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!
Every other summer my family takes a trip to northern, lower peninsula Michigan, just outside of Traverse City. This area is known for it’s multiple clear lakes, sand dunes, the Great Lake, and surprisingly quite a few craft beers. I am not really sure what is going on up north, but Michigan is turning out quite a bit of quality beer. During our last trip, I discovered North Peak, and really enjoyed their versions of some staples in my diet. Seeing the company name again on a recent family outing, this beer made the journey back to Milford for an official write up. Enter the Vicious Wheat IPA…
Wait a minute, did I just say a wheat IPA? Yes, yes indeed.
But before that, check out the packaging. I am a sucker for clever marketing/packaging, and this beer makes me think of good times just by looking at it. Almost looks like a Red Stripe right? Right off the bat, that makes me like this beer. But this beer is more than just it’s almost trademark infringing look, once poured into a glass you will see why.
The beer pours with a nice, fast forming head that is stickier than I was expecting, especially due to it’s reddish/amber hue. The head dissipates leaving a little bit of lacing, and some subtle aromas start to hit your nose. Scents of citrus hops slightly, with an earthy wheat smell to it. Not the most fragrant IPA that I have ever had, but this is a beer tasting, not a beer smelling. No negative points there. Once you start to drink it, you realize that this is a keeper. Smooth, smooth wheat flavors, with a tiny sweet malt touch balance the scale with the 72 IBUs, to give this beer a very minimal hop character. The hops are there, just not choking out the other flavors like some IPAs. You almost forget that this is an IPA, but the bit of hops are a subtle reminder. Very interesting, and I have to say I was reaching for a second.
This beer has been one of my favorites, and I will definitely be buying more of it. One of the smoothest, easiest drinking beers that I have ever had, and just in time for my trip up north to sit by a cabin on a lake, watch the sunset, and drink good beer. Welcome the newest beer into my top 5.
Well done North Peak, check out their site here.
In the world of beers, especially craft beers, there are rarities. Some are rare due to being brewed in small batches, which translates into high price tags. Some are rare, just because they cannot be found in your local area. That is where your friends/family come in. That was the case with this beer, enter Marshall Brewing Company:
Marshall Brewing Company is an Oklahoma based brewery, out of the city of Tulsa. Only selling in the Oklahoma City and Tulsa areas, this beer is going to be quite rare in most of the world. Luckily, a friend passed one on to me after the long journey from Oklahoma to Ohio. Here are some thoughts:
First off, the beer has a nice, slightly subdued, IPA aroma coming straight out of the bottle. This is not Stone Brewing here, no hops punch in the face. Just a nice, dare I say “pretty” fragrance that is not too strong, but not too light. That smell transfers over quite well to the taste side of the beer, making it a very balanced brew. Nothing really jumps out at you, but everything blends together quite nicely. This is an easy drinking IPA. Also at 6.5% ABV, it is not going to put you into an early nap time. I can appreciate that.
The label of the beer has a picture of Atlas holding up the world. I would venture to guess, assuming though since I have not had any of their other products, that this beer carries the company as their flagship beer. If not, a beer this balanced and easy to drink should. My interests have been piqued, hopefully I can find some of their other offerings in the near future. Next time I find myself in Oklahoma though, I am going to find some to bring back with me to the Buckeye State.
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!