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06-14-03

Beer Review #296 Blind Faith

06-14-03Along with Elder Betty and HiC├╝, 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. (more…)

06-04-05

Beer Review #294 Perpetual IPA

06-04-03So 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. (more…)

Beer Review #281 Dos Costas Oeste

04-04-02I have a new beer to talk about today and one hell of a story behind it. My wife actually picked out this bottle from a bottle shop near my parent’s house. We both love The Bruery and I have been itching to try something from Cigar City Brewing. She saw that this beer was a collaboration between the two and made it ours. The bottle has this to say about the beer, “a high gravity ale with coriander, ginger, and sweet orange peel, aged on grapefruit wood spirals.” It comes in at 9%. All of that sounds well and good, and then it came to opening the beer…

As soon as I opened this beer it escaped the bottle like a rocket, think coke and mentos. It splattered all over my kitchen ceiling, my countertops, and well, most of my kitchen stuff. It was clear that this bottle had an infection of some type that caused excess sugar that brewing yeast cannot process to be fermented. After an annoyed clean-up I had 4 oz. of my 750 ml bottle left. Awesome. I do want to note before I dive into the review that reviewing infected beers is not really my style. It clearly is not what the brewer intended it to be, but my 4 oz. was drinkable. So I reviewed away.

UPDATE: I contacted the brewery and they explained the situation to me. The folks at Cigar City (the actual brewer of the beer) did a wonderful job of making the situation right. The beer was recalled but some distributors have not returned what they were asked to. I have since contacted the bottle shop where I purchased it to let them know that they have potential bottle bombs on their shelves.

04-04-01

Dos Costas Oeste explodes pours a cloudy tan orange. There is no head thanks to what I noted above. The nose is sour with some slight hints of grapefruit. I also got some notes of pineapple, orange, and what I’m calling tropical funk.

The taste is funky. There is a slight toasty flavor upfront and then sourness comes in behind. The grapefruit from the wood spirals is also there but I didn’t get any notes of wood from the spirals. As most of the carbonation went out of the bottle when I popped the cap, the beer was pretty flat.

Even though this beer was infected and even though I only got a small bit of what I bought, I still like the overall flavor in this beer. It is very different and it didn’t taste infected. I’m not sure if it was supposed to sour like it did, but I didn’t think that it took away from the flavor at all. I wish I had a full bottle of this one to try and I hope that I get to taste a proper batch of this at some point in the future. Just remember, if you see this on the shelves and it has Dec 2012 on it, stay away and tell the store that it has been recalled.

Beer Review #277 Hop Notch IPA

03-20-02Uinta Brewing Company of Salt Lake City has really been expanding in my area. A few years ago I was only able to purchase their 750 ml bottles, but now I get their normal beers along with seasonal releases. I was recently in New Jersey to attend a birthday party and I picked up a six-pack of their beer in Jersey. Hop Notch IPA might not be a new beer, but it is a new beer to me and I’m always on the lookout for a new IPA. This one comes in at a nice 7.3% ABV.

Hop Notch IPA pours a hazy orange color. It has a two finger off-white head that never truly fades away. The nose is packed with big, bright hops. Pine and citrus are the two primary hop odors. A decent malt sweetness is mixed in there as well. It just smells like an IPA. Big, bold, and hoppy.

The taste starts with a decent malt sweetness. There are some slight caramel flavors that are quickly ripped away by the hops. The hops start as a slight citrus and grapefruit combination and then fade into a pine flavor. It ends on a sharp piney note that dries out the drink nicely.

This is one of the more enjoyable IPAs that I’ve had in awhile. There is a solid hop punch along with a balanced malt body. While aggressive, it stays drinkable. Well don Uinta. (more…)

Beer Review #251 Encore IPA

The last beer in my winter sampler from Magic Hat Brewing Company is Encore IPA. The bottle says that this is an American Wheat IPA and that it comes in at 6.4%. I’ve seen other breweries refer to wheat IPAs as white IPAs and I am glad that Magic Hat has decided not to follow suit. There really is not a need to distinguish a typical IPA from one made with a higher percentage of wheat malt. I understand the different naming for a black IPA, but most wheat IPAs look like a cloudy version of their base style.

Encore IPA pours a cloudy orange color and has a fluffy white head. The head sinks away quickly in the center and sticks to the sides of the glass. The nose is full of bright citrus hops. I didn’t get any malt smells but I did get a bit of an orange tang, that I will attribute to the hops.

You get a nice malt feeling when first tasting this beer but the malt doesn’t have any stand out characteristics. A good hop bitterness comes in quickly and provides a lot of flavor. The citrus hops start as an orange-like flavor and then move into grapefruit before finishing cleanly. On subsequent sips, the citrus flavor carries though the whole beer and is not only relegated to the second half.

This is not super bitter IPA. I didn’t leave me with a punched in the face by hops feeling but it is full of flavor. I enjoy IPAs that don’t only focus on bitterness but instead focus on hop flavor. It’s a fine line, but Magic Hat did a very nice job on this one. As the last post about Magic Hat beers for this sampling, I want to reiterate how much I enjoyed this group of beers. Each beer was solid and provided some surprises. I would rate the beers in order of review for likeability in my book. All of the beers were good, but the Heart of Darkness stout was just killer. (more…)