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.
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!
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.
I have been dying to get my hands on this beer for so long! Barrier Brewing’s collaboration with one of my favorite bands of all time in Every Time I Die. They teamed up to create a Double Rye IPA and named it in honor of the bands seminal album Hot Damn! A lot of breweries have been doing collabs with bands, some are pretty forgettable. Hop Damn! comes in at 7.5% ABV.
Appearance: Hazy glowing amber color, really a nice looking beer. 1 finger head with a soapy head and decent lacing. Great art.
Nose: Spicy, peppery, rye, caramel malt and grapefruit up front with the spicy and peppery notes being the most pungent. Citrus, pineapple and onion come through as well.
Taste/Mouth: Spicy rye bite right off the bat with a juicy citrus and tropical fruit hoppiness coming through as well. Somewhat sweet with moderate bitterness and carbonation. Not really an IPA more of a hoppy rye amber I would say. I am very partial to rye beers and the rye in this is nice and lends some nice flavor to the overall product.
Price/Availability: It is a rotating beer and a bottle is around $9.
Overall: I obviously just needed this beer and I needed to do a review on it as Barrier collaborated with one of my favorite bands of all time in Every Time I Die. I am also a huge fan of rye beers in general, so all that being said the beer was good, not great but it was a well put together beer. The rye and spicy hop notes are pleasant on the nose and are responsible for some nice flavors coming through as well. I would grab it again at some point if the opportunity arises, hopefully it will be at an Every Time I Die show, that would be ideal. Shinfo.
The Shape of Hops to Come is quite a mouthful, so from here on out I will refer to it as The Shape. Drawing inspiration from Refused pivotal album The Shape of Punk to Come, Neshaminy Creek has garnered some serious hype with this beer. I have not had a Neshaminy Creek beer for some time, I had one when they were first starting out and I have avoided them since as I wasn’t a fan. The Shape of Hops to Come comes in at 8.5% ABV.
Appearance: Semi hazy copper, amber color. Some active carbonation, pours a 1 finger head which dissipates to some sticky lacy.
Nose: Big citrus, pine and resin nose. Orange and lemon peel come through more as it warms up. Some boozy alcohol on the nose as well.
Taste/Mouth: Pine and resin come through from the nose with a nice big bite of bitterness. Citrus fruit flavors especially orange. Moderate carbonation and finishes super dry with a lingering crushing bitterness and some heat from the alcohol. Feels like a raw west coast IPA with that crushing bitterness.
Price/Availability: 4 pack fo 16oz cans for $12 and I think they distribute to the PA/NJ area I got this in a trade.
Overall: This beer has garnered some serious hype and is certainly sought after by hopheads throughout the country. I haven’t had any beers from Neshaminy for a long time, really since they were first starting out. This beer was definitely a big improvement from the beer I had from them in the past. It is a solid west coast inspired DIPA but not sure it lives up to the hype it gets. Nonetheless it is definitely a beer I would seek out next time I am in Philly and hopefully get to try it on draft.
Another offering from Knee Deep I was able to grab while down in Florida. This one is their American IPA, Breaking Bud. Obviously this beer , at least the name and label, were inspired by the TV show Breaking Bad. Another hyped offering from Knee Deep. Breaking Bud comes in at 6.5% ABV.
Appearance: Nice glowing golden color with a slight haze. 1 finger head with some decent lacing. Breaking Bad inspired graphics.
Nose: Pretty dank nose, earthy and pine resin up front. Some pineapple, orange and tropical notes as well. Sweet and biscuit malts coming through as well.
Taste/Mouth: Nice pineapple and tropical notes which follow the nose pretty closely. Resiny bitterness with moderate carbonation and not a ton of malt presence. Finishes with a dry fruity bitterness.
Price/Availability: $8 a bomber in Florida, had on draft there as well.
Overall: A solid IPA offering from Knee Deep that I would have again for sure. Enjoyed it quite a bit and was glad to have the bottle as well as experience it on draft. Not anything extremely special but certainly well executed.
One of Lagunitas newest releases this is The Down Low Ale, a super sessionable American Pale Ale. I first had this at the brewery in Chicago and then ended up picking up a bottle so I could write it up for the site. Lagunitas is really at the top of the game right now, they just continually put out solid releases. The Down Low Ale comes in at 3.9% ABV.
Appearance: Hazy light copper amber color. Darker than I was expecting it to be when I saw the style and ABV. 1 finger head and great lacing, simple and pleasing packaging.
Nose: Pretty dank nose for a 3.9% session beer. Smells more like an IPA. Super pine resin, great tropical fruit, grapefruit, orange and citrus. Some caramel malt sweetness can be picked up as well.
Taste/Mouth: Some earthy, flowery, hop notes and a pretty good bite of carbonation up front. Finishes dry with a good dose of bitterness. Definitely invites you to keep sipping, so I guess it succeeds in being a great session beer. Not a really big flavor profile though, mostly earthy hop flavors, not as big as the nose. Easily crushable.
Price/Availability: This has been added to the year round lineup and at $4 a bomber you really can’t go wrong.
Overall: Lagunitas delivers another quality beer at an amazing price point, like a truly amazing price point I can’t stress that enough. Not my favorite beer they have ever brewed but it is certainly solid and succeeds in being very sessionable. The nose is quite impressive but the flavor, while fine, leaves a little to be desired. I would definitely buy again or grab on draft.