The counterpart to one of my favorite Session IPAs, Lagunitas DayTime, it is Lagunitas NightTime their Black IPA. Now Black IPAs are definitely not normally a style I seek out but I am definitely willing to try just about anything Lagunitas does. They are definitely one of the big breweries who know what they are doing with hops so I was happy to give their black IPA a go. NightTime comes in at 8.2% ABV and 65 IBUs.
Appearance: Pretty dark, close to black but not quite black, high 30s on the SRM chart. Little bit of light sneaks though if held up. Decent 1 finger head dissipated quickly and produced some nice sticky lacing down the glass.
Nose: Pine and resin noticeable up front with coffee, roasted malt, caramel, chocolate all in their as well. A lot of hop aroma in this which was nice since I am usually disappointed by most Black IPAs in this aspect since I feel like they usually smell more like a stout/porter than anything like an IPA. This on the other hand you get the best of both, definitely some nice American IPA aromas as well as some notes that a darker beer like a stout would display.
Taste/Mouth: Good hop bitterness up front with some caramel notes and a little coffee and chocolate in there as well. Nice carbonation helps provide a full feeling mouth and it finishes slightly dry. Again nice to see some IPA qualities shining through in the taste of this as well. Feels more to style than most Black IPAs I have had. Masks the 8.2% really well its hardly noticeable.
Price/Availability: Seasonal for about 2 months in Spring I believe. As usual Lagunitas kills it with the price on the bomber, 8.2% for ~$6? Can’t beat that.
Overall: Definitely one of the best Black IPAs I have ever had, displayed so much more hop character and IPA qualities than many others I have had. As far as this style goes, which I am not the biggest fan of, this is definitely one of the best you can find and at an amazing price.
From the midwest, Michigan to be specific I have Smells Like a Safety Meeting from Dark Horse Brewing Co. Dark Horse is perhaps most known for their Crooked Tree IPA which has some notoriety as one of the best Midwestern IPAs. This beer was actually originally called Smells Like Weed but the government didn’t like that name so when they decided to bottle it they were forced to change the name to Smells Like a Safety Meeting. My girlfriend actually had this on draft recently, before I did this review so when I saw this at my local shop I decided to grab one for a review. Smells Like a Safety Meeting comes in at 8.5% ABV and does not provide IBU. Note: I drank this fresh and am posting the review a while after I drank it.
Appearance: Surprised by the color of this one, very dark for an American IPA (which is what its listed as but its 8.5% so I would call it a double). Pretty hazy deep copper, light amber color. Really looks more like an American Amber Ale than an IPA/Double. Nice thick 1 finger head and decent lacing.
Nose: Smells really great. Really dank resin, huge pineapple, citrus fruit and pine. Also a good amount of malt in the nose some sweetness and caramel. Definitely could be perceived as smelling like weed!
Taste/Mouth: Pretty damn malty I gotta say. Caramel up front with some decent bitterness. Get citrus and pineapple carrying over from the nose. Has a good mouthfeel very full and thick, along the syrupy side but its not unpleasant. Masks the 8.5% really well and is well balanced but toward the malty side of a Double IPA, which isn’t my favorite rendition of the style.
Availability/Price: It was around the NY/NJ area when it was released on draft at quite a few places. Bottles made their way shortly after and was able to grab it pretty fresh less than a month old. Bottle ran me around 2.50$.
Overall: A decent offering from Dark Horse. The nose is definitely where this beer shines, its very pleasant. The appearance bothers me quite a bit and the fact its listed as an American IPA. Looks too dark and is a bit malty in my opinion. It was enjoyable and I would buy/drink it again but I don’t think I would seek it out.
Here is the other beer I picked up during my visit to New England Beer Company in CT. The Eighth part in their Fat-Ten-Er series (I also had #7 while there) an American IPA hopped exclusively with Equinox hops. Fat-Ten-Er #8 comes in at 6.8% ABV and doesn’t give an IBU.
Appearance: Super hazy deep gold color with a nice thick 1 finger head. Had really nice lacing down the side of the glass. Very similar color to the previously reviewed Gandhi-Bot.
Nose: Dank as hell full of resin, pine and lots of tropical fruit notes. Loving the aroma of the all Equinox hops, which is a hop that isn’t utilized all that much yet.
Taste/Mouth: Nice hop bitterness right away with some tropical notes carrying over. Pine and citrus in the mouth as well. Mouth is a bit syrupy though which is my only complaint.
Availability/Price: Limited brewed once as part of the series and available only at the brewery. Price was good for growler fills though.
Overall: A great one off offering from NEBC which has a great nose and very pleasant taste. Great utilization of the Equinox hop, only complaint is it feels a bit syrupy for an IPA. Overall very enjoyable though.
I have had a busy two weeks recently so I have a lot of reviews to catch up on. First I am going to get done the two beers I picked up from New England Beer Company the same weekend I went up to Tree House. I will start it off with their highly sought after Double IPA, Gandhi-Bot. I have been looking to get my hands on this one for a while now (not more than I have been seeking their single hop Citra IPA, Fuzzy Baby Ducks though) and have finally managed to get up to the brewery and grab a growler of it. They have moved to quite a bigger sized building than the last time I was up there about 1-2 years ago and the tasting room was quite full when I got there on a Friday afternoon. Gandhi-Bot comes in at 8.8% IBU and 85 IBUs.
Appearance: Poured from my 750mL growler into the Gandhi-Bot snifter I bought while at the brewery. Pours a super hazy deep gold, light orange color. Poured a 1 finger head (took the picture a little late since I was busy inhaling the aroma of it) and had nice lacing down the entire glass.
Nose: Huge aromas of resin, pine and citrus fruits. Really big nose on this one smells of straight hops, which is a variety of three (simcoe, amarillo and chinook perhaps?). Really enjoyed the nose and spent quite a bit of time continuing to enjoy it before moving on to taste.
Taste/Mouthfeel: Get a good amount of the pine and resin carry over from the nose into the taste as well as some nice tropical fruit notes. Not crazy bitter for a double rather very full of flavor. NIce balance of maltiness as well, sweet caramel malt notes. Hides the 8.8% extremely well, its barely even noticeable that this beer is that high of ABV.
Price/Availability: In addition to growlers at the brewery they also can this beer but as far as I can tell when it is canned and distributed they go rather quickly. Pricewise I was impressed with the nice low prices of growler fills at the brewery (sometimes breweries take advantage of hype).
Overall: An unreal double IPA from easily the best brewery in Connecticut and definitely one of the best on the East Coast. I could drink this very frequently. Another perfect one from my weekend trip to MA.
Following up my review of Tree House’s Julius I have the other beer I was able to grab when I visited the brewery their Milk Stout, That’s What She Said. As far as I know this is the only stout the brewery offers and it may be the only dark beer they offer as well. Don’t quote me on that but I have really only seen lighter beers come out of the brewery other than this one. TWSS comes in at 5.6% and IBUs are not given.
Appearance: Pretty damn dark can’t see through it. Has a nice 1 finger light brown head and as I drink it down this beer has some great lacing.
Nose: Chocolatey and roasty right up front with a little coffee as well. Smells kind of like a roasted marshmallow, smells very clean and can pick up the lactose and yeast a bit.
Taste/Mouth: Creamy full mouthfeel, very smooth and drinkable right off the bat. Good chocolate and coffee flavors in there as well. Great malt driven beer and the lactose adds a nice touch.
Availability/Price: $7 for a 750mL growler and its a brewery only beer as all of Tree House’s are.
Overall: Another amazing beer from Tree House and definitely one of the best Milk Stouts I have ever had. Not normally a go to style for me but this one was so drinkable I would definitely have it again. It has that unique little farm brewery vibe to it.
Recently took a trip to visit some friends in MA and was able to hit two breweries on my way, New England Beer Company and Tree House Brewing. I will have two beer reviews from each of the breweries, I would like to start it off with this. Julius, the American IPA from Tree House Brewing Company currently rocking a perfect 100 on Beer Advocate and sitting at #2 on the Top American IPA list. This is the second time I have had this beer and I was very excited to get my hands on it again. Julius comes in at 6.5% ABV and does not list IBUs.
Appearance: Super hazy deep golden/copper. Poured a nice 1-2 finger head and leaves amazing lacing down the glass. Really a beautiful looking beer so hazy and it just looks so fresh.
Nose: Super dank nose. Get a lot of citrus and mango immediately. Pick up some pine, resin and some orange as well. Smells like fresh hops. One of the most pleasant noses on a beer you will ever experience.
Taste/Mouth: Lot of the nose carries over here, bursting with citrus especially orange and grapefruit. You get the mango as well coming through. Fair amount of bitterness, finishes semi dry and has a great full smooth creamy mouthfeel. Scary how drinkable this beer is.
Availability/Price: Brewery only for growler fills and possibly occasionally making it to a few bars around MA. Price is 8$ for 750mL I believe which isn’t the best but hey they can charge it and I will gladly pay it.
Overall: This is right up there with Hill Farmstead and Lawson’s stuff, right in that same category of amazingly special beers. You won’t find many other beers like this or of this caliber. I will gladly drive to the middle of nowhere MA to buy this again and again, you should too. That being said Julius is the first beer on this site to earn perfection!
Back with another Jack’s Abby beer and one I was quite excited for at that, their Session Rye IPL. This hit on multiple levels since I love Rye beers, I love Sessions IPA(L)s and I have been loving pretty much everything Jack lately. This is a May release from the Mass brewery and I did drink this a week or two ago so it was still pretty decently fresh. It is hopped with Centennial, Chinook, Columbus and Crystal hops. The Session Rye IPL comes in at 3.8% ABV and 40 IBUs.
Appearance: Slightly hazy and is a deep golden copper color. Poured about a 1 finger head and produced some decent lacing.
Nose: Very spicy smell probably split between rye spiciness and spiciness from the hop varieties used. Lot of floral and earthy hoppy notes as well. You can pick up some malt sweetness in the nose too and some caramel in the back.
Taste/Mouth: Huge taste for a 3.8% beer. Nice spicy rye flavors with a decent hop bite. Some earthy hop flavors as well. Has a really dry finish, the finish is a little rough. Nice job getting the rye flavors to come through. Pretty moderate mouthfeel.
Availability/Price: Good on both as usual in NY now for Jack beers. Bottle was right around $4. This is a seasonal release for May I believe.
Overall: This is a pretty unique offering, as many of Jack’s beers are. Coming in at just 3.8% this one packs quite a bit of flavor in their but it is a bit of a mess of flavors at points. The finish of this is a little rough as well especially if this is supposed to be sessioned. I like the idea of this one on paper but the execution may have been just a little off.