Beer Review: Evil Twin’s Falco IPA

falco

Following up my review of Evil Twin’s Hop Flood Amber last week with another Evil Twin review this time of their American IPA, Falco. The brewing of this beer is done by Two Road Brewing in Connecticut as a contract for Evil Twin. The text on the bottle is a nice passage about the importance of balance whether talking about a great leader or a great beer. Falco comes in at 7% ABV and no IBU is given.

Appearance: Light straw color definitely unfiltered, very hazy with some floating particles small 1 finger head that dissipated pretty quickly. Love the bottle artwork, as I do many Evil Twin beers.

Nose: Very bright floral, citrus and piney notes right up front. Very pleasant on the nose and reminds me a lot of a Stone IPA.

Taste: Good amount of bitterness right off the bat. Some citrus and earthy flavors off the backend of the bitterness. Clean, little dry bitter finish. It has a light but pleasant mouthfeel. Goes down pretty easily.

Price/Availability: Pretty fair price as usual from Evil Twin I got a single bottle for ~$2. Get a good supply of Evil Twin stuff as I am pretty near Two Roads in CT where they contract out of.

Overall: Another solid hoppy offering from Evil Twin I would definitely drink this in the future when I see it. Evil Twin is definitely moving up in my list of favorite breweries as I get to try more of their beers.

Grade: B+

Beer Review: Green Flash Road Warrior Imperial Rye IPA

roadwarrior

A while ago I posted about the release of Road Warrior, Green Flash’s new Imperial Rye IPA paying homage to their traveling sales team. Well now I have had it and I have a review of it for you. Brewed with Columbus, Mosaic and Amarillo hops and Spicy Rye and Crystal Malt this is right up my alley. I am always wary of buying Green Flash beers as they tend to sit on shelves and it’s hard to find really fresh ones but since this was just released I knew it was decently fresh. Road Warrior comes in at 9% ABV and 80 IBUs.

Appearance: Deep reddish, amber color with a 1 finger head. Definitely filtered despite its darker color it has nice clarity. Nice new Green Flash bottles and label design too. Has a spot for Enjoy By date but nothing there, not cool.

Nose: Spicy, tropical fruitiness and pine dominant up front. You get a really nice spicy aroma from the rye which pairs great with the piney and spicy aroma from the hops. Great hop presence too from the nice three hops in this one columbus, mosaic and amarillo.

Taste/Mouth: Love a good spicy rye IPA. Piney and citrus hop presence dominant as well. Very smooth don’t get really any heat from the 9% ABV. Great balance of malt with the spice from the rye and bitterness of the hops. Very drinkable despite high ABV and IBU.

Availability/Price: Bought a single bottle for ~$3, as usual Green Flash 4 packs are a little pricey but available pretty much everywhere. I always question the freshness of Green Flash beers especially when, like this one, it has no bottling date or enjoy by date.

Overall: A really, really great offering from Green Flash. I am a huge rye beer fan especially Rye IPAs so this one was right up my alley. Would love to have this one on draft soon but if I can find some more fresh bottles I would probably shell out the extra money and buy a four pack of it.

Grade: A

Beer Review: Westbrook IPA

westbrookipa

Another IPA review this one from the South Carolina based Westbrook Brewing Company. I very often grab a few cans from this brewery when I am in NY to beer shop, I have also enjoyed their One Claw Rye Pale Ale quite a bit in the past. I have had this one a few times as well in the past but glad to finally be getting a review of it on the site. I always love their can artwork, they always use such nice colors and the cans all appear to have hand drawn designs on them, this one has elephants. Westbrook IPA comes in at 6.8% and 65 IBUs.

Appearance: A very light but bright orange color with a nice 2 finger head that produces some decent lacing. As I said above, it comes in a can too which is always a nice bonus for me.

Nose: Super dank fresh hop smell. Lots of pine and tropical fruit aromas coming at you. It really has such an intense fruity aroma almost smells like fruit punch gatorade or a fruit roll up. The nose on this beer is really impressive.

Taste/Mouth: Piney earthy hop bitterness dominant up front. It has a really clean refreshing mouthfeel to it though which finishes slightly dry. You can pick up some tropical fruit in the taste as well. Really a highly drinkable IPA that is light and crisp. Could definitely put down many of these.

Price/Availability: Both are pretty good if your on the east coast and in a state where Westbrook distributes. I go to NY to get my Westbrook as we don’t get it in NJ. Price of a single can is ~$2.

Overall: Love this beer. A great offering from Westbrook. I could just smell this beer all day, well and drink it too. Nose is just so dank. I will always grab a few of these when I see them. Can’t wait to try more of their stuff.

Grade: A-

Beer Review: Evil Twin’s Hop Flood Amber Ale

hopflood

Evil Twin is a brewery based in Denmark but has contracted the brewing of it’s beers out to 10 breweries throughout the world to ensure it has a large reach and that their beers can be enjoyed fresh. One of the breweries it is contracted to happens to be Two Roads right in Connecticut so I have pretty great access to a lot of awesome fresh Evil Twin beers here in NY/NJ. This one is Hop Flood, an amber ale as the bottle states. It might be an American Brown Ale though if you refer to Beer Advocate, we will get to the bottom of this in the review. Hop Flood comes in at 7% and has no IBU listed.

Appearance: This is where we have some confusion. It pours a very dark amber, or maybe its a light reddish brown. That I would say is up for debate. I’m gonna go with dark amber since they want to call it an amber. Tried my best to pour this one delicately as I could see quite a bit of stuff at the bottom of the bottle. Ended up with a good amount of floating particles (no biggie). We will say dark amber color, hazy with some suspended particles, definitely unfiltered. Small head about 1 finger with a little lacing.

Nose: Really nice nose, smells just like an IPA really. The nose also reminds me a lot of Troegs Nugget Nectar. Get some citrus fruits up front with piney and flowery notes as well. You get the malt sweetness in the back as well. Really enjoyed the nose on it, you wouldn’t expect it by the looks of this beer.

Taste/Mouth: Earthy and piney bitterness with some malt sweetness. Has a good biscuity malt presence to back up all the hoppy bitterness up front. Finishes really dry and bitter on your tongue. Taste was a little harsh first few sips but as I got further into the beer it ended up growing on me a lot. It definitely tasted somewhere between Troegs Nugget Nectar and Smuttynose’s Durty.

Price/Availability: Its a year round release from Evil Twin and a single bottle costed me $2 and change. Not entirely sure what kind of schedule Evil Twin is on with their beers they kind of just release and brew what they want when they want with their year round offerings.

Overall: I bought this beer expecting a hoppy amber and was very surprised when I poured it out and it appeared I got a chunky brown ale. I checked the bottled on date like 10+ times to make sure it wasn’t old but it was bottled about a month before my consumption. Once you get past the rough around the edges appearance this is a pretty enjoyable release from Evil Twin. It was a little harsh at first but it really ended up having a pleasant taste that grew on me, probably a good year round release substitute for a real Nugget Nectar lover. I would definitely grab this one again if I saw it.

Grade: B

Beer Review: Stone’s IPA

stoneipa

First brewed in August 1997 Stone IPA has been wreaking havoc on Americans palates for over 15 years. Showcasing Magnum, Chinook and Centennial hops this is truly a staple and a favorite of the American hophead. Stone is one of the most consistent and innovative breweries in America and certainly one of my favorite breweries because of their affinity for hop forward beers. Though this is certainly not the hoppiest and most brutal beer on the market, although there is a good chance it was in 1997, lets see how it rates in 2014. Stone IPA comes in at 6.9% ABV and 77 IBUs.

Appearance: Pours a really nice, deep, slightly hazy golden color with a thick, creamy 1-2 finger head that turns to sticky beautiful lacing down the entire glass.

Nose: Lots of pine, some grapefruit and earthy notes as well. Smells like fresh Centennial and Chinook hops. Stone really always showcases the hops they use so well in the nose of their beers.

Taste/Mouth: Real piney and resinous, bit earthy as well. Stone loves their piney IPAs. Finishes slightly dry and definitely bitter. Has a great mouthfeel you can definitely crush these.

Availability/Price: Basically everywhere in the US at this point, Stone has a pretty huge reach. The tricky thing about Stone as well as any other popular brewery making primarily hop forward beers (Lagunitas is another good example) is making sure the beer is fresh and hasn’t been sitting on the shelf for 6 months turning into orange juice. The price isn’t great but it’s not terrible either, six pack of this will probably run you over $12 with tax in NJ.

Overall: I can only imagine the general reaction to this beer in 1997, people’s minds were for sure melted. Stone are truly innovators and helped push hop forward beers to where they are today, IPAs probably being the biggest craft style. This definitely stands the test of time as well, after 15 years this can still stand up to most American IPAs. This is one of, if not the standard West Coast IPA. Bravo Stone.

Grade: A-

Beer Review: Sierra Nevada’s Blindfold Black IPA

blindfold

This is my third review of the beers in the Sierra Nevada Box of Hops mixed 12 pack and it is of their Black IPA, Blindfold. I have had my notes for this beer done for a while now just haven’t gotten around to writing out the review. Blindfold is bittered with Summit and Chinook while it is finished with Summit, Mosaic and of course Cascade. Black IPA’s were a really huge fad in craft beer about a year or two ago and pretty much everyone was doing their own take on the style. I was not a huge fan of the abundance of Black IPAs on the market as I do not think this style is really that impressive. You know Sierra will get involved with any variation of an IPA so they took Blindfold which was originally from their Beer Camp 12 pack and ended up brewing it again for this box of hops. Blindfold comes in at 6.8% ABV and 70 IBUs.

Appearance: Very dark black color and produced a small 1/2 finger head and not very much lacing.

Nose: Coffee grinds, chocolate, dark chocolate, some earthy and piney hop notes and espresso. Also a little bit of smokiness in the back. Basically smells like a stout with a little bit of hoppiness in the middle.

Taste: You get chocolate and coffee carrying over from the nose right out front. Nice bite from the hop bitterness and carbonation. It has a pretty thin mouth before the bitterness hits and it finishes dry and bitter.

Availability/Price: As mentioned in the previous Box of Hops I paid about $18 for the variety 12 pack and I have seen it at a bunch of places. Don’t know if they will be producing this at all going forward or what the plan is.

Overall: This was a decent beer. Find it hard to call it an IPA, sure it had hop bitterness but it really has more characteristics of a stout than and IPA. I wouldn’t seek it out in the future but I also wouldn’t refuse one if it was offered. No brewery can nail down the Black IPA quite like Stone does with the Sublimely Self Righteous, regardless this was one of the better ones I have had.

Grade: B-

Beer Review: Bell’s Oberon Ale

oberon

Bell’s Oberon Ale is the Michigan breweries summer seasonal offering. It is a fruity, spicy wheat ale and is definitely meant to help you cool off on those hot summer days (hence the bottle artwork). I had it from a 12oz bottle but it is now being offered in 16oz cans by Bells as well as their classic IPA Two Hearted, which is really awesome.

Appearance: Slightly hazy but a really bright golden color. Decent 1 finger head, lacing wasn’t crazy. Typical wheat ale look.

Nose: Pick up some good spicy hoppiness up front with orange/lemon peel citrus aromas. Pick up the wheat and malt in the back too.

Taste: Really light and crisp, high carbonation on this one helps give it that nice crisp bite on your tongue. Has a good mouthfeel all around really. Tastewise you get that citrus from the nose carried over into the taste especially getting some orange flavors. The wheat also shines in the taste being able to get some banana flavors.

Availability/Price: This is a seasonal release so obviously available throughout Spring/Summer. That being said in that time-frame it is definitely very readily available in states that see Bell”s distribution. Price was pretty on point for what I think I would and most other people would want to be paying for a summer wheat beer, 8-9$ for a 6-pack.

Overall: It is what you expect from the style. That being said it is definitely one of the better executed examples of the style. Most summer seasonals are a big time pass for me but I would drink this if it was offered to me or on draft somewhere and I was sitting outside in the summer. I enjoy Bell’s Spring seasonal offering as well the Smitten Rye Ale. I would definitely say Oberon is worth a go and would definitely be enjoyed by casual drinkers and beer snobs a like.

Grade: B