Beer Review: Jack’s Abby & New England Brewing Co. Beer Geek Helles Lager

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Once I heard about this collab and the style they decided on brewing together I obviously immediately requested it in my next trade. I don’t understand how a collaboration between these two did not garner additional hype. Not nearly enough people were talking about this beer. Beer Geek Helles showcases Nelson Sauvin and Hallertau Blanc hops in an American twist on a classic German style Munich Helles Lager. Beer Geek Helles comes in at 4.9% ABV.

Appearance: Slightly hazy golden yellow color with a 1 finger head with decent retention and super sticky lacing.

Nose: Lemon, grassy, white wine, some wheat, floral and bready. It has that nice bready, grassy smell of a classic Helles but with some lemon, white wine and grape notes from the Hallertau and Nelson.

Taste/Mouth: Bready malt, white grapes, grape juice and pineapple. It is semi sweet with not much bitterness and feels super smooth all the way through. Really refreshing beer and certainly an incredible session beer. It has that great drinkable Helles feel and the addition of the Nelson and Hallertau give it more depth and accentuate the already nice flavors.

Price/Availability: At this time it was a one off but I could see them bringing it back. A 4 pack of 16oz cans is around $10-$12.

Overall: I was so happy to get my hands on this one in a trade but I will say, one was not enough. I could session these all day and after getting through the one I had I definitely wish I was heading to the fridge to grab another one. I obviously drink a ton of hop forward beers but one of my favorite styles otherwise is Helles Lagers. Beer Geek Helles is an awesome American take on a classic style showcasing some nice new hops in Hallertau Blanc and Nelson Sauvin. I feel bad for anyone who missed this!

Grade: A-

Beer Review: SingleCut Mo’Shuggie Soulbender IPA

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A few weeks back I posted my review of the first SingleCut beer I was able to get my hands on, Softly Spoken Magic Spells, which received a perfect mark. I requested some more SingleCut in one of my latest trades with one of my east coast friends. Mo’Shuggie Soulbender IPA comes in at 7.4% ABV.

Appearance: Awesome hazy glowing orange color. Off-white 1/2 finger head and super sticky rings of lacing as you drink it down. A really great looking beer.

Nose: Super dank nose. Resin, pine, weed, spicy, fresh cut grass, great tropical and citrus fruit aromas. Orange, grapefruit and mango are easily distinguished. Super awesome juicy and delicious smelling beer.

Taste/Mouth: Unbelievably tasty beer. Great grapefruit flavors come through from the nose with some honey sweetness. Resin, sap and piney hop flavors. Orange, mango and peach fruit flavors are very present as well. Super juicy mouth feel. Some earthy and grass notes as well.

Price/Availability: I believe currently they distribute on the east coast in the NYC area. I am not certain on price as I got this in a trade.

Overall: My second go at a SingleCut beer and goddamn they kill it again. Mo’Shuggie is an incredibly complex beer that you can continue to peel back the layers of as you dig through the aroma and flavor, which is difficult because it’s so good it is hard not to just crush it. SingleCut really seems to unleash hop aromas and flavors in all their glory in these beers. Like Softly Spoken Magic Spells this beer is one you should absolutely be seeking out and like SSMS, it hits a perfect score.

Grade: A+

Beer Review: Solemn Oath Snaggletooth Bandana IPA

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Solemn Oath has recently brought their beers to cans. I have always been a fan of Solemn Oath and have had a few of their beers either on draft or grabbed one of their very reasonably priced bombers. Snaggletooth Bandana is their American style IPA and comes in at 6.5% ABV.

Appearance: Bright hazy golden orange color with a small 1/2 finger head. The head has decent retention and creates some great lacing down the glass. Big fan of the can artwork.

Nose: Lots of pine and grapefruit up front. Tropical notes, pineapple, mango, pine needles and some floral notes. The pineapple becomes more and more prevalent as you move through the beer.

Taste/Mouth: Extremely balanced and drinkable beer. Pine resin and citrus hop notes with a nice bready malt backbone. Some of the tropical fruit notes from the nose carry over as well, although somewhat muted. Finishes dry and bitter with some nice lingering hop flavors.

Price/Availability: 6 pack of 12 oz cans for $9 in Chicago where the availability is really good.

Overall: I am glad Solemn Oath decided to can and start doing 6 packs. It makes their beers a lot more accessible and more likely to end up in peoples fridges. This is a super balanced, drinkable and well crafted American IPA, a beer that I think casual and hardcore beer snobs can both appreciate. I will definitely keep it in mind in the future as a great everyday go to kind of beer to have in the fridge and continue to support another awesome Illinois brewery.

Grade: B

Beer Review: Pipeworks Lizard King Pale Ale

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I buy this beer a lot but I usually drink all 4 of them before I get around to jotting down some notes so I can actually review this beer. Pipeworks Lizard King is certainly one of my go to beers, especially fresh. Glad I am finally getting around to getting it up on the site. Lizard King is Pipeworks Mosaic Hopped American Pale Ale and one of their flagship canned options. Lizard King comes in at 6.5% ABV.

Appearance: Slightly hazy golden yellow with a soapy 1/2 finger head, nice lacing. A really nice looking beer. As usual Pipeworks has great artwork.

Nose: Huge mosaic nose. Grapefruit, lemon, floral, orange rinds, tangerine, melon, honey dew and kiwi. Really nice deep tropical fruit notes, really dank APA.

Taste/Mouth: Follows nose closely with lemon, citrus, melon, grapefruit and floral hop notes. Grassy with some biscuit malt and piney on the back end. Hits on a lot of different flavors. Really easy to drink and crushable but still nicely complex and keeps you very interested.

Price/Availability: Regular release from Pipeworks. 4 pack of 16oz cans for $10. Pretty always readily available and easy to find fresh in the Chicagoland area.

Overall: Pipeworks really nailed this one, this beer is so close to being perfect. As I mentioned before this is one of my go to beers and one of my favorites to session. I love getting to the store and seeing a 4 pack of Lizard King under a week old, instant buy no questions asked. Definitely one of the best APA’s you can get here in the Midwest. Mosaic is perfectly displayed in this beer, would love to start seeing this on draft more.

Grade: A

Beer Review: Revolution Citra Hero IPA

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Finally getting around to reviewing Citra Hero on here. I have already done Mosaic, Galaxy, Local and Anti-Hero in the past so just rounding out my list of heroes here (just missing Crystal). This was not my first time having this beer but the last few times I had it I didn’t get around to making notes. Citra Hero is the summer seasonal hero and comes in at 7.5% ABV.

Appearance: Slightly hazy light copper color with a nice 1 finger head and great lacing. Love the new cans for the hero series, the art was always great but it really pops in the cans.

Nose: Big citra nose. Pine, resin, grapefruit, mandarin oranges, orange zest, pretty damn juicy. It has some sweet malty notes in the nose as well, smells nicely balanced but still pretty dank.

Taste/Mouth: Nice citrus, grapefruit and floral notes dominate up front. Good dose of bitterness and finishes slightly dry and bitter. It is a little hot but it isn’t unpleasant and sweeter on the backend. It has a really nice balance of flavors and showcases citra nicely.

Price/Availability: Rotating hero series, this is the summer hero. Now in 6 pack of cans for around $11.

Overall: Citra Hero is another super solid beer in a great series of beers showcasing hop varieties. This is a nice showcase of citra and is a really easy to drink beer. Switching this from bombers into 6 pack cans was a great move by the brewery and I think got the beer in a lot more peoples hands. I will continue to revisit this beer every year when it is released and am always pleased to see it on draft when eating out.

Grade: B+

Beer Review: Half Acre & Other Half Rainbow Never Ends Double IPA

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Hype, hype and more hype. Other Half seems to magically collab with every great brewery in the US. For this beer they took their talents to Chi-Town and brewed Rainbow Never Ends with the guys from Half Acre. What did they come up with? A dank, juicy double IPA of course. Rainbow Never Ends comes in at 8.5% ABV.

Appearance: Hazy straw yellow gold with super sticky lacing and a half a finger head. Really awesome label design on these Half Acre exclusive bombers.

Nose: Nice big juicy citrus and tropical notes. Fresh hop nuggets, some piney and earthy notes. Idaho 7, Equinox and Citra were the hops used and they seemed to be used to perfection here. Pineapple and passionfruit are also rather prevalent. Spent a long time just enjoying the great aromas from this beer.

Taste/Mouth: Nice tropical fruit up front. Melon, citrus fruit, mandarin orange and mango. Get some kolsch yeast flavors as well and it finishes slightly dry and sticky. Good dose of bitterness throughout the feel and a little heat from the ABV. Nice flavors, good balance and a thoroughly enjoyable drinkable beer.

Price/Availability: $10/bomber brewed once and only available at Half Acre brewery.

Overall: The hype is real with this one. Other Half and Half Acre deliver a great DIPA with Rainbow Never Ends. I haven’t had a ton of Other Half stuff but to me this just feels like a really well executed Half Acre Double IPA which I am more than okay with (see my reviews of Beer Hates Astronauts and Navaja). Glad I was able to make it to the brewery and pick up some bottles when it was released, would grab it again if they decide to bring it back.

Grade: A