Paranormal IPA? Stone’s Ghost Hammer

Stone_Gost_Hammer_IPAOn the docket: 12 oz. can of Stone’s Ghost Hammer IPA

Poured into: Wine & Whiskey Country snifter

S:  A Lightly golden, somewhat hazy body stands beneath a white frothy head.  Decent lacing accrues on the sides of the glass, but the head dissipates, like a specter you’re not sure you saw.  Small zippy bubbles make their way to the top.

A:  A grapefruit citrus mixes with a subtle floral aroma.  A pinch of pine.

T:  Mirroring the aroma, citrus leads, followed by the floral component.  Interesting hop choice.  It finishes with a bit of cracker-y malt and firm but not bracing bitterness.
F:  Medium-light.  Gentle, but discernable carbonation.  Excellent bitterness to balance the malt.
O:  On the lighter side, but a smooth, easy-drinking IPA despite the 6.7% abv.  It’s a bit of a departure from what we expect from Stone, but that’s by no means a bad thing.  An intermediate-level IPA that will vanish quickly from your glass.  Ooooooo!

Suggested food pairing:  Arugula salad with sliced mango, tropical style roasted chicken, fruit tart, medium-sharpness cheddar.

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More Powerful Than a Lauter Tun: Jersey Girl Brewing Co.’s Rake Breaker

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On the docket: 16 oz. can of Jersey Girl Brewing’s Rake Breaker

Poured into: Wine & Whiskey Country snifter

S:  Honey-gold, reminiscent of peach juice.  Hazy, murky, unapologetically New-England in color and appearance with a nice thick cap of head.  I can’t see the bubbles, I’m sure they’re there.  Not a huge amount of lacing, but it’s present in delicate, icing-drip fashion.

A:  Aromas of apricot, tangerine, and peach rocket into your nostrils.  You can detect this heady mélange from nearly a foot away.  A slight malty sweetness creeps out from behind the hops, which are clearly the star of the show.  Stick your nose in the glass when you’re done (and before you pour the next can)- divinely grainy aroma sticks around.

T:  Closely following the aroma, the taste is very juice-like with nearly candied apricot and peach.  Nearly no malt presence at the outset.  After it warms a bit in the glass, there is a slight cereal presence- must be the oats.
F:  Medium-full, despite a fluffiness on the tongue, coupled with a smooth, refined (NOT FLAT) carbonation.  There’s enough bitterness present to provide a nice contrast to the prominent, fruity flavors.

O:  Fans of incredibly hoppy, incredibly bitter West Coast style IPAs should reconsider what it means to brew an IPA.  This version of many craft drinkers most cherished style is large and in charge.  Fruity, tropical, easy to drink.

Suggested food pairing:  Hawaiian pizza, Asian salad with mandarin orange wedges, toast points with orange marmalade, fresh fruit with heavy cream, jalapeno-cheddar cheese

Bonus idea:  Combine with a touch of Cointreau or peach schnapps, garnish with appropriate fruit slice, and you have two ridiculous beer cocktails.

Orange You Glad I Said Bolero? Bolero Snort’s Orange Cream Pop IPA

On the docket:  16 oz. can of Bolero Snort’s Orange Cream Pop IPA (brewed with lactose, orange zest & vanilla beans)

Poured into:  Innis & Gunn craft glass

S:  Honey-gold or Ticonderoga pencil, supporting an off-white head.  It sits around for a while, great retention.  Lacing is thick and doily-like.  Mostly translucent but clear.  Tiny bubbles well up from the base of the glass.

A:  Bright orange citrus and a touch of vanilla stands out first, with a slight pine and subtle sweet malt.  Excellent aroma, could sniff this for the dog days of summer.

T:  Much like the aroma, the orange zest comes through immediately, plus a small dose of pine.  Midway through the malt comes in, simple with a water-cracker starkness.  This is also where the gentle sweetness from the lactose helps to balance out the bitterness of the hops.  The vanilla is in there somewhere, helping your mouth think that you’re cooling off with a creamsicle.  With a crisp and bitter finish, this one makes you reach for more.  Without a doubt an IPA.

F:  Medium body, with some fluffiness.  Finely attuned carbonation.

O:  Intriguing take on an IPA that’s well executed.  It does conjure images of that white van and unforgettable loud-speaker jingle, standing in line, and finally handing over a few dollars for Good Humored relief from the blistering summer sun.

Suggested food pairing:  Green salad with mandarin oranges, chicken and vegetable and mozzarella kabob skewers, fruit salad, fruit tart, ambrosia

Tangerine Dream: Stone’s Enjoy by 5.30.16 Tangerine

On the docket:  22 oz. bottle Stone’s Enjoy by 5/30/16 Tangerine.  Date:  3/24/16.

Poured into:  Wine & Whiskey Country Belgian snifter

A:  Bold aroma of tangerine at first sniff.  After a minute or two, you can also detect a small amount of mango or papaya.  Simple but elegant.

S:  Crystal-bright honey gold body, and a bone collar of dense foam on top.  The head builds, the recedes quickly to a closely hugging ring of suds and a wash of microscopic bubbles in the center.  Tiny bubbles drift to the top of the glass.  Big bands of lacing.

T:  After an initial blast of tangerine and citrus hoppiness, the malt emerges as white-bread crust and just a touch of caramel and molasses.  Brief sweetness.  The hops come in again at the end providing fruitiness and bitterness with an added pine.

F:  Fine carbonation, medium-plus body.  Oily and slick on the palate.  Long, drying and bitter finish.  Despite the 9%+ abv, no real sign of the alcohol via flavor or aroma.

O:  Aggressively hopped and flavorful.  Excellent aroma and just enough sweetness from the malt to provide a counterbalance.  However, the hops and bitterness win out.  Neat variation on the popular “drink it while its fresh” series by Stone.

Pairing suggestions:  Heavy, triple-cream cheese, fruit salad, Pasta primavera/alfredo, tangerine or orange sherbet.

India Pale Beers (IPx) — The Coolship Podcast

In Episode 7, Warren and Matt evaluate the India Pale Ales and India Pale Lagers (IPx’s) from the top 5 mass-market brewers in the US. Follow along at home with: Goose Island’s IPA Leinenkugel’s IPL Ballantine’s IPA Yuengling’s IPL Sam Adams’ Rebel IPA Subscribe to The Coolship on iTunes, RSS, Stitcher, TuneIn, or Pocket Casts […]

via India Pale Beers (IPx) — The Coolship Podcast

Listen to me go off on tangents, ask intelligent questions, and opine about beer with some of the best minds in the industry!

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