Brooklyn Brewery’s Sorachi Ace is a Belgian Saison (or farmhouse ale) brewed with their own strain of Belgian yeast and the very unusual Sorachi Ace hops, developed in Japan and grown in Washington, and these add a strong lemony aroma and flavor. The head on this beer is massive and persistent. It developed into a thick sticky foam that stayed with the drink until the end. The nose as mentioned before has loads of lemon, and is a bit grassy as well. The middle is surprisingly sweet. The flavor reminds me quite a lot of a shandy. (Half beer, half lemonade.) There’s a good bit more lemon flavor here, but any sour or tart notes are entirely offset by the amount of sugar. The finish is more of the same, with a bit of the Belgian yeast showing through here. This is a very well executed beer, but too sweet for my taste.
I give it a 3.8 out of 5.
Anchor Brewing of San Francisco, CA, best known for Anchor Steam, their California Common Beer, also offers an IPA, much like every other ale brewery in the United States at this juncture in time. This is a west-coast style offering and the nose has grapefruit and orange and is slightly floral. The middle has more grapefruit and a bit of grain and pine. The finish is lemony. It’s a nice offering, flavorful and medium bodied with an alcohol content of 6.5% ABV.
I give it a 4.0 out of 5.
Georgia Brown Ale is a year-round English-style brown ale from Atlanta brewer SweetWater. The nose is toasty with a little bit of chocolate and fig. The middle is creamy smooth with chocolate and bread sweetening it, but it isn’t overly sweet, as there’s some roasted grain notes that balance it nicely. There is a bit of caramel in the finish along with a hint of orange. The body is medium and the alcohol is reasonable at 5.1% ABV. This is a solid English brown ale with nice full flavor that isn’t overstated or overpowering in any way. For a brown ale, I really like it a lot.
I give it a 4.2 out of 5.
CAVU is an aeronautical acronym for the term “clear and unlimited visibility.” In other words, the weather is fine, and smooth sailing is ahead. CAVU is a Blonde Ale from Charlotte’s NoDa Brewing Company and the sailing is smooth indeed as this is one of the finest summer lawnmower beers around. The nose has orange and pineapple, and the middle is lemony with some wheat giving it a mild, dry profile. The middle follows into the finish which becomes earthy and adds a hint of pine and grapefruit right at the end. The alcohol is a relatively light 4.6% and the body is light to medium. This is a deliciously balanced beer that isn’t overpowering in any way, and I’ll be enjoying it all summer long.
I give it a 4.6 out of 5.
Delirium Nocturnum is another Belgian Strong Pale Ale from the Huyghe Family Brewery, also the makers of Delirium Tremens which I’ve reviewed before. This is a fabulous Belgian brew that doesn’t have the huge rich dark fruit of many other strong dark ales. Not that it isn’t huge and rich, it just has a flavor profile that goes in a different direction. The nose is yeasty, with licorice and aniseed, and it is fruity, but the fruits are more along the lines of pear and apple rather than the plums and prunes and raisins that are typical of the style. The middle continues this theme with tart apple and sweet pear followed by a bit of herbal bitterness, and then a hint of chocolate. The finish is dry, big, boozy, and spicy with a bit peppery heat. The body is medium to heavy and the alcohol level is significant at 8.5% ABV. This is a really nice, and somewhat different example of my favorite style.
I give it a 4.6 out of 5.
Firewater IPA is a product of local North Carolina brewer, Catawba Brewing Company. It is what they call an “East Coast IPA” which is their interpretation of a an IPA using six varieties of British hops, and six different malts, including wheat and five barley malts. This all leads to a relatively mild, balanced IPA that has the appropriate hoppy characteristics but that is also still relatively understated. The nose is floral and slightly bready. The middle has a bit of very mild lemon citrus and a dry wheat backbone. There isn’t much new in the finish. A bit more lemon, but it’s pretty simple. The alcohol is fairly average as well, at 6.0% ABV. All in all, this is a nice interpretation of an milder IPA, but nothing particularly stands out.
I give it a 3.5 out of 5.
No-Li Brewhouse has been around for awhile in their home territory of Spokane, Washington, but I’ve only seen them recently hit the shelves here in Charlotte, and though I’d give a couple of their brews a whirl. The first I’m tasting is Born & Raised IPA, a dry-hopped American IPA with a big balanced flavor. The head is meringue-like and sticks around, and the malts play a big role in the nose with raisins and prune notes in addition to a some citrus from the hops. The middle has a blast of orange and toffee and the finish has a bit of pine and more citrus. The body is medium and the alcohol is a generous 7.0% ABV. This is an IPA that isn’t overly bitter, so it may appeal to some folks who aren’t generally IPA fans. It is a big beer though, with a lot of body and flavor, not a typical summer lightweight.
I give it a 4 out of 5.