The World Needs No Hero: Evil Twin Brewing Co.’s No Hero

On the docket:  16 oz. can of Evil Twin Brewing Co.’s No Hero

S:  Frothy and full of a thick mass of bubbles, this one pours deep, deep walnut.  Espresso-foam colored head lingers, long, before settling down to almost no head.  Just a ring around the outside.  Great lacing, sticky and lattice-like.  Carbonation undetected.

A:  Baker’s chocolate/cocoa powder, graininess, and just the slightest hint of cinnamon greets the nose.  The hops are muted, letting the grain to the heavy lifting.

T:  The chocolate comes through on the palate, too, as does a slight flavor of coffee.  One may detect a dash of “cereal-ness,” the oats providing complexity in the flavor, not simply the feel.  There’s an initial sweetness, but the beer dries about halfway through, finishing dry and roasty.  Mild pine rounds out the finish, providing a balancing bitterness.

F:  Velvety, smooth, fluffy.  Creamy.  Medium-heavy.  It’s exactly what you should expect from an oatmeal stout.

O:  While not made with crazy ingredients, this is what I want out of an oatmeal stout.  And, a well-concealed 7% abv as well.  Great choice on the format- pint cans.  Like Velvet Merlin (and I do) but wants something a little heavier?  Pick up a 4-pack of this guy.  He doesn’t ask for praise or accolades.  You might think he’s no hero, but you’d be wrong.  He’s got greatness inside him.

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This is the Time, This is the Place: Evil Twin’s Modern IPA

On the docket:  12 oz. can of Evil Twin’s Modern IPA

Poured into:  Innis & Gunn stemmed craft glass

S:  Warning, un-filtered, “artisanal” IPA on the loose!  A cloudy, floaty-filled body occupies the glass as a honey-gold.  The head, welling up, sports many small pocks in an off-white crown.  Bubble activity hard to detect through the murk.  Good head retention.

A:  Holy Contrast, Batman!  The two beers (Retro and Modern) couldn’t be more different in the use of hops.  Bright mango/guava/papaya plus grape fruit curl up into your nose.  Give it a long sniff.  Fruity, pleasant.  Just a hint of dank pine.

T:  Much of the aroma is found in the taste, with the tropical fruit playing first-chair.  The grapefruit is rind-like and bitter.  The malt plays understudy, providing a slight grainy sweetness.  The bitterness enters in the middle, and sticks around at the end, but unlike Retro, this beer finishes bitter and juicy at the same time.

F:  Medium full, with fine carbonation.  A bit oily.  Strong hoppy finish of tropical fruit and bitterness.  Not as extreme as Retro, but unmistakably an IPA.

O:  Talk about a study in contrasts.  Vastly different use of hops than Retro:  different flavors, different aromas, different finishes.  Evil Twin also tried to capture a snapshot of a modern IPA in all senses, including the visual aspect.  Great style study in drinking both beers, recognizing the versatility of hops.

Suggested food pairing:  Rold Gold Honey-wheat pretzels, arugula salad with mandarin oranges, Jerk chicken

Anyone catch the Genesis song reference?

Evil Twin’s Excellent Adventure: Evil Twin’s Retro IPA

On the docket:  12 oz. can of Evil Twin’s Retro IPA

Poured into:  Innis & Gunn stemmed craft glass

S:  Possibly the best aspect of this beer:  Crystal clear orange and gold body, tiny bubbles zipping up to form a vanilla-cream colored head.  It sits high and thick, with excellent retention.  Lacing in thing, consistent rings

A:  Immediately greeted by a light corn-sweetness and very subtle, almost non-existent hop aroma of… hops.  I can’t quite place it.  I’m confused, but it smells like half-hearted pine sap.  Also present is a white bread, doughy malt profile.

T:  The taste of the malt mimics the aroma:  doughy and corny.  Perhaps pale or Pilsner malt.  It starts sweet but changes over mid-palate to a full-on bitter bite that follows all the way through to the finish.  Piney, a touch of pine, and wait, a dash of pine.  I can taste the retro.  The hops here are not so much for flavor as they are utilized for straight bitterness.  Let this warm just a tad, and the flavors are more cohesive.

F:  Medium light, with fine carbonation.  Strong bitter finish with bracing, dry lip-smacking sensation.  Clean, cutting.  Resets your palate for the next sip.

O:  A recipe from just two years after I was born, I was not hip to the hops then.  I was still drinking apple juice.  If you’ve ver wanted to jump in a phonebooth or hot tub and try to travel back in time, this beer is for you.  If you’re all about tropical hops that haven’t even been named yet, stick we me, as I’ll follow this review up with Retro’s counterpart, Modern.

Suggested food pairing:  Keebler Pizzeria chips (circa 1980), medium-rare hamburger with LTO and mustard, creamy bleu or cheddar cheese

I’ll Give it a Lil’ A for Effort: Evil Twin’s Lil’ B

Aroma:  Cocoa powder, coffee, leather, tobacco, and a hint of booze.  Lovely malt driven fragrance that seduces the olfactories.  Follow you nose, you’ll get a hint of cinnamon.

Sight:  Inky-black soy sauce colored body envelops the glass, capped by a espresso-foam hued head.  It rises, floats in mid air, then dives back to the depths.  All’s left is a ring around the perimeter of the glass and a large butterfly-like pattern of the smallest of bubbles.

Taste:  Much of the nose follows through to the taste.  Ah, a newcomer, dry roasted malt and a dash of fig and plum.  Though it starts sweet, the tide turns mid-palate, and the leathery, coffee flavors rear their heads.  It finishes bitter and roasty, with more fig.  The alcohol, barely perceived until now, asserts itself on the finish, adding a warming sensation to the throat.  Possesses some qualities of a Russian Imperial Stout, but not as dry and hoppy.

Feel:  Medium-full, tannic, dry, and just a touch oily.  Great finish and keeps the beer’s sweetness at bay.  This is right where an imperial porter should be.  Full, but not overbearing.  Carbonation provides finesse and a little bit of a scrub for the taste buds.

Overall:  A great sipper, let the flavors evolve with this one.  Good for sitting in front of a fire, in a leather armchair, reading a small-type, 800 page epic novel.  Want to change it up?  Try it with a Java cigar.

Suggestion food pairing:  Earthy or nutty cheese, thick stews, chili con carne with smoked peppers, tiramisu, peanut butter brownies, as a cocktail beer.