Dipping back to a familiar style, the IPA has re-entered my household. While usually I stick to random craft beers, I spotted one a while ago that I had never seen before by the name of Henry Weinhard’s. I left it on the shelf for another day, and out of the blue my brother in law brought some over for Halloween. Looks like a craft beer, so it must be one right? Hold on just a minute…
First a history lesson: Henry Weinhard is an actual person. Much like Cincinnati’s own Christian Moerlein, Henry was a brewer from the old days, who actually spent some time here in the area before settling down in Oregon. For a long time, he crafted beers under his own name, and at one point, as it sometimes happens, his company was bought by another larger company. This “craft” beer just happens to be made by the folks at SABMiller, but for some reason they don’t want you to know that. Well, they are not advertising it at least. Anyway, lets see how this IPA stands, enter the Woodland Pass IPA:
The beer pours like a normal IPA, with a good looking copperish hue. Smell wise I am picking up mostly pine aromas, and not much else. Taste wise, this beer is surprising. Right out of the gate, you pick up a nice hop flavor, but not overpowering like most IPAs that you will find nowadays. It is mild, but nice. Mixed with the hops, you will notice quite a bit of malt flavors, which mellow out the hops even more, and the beer finishes a little bitter. This IPA is lighter than most, and that is not a bad thing. This would be a good, cheap, grilling out type of beer.
Overall, I like this beer. True, it is not a real craft beer. True, it is more along the lines of a pale ale than an IPA. This is a beer that you could drink a few of and not find yourself without your pants the next morning. Not that that is a bad thing, or that it has happened to me. Well done Henry Weinhard’s, err…SABMiller, not great, but not a bad start.
IPAs are a mainstay in my household. Nothing finishes off a day better than a smooth, highly hopped, bitter IPA. Sometimes though, the West Coast style burns me out, and I start to look elsewhere for my evening beer, branching out to stouts and porters, etc. but I always find myself back to the IPA. Surprisingly though, I have never had an IPA from the origin of the style: Great Britain. Time for that to change, enter Meantime’s IPA:
The style got it’s start in the UK in the mid 18th century. Folks traveling to India wanted a beer that would make the journey, and what a beer they got. English IPAs became very popular, and the style crossed the pond in the early 1900s, and now almost every brewery here in the states has their own version. There is even the difference between East and West coast IPAs. Enough about that, lets get down with Meantime.
This IPA pours like your typical IPA, maybe just a tad lighter in appearance. Scent wise I am picking up a nice mixture of fruits and alcohol, which this beer is around 7.5% ABV so that is no real surprise. Taste wise, this is not your normal stateside IPA. Very mellow in comparison, but also very enjoyable. Fruity, bitter, smooth, a well balanced beer. The carbonation reminds me of drinking Anchor’s Old Foghorn, as it is very crisp and well done. This is an easy drinking IPA that I am glad that I found!
If you are like me, and drink a fair share of IPAs, give this one a try to mix it up a bit. Not your normal IPA, but historically, it is right on par for the style. This one I will buy again!
Well done Meantime!
Based out of the woods outside of New Orleans, Abita Brewing is a bit of an enigma to me. I have only had 1 or 2 of their products before, but I had always assumed that they were based on the West coast. Turns out, they use Pacific Northwest hop varieties. That would explain my confusion. Anyway, this nice can of beer showed up during some bicycle wrenching time, thanks Eric! Enter the Jockamo IPA:
This IPA pours a very good looking amber/orange with a respectable head left over. Once the beer is poured, pine scents hit your nose to remind you that you are about to drink an IPA. Once you start to drink this one, you will find that it goes down very smoothly. Those hops from the northwest show up with some nice citrusy flavors, and mix with an almost bread or biscuit like malt, to create a fine beer. Not extraordinary, but good nonetheless. This is a very respectable IPA, and it comes in a can, which that automatically makes me a fan.
This beer usually hangs with the $8.99/six pack crowd, which is a great deal in my book. Sometimes it is nice to not be drinking an imperial double American style IPA from hell, and just head back to the basics with a smooth, classic IPA. That is what this one is. Well done Abita!
For some reason, Michigan has become one of the bigger craft beer markets. Quite a few breweries are gaining traction in the beer world, while being based out of the state up North. One brewery that I have not really heard too much about is out of Battle Creek, called Arcadia Ales. Since I have been on an IPA kick as of late, a farewell to summer if you will, I decided to take a walk with their version of a double IPA, called the Hopmouth.
This beer looks like an IPA, and smells like an IPA, so it should be an IPA right? Yes, yes and yes. The beer pours a perfect looking IPA, just a little darker red than normal. Some IPAs rush right to the top of the glass when poured, but this one came out of the bottle perfectly. For the record, I pour every beer the same, right down the middle of the glass, no tilting. Tilting is for cans or kegs. That is another rant altogether. Back to the beer. Once in the glass, the beer smells a bit of pine, and a little fruity, but not as powerful as you would expect. Taste wise, this beer is excellent. Hops meet your taste buds at the gate, then fade away to a few different malt flavors, one that jumps out at me is a bit caramel like. The hops do not make an encore, and the beer finishes nice and dry, with a touch of alcohol, which clocks in at 8% ABV for those who care.
This beer was a great pick, unfortunately for the Hopmouth though is that it had to follow Sierra Nevada’s Hoptimum in my beer que. Overall, this is a solid beer, a little maltier than I expected, but a nice change for a double IPA. If you see it, you should try it out. Well done!
I like Great Divide. To me, they are one of the better craft brewers in the industry these days, that you barely hear anything about. Well, maybe there is more play out West, but here in the Midwest, nothing much is mentioned about this company. That is a damn shame. Last week, I decided to pick up this special sixer to do a write up for IPA day, but missed the boat entirely. So, fashionably late, enter the Rumble:
Great Divide’s Rumble is an oak aged India pale ale, which is a little bit outside of the norm. And for an IPA, this beer is not what you would expect.
At first glance, this beer looks like a normal IPA. Nice coloration, and a nice sticky lacing that hangs out on your glass for a few minutes. The aromas are a nice mix of oak, vanilla, and a tiny bit of hops thrown in, just because it is an IPA. Once tasting though, this beer delivers. Up front there is a small bitterness, that gets taken over by caramel malt sweets. Vanilla decides to show up in the middle, then the beer finishes with a nice, small hop flavor that rounds out this delicious beer. Not your normal hop monster IPA, but more of an almost creamy flavor IPA. It feels weird to say, “creamy IPA,” but that is what comes to mind. My only drawback to this beer is the weird aftertaste that I get from drinking it. I would almost describe it as a resiny aftertaste, not immediate, but shows up a couple minutes after the swig is down. Just a minor drawback, and nothing to make me avoid buying this beer again. And buy it again I shall.
This has been a great beer to celebrate my late IPA day. I would definitely recommend it if you need a break from burning out your taste buds on some of the greater hop concoctions out there. A creamy IPA, who would have thought?
Well done once again Great Divide!
Sierra Nevada holds a special place in my beer loving heart, as they were my introduction to craft beers. Their pale ale was my first venture into the world of beers with real flavor, not a watery rice imitation beer. That was some time ago, but the feelings stick with you. You always remember your first, with beer it is no exception. Anyway, lots has changed with one of the original craft brewers over the years; A new brewery being built in North Carolina, new beers, and a canning line. Let’s take a look at their extra IPA, the Torpedo:
I love the idea of craft beer in a can. Zero light pollution. No skunky beer here. Plus, it makes it much easier to take a beer with you on outdoor adventures into remote areas. Sure you can take a bottle with you, but with a can it is lighter and takes up less space when bringing the trash home. What, you actually think I leave my empties out in the woods? Shame on you. Anyway, enough about the cans, let’s get to the tasting.
The beer pours perfectly out of said can, a beautiful dark orange/amber IPA with a decent off white head. Once the can is opened, the scent of pine hops clogs your airways. Very strong hops, mixed with a sweet grapefruit smell. I wish I could make this blog scented, so as you read this post you could smell the beer. Once you start drinking it, those flavors are at the front, overpowering anything else that might be in there. Just a tiny bit, if any malt taste is there, but you are hard pressed to find it under all of those hops. For the finish, it ends bitter and dry, or I would even say crisp. This is what an IPA should be.
Some might not care for this amount of hops, but seriously, if you do not like hops why buy an extra IPA? This is one of my favorites for a few reasons:
1. I get a sense of nostalgia when I drink a Sierra Nevada product, refer back to the first paragraph. 2. This has that West Coast style hop flavor, that I really enjoy.
3. You can find this beer almost anywhere.
If you like the above reasons, and just love the flavor of hops, this is a must try if you have not already. Well done Sierra Nevada!
In the world of beers, especially craft beers, there are rarities. Some are rare due to being brewed in small batches, which translates into high price tags. Some are rare, just because they cannot be found in your local area. That is where your friends/family come in. That was the case with this beer, enter Marshall Brewing Company:
Marshall Brewing Company is an Oklahoma based brewery, out of the city of Tulsa. Only selling in the Oklahoma City and Tulsa areas, this beer is going to be quite rare in most of the world. Luckily, a friend passed one on to me after the long journey from Oklahoma to Ohio. Here are some thoughts:
First off, the beer has a nice, slightly subdued, IPA aroma coming straight out of the bottle. This is not Stone Brewing here, no hops punch in the face. Just a nice, dare I say “pretty” fragrance that is not too strong, but not too light. That smell transfers over quite well to the taste side of the beer, making it a very balanced brew. Nothing really jumps out at you, but everything blends together quite nicely. This is an easy drinking IPA. Also at 6.5% ABV, it is not going to put you into an early nap time. I can appreciate that.
The label of the beer has a picture of Atlas holding up the world. I would venture to guess, assuming though since I have not had any of their other products, that this beer carries the company as their flagship beer. If not, a beer this balanced and easy to drink should. My interests have been piqued, hopefully I can find some of their other offerings in the near future. Next time I find myself in Oklahoma though, I am going to find some to bring back with me to the Buckeye State.
Around six years ago, I had my first taste of Stone Brewing Company. I had just moved to southern California, and my weak beer palate was just beginning to dive into some of the more flavorful beers on the market. Then I was introduced to a beer called Arrogant Bastard Ale, and down the rabbit hole I fell. Stone has been one of my favorites ever since…
Enter their Ruination IPA. Called “Ruination” due to the fact that after drinking this beer, you will have an altered view of beer and how it should taste. A word of warning: If you have never liked the flavor of hops, or do not like beer outside of the norm, this is not for you.
This beer is bold, and amazing. Once you crack open the bottle, the smell of hops tickles your senses. Pour it into your favorite glass and the appearance is very light, almost looking like a “normal” light beer. Once you start to drink it though, those hops knock you back to reality, making you realize that you are drinking a quality brew. Other flavors start to make an appearance as well, like grapefruit and a touch of pine, but mostly what you are going to get are hops. This makes complete sense, due to written on the bottle, “100+ IBUs.” That is big. This beer is also 7.7% ABV, which packs a punch. One big bottle is really all that you need. Luckily, as you can see from the picture, those big bottles fit nicely in your bicycle’s water bottle cages.
Over the next few weeks, I plan on revisiting some of Stone’s other offerings, check back for that, and if you see any bottles with Stone written on it, definitely check it out!