Lawson’s Finest Liquids: Sip of Sunshine 4/21/2017

So on the front page of my blog, I make a disclaimer that I am not in the business of blogging exclusively about beer “whales”…that said if I ever had the opportunity to review such a beer, I would be sure to do so.  Well today my wife surprised me with just such an opportunity (I love that woman).  She surprised me with a beer called “Sip of Sunshine”- a Double IPA whose reputation is on par with that of Heady Topper from The Alchemist (and its reputation is well deserved).  I know that I have been doing a lot of IPA posts lately (particularly New England-style IPAs), but just indulge me for a moment:

Beer Name: Sip of Sunshine

Brewery: Lawson’s Finest Liquids

Brewery Location: Warren, VT

Beer Style: Double IPA

ABV: 8%

IBU: 65

Appearance

Sip of Sunshine pours a hazy golden-orangey color with a creamy white head.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Aroma

The aroma is very fruit/citrus forward.  I picked up on a little bit of orange, grapefruit, and pineapple.  Very appealing!

Taste & Aftertaste

Let’s get the obvious of this beer out of the way first- this beer is very hop forward with lots of fruit up front.  I picked up on a lot of orange and grapefruit peel character (not like taking a bite out of the fruit, but more like the zest of the fruit).  Upon the first sip, the beer doesn’t start off that bitter, however the bitterness lingers and builds more over time as you continue to drink it.  This beer is medium bodied, though I wouldn’t say it has a “soft” mouthfeel like many New England-style IPAs tend to have.  In terms of the malt character of this beer, it has a multi-grain bread-like character with an almost “wheat thin” flavor in the finish.

Overall Impressions

At the end of the day, it was hard not to want to review and critically analyze this beer.  Heady Topper was one of the beers that helped me take the plunge into the craft beer world, but I was lucky to also have this beer around the same time that I had my first Heady (so it’s special to me).  This is a great Double IPA for you hop heads out there and, in a way, is a very short look back into local beer history.  Sip of Sunshine is one of the beers that has helped shape the evolution of the New England-style IPA, and I think it’s a beer that every hop head should have the privilege to drink at least once in their lives.

Advertisements

Long Live Beerworks: The All Seeing Eye 3/1/2017

Hey folks! I’ve been falling a little bit behind on my personal reviews of beer (in large part due to work and other blog posts), but I’m back with a new review of a beer almost literally in my own backyard: The All Seeing Eye from Longlive Beerworks.  I recognize that I don’t always review the most trendy and hip beers out there (I am trying to do a variety after all), however this beer has been gathering a lot of buzz in the local craft beer scene, so I figured that I had to check it out.  So for your reading and tasting pleasure I give you The All Seeing Eye:

Beer Name: The All Seeing Eye

Brewery: Long Live Beerworks

Brewery Location: Providence, RI

Beer Style: Double IPA

ABV: 8.4%

IBU: N/A

Appearance

The All Seeing Eye pours an opaque pale-golden color with a thin white head that clings to life (and slowly dies) over time.  Let’s face it- if I put this in front of you and just called it “juice”, you would probably believe me (I still refuse to call these beers “juicy” though).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Aroma

Hoppy. The most dominant notes in the aroma are a plethora of tropical fruit with some grassy notes present as well.

Taste & Aftertaste

Right off the bat, I get notes of mango and pineapple, accompanied by light hints of orange and lime in the background.  This beer is a definite fruit/citrus bomb.  I get some bitterness in this beer, but it’s at comparatively low levels for a double IPA (which is typical for the New England-style IPA).  The mouthfeel is on the thicker side (I do detect a perceived sweetness to it), but the beer actually finishes pretty dry.  To top it all off, the beer has virtually no alcohol burn to it at all (which is scary considering listed alcohol percentage).  The perceived sweetness that I pick up is likely the indicator towards the beer’s high alcohol content.  I’m not complaining- I feel warm inside now.

Overall Impressions

This beer is excellent and I take a lot of pride knowing that it is brewed right in my home city.  The fruit and citrus notes derived from the hops makes this beer unbelievably accessible to the average beer drinker.  Just to clarify that statement- I wouldn’t introduce a novice beer drinker to a normal IPA (in large part due to the bitterness), but I would certainly introduce them to a New England-style IPA because the bitterness isn’t so intense that it would scare them off.  If anything- it’s a gateway beer to other IPAs.  Honestly, I would put this beer on par with any of the super trendy New England IPAs on the market right now (see my review on Tree House: Green).  This beer is an excellent representation of what my home state can produce, and I couldn’t be prouder.

Tired Hands Brewing Company: High Road 12/14/2016

What do you get when you have an older brother who brings back awesome beer from the Mid-Atlantic states?  A happy Brew Recruiter, that’s what.  It’s always refreshing to receive beers that are not otherwise available in my local beer market, so I have decided to share my recent acquisitions with all of you.  Today I’ve decided to review Tired Hands: High Road- a wonderfully fruity Double IPA that packs a serious flavor punch.  Yes I’m aware that I’ve gone on a bit of a hop binge as of late, but when you have good New England style IPAs available to you, you can’t help yourself but indulge a bit.  Please indulge with me:

Beer Name: High Road

Brewery: Tired Hands Brewing Company

Brewery Location: Ardmore, PA

Beer Style: Double IPA

ABV: 8%

IBU: N/A

Appearance

High Road pours an opaque…basically murky deep orange color (bordering on light brown) with a creamy white head that laces the glass all the way down as you drink it.

high-road

Aroma

I picked up grapefruit and floral notes from the aroma primarily, with some notes of pineapple in the background as well.  The hop aroma is present but not aggressive.

Taste & Aftertaste

With my first sip, I immediately detected grapefruit and pineapple.  The beer has some bitterness to it, though it’s a soft bitterness that does not linger at all in the aftertaste.  This is also surprisingly sweet (perhaps too sweet)- there are definitely some notes of sweet caramel present in the malt character of this beer.  The floral hop notes that I perceived in the aroma are not as prominent in the actual flavor of the beer- they give way to the tropical fruit and sweet caramel notes that I detailed above.  What’s scary to me is that this beer clocks in at 8% ABV- this beer does not taste like it has that much alcohol in it at all.  I could easily drink a few of these without even batting an eye- this beer can get a person in trouble.  True to the style of the typical New England IPA, this beer is an awesome hybrid of IPA and fruit juice.  It highlights the fruity character of its hops while avoiding being aggressively bitter  Well done!

Overall Impressions

The combination of fruity flavors and mild bitterness (for an IPA) makes this beer a good example of a New England style IPA (and maybe even a bridge for those who typically don’t find IPAs to be very palatable).  However, because this beer is so sweet and because of its alcohol level, I, personally, could only limit myself to one of these in a single sitting before moving on to something else.  The flavor is really amazing, but it’s also just too sweet for me to be perfectly honest.  This is a well brewed beer, and if you can tolerate sweetness and/or are looking to bridge into the IPA scene without excessive bitterness, then this is the beer for you.  The fruity hop flavors will blow you away.  Cheers!

Stone Brewing Co: Enjoy By 10.31.16 Tangerine IPA 10/11/2016

My blogging binge into Providence Craft Beer Week continues today with my first IPA review (c’mon- you had to know IPA was coming).  Most beer is meant to be enjoyed fresh, and so I thought I would drive this point home by tasting a beer whose entire premise was to be enjoyed as fresh as possible.  IPA’s especially need to be enjoyed at their freshest because they begin to lose their hop flavor over time, which is where an IPA derives most of its flavor.  Period.

“Brewed to be enjoyed within 37 days”, the enjoy by series tries to emphasize this point that you need to enjoy beer fresh.  An aged IPA simply does not taste as good as a fresh IPA.  Stone Brewing Co is one of the quintessential brewers of the West Coast Style IPA, and their Enjoy By Series have, more often than not, impressed me.  Enjoy By 10.31.16 is a Tangerine IPA, although I am having trouble finding the connection between Tangerines and Halloween…oh well.  Here is my take:

Beer Name: Enjoy By 10.31.16 Tangerine IPA

Brewery: Stone Brewing Co

Brewery Location: Escondido, CA

Beer Style: Double IPA

ABV: 9.4%

IBU: 90

Appearance

Enjoy By 10.31.16 pours a crystal clear orange-copper color with a creamy white head that follows you down as you sip without dissipating.  A very inviting beer which is scary because spoiler alert: this is a boozy monster (Get it? Halloween? Moving on…)

stone-enjoy-by-10-31-16

Aroma

Intense citrus dominates the nose of the beer: think orange and grapefruit.  The aroma definitely lives up to what is advertised: a tangerine IPA.  I also pick up a hint of dankness (if you’ve ever lived in a college dorm, you’re at least somewhat familiar with this term and aroma).

Taste & Aftertaste

A really pungent and hard hitting orange-grapefruit juice flavor hits you over the head with your first sip, followed by a very strong bitter backbone (appropriate for a Double IPA).  As you swallow the beer and breathe out through your nose, you do get that “dank” quality from the aroma, though I have perceived this quality more in other IPA’s (this is not a bad thing, just a point of differentiation).  There is some crystal malt character to this beer to help balance out the hops, but the hops (as they should be) are the true super star of this beer.  The back of the bottle boasts that the beer uses 10 different hops (BAM).  Furthermore, this beer delivers on its promise as a tangerine IPA- it’s fantastic! (Though I am still struggling to find the connection between Tangerines and Halloween…any ideas?)  Clocking in at 9.4%, there is definitely some alcohol warmth in this beer, which is cool with me (especially as the weather cools, I sometimes need a booze blanket).

Overall Impressions

My past experiences with the Stone Enjoy By Series have been hit and miss: this one definitely hits the mark.  The appearance is extremely inviting, and the hop flavor packs a huge flavorful punch.  IPA lovers would enjoy this beer a lot.  Stone Brewing Co tries to emphasize that beers (and IPA’s in particular) need to be enjoyed fresh, so with a little less than three weeks until Halloween, don’t wait to pick this bad boy up.