Beer Review: Pipeworks Sunburst Peacock IIPA

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Fish, Unicorns and Ninjas are a few of my favorite things when it comes to Pipeworks beers. In this review I have Sunburst Peacock from Pipeworks with honey, guava and citra hops! This series, as most of Pipeworks double ipas, has impressed me quite a bit. Sunburst Peacock comes in at 9.5% ABV.

Appearance: Very hazy, deep golden copper color. Very small head, sticky lacing not a ton of head retention.

Nose: Guava is the big component. Passionfruit, pineapple, orange and mango come in big as well. Tropical fruit, for the most part it smells very fruity and kind of syrupy.

Taste/Mouth: Guava, mango, tropical fruit with not a ton of bitterness. Medium carbonation that finishes dry and sticky. High ABV is really well hidden as usual in these big pipeworks beers.

Price/Availability: $10.99 a bomber which is solid pricing as usual and it is a rotating beer.

Overall: Another well executed double IPA from Pipeworks, not their best but they are always solid. They do a great job with balance and masking the usual high ABV in these big hoppy beers. Sometimes the fruit addition works and sometimes it doesn’t, I think it adds a nice aspect to this beer. I would buy it again for sure.

Grade: B+

Beer Review: Pipeworks Grungeist Imperial IPA

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New ninja alert! Grungeist comes in at 9.5% ABV.

Appearance: Cloudy copper orange color with a 1 finger head. Sticky lacing and a head that dissipates to a thin layer. Typical ninja art.

Nose: Fruity and somewhat musty. White peach, stone fruit, white grapes, apricot, kiwi and some pineapple. Lemon and a malt backbone as well.

Taste/Mouth: Wow very unique flavors. White peach big time all the way through like a peach gummy flavored candy. Grapefruit, mango, apricot and grapes. Very juicy, flavorful and unique. You can pick up some heat but barely, it’s hidden well by the big juice and hop flavors. Keeps you interested.

Price/Availability: $10 a bomber in Chicago and pretty easy to find. Rotating as all the Ninjas are.

Overall: One of the most unique, if not the most unique Ninja to date. Grungeist is a new German hop and certainly has incredible depths of flavor. I am obviously a huge fan of this series (seeing as I have reviewed just about all of them) and I love they are pushing the boundaries of these single hop beers and using some new and different hops. This is an awesome and unique beer showcasing a hop I am sure we will start to see pop up more and more.

Grade: A-

Beer Review: Solemn Oath Pain Cave DIPA

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Got some nice local Chicago (well technically Naperville) action here from Solemn Oath with their Double IPA Pain Cave. Solemn Oath have found their way into my fridge quite a bit lately with their move to cans, their great price points and very good availability in Chicago. Pain Cave comes in at 9% ABV.

Appearance: Clear copper color with a 1 finger sudsy head and some great lacing. Solemn Oath tends to have some nice art and Pain Cave is no exception.

Nose: Pine, resin and caramel are the big ones up front. Fruity notes, juicy grapefruit and some citrus rind are evident as well. Has a definite west coast feel to it, but is kind of weak.

Taste/Mouth: Has the pine and resin notes from the nose carrying over heavily with a good balance of caramel malt and hop bitterness. Feels very balanced all around with a classic west coast double feel in the flavor following the nose. Slightly dry finish, hardly no heat at all despite coming in at 9%. Creamy and medium mouth feel.

Price/Availability: $5 a bomber, 9% ABV? Sign me up for that. Great price point here and really good availability in Chicagoland area.

Overall: I have liked what I have had of Solemn Oath’s hoppy stuff thus far. Nothing mind blowing here, like a lot of the rest, but it is certainly solid and at $5 a bomber you can’t really go wrong just grabbing one of these. It isn’t a beer I would go out of my way to go down to the store when it is released but I certainly will always throw one in my cart when I see it. I’m a fan of what Solemn Oath has been doing and I will continue to check out their stuff in the future.

Grade: B-

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