Of all the year-round standard IPAs, Stone’s is probably my favorite. With citrus on the nose, and a bitter, piney finish, this beer is heavy with the hops that I love.
Sam Adams’ Rustic Saison is, as the bottle says, “brewed in the farmhouse beer tradition.” Having never had a Saison before, I don’t have any experience as to what that should mean, but if this beer is any indication, it’s another way of saying “lager.” It’s a golden color, maybe a bit darker than the average lager, but that’s the first thing that came to mind when I poured it. The nose is primarily yeast, and it indeed tastes like a lager, though with a bit more sweetness in the finish. It’s refreshing, and if you like Boston Lager, you’ll probably like this.
Southern Tier’s Double IPA named, appropriately, 2XIPA is definitely one of my favorite Southern Tier beers. It has a fairly light body for a double IPA, which makes it especially refreshing. There’s lemon and pine on the nose, and good hop flavor in the middle, with more hops and citrus in the finish. All around this is lighter than a regular double IPA, which makes it an easy and refreshing drink which I like it a lot.
I give it a 4.3 out of 5.
Stone Brewing’s Cali-Belgique IPA is a Belgian IPA. The nose isn’t as malty as a typical IPA, but has more a clean floral scent. It seems to be a bit hoppier than an American IPA, and closer to what I’d expect from an American Pale Ale. There’s a nice balance of hoppy bitterness and fruit in the finish. It’s certainly not a typical IPA, but it’s almost like the perfect intersection between a great pale ale and a great IPA, plus whatever it is about Belgian beers that I love but am not skilled enough to quantify. It’s an excellent beer.
I give it a 4.6 out of 5.
This is the darkest pale ale I’ve ever seen. No joke, it’s darker than most brown ales. It shocked me when I poured it, and I’m still marveling as I drink it. The nose has a bit of citrus and pine. The middle is middle is hoppy, bitter, and I taste a bit of grapefruit. There’s more hops and pine in the finish. This is a super fun beer. I like it a lot.
Unearthly is Southern Tier’s self-described most radical offering. I love IPAs, and Imperial IPAs, and this is an interesting one. It’s a big beer at 9.5% ABV, much as you’d expect for an IIPA, but there’s not nearly as much malty sweetness as I would normally expect to get from an Imperial IPA. This is definitely more on the hoppy-side, with a flavor profile that I’d describe as more typical of a regular IPA. It has a nice piney scent, and there is a slightly sweet malt finish. A decent beer, but not my favorite from Southern Tier.
I’m still finishing out the summer seasonals, and Somersault Ale is a blonde ale from New Belgium, brewed with Centennial hops and apricot. They say on the bottle that the Centennial hops give it a citrus aroma, but to my nose it’s more of a clean, floral scent. It’s a medium bodied ale with a smooth, well-balanced taste, and there is just the mildest hint of those apricots on the finish. A very nice cheerful beer that goes down easy.
As summer winds down and I work my way through the last few summer seasonals on my shelf, today I’ve come across Brooklyn Brewing’s Summer Ale. It’s a medium bodied pale ale that’s heavy on lemon, bread, and (as a pale ale should be) hops. A very well executed pale ale, but not enough of interest to be great one, in my humble opinion.