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Beer Review #283 Rhizing Bines

04-10-03I have yet another collaboration beer for review today. This time it is the return of Dogfish Head and Sierra Nevada with Rhizing Bines. This is actually their second collaboration beer with Life and Limb being the first. According to the bottle this is “an Indian Pale Ale brewed with Bravo + 644 hops.” I had no idea what 644 hops were but apparently they are an experimental strain that doesn’t have a name yet, just 644. This bad boy comes in at 8% and has some attributes of both breweries. As another note, this beer uses Sierra Nevada’s torpedo dry hopping technique in addition to Dogfish Head’s continual hopping.

This beer pours a clear light orange color with an ample, slightly off-white, head. The nose is decidedly hoppy. The hops are bright and clean and just smell awesome. I don’t know if the Bravo hops or the 644 hops contribute to the aroma more, but whatever it is, I dig it.

A slight caramel flavor kicks off the first sip. A clean hop profile comes in that adds a good dose of bitterness, but not a punch. For a beer that has bright hops, this beer isn’t as hoppy as the nose would make you think. It is hoppy, but it says in balance with the malt body. The hops are this beer are really nice. This is a unique flavor that comes out of them that I just can’t put my finger on.

This is a very nice IPA. The hops are kept in check but allowed to exhibit their unique qualities. I enjoyed this one a great deal. I hope these two breweries keep up the collaborations as the beers have been darn good. (more…)

Beer Review #277 Hop Notch IPA

03-20-02Uinta Brewing Company of Salt Lake City has really been expanding in my area. A few years ago I was only able to purchase their 750 ml bottles, but now I get their normal beers along with seasonal releases. I was recently in New Jersey to attend a birthday party and I picked up a six-pack of their beer in Jersey. Hop Notch IPA might not be a new beer, but it is a new beer to me and I’m always on the lookout for a new IPA. This one comes in at a nice 7.3% ABV.

Hop Notch IPA pours a hazy orange color. It has a two finger off-white head that never truly fades away. The nose is packed with big, bright hops. Pine and citrus are the two primary hop odors. A decent malt sweetness is mixed in there as well. It just smells like an IPA. Big, bold, and hoppy.

The taste starts with a decent malt sweetness. There are some slight caramel flavors that are quickly ripped away by the hops. The hops start as a slight citrus and grapefruit combination and then fade into a pine flavor. It ends on a sharp piney note that dries out the drink nicely.

This is one of the more enjoyable IPAs that I’ve had in awhile. There is a solid hop punch along with a balanced malt body. While aggressive, it stays drinkable. Well don Uinta. (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…)

Beer Review #253 Hellrazer IPA

12-16-03I’ve really been in an IPA mood lately and I’ve also been trying to buy some more local beers. Duclaw Brewing Company solved both of those “problems” for me with their Hellrazer IPA, a 7.5% ABV beer. The bottle also advertises that it is hopped with New Zealand hops, in particular Motueka. I’m not super familiar with New Zealand hops as they are super expensive and are generally pretty hard to find. My brief research on these hops say that they are generally used with pilsners and Belgian ales.

Hellrazer pours a nice clear orange and has an ample white head. The nose is packed with citrus hops and is a bit bready. I’m not entirely sure how to describe the hops other than citrus, but it was a unique smell that I haven’t noticed in other IPAs. I’m assuming this is related to the¬†Motueka hops.

On the first line of my taste area of notes it says, “amazing,” and it really is. The hops are great, bitter but also packed with flavor. There is a strong citrus flavor along with some bubble gum. It’s a pretty unique taste from what my lips have tasted. There is a really solid malt backbone that provides the needed bread and sweetness to balance this beer. This beer is exceptionally smooth as well.

I am strongly considering purchasing some New Zealand hops after having this beer. It has such a unique hop profile that it makes the beer very memorable. I really dig this beer. I’m going to have to make a trip down to Duclaw during my holiday break and get a fresh glass of this. (more…)

Beer Review #251 Encore IPA

The last beer in my winter sampler from Magic Hat Brewing Company is Encore IPA. The bottle says that this is an American Wheat IPA and that it comes in at 6.4%. I’ve seen other breweries refer to wheat IPAs as white IPAs and I am glad that Magic Hat has decided not to follow suit. There really is not a need to distinguish a typical IPA from one made with a higher percentage of wheat malt. I understand the different naming for a black IPA, but most wheat IPAs look like a cloudy version of their base style.

Encore IPA pours a cloudy orange color and has a fluffy white head. The head sinks away quickly in the center and sticks to the sides of the glass. The nose is full of bright citrus hops. I didn’t get any malt smells but I did get a bit of an orange tang, that I will attribute to the hops.

You get a nice malt feeling when first tasting this beer but the malt doesn’t have any stand out characteristics. A good hop bitterness comes in quickly and provides a lot of flavor. The citrus hops start as an orange-like flavor and then move into grapefruit before finishing cleanly. On subsequent sips, the citrus flavor carries though the whole beer and is not only relegated to the second half.

This is not super bitter IPA. I didn’t leave me with a punched in the face by hops feeling but it is full of flavor. I enjoy IPAs that don’t only focus on bitterness but instead focus on hop flavor. It’s a fine line, but Magic Hat did a very nice job on this one. As the last post about Magic Hat beers for this sampling, I want to reiterate how much I enjoyed this group of beers. Each beer was solid and provided some surprises. I would rate the beers in order of review for likeability in my book. All of the beers were good, but the Heart of Darkness stout was just killer. (more…)