Lonerider Hop ‘Em High

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Hop ‘Em High is an American Double IPA from the Lonerider Brewing Co. of Raleigh, NC. The nose is caramelly and floral. The middle has sweet grapefruit and orange, a hint of pine and citrus rind. The finish fades to brown sugar and plums with just a hint of pine remaining. The body is full, and the alcohol is a reasonable 8.5% ABV, though this drinks like a bigger beer. This is a solid, nice American DIPA.

I give it a 4.3 out of 5.

Fake Plastic Trees

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Continuing with beers from right here in Charlotte, Fake Plastic Trees is a hoppy wheat ale (think wheat IPA) from our friends at Birdsong Brewing Co. To start, the head is heavy and creamy, as befits a wheat ale, and the unfiltered golden hue is hazy. The nose has orange, lemon, and lemongrass scents. The middle is hop-forward with an American IPA profile (lemon and hint of pine) but served on a bed of wheat toast. This fades to bit more lemon and some grapefruit in the finish with the wheat continuing to balance things out and soften on the tongue. The body is medium and the alcohol is moderate at 6.4% ABV. This is a fun mash-up between a wheat ale and an IPA that will probably be best enjoyed by IPA fans.

I give it a 4.2 out of 5.

NoDa Nodajito

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This summer refresher from NoDa Brewing Company here in Charlotte is a mojito inspired twist on a Belgain Witbier. It pours the expected light golden hue with the traditional massive wheat head. The nose is spicy and clean, with some light wheat flour notes. The middle is where the mojiton influence comes to the fore, with the light wheat base entirely masked by strong mint and lime flavors. The lime lingers into the finish, along with wheat toast and a bit of Belgian sourness. The body is light to medium and the alcohol is a lovely summmer-ey 4.8% ABV. This is a fun beer and could hold its own against beer-based beverages like a Shandy or Radler. A nice summer treat.

I give it a 3.9 out of 5.

Orpheus Transmigration of Souls

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Orpheus, of Atlanta, Georgia, is really good at hoppy beers. I mean, really good. and Transmigration of Souls may be one of their best. It’s a double-IPA that Orpheus calls “overpowering” but it isn’t overpoweringly bitter; it just has huge flavor. The nose has lemon and orange. The middle has orange, grapefruit, pineapple and butter. The finish is smooth, without a lot of change in the flavor though a bit more grapefruit comes out and a tiny hint of pine resin right at the end. The body is medium-heavy to heavy, and the alcohol is 10% ABV and quite subdued.

I give it a 4.8 out of 5.

Tarrapin Hi-5 IPA

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Tarrapin calls this a California style IPA, which I take to mean West Coast. However, I’d call this more of a traditional American IPA with some tropical notes. The nose has orange and lemon, and some floral overtones. The middle is more citrus and some pineapple. There’s a bit of pine and a bit of peach in the finish. The body is medium and the alcohol is a pleasantly light-ish 5.9% ABV. It wasn’t exactly what I expected, but that doesn’t take a way from what is a very nice, unique beer.

I give it a 4.4 out of 5.

Ballast Point Sculpin

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By Ballast Point Brewing Company of San Diego, Sculpin is one of the best West Coast IPAs out there. The head is sticky and hangs around, the nose is of grapefruit, honeysuckle and floral. The middle is sharply hoppy with clean pine fading to grapefruit, then to apricot and lemon in the end. Mango and peach are also advertised notes in this brew, but I’m not getting them, at least not in this bottle. No matter though…It’s excellent as is. One of my all time favorites for sure. The body is medium-ish, and the alcohol is a respectable but not overpowering 7.0% ABV.

I give it a 4.9 out of 5.

Beer To Drink Music To

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Beer To Drink Music To is a Belgian style Tripel from our good friends at Dogfish Head in Delaware. Dogfish Head is known for their off-centered ales, but there really isn’t a lot weird about this beer…It’s a fairly straight-forward, really nice Belgian Tripel. The nose is yeasty and fruity, with banana and fig notes, the middle is fruity and spicy with some pepper and apricot, and there’s vanilla in the finish. This all makes for a really nice, solid example of the style. The body is medium to heavy, and the alcohol is a stout 9% ABV.

I give it a 4.2 out of 5.

Monday Night Slap Fight IPA

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Slap Fight India Pale Ale from Monday Night Brewing of Atlanta, Georgia is a lovely little American IPA. There’s lemon on the nose, more lemon and some pine in the middle giving it quite a bit of bitterness, and a bit of grapefruit in the finish. There’s not a lot of complexity here, but for hopheads like me who enjoy a nice bitter IPA, this really hits the spot. The body is light to medium and the alcohol is a nice summer-weight 5.8% ABV.

I give it a 4 out of 5.

Founders Sumatra Mountain Brown

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Founders, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, calls this Imperial Brown Ale “decadent” and that is the perfect way to describe this outstanding beer. The head is thick and creamy. The nose is roasty, with tons of chocolate and coffee. The middle is milky, smooth and sweet with mocha and espresso. The finish is bittering slightly, with the coffee and toasted grain coming to the fore. The body is medium to heavy, the alcohol is an imperial 9.0% ABV. This is the perfect coffee lover’s brew, and every bit as good as Founders’ classic Breakfast Stout.

I give it a 4.8 out of 5.

Terrapin Krunkles Down Under IPA

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Terrapin calls Krunkles a “South Pacific” style IPA, and I think I would agree that it lives up to the moniker. The hopiness that we know, love, and expect from our IPAs is here, and the twist is that it’s very nicely balanced with notes of tropical fruit. The nose has apricot and mango, the middle is spicy and smooth with mango, papaya, and a bit of coconut. There’s a bit of pine in the finish, but it isn’t particularly bitter until right at the very end. The body is light to medium and the alcohol is a lovely 6.6% ABV. This is a fun, unique take on an IPA and I’m really enjoying it.

I give it a 4.3 out of 5.