Boston Beer Company Angry Orchard Crisp Apple Cider at 5% ABV
I don’t know how to rate this. It’s apple juice.
No, really. There’s absolutely nothing in the aroma or the flavour except apple juice. Flat as a board and zero alcohol. If it’s really 5%, it’s a 5% you could give your kids on the sly. I’m not exaggerating when I say it tastes like apple juice and nothing more or less. And I honestly can’t say whether that’s good or bad.
It’s sweet – really sweet – but not sickly, because (as I may have mentioned) it tastes like apple juice.
Hell if I know. It sure as hell ain’t “crisp”, but it ain’t bad, either.
Stone Brewing Co. Stochasticity Project Grapefruit Slam IPA American DIPA at 8.2% ABV
Pours a slightly cloudy golden amber with three fingers of loose frothy white head diminishing gradually to a thin skim and spotty lacing. Nose is strongly citrus, grapefruit and piney hops, slight green apple and faint caramel malt. Taste is intensely bitter, huge IBU’s – gotta be, what, a hundred plus? – with a distinct grapefruit peel astringency and yet a subtle malt sweetness. Medium body, with mild carbonation and a dry, bitter finish.
Helluva beer. Hops first, and the grapefruit really supports without overwhelming, with just enough malt to provide balance – my kind of beer. Some minor aesthetic quibbles regarding carbonation aside, there’s not much I’d change.
Stone Brewing Co. Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale American Black IPA at 8.7% ABV
Pours a deep cola red with two fingers of persistent tan head, heavy lacing. Nose is piney and earthy hops with a hint of citrus, dark roasty malt, coffee and chocolate. Taste starts out with sweet malt but is quickly overtaken by astringent dry bitterness. Medium bodied and creamy, with a lingering bitter finish and gentle warming.
Wow – big and bombastic, sublimely self-righteous, indeed. Take all the best characteristics of stout and IPA, and combine. No caramel malt here, it’s all dark and roasty goodness. I don’t care if it makes me look like an amateur with the RateBeer crowd, I don’t see there’s any possible way to improve on this, and so don’t see how I can give this anything less than a perfect score.
Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd Dr. Thirsty’s No. 4 Blonde American Blond Ale at 4.1% ABV
Pours a clear straw gold with a fat finger of loose, soapy head diminishing rapidly to a thin skim, minimal lacing. Nose is pale malt, yeast, hint of fruit, suggestion of adjuncts. Taste is similar, biscuit malt and weak hops, bitter finish. Body is light and watery, with moderate to low carbonation.
Boring, weak, watery, and bitter. Very little of the promised fruit, and nothing to recommend it. An awful lot like a cheap adjunct lager.
Rockbottom Bar & Brewery Deadwood Wheat Weizen at 5.0% ABV
(Tasting flight) Pours a cloudy straw with minimal head and spotty lacing. Nose is yeasty wheat, slight fruit. Taste is citrusy, with a little bubblegum and clove. Light bodied with a mildly bitter finish.
Stone Brewing Co. Enjoy By 07.04.14 IPA American DIPA at 9.4% ABV
Pours a clear golden amber with one finger of white head diminishing gradually to a thin skim and spotty lacing. Nose is huge pine resin hops and not much else. Taste is extremely mild, very little bitterness, and a sweet caramel malt base that isn’t apparent in the nose. Medium body and decent sustained carbonation, with an off-dry lingering bitter finish and a gentle warming.
This is the most mellow Enjoy By I’ve tried to date – which, let’s face it, is not necessarily what one looks for in a DIPA. As an aside, the hop profile is utterly dominated by pine resin, with no herbal or floral aspects – which is neither here nor there, but could be subject to personal preference. And it is one seriously sneaky brew: the large ABV is completely hidden by the softness of the flavour. This is a beer that pretends to be all sweetness and light, right up until it sucker punches you and rummages through your pockets for spare hops.
Evil Twin Brewing Evil Twin Yang Imperial Taiji India Pale Ale Imperial/DoubleIPA at 10% ABV
Pours a slightly cloudy copper with a creamy one finger head with good retention and moderate spotty lacing. Nose is sweet malt, tropical fruit and piney hops. Taste leads out moderately to strongly sweet leading to moderate bitter, finishing with nicely balanced bitter and sweet. Medium bodied and slightly creamy, with moderate sustained carbonation and a slight warming.
A little more malty than I prefer my DIPAs, but a solid performer regardless. A nice balance of malt and hops on the finish makes up to some extent for the malt forward nose. Not world-class, perhaps, but definitely very good.
Oh, look, there’s that wrong glass again. You see where I’m going with this, right?
Evil Twin Brewing Evil Twin Yin Imperial Taiji Stout Double/Imperial Stout at 10% ABV
Pours a true solid black without a hint of colour, with a short mocha head diminishing to a thin skim and no lacing. Nose is deep roast malts, hint of smoke, coffee, very slight booziness. Taste leads out with roast malt and faint chocolate, giving way to booze-soaked dark fruit. Medium to heavy body, slick and smooth, with low persistent carbonation and a lingering boozy finish.
Quite nice. A very well-behaved Imperial, not too boozy but enough that there’s no doubt about what you’re drinking. Almost like a rum-soaked dark fruitcake and definitely a great beer for a cold winter night.
And if you’re thinking about commenting on the glass? Don’t. There’s a method to my madness – stay with me.
Evil Twin Brewing Evil Twin Yin & Yang Black and Tan at 10% ABV
Dammit, they mixed! After me going through the effort of making a black & tan spoon and everything! I guess it’s fine that they did, seeing how they sell it that way, but still, I’m peeved. Ahh, well – just gonna have to practice it some more. Work, work, work, that’s all I ever do around here…
Surprising. The nose behaves much like I’d’ve expected – lots of malt from both the stout and the IPA halves, with just a faint undercurrent of hops. The taste, however, has behaved… unexpectedly. There appears to be less sweet malt on the outset than was present in either the Yin or the Yang. It’s like their sweetnesses didn’t add, but the bitter did. I want to try this again with a proper float, but it’s pretty serviceable just as it is.
Firestone Walker Brewing Co. Wookey Jack Black Rye IPA at 8.3% ABV
Pours a deep cola red/brown with one finger of persistent tan head, minimal lacing. Nose is dominated by piney hops, with dark roasty malt tones of coffee and chocolate in the background. Taste is similar, with a distinct rye edge and a pleasant coffee bite playing against the hoppiness. Mouth feel is surprisingly light for the colour, but still tends towards a fuller body, with a pleasant warming and lingering bitter finish.
Another really good beer from Firestone Walker. Lots of depth, interesting hop bitterness and rye sourness without being palate-wrecking aggressive, and just enough ABV to be felt as a gentle warming, without any aggression at all. To the extent I have any criticism at all, the nose could be just slightly more emphatic.