IPAs are a mainstay in my household. Nothing finishes off a day better than a smooth, highly hopped, bitter IPA. Sometimes though, the West Coast style burns me out, and I start to look elsewhere for my evening beer, branching out to stouts and porters, etc. but I always find myself back to the IPA. Surprisingly though, I have never had an IPA from the origin of the style: Great Britain. Time for that to change, enter Meantime’s IPA:
The style got it’s start in the UK in the mid 18th century. Folks traveling to India wanted a beer that would make the journey, and what a beer they got. English IPAs became very popular, and the style crossed the pond in the early 1900s, and now almost every brewery here in the states has their own version. There is even the difference between East and West coast IPAs. Enough about that, lets get down with Meantime.
This IPA pours like your typical IPA, maybe just a tad lighter in appearance. Scent wise I am picking up a nice mixture of fruits and alcohol, which this beer is around 7.5% ABV so that is no real surprise. Taste wise, this is not your normal stateside IPA. Very mellow in comparison, but also very enjoyable. Fruity, bitter, smooth, a well balanced beer. The carbonation reminds me of drinking Anchor’s Old Foghorn, as it is very crisp and well done. This is an easy drinking IPA that I am glad that I found!
If you are like me, and drink a fair share of IPAs, give this one a try to mix it up a bit. Not your normal IPA, but historically, it is right on par for the style. This one I will buy again!
Well done Meantime!
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!
San Diego, also known as the whale’s vagina. Also home to around 50 or so craft breweries. During my recent two weeks out west, I tried to find some of the beers that I used to really enjoy and cannot find here in Ohio. I also tried to discover some new beers to lust after once my trip was over. That was accomplished thanks to some friends who live in the quiet little mountain town of Alpine, which is just around 30 miles east of the city. Little did I know that Alpine was the home to one of the finest little breweries that is known to man. You might think that is an exaggeration, but you would be wrong. Enter the Alpine Beer Company:
Located off of I-8, on the main strip of Alpine, you will find this little gem of San Diego county. The brewery is split into two sections, which oddly there is a book store in between the two sides. The book store did look interesting, but every time that I was by the brewery they were closed, which was a good thing since I like book stores. Anyway, the first area that my friend and I walked into was the brewery sales area, which had a variety of Alpine Beer company goods, and also sells their beer directly via growlers and 22oz bottles, no sixers here.
After spending some time chatting with their friendly staff, with me basically pestering them to ship beer to Ohio, (Which was responded with, “Yeaah, that’s not going to happen”) my friend and I walked to the other side of the beer company, their brewpub.
This is where the magic happens, when it comes to beer. Everything that I had from them was delightful. Sometimes I overuse that word, but drinking their beer was downright enjoyable. First up was a bourbon barrel aged Russian imperial stout by the name of Odin’s Raven.
Odin’s Raven was an amazing beer. What I remember: The bourbon alcohol flavor hits you at the first sip, but then you are overtaken by malty chocolate tones, but not too sweet, and finishes off like a stout should. It also clocked in at around 11% ABV, which makes it a very heavy hitter. Definitely a must have from a company that is more known for their hop varieties.
Next on my plate was their Chez Monieux, which was a Belgian style Kriek. I have not had too many of this style to give a great run down, but it was a sour, tart cherry carbonated blast that had a dry wine like finish, which makes sense, since it was aged in wine barrels. Good, but not normally my thing. I was glad that I had it though.
I finished off my tasting with their Alpine Ale, and also some of their Nelson IPA, both of which were again, delightful. Add these beers to the two that I have reviewed earlier in the week, and that equals one of my new favorite breweries. Be sure to check out their website here to learn more about this fantastic company, do not miss them if you are in the San Diego region. Big thanks to my friend Jimmy for taking me to the place (And letting me stay at your house!), and my friend Thom for the recommendation!
Well done Alpine!
Since tonight is the last night of my California trip, I thought I would finish it off with another walk with the Alpine beer company. With this selection, I feel that I have had enough of their products to make the call; this is one of my favorite brewers. Every single product that I have had from them has been stellar. But alas, I am getting the cart before the horses. Let’s talk about their Duet IPA.
Once you spend a little time at the Alpine Beer Company, you will get the impression that hops are a big deal there. And you would be correct. Hops play a huge part of their line up, especially when you think of beers with the name, “Pure Hoppiness.” Their Duet is no exception.
Once the beer is opened, hops punch you in the face. The smell of this beer is amazing, which I would imagine even makes hop masters like Stone blush a bit. Very fragrant citrusy hops, almost floral like, with a good touch of pine. Transfer that to your taste buds, and the favors remain. Only the taste is so much smoother. For an IPA clocking in at 7%, this is one of the easiest drinking beers that I have ever had. A beer like this would definitely get me into trouble. One of the best beers that I have had in a while.
This beer finishes up my two weeks in California with a great finish. If you have the chance to make it out to the small mountain town of Alpine, do not miss this brewery. And they have a nice brewpub to boot. Well done Alpine, now ship your products to Ohio!
Sierra Nevada holds a special place in my beer loving heart, as they were my introduction to craft beers. Their pale ale was my first venture into the world of beers with real flavor, not a watery rice imitation beer. That was some time ago, but the feelings stick with you. You always remember your first, with beer it is no exception. Anyway, lots has changed with one of the original craft brewers over the years; A new brewery being built in North Carolina, new beers, and a canning line. Let’s take a look at their extra IPA, the Torpedo:
I love the idea of craft beer in a can. Zero light pollution. No skunky beer here. Plus, it makes it much easier to take a beer with you on outdoor adventures into remote areas. Sure you can take a bottle with you, but with a can it is lighter and takes up less space when bringing the trash home. What, you actually think I leave my empties out in the woods? Shame on you. Anyway, enough about the cans, let’s get to the tasting.
The beer pours perfectly out of said can, a beautiful dark orange/amber IPA with a decent off white head. Once the can is opened, the scent of pine hops clogs your airways. Very strong hops, mixed with a sweet grapefruit smell. I wish I could make this blog scented, so as you read this post you could smell the beer. Once you start drinking it, those flavors are at the front, overpowering anything else that might be in there. Just a tiny bit, if any malt taste is there, but you are hard pressed to find it under all of those hops. For the finish, it ends bitter and dry, or I would even say crisp. This is what an IPA should be.
Some might not care for this amount of hops, but seriously, if you do not like hops why buy an extra IPA? This is one of my favorites for a few reasons:
1. I get a sense of nostalgia when I drink a Sierra Nevada product, refer back to the first paragraph. 2. This has that West Coast style hop flavor, that I really enjoy.
3. You can find this beer almost anywhere.
If you like the above reasons, and just love the flavor of hops, this is a must try if you have not already. Well done Sierra Nevada!
Around six years ago, I had my first taste of Stone Brewing Company. I had just moved to southern California, and my weak beer palate was just beginning to dive into some of the more flavorful beers on the market. Then I was introduced to a beer called Arrogant Bastard Ale, and down the rabbit hole I fell. Stone has been one of my favorites ever since…
Enter their Ruination IPA. Called “Ruination” due to the fact that after drinking this beer, you will have an altered view of beer and how it should taste. A word of warning: If you have never liked the flavor of hops, or do not like beer outside of the norm, this is not for you.
This beer is bold, and amazing. Once you crack open the bottle, the smell of hops tickles your senses. Pour it into your favorite glass and the appearance is very light, almost looking like a “normal” light beer. Once you start to drink it though, those hops knock you back to reality, making you realize that you are drinking a quality brew. Other flavors start to make an appearance as well, like grapefruit and a touch of pine, but mostly what you are going to get are hops. This makes complete sense, due to written on the bottle, “100+ IBUs.” That is big. This beer is also 7.7% ABV, which packs a punch. One big bottle is really all that you need. Luckily, as you can see from the picture, those big bottles fit nicely in your bicycle’s water bottle cages.
Over the next few weeks, I plan on revisiting some of Stone’s other offerings, check back for that, and if you see any bottles with Stone written on it, definitely check it out!