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09-05-28-03

Magic Hat Brewing Company Hi.P.A Beer Review

09-05-28-03Magic Hat Brewing Company has continued to produce some new beers. I recently saw their spring seasonal at the the six pack store, and I was in the mood for something hoppy, so I grabbed it. The bottle looks pretty funky, like something out of the 60’s. Then again, most of Magic Hat’s stuff looks a little on the funky side.

The beer comes in at 5.8% ABV and 45 IBUs. I opened the beer and eagerly awaited the inside the cap message. My first beer said, “break the cage of the digital age.” I always enjoy a beer that has a message inside the cap. Particularly when it is something interesting and not just a list of their awards (Sam Adams).  Hi.P.A pours a cloudy orange color and has a great aroma. It smells almost like raw hops are in it. I don’t know if I got a fresh bottle or not, but it really suprised me. It had a nice head that lasted through the whole beer and had great lacing.

09-05-28-04On the first taste I caught some nice sweet malt with some hops. The hop aroma is much stronger then the actual hop flavor, which could be a good or bad thing depending on what you are looking for. There is  a nice orangy zesty flavor in there. Overal nice and citerousy with good malt to back it up.

I think this is a pretty typical IPA. The hops are there but not overpowering and the smells are great. I might of actually enjoyed the smell more then the actual beer. Not that it is a bad beer, but it isn’t that different from any good IPA. If I saw this again at the six pack store I would probably look around a bit to see if there was anything else I didn’t try yet. I was good, but not great, but if you like IPA this would be right up your alley. (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…)

Rogue Mocha Porter Beer Review

I’m a big fan of Rouge’s beers. This one newly appeared in the 6-pack store the other day and I just had to get it and try it out. As usual, I’ll let the brewery describe the beer first:

Tasting Notes:
Ruddy brown in color, a bittersweet balance of malt and hops with a light cream finish.

13 Ingredients:
Malts: Northwest Harrington & Klages;
135-165, 95-115, and 70-80 Crystal; Beeston Chocolate, Black, Munich
and Carastan.
Hops: Centennial & Perle Hops.
Yeast & Water: Rogue’s Pacman Yeast & Free Range Coastal Water.

Specs:
13º PLATO
54 IBU
73 AA
77º Lovibond”

Rouge’s Mocha Porter pours a dark black with a full light brown head. It had great head retention that lasted all the way though the beer. The smell was full of chocolate malt, coffee bitterness, and a bit of hops. Overall I loved the look and smell of this beer.

Upon first taste there is a lot of malty flavor going on. The chocolate malt is the first thing you notice, followed by some coffee, then a very slight hop flavor. It was a thin beer (as expected with a porter) and was very drinkable.

One thing I did notice was a slight chalky mouth feel after I was done. Everything tasted fine, it just left that feeling in my mouth. It was interesting, but to a great or terrible thing. As I said eariler I love Rouge brews, while this one isn’t my favorite, it is very good and worth a try.

Victory Brewing Company Hop Wallop Beer Review

I’m going to go ahead and bring it back to PA for this beer review, with Victory Brewing Comapny’s Hop Wallop. Before I go into it, lets see what Victory has to say about their brew:

We celebrate the pioneering spirit of old Horace ‘Hop’ Wallop and those who dare mighty adventurous things in this vivid, robust ale. As our annual homage to the hop harvest, expect loads of aromatic splendor and bitter beauty.

Malts: Imported German malts
Hops: American whole flowers
Alcohol by volume: 8.5%”

Man-o-man is this thing good. They don’t call it a Wallop for no reason. This is a seasonal brew by Victory, starting in November and lasting for a limited time. Luckily, at 8.5% this beer can sit around for a bit and still be good (though the hops will fade a bit).

I was excited to get my hands on this. To start off with the beer has a nice hop/piney smell. There is a bit of citrus and alachol (not suprisingly) in there as well, but they are much more subtle. It pours a briliant oragne and as with most IPA’s, is very, very clear. There is a thick head that pours with the beer, and it stays through the entire drink.

When you take your first sip, you immeditaly notice the hops. The hop flavor carries through the entire drink and stays on your touge. There is a bit of malty goodness in the middle, but it is overshadowed by the ever-present hop. The hops do a nice job of hidding the alachol taste as well, as there is almost none present.

I could easily recommend this beer to any hop head. It might be too overpowering for someone not used to hops. The extreme hoppy flavors mixed with the slight malt gives a decent ballance. I know I keep going to local beers, but it is what I have the most access and experience with. The next review will be from much further away. Go try a Hop Wallop if you have the chance! (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.