Beer Review: Rushing Duck Consumer Friendly Keg Mover

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Rushing Duck, home of the hardest working brewery cat in the business James the Brewery Cat, is back with a hoppy lager in Consumer Friendly Keg Mover. CFKM is quite the mouthful to say, and type so we will go with the abbreviation moving forward. CFKM comes in at 5.3% ABV.

Appearance: Hazy straw yellow 1/2 finger head and some great lacing. Basic can with a decal on it, fits the beer.

Nose: Floral, earthy, citrus and lemon. It has some yeasty and even smells a little farmhousy or tart. Malt is present as well with toasty and cracker notes.

Taste/Mouth: Definitely malt forward with the cracker, bready malt at the forefront with floral and citrus hops throughout. Peppery and some yeasty notes, finishes dry and spicy hop flavors linger on your tongue. It actually has a very full feel to it and doesn’t feel thin like a lot of other session beers out there. It is more complex than advertised for sure.

Price/Availability: Cans are a brewery release and as you would imagine they do a lot of kegs of this one.

Overall: It is an interesting take on the hoppy session lager which is a new variant of the already popular session beer which lots of breweries are taking a swing at this style or something along the lines. I was expecting a little more hop forward but it was more of a solid sessionable lager with the malt flavors at the forefront and some nice complimentary hop notes. I didn’t love it but it was well done and I would certainly grab it on draft or drink it again when in the Hudson Valley.

Grade: B-

Beer Review: Wormtown Be Hoppy IPA

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Glad to be finally getting a review of this beer up on the blog as it is one of my go to beers when visiting friends in central Massachusetts. Wormtown has gained some notoriety off the back of this beer and it is especially accessible now that it is offered in cans. Be Hoppy comes in at 6.5% ABV.

Appearance: Clear golden yellow color with a nice 1 finger head. Good retention and great lacing. Love the new 16oz cans.

Nose: Pine, resin, grapefruit. Especially big on the pine and resin notes as a west coast style should be. Floral, earthy and grassy as well. Citrus comes through on the backend of the nose.

Taste/Mouth: Slightly citrus, lemon and grapefruit. The floral, pine and earthy notes all come through from the nose as well. Bitter and hoppy but not palate crushing. Nicely done west coast style. Finishes dry and bitter but also crisp and clean. Makes for an easy to drink IPA.

Price/Availability: 4 pack of 16oz cans for $10 in Worcester.

Overall: Who says if your a brewery in NE you have to brew only NE style juice bomb IPAs? Be Hoppy is a great east coast take on a west coast style IPA. Easily can put down a few of these and not get tired of it. I gotta say its refreshing to just have a nicely well executed west coast style IPA after drinking all the juice bombs in NE. This is a solid go to if you are in the central MA and wanna drink a nice local IPA.

Grade: B+

Beer Review: Carton/Barrier SS-C.R.E.A.M. Imperial Cream Ale

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Barrier and Carton got together and decided to make a hoppy imperial cream ale. I imagine after drinking lots of Money and Boat Beer they came up with SS-CREAM. Needless to say I was pretty pumped to give this beer a try as Barrier is becoming a favorite east coast brewery of mine and Carton is one of the most solid breweries from NJ. SS-CREAM comes in at 8.4% ABV and 70 IBUs.

Appearance: Slightly hazy copper/light amber color. Almost no head but some real great lacing.

Nose: Citrus, pine, resin, grapefruit, lots of orange and some tropical fruit aromas. Malty sweetness and spicy as well. Smells like a big beer and has a lot of depth. Some of the notes became a little more pronounced as the beer warmed up.

Taste/Mouth: Spicy, herbal hop flavors and some sweet malt up front. Some vanilla flavors with orange and grapefruit carrying over from the nose. Pear and pine resin in the middle. Full body beer with a nice bready malt sweetness as well. It finishes slightly bitter and dry. I would compare this to a super balanced double IPA, since I can’t compare it to any other imperial hoppy cream ales.

Price/Availability: Brewed once as a collab between these two at Smutt Labs in New Hampshire.

Overall: Love the experimental style of this beer. Two solid east coast breweries teaming up and trying something new, while taking elements from some of their successful beers. It feels like there should have been more hype surrounding this beer. I was excited to get this in a trade and it certainly delivered as an excellent super balanced big hoppy beer. It is currently a one off but if it was brought back as a rotating or seasonal offering I would grab it again.

Grade: A-

Beer Review: Alpine Hoppy Birthday IPA

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Alpine beers were for a very long time only available in such a small part of CA making them very sought after and hard to get. Since Green Flash has acquired Alpine though their beers have been a bit easier to get, although not their entire catalog gets national distribution I have since gotten to try a few of their beers. This review is of their session IPA Hoppy Birthday which comes in at 69 IBUs and 5.25% ABV.

Appearance: Light copper color with a small head that dissipates quickly. Nice lacing as you drink it down though. Although Alpine labels are very simple, I find them very appealing.

Nose: Nice nose, not huge or mind-blowing but very pleasant. Pine resin, some grapefruit and orange aromas.

Taste/Mouth: Follows the nose with a good dose of pine and grapefruit. Tropical fruit and earthy flavors also come through in the flavor. Some caramel and malt sweetness help to bring some balance to this session IPA. Finishes bitter and dry. Easy drinking.

Availability/Price: $8.99 price tag (which I forgot to remove) in a bomber, availability seems to be good in the Green Flash footprint.

Overall: Green Flash buying Alpine helped me finally get to try some Alpine beers and so far, unfortunately, I have not been blown away. They seem like hoppy beers that were amazing a few years ago and have since been trumped by some newer beers and breweries. Competition is stiff now and Alpine may need to up their game to keep up. Nonetheless this is a fine Session IPA, although I do think a session beer should be in a six pack that way it can be sessioned, ya know?

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/Ballast Point Electric Ray Imperial Pale Lager

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Sierra and Ballast Point coming together in the Beer Camp pack to make a hoppy beer! Was very happy to see them choosing a hoppy style, Imperial Pale Lager was nice to see as well keep with the lager trend in the pack and keep the ABV high as many of the other breweries seemed to be doing. They used a lot of familiar hops in this like amarillo, cascade, centennial and nugget to name a few so I knew that this was probably going to be pretty good. As mentioned before I did drink this fresh and make my notes just haven’t had a chance to get the review online until now. Electric Ray comes in at 8.5% ABV and 70 IBUs.

Appearance: Light copper color hazy with a 1 finger head. Had some nice lacing as I drank it down. Little darker than I would have liked to see.

Nose: Citrus fruit, good amount of floral notes, little piney and definitely some pineapple. Lot of pale pilsner malt in the nose as well. Not as explosive of a nose as I would have liked, maybe I have been spoiled with all the amazing hoppy lagers from Jacks Abby I have been drinking but this wasn’t where I would have liked it to be.

Taste/Mouth: Floral and citrus hop flavors with a good malt presence. Grassy and cracker malt especially medium carb and some heat coming from the alcohol on the back end. More heat and malt than I was expecting for sure. Kind of anticipated the malt when I saw the color, I understand trying to balance it but it kind of undermined a lot of the good hop bitterness and flavor I would have liked to get.

Price/Availability: One time only for the Beer Camp Across America pack.

Overall: Was pretty letdown by this one from two breweries who are on top of the hoppy beer game. Wasn’t bad but it wasn’t as masterfully crafted as I was expecting it to be. Like I said before I have definitely been spoiled with the hoppy lagers from Jacks Abby but I thought Ballast and Sierra would be able to make an IPL on a similar level.

Grade: C+

Beer Review: Jack’s Abby Hoponius Union IPL

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When visiting some friends in Worcester, MA I was able to pick up a six pack of Jack’s Hoponius Union bottled a mere 10 days before I purchased it. I have been trying to review and drink as much Jack as I can lately because I have been enjoying all of their offerings so much. Hoponius Union is their India Pale Lager or as they like to call it their Wicked Hoppy Lager. Hoponius Union comes in at 6.7% ABV and 65 IBUs.

Appearance: Slightly hazy deep golden color with a nice 2 finger head and amazing lacing. None of Jack’s beers are filtered and since they are all lagers they usually have great head retention and awesome lacing, this one is no different.

Nose: Really big nose that you can smell as soon as you crack the bottle. Right up front you get bountiful amounts of tropical fruit and citrus with some pine and resin in there as well. They definitely have mastered hop additions at Jacks because all the beers I have had thus far have had incredible aromas.

Taste/Mouth: Tropical and Citrus fruits carrying over from the nose. Great balance as usual makes for an incredibly drinkable lager. Nice bitterness and finishes semi dry. Medium carbonation lends to a nice crisp mouthful and makes this beer go down real easy.

Availability/Price: This is a year round release for Jack and one of their flagship offerings I believe. Price for a 6 pack is pretty fair too right around 9$. They do bottle this for 6 packs now along with a few other of their regular offerings.

Overall: Easily one of the best IPLs on the market from a brewery who knows exactly what they are doing with lagers. Would without a doubt buy this one again and would recommend seeking it out especially with so many below average IPLs hitting the markets lately get an example of the style from people who know how to do it right.

Grade: A-