Beer Review: Rushing Duck 4th Anniversary Brux IPA

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More beer from one of my favorite NY breweries and home of the infamous James the Brewery Cat, this is Brux IPA, the 4th Anniversary beer from Rushing Duck. Brux is a celebration of Rushing Duck turning 4 and a platform to show off their beloved brewery cat. Named after the unique strand of yeast Saccharomyces Bruxellensis, RD added pink peppercorn to give it an even more unique twist. Brux comes in at 7.2% ABV.

Appearance: Very hazy deep orange color with a nice 1 finger head, really great lacing. James is popping out of a birthday cake on the anniversary bottle and is also featured on the canned version, what more could you ask for.

Nose: Nice floral, tropical fruit, musty, white grape, some pine resin, lime, lemon, earthy, mango, pineapple and spicy hop notes. It features Azacca, El Dorado, Mosaic, Meridian hops.

Taste/Mouth: Floral, earthy, spicy and some lemon flavors initially. There are some nice tropical and pineapple flavors as well. You get an interesting spicy peppery flavor through the middle from the pink peppercorns. It is nice and easy to drink for 7.2% ABV and feels medium with a nice bite of carbonation. Finishes pretty clean and slightly bitter.

Price/Availability: This was a one time only bottle for the breweries 4th anniversary but they have since brought it back as a canned beer which comes around every once and a while.

Overall: James!!! Cheers to 4 years of Rushing Duck beers, 4 years of some damn good beers I might add. This was an interesting one, but one I enjoyed it quite a bit. Definitely great depth of flavor that kept me interested all the way through. The Saccharomyces Bruxellensis strain of yeast the beer was named after, along with the pink peppercorn addition and a hop bill full of some of my favorites (El Dorado & Mosaic, hello!) this was a great way to celebrate. They have since brought this one back in cans and made it a bit more accessible by lowering the ABV to 6%. Here’s to 4 more years RD!

Grade: B+

Beer Review: Bissell Brothers Substance IPA

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Next is a review of Bissell Brothers flagship IPA, Substance. Bissell Brothers are certainly creating some noise out of Portland Maine with beers like this one, Reciprocal and Swish. Substance comes in at 6.6% ABV.

Appearance: New England hazy juice style. Yellow orange color with a 1 finger head which dissipates slowly into a layer of thick lacing. Very turbid.

Nose: Pine, orange, pineapple, tangerine, tropical and mango. Very dank and juicy nose. The pineapple and mango notes are what stuck out most to me.

Taste/Mouth: Nice juicy peach and orange with some floral notes up front. Lemon, tangerine, pineapple and mango make their way over from the nose as well. Biscuit and cracker malt. Nice chewy, medium body with medium carbonation. Finishes slightly dry and bitter. Its a very New England style IPA mixed with a typical East coast style IPA.

Price/Availability: This is a brewery release which is brewed weekly I believe. I got it in a trade.

Overall: A fantastic NE Style IPA which I would consider on the same level as some of Trillium’s beers. Unlike a lot of other juice bomb style IPAs this one still has a nice East Coast IPA feel to it. This was my first Bissell Brother’s beer and I recently took a trip to Portland Maine and was able to try some of their other stuff as well. Excited to see what this brewery will do in the future. This is a well crafted flagship beer for the brewery and certainly lives up to what I heard about it.

Grade: A

Beer Review: Reformation Atlas Redeemed IPA

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I got this beer as an extra in a trade with a buddy of mine back on the east coast. Reformation is out of Georgia and Atlas is a Rye IPA. If you read this blog you know I am a huge fan of rye beers so I was excited this was an extra. Atlas Redeemed IPA comes in at 6.8% ABV.

Appearance: 1/2 finger white head with a copper color. Very slight haze, sticky nice lacing and some active carbonation.

Nose: Spicy, rye, molasses, brown sugar. Pine, resin, floral and some citrus notes as well. You can pick up some garlic, sweet malt and caramel.

Taste/Mouth: Spicy rye flavors, some big caramel flavors, burnt sugar and vanilla. Herbal, earthy, spicy hop flavors help to balance out the decent bit of bitterness and plays off the rye nicely. Malt forward I’d say with the rye coming big and hops playing off both. Finishes malty and smooth.

Price/Availability: A 6 pack of these is around $11, I got it in a trade.

Overall: An interesting beer for sure. I love rye beers and was surprised to find out this was a rye IPA as it is not mentioned on the can at all. I would have liked for it to feel more like an IPA, the nose is kind of lacking and it is definitely more malt forward than hop forward for an IPA. It is an okay beer, I would have it again if it was available and would be interested to have it on draft. I would not seek it out though. I’d be open to checking out more from Atlas, nice to see some more coming out of the south.

Grade: B-

Beer Review: Kane Head High IPA

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Definitely an old standby for me back when I was still living in Jersey I used to drink this beer on draft pretty regularly (they weren’t canning yet). Happy to finally get this up on the blog, Kane Head High the breweries flagship IPA is up next. Head High and its older brother Overhead were definitely some of the most promising beers coming out of Jersey a few years ago and have proved to be a player in the explosion on the east coast. Head High comes in at 6.6% ABV.

Appearance: Super hazy orange color with a half finger head which dissipates into a nice layer that sits on the top of the beer. Great lacing as you drink this one down, I am a fan of the simplistic can design as well.

Nose: Pine, resin, grapefruit, orange and citrus fruits up front. It smells like hop nuggets when you crack the can open. Pine and floral add a nice layer as well. Classic American IPA aroma.

Taste/Mouth: Grapefruit and orange come through but less pronounced than in the nose. Pine and earthy hop notes with a nice balance of toasty malt flavors. It has some good flavors but feels a little light and empty at times with not a ton of depth. Finishes dry and bitter. It is certainly an easy drinker.

Price/Availability: I believe the cans are brewery release only. I got this in a trade from a friend back home. I used to get this on draft all the time for like $6.

Overall: A good IPA from my home state and as I mentioned earlier a beer I used to drink quite a bit before it got the attention it is getting today (thanks craft can hypebeasts!). My one issue that I always used to have with this beer was its incredible inconsistency. I would have it one night on draft and proclaim that it is the best IPA on the east coast and then one month later have it again and swear I would never drink it again. It is certainly possible they have resolved this issue at this point as this can was pretty good. If your in NJ this is certainly worth grabbing, try Overhead too!

Grade: B

Beer Review: Maine Beer Company Beer III Black Ale

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The third installment in Maine Beer’s Hop Program, Beer III is a Black Ale showcasing Citra, Cascade, Lemon Drop and Falconer’s Flight hops. The Hop Program is a series of new beers from Maine which showcase different application of hops in a variety of beer styles. Beer III is also dedicated to Blossom a non-releasable turtle at the Center for Wildlife in Maine. Beer III comes in at 5.5% ABV.

Appearance: Very dark almost totally black with a nice cream colored 1 finger head and some great lacing. Always simple and appealing bottle art from Maine.

Nose: Coffee, chocolate and citrus fruits particularly orange and lemon dominate the nose. Some earthy hop aromas in their as well. It is a very nice mix of hoppy aromas and roasty coffee and chocolate.

Taste/Mouth: Has a nice hoppy taste and feel to it but with a big coffee and chocolate presence as well. Like the nose you get a nice amount of citrus fruit. Finishes slightly dry with a very full smooth mouthfeel. Drinks kind of like an APA or IPA but certainly has lots of elements of a nice coffee porter as well.

Price/Availability: Rotating beer part of the hop program and about $8 for a bottle here in Chicago.

Overall: I love Maine and everything they stand for and they rarely disappoint with their beers. Super interesting beer here and certainly very glad I got to try it. One of the better American Black Ales/Black IPAs I have gotten to try. I would drink it again and I hope to get to try the rest of the Hop Program beers.

Grade: B+

Beer Review: Sierra Nevada/Firestone Walker’s Torpedo Hoppy Pilsner

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One of the beers in the pack I was most excited about the hoppy pilsner collab between Sierra and their fellow California brewery Firestone Walker. Torpedo Pilsner easily had the potential to be one of the best beers in the pack as Firestone makes an incredible pilsner on their own, Pivo as well as some other incredible hoppy beers. They went with some newer interesting hops from New Zealand to make this a very unique America/German hybrid pilsner. Torpedo Pilsner comes in at 5.2% ABV and 45 IBUs (another one).

Appearance: Hazy straw yellow with a 1/1 finger head. Some good lacing pretty much what I anticipated as far as appearance.

Nose: Fruity and floral hop notes out in front. German lager yeast and pilsner malt definitely noticeable as well. Nice clean fruity, floral and earthy notes coming out of this one for the most part. An enjoyable lager nose.

Taste/Mouth: Clean and refreshing definitely first thing coming to mind as I take a sip. Fruity hop notes and lager yeast flavors as well as some grainy malt. Hops lend a little bite of floral and bitterness on back end. Very good drinkable and refreshing pilsner.

Price/Availability: One and done!

Overall: As expected this was one of the better beers in the pack, in the top 5. Glad they decided on this style wish I could have had the opportunity to try this on draft as I can picture it being even better.

Grade: B+

Beer Review: Sierra Nevada/New Glarus There and Back English Style Bitter

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Next up is the New Glarus and Sierra collab There and Back, an English Style Bitter. If I am being truthful this was by far the beer in the pack that I was the least excited for. In fact I continually put off drinking it, I eventually bit the bullet though since I did want to review all the beers in the pack. There was just nothing to get excited about. I know New Glarus likes to stick to their classic styles but c’mon! A once in a lifetime variety pack of collaborations with Sierra Nevada and you guys brew a English Style Bitter! There and Back comes in at 5.6% ABV and 40 IBUs.

Appearance: Amber 1/2 finger head. Slightly hazy with some decent lacing.

Nose: Grassy, caramel, toffee and some fruit. Honestly smells a lot like an American Adjunct like a PBR or Bud heavy.

Taste/Mouth: Malty and finishes pretty dry. Bready, caramel and some citrus notes with a medium body and medium carbonation. Not very exciting or complex. Drinkable I guess but not something I would be excited to crack open and drink.

Price/Availability: As with the entire pack, one time only!

Overall: Pretty much what I was expecting out of this one. Just not happy with the style choice. Its not innovative or interesting or anything you expect from a collab featuring some of the US’s biggest craft breweries. Would have loved to see them have some more fun with a weird style or even a new age take on this style. Would avoid drinking this one again for sure. One of the weakest beers in the pack in my opinion.

Grade: C