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 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.
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, 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 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.
Scattered Sun is a Belgian-style Witbier from Southbound Brewing Co. of Savannah, Georgia. The head is foamy and voluminous, dissipating fairly quickly but leaving an inch or so that lasts for quite awhile. The nose is fruity and yeasty and definitely Belgian. The middle has tart lemon, sweet orange, and a bit of coriander. The orange strengthens in the finish along with a nice dry wheat flour and a bit of breadiness. A very pleasant and refreshing brew, and a relatively light 5.2% ABV makes this a perfect summer drink. I’m enjoying it quite a lot.
I give it a 3.7 out of 5.
From right here in Charlotte, NC, Birdsong Brewing Co. has produced a beer styled just for me…One that’s spicy. The do remove the seeds from the fresh jalepeños they add to the brew, so it’s not burn-your-mouth-down spicy, but it’s a nice hint of heat. The beer otherwise is their Free Will Pale Ale, which is a nice malt-forward pale ale. I do remember Free Will (which I haven’t reviewed yet) having a bit of a bitter finish, but that seems to be gone here, perhaps due to the flavor of the jalepeños. A nice beer, medium bodied, and a summery 5.5% ABV.
I give it a 3.5 out of 5.
Hopsecutioner is an American IPA, and a rather big one, from Terrapin Beer Co out of Athens, Georgia. While it’s styled as an IPA, to my senses, its closer to what I’d identify as as Imperial IPA than a standard IPA. It is heavily hopped (with 6 varieties) but balanced, so lots of malty goodness as well which gives it that strong resemblance to an Imperial. The foam is light and full, but dissipates quickly. The nose has strong orange notes, a bit of caramel, and some licorice. The middle has some slight piney bitterness, balanced with sweet bread dough, orange and some lemon. The lemon comes on more strongly in the finish. The body is medium to heavy and the alcohol is moderate 7.3% ABV. An interesting beer with the alcohol of an IPA, but the complexion of a DIPA.
I give it 3.7 out of 5.
Victoria is a Belgian Strong Pale Ale brewed with 500 lbs of crushed Chardonnay grapes, which are definitely the dominant influence. The nose has grapes, yeast, and a bit of butter. The middle is heavy with sweet grape, contrasted sharply by bitter herbal grassy notes, and some spicy heat in the background, all of which remain and fade in the finish. The body is medium to heavy, and the alcohol is a robust 9.0% ABV.
I give it a 4.4 out of 5.
Grainiac is another experiment from Stone’s Stochasticity Project line, and this time it’s a hopped-up malt bomb. The head is massive and silky and hangs around like you would expect from a root beer float. The nose has toast and granola and just a hint of lemon. The middle is full of sweet grain, and bitter hops. There’s sweet orange notes bitter pine, and a strong whole-wheat breadiness. More like dough than baked bread in flavor. The finish is sugary with a tiny herbal bitter bite right at the very end. The body is medium to heavy, and the alcohol is a fairly stout 8.5% ABV. The grains in this beer (barley, wheat, rye, triticale, millet and buckwheat) make it interesting, but Stone makes it special.
I give it a 4.5 out of 5.