Lagunitas Little Sumpin’ Extra Ale (Picked up at Trader Joe’s). A 4 of 4. Had this, as well as the Wild version before, yet somehow it hasn’t shown up here. A simply excellent juicy, oily, citrus-forward IPA. Smells of a variety of citrus, and drinks with a powerful citrus presence as well, accompanied by a decently strong sweetness up front and a firm bitterness in the finish. Extremely well-balanced – the sweetness makes this so easy to drink, and the body carries it incredibly well. Simply great.

6 hours ago 7 notes

Two outstanding beers at Right Proper Brewing in Washington DC. On the left, dry-hopped Songlines farmhouse (an easy 4 of 4), and on the right, King Harvest farmhouse cream ale (a 3 of 4). Also a delicious French dip here. Songlines is simply delicious - a 4.6% farmhouse with brett and featuring galaxy and motueka hops, this is simply awesome. Bright tropical fruit and a yeasty flatness - although the bright notes shine through. A touch tart, but not overly so, and incredibly complex yet easy drinking. Incredible packing in 4.6%. The King Harvest features corn and oats alongside a typical grain bill, with a nice farmhouse flair. The body is a bit on the sweet side, and the sticky lacing and relatively thicker body are quite nice. Excellent stuff all around - I’d be a regular here if I were in DC.

1 day ago 3 notes

St. George Beer Premium Lager at Cafe Colucci in Oakland. A 2 of 4. Served ice cold, this is a relatively simple light lager. Faint grain sweetness in the nose, and drinks cleanly on the palate with some more clean grain sweetness. Clean, drinkable, and good with some spicy Ethiopian food. Beer-wise, there’s not much to remark on here besides the fact that it is a beer. It doesn’t stand out.

2 days ago 13 notes

A handful of shared beers at Bluejacket Brewery in DC. On the top, Travlr’s 12k (Aged in Cab Franc barrels), and Spectre brett IPA on the right. In the middle, The New Black session IPA on the left, and Bird of Prey IPA on the right. On the bottom, Snallygaster 2014 on the left, and Travlr’s 11k (Aged in Chardonnay barrels) on the right. All easy 3’s of 4’s, although I’d definitely say the Travlr’s 11k and 12k are deserving of a 4. The sheer variety and constant quality of all these beers is great - they are all within style, and done very well with an interesting twist. The wine barrel character in the Travlr’s is on point, and some nice tart complexity lurks as well. The Spectre is simply excellent - I’ve had a few brett IPAs, but this is one of the most drinkable, and I wish I could have this all the time. The session black IPA and standard IPA are very good - relatively standard hop profiles with some decent malt development. The Snallygaster is a bit weirdly highly carbonated, but has some nice spice elements alongside a nice fruitiness, although it’s probably my least favorite of the bunch. Nothing absolutely blew my mind here, but everything is quite good.

3 days ago 7 notes

Short’s Brewing Huma Lupa Licious IPA (Thanks, Brad!). A 4 of 4. Like basically all of Short’s other offerings, this is excellent. At 140 IBU, the hop power in this is a bit stupid, in a good way. Nice sticky lacing and smells of pungent pine and resin - almost so powerful it resembles pine sol. Drinks with some sweetness in the body behind the wall of bitterness. Despite the bitterness, this isn’t too astringent on the palate, but it doesn’t go easy on it, either. Lots of nuance to the hop profile as this warms, and despite the wall of hops, this is actually quite drinkable and complex after your palate adjusts after the first few sips. Great stuff.

4 days ago 8 notes

A couple of IPAs from Siren Brewing at Churchkey in Washington DC. On the left, the Americano Coffee IPA, and on the right, the Flying Dutchman IPA (w/ Evil Twin) - both 3’s of 4. The coffee IPA is an interesting concept - and while the coffee notes are there in the nose, they are missing in the body (which might be a good choice). The deep reddish brown body has some nice caramel notes and some roast to it, as well as a firm, resinous bitterness. Smells of some citrus notes as well as coffee. Not a coffee bomb, for sure, though. The Flying Dutchman has some beautiful sticky lacing and smells of bright tropical citrus fruit and some weird herbal notes. Drinks on the sweet side, yet finishes firmly dry and bitter, but not overly so. After having some in Britain this summer, I’m glad to see Siren is making it to America now.

5 days ago 6 notes

Stone’s RuinTen IPA (Picked up at Trader Joe’s). A 4 of 4. Quite a hop bomb, and at 10.8%, this is no lightweight either. Glad to see this will be a yearly release now (it was originally a 10th Anniversary Ruination). Smells of citrus juice, and a whole lot of bitter pith and some sweetness and booze as well. Drinks relatively cleanly sweet with a firm, powerful, astringent bitterness in the finish. Mostly citrus-pith flavors, and the alcohol is a bit noticeable in the finish. This is an excellent double/triple/big IPA.

6 days ago 16 notes

A trio of beers at Tria Taproom in Philadelphia. On the top, Ommegang’s Belgian Independence Day 2014 IPA (a 3 of 4), on the bottom left, Perennial Artisan Ales’ The Last Word (a 4 of 4), and on the bottom right, Weyerbacher’s Ales for ALS IPA (a 3 of 4). All great - the Ommegang is simply a great Belgian IPA - lots of high sticky carbonation and a earthy belgian yeasty quality on the nose, paired with a juicy citrus hop presence. Firmly bitter, but drinks well and the lighter body with spicy yeast qualities and some citric hop presence makes this good. The Perennial is my first from them - and I’m quite happy - quite reddish orange without much lacing to speak of. Smells like candy and honey sweetness up front, as well as some other citrus notes with a faint sourness. The body gets hugely spicy and funky quite quickly - there are a ton of weird herbal notes and sour lime. Not too acidic, but the acid is firmly there. Interesting stuff. The Ales for ALS IPA is simply solid - nice creamy lacing and lots of tropical fruit on the nose with a firm body bitterness to back it. Not overly bitter, and a nice balancing fruity sweetness, with a simply great nose. Also, Tria Taproom is great - would definitely drop back by the next time I’m in Philadelphia.

1 week ago 3 notes

Funkwerks Session Saison (Picked up at Funkwerks in Fort Collins, CO). A 4 of 4. Pours a nice pale yellow with relatively high carbonation and some lacing that hangs around for a while. The nose gives this all away - smells very close to funkwerks other saisons - some great spice, lemon, and other yeasty notes in the nose. Drinks with quite a light body (even for a session saison at 5%), but there’s plenty of yeast complexity amidst a relatively simple grain profile without a ton of sweetness. Quite dry on the palate, and drinks incredibly easily. A great beer - great complexity for a session saison.

1 week ago 12 notes

Ol’ Burro’s Gold Brick Pale Ale (brewed for Trader Joe’s by Golden Road). A 3 of 4. As I mentioned about other Ol’ Burro offerings, they’re a great value for the price. A solid pale ale, and clocking in at 5.5%, is nicely at the lower end as well. Some faint earthy/herbal hop aroma, and quite high carbonation. Drinks easily with some faint caramel sweetness and some medium bitterness. On the lighter end in terms of body, but it carries the bitterness well, and is eminently drinkable.

1 week ago 16 notes

The Kernel’s London Sour (Bottled 04/09/13) (Picked up at CASK Pub and Kitchen in London). A 3 of 4. Incredibly interesting - very pale color and a tiny amount of carbonation. Lots of lactic in the nose and a damp basement type of funk going on. Drinks with some bright fruit up front and a huge puckering acidity - and some lemon and citric notes to go with it as well. Quite different than a lot of sours I’ve had - weird and worth a try.

1 week ago 5 notes

Weyerbacher’s Tiny (Thanks, Kim for bringing this from PA!) - a 3 of 4. A powerful beer - at 11.8%, it’s not a lightweight in booze or flavor. Lots of chocolate and spice and fruity character in the nose - despite being quite viscous, the Belgian yeast adds quite a lot of light, bright complexity to this. Quite a lot of spice notes build, as well as some dark fruit and a boozy warmth. Drinks easily enough - despite having essentially no lacing, there’s a nice higher carbonation to this that keeps it from being cloying.

1 week ago 10 notes

Evil Twin’s Bikini Beer - a 3 of 4. Quite different than many session IPAs out there - quite a lot of body bitterness for a light-bodied beer. Nose has some nice citrus and quite a bit of grain, and the body has a relatively similar profile with a bit more bitter/pith-y taste. Highly carbonated up front, but then gets almost oily on the palate, which is incredibly weird for something at 2.7%. Drinkable and interesting - this is quite a bit different than the other session IPAs on the market right now.

1 week ago 17 notes

Drie Fonteinen’s Oude Geuze (US version - yellow label - 03/2012 - Picked up at Berkeley Bowl West). A 4 of 4. One of my favorite gueuzes on the market. Bright and acidic with lots of light fruit and apple notes, and a nice funky complexity. Some barrel notes, and loads more tartness. Nice and refreshing, and not too acidic - some nice relatively high carbonation helps pick it off your palate. Already had the European (green label) version, but felt like this deserved another writeup with the different version. An excellent beer.

1 week ago 6 notes

Brewdog’s Punk IPA (Picked up at a Sainsbury’s in London). A 3 of 4. Was craving a powerful IPA after a few weeks of drinking not incredibly hoppy things, and this delivers a firm bitterness to the palate. Had this long ago, but a nice reminder of how good this beer is relative to many other non-American American IPAs. Relatively bright up front with citrus, light fruit, and some flowery notes, as well as some bready malt notes. Relatively clean in the middle, but then quickly turns to a firm, drying bitterness. Not the best out there, but a good balanced yet bitter beer that really features the hops.

2 weeks ago 6 notes