Beer Review: Firestone Walker Luponic Distortion No. 002

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Luponic Distortion is Firestone Walkers new revolving hop series beers. The recipe will change every 90 days as the brewers tweak the beer slightly as hops and malt change. Luponic Distortion No. 002 comes in at 5.9% ABV.

Appearance: Crystal clear golden yellow color with a 1 finger head and some great lacing. Classic looking Firestone IPA here.

Nose: Pine, resin, tropical fruit, mango and mandarin oranges. This beer was danker and juicier than I expected. Some pineapple and melon notes as well. Smell it as soon as you crack it.

Taste/Mouth: Great tropical fruit flavors, mango, pineapple, some piney bitterness as well. Real clean, light feel and easy to drink. Finishes with a lingering tropical fruitiness. Some sweetness on the back end as well. This beer is really just super crushable and clean.

Price/Availability: Damn does this beer shine in this category. Super easy to get as Firestone’s footprint is massive and at $10 a 6 pack of cans, hard to beat that.

Overall: A great, accessible offering from Firestone. Just a good go to beer and a great series. Firestone is one of those breweries sometimes people sleep on because of how big they are but don’t because they are still making incredible beers and pushing boundaries just like those hype breweries that you are waiting an hour in line to get 4 cans of. Can’t wait to get a hold of 3 and 4. Always keep Luponic Distortion as a back pocket option when you need a great crushable fresh and delicious IPA.

Grade: A-

Beer Review: Revolution Local-Hero IPA

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Next is another beer from Chicago’s Revolution brewing, this is their fresh hop IPA brewed with all local hops. This IPA is brewed with Centennial, Cascade, Chinook, and Nugget hops, all from Hop Heads Farms in Hickory Corners, MI. I was definitely excited to see this one as I love the hop lineup, fresh hop IPAs and they even took the fresh hop a step further by getting local hops. Local Hero comes in at 6.5% ABV and 65 IBUs.

Appearance: Pretty clear golden yellow with the slightest haze and a 1/2 finger head that leaves some good sticky lacing down the glass. Great artwork as usual from Revolution.

Nose: Fruit, pine and mango hit your nose first. Deeper into the nose is a lot of sticky fruit juice aroma, like a fresh fruit punch with lots of citrus fruits as well. Not a huge in your face hop aroma but really nice.

Taste/Mouth: Follows suit with some big juicy fruit flavors and some pine carrying over as well. Nice bite of bitterness and finishes sticky with some lingering bitterness. Good carbonation and mouth-feel as well. A very fresh tasting and feeling IPA that is easy to drink. Could definitely session this.

Price/Availability: $8 a bomber and seasonal with availability of local fresh hops.

Overall: I would assume this is a similar base recipe to that of Anti-Hero judging by the name and the similarity between the two. Nice concept for a fresh hop beer using local hops. Very drinkable and I will definitely purchase it again next year.

Grade: B+

Beer Review: Deschutes Chasin’ Freshies Fresh Hop IPA

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As usual I am playing serious catch-up with my notes and turning them into reviews on the site. I promise I am gonna get a bunch of reviews up this week though. I have notes going all the way back to late November/early December, I have just been so busy with work but I need to get better at posting more frequently. First up is Deschutes Fresh Hop IPA, Chasin’ Freshies, which I can promise you I had fresh! The 2014 release of this beer showcases Mosaic hops. Chasin’ Freshies comes in at 7.4% ABV and 65 IBUs.

Appearance: Light golden yellow with a slight haze and a 1 finger head. Some nice lacing down the glass as well.Love the bright hazy look of this one, definitely what I envision a fresh hop IPA to look like. Always like the bottle art from Deschutes as well.

Nose: Pine, resin, peach, passion fruit, citrus, pineapple and fruit juice. Really great showcase of my favorite hop as of late, Mosaic. The only other hop used is Bravo, which is a newer experimental variety hop. Very low malt profile in the nose.

Taste/Mouth: Good pine and resin from the nose carry over to the taste. Some earthy notes as well with medium carbonation and again very minimal malt profile. Hops come through more in the nose, very juicy mouth-feel and finishes a little dry. Definitely invites you to continuing drinking.

Price/Availability: Around $7 for a bomber and its a seasonal release. Great pricing from Deschutes as usual.

Overall: Had this one on draft at a local bar as well. A good fresh hop offering from the Bend brewery. Not the best fresh hop I have had but it is certainly well done and drinkable as well as at a great price point. I think this one is really carried by the Mosaic, that being said I would definitely purchase it again in the future.

Grade: B

Beer Review: Great Divides Fresh Hop Pale Ale

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Tis the season of every brewery making a Fresh Hop beer, hey I am not complaining keep them coming. Great Divide chooses to make their yearly Fresh Hop release in the form of a Pale Ale. I will make a note as I do with most of my reviews involving hoppy beers, especially fresh hopped beers, that I did drink this beer fresh and I am just slow putting the review up. Fresh Hop comes in at 6.1% ABV and 55 IBUs.

Appearance: Light amber/copper color with a 1 finger head which produced some nice lacing. Love the label art of this beer, really clean design.

Nose: Malty  grassy, citrus, earthy, resin, pine and lots of those signature cascade type aromas. Like a really fresh SN PA. It has a good aroma but its not as in your face as some of the other Fresh Hop beers.

Taste/Mouth: Very clean earthy and grassy hop notes with a nice malt balance. It has a good amount of hoppy bite to it for being a Pale Ale and definitely tastes really fresh. Definitely plenty of cascade in this one. As most breweries choose to do Fresh Hop IPAs this is a nice different take on the seasonal style. Has a full creamy mouthfeel and finishes bitter.

Price/Availability: $6 for a bomber and its an annual seasonal release from the brewery.

Overall: Not the most exciting take on a fresh hop beer but its very well executed and extremely drinkable. I enjoyed this and definitely see myself grabbing one for years to come.

Grade: B

Beer Review: Stone Enjoy By Double IPA

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Gonna get this out of the way right now and say that I know this is Enjoy By 10/31/14 and I am posting this review on 12/4/14, do not fear fellow beer lovers I did in fact enjoy this fine Stone Double IPA by its designated date. I am just rather behind on converting my notes into actual reviews on the blog so I had this beer well before 10/31 and jotted down my notes and it has just taken me this long to get it onto the site. That being said this also wasn’t my first time enjoying Enjoy By and it most certainly won’t be my last. I was very excited to finally review this devastatingly fresh Double IPA from the original masters of hoppy brews. Enjoy By comes in at 9.4% ABV and does not list IBU, mainly because I think it might vary each batch.

Appearance: Super hazy glowing orange. 1 finger head and some real nice lacing down the glass. Stone sure does know how to make a real pretty beer and this one is certainly no exception to that.

Nose: Citrus, peach, lemon, orange, lots of pineapple, mango, grapefruit, pine and resin. Most of the usual suspects here for a nice fresh hoppy beer, should be noted I got loads of pineapple over anything else and this is beers nose really packs a punch.

Taste/Mouth: Sticky full mouth feel finishes dry with pine and resin lingering. Lots of pineapple again with some grapefruit, citrus and pine carrying over nicely into the taste. Really good flavors with lots of depth. Its like the best memory you have from the freshest you have had any of Stones other IPAs and multiplied by two. Really just a great showcase of how well Stone knows hop additions and how to utilize hops to yield the best results.

Price/Availability: Rotating, it seems like this one is here to stay as I see a new Enjoy By out every month or so. Sometimes the wait is two months or even two in one month it seems to really all depend I guess on availability of hops and brewing schedule. Price is amazing $7.99 for 9.4% ABV and what I consider to be a limited release and still to this day pretty sought out in some areas.

Overall: A really great product from Stone and a gamechanger in my mind. Awesome concept and obviously very well executed. Fall is one of my favorite time of the year because Breweries release their fresh and wet hop APAs and IPAs, basically Stone took that and made it a year round limited edition beer. The price is great and whether I lived in NJ or Chicago now the availability is great as well and I will always grab one of these from the store without hesitation knowing I am getting a superb Double IPA, one of the best widely available on the market I can say without any doubt. Stone knows their way around hops and if they hadn’t convinced you before then do yourself a favor have one of these immediately.

Grade: A+

Beer Review: Deschutes Fresh Squeezed IPA

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I have thoroughly enjoyed Deschutes beers being readily available here in Chicago as I have visited friends and family in Portland a few times and enjoyed drinking their beer while there. Unfortunately I didn’t have much access to it while I was living in NJ. Expect more reviews from them in the future but for now I have for you a review of their very talked about about IPA, Fresh Squeezed. Holding down a 95 from BA and a 96 from the bros this is certainly a sought after IPA especially among east coast hopheads who cannot regularly get their hands on it. Fresh Squeezed comes in at 6.4% ABV and 60 IBUs.

Appearance: Hazy deep copper color almost toward an amber color. 1 finger head with some nice lacing. As far as IPAs go this color doesn’t thrill me, I definitely like my IPAs to be a lighter color than this. This looks more like a Double IPA or an amber.

Nose: This beer is hopped with Citra and Mosaic two of my favorite hops. Citrus, blood orange, passionfruit, grapefruit and even some peach. Definitely a good amount of sweet maltiness in the nose too.

Taste/Mouth: Taste follows the nose with plenty of citrus, grapefruit and oranges. Really juicy beer with a decent bite from the hops. Lots of malt balances this one out. One of the maltier IPAs I have had in quite a long time. It is definitely a beer you can have your friends who “Don’t drink IPAs” try and probably get them on the bandwagon. It is really drinkable, Mosaic definitely takes the driver seat and Citra is sitting shotgun.

Price/Availability: Year round offering from Deschutes and availability is pretty good in the Midwest and west coast. Price here in Chicago is right around $11 for a sixer.

Overall: In this hopheads opinion, this is a bit too malty of an IPA. Doesn’t mean it is bad, quite the opposite really I think it is extremely well done and is probably some IPA lovers absolute favorite. I personally like malt to be toned down and the hops and bitterness to be on the forefront of my IPAs. Balance is important but this might even be too balanced in my opinion. Nonetheless this is a very drinkable beer and certainly one people should try and determine for themselves whether it is up their alley.

Grade: B

Beer Review: Sierra Nevada’s Southern Hemisphere Harvest Fresh Hop IPA

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Sierra continues to put out more seasonal stuff that I feel like I have to drink and review, with their constant release of great seasonal beers it is really restricting my ability to review other breweries! Either way I am back with the review of another Sierra beer, this one is a real mouthful. This is the second in their series of five releases showcasing different hopped IPAs (fresh, wet, wild and single hop) it is their Southern Hemisphere Harvest Fresh Hop IPA. It features Southern Cross, Pacifica, and Motueka hops picked in New Zealand dried and shipped to the brewery within 7 days. Southern Hemisphere Harvest comes in at 6.7% ABV and 67 IBUs.

Appearance: Poured from a bomber into a snifter. Nice deep copper color, slightly hazy with a creamy white 1-2 finger head that left sticky lacing down the glass.

Nose: Floral, earthy and citrus fruit up front. Get some malt sweetness in the nose as well as a bit of the typical Sierra house yeast smell. Earthy hop definitely domination this but the unique fresh hop smell is definitely apparent.

Taste/Mouth: Spicy and earthy hop bitterness definitely dominate upfront. Biscuit malt presence big in the mouth as well. Finishes dry and with some pine bitterness. The hop taste is pretty mild and balanced well with the malt as Sierra IPAs often are. You also get the Sierra yeast taste as you get with most beers and the malt bill appears to be similar to many other Sierra IPAs. That being said it was a pretty enjoyable and different tasting IPA.

Availability/Price: It is available in the Spring for the hop harvest in New Zealand, bottled in May to be specific. Really good price as usual from Sierra at around $5 for the bomber. This is released every year in May I believe.

Overall: Pretty good seasonal release from Sierra, will definitely probably purchase one every year. Love the idea, Sierra is always pushing the envelope and using their huge pull in the industry to be able to do such awesome things with beer. The beer itself doesn’t blow me away but it is definitely something new and different. For the price it is definitely worth buying and getting to try, also feel like buying a beer like this will let Sierra know that people like the one-off stuff like this they do and hopefully they will do more!

Grade: B+