost no carbonation at all when you consider the flavor.

It's not often I say this but I think that this would've benefitted from being lower in alcohol content, or they could've done a better job of masking the booziness (Easier said than done obviously.) I think the boozy aspect gets in the way to the point where it butts heads with the other flavors. With that said, everything else going in the flavor does possess a rather nice hop and malt profile so it's not a total loss, but I wouldn't go out of my way to buy this again.

Evil Twin Molotov Cocktail - 6/10

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Lift Bridge Getaway Pilsner Review



Name: Lift Bridge Getaway Pilsner
Style: Pilsner
ABV: 5.25%

Lift Bridge Brewing just released a brand new summer seasonal beer called Getaway Pilsner. Unlike same beers I've had from them (and have not reviewed yet,) this comes in a 16 oz. Tallboy can as opposed to the 12 oz. bottle which I'm used to seeing from this brewery; Although I have seen their Farm Girl Saison in 16 oz. cans as well.

Since it is Memorial Day weekend and only a few more weeks until the official start of summer, what better time to look at this beer than now. Hey, in the event you are out for a summer picnic or a day at the beach, you want to make sure you bring good beer!

Getaway Pilsner pours a pale yellow color with a foamy white head. The visible carbonation is quite mild and the lacing is pretty soapy in appearance. 

The nose starts off with a Pilsner & Pale Maltiness upfront with some floral hops, yeasts and a light grassy/earthy scent. A little maltier smelling and definitely more of a hop kick than most Pilsners I'm used to having.

Likewise the flavor is also pretty Pilsner/Pale malt forward but the floral hoppiness is a lot more prevalent here. In addition to that, there is a nice yeast profile in here and the earthy qualities are quite tame as well. As for the aftertaste, it's quite dry with just a hint of floral hops and Pilsner malts.

The palate as a whole is light; Both in terms of carbonation and overall weight. In other words, it's the way a summer seasonal should feel: light and crisp.

I found Getaway Pilsner to be quite good. I think the floral hoppiness in particular will help draw in people who are not normally fan of traditional Pilsner beers. At the same time, I can also see this beer being a great and sessionable beer during the hot summer months. Be sure to check this out if you get the chance!

Lift Bridge Getaway Pilsner - 8.25/10

Bent Brewstillery Nordic Blonde Review


Name: Bent Brewstillery Nordic Blonde 
Style: Blonde Ale
ABV: 5.7%

Earlier this year, a new brewery opened it's doors here in Minnesota called Bent Brewstillery, based out of Roseville, Minnesota. The first thing that makes this brewery unique is that Bent Brewstillery merged with another brewery called Pour Decisions Brewing and you can still find some of their beers in Bent's line-up. The other thing that makes this brewery unique is that it also makes spirits (Single Malt Whiskey, Gin, etc.) in addition to beer; Hence the name.

When I was down in the Twin Cities a couple weeks ago, I managed to grab a couple of bottles for myself. The first one I'm going to be looking at is their Nordic Blonde, which is described by the brewery as an "Amber Blonde," though it's classified on Beer Advocate as a Blonde Ale. 

Nordic Blonde pours a mildly hazy golden color with a thin filmy head. The lacing is fairly abundant and the visible carbonation is fairly mild. 

The aroma of starts out with some pale malt notes with some pungent floral hops and an encompassing yet fitting lemon zest. 

The flavor starts out with a fairly strong floral hoppiness, pale & Munich malts, barley and a light lemon zest.  The aftertaste has a distinct and lingering lemon and Munich maltiness.

The palate is generally pretty light with some moderate carbonation to boot, which gives it a crisp feeling yet it allows you to soak in the flavors in this beer.

It's definitely more of a different take for a Blonde Ale but I think it works quite well! On top of that, it's very reasonably priced as I picked this up for around $5. If you're looking for something a little off the beaten path with the Blonde Ale-style, you owe it to yourself to check this out!


Bent Brewstillery Nordic Blonde - 8.5/10

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Lakefront Beer Line Review



Name: Lakefront Beer Line
Style: Barleywine
ABV: 12.5%

It's been a long time it seems since I had a barleywine, after all spring seasonals tend not the be heavier in alcohol content. That's why I bring to you Beer Line, the latest barleywine offering from Lakefront Brewery. From what I gathered, this actually hasn't been brewed for quite a few years and Lakefront only recently brought it back.

It seems to me that Lakefront also has a thing for brewing organic barleywines as this is the second one I've had from this brewery; The first being Chad Barleywine, which was released under the "My Turn" series.

Beer Line pours a dark hazy red color with a thin filmy head. The visible carbonation is on the milder side and the lacing is somewhat sparse.

The nose has a strong caramel malt base with some strong citrus hops, vanilla, some mildly roasted malts and an encompassing yeast-doughy scent. It smells a bit like bourbon almost!

The flavor is also very malt forward with notes of caramel, yeasts and some citrus hops that make themselves more known as it warms up. As a whole it's very similar to the nose, though I can't help but feel that this should be barrel aged. There is also no booziness here and considering the ABV, that's quite an accomplishment!

The palate possess a very heavy body but with some mild carbonation. The overall texture is quite smooth, which makes this very easy to drink.

Beer Line is an excellent example of how to do an English-style Barleywine right. It's got a nice flavor profile and it's extremely easy to drink. My only gripe about this beer is that it had the beginnings of a nice bourbon barrel-aged flavor and I feel it really could've benefited from that. With that said, Beer Line is still definitely worth checking out, especially if you are into the barleywine style!

Lakefront Beer Line - 9/10

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Minnesota Craft Beer Week 2014 - Angry Inch Brewing Company



Sunday morning had come around and I woke up to the realization I would have to go home soon. It had been a fun filled week full of many different kinds of beers but I realize that all good things have to come to an end eventually.  Before I made my way back to Duluth, there was one final stop I had to make...


Earlier this year, I got in touch with the guys from Angry Inch Brewing Company, based out of Rosemount, Minnesota and have been keeping in touch with them in regards to their beers and plans for a commercial brewery. A few weeks ago, I was invited by to try out some of their beers at a private tasting and since I am always looking for new beers to try out, I gladly accepted. And frankly, what better way to end Minnesota Craft Beer Week than with beer from an up-and-coming brewery?



Now a little background about the brewery. First off, the guys from Angry Inch are still technically considered "Homebrewers" but they are looking for a place to set up a production brewery. When they set up shop in the Rosemount/Eagan/Apple Valley area, they will be the first production brewery in the Southeast Twin Cities Metropolitan area, to my knowledge.



Secondly, the brewery name comes from the movie title "Hedwig and the Angry Inch", a musical about a rock band whose lead singer is an East German Transvestite. It was a film that Jon's old roommate once recommended to him and it would later serve as the basis for the brewery's name.

Lastly, Jon and Josh recently took home first and second place in the Belgian Category at The Beer Dabbler festival for two of their beers, which I will be looking at.....

So you probably are wondering to yourselves: How is the beer? Well, thankfully for you I have alot to say about it. That's because I had not one, not two, but twelve different beers from these guys!



Solar Eclipse White IPA - The first beer that we started out with in our tasting. It had a very nice and lightly tart citrus hop flavor with a solid malted wheat base. Very smooth texture and easy to drink.

Speedy's Lager - Named after an old foreman of Jon's who passed away a few years ago. The plans for this beer are to donate a portion of the sales of this beer to charity. This is a darker amber lager with some light hoppiness and a chocolate malt finish. Nothing complex, but what a great way to honor someone!

Easy Amber - Both a deliberate use of a double entendre and it's considered the easiest beer to brew according to both Jon & Josh. It's got a surprisingly fruity nose that smells like strawberries, but upon drinking it, you're treated to a pretty smooth and tame amber ale.

Easy Amber on Strawberries - On the other hand, the nose in this beer is actually pretty tame and barely shows any fruity characteristics. Once you drink it, the strawberries really start to shine through which compliments the flavor nicely.

Angry Inch Pale Ale - An APA with some nice citrus hop and yeast notes. APAs don't tend to break the mold much but this was very tasty! Not overly complex but still a very easy to drink beer.

Nyctophobia Black IPA - A beer which derives it's name from a fear of the dark. This Black IPA has a fairly strong roasty characteristic but also a strong citrus and cascade hop flavor. Quite tasty I might add, especially since I'm seeing Black IPAs slowly gaining traction in terms of popularity 

Nyctophobia Black IPA w/ Cold Pressed Coffee - A variation of the original brew. This definitely is dominated more by the coffee and roasted barley flavor but the citrus hops still manage to poke their head though. I'd say resembles a cross between an IPA and a Porter.


You can also follow Angry Inch on Facebook and Twitter


Smoke Signals IPA - A smoked IPA and definitely more of an offbeat IPA-style. Starts out with a pretty citrus/fruity flavor with a lightly smoked oak/rauch malt flavor on the back of the palate.

AiB Milk Stout - Very nice lactose and chocolate flavors along with moderate roasted barley. I homebrewed a milk stout earlier this year and thought it was pretty good. However after having this, I think mine paled in comparison to this!

Four Horseman IPA - Another IPA offering which uses 4 different types of hops. This IPA has a little bit of everything: Citrus Hops, Piney Hops, Floral Hops, and a nice malty backbone. I found this to be very flavorful and well balanced.

Daddy's Honey Pot Saison - The first place winner of the Belgian Category at The Beer Dabbler and derives it's name from friend of Jon's. This is an incredibly smooth and well put together Saison. Everything from the Belgian Yeasts to the sweet honey used in making. I was told that this was a crowd favorite at the tasting events and I can totally see why!

Dubbel Trouble - The second place winner in the Belgian Category at The Beer Dabbler. There is one way to describe this beer: Lots of stopping power. Rarely do I stop drinking mid-sip because of the sheer intensity of a beer flavor. It's got it's share of booziness but it also has some very strong and vibrant dark fruit and candied caramel malt notes.



After having their beers, I can honestly say that I am very excited to see how their brewery unfolds in the future. Though they may not considered "professional" brewers as of yet, these guys make some really tasty and flavorful beers.

What I originally thought was going to be a 1 hour get-together turned into a 3 hour discussion about their beer, their experiences as well as sharing our knowledge of brewing and beer with each other. I could've been back in Duluth in the time we were talking. You know what, it was totally worth it! Jon and Josh are fun guys to talk to and I can safely say that I had alot of fun at the tasting event.

It was a fun week and I think my visit really helped it end on a fitting note. Thanks to Angry Inch Brewing Company for having me over, I cannot wait to try your beers again!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) Review



Name: Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout)
Style: Imperial Stout
ABV: 11.2%

Today's review is somewhat special to me, as you can see from the title. That's right, I bring to you my review of Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout or KBS for short. For as long as I have been into craft beer, this has been an Imperial Stout with a holy grail-like reputation.

For the past couple of years, this beer has always seemed to elude me because I'm either not looking in the right places or I get in when all the bottles have been sold out. That all changed a couple of weeks ago when I went down to my local store to grab a growler fill. As I made my way towards the growler fill station, I noticed there were four bottles left of KBS sitting in the cooler. Without a second thought I grabbed a bottle for myself and just after I did, some guy grabbed the last three; Talk about lucky!

KBS pour a pitch black color with a pretty fizzy dark brown head. While I'm not picking up on any visible carbonation; Interestingly enough, I'm not catching any lacing along the sides of the glass either.

The aroma starts out with a fairly typical chocolate malt profile & vanilla sweetness profile; Then it gets a little off of the beaten path because I'm picking up on a marshmallow scent, black coffee, and a distinct oakiness. Even though I've never been there before, I would imagine this is what the backwoods of Kentucky would smell like.

The flavor starts out fairly oak forward with notes of vanilla, marshmallows, roasted barley and black coffee. Each flavor is very vibrant and the chocolate malts provide an excellent foundation for the flavors overall. It's got a mildly roasty aftertaste with a light but sweet vanilla flavor. There also is no boozy flavors in here to speak of.

The palate is definitely a heavyweight when it comes to the body but the texture is quite smooth with only some minor carbonation, giving it a mild creamy feeling that allows you to savor the flavors.

Would I say that KBS is worth the hype and reputation? I would say for the most part, it is. It's got a vibrant flavor that is both complex yet enjoyable. On top of that, it's very easy to drink both in terms of texture and palate. If you so happen to stumble upon this beer by shear luck, pick it up before the guy/girl behind you does!


Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) - 9.5/10

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Minnesota Craft Beer Week 2014 - Day 5 (A personal account)



Early Saturday morning while I was running out to grab some breakfast, I made the startling discovery that my car had been leaking transmission fluid for the past couple of days. I say couple of days because we had been driving my fiance's car as a means of getting around because of gas mileage. Fearing the worst, I made a stop at AutoZone to get some sealant for my transmission (Spoiler Alert: It didn't work but that's another story.)


In the meantime, we decided that day that we weren't going to be doing too much on account of us being burnt out from driving everywhere. We ultimately decided we were going to the Food Truck Rally over at Harriet Brewing.


Once we arrived, I was taken aback by how nice it was outside, a nice balmy 72 degrees Fahrenheit. After the long crappy winter we had endured, it was like I was below the 45th Pararell...oh wait, I was! We dined on the finest cuisine known to man: From Mac and Cheese Sandwiches to Philly Cheese Steak; From fried Mac & Cheese balls to probably the most outlandish of the bunch..



Behold! Probably the most unhealthiest food that I have eaten outside of the Minnesota State Fair! I present to you a chocolate chip cookie covered in Nutella and topped with bacon. Did I shorten my lifespan by 5 years simply by eating this? Probably. Was it delicious? Of course!

However, I didn't make this post to talk about food, I'm here to talk about the beer. Since flights were not an option I decided to have a couple of pints so I had to choose carefully! In the end, I ended up having 3 of them and here are my thoughts on the ones that I had.


Harriet Brewing West Side IPA - Their Belgian Style IPA. This beer possess a strong Belgian yeast character with some nice citrus hops and a strong candied caramel malty backbone. It was quite a tasty beer! Even my fiance, who generally tends to avoid anything remotely related to IPAs, had a sip of this and liked it so much, she ended up buying a pint for herself!



Harriet Brewing Saison Nourrice - Like their West Side IPA, this had a fairly strong Belgian Yeast characteristic to it. However, it had a fairly strong sour flavor to it by Saison standards along with some pale malts and floral hops. With that said, I enjoyed it quite a bit. It's definitely a different take on the Saison Style but it works out surprisingly well.


Harriet Brewing Sour Barrel Aged Divine Oculust on Raspberries - A take on their regular Belgian Golden Strong Ale and part of their sour barrel aging program. This beer has a very strong fruity-raspberry profile along with some nice sour notes that are actually fairly mild and approachable and there are some light citrus notes to top it all off. If this is what the sour barrel program is aiming for, then I think it's done it's job quite well.

Even though our day was relatively short, between the great beer, food and surprisingly good live music, we still had an absolutely fun time. Anyone visiting Minneapolis who is into craft beer owes it to themselves to check this place out. I would definitely visit this place again if I were given the chance

New Glarus Coffee Stout Review



Name: New Glarus Coffee Stout
Style: Stout
ABV: 5.75%

It's time to look at New Glarus Coffee Stout, another beer from the brewery which was recently added to their seasonal line-up. Like many other beers I've looked at from the brewery, it's occasionally brought out of retirement; Much akin to a cheesy 80's action movie where a former green beret soldier is approached by his former commanding officer and is told he is only one who can get the job done.

The beer pours a pitch black with a khaki-colored head. There isn't any visible carbonation to be seen here but the lacing is quite good.

The aroma is quite roasted and consists mainly of roasted barley, coffee ground and chocolate malts. There is a hint of hops in the nose, but it isn't immediately apparent.

Like the nose, it's got a very roasty flavor with coffee notes, some floral & bitter hops which make themselves known on the back of the palate, and a solid chocolate malt base. The coffee flavor becomes more prominent as it warms up. The aftertaste is also fairly roasty with a slight hop bitterness.

The palate as a whole is quite heavy in terms of body weight but it's got some very low carbonation and a semi-smooth texture. It's not quite drinking an iced coffee but you get the idea.

I'm not really too much into drinking coffee as a means to wake up in the morning mainly because I can't stand the taste but I found this to be pretty good. It's nice and roasty and there are other flavors (particularly the chocolate malts) that help balance out the coffee flavors quite well. I'd say give this one a try, you might be surprised!

New Glarus Coffee Stout - 8.25/10

Friday, May 16, 2014

Minnesota Craft Beer Week - Day 4 (A personal account)



Friday morning rolled around and before we were even out the door, I already had a laundry list of places to go to. Of all the days during Minnesota Craft Beer Week, I would have to say that this was by far the busiest out of all the 6 days as you will see why shortly.

For our first stop, we decided to swing by Town Hall Brewery which is right by my alma mater: Augsburg College. I have some fond memories of this place during my time in college: From having a pint with my classmates after a 4 hour lecture, to celebrating with my buddies right after finishing very last final of our college careers. Yes, it's safe to say that this place holds a special place in my heart.

The place had undergone some renovations since I had last been there, with an expanded back area and the main doors now being located on the east end of the building as opposed to the southeast corner. Still for all the changes that it undergone, it still had the same vibe that I had come to know and love from Town Hall.


Knowing that a rather long day was ahead of us, I opted for a flight this time around as opposed to a pint of just one beer. After all, variety is the spice of life and what better way to utilize that example than with beer?

Town Hall Masala Mama - Their signature IPA and considered by many to be Town Hall's flagship beer. This beer contains a strong citrus hop profile with a solid caramel malt backbone and a slight spicy/rye flavor to top it off. It might be a little intense for newcomers to the IPA style but this is an incredibly good beer.

Town Hall S.S. Cascade - Town Hall's APA which was on tap. This beer contains a very sweet floral hop profile and a good caramel malt backbone and it's got a fairly dry aftertaste. Not too complex in terms of flavor but still very good!

Town Hall Hefeweizen - Fairly potent clove & banana sweetness upfront with some malted wheat, light fruity citra-hop sweetness. Not too much else going on here, but quite good nonetheless

Town Hall Parkway Java Porter (On Nitro)-  I'm not much of a coffee drinker because I'm not a big fan of the taste. However I found this to be surprisingly good! It has some fairly strong coffee and roasted barley notes and chocolate malts to help even things out. Being that it's also on nitro helps in terms of drinkability and makes the strong coffee flavor seem less overpowering.

Town Hall Czar Jack - Their signature Russian Imperial Stout aged in whiskey barrels. It shows particularly in the flavor with some strong vanilla notes, chocolate malts, mild whiskey and oak notes. Even though all of the beers were extremely good, this was probably by far my favorite beer. I know it's not available all the time so I consider myself to be very lucky that I got to try it out.



After finishing lunch, we decided to make our way down Washington Avenue toward The Freehouse, a fairly new brewpub that opened late last year. Unlike Town Hall, this place had more of a contemporary/modern feel to it as opposed to Town Hall which invoked more of a classical atmosphere.


I wanted to do a flight but the closest things they had to that were what they called "ponies", which are little vase shaped glasses as you can see above. Since we had a couple hours to kill before moving on to our next destination, my fiance opted to finish some of her homework while I decided to sample each one of the house beers using the pony glasses

The Freehouse IPA - A fairly straightforward IPA with some good citrus and piney hop notes and a nice caramel maltiness. It was also fairly smooth in terms of texture, so I found this to be a very easy drinker.

The Freehouse IPL (India Pale Lager) - Brewed specifically for MN Craft Beer Week, it's a style which I have seen catching on slowly over the past couple of years. This starts out with a strong pale malt backbone with a fairly prominent piney hop and mild citra-hop flavor. I've been kind of a sucker for IPLs recently and this is certainly no exception.

The Freehouse Bock - Just in time for spring! This beer possessed a fairly bready/yeasty flavor with subtle roasted malts, light chocolate and caramel malt sweetness. Nothing that I haven't seen before but a very solid beer nonetheless.

The Freehouse American Wheat Ale - I had a few witbiers during that week and this one struck me as quite different. It had a very strong malted wheat, grassy and light floral hop flavor profile but none of the berry-fruity sweetness that I have come to expect, giving it an organic-like flavor.

The Freehouse Hoppy Amber - I'm not terribly big on Vienna/Amber Lager style with the exception of Great Lake's Elliot Ness. With that said, I found Hoppy Amber to be surprisingly good. A nice roasted barley profile along a solid Munich Malt backbone topped off with some piney hops. Not my favorite beer of the bunch, but much better than I expected.

The Freehouse Stout - A nice chocolate malt flavor balanced out with some roasted barley and a mild hoppiness. On top of that, it had a very smooth texture and mild carbonation. It's easy to drink and pretty tasty.

The Freehouse Kolsch - Light grape flavors along with light floral hops and pale malts. Nothing too complex or anything; Just a very simple and easy to drink beer.

The Freehouse Brown Ale - The last pony glass of my stay. Nice chocolate malts and a minor roasted barley profile paired up with some minor dry hoppiness. It's not too different from other brown ales I've had in the past but it's still very good!


After finishing up at The Freehouse, we decided to make our way up to Barley John's Brewpub in New Brighton for the tapping of their Warrior's Passage 2.0 Imperial IPA on Falconer's Flight Hops as part of an event for MN Craft Beer Week. Seeing as how we were anticipating it to be quite busy when the event started, we arrived about half an hour before the actual tapping of the keg/pin took place.

When we got there, it was pretty empty with the only two people in the place sitting at the bar waiting to get their hands on the Warrior's Passage. Since we had a bit of time to kill before it took place, I decided to help myself to a couple of beers while we waited.

Barley John's Rosies Old Ale - A beer that is released once every 3 years according to the brewery's website and it clocks in at a whooping 18% ABV, so it's a good thing that I just got a sampler glass of this beer. Very strong booziness along with some oak, rum raisin, vanilla and caramel malts. That, along with the slight burning sensation in my throat made it seem like I was drinking a shot of Malibu Rum; Don't worry though, I love my rums!

Warrior's Passage 2.0 Imperial IPA w/ Falconer's Flight Hops - Equally strong caramel malt and citrus hop notes. In the background is also a lingering bitter floral hoppiness. Very smooth and lightly carbonated. It goes without saying that I found it to be quite tasty!



After that, we decided to call it a day and head back to my fiance's place where we proceed to have a nice steak dinner while we watched the Wild proceed to beat the Blackhawks 4-2, though little did we know that the playoff semi-finals would go to the Blackhawks. Maybe next year, but the Wild victory still made an already great day even better!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Lucid Foto Review



Name: Lucid Foto
Style: India Pale Ale
ABV: 6.5%

It's time to look at another beer from Lucid Brewing, whom are based out of Minnetonka, Minnesota. This time around I have their Foto IPA, which I have been seeing on the store shelves for a while but I have never really tried it out until now. Plus another thing that I have noticed with Lucid is that they finally have their own custom bottle caps as opposed to the generic ones which I am used to seeing; Chalk up one more decoration to my beer fridge!

Lucid Foto pours a hazy dark orange color with a thin foamy head. The visible carbonation is rather moderate but the lacing is abundant and sticky.

The nose starts things off with some sweet orange peel and citrus hop notes, backed up by a solid caramel maltiness and toffee sweetness.

The flavor starts out with a sweet citrus hop flavor but with a distinct bitter hoppiness which settles on the back of the palate. These are backed up by a caramel maltiness and yeasts.

The palate is quite heavy body in terms of body weight with some mild-to-moderate carbonation that allows the flavors to really help sink in.

All and all, Foto is a well-rounded and well-balanced IPA. It's hoppy enough for fans of the style to enjoy yet malty enough to please those who like their IPAs on the sweeter side. Check it out if you get the chance.

Lucid Foto - 8/10

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Minnesota Craft Beer Week 2014 - Day 3 (A personal account)


Day 3 started out on a rather low key note: Me and my fiance had woken up a little later than usual after sleeping in a bit longer than we would have liked and ended up just making it to make the payment for our wedding venue. After our appointment, we were presented with an interesting conundrum. It was too late in the day for breakfast food, but not early enough to start lunch.

Looking at our itinerary for the day, we noticed that The Herkimer Pub & Brewery had a breakfast menu, so I opted to have lunch there while my fiance decided to wait until after we were done there to go to lunch. So with our decision made and we made our way over to The Herkimer.


When we arrived, I was presented with a very interesting question: Do I want beer with my breakfast? It had been something which I had never done before. After scanning the tap selection, I decided to get their lightest beer available: Jeffery Kream Ale along with a platter of pancakes. It's about as close as one can get to having a true "Breakfast of Champions."



Jeffrey Kream Ale - Wow, this has got to be one of the creamiest beers I've ever had! I'm tempted to say that I had this on nitro but even if I didn't, it's still an incredibly smooth beer! It's got a relatively simply flavor, consisting mainly of pale malts, flaked corn and barley and tastes pretty similar to Spotted Cow. However the overall texture and body is just so creamy and easy on the palate that I say that alone is worth checking this beer out. And yes, it went very well with the pancakes.

After I finished up breakfast, me and the future Mrs. Nick's Beer Blog headed to lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings. While we were there, we debated amongst ourselves where we would go next amongst the denizens of lunch hour patrons eyeballing the upcoming NFL Draft.

During our conversation we plotted our next course of action when "Hudson, Wisconsin" came up in our conversation. It was at this point that we came to a sobering realization: Decisions had to be made. Do we stay in Minnesota and check out some of the other various breweries around the Twin Cities area? Or do we break our vow of drinking nothing but Minnesota-based beer, commit the ultimate act of betrayal, make the journey across St. Croix River and sample some Wisconsin beers DURING Minnesota Craft Beer Week?

We thought long and hard while the Twins struggled to keep up with the Cleveland Indians before we decided that we would make the 15 minute drive from Maplewood to Hudson. However, Mother Nature was a bit tempermental that afternoon and proceeded to give us a whooping of the thunderstorm. Our 15 minute leisurely cruise turned into a 30 minute game of "Don't hit the poor soul who decided to ride his motorcycle during a severe storm."

Before we decided which brewery to visit, I paid a visit to Casanova Liquor which has become a favorite destination of mine when passing through Wisconsin. It's a great place to visit for those beers that aren't available in Minnesota or pretty much anywhere in the Midwest.

After I was finished, I made the choice to visit Pitchfork Brewing, going off of the recommendation of a friend of mine to try out their Maple Maibock.

Picture courtesy of Ratebeer

As you can see in the photo above, it doesn't look like much, just a sign that says "Pitchfork Brewing." The interesting thing about this place is that it's located in a strip mall, which is probably the last place where you'd expect to find a brewery. In fact the strip mall itself is pretty new but it's surrounded by a grassy field and the road leading up to building is a dirt road. I was wondering if I had gotten lost but my trusty GPS assured me I was going in the right direction and sure enough we arrived safe and sound.


Once we did arrive, we were treated to a very roomy taproom. Mike Fredricksen, who I believe is the brewmaster there, was manning the taps that day. I'll throw this out there right now that Mike was an incredibly awesome guy to talk to! He talked about experience in brewing and how each beer is made with care. That alone made it worth the journey to the brewery.


For this trip, I decided to start out with a flight as you will see in the photo above. I figured that since I was there, I might as well try a few of their offerings. So we grabbed some popcorn, pulled up a stoll and sampled some beers.

Pitchfork Porch Swing German Alt - An Altbier style ale. The flavor consisted mainly of offee, pils malts, a hop/spicy bitterness with a sweet malty finish. It was also a fairly smooth beer in terms of drinkability and texture.

Pitchfork Munich Dunkel - Very Clove & Banana flavor forward flavor with a strong caramel malty backbone. Like the Porch Swing, this was also a very smooth beer to drink!

Pitchfork Barndoor Brown Ale - Very strong chocolate malt character, but the light hoppiness & roasted barley flavors really helped even things out overall.

Pitchfork Outwitted - A Witbier style beer. Strong malted wheat notes with some fruity sweetness & light floral hoppiness. The texture is also very light, creamy, and very easy to drink!

Pitchfork Pale Ale - An APA style beer. Fairly potent citrus hop flavors mixed in with notes of rum raisin and maltiness. Very tasty beer to drink.

Pitchfork Maple Maibock (Not Pictured) - The beer which drew me to Pitchfork in the first place. Nice maltiness and a robust maple profile. Much like Tommyknocker Legend, this is an example of maple being used correctly in a beer. This is a good beer that pairs wonderfully with a raging spring severe thunderstorm.

All and all, I had a great time at Pitchfork Brewing. Anyone who is passing through the area and has even a slight interest in craft beer should check this place out!

After we were done, we made our way back to Minnesota through the pouring rain and back to my fiancé's place where we feasted on Carbone's Pizza and Surly Hell for dinner. Despite the severe weather, it was a good day!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

New Glarus Back 40 Bock Review



Name: New Glarus Back 40 Bock
Style: Bock
ABV: 5.5%

It's time to look at one of latest releases from New Glarus Brewing. For this review, I have their Back 40 Bock, which is another one of their Bock-style ales. If my memory serves me correctly, it was listed on brewery's website as an archived beer at one point but it's since been moved to their "Seasonal" listings.

Back 40 Bock pours a clear dark red color with a foamy khaki colored head. The visible carbonation is fairly moderate in appearance and the lacing left behind is pretty good.

The aroma starts off with some caramel and chocolate notes, followed by some roasted barley and mild floral hoppiness.

The flavor consists of caramel malts, mild roasted barley, chocolate notes and a mild hoppiness. The aftertaste is fairly dry with a mild caramel sweetness and floral hoppiness. The palate has a surprisingly heavy body and the carbonation as a whole is also very strong, which is unusual for this style.

As a whole, this is actually a good beer. It has considerably more flavor than New Glarus' last Bock offering, Uff-da, and has an overall more robust profile. My only major complaint about this beer is that the carbonation and overall palate are way too heavy for my liking. Still I say it's worth checking out if you get the chance.

New Glarus Back 40 Bock - 8/10

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Minnesota Craft Beer Week 2014 - Day 2 (A personal account)


On the second day, it started out as a fairly uneventful day. In the morning I was at my fiance's house having some breakfast whilst her family catching up on the latest episode of India's Got Talent via online streaming on the living room TV. Let me tell you, if the American version was just as entertaining as the one I viewed that morning, I would probably be a regular viewer....maybe.

After me and my fiance left her house, we swung by Elevated Beer Wine & Spirits to take advantage of the discounted Minnesota Craft Beer promotion they were running in honor of Minnesota Craft Beer Week. When we were finished there, we deliberated as to where we would go first decided we would make our way to Great Waters Brewing Company located in downtown St. Paul. Like Dangerous Man the day before, this was my first time at the brewery.


For my beer of choice, I settled for the St. Walpurgis Night Maibock while my fiance had the Chipotle Pale which she found to be quite good.

Great Waters St. Walpurgis Night Maibock - Fairly light bodied with some light honey and pale malt flavors. The floral hop flavor is minor but it does help balance out the flavor profile a little bit.

Sadly that was the only beer I had there and in retrospect, I felt that I should've done a flight as they had quite a few selections on tap there. After finishing up there, my little brother messaged me to let me know that he was free to celebrate his 21st (belated) birthday in St. Louis Park. Since I was going to be in that area, our next stop was The Four Firkins to sample a pin of Surly Blakkr with Simcoe & Centennial hops.


Surly Blakkr w/ Simcoe & Centennial Hops - While I thought the original had a very prominent citrus hop & fruity characteristic even by Black IPA standards, they are only further enhanced by the Simcoe & Centennial Hops. Depending on how you like your beers, you'll either love it or hate it. Personally, I thought it was quite delicious.


While we were at the The Firkins, Jason Alvey, the store owner, was sampling a bottle of Or De Belgique Verte, the newest release from the Duluth-based Blacklist Brewing. The reception amongst the crowd was very positive and for good reason; It's a very flavorful Belgian-style ale and it's also local!

After finishing up at The Four Firkins, we met up with my little brother at Bunny's Bar & Restaurant a few blocks over to celebrate his 21st birthday. When I was looking over the tap selection, I noticed their beer of the month was an offering from Enki Brewing, whom I've had just a couple of beers from before. The beer on tap was Ceili, an Irish Red Ale. It had been a while since I've had an Irish Red Ale so I ordered up a pint for myself.

Enki Brewing Ceili - A light bodied beer with some light floral hops, toasty barley, pale & munich malts with a lightly hopped aftertaste.

Overall it was a good day but it felt a bit underwhelming to me because I felt I could've tried more. Still it was awesome to try out some new beers and I knew the next day would be even better. Stay tuned for my next post as I think you will be in for a treat!


Cheers!

Nick

Friday, May 9, 2014

Brewery Ommegang Hennepin Review


Name: Brewery Ommegang Hennepin
Style: Saison
ABV: 7.7%

It's been a while since I've reviewed a Brewery Ommegang beer, as in over a year ago, so I've decided to make up for that with a review of their Hennepin Saison Ale. I had this beer a few years ago but they have changed the label since I've last had it.

The beer is named after Father Louis Hennepin, a Catholic Missionary from Belgium who was one of the first explorers of the interior of the United States. On a side note, the city of Minneapolis, which is where I'm originally from, is located in Hennepin County which was also named after Louis Hennepin. In fact the area in which Minneapolis is located was one of the areas that Louis Hennepin charted out.

Hennepin pours a hazy yellow color with a very foamy head typically found in most Ommegang beers. The lacing is rather soapy and the visible carbonation is fairly moderate.

The aroma starts out with some healthy Belgian yeasts, along with spices, grassiness, pale & pils malts.

The flavor is fairly identical to the nose but there is less of a focus on the grassiness and more on the Belgian yeasty aspect.

The palate is fairly moderate in terms of body with some moderate carbonation. It's fairly easy to bring with the carbonation bringing out some of the flavor.

Overall, I found Hennepin to be a very good representation of the Saison style. Definitely worth picking up if you get the chance.

Brewery Ommegang Hennepin - 8.5/10

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Minnesota Craft Beer Week 2014 - Day 1 (A personal account)



A couple of months ago, I requested this week off as a means for a little vacation. So yesterday I headed out from Duluth to make my journey down to the Twin Cities. Since I moved up to Duluth last July, I feel like a lot has changed in terms of the craft beer down in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area just based on what I have been reading and sure enough, there has been quite a bit of growth and selection expansion since I was last here.

On my way in to town, I swung by Elevated Beer, Wine & Spirits to stop by to say "Hi" to some of the people who worked there and to grab a couple of bombers from Bent Brewstillery. Prior to me moving to Duluth, this would be the place I'd go to grab my beer mainly because of the selection, service and atmosphere. Also, they have a pretty good radio show on the local ESPN affiliate that is worth listening to if you get the chance. It was also very nice to see both Blacklist Brewing and Bent Paddle Brewing represented quite well on the shelves, which to me is a testament to the rapidly expanding craft beer scene right up I-35 in the Duluth-Superior-North Shore Area.

After picking up my fiance and having some lunch over at Parkway Pizza, we headed over to Dangerous Man Brewing Company. I had been hearing quite a bit about Dangerous Man, namely with everyone giving very high praises to their Chocolate Milk Stout. Alas, we do not get them in Duluth because the only way to get Dangerous Man is by going to the actual taproom.

We arrived about 10 minutes after they opened up and it was already pretty busy but we managed to grab a couple of seats at the bar. I will say one thing about the atmosphere: it perfectly captures the spirit of Northeast Minneapolis; From the music playlist featuring local music artists to the overall artwork/architecture of the room. Since I didn't happen to have my laptop with me, I just have tasting notes. So be prepared, these aren't going to be full on reviews but you get the general idea.


Dangerous Man Chocolate Milk Stout - I wanted to get right to the beer which Dangerous Man is most well known for which is their Chocolate Milk Stout. I'm glad to say that this is one of those beers that live up to the hype which I have been seeing. It's got a very creamy and smooth palate with some strong chocolate & lactose notes followed by roasted barley and coffee. The aftertaste is also pretty sweet & chocolatey with only some minor roastiness. I can definitely see why people flock back to the taproom time and time again to have this beer.

Dangerous Man Cara Cara Wit - I decided to switch it up a bit afterwards and go for something a bit lighter. Witbiers are typically hit and miss for me but I found this beer to be quite very enjoyable. It's a fairly light bodied beer but it's got that distinct berry and lemon zest tart-sweetness that blended quite well with the malted wheat profile.

Dangerous Man Session Hefe - For my last beer, I went with something a bit more sessionable so I decided why not get into the spirit of spring with a Hefeweizen. Like the Cara Cara, it had a fairly prominent but not quite as strong malted wheat profile. It also had a distinct grape-like fruitness to the overall flavor. Still, I thought it was pretty good, even by session-ale standards

After finishing up at Dangerous Man, I met up with a couple of friends over at Northbound Smokehouse over in South Minneapolis, where we watched the Minnesota Wild bring the pain to the Blackhawks. While I was there I helped myself to the Light Rail Pale Ale, which I've already done a review on. However that night they were releasing their Buckwheat Honey Porter as part of Minnesota Craft Beer Week. Intrigued I decided to give it a go...


Northbound Smokehouse Buckwheat Honey Porter - Fairly typical roasted barley/chocolate profile which can be found in a porter. With that said, the honey used in making this beer helps offset that roastiness to give it a sweeter and approachable flavor. My fiance, who is not typically into dark beers, actually enjoyed this quite a bit which is saying something right there.

All and all, it was a great first day to try out good local beer. I'll have more posts coming this way so sta tuned.

Cheers!

- Nick

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Lagunitas Sucks Review


Name: Lagunitas Sucks
Style: Imperial IPA
ABV: 7.85%

It's time to review another beer from Lagunitas Brewing and this time it's their Sucks ale. If my memory serves me correctly, this beer used to strictly be a winter seasonal but has since become a year-round offering. The name comes from the year where they couldn't make their winter seasonal: Brown Shugga. This beer was put in as a replacement and has since become a hit with beer drinkers everywhere.

Sucks pours a mildly hazy orange color with a thin foamy head. The visible carbonation is fairly moderate and the lacing is rather abundant.

The nose starts things off with caramel malt and brown sugar sweetness followed by some fairly strong citrus hops and a slight rye scent at the tail end.

The flavor is very caramel malt forward with notes of citrus hops, mangoes, brown sugar, and an aftertaste of slight rye spiciness and citrus hops.

The palate as a whole is pretty lightweight and the carbonation is moderately leveled. The carbonation does help bring out more of the flavor which thankfully works out pretty well.

Lagunitas Sucks is a very good Imperial IPA. The mixture of flavors, particularly with the slight rye spiciness, work together quite nicely. It's safe to say that this beer.......doesn't suck.

Lagunitas Sucks - 8.5/10

The Duluth Experience Presents The North Shore Craft Beer Roundtable Part 3 - Riding a Wave of Beer




On May 18th The Duluth Experience will continue its North Shore Craft Beer Roundtable series with a discussion about businesses related to the North Shore Craft Beer Scene. This panel – aptly titled “Riding a Wave of Beer” will explore the excitement and energy surrounding craft beer and the influence the local scene has had on businesses outside the breweries and pubs.

The roundtable will address topics related to the development of craft beer related businesses, how craft beer has changed the game for the business community and the importance of connecting local businesses with community breweries. Beyond that, there’s no telling where this conversation will go. The Duluth Experience’s James Sanders will moderate the live panel discussion with a great lineup of panelists that includes:

Marissa Saurer – Northlandbeer.com
Paul Riordan – Brule River Hilltop Hops
Carolyn Jones – CMT Farms
Brad Nelson – Star Creative
Paul Helstrom – The Duluth Experience

The events are designed to provide behind-the-scenes perspectives on the regional craft beer community and showcase the great people involved in pushing the North Shore Craft Beer Scene to the forefront of the expanding craft beer industry in Minnesota. Beer will be served at the event (of course) and there will be time for audience questions. The event will close with a raffle and if it turns out anything like the previous two roundtables – the conversation will spill out into the mezzanine and then to a local pub for continued discussion and merriment.

The event will be held from 1-2pm at Duluth’s Teatro Zuccone in the Zeitgeist Arts Building at 222 East Superior Street on May 18th. Tickets for each event are only $5 and all proceeds from the event will be donated to a local charity. For more information about the North Shore Craft Beer Roundtable call (218) 464-6337 or visit The Duluth Experience website at: www.theduluthexperience.com/special-events/craft-beer-roundtable/

If you happen to be in the area, this is an excellent way to familiarize yourself with the craft beer scene here along the North Shore. So try to make it down if you can!

Cheers!

- Nick

Monday, May 5, 2014

Castle Danger Double Crossing IPA Review


Name: Castle Danger Double Crossing IPA
Style: Imperial IPA
ABV: 9.1%

Last weekend, I made the drive up the shore to Castle Danger Brewing to grab myself a growler of beer. Since it was a nice, sunny spring day as opposed to a snowstorm that I've come to expect, I decided to drive with the windows rolled down while taking in the breeze. Along the way, I stopped by the site of the new brewery and I have to say it's come quite a way considering that it was an empty parking lot not even 8 months ago. Since it'll be opening in the very near future, I can't wait to see the end results!

While I was at the brewery, I noticed a new offering called Double Crossing, which just so happened to be an Imperial IPA. I feel like its been awhile since I've had a good Imperial IPA (and a local one at that) I decided to give this one a go. Plus I was quite pleased with the last IPA offering I had from them. So with my growler buckled in, I made the drive back to my place of residence and picked up some Do North Pizza for dinner.

Double Crossing pours a hazy orange color with a thin filmy head. The lacing left behind on the sides of the glass is moderate and the visible carbonation is fairly mild.

The nose is best described as a blast of citrus hops, tangerines, mangoes, apricots, and a solid caramel maltiness. Overall, it's a very fruity aroma.

The flavor retains most of what was found in the nose. It starts out with a mix of citrus hops, mango, apricot, caramel and a strong malty backbone which provides a solid foundation for the flavors. The aftertaste is fairly malty with a mild hint of apricot. The body is on the heavier side and the carbonation intensity is pretty mild, giving it a fairly creamy feel.

Once again, it's another great beer from Castle Danger. It's got just enough flavor to give hop-heads the fix they are looking for, yet at the same time, I can see this beer being an excellent segway to introduce people to the Imperial IPA style. I know I've said this before, but pick up a growler and see for yourself!

Castle Danger Double Crossing IPA - 9.25/10