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04-24-00

Beer Review #326 Natural Selection Ale

I can always count on Flying Dog Brewery to have a new beer available when I go to the store. This trip’s selection is Natural Selection Ale, which a a beer brewed by Flying Dog, but made in collaboration with Evolution Craft Brewing Company. I really can’t say enough about both of their breweries and the fact that they joined forces for a beer makes me down right giddy. This beer rocks in at 7.6% ABV and was made in three parts. Part one was the original beer which was then (Part two) taken and aged in cherry wood barrels at Evolution, and finally (Part three) dry hopped with Galaxy hops at Flying Dog. It seems like a lot of work and beer movement to make a beer, but I love when new things are tried out in the craft beer world.

This beer pours a hazy brown color. Hazy might be a bit nice, this beer is downright cloudy. It has a thin off-white head that sticks to the edges of the glass. The nose is nice and hoppy with the right amount of sweetness mixed in. The hops have a bit of a floral punch and really present a full, rich aroma.

On the first04-24-03 taste you get just a slight amount of sweetness in the front but it is quickly followed by a large train of hop bitterness. The hops provide a nice kick of bitterness but also contribute a great citrus/tropical flavor to the beer. There are some hints of wood behind the hop wall, but you really have to look for them. The beer is very clean with a great hop centerpiece. The hops stay through the end of the beer and leave on a clean, but slightly grassy end note.

I very much enjoyed this beer. I thought it was the right amount of different and showcased dry hopping very nicely. I love collaboration brewing and this is a solid example of how it can work out well. Grab em’ if you see them.

 

03-13-00

Beer Review #318 Old Horizontal

03-13-02It’s no secret that I am a big supporter of Victory Brewing Company. They are one of my local favorites and I genuinely enjoy the vast majority of their beers.  They are in the process of opening up a second brewery as they cannot expand anymore at their current spot and they also have been releasing some new beers. Today’s beer is not new, but it has returned to production after missing the last year because of capacity issues, Old Horizontal. I have previously reviewed the oaked version of this beer, Oak Horizontal. Let’s see how the original stacks up.

Old Horizontal, get name, is a barelywine ale that comes in at 11%. For some reason my bottle is a 22oz and not a more responsible 12 oz. The beer pours a nice burnt orange color with a light tan head. The beer is perfectly clear and looks great through the light. The nose is complex and deep. The first thing that I got was a nice malt sweetness. The malt quickly gives way to an array of hops. They are piney and earthy in smell and hit the nose hard. It’s not IPA hoppy, but it’s hoppy for a barelywine. I don’t get any heat on the nose.

The taste starts light but finishes with a punch. The malt is present in this beer with a nice caramel and biscuit flavor that is distinct  and enjoyable. A heavy hand of hops comes in and knocks out any malt sweetness whatsoever. The hops are bright and pungent. I mainly get pine from them along with some pine sap flavors. There are some dark fruits hidden in the back but the hops really mask them. I also get a good dose of heat mixed in with the hops. This beer lets you know that it is in charge and lives up to its name. (more…)

10-06-02

Beer Review #309 Double D IPA

10-06-02I have yet another Double IPA up for review today. Don’t kill me, I just can’t help that I like big beers. As James Spencer of Basic Brewing Radio says, “I like big beers and I cannot lie.” Today’s beer comes from the Old Dominion Brewing Company. I first had this beer several years ago at the Good Beer Festival but at the time, they did not bottle it. I’m happy to report that they now bottle it and I am better for it. This Double IPA comes in at a nice round 9% ABV.

Double D IPA pours a nice orange color and has an off-white head. Unlike some DIPAs, this one is perfectly clear and looks beautiful in the glass. The nose is rich in hops. There are a lot of hop aromas a beer can have and this beer sits firmly in the grapefruit/tropical hop world. I didn’t get any pine on the nose in this one. In my book, any good DIPA should have a nice malt body to balance out the hops and the malt even comes out in the aroma for this beer.

On the first taste you get hit with two things:

  1. A great malt flavor that has some nice bread/toast components
  2. HOPS

The malt is nicely balanced but the start of the show is the hops. The hops are bright, fresh, and crisp. There is a really good citrus flavor that follows through the entire beer. A slight pine flavor comes in at the end and helps dry everything out nicely. Unlike some hoppy beers that feature bitterness, this beer really has a lot of hop flavor. It just sings through the beer and provides some great flavor notes for your tongue to enjoy.

This is hands down one of my favorite DIPAs. I’m so glad that they started bottling this beer. There is a great balance to this one. The malt is present and flavorful and the hops are clean and bold. There really isn’t a thing to dislike on this beer. Dominion has three different beers featuring pin-ups and this is by far my favorite. (more…)

06-01-05

Beer Review #293 Hoppy Bock Lager

06-01-03I’m always on the prowl for an affordable new beer when I go to the beer store. New Belgium Brewing Company anyways has something new from their Lips of Faith series, but they generally are not affordable. A month or so ago I discovered Hoppy Bock Lager, which was affordable and came in a 22oz bottle. A hoppy lager sounded a little gimmicky to me, but what the hell, a solid affordable beer is always worth seeking out.

Hoppy Bock Lager pours a clear golden color and has a thin white head. It really looks like a pilsner or the like and not like something that is going to be super hop forward. This guy also comes in at 6.9% ABV which is a few ticks higher than what  I was expecting. The nose had a slight malt/bread component that is typical of a bock. For a beer that has hoppy in the name, I wasn’t overly impressed with the nose. There are some citrus notes, but why you say hoppy, I want hoppy.

There is a decent malt presence on the first sip of this beer. The bread really comes out, and as we all know, I love a bready beer. The hops come in halfway through but they don’t jump out. The hops are there but they aren’t crazy. I would describe the hop flavor as floral, but not bright. Hoppy Bock Lager also had a grassy flavor going through it that I didn’t particularly care for.

This beer just didn’t do it for me. I didn’t find the hops bright or excited. They were a bit too toned down for a beer that says it is hoppy, and according to the label, comes from New Belgium’s Hop Kitchen. This beer didn’t stand out and while a drinkable beer, is not repeat worthy for me. The quest continues. (more…)

Beer Reviews #276 Ticket to Rye

03-02-03 Disclaimer: This beer was sent to me by the brewery as a promotional sample

The other beer that Magic Hat Brewing Company sent me is a Rye IPA, dubbed Ticket to Rye. I take it as a play on the board game Ticket to Ride. I would like to take credit for incorporating Ticket to Ride into beer before anyone else to my knowledge. Ladies and gentleman of the jury, example 1. Again, if you haven’t played it, you should.

Ticket to Rye pours a nice caramel brown color with bit of red mixed in when held up to the light. It has a two finger off-white head along with a bit of haze. The nose has some solid citrus and pine hops. The hops are edging on pungent, but don’t make it all of the way there. Some really hoppy beers have a different level of hop aroma and produce an odor that takes on a life of its own. This beer is close, but stays out of the world. The hops end with a nice spicy note that may or may not come from the rye malt. There is some sweet malt mixed in the smell as well but the hops are the showcase here.

The taste has some really nice hoppy flavors. The citrus from the nose isn’t really there but the pine sure is. The spicy hops also make a valuable flavor contribution. The hops actually lean a bit towards the grassy flavor spectrum. A lot of people talk poorly about grassy flavors but it works in some beers, this being one of them. The malt flavor is not distinct but it is present and provides a solid backbone for the hop.

I’m a big fan of rye IPAs and this is a good one. It finishes nice and dry. I don’t get a lot of rye. I’m a poet and I didn’t even know it. As an IPA this beer provides a good hop punch with a solid malt backbone. Ticket to Rye comes in at a nice 7.1%. It is very enjoyable and I would be happy to purchase this beer. (more…)