MAGnificent IPA: Dogfish Head’s Romantic

On the docket:  12 oz. bottle of Dogfish Head’s Romantic Chemistry IPA (brewed with mango, apricot and ginger)

A:  Ripe mango greets the nostrils.  The apricot is reminiscent of peaches in syrup you ate as a child in elementary school, sweet and fragrant.  The ginger however, is a little more hidden, manifesting as a slight spice kick.

S:  Amber-orange and wonderfully clear, the body fills out the glass and sports a bone colored head that builds high.  After it settles down, it still has some density, sustaining as a half-inch cap.  Lacing is viaduct-ish, with arched legs.  A long continuous trail of bubbles rise to the top from the base of the glass.

T:  The fruit shows up all at once, and lingers for quite a while.  Mid palate, the malt shows up briefly, a cracker-clean sweetness.  The finish is both juicy and drying, the fruit persisting all the way through to the end.  This is also where the ginger is easiest to detect, providing a spicy kick in addition to the hops.  Though bitter, it’s in order to bring contrast to what could be an overly-sweet fruit beer.

F:  Medium-light, with just a hint of smooth creaminess.  Carbonation is moderate and provides a nice scrub, urging you to take another sip, and then another.

O:  If you enjoy fruity IPAs, then this will be love-at-first-sip for you.  The ginger adds a nice contrast, balancing out the sweetness provided by the fruit.  An enjoyable fruit IPA, and something to offer someone who only thinks IPAs are nasty, hoppy, and bitter.

Suggested food pairing: Arugula salad with vinaigrette dressing and blood oranges, Roasted duck with orange coulis, fruit tart, creamy cheddar cheese

 

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Magical Mystery Hop Bill: Firestone Walker’s Luponic Distortion Revolution #001

On the docket:  12 oz. bottle of Firestone Walker’s Luponic Distortion Revolution #001, bottled on 2/20/16

Poured into:  Firestone Walker Pint Glass

S:  Pale straw with a slight golden hue dazzles in the early morning sun.  The head, off-white, builds to a dense quarter-inch and sticks around for a long while before relaxing into a tight ring.  Lacing is consistent and bandy.  Lazy bubbles rise to the surface from the base of the glass.  They seem to sense it’s a Saturday, and take their time.

A:  A zesty blend of citrus, pine, mango, lime.  A touch of peach and a light candy sweetness.  Malt took the day off.  There’s a mild spice note that I want to call… cinnamon and brown sugar.  This one you really have to look for, adding a bit of nuance to a very fruit/pine driven aroma.

T:  Pine resin meets your palate first, followed by subtle water-cracker malt and a wheat-y twang.  The finish reminds me of tonic water (quinine) with a bit of lime thrown in for flavor.  This is not a bad thing, as American IPAs should be hoppy, dry, and bitter.  A great lingering taste of pine, too.  I will agree with some opinions that this gets a little sweeter over time, the malt emerging a bit more, adding balance, but not interfering with the star of the show.

F:  Long, drying finish; a touch oily and coating on the tongue.  Bitter, resinous end.

O:  I’ve read reviews calling this “hop water.”  Nonsense.  Though the malt is a little sparse, this brew is meant to showcase the hops, whatever they may be.  The varietals are undisclosed, adding to its mystique and allure.  Fans of a gin and tonic would enjoy this, as would fans of IPAs that are aromatic, flavorful, and on the gentler side of the abv spectrum (this one weighs in at 5.9%) making this one, dare I say it and sound like a Hipster… crushable?

Suggested food pairing:  Arugula salad with mandarin oranges on top, honey mustard chicken wings/tenders/strips, tropical fruit tart, Monterey jack cheeseFW_Luponic_Distortion_Revolution_001

I Can’t Hait(i) This: Founders’ Azacca IPA

Founders_Azecca_IPA

On the docket:  12 oz. bottle of Founders’ Azacca IPA

Poured into a 6 oz wine glass

S: Amber orange, clear body supports a thick, foamy off-white head. Excellent retention. Consistent, thin bands of lacing left on the glass. Tiny bubbles wend their way up to the surface.

A: Intense, tropical nose of mango and citrus. Just a hint of pine, plus apple or pear. Heavenly to inhale this aroma. A simple, clean malt flavor provides a touch of sweetness.

T: Much of the nose carries over into the flavor. The mango and citrus are there. The malt starts early, then dies off, giving way to the fruity hops. The pine finishes out the experience, drying the tongue and providing a great bitterness counterpoint.

F: Medium body, excellent carbonation with tiny bubbles to aid in resetting the palate for the next sip.

O: My first experience with the Azacca varietal, and a very pleasant experience.

S: 4 A: 4.5 T: 4.5 F: 4 O: 4.25

Pair with: Salads with a citrus vinaigrette dressing, glazed chicken

Note:  Azacca is the god of agriculture to the native religion of Haiti.

A Tangerine Dream: Green Flash’s Soul Style IPA

Green_Flash_Tangerine_Soul_Style

On the docket:  12 oz. bottle of Green Flash Brewing Co.’s Tangerine Soul Style IPA

poured into: 6 oz wine glass

S: Sienna colored body with an off-white head. It builds, then slowly recedes. Great lacing. Cloudy body that… wait… is that actual tangerine rind? Why yes, it is.

A: A tangerine dream! Sweetness from a clean, simple malt backbone. Tangerine for miles and miles, it’s like I was standing in the orchard.

T: As anticipated, plenty of tangerine in the flavor. Very present, but very authentic-tasting. No shortcuts used here! Mid-palate provides a bit of doughy malt, while the finish is a touch tangy and citrusy, though not very bitter. Juicy, like freshly squeezed fruit.

F: Medium-light body, prickly carbonation. A long, juicy finish of, you guessed it… tangerine. Wow.

O: Highly enjoyable fruit-forward American IPA. Excellent flavor and aroma.

S: 4 A: 4.5 T: 4.5 F: 4 O: 4.25

Pairs with: mandarin orange salad, Hawaiian pizza, chicken kabobs, Thai or Indian food

Dam good IPA

No, it’s not a typo.

On the docket: 11.2 oz. bottle of Brouwerij ‘t IJ’s IPA besy by:  6/2016.  Nice and fresh.

Poured into:  Man Skirt pint glass

S:  Cloudy gold body with a thick, bubble-ridden head.  Lace heavy and clingy, but the head is slowly receding as I admire it and type out the review.  Tiny bubbles rise from the bottom of the glass.  This unfiltered, unpasteurized beauty makes the buxom, inked woman on the bottle less interesting.

A:  Bright citrus of grapefruit, clean malt, and faint floral mélange.  Simple, subtle, inviting.

T:  The nose carries into the taste.  Bright citrus and a hint of pine come through in the hops department.  There is a touch of floral-ness, but only just.  The initial sweetness, while the beer is cool, is whisked away by the dry, bitter, and long finish of this Cascade and Citra-heavy brew.  As it warms, the sweetness sticks around for a second or two longer.

F:  Medium with nice carbonation, able to scrub your mouth and make you reach for your glass again.  Dry and bracing.

O:  Very pleasant take on the style from a brewery nestled into the most recognized city in North Holland- Amsterdam.  This is the first of a six-bottle gift set I received, all by this brewery.  Stay tuned for my next choice, whatever it may be.  Amstel Lite, this is not!

S:  4  A:  3.75  T:  4  F: 4  O:  4

Suggested food pairing:  Creamy cheddar cheese, summer salads, rare hamburger on brioche bun

Skip the Cardio: Terrapin’s The Walking Dead Blood Orange IPA

On the docket:  22 oz.  Terrapin’s The Walking Dead Blood Orange IPA best-by date:  4/4/16.  A last minute purchase in halfhearted attempt at 10/31.

Poured into:  Man Skirt Brewing Co.’s (No pants, just great beer!) logoed English pub glass

S:  Break-light red body that supports a bone colored, spongy, yeasty head full of pitting and rolling waves.  Tiny, tiny bubbles rise from the base of the glass.  Lacing appears as consistent rings with small webs connecting each layer.

A:  Pleasant bright orange citrus, slight pine, and gentle malt all come together to create an aroma far less scary than the walking dead.  Another sniff yields a bit of mango.

T:  The pine and orange greet the tongue immediately, followed by a soft, toasted bread crust and the spicy, tangy rye twinge ever-present in red IPAs.  It’s got a bitter finish, the citrus and mango making a second appearance, just like when you think you killed that zombie, but didn’t see it die.

F:  Slick, oily.  Medium bodied.  It sticks around on the palate for a bit after you swallow.

O:  Enjoyable to drink, no true flaws, but not stand-out either (Try Sixpoint’s Righteous or Ninkasi’s Devil Went Down to Oregon as a great example).  Beer isn’t exactly a gimmick, just close to it.  22 ounces of this 6.7% abv beer might make you a little slow, but good thing we’re dealing with the “walking dead” and not Usain Bolt’s reanimated corpse.

S:  4  A:  4  T:  3.75  F:  4  O:  3.75

Suggested food pairing:  German jäger schnitzel, pepperjack cheese, salad with pecans and mandarin orange slices