Along with Elder Betty and HiCü, Magic Hat Brewing Company sent me Blind Faith, an IPA that comes in at 6.2% ABV. Magic Hat puts out a lot of IPAs as part of their IPA tour and this is one that I’ve had the chance to try before. I’m on a bit of a IPA kick right now so a free IPA made me super excited.
Blind Faith pours a deep orange color. It is perfectly clear and has a thin off-white head. The nose has a good amount of hops. The hops are pretty grapefruity with other citrus flavors in there. I guess the best way to describe them is floral and bright. I didn’t get much in the way of malt; just hops.
On the first sip I was really to find that this beer has a malt backbone. There are some light caramel flavors to begin with that lead into some bready flavors. A light hop flavor of citrus comes in and reminds you that you are drinking an IPA. The citrus is light and really warms the beer up and then a good smack of pine flavor comes in at the end to clean it all up and assert the IPAness of the beer.
I’m always a fan of a balanced beer and this one fits the bill. The hops are clean and bright and pack a good helping of flavor. The malt balance is spot on as well. While I’ve had better IPAs before, this is solid and could be a staple of some other breweries. Continue reading →
In college I took a lot of classes centered around printing. One of my favorite style of printing is block printing. It’s simple, cheap, and has some really nice looking results. For my block printing I purchased the Speedball Super Value Block Printing Starter Kit (not ad linked). The basic idea is that you have a soft block of material where you carve away material that you don’t want to be printed and keep the material that you want.
I started by designing a logo in Inkscape for my beer. I then printed it out onto normal paper. Some use transfer paper, but normal paper works just fine. I then colored the printed areas with a pencil. I then put the logo, pencil side down, on the block and pushed over the whole thing. What this does is transfer the pencil marks to the block in a reversed fashion. You need to do this because the image will come out reversed when printing. I think took a sharpie and traced the outline of what was transferred. It looked like the image below.
Once this is done you need to carve away everything that you do not want printed. The kit linked above comes with three different sizes of cutting tools for different levels of detail. You next need to place ink in a pan and spread it with your roller. The roller will be used to transfer the ink to the block. You should head a sticky sound to know that you have the proper amount of ink on your roller.
You can then roll your ink onto the block. The same sticky sound should be audible and the ink should have the texture of an orange. Some other areas will get ink on them but they will not show up if the paper is pressed properly. Finally you take paper and push it onto the block. A rolling pin or beer bottle helps with even distribution. The results of my work are shown below.
I cut them out and glued them to my bottles and I have a nice looking, custom logo. I save the blocks in case I ever want to make the same style of beer again. It’s super fun and very easy.
The nice folks over at Magic Hat Brewing Company recently sent me a few samples of their summer beers for this year. There are two new beers to this year’s summer sampler and one returning beer, Elder Betty. Elder Betty now comes in cans, pictured below. You can read my full review of the beer below but I still like this one as a good, light, summer beer. My wife really digs it. Today’s beer, HiCü is a new one to me. The bottle immediately caught my eye because it says the words “cucumber” and “hibiscus.” I knew I was in for an adventure before opening this bottle.
HiCü pours a nice orange color with a thin off-white head. There may have been some slight haze in this one, but my glass fogged up pretty quickly (thanks stupid warm weather) and I couldn’t get a clean look. The nose is cucumber. It’s crazy to say but this beer reeks of cucumber. I’ve never smelled a beer like it. My wife has face wash that smells pretty close to the nose of this beer. There really isn’t much else in the way of hops or malt, just a concentrated cucumber smell.
On the first taste I got a bit of sweetness upfront followed by an odd bitterness. Perhaps it was the hibiscus, but the bitterness was not only hop based. It has a strange twang to it that I’m not totally sure if I enjoyed or not. The cucumber flavor comes in at the end and cleans up the beer nicely. I really liked the aftertaste on this beer. The cucumber flavor is so different for a beer that it makes you want to keep drinking it to see if you are really tasting it.
This is a really interesting beer. There are only a few beers that I can truly say surprised me with interesting flavors, and this is one of them. I really wish the bitterness was toned down a bit. Doing so would make this beer super drinkable. I felt like I had to fight though the weird bitter flavor to get to the good part of this beer. This one comes in at 4.2% so it’s sessionable. Try this one out if you get a chance and see if you can pinpoint the bitterness for me.
So I’m kind of on an IPA kick as of late and I was recently at Troegs Brewing Company and picked up a sixer of Perpetual IPA. This bad boy comes in at 7.5% which totes the line between IPA and Double IPA. I’m going to go with this beer being in the former group, but there will be others that disagree. That’s one of the problems with beer styles, rarely do brewers not like to push the boundaries of what a style is.
Perpetual IPA pours a nice golden color and has a medium thick white head. I was actually surprised that this one wasn’t a shade or two darker and closer to an orange color, but golden it is. The nose strikes like an IPA should, hoppy and wonderful. The hops are mostly composed of pine odors with bits of grapefruit and citrus mixed in there. I really liked how this one smelled. It had a round hop aroma that was bright and ample.
There isn’t really any malt on the front side of this beer. It hits early and hard with some great hops. The hops aren’t biting in the normal hop way, they flow in and build in complexity as the drink progresses. It starts with a grapefruit flavor and then into a slightly grassy feel. It then ends on a bitter pine note. Bitter, but not biting. As with the nose, the hop flavor is round and wonderful.
I think this is an outstanding IPA. It’s a showcase for what hops can do in a beer and the different ways that they can be used. The lack of a strong bit makes this beer very approachable and super drinkable. I’ll be getting this one again soon. Continue reading →
I’m always on the prowl for an affordable new beer when I go to the beer store. New Belgium Brewing Company anyways has something new from their Lips of Faith series, but they generally are not affordable. A month or so ago I discovered Hoppy Bock Lager, which was affordable and came in a 22oz bottle. A hoppy lager sounded a little gimmicky to me, but what the hell, a solid affordable beer is always worth seeking out.
Hoppy Bock Lager pours a clear golden color and has a thin white head. It really looks like a pilsner or the like and not like something that is going to be super hop forward. This guy also comes in at 6.9% ABV which is a few ticks higher than what I was expecting. The nose had a slight malt/bread component that is typical of a bock. For a beer that has hoppy in the name, I wasn’t overly impressed with the nose. There are some citrus notes, but why you say hoppy, I want hoppy.
There is a decent malt presence on the first sip of this beer. The bread really comes out, and as we all know, I love a bready beer. The hops come in halfway through but they don’t jump out. The hops are there but they aren’t crazy. I would describe the hop flavor as floral, but not bright. Hoppy Bock Lager also had a grassy flavor going through it that I didn’t particularly care for.
This beer just didn’t do it for me. I didn’t find the hops bright or excited. They were a bit too toned down for a beer that says it is hoppy, and according to the label, comes from New Belgium’s Hop Kitchen. This beer didn’t stand out and while a drinkable beer, is not repeat worthy for me. The quest continues. Continue reading →