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Beer Review #234 Big Wave Golden Ale

This is my fifth beer review of Kona Brewing Company. For the most part I have had good experiences with one notable exception. This is the first new beer that I have seen from them in some time (I really want to forget that brown ale) so I grabbed a bottle or two when I was at the beer store. One thing I do want to say about Kona before I get to the beer review is that I love their style. Their bottles feel like Hawaii. As someone who digs bottle art and marketing in general, I appreciate what they can capture on a small bottle.

As expected of a beer name Big Wave Golden Ale this beer pours a clear golden color with a solid white head. The first thing that struck me about the nose was the citrus aroma with a slight hop twinge. Usually citrus hops scream out, but this one had a strong smell of citrus without the hop craziness. A nice malt sweetness and bread mix into the citrus to really make this a round nosed beer.

On the first taste citrus makes a reappearance with a nice light lemon flavor mixed in. A light hop flavor carries all of the way through the beer. It is by no means strong but it does present itself from front to back. There isn’t a lot of hop flavor even as the beer warms. I think the light hop flavor knocked out any malt flavors that existed.

This was a lighter beer that I found very refreshing. The citrus hops very crisp at the end of the drink and really cleaned everything up well. I think this beer makes up for my past experience with Kona. (more…)

Beer Reivew #213 Rayon Vert

Today’s beer review is our first from the Green Flashing Brewing Company based out of San Diego, Ca. They have really opened up their distribution recently as I have seen their stuff all over the MD, and PA beer markets. One of my coworkers loves their IPA and constantly encourages me to brew something similar to it. It’s a damn good beer, and when I saw that my local beer store was carrying something other then just the Green Flash IPA I quickly picked it up. According to the bottle Rayon Vert is a Belgian-style pale ale. Green Flash’s website has this to say about the beer,

If Green Flash were founded in historical Belgium, Rayon Vert would have been our flagship brew. A bold layering of hops finds balance from traditional malts. Bottle conditioning with fresh ale yeast and Brettanomyces finishes the beer, adding a delightful effervescence, dryness and continuously evolving character. Rayon Vert is Green Flash.

Rayon Vert pours a hazy orange with an incredibly fluffy white head. I actually had to stop halfway though my pour, and let the head settle for a few minutes before I could finalize the remainder of the pour. The nose has lots of citrus hops that hit you right off the bat. I was surprised by how tangy this beer smells and there is even some orange mixed in there. One odor that I wasn’t sure of was a slight plastic smell towards the end. I’m not sure if that was the Brett, or something else, but it was the only thing that took away from the nose on this beer.

Upfront, Rayon Vert as a really nice sweetness which is followed by a weak hop component. The hops don’t bit the way that I expected from the nose, but just fade in and slightly dry the beer out. Towards the end this beer was a bit grassy, which wasn’t a bad thing. There was also a tangy flavor to this beer, which I am going to attribute to the Brett. There is not a ton happening in this beer, but there are some bold flavors that lead to a well balanced beer.

There are a ton of good flavors in this beer. While the tangy flavor might not be for everyone, I enjoyed it. I want to go back and try this beer again at some point so that I can get another chance to experience it. I feel like this might be a beer that you have to experience multiple times to fully understand. (more…)

Beer Review #205 Tröegs Pale Ale

I recently had the chance to visit Tröegs Brewing Company’s new brewery in Hershey, PA. Tröegs is in the process of moving their operations out of Harrisburg, PA to Hershey as they have outgrown their current location. The new brewery is giant (compared to  their last one) and beautiful. I heard that they are going to be using their current brewing system as a pilot brewery and to brew their Scratch series of beers. After the new brewery is fully up and running, brewing operations at the Harrisburg location will cease and they will move over the remaining equipment to Hershey. One of beers that helped put Tröegs on the map in the east is their Pale Ale. I have enjoyed this beer a number of times, but I have reviewed it on this site.

The Pale Ale pours a nice clear orange color with a soapy white head. The nose is full of bright citrus hops. Behind the ample hops are some hints of bread and a light caramel odor. The hops really dominate the smell on this beer. They are fresh and bright. As I have said before, I enjoy citrus hops much more then pine hops so this beer fits right into my wheelhouse.

To begin with this pale ale starts with a slight sweetness which is quickly followed by a good punch of hops. As the nosed promised, the hops present themselves as bright and crisp in the flavor arena. With such a solid addition of hops you would expect this beer to be out of balance, but it isn’t at all. The malt really supports the hops and makes this pale ale very nice.

This is one of my favorite pale ales. It is nicely balanced and full of hop flavor. It also only comes in at 5.4% so you could have a few and not be in trouble. If you haven’t had a chance to get you hands on this one yet, I suggest you do. It’s not up to the level of a west coast pale ale, in terms of hops, but the balance on this beer is so good that it becomes dangerously drinkable. (more…)

Beer Review #194 Mischief

I received this beer as a Christmas present from my in-laws. I’ve been meaning to get some beers from The Bruery of Placentia, CA for some time, but something else always caught my eye first. I really like the style that this brewery bring to its bottles. Everything is clean and classic looking but has a sense of sophistication to it. According to the bottle, Mischief is a “Belgian style ale, golden and hoppy.” It also comes in at 8.5% which means this one is a sipper. From a marketing prospective, Mischief is a great name for a beer. If you have been reading this blog for any period of time you will know that I am a sucker for good marketing, and this beer has all of its bases covered in that department.

Mischief pours a nice golden color and has a soapy white head. This beer is naturally carbonated in the bottle, and the back label specifically mentions to leave the yeast out of the beer. My first two pours were clear, but the last bit came out hazy thanks to the agitation. The nose is very dry smelling. There are some dull and/or aged hops present along with some Belgian spices. The hops are citrusy, but understated. I also got a bit of a tart aroma that faded into a wet hay smell. Overall I would describe this one as earthy with a kick of hops.

On the first taste I noticed some slight lemon-like sourness that was quickly followed by a nice punch of hops. The hops were grapefruity and ended in a light pine flavor. The Belgian spices came through wonderfully on this beer. They  were perfectly balanced and really added some nice depth of flavor to the beer. So often Belgian-style beers are over the top spicy, this one has the perfect touch. This beer is dangerously drinkable. It goes down easy and doesn’t have a single harsh component to it. Everything compliments each other nicely leading to a great balance. I’m going to have to try some more beers from The Bruery as this beer was a treat. (more…)

Beer Review #130 Peak Organic IPA

In my last review of a Peak Organic Brewing Company I mentioned that I had plenty of their beers to still review for the site. Today’s review is one of those reviews. Peak Organic Brewing Company of Portland, Maine knows how to brew in order to deliver a fresh, crisp hop flavors and aromas. I figured that an IPA from this brewery was a no-brainer.

Peak’s IPA pours a nice orange color and it is crystal clear. There is a very fluffy head to go with the orange liquid but I think I was a bit aggressive with the pour, so there is a lot more head than there should be. The nose on this beer is exactly what I expect from Peak. There are tons of bight citrus hops that smell very fresh and clean. There is a slight malt note as well, but the shinning star in this beer is the hops.

After taking a sip I again received what I expected. The hops are very bright and carry though the full flavor of the beer. While the hops are strong, they are well balanced with the malt. The hops are mostly grapefruit in flavor but there are some slight pine notes mixed in there as well. I really liked how clean this beer was. The hops come in, stay for a bit, and then leave. They don’t sit on the tongue for a long time, but finish a second or two after you swallow.

I really enjoyed this one. Peak is quickly becoming one of my go-to breweries. Each of their beers are crisp and fresh. Their IPA is no exception. When I think of an IPA, this beer is one of the examples that comes to mind. It is hoppy but balanced and at 7.2% is a sneaky SOB. I highly recommend this beer for anyone who enjoys a well balanced IPA. (more…)