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.
Lagunitas Brewing Company Lagunitas IPA American IPA at 6.2% ABV
Pours a clear straw gold with three fingers of fluffy head on a moderately aggressive pour, good retention and moderate sticky lacing. Nose is light – pine and floral hop, and sweet malt in the background. Taste is pleasantly bitter up front, followed by sweet malt. Mouth feel tends to the light, with light sustained carbonation.
Decent IPA without the emphatic presence of their higher ABV products like Maximus, Little Sumpin, or Hop Stoopid, but still possessing sufficent hops to keep me interested. Fairly sessionable, actually, with a decent bitter finish.
Hop City Brewing Co. Hopbot IPA American IPA at 7.1% ABV
Pours a clear copper with good persistence of an aggressively poured fluffy three finger head, moderate sticky lacing. Nose is pleasantly hoppy, pine and grapefruit, with faint caramel malt. Taste is similar, but the sweet caramel malt is somewhat more pronounced, with the pine and grapefruit notes coming in late. Medium body, good sustained carbonation, and slightly creamy mouth feel, with a resiny finish.
Definitely a far better product than their lager, which was disappointingly bland. Decent hop presence in the nose, slightly less pronounced on the tongue. A very decent option for a locally available brew, and a welcome addition to the NLC lineup.
Rockbottom Bar & Brewery Big Water Brown English Brown Ale at 5.5% ABV
(Tasting flight) Pours a clear medium brown with a short persistent head and moderate lacing. Nose is roasty malts, chocolate and caramel. Taste is similar. Medium body and a decent bitter finish.
Rockbottom Bar & Brewery Fathom IPA American IPA at 6.9% ABV
(Tasting flight) Pours a slightly hazy light gold with minimal head and spotty lacing. Big citrusy nose with grapefruit and pine resin. Taste is similar against a pleasant caramel malt background. Mouth feel is on the light side but sufficient for the style.
Rockbottom Bar & Brewery Jacktar Stout American Stout at 6.7% ABV
(Tasting flight) Pours a deep cola red with minimal head and lacing. Nose is dark malt with a hint of anise and dark fruit. Taste is similar, but surprisingly sharp, with a distinct alcohol bite. Mouth feels tends to the watery.
Stone Brewing Co. Kyle Hollingsworth / Keri Kelli / Stone Collective Distortion American DIPA at 9.2% ABV
Pours a clear golden orange with one finger of short-lived head and spotty lacing. Nose is predominantly pine resin hops, with a faint tinge of savory, almost onion-like character. Taste is… bizarre. Initially harsh, with an aggressive bite, but relaxes considerably with warming and additional tasting. Medium-bodied tending to heavy, on the chewy side, with low carbonation.
Can’t say I’m a fan. The nose isn’t bad, and in fact is very similar to the latest Enjoy By, but the flavour is, if not actively unpleasant, less approachable than Stone’s other offerings. Not sure I even want to finish my glass – and for a Stone beer, that’s approaching heresy.
Rockbottom Bar & Brewery Insidious Black IPA at 6.9% ABV
(Tasting flight) Pours a deep cola red with no head or lacing. Nose is floral and citrus hops with dark roasted malt. Taste follows suit, with a lingering sharpness. Medium bodied with a decent finish.
Rockbottom Bar & Brewery Hali-Lager American Pale Lager at 4.5% ABV
(Tasting flight) Can’t be bothered to do this in detail. Standard fizzy yellow lager.
Micro-brasserie Le Trou Du Diable L’Impératrice Imperial Stout at 9% ABV
Pours solid black with two fingers of fluffy beige head diminishing gradually to a half finger skim and heavy lacing. Nose is bourbon, oak, and dark roasted malt, with sweet caramel and vanilla in the background. Taste opens up with sweet malt and vanilla, with strong bourbon and oak, finishing with bitter coffee and chocolate. Heavy-bodied, smooth, and creamy.
Oof. This is a massive, challenging beer. Complex and intimidating, it exhibits every bit of its 9% ABV right from the outset. Sweet and thick, it’s definitely a dessert beer.