Beer Review: 18th Street Lake Street Express APA

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18th Street has finally started distributing to Chicago early this Summer and man did it feel like a long time coming for the Indiana brewery. I recently took a trip down to their Hammond location Brewpub, which on top of serving their great beer also has some pretty damn good eats. Lake Street Express comes in at 3.5% ABV.

Appearance: Hazy, cloudy straw yellow with a nice frothy head and nice lacing with decent head retention. I like the can art, 18th Street in general has great art.

Nose: Lemon, grapefruit, pineapple. A very delicate nose but very pleasant. Floral, citrus and a light malt presence.

Taste/Mouth: Some nice tropical flavors, mango, grapefruit, no real bitterness at all but decent flavors. Super light feel with a good bite of carbonation and a nice biscuit malt backbone. Finishes light and crisp. Definitely a nice light crushable summer session.

Price/Availability: Rotating beer from 18th and around $10/6 pack.

Overall: This feels like an awesome hot weather beer. Easy as hell to drink, not incredibly complex but I don’t think it needs to be. Its enjoyable and highly crushable (3.5%) while maintaining enough depth to keep you interested while drinking. I will say it would be nice if the price point moved down a little bit. I would have this again, definitely a spring/summer patio drinker.

Grade: B-

Beer Review: Lagunitas 12th of Never Ale

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It seems Lagunitas has finally reluctantly jumped on the canning trend in craft beer. Tony Magee, the founder of Lagunitas, went on some pretty epic rants on his twitter about canning and how horrible it is and how Lagunitas would never do it a while back. Well its 2016 now and here is the 12th of Never, Lagunitas’s new APA which is definitely in a can. 12th of Never comes in at 5.5% ABV.

Appearance: Pretty clear golden color with a 1 finger head and decent retention, great lacing. The “12 oz mini keg” or a can for most people also features a bottle cap, perhaps an ode to their firm stance on bottles being the better vessel.

Nose: Lots of grapefruit along with pineapple, mango, passionfruit and some toasted malt notes up front. It is a Lagunitas beer, you get a nice dose of their house yeast for sure and you can tell this is a Lag beer.

Taste/Mouth: Taste follows suit with the aroma but is pretty mild. You get the pineapple and grapefruit for sure with lots of toasted  and cereal malt flavors. Super balanced and very accessible. Slightly bitter, crisp, refreshing and very easy to drink. A great session beer, feels very much like a session IPA instead of an APA, although I know that line is sometimes very blurry.

Price/availability: $17/12 pack of 12oz cans which is very solid as Lagunitas prices always are.

Overall: Lagunitas finally, reluctantly, canned a beer! It was the right move, they needed to compete with Founders putting All Day in 12 packs of cans and other breweries making similar moves. 12th of Never is a solid APA, I mean Lagunitas never fails to put out quality product. Here in the midwest though it has stiff competition with Revolutions Fist City which I hold as the staple for canned APAs here. Nonetheless I am glad to have this as an option to grab when heading to a party.

Grade: B

Beer Review: Peekskill Amazeballs APA

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It was a nice surprise to find this can of Peekskill’s single hopped Galaxy American Pale Ale Amazeballs in a trade recently. I wasn’t expecting it as my friend let me know it was a bit pricey and he didn’t think he would be getting it. It was one of the beers I requested as it has garnered some hype recently. Amazeballs comes in at 4.7% ABV.

Appearance: Very hazy golden yellow with a pillowy 1 finger head. Super sticky lacing as you drink this one. The can is very aesthetically pleasing.

Nose: Some nice mango and pineapple notes, not surprising as this is a single hopped Galaxy APA. Tropical fruits are on display, pretty dank nose for a 4.7% pale ale, you can smell as soon as you crack the can.

Taste/Mouth: Very fruity and juicy. Pineapple, mango and the tropical fruit carry over from the nose. Feels more like an IPA than an APA. Some orange, lemon and cracker malt flavors are present as well. Easy drinking but definitely big Galaxy hop characters.

Price/Availability: $16/4 pack at the brewery which is kind of ridiculous and insane. If you ask me that price point is way too high especially for a newer brewery and beer. As mentioned earlier I got this in a trade.

Overall: A damn good display of Galaxy in a nice single hopped APA from the Hudson Valley. This is an exciting beer and one I would certainly drink again given the opportunity. The price point though is kind of outrageous, $16 for a 4 pack of 4.7% APAs. I would feel way better about this beer if the price was $10-$12 and would have probably bumped the grade up a bit. That being said if you have the opportunity to grab this one without burning a hole in your pocket do it!

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: Marz Splash APA

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Marz Community Brewing is certainly one of Chicago’s hottest and most hyped breweries around right now. Splash is one of their newest beers, an APA which is fruity but not fruited. I love Maria’s packaged goods and have had a great number of Marz beers there and have tried to grab up some Marz beers as they have expanded their packaging. Splash comes in at 6% ABV.

Appearance: Very hazy golden yellow color with almost no head. Great lacing. Amazing label, Marz has great packaging and branding and it makes their beers very appealing to a general consumer.

Nose: Very fruity, like a now and later. Melon, apricot, strawberry, grapefruit, banana and passionfruit. Very interesting nose filled with a ton of different and polarizing fruit aromas.

Taste/Mouth: Very juicy and fruity. Mild bitterness, melon, tropical fruit and pineapple. Finishes slightly dry but mostly finishes with a lingering fruit flavor. Feels a little over carbonated honestly but still an easy drinking APA.

Price/Availability: Newer release from Marz availability is decent in Chicago as they continue to expand. $9 for a pint and then some, always where Marz fails a little since that price point feels really high.

Overall: A good beer that I could drink regularly if not for the price tag. I would certainly grab this beer if I saw it on draft somewhere like Marias and be pretty excited, as the price would probably be better. The price of a bottle and mouthfeel of the beer bring it down in my book. This seems to be a common issue I have with Marz beers. On the brightside though this beer has awesome and unique aromas and some solid flavors, I would have it again but not regularly buy or seek it out.

Grade: B-

Beer Review: Lagunitas The Down Low Ale

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One of Lagunitas newest releases this is The Down Low Ale, a super sessionable American Pale Ale. I first had this at the brewery in Chicago and then ended up picking up a bottle so I could write it up for the site. Lagunitas is really at the top of the game right now, they just continually put out solid releases. The Down Low Ale comes in at 3.9% ABV.

Appearance: Hazy light copper amber color. Darker than I was expecting it to be when I saw the style and ABV. 1 finger head and great lacing, simple and pleasing packaging.

Nose: Pretty dank nose for a 3.9% session beer. Smells more like an IPA. Super pine resin, great tropical fruit, grapefruit, orange and citrus. Some caramel malt sweetness can be picked up as well.

Taste/Mouth: Some earthy, flowery, hop notes and a pretty good bite of carbonation up front. Finishes dry with a good dose of bitterness. Definitely invites you to keep sipping, so I guess it succeeds in being a great session beer. Not a really big flavor profile though, mostly earthy hop flavors, not as big as the nose. Easily crushable.

Price/Availability: This has been added to the year round lineup and at $4 a bomber you really can’t go wrong.

Overall: Lagunitas delivers another quality beer at an amazing price point, like a truly amazing price point I can’t stress that enough. Not my favorite beer they have ever brewed but it is certainly solid and succeeds in being very sessionable. The nose is quite impressive but the flavor, while fine, leaves a little to be desired. I would definitely buy again or grab on draft.

Grade: B

Beer Review: Half Acre Daisy Cutter APA

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Hi! Apologies for the ridiculous lack of posts. Been very busy with the move, searching for a new job and drinking lots of good beer! I have notes on around 12 beers that I need to turn into reviews ASAP! The first review I have for you is of Half Acre’s American Pale Ale, Daisy Cutter. Currently sitting at #31 on the top APA list on Beer Advocate this is certainly one of the Midwest’s, and Chicago in particular, most infamous American Pale Ales (Three Floyd’s obviously being the most). Nonetheless when I first visited Chicago a few years ago this was one of the first beers I sought out because I knew it would be readily available and I have been very much in love ever since. Daisy Cutter comes in at 5.2% ABV and 60 IBUs.

Appearance: Really hazy orange color with 1 finger head. Really great lacing on the glass. Love the haziness and color of this beer. Huge fan of the can art as well and the tall boy cans!

Nose: Huge citrus fruit aromas with some pine and floral hop notes as well. Orange is very prevalent on the nose matching the color of the beer and sticky resin smell as well. Massive nose for an APA and in a blind taste one could very well mistake the nose for that of an IPA.

Taste/Mouth: Citrus comes over just as big from the nose in the taste with grassy and cereal malt notes to balance out the huge hop presence. This beer is the perfect bitterness and it is super drinkable, one of the most sessionable APAs in my mind. Full mouthfeel and finishes slightly dry but still feels refreshing and nice. Same as nose, this could be perceived as an IPA pretty easily but the balance and lower ABV make it a perfect example of a new age APA.

Price/Availability: Great aavailabilityin Chicago, often grab a six pack at Marianos while grocery shopping. It is on draft at a great deal of bars and restaurants in Chicago. If its not on draft at a bar they will most likely have cans. $10 a 4 pack but well worth it for what your getting and usually around 5-6 on draft at bars.

Overall: One of the best APAs available in the US for sure. Obviously has tough competition here in the Midwest with Three Floyds being a short drive away. Nonetheless this is somewhere in my list of top APAs near the top. If you see it don’t hesitate, drink it. Drink a lot of it.

Grade: A