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Kona Brewing Company Fire Rock Pale Ale Beer Review

09-03-06-01Last summer I was in Hawaii and had the joy of the Fire Rock Pale Ale. I haven’t had it since August, but I ran across a six pack here in Texas and I knew I had to try it again. Let me start off with what the brewery has to say about its beer:

“Fire Rock Pale Ale is a crisp, refreshing “Hawaiian-style” pale ale. Its signature copper color results from the unique blend of specialty roasted malts. The pronounced citrus-floral hop aroma comes from the liberal amounts of Galena, Cascade & Mt. Hood hops added to each brew.”

09-03-06-08I like that they refer to it as a Hawaiian-style pale ale because  I believe it is the only pale ale made on the islands. I remember reading the following somewhere, but I am unable to find it now, so bear with me. The brewery is located on the Big Island and there beer there is only served on the islands. The company is environmentally conscience and has another brewery on the mainland that produces beer for the rest of the beer for the states. If you know if this is false or true please let me know.

09-03-06-04Anyway, Fire Rock Pale Ale has a wonder aroma to it. It is mostly hops on the nose and a very citrusy hops at that. It pours a copper to light orange and has a bit of haze to it. The head on the beer is great, it diminishes somewhat, but lasted through my entire drink.

For a pale ale, there is a lot of body on the drink. Nice and malty with the hop carrying through the beer. It finishes smooth and the hop sits on your tounge for a bit. Unlike a lot of American Pale Ales this is a balanced beer that isn’t overly hopped. I think the biggest thing with this beer is that it is very drinkable. I remember sitting by the pool at my hotel with a six pack of this stuff and just loving the day away. If you happen to run into a six pack, go ahead and pick it up, I don’t think you will be disappointed. (more…)

Lancaster Brewing Company Hop Hog Beer Review

09-02-26-10Lancaster Brewing Company’s Hop Hog is one of the four beers the offer year round. You can read the description that LBC gives their hoppy brew on the right.

This is actually one of the first microbrews that I ever had so it will always have a special place in my heart. At the time I first tried it, it was a bit hoppy for me. Now, I think it is just right. Anyway, this beer changes drastically from keg to bottle. Obviously keg is better but the bottled version is nothing to laugh at.

Opening up the bottle there is a pleasant floral/hop aroma with a hint of malt base. It carries a decent head that lasts through the whole drink and Hop Hog possessed excellent lacing. The brew pours and orange/copper color and is extremely clear (common of most IPAs).

As you can see on the right, there is a ton of hops, but the malt character does a great job at balancing the flavors. It is very dry and the drink just falls off of your tongue. Unlike some beers that have an unpleasant hop taste left after the drink has left your mouth (see CBC EPA), this has a lingering hop but it is right on for an IPA. I’m drinking a bottle that I bought four months ago at the time of writing this and the hop flavor still seems fresh.

As for most IPA’s the mouthfeel is very light and goes down easily. It is a very drinkable beer that gets better down the glass. I prefer mine slightly above fridge temperature as there are some notes that really pop right around there. As you can probably tell, this isn’t one of those brews that I have had a 6-pack of. I’ve drank Hop Hog several times, and I will continue to do so so it is an excellent IPA and a local one at that. (more…)

Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA Beer Review

I told you the beers would get better, and this review, steps it up to an unhealthy level. Unhealthy only because Dogfish Head’s 120 Minute IPA clocks in at an amazing 20% ABV. Before I go any further, let me post what the brewery has to say about their beer:

“Too extreme to be called beer? Brewed to a colossal 45-degree plato, boiled for a full 2 hours while being continuously hopped with high-alpha American hops, then dry-hopped daily in the fermenter for a month & aged for another month on whole-leaf hops!!! Our 120 Minute I.P.A. is by far the biggest I.P.A. ever brewed! At 20% ABV and 120 IBUs you can see why we call this beer THE HOLY GRAIL for hopheads!”

I’ve only ever had one bottle of this stuff, partly because it is tough to find and partly because it cost me $8.99 for a single bottle. I did recently see it at my local distributer for $160.00 a case ($6.66 a bottle). But when you think about it, the price really isn’t that bad. 20% ABV is equivalent to 4-5 “normal” beers. Aside from the price, this beer is special for other reasons.

It pours an amber/orange color and, not surprisingly, it has a strong hop aroma. The beer is very thick, and seems to pour slower than other beers (just like how an oatmeal stout pours differently from a shitty macro).

Before I tasted this I was expecting to be blown away with hop flavors. 120 IBU’s is insane. The smell was there, and with with IPAs, I was expecting the taste to be there was well.

Surprisingly, the hop flavor was smooth and not overpowering. Overall, all of the flavors were very smooth. Shocker. The first thing that hits your tongue is a bit of alcohol. This flavor quickly dissipates to a fruity, woody, slightly hoppy feel. Later in the beer the hop flavors become more noticeable. It takes you by surprise, but not in a bad way.

This beer is very well balanced. There is not a single element that overshadows another. For the new craft beer drinker this would probably not be a great beer, but I really enjoyed it. One thing you need to remember is to drink this beer slowly. I had this over the period of an hour and a half (and it doesn’t taste bad warm). If you drink this like a normal beer, you are not going to get very far. This is a great cold day beer that I will be having again very soon.