Beer 31 of Spring – Punk IPA

Brew Dog Punk IPA

Brewer: Brew Dog       Craft: Punk IPA       ABV: 5.6%

Let me introduce you to the Brew Dogs.  These guys know how to make beer and have fun doing it.  They push limits.  They ignore the status quo.  They make their own rules.  If you haven’t seen their show on the Esquire network, then pick up that remote and look for them.  It’s good watchin’.

Now to the beer.  This craft is easily one of my favorite IPAs.  A hearty malt base gives this Punk a solid foundation on which is built an IPA that challenges all others.  Are there others like this one?  Maybe.  But the way James and Martin crafted this Punk goes above the standard and sets a new level of quality.

The aroma is immediately citrus, with some malty sweetness and subtle hoppiness also wafting up.  When I drink it, I just want to keep drinking it.  The word balance is used a lot.  I’ve used it on many occasions.  I apologize.  Because this craft might be the definition of balance.  The malts provide a smoothness and a sweetness that start this craft off.  The hops add in those citrus notes.  And those hops also add in just enough bitterness to get your attention and keep you coming back for sip after sip.  As I continue to sip I get some caramel notes and even some notes of toasted bread.

Listen, I like this beer.  A lot.  And I’ve enjoyed the other crafts I’ve had from Brew Dog as well.  But this is my favorite by far.  And at 5.6%, it is easy enough to drink a few of these in a session.  Even better.  If you’re an IPA drinker, try to find this Punk and thank me later.

Rating: It wouldn’t be cheap, but I’d buy a case of this.  You get what you pay for, right?  This might be difficult to find, since they’re in Scotland and all of their beer is imported right now.  But I just saw today that they’re planning on building a brewery in Ohio.  Woohoo!

Beer 23 of Spring – Outlaw

Two Brothers Outlaw

Brewer: Two Brothers       Craft: Outlaw       ABV: 6.3%

Warning.  Warning.  This is not a gateway IPA.  This here Outlaw is a hop lover’s craft.  The aroma is sweet.  There’s notes of malted barley, caramel, orange, tangerine, and bread.  This is definitely misleading.

Once you taste this craft, you’ll know.  You’ll know what I mean.  Hops.  Then hops.  Oh, and by the way, there’s hops.  Did I mention the hops?  Now, its not all hops.  I do get subtle, very subtle, notes of bread and tangerines.  But those hops though.  This is just a solid, consistent, malty, hoppy craft from Two Brothers.

I was introduced to Two Brothers by my Uncle Bryan, and frankly I’m thankful I was.  They make some good beer.  A couple other quality crafts they brew include Domaine DuPaige and Cain and Ebel.  Check them out.

So if you love hops, you’ll enjoy this beer.  If you’re a hophead, this craft is for you.  This is not West Coast.  This is not East Coast.  This is just, IPA.  Cheers!

Rating: Six-pack

Beer 22 of Spring – Flash in the Glass

Green Flash

Brewer: Green Flash       Craft: West Coast IPA       ABV: 8.1%

Five different hop varieties create aromas and flavors aplenty.  When I pour this craft into the glass, which in this picture is not really the glass that Green Flash recommends, but serves it purpose nonetheless, I get such powerful citrus notes that I feel like I’m in an orange grove in California.  (Sometime soon I’ll post a new page about proper glassware…my wife will be happy since she keeps telling me I should)  Once the head dissipates, the malty warmth of the double IPA wafts up as well.

The taste is just as compelling.  Double the malted barley definitely lays down a solid foundation of caramely sweetness.  It’s warm and reminds me, albeit subtly, of whiskey.  The bittering hops are present from start to finish.  That’s really where this craft shines.  The hops start at the tip of my tongue and flow all the way back.  My mouth is awash in hoppy goodness!

West Coast IPA is completely and utterly its namesake.  Its west coast style of citrus notes blending with bitter hops on a base of malty smoothness makes me think I’m missing out on something totally awesome happening out there, dude.  Righteous.  This DIPA is not an “anyone can drink this” type of craft.  If you’re an IPA person, give this one a go.  Cheers!

By the way – check out The Beer Wench.  She is an awesome purveyor of Green Flash and craft beer!

Rating: at least a four-pack, maybe two!

Beer 19 of Spring – Goin’ fishin’

Ballast Point GS

Brewer: Ballast Point       Craft: Grapefruit Sculpin       ABV: 7.0%

Talk about balance.  Ok, I will.  Take it easy.  I’ve heard a lot about this beer.  I’ve seen a lot about this beer.  So I’ve been eager to give it a taste.  It was worth the wait.

The aroma is immediately grapefruit.  And that’s what I want.  If the first word in the name of the craft is grapefruit, then I expect it.  But I also get a biscuity, subtly hoppy aroma as well.

Go ahead.  Take a sip.  It’ll make you feel good.  Woah.  Sorry about the peer pressure there.  Not really though.  Here is where the balance beams.  The grapefruit is, again, immediately present.  But it does not overpower.  It does not overwhelm.  The hops counter the citrusy bitterness somehow.  They add another layer of flavor.  And all of the bitter layers are built on a firm foundation of malts.  Although Ballast Point does not mention it, I’m sure the malted barley adds to the warmth and sweetness of this craft.  It’s smooth and crisp at the same time.  Huh?  Yeah.  I don’t know how that works either.  But it does.

Grapefruit Sculpin has met and exceeded all of my expectations.  This could certainly be a gateway IPA, for those hesitant to try an IPA.  But it also meets my standards for a solid IPA.  I can’t wait to try the standard Sculpin now to see if the original can hook me.

Rating: Catch yourself a six-pack: I’d even think about buying a case of this it’s so good

Beer 16 of Spring – Off the top rope…

Saucony Creek Hop Suplex

Brewer: Saucony Creek       Craft: Hop Suplex Ale       ABV: 10.0%

Just a quick review tonight.  This craft is malty.  It has a smoothness, sweetness, and warmth from a solid malted barley backbone.  This craft is hoppy.  It has a balanced bitter hoppiness.  This craft is strong.  It rings in at 10%, which could be boozy, but if you take it slow and steady, you’ll be fine.

It’s been hit or miss with me and Saucony Creek, but this one is a hit.  I wanted one beer tonight to sip and enjoy over a couple hours.  This was a solid choice.

Rating: get a six-pack

Beer 13 of Spring – Eye of the Tiger

Sixpoint Bengali

Brewer: Sixpoint       Craft: Bengali       ABV: 6.5%

This is not the first time I’ve had this craft.  Nor will it be the last.  Sixpoint says that “beer is culture”.  Well call me Pearl cause I like being cultured.  Actually, don’t call me Pearl.  That would just be weird.  But you can call me a fan of this craft.  See what I did there?

For me, Bengali is up there with Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA.  I know.  Big shoes.  But this IPA has a solid hop presence throughout.  You can feel it on your tongue.  It lingers there.  As it should.  And then the caramel flavor builds.  Smooths it out.  I also get some subtle orange and apple notes too.  Maybe that’s just me.  But the sweetness is just a kiss.  Just enough to keep you coming back for another sip.

Sixpoint calls what they do “Mad Science”.  I call it delicious refreshment.  If you’re looking for another IPA to try, this is a wise choice.  Not many IPAs as simple as this craft are as good as it is.

Rating: Get a six-pack…and then get another one

Beer 10 of Spring – Chill, yo!

Great Lakes Chillwave

Brewer: Great Lakes       Craft: Chillwave Double IPA       ABV: 9.4%

Another DIPA?!  Yes!  Yes!  It would seem that as much as Spring is pilsner season, it is DIPA season as well.  I’m not really sure whether that’s true or not, but it’s working for me.  So I’m riding this wave.  See what I did there?

This craft has the malt backbone consistent with most double IPAs.  The hop character balances well with the malts and creates a solid platform for the added goodness.  If it weren’t for that, this would probably just be your run-of-the-mill DIPA.

But thank God it’s not!  Great Lakes added honey malt to this craft.  Honey malt.  Such an innocuous ingredient.  Bite your tongue.  It adds a warmth, a depth, a sweetness to this craft that I frankly was not expecting.  It’s pretty impressive what one additional ingredient can do to a craft.  It can go very wrong; or in this case, it can go oh so right.

This almost feels like an IPA that could be an intro IPA for those that are hesitant to try them.  Yes, at 9.4%, you’re going to feel it.  But there’s nothing wrong with that if you know what you’re getting into.  This craft surprised me, impressed me, and won me over.  I’d drink this again.  And again.  Cheers!

Rating: I’d buy a case of this (and if you’re into aging beer, I feel like this would age well.  It says to enjoy by a certain date, but suggestions are just that…)