From a mixed case of Sierra Nevada Beer Camp styles, I’m trying out the Imperial Pilsner (#43) tonight. It’s definitely a beefy Pilsner It has a nice fluffy, creamy head, and an earthy, grassy nose. On the tongue it’s heavily malty with some spicy kick. There’s a bit of bitter pine right at the finish as well. It’s got a medium body, so it’s heavier than a standard Pilsner but it’s still crisp and refreshing, and peppery spice in the middle makes this a nice treat.
I give it a 3.5 out of 5.
Founders Brewing Company’s All Day IPA is billed as a “Session Ale” but like many of Founders excellent brews, it’s tilted way over towards the big and bold side, rather than the lighter taste I’d expect from a session beer. This is a west coast style IPA, crisp and bitter and all hops. The nose is fragrant pine, and the middle is grapefruit rind, pine and pepper, and more pine in the finish. It’s a very tasty beer, but the flavor is definitely strong.
I give it a 3.9 out of 5.
Argh! For some reason I have a hard time resisting a nice pirate themed beer, and particularly when I find it in one of my favorite styles. Heavy Seas Loose Cannon Hop3 IPA by the Clipper City Brewing Company of Baltimore is a fun treat. It’s an American IPA, but with only 45 IBUs, it lends toward the traditional, balanced side of the style, rather than the crisp hop-bombs of the West Coast. There’s a bit of grapefruit and pine in the nose, and lots of sweet orange and a tiny hint of bitter orange rind in the middle, and the finish is orange with caramel and a bit of pine. This is a really nice well balanced IPA, and I’m enjoying it quite a lot.
I give it a 4.2 out of 5.
Since my introductory experience with Green Flash Brewing was love at first taste of their amazing West Coast IPA, when I found a couple of new styles from them, I had to pick them up, and tonight I’m having a Double Stout Black Ale. It’s what I would call a porter, dark and thick and pretty big at 8.8% ABV. The head is fairly creamy, but it doesn’t hang around long. The nose is smoky, with sweet notes of toffee, and a hint of coffee. The middle has roasted malt and bittersweet chocolate that fades through a crisp finish. Overall, this is a a really nice stout, but I wish it had a bit more character at the end. Still, this beer is good enough to easily be a regular for me, no question.
I give it a 4.3 out of 5.
The Imperial IPA from Rogue’s XS line is a pretty typical double IPA. Big, (9.5% ABV) with heavy body that sits on the tongue, and all the delicious goodness that we expect from an IPA. It’s got a citrusy nose with a hint of caramel. The middle is piney with plenty more citrus, and the finish is pine resin and buttery. This is a definitely a beer powerful enough to make you sit up and take notice, but quite complex and very well balanced flavors from beginning to end. This is a very well done beer, and should definitely be on the “must try” list for IPA fans.
I give it a 4.5 out of 5.
Another James Squire ale tonight. This one has toasty, caramelly nose. There’s chocolate in the middle, and a slight citrus hint in the finish. The beer is predominately roasty malt, and slightly sweet. Another decent beer, but not as good as their Stow Away IPA.
I give it a 3.5 out of 5.
Several the best beers I’ve had on my current trip to Australia have been from James Squire. Today I’m sampling their Stow Away IPA. This classic IPA has a strong citrus scent, intensely bitter grapefruit rind in the middle, fading to pine and yet more grapefruit in the finish. It’s a medium bodied, moderately carbonated, thoroughly refreshing ale, and for a bitter beer aficionado like myself, a truly delicious delight. If I could find this in the U.S., it would definitely be a standard session beer for me.
I give it a 4.6 out of 5.
Called an English Bitter in the English Small Beer tradition, this 3.3% ABV beer is made from the second running of Anchor’s Old Foghorn mash. The head is big and foamy, and reminiscent of shaving cream. The nose light and grainy. The flavor is shockingly bitter, and a bit of a one-note song. There’s an astringent bitterness all the way through, and there’s really not much else. I have to say it isn’t what I was expecting from a either a small beer or an English Bitter, and in this case, I don’t know that this is a good thing.
I give it a 2.5 out of 5.