Posts Tagged ‘hops’

Alimony Ale

Posted: October 28, 2011 in American IPA
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Tonight I’m drinking Alimony Ale by Buffalo Bill’s Brewery in Hayward, CA.  The bottle and web site both tout this beer as different and eccentric.  We’ll see about that…

This is an IPA and pours a dark hazy amber with a two finger head and tons of carbonation.  So that’s different from most IPA’s…one point to the beer.  The scent is very citrusy and grassy with the hoppiness that comes standard with an IPA.  Exactly what I’d expect from this beer type…one point for me.  The taste hits you with a ton of hops up front with some caramel and malt sneaking in around the edges.  One point to the beer for the caramel and one for me for the hopsplosion.  As it warms, it’s starting to taste like an American Amber up front with the hops only coming through on the finish. That’s a bit odd…one point to the beer.  I find it more enjoyable than other IPA’s I had simply because as it warms it tastes less like an IPA.

If you’re new to craft beers and are still in the Shiner Bock/Yuengling/Firestone DBA/Fat Tire phase of beer drinking, this might be a good intro into other beer types.  Also if you typically prefer Ambers, Barleywines, or ESBs, this would make a good intro to IPA beer.


Little Sumpin’ Wild is a limited release from Lagunitas, a brewery that I’m sure regular readers will know I tend to favor.  It’s a clear orange/gold beer with a pale off-white head.  The smell pops you in the nose with citrus, pineapples, and spices but the hops come out more in the taste.  It really seems more like an American IPA than a Belgian Strong Pale Ale, but not obnoxiously hoppy.  It’s 9.2% abv but doesn’t taste like it and the overall feel is pretty smooth.

I actually took some of this to a coworker’s 21st birthday party last night with the instructions that he is not to drink this after an evening of Bud Lights.  I explained that he’s a big boy now and needs to learn to drink real beer, but if he really needs to drink Bud Light he should start with the Lagunitas and finish with the Bud Light.  He was impressed with the sexy lady on the bottle.  And the 9.2% abv.

I recently missed an appearance of Dogfish Head’s 120 Minute IPA at a beer pub, so I’ll have to make due with the 90 Minute IPA I found in my local supermarket (which really has a great beer selection).  It’s an Imperial IPA (or American Double IPA, your call) which means that I should expect all the hoppiness of an IPA, but more aggressive and in your face.

It’s a clear copper/gold color in the glass with a yellowish cream-colored head that slowly fades and leave substantial lacing on the glass.  The smell is more citrusy than hoppy with a bit of malt coming through.  It’s not nearly as hoppy as I expected.  I can certainly taste hops, but they’re not kicking my teeth in or anything.  The taste really mirrors the scent with the addition of just a hint of pine on the back end.  It’s a pretty smooth drink, not too boozy or too carbonated.  Despite not particularly liking IPA’s, I quite enjoyed this.  I’ll definitely have to track down some of the other IPA’s Dogfish Head makes.  This is a good beer to try if you’re attempting to ease yourself into hops.  I’d drink it again.  (And the brewery has a steampunk treehouse!)

A couple evenings ago, I had been hanging out with a friend, talking about beer.  Her favorite beer is Great White and when she found out I hadn’t yet reviewed it, she suggested we stop by Billco’s on the way back to Napa to try one.  I walked in, fully planning on having one glass of Great White and then returning home.  As we waited at the bar, I scanned the wall of taps to see if anything jumped out and grabbed me.  Well, hanging out on the top row was a little inconspicuous round red logo…Pliny the Elder.

Pliny is brewed by the Russian River Brewing Company in Santa Rosa, CA and is considered one of the best beers available.  Beer Advocate Magazine rates it A+ and calls it “One of the best DIPA’s on planet earth, ever.”  In beer circles, this is on everyone’s list of beers to drink before you die.  I would have been a bad Beer Chick indeed if I passed this up.

Before drinking this beer, I actually hadn’t read much about what to expect from it.  I kind of like to experience a beer without any preconceived notions of how it should taste.  It poured a beautifully clear orange/gold with a fluffy white head.  I was very surprised when I smelled this beer.  There was a strong hop scent and…something else…  The smell was so unfamiliar to me that I was a good ways into the actual tasting of it before I figured it out.  Pine!  I’ve never had that smell or taste in a beer before (or at least not as strong as this), so it was certainly unusual for me.  There was also some subtle citrusy notes to it.  Oddly, it wasn’t as bitter as I would expect from something so hoppy…and then I found out later that it’s rated at 100IBUs.  So the bitterness is masked quite well by everything else going on.  It’s moderately carbonated and has a slightly astringent mouthfeel.  Overall, while IPA’s aren’t my favorite style, this is a nice beer to drink.  For those of you who like hops, this is a very nice beer.  If you have the chance to try this one, do!

Just a side note:  I realize I’ve been drinking an awful lot of IPAs for someone who prefers other types of beers, but it seems IPAs are the unofficial state beer of California, so I guess I’m stuck for awhile. =)

St Arnold’s is a fairy small (29 employees) brewery on the north side of Houston, TX that has been in business since 1994.  They claim to be the oldest craft brewery in Texas, but in order to make that claim they must not consider the Spoetzl Brewery to be “craft.”  As I mentioned previously, the Spoetzl brewery has been open since 1909 and has brewed Shiner Bock since 1913, so St Arnold’s is already kind of on my bad list for discounting Shiner Bock as a craft beer.

This was the second beer I had in the Houston Airport during my layover last week and I was really hoping for a strong showing from this one so I could have an awesome Texas beer to brag about.  This is an American amber ale, a similar beer to an American Pale Ale but brewed with a proportion of crystal malt to give it a deeper color.   It was served on tap at the airport bar and was a clear orange/gold with about a finger of cream-colored foam.  I was really expecting a darker color from this beer; it was definitely the lightest amber I’ve encountered.  I took a good deep whiff of this beer and then had to check the patency of my nostrils to make sure I wasn’t congested.  Where’s the smell?  I got nothing on this one.  At all.  Weird.  The initial taste was light malt and citrus with a floral hop finish.  Hops are definitely the dominant flavor of this one.  Overall, it was light and bubbly.  Very drinkable especially if you like hops but don’t want to be punched in the mouth with hops by an IPA.  Not a bad beer.  Nothing amazingly special, but I’d drink it again.

Thanks for reading.  Comments are very appreciated!

Racer 5 India Pale Ale

Posted: February 18, 2011 in American IPA
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I picked up a pint bottle of Racer 5 IPA at the local Safeway.  The label calls it an “aggressive styled IPA” and “well-hopped” and as you’ll see below, it really lives up to those descriptors.  It’s brewed by Bear Republic Brewery which is just a little north of me, so a little trip may be in order.

This was a clear gold beer with an off-white head that dissipated quickly and lots of lacing.  It smelled very citrusy with a bit of pine.  Oh wow, this is hoptastic!  Hops, hops, and more hops.  A bit bitter once you get past all the hops and some hints of the citrus and pine.   Not at all malty.   Mouthfeel is middle-of-the road. Definitely has some body to it, but not too heavy, though it does stay with you for a bit afterwards.

Overall, a good beer but probably not a great choice for a true beer novice due to the bitterness.  This is really the beeriest beer I’ve reviewed so far.  I’m really not a big IPA fan, but would certainly recommend it for fans of the style.