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04-28-00

Beer Review #327 Two Hearted Ale

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.

O04-28-02n 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.

 

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 Review #257 Doublewide IPA

12-30-03For my last beer review of the year I decided to go after a big imperial IPA. Doublewide IPA from Boulevard Brewing Company rocks in at 8.5% ABV. The bottle says, “Relax. It’s twister proof.” A long time ago I was a meteorology major (my wife actually is a meteorologist) and tornadoes have a special place in our house. They scare the hell out of me and also fascinate me to no end. The bottle art on this beer is interesting to say the least. It’s a bit of a departure from their other Smokestack Series labels.

Doublewide IPA pours a nice clear orange color and has a white soapy head. For a high alcohol beer the head lasts a long time and never fully fades into the beer. The nose is packed with hops. Citrus and pine ring out of this one along with a little heat. I didn’t get any malt flavor, the hops really overpower everything else.

Unlike what the nose promises, there is a good amount of malt sweetness on the first taste. A really solid punch of hops comes in after that and cleans out any sweetness that was there. The hop flavors are very much like what the nose said they would be. The hops are clean and crisp and do not get muddled in with anything else going on in the beer. I didn’t get any heat in the beer, even as it warmed.

I really dig this beer. It’s super hoppy but very drinkable. Unlike some imperial IPAs that are loaded with hops and nothing else, this beer maintains a surprising balance. I really like this one and I would highly recommend it to anyone in the mood for some hops. (more…)

Beer Review #60 Snake Dog IPA

We have reached the end of the week of Flying Dog. There have been a great number of different beers tried (5 to be exact) and I think that they were all pretty solid. Snake Dog IPA is as solid as the others. It comes in as the biggest beer of the bunch at 7.1% ABV and 60 IBUs. This beer is also dry hopped with Columbus hops. Exciting.

The beer pours an orange amber color and is perfectly clear. There is a large off-white head to goes along with the pour. The nose is full of hops. Go figure, a IPA that smells hoppy. These hops are very bright like the pale ale, it might do due to the fact that both beers are dry hopped, but I really have no idea.  These particular hops give off a piney smell more than anything else.There is some malt in there, along with some caramel, but the hops really dominate the nose.

On first tasting I was pretty happy with the malt backbone in the beer. It was strong enough to support the hop that dominates the beer itself. There are some caramel and bread notes, but you more just get the hop than most other things. The hops have a really wonderful mix of pine and citrus. Some beers really blow you away on the piney hops, which I really don’t care for, but Snake Dog IPA was a nice mix of both varieties of hop flavors. As far as balance goes, this one is a bit out of balance and learns more towards the hop end of things. For an IPA that is fine, and can almost be expected.

The mouthfeel is medium and creamy. I think this beer is very drinkable. It isn’t my style of beer as I am not a huge hop head but the beer has enough other features to offer that it was enjoyable. I have had better IPAs but just like the rest of Flying Dog’s beers it is a solid example of a style of beer. If you are looking for a good tasting of an IPA, this beer is for you. (more…)

Beer Review #35 Hoptober

Last month I reviewed New Belgium Brewing Company’s Skinny Dip. I was a tad late on the review of their summer offering, but I am right on time for their fall beer, Hoptober. Hoptober is classified as a Golden Ale and was quite the steal at $7.49 a six pack. Don’t you just love sales. I happen to love New Belgium’s beer labels becasue they are always a bit new age, and odd. This one is no exception with outlines of people dancing around a fire. How does that relate to fall or hops, who knows? But it looks neat.

11-15-02

11-15-03Anyway the beer pours a brilliant golden color as you expect from a beer labeled Golden Ale. It is perfectly clean and has a think white head, with tiny bubbles. The head sticks to the top of the beer throughout the entire drink. On the nose, floral hops dominate. There is also a nice helping of sweet malt, and some almost, honey notes. There is a bit of pine smell in there as well. Generally I don’t like the piney hops, but this is in smell only.

The taste of the beer is mainly hops, hops, hops. Not that it is an overwhelming hop flavor like some IPAs, but rather a nice punch of them that compliments the malt very nicely. The malt has a strong enough backbone to support the hops and you can still get that sweetness from it. There is also a slight biscuit taste at the end of the beer. It finishes very nicely and crisply. There is a bit of an earthy flavor that can be found in the beer as well. I have found that to be pretty common with New Belgium’s beers as well.

11-15-04On the drinkability scale this one comes in pretty darn good. It is not nearly as hoppy as the name suggests that it would be, but there is a good punch of it. The hops are very bright and fresh tasting. This beer might not be for the new craft beer drinker or someone who does not like anything other than the American light lager, but most craft beer people will find this pleasing.

For a fall beer I was hoping for something a bit darker, with some richer notes. Hoptober comes in at 6% ABV in case you were wondering. It has a great aftertaste and just reeks of freshness (as should all seasonal beers). I really enjoyed it, but I have had beer fall beers before. If you like fresh hops and a good malt character, you will totally love this beer. Again it is not as hoppy as the name suggests, but it is super drinkable and enjoyable. My wife, who hates hoppy beers, even enjoyed this seasonal from New Belgium. (more…)