I have an oldie but a goodie up for review today. Bell’s Brewery out of Michigan is one of the most respected craft breweries around, yet I haven’t reviewed a single one of their beers yet. Part of it is that they are hard to find in my area and the other part is that I usually drink them before I can get a review flushed out. Bell’s Two Hearted Ale is one of the “classic” craft beers in the US.
The beer pours a nice orange color and has a few floaties in it. A thin off-white head also accompanies the liquid below. The nose is very floral with some bright hops. The hops are slightly tropical with citrus but also have a nice dank aroma to them. The odor isn’t overly sweet like many IPAs and it captures the hops wonderfully.
On the first taste you don’t get a lot of malt. There is some sweetness but it isn’t well defined. The hops come in quickly and provide some wonderful flavor notes. Tropical fruits, citrus, and grapefruit dominate the flavor arena for a bit before a strong pine hop comes in and cuts any sweetness present. The piney note is an exclamation mark on the beer and really separates the beer into two areas, pre-pine and post-pine. The post-pine flavor is very nice and slightly spicy. I also got the slightest amount of heat towards the end of this beer.
Bell’s has done a wonderful job with this beer. The hops are shown off so nicely that it’s hard to fully explain with text. I love all of the different flavors and aromas of hops showcased in this beer. It is a pleasure to drink and I hope that I can experience more of their beers in the future. Continue reading
Dogfish Head recently added a new beer to their year-round group of beers and that beer happens to be the subject of today’s review/ Sixty-One is a “continually-hopped India Pale Ale brewed with Syrah grape must.” Dogfish certainly takes advantage of their continually hopped process at their brewery and adding grape must is an interesting addition to an IPA. This IPA comes in at a healthy 6.5% ABV.
Sixty-One pours a purplish-red and it is perfectly clear. There is a thin purplish-red head that sits on top of the liquid below. In all honesty, it looks like carbonated, watered-down wine. There is a hop nose to the beer but it isn’t sharp or overly bitter. There is some grape in the background but more than anything, a very strong earthy aroma comes out of this beer.
On the first sip I was really surprised at the amount of grape flavor that hits your tongue. The grape flavor stays through the whole drink and a hops enter at the very end. The hops are very nondescript, but come across as a bit earthy and have general bitterness. The beer finishes dry with a bit of a wine flavor.
This sure is an interesting beer, but I’m still not sure if the marriage of hops and grapes works out. The grape flavor is actually pretty nice and edges on being too powerful but the hops just don’t work for me. I would like to try a toned down version of this beer but as it sits currently, this is not one that I’ll be getting again. Continue reading
I told you that I was on an IPA kick and today I have a “newer” IPA from one of the country’s largest brewers, Sierra Nevada.Torpedo is an “Extra IPA” (according to the bottle) that comes in at 7.2%. It can be found in both bottles and cans and had a uses a new hopping technique developed by Sierra Nevada called Torpedo. A number of their beers are now being brewed with this method of hopping including Rhizing Bines.
Torpedo pours a light orange color. It has a thin white head and it is crystal clear. The nose has some slight hops but not much else. I was expecting this one to produce some much larger aromatics, but it just didn’t come through for me. Perhaps I had an older bottle or my senses were not locked in the day I tried this.
On my first taste I was really surprised to see the amount of sweetness that comes on the front end of this beer. I really like IPAs that transition to hops and don’t knock you out with the first punch. The hop flavor does come in midway through the beer and it kicks hard. The hops are very earthy and rich in flavor. There are some citrus notes in there but the main parts that I found were an earthy, dirty pine flavor. Torpedo finishes dry with some lingering bitterness.
I really, really like this one. This could become a go to IPA for me. It has all of the flavors that I really like, and while I didn’t get wowed with the nose, the flavor is solid. This is a full feature beer and the hop flavor is more complex than some I have tried recently. This beer has been out for a year or two now and if you haven’t tried it yet, you are missing out. Continue reading
Along with Elder Betty and HiCü, 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. Continue reading
So 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. Continue reading