Posts Tagged ‘IPA’

Gateway Brewing Beer Flight

Saturday, October 17th, 2015

While in Mumbai we stopped over at the Woodside Inn in Colaba and tried all the local craft beers they had on tap. Today I’ll rate the beer flight we had from Gateway Brewing, located in Dombivli. The flight included the three Gateway beers Woodside has on tap: an English-style IPA and two German wheat styles, a light and a dark.

First up was the White Zen wheat beer. It pours an opalescent pale golden yellow with a bit of creamy white head which forms a nice lacing on the glass. The aroma is light, but there’s a noticeable banana character and a hint of clove. The flavor is clean and quite refreshing on a hot day, with a smooth clove character and a bit of sweetness that fades away quickly. Gateway Brewing beer flight The palate is light and active, making for an easy drinking beer, but it asks for just a bit more flavor.

Next we tried the Doppelgänger dunkelweizen, a fairly hazy dark ruddy brown with a little off white head. The aroma is mild, with some caramel and a bit of nuttiness. The flavor, while somewhat flat, is refreshing as well, but otherwise unremarkable. The mouthfeel is creamy and there’s a hint of cloying sweetness at the end. When tasting it I didn’t even realize it was a dunkelweizen, mistaking the mild flavor for a German-style dark lager.

Finally we had the India Pale Ale, with its distinctively floral English character. Their IPA pours a barely hazy cupric gold color with some bone white head. The light aroma is mostly hops, a light herbal and floral nose. The flavor is likewise mostly floral hops, with hints of biscuity malt character spicing things up. The palate is also light and refreshing, but the carbonation ends up being a bit too harsh.

+Gateway White Zen

3.8 (4-7-7-4-16)

+Gateway India Pale Ale

3.7 (3-7-8-3-15)

+/-Gateway Doppelgänger

3.0 (4-6-5-3-12)

Stone Enjoy By 02.14.15

Monday, February 9th, 2015

Before long it will be 14 February, so it’s about time I get around to enjoying my Enjoy By 02.14.15 from Stone Brewing Company in Escondido, California.Stone Enjoy By 02.14.15 I was in Denver the week after Great American Beer Festival, and during my time there I had plenty of the Enjoy By 12.05.14, so I’m looking forward to this incarnation of the double IPA.

Enjoy By pours a brilliantly clear straw color, with just a hint of caramel highlights. The head is bone white, not all that hefty but lingers. A gentle floral aroma wafts up, while citric fruity notes are there for those looking for them. The light and delicate nose probably wouldn’t stand up to much aging, in keeping with Enjoy By’s freshness mantra.

The flavor is big with bold fruity, floral and earthy herbal hop flavors. Hibiscus and mango are followed by a bit of spicy pine. A light caramel malt flavor and full biscuity character balance the hops perfectly. A full body and an alcohol warming bring a punch. The bitterness is present, but not forward, so the Enjoy By doesn’t read like your typical double IPA. Instead, it has a warm and comfortable character, packed full of fresh hop flavor.

Stone has since released an Enjoy By 03.14.15. I’d suggest you find some and drink it now, I sure am going to.

+Stone Enjoy By 02.14.15

3.9 (3-7-8-4-17)

12 Beers of X-Mas: New Belgium Accumulation

Sunday, December 21st, 2014

New Belgium AccumulationFrom New Belgium Brewing Company in Fort Collins, Colorado, tonight I’m tasting Accumulation, a white IPA.

Accumulation pours a lightly hazy pale blonde color. The head is bone white and a little spongey. The aroma is quite mild, just a bit of herbal hops and a light bready maltiness.

An interesting herbal hop bitterness leads the flavor, but fades somewhat into a mellow herbal flavor that doesn’t last long. A malty sweetness lasts, turning a bit cloying. The body is full, a little much given how mild this beer is.

+/-New Belgium Accumulation

3.3 (3-6-7-3-14)

International IPA Day

Thursday, August 4th, 2011

And, Lo! The Wench declared that Thursday, 4 August 2011 be the first annual International IPA Day. And it was so. And the people saw that it was good, and they celebrated.
    — Gambrinus 25:17

Practically everyone in craft brewing will be drinking India Pale Ale today.
Shouldn’t you?

Kelso IPA

Friday, July 15th, 2011

The smallest brewery in Brooklyn is known as Kelso. Tonight I will be drinking their India pale ale from a growler I got at Bierkraft. This IPA is made with the New Zealand hop variety Nelson Sauvin which imparts an interesting floral or fruity character. It is also a cask ale, meaning the carbonation level is relatively low (as compared with modern beers) and it’s unfiltered.

Kelso’s IPA is a very hazy goldenrod beer. Due to the low carbonation there is almost no head. It almost looks like a cider. The aroma is very strong with floral and fruity hops and a strange fruit character that I cannot identify, but am very interested by. There is also just a bit of a pale caramel malt sweetness to the aroma.

The flavor is likewise pretty hoppy. There is a significant floral hop flavor, as well as more of the strange fruitiness. This IPA isn’t all that bitter, but rather quite balanced. The caramel malt makes itself known in the flavor as well, contributing breadiness and a faint taste of caramel. It actually may be a little too sweet, especially since there isn’t much carbonation to provide balance. Overall this one is a very drinkable yet flavorful India pale ale.

+Kelso IPA

3.8 (4-8-7-3-16)

Two More Sixpoints

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

Yet another post of beers made here in Brooklyn, though a purist would point out that these cans were not. Kelso, the smallest of the three Brooklyn breweries (and necessarily the subject of my next post), is the only one making all their beer within the borough limits. The selections I’m trying tonight were made by Sixpoint, the bigger of those “other” two Brooklyn breweries, but brewed in a facility in Pennsylvania. I’m not opposed to contract brewing, but as adamant as Sixpoint is on the superiority of Brooklyn it sure seems out of character to brew out of state. Anyway, on to the beers.

Sixpoint The CrispThe Crisp is Sixpoint’s lager, a brilliantly clear straw colored beer. The off-white head is ample, largely because it is supported by a serious effervescence. The hop nose is significant. A loud wet-hop character is joined by the herbal aroma of noble hops. Though not entirely unpleasant, it leaves no room for the malt to come through, a major detriment to any lager.

For a beer whose name is “The Crisp” the flavor is anything but. A lingering sweetness makes the body too full, even from the first sip. But that’s the only real influence of the malt. The promise of the nose is wantonly fulfilled — the strong herbal and wet-hop flavors are almost overpowering. There is virtually no hop bitterness to balance, nor malt flavor to justify, the thick body, though warming it becomes somehow a bit more balanced.

Sixpoint Bengali TigerNext up, Bengali Tiger. Though Sixpoint makes no effort to pigeonhole their beers into standard styles, by the name and numbers this is clearly an India pale ale (with a Blake reference on the side). The Bengali Tiger is a beautiful persimmon color and barely translucent. The off-white head is so creamy it’s left a lacing on my glass before I’ve even taken a sip. The nose is richly hoppy, but never sharp. It forms a gentle tapestry of a multitude of hop flavors from several varieties as well as significant malt character. The hops are mostly that Pacific northwest citric, with mango and orange and lime. But a significant earthy and pine character is present, too. The malt adds biscuit and caramel to the picture, and there may also be a yeast fruitiness.

The taste follows rightly from the nose. Rich malt flavor and a hearty hop character appear at first, blending in to the serious bitterness. But the full body and malt keep it from ever seeming sharp. Herbal and floral hops as well as pine back up the bitterness, supported by the faintest citrus flavor. Caramel and toast malt and earthy hop flavors linger, so the lasting bitterness and sweetness are not without company.

It is hard to imagine a greater polarity among beers made by the same brewer.

+Sixpoint Bengali Tiger

4.2 (4-8-8-4-18)

+/-Sixpoint The Crisp

3.0 (3-7-6-2-12)

Sixpoint Righteous Ale

Monday, June 27th, 2011

Tonight I will continue to represent my new town with a beer from one of the “other” Brooklyn breweries, Sixpoint Craft Ales. Sixpoint is one of those places that’s two parts good beer and three parts mystique. But they know how to hide a good pun. And they have cans. I’ll taste the Righteous Ale, a beer which marries the flavor of hops and rye.

Sixpoint Righteous AleRighteous Ale pours a ruddy caramel color, quite hazy, with some creamy tan head. The spicy rye character is prominent in the aroma. Fruity and herbal hop notes compliment it well. Just a hint of caramel malt sweetness adds to the remarkably complex nose.

The flavor is likewise quite complex. The rich spiciness of the rye blends assertively with the hop bitterness. A solid malt backing supports with bread, caramel, and toast flavors. The herbal hop character leads the tongue right back to the rye, forming something of a flavor cycle. The body is just a bit too heavy, with a sweetness that lingers on the tip of the tongue, where the rye bite should be.

+Sixpoint Righteous Ale

3.8 (4-8-7-3-16)

Iowa IPA Challenge

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Apparently tonight, in downtown Iowa City, there was a major throwdown of Iowa-made India pale ales. You probably haven’t heard about it, and even if you had, you would be hard pressed to find any information at all. The only reference on the series of tubes seems to be a tweet from Short’s that it is happening either during or as a part of the Top Chef of Iowa City. This event is being put on by the Downtown Association of Iowa City, and features chefs battling it out for culinary champion as well as bartenders showing off their most “creative” cocktails.

Short’s Burger & Shine has been making waves since they switched all of their taps to Iowa-made beers last year. Apparently, with this challenge they were hoping to capitalize on the recent growth of Iowa craft beer and an already-planned foodie event. I would argue that they made three critical errors in calling for this competition.

First, the timing. The tweet mentioning the challenge appeared yesterday on Short’s feed. They even admitted to having a paltry three entries. Three beers is a tasting, not a competition. Eric Sorensen, brewer at Rock Bottom in Des Moines, tweeted simply, “wish we would have had more notice.”

Second, the venue. The Top Chef event is tied in with the Downtown Association’s annual meeting. Surely the focus at that meeting will be on the operations of the association. Where the entertainment comes into play, it is reasonable to assume that the stars of the show will be the chefs and bartenders, since that is the competition that has been advertised.

Finally, the audience. I would expect that the majority of the attendees of this evening’s events are members of the association hosting the meeting. These are businesspeople, not beer aficionados. These are people who purchased their tickets over a week ago to an event that, at the time, had no beer elements. An Iowa IPA Challenge is a grand idea, but it must be held where all beer lovers can take part.

Enough complaining, let’s try some beer. Tonight I will be tasting four Iowa-made India pale ales. My review of Millstream Iowa Pale Ale is almost two years old, so I’ll re-rate it, but I just tasted both of the Peace Tree IPAs a few weeks ago so we can let those reviews stand. This all means that my Iowa IPA Challenge has twice the number of entrants of the “official” one.

First up, the Iowa Grown I.P.A. made by Madhouse Brewing Company in Newton. Since it is made with Iowa-grown hops, I picked up this beer for a post I will be doing soon about local ingredients, but it seems fitting to rate it today. The Iowa Grown IPA pours a burnt orange color, nearly clear, with some creamy white head. The nose is simply not hoppy at all. There is a caramel malt character like raisins that borders on vinous.

There is some hoppiness to the flavor, a deep, earthy grassiness. But the hops contribute minimal perceptible bitterness, and no strong, clean flavors. The caramel malt character carries through, maintaining the raisin and vinous flavor. A residual sweetness would balance the hops if they were there. The carbonation is a bit too intense. The flavor is unsettling, and not just because you expect to taste an IPA. This beer hasn’t really ever heard of the style.

Now I will taste the Iowa Pale Ale from Millstream Brewing Company in Amana. The Iowa Pale Ale is a very hazy pumpkin orange color. The buff-colored head is creamy and generous. The hops make the aroma citric and astringent, like the contribution of orange peel to a Belgian wit. Otherwise the nose is barren, with almost no malt character and no readily identifiable hops.

The flavor is mild and citric, as the aroma would indicate. The astringent citrus character continues to lend a Belgian wit quality to the beer: were it not for the color and body, you might mistake this for a witbier. There is a thickness to the palate and some residual sweetness; however, there is no rich malt flavor to justify it. This beer had a friend once who knew what it was like to be an IPA.

Next up, the double IPA from Millstream, HOP2, which has the dubious honor of having the worst label of the group. Even for Millstream this label is bad. Just look at it. No wait, don’t.

The HOP2 pours a copper-tinted auburn, opalescent, with some creamy off-white head. The nose of this beer, like the regular IPA, is disturbingly citric, in this case more like lemon peel. There is also an unpleasant character that I could name, but won’t here for the reader’s sake. It’s mild, so hopefully you won’t pick it up. There is a bit of a caramel malt character, but hardly any.

The flavor is simply unpleasant. There is a medicinal alcohol flavor, which could be the result of either of two major issues. First, they might be stressing the yeast past its point of comfort, in which case they would simply need to switch to a new strain. My suspicion, however, is that this flavor comes from the use of hop extract, used to try to boost the hop flavor and bitterness cheaply.

If you can get past this off-flavor, the beer is not too bad. There is a decent grassy hop character, as well as some sweet, toasty, caramel malt flavor. But those are hard to detect behind the sharp fusel alcohol bite. This beer probably read the Wikipedia article on India pale ale.

For my last Iowa-made India pale ale I had to step out. I headed over to Devotay to try the Golden Nugget on tap. This IPA is made by one of the newest Iowa breweries, Toppling Goliath Brewing Company in Decorah.

The Golden Nugget pours a lightly hazy pale straw with some bone-white head. The nose is mild, but pleasantly so. The Nugget hops certainly come through, producing a lightly fruity and earthy nose dominated by grapefruit and pine. There is just the faintest malt aroma.

The taste follows the aroma: the pine and grapefruit from the hops give a rich hoppy foundation. Some bready malt begins to balance, but this beer is very dry, so the bitterness starts to get away again. There is just a bit of a sweetness or richness that is soon overtaken by the lingering bitterness. The Golden Nugget isn’t too hoppy, it could just use a bit more malt to balance it out. Now here is a beer that understands what an IPA really is.

Well, if you add to this discussion my ratings of the two Peace Tree India pale ales, I think you have a pretty good overview of the Iowa craft brewing scene. Take that how you will, but I’m content looking forward to more beers from breweries like Toppling Goliath and Peace Tree.

+Toppling Goliath Golden Nugget

3.7 (2-8-8-3-16)

+/-Madhouse Iowa Grown I.P.A.

2.8 (3-6-5-3-11)

+/-Millstream HOP2

2.8 (4-6-5-3-10)

+/-Millstream Iowa Pale Ale

2.8 (4-5-5-3-11)

Peace Tree, Day Three

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

Alas, this is the final post in my triptych on Peace Tree Brewing Company of Knoxville, Iowa. Tonight I’ll have the last pair of beers currently available (outside of the brewery’s taphouse), two India pale ales. Fortunately it won’t be long before I can try more: a little birdie told me there’s an imperial stout coming in just a few weeks, and a Belgian blonde soon after that.

First up, the year-round Hop Wrangler 3, termed a “multinational IPA” for its combination of English and American malts and hops and Peace Tree’s Belgian yeast strain. Creamy ivory head sits atop a pale, rusty, lightly hazy beer. The hop aroma billows out, strongly fruity, with herbal undertones. Grapefruit, mango, and blood oranges intercut with pine and rose blossoms. Aromas of lemon and mint float above it all.

The bitterness is immediate, and though it is strong it’s also rounded and full, accompanied by a rich herbal hop flavor and just enough alcohol to notice. The spicy pine and mint of the English hops are joined by grapefruit from the American ones. A bit of a caramel malt sweetness in the background, and a bit of substance to the body, but overall not quite malty enough to provide the balance I would like.

From the Brewer’s Special Release Series (to my knowledge this beer is the series at the moment), I’m having the Double IPA. You know this beer was brewed at Peace Tree: it says so three separate times on the label. The double is a bit darker in color than the Hop Wrangler, more of a mahogany, opalescent, with some off-white head. The nose is strongly fruity with grapefruit and mango, as well as a piney herbal character, much like the Wrangler. However this one has a rich toasty maltiness that the other is lacking.

The difference between these two beers on the nose is not all that significant, but the flavor is worlds apart. The Double IPA has a solid malt character to balance the ridiculous hoppiness. The hops are still certainly the star: their exotic fruits and mint have an almost shisha-like quality, and the herbal character provides a grounding force. But the malt is not being pushed aside here, lending a flavor that reminds me of Hawaiian sweet bread, and creating a luscious body that handles the hops. Tasty.

Peace Tree has been making good beer and making it available, but not for very long. They stand in defiance to those who say the craft beer market is already saturated, proving that elbow grease and a little innovation is all it takes to carve out a niche and watch it flourish. If they can keep it up, they’re poised to go very far.

++Peace Tree Double I.P.A.

4.2 (4-8-8-4-18)

+Peace Tree Hop Wrangler 3

3.9 (4-8-7-3-17)

Thirsty Bear Brewing Co.

Sunday, February 13th, 2011

Last week was SF Beer Week. I understand there were a few good events all over town. Unfortunately I left just before it got started.

Also, all month long is the Strong Beer Experience at the Magnolia Pub and the 21st Amendment Brewery. I did stop by the latter for the three drinks I was allowed (it seems like a good idea that they have set that limit) and enjoyed them. It was a bit too crazy in the bar to take good notes, but I know I was a fan of the Imperial Jack, a beer which I understand was guest brewed by the folks at the Elizabeth Street Brewery.

The next night I had a few drinks around the corner at the Thirsty Bear Brewing Company. This certified organic brewpub also serves Spanish food that looked quite tasty, but unfortunately I was not at all hungry by the time I got there. The two vessel brewhouse and six fermentation tanks occupy the place of honor protected by a pane of glass behind the bar. They are situated in a depression in the floor that simultaneously puts the neatest parts of each tank at bar level as well as keeping the dirty operations from the eye of the visitor. They also have flamenco here! (though not the night I visited.)

I had two beers while at Thirsty Bear, a gravity-served stout and the IPA. The Cask Stout was absolutely pitch black, a black hole shade of black. The long-lasting creamy head was a deep ochre hue. First on the nose are light roast notes from the dark malts. This is followed by hazelnuts and nutmeg, and subtle aromas of toast. Overall light, but with an intriguing fruitiness.

Toasted and burnt bread flavors and some smokiness betray the roasted malts, but the smooth creamy palate is much lighter. As it is a cask beer, the carbonation is very mild, allowing the roasty bitterness to become somewhat more astringent.

The bartender recommended the Howard St. IPA, and I can’t refuse a hoppy beer. This one is brilliantly clear, the color a beautiful ruby tinted amber. It has some creamy head and an herbal nose with hints of citrus.

The hoppy bitterness is strongly herbal, bordering on the character of a California common ale, but there isn’t the same long lingering bitterness on the back of the tongue. The herbal hop flavor leans towards minty. The flavor is just a bit green, dirty but not very earthy. It has some body, but is perhaps a bit thin for an IPA.

Thirsty Bear Howard St. IPA

3.5 (4-7-7-3-14)

Thirsty Bear Cask Stout

3.4 (4-7-6-3-14)