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: Jack’s Abby & New England Brewing Co. Beer Geek Helles Lager

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Once I heard about this collab and the style they decided on brewing together I obviously immediately requested it in my next trade. I don’t understand how a collaboration between these two did not garner additional hype. Not nearly enough people were talking about this beer. Beer Geek Helles showcases Nelson Sauvin and Hallertau Blanc hops in an American twist on a classic German style Munich Helles Lager. Beer Geek Helles comes in at 4.9% ABV.

Appearance: Slightly hazy golden yellow color with a 1 finger head with decent retention and super sticky lacing.

Nose: Lemon, grassy, white wine, some wheat, floral and bready. It has that nice bready, grassy smell of a classic Helles but with some lemon, white wine and grape notes from the Hallertau and Nelson.

Taste/Mouth: Bready malt, white grapes, grape juice and pineapple. It is semi sweet with not much bitterness and feels super smooth all the way through. Really refreshing beer and certainly an incredible session beer. It has that great drinkable Helles feel and the addition of the Nelson and Hallertau give it more depth and accentuate the already nice flavors.

Price/Availability: At this time it was a one off but I could see them bringing it back. A 4 pack of 16oz cans is around $10-$12.

Overall: I was so happy to get my hands on this one in a trade but I will say, one was not enough. I could session these all day and after getting through the one I had I definitely wish I was heading to the fridge to grab another one. I obviously drink a ton of hop forward beers but one of my favorite styles otherwise is Helles Lagers. Beer Geek Helles is an awesome American take on a classic style showcasing some nice new hops in Hallertau Blanc and Nelson Sauvin. I feel bad for anyone who missed this!

Grade: A-

Beer Review: Half Acre Lager Town Octoberfest

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About a month or month and a half ago I took a trip over to the Half Acre brewery (by trip I mean 20 minute bus ride) and sampled what they had on draft, picked up a growler of Space and grabbed a bottle of their newest release at the time Lager Town. Love the Half Acre brewery, always have a nice conversation with the guys at the tap room (the cashier offered me one of their growlers for my Hill Farmstead flip top, I declined) and am always very excited to try every beer I can when I am there. I do enjoy Octoberfests but I do not really seek them out, I have a few when they are in season but never really feel like they are worth reviewing. Nonetheless of the few I drank this year I thought I would at least review Half Acre’s  attempt at the German style lager. Lager Town comes in at 6% ABV.

Appearance: Hazy and unfiltered for sure is an amber color with some reddish hues. Pours just about a 1 finger head that provides some very nice sticky lacing. Love the artwork from Half Acre as usual, they had a few varieties of artwork for this one as well.

Nose: Caramel and toffee are noticeable right at the forefront with nice accents of fruity German yeast. Also some graininess and malt with a light roastiness to it as well. This has a very clean nose, enjoyable.

Taste/Mouth: Caramel and toffee again right at the beginning followed by roasted malt and some sweetness. Some earthy hops come into play. Like the nose the taste is also very clean and pleasant, super drinkable and definitely a beer you could put a 2 liter down of. Medium carbonation.

Availability/Price: Seasonal availability obviously and bomber at the brewery was around $7.

Overall: Nice take on the style pretty much every brewery does this time of year. Great way to kick off the month of October and fall and glad I bought this one. Would definitely grab it again next year when the time comes.  The bottle made a great decoration for my fireplace mantle as well!

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: Sierra Nevada/Oskar Blues Canfusion Rye Bock

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Have a lot of reviews to catch up on and I will start by finishing the remainder of the Beer Camp Across America beers. I drank all of these when I bought the pack over a month ago now and made my notes then so keep in mind I did drink these pretty fresh, I am not just now drinking them. Up next is the Oskar Blues collaboration, Canfusion a rye bock. This was definitely one of the beers that intrigued me more than some of the others since it was different, in a can and had rye in it (I love rye beers). Canfusion comes in at 7.2% ABV and 45 IBUs (lot of beers in the pack had 45 IBU).

Appearance: Copper amber color with a 2 finger head producing some really nice lacing down the glass. The head was thick and creamy, good clarity in this one too. Glad they canned it in the spirit of collabing with Oskar Blues.

Nose: Clean fruity lager yeast up front with a good dose of rye spiciness. Malt sweetness and caramel is noticeable as well but mostly the lager yeast and rye.

Taste/Mouth: Spicy rye with a good bite from the rye and some hoppy bittnerness as well. Finishes the same way with rye and bitterness. Nice malty beer all the way through with great spicy notes, pepper and citrus hops as well. Nice medium carb and body on it makes it very drinkable yet still pretty complex.

Price/Availability: One time only collab, same as the rest of the pack.

Overall: Really drinkable rye lager, I enjoyed it quite a bit. Good unique updated Americanized version of the classic Bock. Nice to see they decided to do something fun and different with their collaboration. This is one of the six better beers in the pack. I am a huge rye beer person and would definitely have this again if it was made available.

Grade: B+

Beer Review: Sierra Nevada/Victory’s Alt Route Altbier

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Next up is the collaboration between Sierra Nevada and Victory, Alt Route, their take on the German style Altbier featuring a hybrid ale/lager yeast. This is the closest brewery in the pack to my hometown in NJ (Victory is about a 2 hour car ride from my house). Although when the styles of the collabs were announced I was hoping for maybe a Double IPA (since Victory has been killing the IIPA game lately, ie. Dirt Wolf) the Altbier wasn’t the biggest letdown as far as styles some breweries chose. I knew the style left them quite a bit of room to make an interesting beer. Alt Route comes in at 6.6% ABV and 50 IBUs. 

Appearance: Pours a really nice plum, deep ruby color with a 1 finger head. The beer produced some really nice lacing as well. This beer just like the Yonder Bock had such a nice color, a nice change of pace from all the golden and copper colored beers. 

Nose: Nice malty lager nose on this beer, some caramel, grassy and toffee scents coming out. Get some earthy and floral hop aromas as well. Nose is not spectacular but you wouldn’t expect that from the style, it is certainly suitable for the style.

Taste/Mouth: Medium carbonation gives it a nice bite. Dark fruit, caramel, roasty malt are all very present in the flavor. Very drinkable beer, could easily session a few of these and not get bored. Slightly dry finish and bit woody and earthy as well. Extremely well done beer.

Availability/Price: As with all of the Beer Camp Collabs this is a one time only deal. Price of 12 pack was around $28.

Overall: Very enjoyable and really drinkable but at the same time nothing spectacular or extremely groundbreaking here but I would definitely drink it again if I saw it. Still wish they made a super dank Double IPA.

Grade: B+

Beer Review: Sierra Nevada/Cigar City’s Yonder Bock Tropical Maibock

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Finally gonna start rolling out my reviews of the Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Across America collaboration 12 pack! Yes, I will be reviewing all 12 beers in the pack and will do my best to get them up as quick as I can (I am almost done drinking and taking notes on them all). Gonna start things off with the collab between Sierra and Florida’s Cigar City, which was definitely one of the beers in the pack I was most excited for. It is a summer time twist on the German style lager adding in of course some of Cigar City’s favorite hops including those Experimental hops they are always eager to try out. Yonder Bock comes in at 7.7% ABV and 45 IBUs.

Appearance: Deep amber, ruby red color with a nice 1 thick 1 finger head. Real nice lacing on this one and nice clarity in the beer. Really an awesome color I definitely found myself looking at this beer quite a bit as I drank it down.

Nose: Get that nice lager yeast smell up front with some tropical fruit aromas definitely can get some mango and passionfruit like the notes on this beer suggest. Can definitely pick out the nice maltiness of this beer in the nose as well some caramel and bready malt notes. 

Taste/Mouth: Very malt forward with good caramel flavors but with a good bite from the bitterness of the hops adding to the flavor and body of this beer. Medium carbonation helps lend to this beers really nice full mouthfeel. It finishes really clean. Really incredibly drinkable beer and refreshing. Unique take on the style, the tropical hop notes definitely play well with the maltiness of the beer.

Availability/Price: As with all of the Beer Camp Collabs this is a one time only deal. Price of 12 pack was around $28.

Overall: This lived up to my expectations, really unique and well executed collaboration from these two breweries. One of the first times I have really loved a beer featuring the Calypso hop. Would love to have this again if possible in the future if not I am certainly glad I got to have it and glad it is the beer I chose to kick off the 12 pack with. Without a doubt one of the best in the pack.

Grade: A-