Based out of the woods outside of New Orleans, Abita Brewing is a bit of an enigma to me. I have only had 1 or 2 of their products before, but I had always assumed that they were based on the West coast. Turns out, they use Pacific Northwest hop varieties. That would explain my confusion. Anyway, this nice can of beer showed up during some bicycle wrenching time, thanks Eric! Enter the Jockamo IPA:
This IPA pours a very good looking amber/orange with a respectable head left over. Once the beer is poured, pine scents hit your nose to remind you that you are about to drink an IPA. Once you start to drink this one, you will find that it goes down very smoothly. Those hops from the northwest show up with some nice citrusy flavors, and mix with an almost bread or biscuit like malt, to create a fine beer. Not extraordinary, but good nonetheless. This is a very respectable IPA, and it comes in a can, which that automatically makes me a fan.
This beer usually hangs with the $8.99/six pack crowd, which is a great deal in my book. Sometimes it is nice to not be drinking an imperial double American style IPA from hell, and just head back to the basics with a smooth, classic IPA. That is what this one is. Well done Abita!
Fall is in the air, well at least a little bit, but regardless of mother nature Octoberfest beers have started to hit the market. One of my favorites every year is from Sam Adams, with their Octoberfest. This was one of my first favorite craft style beers, let’s see how it fares now. Enter Octoberfest:
This beer pours into you glass a nice dark copper color, with a larger than normal head. The smells that come off of it are, like described, a “Malt lover’s dream.” Taste wise, this beer follows suit. Lots of malt flavors hit your tongue, but not overly sweet type malt flavors mind you. The beer is very rich, but not so rich that you can’t drink a few over a sitting. This is a great beer to introduce your “not into beer” friends to a decent seasonal beer.
If you are looking for a quality fall seasonal brew, I’m sure that you will be able to find this one, as it seems to be everywhere. And for the price, it is very hard to pass up. I usually pick it up quite a few times in the fall season. Well done!
Since it is fall, it’s time to break out the darker beers. Around this time of year, Oktoberfest style beers rule the roost, but another style lies just behind the popular ones: doppelbocks. This type of beer shows up and stays for a while at my household during the fall months. Let’s see how this goat fares, enter Wolfgang:
Once poured in your glass, this bock looks like it should, nice and dark brown. One interesting characteristic about this goat is that the head sticks around for a bit, with excellent lacing. Smell wise, dark fruits like raisins stick with you. Taste wise, this beer delivers. Smooth sweet caramel flavors blend with bread like malts in an excellent way. Like most Great Divide beers, this beer is amazingly smooth. I would even say almost creamy. This is a very tasty doppelbock that rivals some of my favorites of the style, mainly Ayinger’s Celebrator. The main difference between the two though, is this beer hits you with 8% ABV. Not too shabby in my book, especially when you remember that Celebrator is only around 6.7%.
If you are looking to dive into the style of the bock beer, definitely give this goat a go, it will be worth your while. Once again, Great Divide delivers. Well done!
Fall is in the air, well, at least in my home. So you know what that brings, right? Darker beers! After my recent dances with IPAs, I noticed the changing of the seasons in my local beer aisle. Smuttynose Brewing is one of my recent favorites of the past year for their “Big Beer” series of brews, which are always at a great price point. Factor the price with the quality craft beer, and that equals a winner in my book. That said, let’s walk this goat together. Enter the S’Muttonator Double Bock:
This beer pours out of the gate a very nice looking double bock, in a darker hue with a tan head. The head races out of the bottle like a pissed off goat chasing you out of his domain, then recedes ever so slowly as to let you know who is boss. Can you tell that I have been chased by a billy goat before? True story. Back to the beer: This is a classic for a double bock. Malts are your best friend with this one. Sweet malt flavors hit you in the front, with a hint of dark fruit making itself known. The beer finishes with a touch of alcohol flavor, since it does weigh in at 8.5% ABV. That is big for a double bock. Like the other Smuttynose beers that I have had, this beer is on my list to buy again.
Double bocks are a great way to usher in the colder temperatures. While there are quite a few on the market that are worthy of your time, I would say to give Smuttnose a shot at your bock beer time, you will appreciate every moment with this goat. Well done!
For some reason, Michigan has become one of the bigger craft beer markets. Quite a few breweries are gaining traction in the beer world, while being based out of the state up North. One brewery that I have not really heard too much about is out of Battle Creek, called Arcadia Ales. Since I have been on an IPA kick as of late, a farewell to summer if you will, I decided to take a walk with their version of a double IPA, called the Hopmouth.
This beer looks like an IPA, and smells like an IPA, so it should be an IPA right? Yes, yes and yes. The beer pours a perfect looking IPA, just a little darker red than normal. Some IPAs rush right to the top of the glass when poured, but this one came out of the bottle perfectly. For the record, I pour every beer the same, right down the middle of the glass, no tilting. Tilting is for cans or kegs. That is another rant altogether. Back to the beer. Once in the glass, the beer smells a bit of pine, and a little fruity, but not as powerful as you would expect. Taste wise, this beer is excellent. Hops meet your taste buds at the gate, then fade away to a few different malt flavors, one that jumps out at me is a bit caramel like. The hops do not make an encore, and the beer finishes nice and dry, with a touch of alcohol, which clocks in at 8% ABV for those who care.
This beer was a great pick, unfortunately for the Hopmouth though is that it had to follow Sierra Nevada’s Hoptimum in my beer que. Overall, this is a solid beer, a little maltier than I expected, but a nice change for a double IPA. If you see it, you should try it out. Well done!
Once again, I dig deep into the wonderful vault of Sierra Nevada. One of the early craft brewers, they consistently toss out beer after beer that ranks very high in my beer opinion. Very rarely do I have a drink from them that I do not enjoy. Their stout does come to mind though. Anyway, let’s pick the vine of Hoptimum, in their words, “the biggest whole cone IPA” that they have ever produced.
This beer pours like every IPA wishes they could, in a beautiful amber with an off white head that sticks to your glass. The aromas are what you would expect from a beer with 100 IBUs; hops, glorious hops. The smell is very flower like as well, with a touch of pine. Start to drink this, and you will be bombarded with the amazing hop flavors. This beer almost has a thick feeling, with the hops taking center stage, followed by an almost sweet grapefruit like taste. I am not one for grapefruit, but this I do enjoy. Another touch of pine at the end, and this beer goes down way smoother than you would expect. One thing that I was surprised that did not show up in the taste was the alcohol. This beer clocks in at 10.4% ABV, so I expected to taste that. However, it stays nicely hidden, with no noticeable alcohol burn. That is a nice touch.
This beer goes down smoothly, and I would say almost too smooth. This is the type of beer that gets me into trouble, as I finish one, and go straight for another. Next thing that I know, I am in the basement peeing on the floor, thinking that I am in the bathroom upstairs. Strange things happen with high quality beer. Anyway, this beer is a classic in my book, and I am now putting it in my group of favorites. Well done!
Not too long ago, I heard of a beer that blended a couple of my favorite items; a pale ale, mixed with juniper berries. Yes, I love pale ales, we go way back. Little known fact: I am also a big fan of gin, which the juniper berry gives gin a very distinctive flavor. With their powers combined, thanks to Rogue Ales, enter the Juniper Pale Ale:
The brew pours almost like a straw colored macro brew, with a fast paced head that rushes to the top of your glass. Luckily, it recedes very quickly. Smell wise, not too much is coming off of the top. I am picking up a tiny bit of the juniper berries, but not really much else. Once you start to drink this one, it is a little more perky than the smell. Bitter at the front, with a small touch of hops, and at the dry finish, you get the juniper berries. Not a lot mind you, but they are there. The beer is very smooth and very easy to drink, however, I was wanting more juniper taste to be thrown my way.
Rogue makes some great beers, and I love the concept of this one. Unfortunately, this beer was not as gin-like as I had hoped for. So on that note, I am finishing off the night with a nip of gin.