Thursday, June 30, 2016

Delirium Tremens Review

Name: Delirium Tremens
Brewed By: Brouwerij Huyghe
Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale
ABV: 8.7%
IBUs: 26

Why is it that I can never seem to find time to review imported beers? I mean sure, we've got fantastic beers being made right here in the US, so it kind of makes sense that imports have somewhat fallen to the wayside. In any case, I've decided to look at a beer that I've seen countless times since I've gotten into craft beer but I have never felt the urge to try it until now.

I give to you Delirium Tremens, which the label proudly proclaims to be "Elected the Best Beer in the World." That is a pretty bold claim. I've certainly heard great things about this beer, but THE best beer in the world? I'll be the judge of that.

Appearance - Bright yellow color with some moderate carbonation. The head is pretty thin for the most part but the lacing left behind is quite plentiful.

Aroma - Off the bat, I'm getting some Belgian yeasts & floral hops with clove notes and some sweet pale & toffee maltiness.

Taste - In the front, there's some hefty Belgian yeasts and floral hoppiness. Towards the middle is where I'm starting to see some of those clove notes, while in the back I'm getting some banana notes plus a good amount of pale and toffee maltiness. As for the aftertaste, it's mainly more of that toffee & pale maltiness with the cloves making a minor reappearance.

I've said this before and I'll say it again: It's very easy to understand why so many people have fallen in love with beer and I can understand how it's gained a following over the years. With that said, it isn't the best beer in the world. In fact, what constitutes the best beer in the world is more of a matter of preference than anything else.

Some think that Budweiser is the best beer in the world, while others will claim that title belongs to beers like Heady Topper or Three Floyd's Dark Lord. As a beer, this one is good. It's a bit pricey for what it is, which makes this a tad harder to give a higher score but it isn't enough to deter me from having it again in the future.

Delirium Tremens - 8.5/10

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Bear Republic Grand Am Review

Name: Bear Republic Grand Am
Style: American Pale Ale
ABV: 6%

IBUs: 50

Moving on with my Bear Republic beers, for this review we have Grand Am, which is the brewery's American Pale Ale. Taking it's name from the Pontiac Grand Am, it's a name that makes total sense because the "Am" in Grand Am stands for American and this is an American Pale Ale.

Appearance - Cloudy dark orange color with a mild amount of visible carbonation. The head is pretty thin for the most part but the lacing left behind is abundant.

Aroma - Getting some yeasts and potent floral hops upfront with some cracker notes and just a hint of bitter hoppiness accented by some light toffee malts.

Taste - Floral hops, yeast & cracker notes upfront with some bitter hops in the middle. Towards the back I'm getting more of those bitter hops and a good amount of toffee maltiness to help balance it out. The aftertaste is fairly dry save for some very light bitter hops.

Overall, it's a pretty good pale ale. Nothing I haven't seen but it's a great beer nevertheless. If you so happen to come across this, it's certainly worth a look!

Bear Republic Grand Am - 8.5/10

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Clown Shoes Third Party Candidate Review

Name: Clown Shoes Third Party Candidate 
Style: India Pale Lager (IPL)
ABV: 7%

It's been a while since I looked at anything from Clown Shoes and it's also been a while since I've had a good IPL so what better way to fulfill both desires? I give to you Third Party Candidate, which is an IPL. I also know for a fact that this beer in particular was released a couple years ago with both a different label and style. I can't say whether or not this will be continue but I'll just go with what is in front of me.

Appearance - Clear bright yellow color with a moderate amount of visible carbonation. The head is on the thinner side but has some good retention and the same goes for the lacing.

Aroma - Citrus and bitter hops with some pale maltiness. I'm getting some lager yeasts in here too with a mild but noticeable mango sweetness.

Aroma - Citrus & mango sweetness upfront with some pale maltiness and bitter hops towards the middle. In the back, I'm getting some more citrus hoppiness along with some of that lager yeastiness. Aftertaste is mangos and bittersweet hops.

At the price I paid for a bomber of this, I have to say this is quite good. I'm happy to see that the IPL style has been picking up steam (at least in my area) and that it's been gaining a steady following as of late. It's got a good amount of hops yet it's light enough in body and the overall flavor profile accents the hop profile wonderfully. As a result, this one is very easy to recommend.

Clown Shoes Third Party Candidate - 8.5/10

Monday, June 27, 2016

Sixpoint Puff Review

Name: Sixpoint Puff
Style: Imperial IPA
ABV: 9.8%
IBUs: 108

I've recently gotten a couple comments from people saying that my score of Sixpoint Brewing's Resin was a bit harsh and that I should be trying out the "superior" version of it, which apparently isn't Hi-Res. I was a bit perplexed at first but apparently there is a different version of Resin out there with the key difference being that it is dry hopped.

Which brings us to the amusingly named Puff, which is a dry hopped version of Resin and is either a rotating or summer seasonal. I'll be honest, I almost didn't grab this but I'm one who'll give the benefit of the doubt to something if I hear a compelling enough argument and that was the case with Puff. Plus, I see too that this is the newest addition to the brewery's lineup, so you know I have to check this out.

Appearance - Cloudy dark orange with a thin foamy head and a good amount of lacing along the sides of the glass. The visible carbonation is also pretty light.

Aroma - Citrus and piney hops with some strong caramel malts with some light but noticable toffee sweetness. I'm also getting some buttery biscuit notes as well.

Taste - Strong piney and moderate citrus hops on the front of the palate with some caramel and toffee maltiness in the middle. Towards the back, I'm getting some more of those piney hops but I'm also getting some mango fruitiness in here as well. As for the aftertaste, it's surprisngly dry save for a piney hop tangness on the very back of the tongue.

I can't believe I'm saying this, but this is the superior version of Resin, and in more ways than one. It's nicely balanced, and while there's some dankness in here, it's balanced out by usage of dry hops. I'm not sure what the pricing is one this but I'm just glad that I convinced myself to try this out

Sixpoint Puff - 8.5 /10

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Bear Republic Racer 5 Review

Name: Bear Republic Racer 5
Style: India Pale Ale
ABV: 7,5%
IBUs: 75

2016 has already been an interesting year for beer here in Minnesota because a bunch of highly regarded breweries are now deciding to make their wares available here. It started with Prarie Artisan Ales, then The Bruery and now we've got Bear Republic. And to top it off, Perennial Artisan Ales is supposed to be making landfall here shortly.

However, we're focusing on Bear Republic. Today I've got their Racer 5 IPA, which is supposedly one of the best IPAs in America, however this claim has been established more so by the craft beer community than the brewery itself, Though on the brewery website, they say this beer is "one of America’s most medal winning IPAs."

Appearance - Hazy dark orange color with a mild amount of visible carbonation. The head is quite foamy with some great retention and lacing left behind is also quite abundant and plentiful

Aroma - Citrus hops and tangerine notes backed but by a moderate caramel malt backbone. I'm also getting some light lemongrass notes and a touch of bitter hops tucked away behind everything else.

Taste - Tangerine & citrus hops start things off which a moderate caramel maltiness. Towards the middle is where I'm starting to get some bitter hops, which linger throughout the palate. In the back, I'm starting to see some of those citrus hops start to show up, but it's mainly more maltiness and bitter hops once again with a bittersweet resin aftertaste.

Maybe it's because I've had a bunch of IPAs in my time, but I don't think this quite qualifies as one of the best IPAs in America. It is, however, a very well put together IPA and I can see why this has been a crowd favorite with craft beer drinkers across the country. With that said, I would happily have this again.

Bear Republic Racer 5 - 9/10

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Against The Grain #PoundSign Review

Name: Against The Grain #PoundSign
Style: Lager
ABV: 4%

Against the Grain Brewing is one of those breweries that I've always wanted to check out but the price of their bombers was rather off-putting for me to spend money on it. That was until recently. when started canning pretty much all of their regular beers and at a much more reasonable price than the bomber bottles.

With that said, the beer we're looking at is called #PoundSign, a name whose irony mirrors the label artwork you see before you, complete with an Instagram photo, a bunch of hashtagged words plastered all over and a subheading that calls this beer "A Trendy Lager". This also is a collaboration between Against The Grain & Stillwater Artisanal Ales, a brewery which I have some familiarity with.

Appearance - Fairly clear bright yellow color with a mild amount of haze and carbonation. The head is nice and foamy with some good retention but the lacing more of the soapy and sparse side.

Aroma - Pale malts and light floral hops with some cereal grains and lager yeasts.

Taste - Floral and light bitter hops on the front of the palate with some pilsner grassiness and pale malts in the middle. Towards the back, you have this lingering bitter hop flavor with this lager yeastiness, both of which linger on the palate for a few moments after you take a sip.

As a whole, it's a decent craft lager but the asking price is a high (though not unreasonable) when you consider that there are better craft lagers out there for much better prices, at least in my area there are. That said, it's drinkable but nothing I haven't already seen before.

Against The Grain #PoundSign - 7.5/10

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Pabst Old Tankard Ale Review

Name: Pabst Old Tankard Ale
Style: ESB
ABV: 5.8%
IBUs: 35

For as long as I can remember, the name Pabst has always conjured up images of mustached hipsters and its red, white & blue colored can with a logo that hasn't changed design since the Nixon Administration. It goes without saying that it is one of the most recognizable beers brands in the country, if not, the world.

So imagine my shock when, earlier this year, a new beer was released under the Pabst name called Old Tankard, complete with what is probably the least Pabst-like can design I have ever seen, which is no doubt an effort to draw in craft beer drinkers. Also unlike PBR, this is an ESB. However, I am willing to give this beer a chance seeing as how it's available seemingly everywhere I go

Appearance - Mildly hazy dark orange color with a light amount of visible carbonation. The head is quite foamy with good retention and the lacing left behind is rather abundant.

Aroma - Toasted and toffee malts with some mild floral & bitter hops and just a hint of chocolate.

Taste - Toasted & toffee malts upfront, with some floral & bitter hops in the middle with the latter lingering on until the end. There's also some toffee malts which make a reappearance at the end and, along with the bitter hops, stay in the aftertaste for a couple of moments.

I'll admit that I was cynical when I first got this since I didn't exactly have high hopes for this. That said, I found myself enjoying this quite a bit and wrapping my head around the fact that this comes from the same people who make PBR, all at the same time. Since the pricing is also fairly low (I paid for a single can but 4 packs of this run around $5-6), I say it's worth the money, or at the very least, worth taking a look at.

Pabst Old Tankard Ale - 8/10

Monday, June 20, 2016

Flying Dog Dead Rise Old Bay Summer Ale Review

Name: Flying Dog Dead Rise Old Bay Summer Ale
Style: Wheat Ale/Spiced Beer
ABV: 5.6%
IBUs: 25

Since Flying Dog is back on Minnesota shelves, I guess I have more beers to review. Yesterday it was a rather humid 90 degree day, so what better time than now to review a summer beer. Today, I have Dead Rise Old Bay Summer Ale, a name that is totally lost on me due in part from not being from Maryland but I'm guessing it has to do with the ocean & crabs....or something. Oh but it does support the Maryland crabbing industry so there is that!

Also I've gotten conflicting reports as to what kind of beer this is. Some say it's a wheat beer while others say its a spiced beer. Since I can't exactly decide, I'll just go with both.

Appearance - Fairly clear bright yellow color with just a mild amount of haze and some moderate carbonation. The head is pretty thin for the most part but retains throughout and the lacing is also quite abundant.

Aroma - Some rye-like spiciness & pale malts upfront, and some malted wheat, mild citrus hops & kolsch-like yeastiness following immediately afterwards.

Taste - You've got some of that pale maltiness and malted wheat upfront, with some moderate citrus hops in the middle. Towards the back, I'm getting some white grape sweetness, with a fairly powerful, albeit brief, spicy kick and some more of that Kolsch-lager yeast. Aftertaste is fairly dry, save for some light malted wheat and spices.

Overall, this isn't bad, The spicy kick to a wheat beer is a combination that works out surprisingly well. I've seen from a couple of sources that you're supposed to pair this with seafood, so next time I have salmon, I'll have to pair it with this and see how it is.

Flying Dog Dead Rise Old Bay Summer Ale - 8/10

Friday, June 17, 2016

Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter Review

Name: Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter
Style: Baltic Porter
ABV: 9.2%
IBUs: 85

It never got weird enough for me - Hunter S. Thompson

When Flying Dog came back to Minnesota, I was excited that one of the first craft breweries I tried out was available to me once again. However there was one beer from them that I could never seem to get my hands and that was their Gonzo Imperial Porter, named in honor of writer Hunter S. Thompson. That was until last week when I saw a brand new bottle on the store selves. Without a second thought, I grabbed it

I've been an avid Hunter S. Thompson fan since I was a junior in high school after reading his Fear & Loathing on the Campaign Trail '76 article in Rolling Stone for my Political Science class at the recommendation of my teacher, which they just so happened to have archived in the school library. The outlandish way of his writing drew me in even further to his other works and I consider him to be my all-time favorite writer. So much so that I have a tattoo on my forearm dedicated to the man himself in Steadman-style.

In fact, the owners of Flying Dog got to know Ralph Steadman, who does all the label artwork for the brewery, through Hunter S. Thompson, who was close friends with Flying Dog founder George Stranahan.

Appearance - Pitch Black with a fairly thin brown head that settles to a bring along the sides of the glass, though the lacing left behind is quite abundant.

Aroma - Roasted barley & chocolate malts with a moderate amount of smokiness. I'm also getting some fairly prominent citrus and bitter hops that become more noticeable as it warms up.

Taste - Strong chocolate malts and bitter hops starts things off upfront, with the bitter hops lingering throughout. Towards the middle I'm getting some fairly strong roasted barley and smokiness, while the back end of the palate & aftertaste opens up to some light citrus and bitter hoppiness with more of that smokey & roasty characteristics encompassing them.

Admiration for Dr. Thompson aside, this is an excellent Baltic Porter and one that I am very thankful to have finally tried this out. It's a fitting tribute to the man himself and one that I think he would proud of if he were alive today. As to those who have never had this before, I would absolutely recommend checking this out!

Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter - 9.25/10

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Millstream Big Honey Hefe Review

Sorry about the fuzzy picture!

Name: Millstream Big Honey Hefe
Style: Weizenbock
ABV: 8.5%
IBUs: 21

Millstream Brewing is one of those breweries that you always see on the store shelves but are seemingly eclipsed by other breweries out there yet still manage to crank out new offerings all the time. Though this has been around for a few years per Beer Advocate, this is my first time seeing it on store shelves.

I'm of course talking about Big Honey Hefe, which is actually classified as a Weizenbock by Beer Advocate. The reason for this is the high ABV, which clocks in at 8.5%, while most Hefeweizens are usually in the 5-6% range, Also on Beer Advocate, this beer is considered "retired" and even has the same label that it did 5 years ago because it was supposedly a one-off offering. Did Millstream just recently bring this out of cryogenic suspension or do I have a beer in my possession that predates me getting my undergraduate degree? Well, we'll see depending on how it tastes. Also, in case you didn't pick it up from the label, this is a beer made with honey.

Appearance - Very cloudy dark orange color with no visible carbonation. The head starts out very thin and fades away after a few moments, leaving nothing behind except for a light white ring along the sides of the glass

Aroma - Malted wheat and strong honey notes mixed in with some pale maltiness and some light citrus-like notes.

Taste - Sweet honey and candied malts upfront with some malted wheat & banana notes towards the middle. In the back, I'm getting some floral hop & light clove notes, in addition to more honey sweetness and light booziness. The aftertaste is almost exclusively honey with a light floral hoppiness.

As a whole, this is a great beer. The flavors all work and the honey used in the brewing process really shines here. I'm hoping that this is a beer that was recently brought back because I can see this being a pretty big hit for the brewery. And if you so happen to see this, then I would say this is most certainly worth your time.

Millstream Big Honey Hefe - 9/10

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Bell's Hopsolution Review

Name: Bell's Hopsolution
Style: Imperial IPA
ABV: 8%
IBUs: 70

Before I want to start this review, I just wanted to thank everyone who has provided me with feedback especially in regards to my thoughts about the beers I review. Since you all think that I haven't reviewed enough IPAs as of late, I decided to start including them more regularly in my posts in the immediate future.

Which brings us today's beer from Bell's Brewery called Hopsolution, an Imperial IPA, which to my understanding is actually a fairly recent addition to their lineup. It isn't clear as to whether or not this is a seasonal aside from Beer Advocate calling to a Rotating Seasonal. Either way, it's my first time seeing this beer so let's give it a go.

Appearance - Mildy hazy dark orange color with a light amount of carbonation. The head is rather thin but has some good retention, plus the lacing left behind is quite abundant.

Aroma - Rich citrus hop & mango notes right away backed up by some moderate caramel malts and light apricot sweetness

Taste - Robust mango, tangerine & apricot notes upfront that linger throughout while there's a slight bitter hoppiness that comes out in the middle along with that caramel malt backbone. In the back is where that caramel malt backbone continues to linger along with the fruitness from the front. The aftertaste is mainly more of that tangerine & mango sweetness with just a light hint of bitter hops to help balance it out. It's also worth noting there's a bit of heat in the flavor too; Surprising considering that this is only 8% ABV.

Although this is on the lower end of the Imperial IPA spectrum, this is a fantastic and robust tasting beer & is without a doubt the best IPA I've had from Bell's yet. If you're looking for an excellent IPA, then Hopsolution is absolutely worth trying out.

Bell's Hopsolution - 9.5/10

Southern Tier Salted Caramel Review

Name: Southern Tier Salted Caramel
Style: Imperial Stout
ABV: 10%

Last time I reviewed anything from Southern Tier's Blackwater Series, my expectations as to how bad a barleywine could be were shattered with their Backburner. So naturally when I saw their newest release, Salted Caramel, staring at me last week, I was a bit apprehensive about buying it. However, as you can see, I went and got it anyways.

So it's an Imperial Stout made with Caramel and..........Himalayan Pink Sea Salt? I don't think I'd ever use the words Himalayan & Sea Salt in the same sentence but yet I did. It begs the question though: What is it with breweries and Salted Caramel beers? New Belgium has already done a couple, Tallgrass also did one too, and now Southern Tier has hopped abroad. Permitting that I haven't had any that are bad yet as they have been solid thus far.

Appearance - Pitch black with no visible carbonation. The head takes on a tan color and retains a thin appearance with a very high amount of lacing left behind

Aroma - Buttered caramel and caramelized malts with some light saltiness. I'm also getting some toffee malts and just a touch of bitter hops that is barely noticeable.

Taste - Fairly prominent buttery caramel and caramelized malts upfront with some saltiness in the middle, which becomes more prevalent as it warms up. The back end of the palate, however, drops off to a bitter hop, roasted barley and salty finish, while retaining none of the sweetness found in the front.

This beer reminds me of the movie adaptation of Watchman; The first half is spot on while the second part starts to deviate from what is expected. That's my fancy euphemism of saying that the first half of the flavor is great while the back tends to be a bit too bitter for my liking and everything that made the flavor great in the first place is nowhere to be seen by the time it's all said and done.

As a whole it isn't a terrible beer but if you want a truly extraordinary salted caramel beer, go with Sweet Tooth by Tallgrass Brewing, you won't regret it. As for this beer, you're better off just skipping it.

Southern Tier Salted Caramel - 6/10

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Dark Horse Sapient Trip Ale Review

Name: Dark Horse Sapient Trip Ale
Style: Tripel
ABV: 9.5%
IBUs: 32

You know, it's been a while since I've reviewed a good Tripel and I just recently discovered that Dark Horse makes one called Sapient Trip Ale. According to the dictionary, Sapient means someone or something that is either a human being or is related to humans. Interesting name, but that doesn't explain why there's a cloaked figured riding on a mail box post on the label

Appearance - Very cloudy dark yellow color with some light carbonation. The head starts out about one finger in width but fades away to just a white ring along the sides of the glass with some sparse lacing left behind. Not to sound picky, but there's a LOT of sediment in here too and you can even see it in the photo.

Aroma - Belgian yeasts and cloves, with some toffee malts and biscuit notes. I'm also getting some light floral hops and a bit of caramelized brown sugar.

Taste - Cloves and strong toffee malts upfront, followed by some Belgian yeasts towards the middle. In the back, I'm picking up on some bitter hops and light caramelized malts with just a touch of spices. For what it is, the aftertaste is on the drier side, save for some light bitter hops that linger for a few moments along with some light boozy notes.

For a Tripel, it's alright if not a bit too malt focused for my liking. For the asking price I've seen for this, you're getting your money's worth but there are better Tripel-style ales out there but if this is the only thing available, I guess it wouldn't hurt to try out.

Dark Horse Sapient Trip Ale  - 7.5/10

Prairie Artisan Ales Bomb! Review

Name: Prairie Artisan Ales Bomb!
Style: Imperial Stout
ABV: 13%
IBUs: 65

Remember when I did my review of Phantasmagoria and mentioned that Prairie Artisan Ales' most well-known beer was an Imperial Stout by the name of Bomb(!)? Well, as I was out and about earlier this week when I happened to come across Bomb! and decided to get it. Bomb! is one of those beers that I always see up for trade on the Beer Trade Sub-Reddit, which means now I have more beers worth trading should the need ever arise.

So what makes Bomb! so special? Well, according to the label, it's aged on coffee, cacao nibs, vanilla beans and......chili peppers? I'm not sure if they meant to say that or made with but interesting to say the least. And in case you were wondering, the exclamation point at the end of the word Bomb! is intentional and part of the name itself. Just.......don't scream it when you're at an airport.

Appearnace - Pitch black color with an initially thin dark brown head that fades away to nothing after a few minutes. Needless to say, there's no lacing left behind along the sides of the glass.

Aroma - Right away I'm getting some chocolate & vanilla notes with even some of that chili pepper zing and bitter hoppiness present, though I'm not getting any of that coffee smell that's supposed to be here.

Taste - Right off the bat, I'm getting some fairly hefty chocolate maltiness with some vanilla sweetness. Towards the middle is where that chili pepper zing and heat starts to take hold but is kept at bay by the bitter hops and coffee ground notes. In the back is where we start to see a bit more of that vanilla sweetness while still maintaining that light pepper heat and chocolate roastiness. The aftertaste is mainly chocolate malts and light coffee roastiness.

Bomb! is one of those beers that, based on the hype you've heard about it, you can see why people are willing to go the extra mile to try it out. With that said, it isn't anything I haven't already seen and it doesn't so much blow me away as it does make me take a couple steps back. With that said, this is an excellent Imperial Stout and there's really no reason why you shouldn't try it out, permitting it's available in your area of course!

Prairie Artisan Ales Bomb - 9 /10

Shmaltz Star Trek Vulcan Ale Review

Name: Shmaltz Star Trek Vulcan Ale
Style: India Pale Ale
ABV: 5.4%
IBUs: 45

A few months back, I reviewed Lightspeed Pale Ale in honor of the newest Star Wars movie being released that day. But did you know there's actually a Star Trek beer, as in, an officially licensed one? Yep, I give to you the Shmaltz Brewing's Vulcan Ale. It's referred to in the sub-header as The Genesis Effect Red Session IPA.

So what's the story behind this? Well, when I did some research, the first thing that came up was The Federation of Beer Brews, which is an officially sanctioned website by CBS that shows off different Star Trek themed beers from different breweries. It turns out that Vulcan Ale is one of just a few Star Trek themed beers that are made by different breweries. I have to give kudos to CBS for opting to use craft breweries to promote such a beloved franchise.

Appearance - Hazy & cloudy dark orange color with some very mild visible carbonation. The head takes on a slightly khaki-colored look and starts out about 1 finger in width but it quickly fades to a thin, semi-translucent look. There is, however, a good amount of lacing left behind.

Aroma - Strong caramel and toffee maltiness upfront with some mild piney and citrus hops right behind it.

Taste - Toffee and piney hops start things off on the front of the palate, while the middle opens up to more of that caramel maltiness. Towards the back, I'm starting to pick up on some bitter citrus hops and some mild biscuit notes. As for the aftertaste, the only thing I'm getting is just some bitter resin flavors.

It's on the maltier side of the IPA spectrum but it manages to provide a good enough hop balance to make this an easy recommendation. If this is a sign of anything, I'll be sure to check out the other Star Trek beers should they become available in my area at any point in the future.

Shmaltz Star Trek Vulcan Ale - 8/10

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Summit 30th Anniversary Keller Pils Review

Name: Summit 30th Anniversary Keller Pils
Style Kellerbier
ABV: 5.1%
IBUs: 38

About 3 months ago, I reviewed Summit Brewing's first beer in their 30th Anniversary Series and now the second one has been bestowed upon us. This time around it's a Pilsner....or Keller Pils in this case. I do find it a bit unusual that they're releasing this in 12-pack cans as opposed to just the normal 6-pack that I'm used to seeing.

Appearance - Fairly clear bright straw yellow color with just a slight bit of haze and carbonation. The head is pretty thin for the most part but leaves behind a surprisingly healthy amount of lacing behind.

Aroma - Pilsner malts with some lager yeastiness. I'm also getting some light floral and kiwi-like hops in here as well.

Taste - Much like the flavor, I'm getting some Pilsner malts and lager yeasts on the front half of the palate, while the back end of the palate starts to show off some Kiwi & floral hops, with the kiwi in particular reminding me of those NZ-hopped beers everyone was going crazy about a couple years back

It's quite unfortunate that this is a one-time beer since I found this to be quite good and an all-around solid lager, with the choice of hops used that gives it a surprisingly nice & much needed spin. C'mon Summit, there's nothing stopping you from making this a regular offering, so why not? In any case, the window for picking this up is limited so check this out while you still can!

Summit 30th Anniversary Keller Pils - 9/10

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Bruery Or Xata Review

Name: The Bruery Or Xata
Style: Blonde Ale
ABV: 7.1%
IBUs: 20

Perhaps I was a bit too harsh with my first Bruery review on this blog, but I did my reasons for it nevertheless. In any case, I have another beer from The Bruery called Or Xata, which is a beer based off of Horchata, which is a Central American drink. According to the label, it's a blonde ale made with rice, cinnamon and vanilla beans.

I'll be honest, a blonde ale isn't exactly the style I'd choose if I were doing a Horchata beer as I would liken it to something more darker, like a porter or stout. I do recall reviewing a Blue Moon Horchata beer early last year but that one was kind of disappointing so let's hope that's not the case here.

Appearance - Hazy dark yellow color with a moderate amount of visible carbonation. The head is pretty thin for the most part and leaves behind no lacing

Aroma - Strong cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla flavors with some cereal grains and barley. I'm also picking up on some pale maltiness in here too.

Taste - Strong cinnamon flavor on the front of the palate that lingers to the end with some vanilla sweetness and pale malts towards the middle. The back end of the flavor continues with that vanilla & cinnamon flavors plus more of that pale maltiness. The aftertaste is also more of that lingering cinnamon.

I can certainly say I enjoyed this more than White Oak and I have to say I was actually surprised by how much I actually enjoyed this beer in general, despite my earlier reservations about the beer style of choice for making a Horchata beer. Yes, it may be a little too sweet and/or cinnamon-heavy for some people but if you are ever curious to try it out, this one is certainly worth a look.

The Bruery Or Xata - 8.5/10

Monday, June 6, 2016

The Bruery White Oak Review

Name: The Bruery White Oak
Style: Wheatwine
ABV: 12.5%
IBUs: 20

Chalk up one more brewery that I no longer have to travel to Wisconsin to get. That's right, The Bruery made landfall on Minnesota store shelves this week, much to the delight of beer lovers everywhere, with myself amongst those people. A couple times while I was in Duluth, I had some of their beers thanks to neighboring Superior but I never actually got around to reviewing any of them. Then again, with all the reviews I've done, it's sometimes hard to keep track of them all.

Well, there's no point in dwelling over it, let's move on to the beer. Today we've got The Bruery's White Oak, a wheatwine which is aged in bourbon barrels. The last time I reviewed a wheat wine was almost 2 years ago when I reviewed Smuttynose's Wheat Wine. I've heard some pretty good things about this beer, so let's take a look, shall we?

Appearance - Dark orange color with no visible carbonation. The head is thin and white and has a good amount lacing left behind along the sides of the glass.

Aroma - Dark fruit & plum notes with some strong oakiness. I'm also getting some hefty toffee and caramelized maltiness aling with some subtle vanilla notes.

Taste - Dark fruit and strong vanilla notes upfront backed up by some caramel and toffee malts in the middle. In the back I'm getting some more of that maltiness with some more of that vanilla sweetness with a light hint of malted wheat. The aftertaste is some moderate bitter hoppiness and a light plums. There's also a moderate encompassing boozy flavor that does get in the way the more the beer warms up.

Based on the overall flavor profile, I'm reminded more of an English Barleywine than it did a Wheatwine due to the sheer maltiness of it all and lack of wheat flavor. That said,White Oak is decently put together beer but the boozy flavor can be rather off putting at times, plus the asking price is a bit high when you factor in everything else.

The Bruery White Oak - 7.5/10

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Prairie Artisan Ales Phantasmagoria Review

Name: Prairie Artisan Ales Phantasmagoria
Style: Imperial IPA
ABV: 8%
IBUs: 70

Phantasmagoria - a confusing or strange scene that is like a dream because it is always changing in an odd way

Ever have one of those times when you're at the store and you literally do a double take because you can't believe it's there? Well, that's what happened the other day when I was at the store and I saw today's beer sitting there. Yes, it seems that Prairie Artisan Ales has quietly arrived on the store shelves here in Minnesota. It's one of those breweries that I have seen in trades on the r/beertrade Sub-Reddit, usually in the form of their Bomb! Stout.

We're not looking at Bomb! yet, but we do have Phantasmagoria, which is their Imperial IPA. I don't know too much about it since their other beers seemingly hog all the attention but we'll give it a try anyways!

Appearance - Hazy dark yellow with no visible carbonation. The head is about 1 finger in width and foamy and the lacing is also quite good

Aroma - Strong citrus and mango notes upfront with a mix of pale and caramel maltiness and some moderate yeastiness

Taste - Citra & bitter hops with some pale and caramel malts in the middle with a bittersweet hoppy finish and some light tangerine notes in the aftertaste that lingers for a few moments.

Having this reminds me of Heady Topper and for me that always a good thing. That said, it isn't anything I already haven't seen but this is quite tasty nonetheless! It's got a nice hop profile with a good malty backbone to help balance it out. If you see this, I would absolutely recommend checking this out!

Prairie Artisan Ales Phantasmagoria - 8.5/10

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Surly #Merica Review

Name: Surly #Merica
Style: Pale Lager
ABV: 5%

Well, the new releases from Surly just keep a-coming. This newest release is actually a lager called #Merica, which was formally a taproom-only offering but now is being released in can form. Now I know there are some people who think that this is Surly's way of taking a jab at Budweiser for putting "America" on their labels, but that's not the case since they've been making this beer since at least the beginning of last fall.

In any case, the reason for the name is because it's a Pale Lager per Beer Advocate (though Untappd has it listed as an Adjunct Lager for some reason.) plus when you look at the can design, you really cannot get anymore patriotic than this. I mean you've got powdered wigs, bald eagles, the Statue of Liberty, and the good ol' Red, White, & Blue color scheme. Hell, I feel 1000% more patriotic just by briefly glancing at it.

Appearance - Pale yellow with a moderate amount of visible carbonation. The head is fairly thin for the most part but has some decent retention and there's even some light lacing along the sides of the glass.

Aroma - Pale malts & lager yeasts with a very mild floral hoppiness along with some malted barley notes.

Taste - Lager yeasts and malted barley upfront with that pale malt backbone towards the middle. In the back I'm getting some of those light floral hops with just hint of malted barley. Aftertaste is fairly dry with the exception of a light lager yeast flavor.

It tastes good and the asking price is surprisingly reasonable by both Surly & craft beer standards (I paid about $7 for a 4-pack) and, really, craft lagers don't often get much better than this. As such, this is incredibly easy to recommend and this is one of my new favorite craft lagers I've had in recent memory.

Surly #Merica - 9/10