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Beer Review #214 Nelson Imperial IPA

I’ve reviewed a few different beers from the Widmer Brothers Brewing Company of Portland, Oregon in the past with mixed reviews. My father-in-law bought me this beer for Christmas among a few other beers. This is a review that has been sitting on the back burner for some time as I drank and wrote this review shortly after New Years. I’m finally getting caught up with beer reviews and I’m getting these old reviews flush out more quickly now. Now back to the beer. Nelson Imperial IPA is clearly an Imperial IPA, or IIPA for those of you who like abbreviations, and rocks in at an impressive 8.6%. O yeah, it comes in 22’s as well. Needless to say, this is a “you’re staying home tonight” kind of beer.

Nelson Imperial IPA pours a nice clear orange color and comes with a medium white head. The nose is full of bright hops that are a good mix of citrus and pine. Behind the hops you can really smell the malt sweetness on this beer. Higher ABV beers tend to be a bit thicker and generally smell the same. This beer has that type of feeling.

On my first taste my thoughts about this being a thick beer were correct. This beer has a chewy quality to it. The malt, while thick feeling, is very nice and has some light caramels. Just as the malt is getting overly sweet as good solid kick of hops come in to clean this one up. The hops have a grapefruit and pine flavor which interact well with the malt base. I would love to say more about this beer, but it is pretty straightforward.

This beer tastes exactly like what you would expect from an Imperial IPA. If you have had an Imperial IPA before, I don’t think this one will blow you way. That is not to say that this is a bad beer by any means, but I feel like this has more of a “standard” taste to it. I would put this beer down for the benchmark of what an Imperial IPA should be. (more…)

Beer Review #193 Whitewater IPA

I was excited to try my last beer reviewed, but it left me wanted. Perhaps the most interesting beer in the Sam Adams Variety Pack is Whitewater IPA. The bottle says a “wheat ale brewed with apricots and spices.” According to Sam Adam’s website the idea behind this beer was to combine an IPA with a Belgian-style White Ale. Before I dive into this review I want to share a few quick thoughts on the Boston Beer Company with you. For such a big brewery they really seem to embrace the “homebrewer mentality.” They do not seem to be afraid to try something different and out there. While they don’t get the acclaim of a Dogfish Head I really feel like they do a great job of making different beers. They are also 100% American owned, have a beer buyback program, and encourage homebrewers to try new things, which, with all things considered, makes them pretty badass. Maybe I am alone in that feeling as they have grown out of the microbrewery category, but I really respect what they do. Your regularly scheduled beer review continues below.

Whitewater IPA pours a hazy yellow-orange color and have a fluffy white head. The nose is very much that of an IPA. The hops are on the citrus side of the hop world with lots of grapefruit coming through as well. I didn’t get any Belgian odors nor did I find any apricots in there either.

The first sip lead to some very solid hops. This IPA has a fruity character to it. The hop flavor really enhances some of the fruit vibes in this beer. I did get a slight bit of apricot mixed in before the hops hit, but it wasn’t very strong. There is a strange flavor about halfway through a gulp that made my tongue feel slightly numb. I’m not sure if it was the Belgian component to the beer, but it was noticeable enough to make note of. The hops come in right after the strange flavor and do a good job or cleaning up the beer. They are full of citrus with some piney notes at the very end.

This IPA is one of the creamiest IPAs that I have had in awhile. I’m assuming that it comes from the use of wheat malt which can help contribute to mouthfeel. I really liked the balance on this one. The apricots didn’t add anything to the beer, but we can let that slide. I liked this much more than Might Oak Ale, too bad it is only in the variety pack right now. (more…)

Beer Review #189 Revel Red Hoppy Ale

I love Stoudt’s Brewing Company of Adamstown, PA. They do an outstanding job of producing quality beers and I was lucky enough to have them within a half hour of my college. One of their beers was even on of my favorite beers of the year. When I saw a new beer of theirs on the store shelves I knew that I had to buy it. For some reasons stores know that if they put a new beer in the front of the store, I am going to get it. Darn marketing. Anyway Revel Red has a brightly colored label with the “V” being made out of bottle caps. Neat.

Revel Red pours a nice amber, dare I say, red color. It is perfectly clear and has a wispy white head. The nose has a slight hop kick to it with citrus and lemon being the two major components. I didn’t get any malt and I didn’t really find anything else. This beer just isn’t nosy.

Luckily the taste offered much more than the nose did. There was a slightly biscuit flavor on the front which was followed by a solid kick of hops. A nice tingle on the front of the tongue could be found in each sip. The hops started as a nice grapefruit and then a touch of pine was quickly added. While the kick of hops was solid, it wasn’t as strong as I was expecting. The hops leave easily and do not sit on the tongue very long.

This is a pretty good beer in my book but I didn’t find it to be anything special. If you are going to put “hoppy ale” in the name of the beer, that’s what I expect. Instead, I got a beer that left me down in the malt and hop departments. It’s worth a try, but I think this one needs to be refined a bit more. (more…)

Beer Review #186 90 Minute IPA

I have reviewed a lot of Dogfish Head beer on this is in recent month, but give a guy a break, I live in Delaware. I would be remiss if I didn’t support the First State’s first craft brewery. DFH makes some really great beers and they also make some beers that are just not my style, but you can never deny that they aren’t afraid to try anything (even if it is just for marketing purposes). 90 Minute IPA is the middle child of their famed IPA series, 60 Minute and 120 Minute being the other “young and older” beers respectively. DFH also makes a 75 Minute IPA but it is only released on draft and can be a bitch to find.

This IPA comes in at 9% ABV and is continually hopped from 90 minutes during the boil. It pours a nice orange-amber color and is crystal clear. The head is a soapy white with a good mix of bubble sizes. The nose has a nice hop odor to with with lots of floral and citrus notes. There is some slight sweetness mixed in behind the hops.

On my first taste I was surprised at the malt behind this beer. There is a solid malt backbone and some biscuit notes are there to add some nice depth of flavor. Before the malt really has a chance to settle in the hops come in and really give a good kick. The hops are in flavor what they were in smell, floral and citrus. I also got some grapefruit in there as well. The robust hops really dry out the beer well and help lead to a crisp ending.

I really dig this one. Of the “big three” this is my favorite. I found it to be nicely in balance and it had a really nice selection of flavors. For anĀ  Imperial IPA this one is fantastic. If you haven’t had this one before, go get it! (more…)

Beer Review #184 Union Jack IPA

In the past few years I have heard a whole lot about Firestone Walker Brewing Company and how amazing their beers are. Until recently, they have not distributed to my area and I haven’t been to an area that they did distribute to so I was SOL. Imagine my surprise when I was browsing the shelves of the beer store and stumbled upon a whole bunch of Firestone Walker beer. Now I didn’t get to grab as many as I wanted, you know budgets and all of that, but I did grab a Union Jack IPA. I have been on a slight IPA kick recently, and generally west coast IPAs do a good job of filling my IPA need. Firestone Walker is located in Paso Robles, CA and a quick Google search shows that area being in the middle of Los Angles and San Jose, IPA country.

A nice orange colored liquid flows out of the stout bottle along with a fluffy white head. The nose is pretty sweet with a good mix of hop aromas. There was lots of grapefruit and pine to go around with this one. Union Jack IPA is 7.5% ABV and I didn’t get a single drop of that on the nose of this beer.

There is a light malt flavor on the front end of this beer which is then follow by a healthy kick of hops. They are mainly citrus in flavor. I found them to be a wonderful mix of crisp but also lasting. By that I mean that the beer finishes out, but a fresh hoppy aftertaste stays. This isn’t like some hops that just stay on your tongue and don’t leave, these hops are squarely in the aftertaste realm.

I really dug this IPA. I found everything about it refreshing. It was perfectly balanced and didn’t have a ton of piney hops. The hops really flowed in well and then faded out. I might have to pick up more Firestone Walker beers if this beer is any indication of the quality of beer they produce. (more…)