A little different than my usual Pipeworks Ninja reviews, here is a Pipeworks Unicorn beer. Sure Bet is their Imperial IPA brewed with honey and mango puree. They switched up the label instead of the unicorn puking its now raining the unicorn puke, I think? Sure Bet comes in at 9.5% ABV.
Appearance: Super hazy, nice bright orange color with a 1 finger head that dissipates quickly to a thin film. Fantastic lacing.
Nose: Huge nose, super juicy and dank. Super mango, no surprise as there is mango puree in this one, pineapple, tropical fruit, melon and orange. It smells like a fruit roll up. Some sweetness from the honey but mostly just super juicy fruit.
Taste/Mouth: Huge tropical fruit bomb. Mango, pineapple, peach, orange and some honey and malt sweetness to back it up. Medium carbonation, it feels a lot like an IPA and not a double, also drinks like one which is awesome considering the ABV. A little heat at the end and feels a little syrupy at times.
Price/Availability: 22oz bomber for $10 and its a rotating option. This is one of their most popular beers and definitely moves quickly.
Overall: Another exceptionally done IIPA from Pipeworks. I could smell this beer all day, it is so dank and juicy. I tend to avoid beers with fruit additions as I find it gimmicky and just usually adds a fake syrupy taste and feel to the beer. I will say I am glad I went against my judgement and grabbed one of these though, the mango puree does what it should, it complements the already great fruit notes from the hops and doesn’t compromise the feel of the beer. I would definitely grab this one again when it pops back up in the store and it is definitely worth seeking out.
I unfortunately missed the first installment of this series which was Mars (The Bringer of War), a Double IPA. I did manage to snag this at the Binnys downtown about two months ago at this point since as usual I am behind on turning my notes into reviews. Bell’s is currently in the process of releasing a series of beers that’s paying homage to the Planet series by Gustav Holst. Venus is a Blonde Ale brewed with honey, apricot, cardamom and vanilla. Venus comes in at 7.5% ABV and doesn’t list an IBU.
Appearance: Slightly hazy with lots of floating particles from the various additions in this beer, most likely from the apricots. 1/2 finger head deep gold/light copper color.
Nose: Lot of apricot right up front with some lemon and citrus fruits as well. Smells a little sour but really mostly just apricot juice. You get the Cardamom in the nose as well and just a little bit of vanilla and malt. Not really all that pleasant to smell.
Taste/Mouth: It’s pretty bitter and sour tasting, not like a bitter IPA or sour like a Flemish beer instead its very off. Really dominating taste of apricot juice hard to pull out very many other flavors it is so overwhelming. Not really very enjoyable at all. Medium carbonation and medium mouthfeel with a very weird and un-enjoyable finish. I suppose some of the honey and vanilla are noticeable at points during the tasting, especially more when it began to warm up a bit. Regardless the combination of flavors is not good.
Price/Availability: Around $3 for the 12oz bottle and it is for one time only during Bell’s Planet Series.
Overall: Pretty hard to drink this beer, as a matter of fact I drain poured the majority of it. I like the idea of the series and despite this one being a major miss I will purchase other Planets as they become available. I guess since Venus looks like an apricot they felt they should dump apricot juice into the beer dedicated to it, not sure why vanilla, honey and cardamom were decidedly brought into this mess though. Sorry guys, love plenty of your other offerings but this one was a big time miss.
Off Color Brewing based out of Chicago has been slowly gaining a fan base and has begun to expand distribution as we now get it in the tri state area. They brew mostly German style beers, pretty uncommon ones at that, and stray far from the norm of other American craft brewers. Hence the name Off Color I guess? They have done some pretty cool collaborations in the past with some big names like Three Floyds and Mikkeller. Today I have my review of their beer Scurry. Beer Advocate has it classified as an Altbier while Off Color lists it as a Dark Honey Ale on their site. Scurry comes in at 5.3% ABV and 18 IBUs.
Appearance: Very dark brown, good clarity. Pours a 1 finger head which produces some lacing down the side. Some leftover oats perhaps gathered at the bottom of the bottle.
Nose: Roasted malt, some honey and smells of fresh and spent grain. Nothing mind-blowing about the nose, was hoping to get more honey but it’s pretty minimal.
Taste/Mouth: A lot thinner than I expected but pretty smooth nonetheless. Definitely a malt forward beer, you get some oat notes in the flavor as well as a small amount of honey. This is a pretty drinkable beer for sure.
Price/Availability: This is a year round release from the brewery and is now pretty available in NY. Bought a single bottle for around $2.
Overall: Whether you wanna call this an Altbier or a Dark Honey Ale I would say it is a nice interpretation of a style not normally brewed by American craft brewers. It’s drinkable but nothing to write home about, could probably see some improvement if some of the special ingredients were made more noticeable and this didn’t drink like just a malty ale.