Posts Tagged ‘IPA’

Call me crazy, but I think it’s rather strange for a brewery in Denmark to use hops from Washington to make a single hop IPA. Aren’t there plenty of quality hops to be found in Europe (many of which US breweries import) that they didn’t need to import the warrior hop? I checked out the Mikkeller website and discovered that several years ago, this brewery created more than 76 new beers, all of which were bottled and sold across the world. I find this incredibly impressive.

The warrior hop is typically used for its buttering qualities and used here to create that classic American IPA flavor. But as the name implies, the only hop used in this offering from Mikkeller is the warrior hop making this a true representation of the flavor inherited from this hop.

The pour is beautiful and reveals an orange colored beer leaning towards the brown side of the color wheel. After the pour, a thick, sticky white foam on top. The head dissipates quickly, but form the outside in, leaving a glacier of head that slowly melts until it eventually disappears. This left quite a bit of lacing all over the glass. The nose wafts clean, fresh IPA, hoppy flavor with elements of pine in the background to support the hops. What I appreciate most in this moment is the balance. Nothing is overpowering and there is not any other flavors trying to make their way to the top. There is just a nice balance.

The bottle is pinkish which is why I post this during breast cancer awareness month. My Aunt Elaine passed away from breast cancer after nearly a ten year battle a couple years ago – a life cut far too short. After her diagnosis, she wrote a bucket list of everything she wanted to experience and completed everything except for one thing – to swim with sharks. For all my readers and for everyone you love and care about, we have to continue to raise awareness for this disease and keep the world informed of preventative measures as we continue to strive towards a cure. Only together can we overcome this.

You can find a 12 oz bottle of Mikkeller Single Hop Warrior IPA for between $4 – $6 at fine microbreweries. Warrior has a 6.9% ABV which makes this a bit heavier than it’s cousins across the pond, but the alcohol does not stand out or cause any kind of burn. This is quite a sticker shock, but something I am glad I experienced. This is a well balanced beer and one I would happily purchase if I ever find myself in Denmark. As for now, I’ll let American breweries make my American IPA beers and leave the europeans to other beer they do best.

Grade: B

Before I started writing Microbrew Mondays, I was in love with all IPA style beers. The bitterness, the aftertaste, it all seemed like a beer revolution to me. Needless to say, when I first had Latitude 48 IPA from Sam Adams, I was in beer heaven. The first time I ever tried this beer with on a tour of the Sam Adams brewery tour. Latitude was still in its testing phase and our tour guide poured heavy sample glasses closer to 8oz probably because ours was a smaller group. I enjoyed this one so much that I stole my friends glass as well – more like traded him my next sample – whatever that might have been. Fast forward three years, a bottle of Latitude 48 was left at my house following a party and I thought now would be a good time to revisit an old friend.

Latitude 48 pours a deep copper color with a fare amount of dirty white foam. This was an easy beer to pour due to a smaller amount of carbonation that is pretty typical in most Sam Adams beers. The head immediately bursts of hoppy flavor indicating a potent IPA. My first sip was like going home. Sam Adams uses three different hops from three different countries whose regions all lie on the 48 latitude line. My first taste made a liar of my nose. There was not an overwhelming hop flavor making me question this as a traditional IPA. However, the definitive hop flavor, mild sweetness, the characteristic bitter finish, and the 60 IBU does place this in the range for American style IPA beers. The mouth feel is a little thin and I wish there was something just a little heavier given the rich color.

This is another fine example of the kind of microbrew that Sam Adams puts out year after year. Latitude 48 has only been mass produced and distributed for two years, so don’t be too surprised if you haven’t come across it. Latitude 48 is available year round in six packs for around $8 or for $13 for a 12 pack. The 6% ABV is on par than some other American IPA style beers available. Overall I find this to be a well crafted beer that has significant potential to be a fine everyday beer.

Grade: B-

Stone makes fantastic beer and this spur of the moment choice at The Yardhouse in Glenview, IL did not disappoint. I love The Yardhouse and if you have one near you, my guess is you do as well. My waitress introduced herself as a beer connoiseur and I challenged her to recommend a beer I would love given only three yes or no questions. She discovered that I like dark, hoppy beers, I prefer citrus over chocolate, and the higher alcohol contents don’t bother me.

What came to my table was a hazy orange colored glass of heaven. The aroma released through the thick head was tropical and bursting with citrus flavor. The taste is extremely hoppy given it 100+ IBU rating and the 7.7% APV is not overly prevalent (although at the end of my glass, I was beginning to feel my initial buzz). What I appreciated the most about this glass was the taste lingered in my mouth for quite a while and seemed to intensify the next sip. I know that sounds like a completely bonkers way of describing it, but it’s the best I got.

Ruination is available on tap, in 6 packs, or found in 22oz bottles at your favorite microbrew distributor. Ranging from around $17 for the 6 pack and $7 for the 22oz, this is not exactly a value buy. Stone makes excellent beers and I’m not too sure that I would choose this over some of the other Stone brews given the engorged price tag. Regardless, this is an excellent, well balanced beer from a fine brewery and one that I recommend you hoppy beer lovers to pick this up the next time you have an opportunity.

Grade: A

I should have known better, but I went against my better judgement and picked up a six pack of Magic Hat’s winter seasonal beer Howl. In the past, black beers and I have not always gotten along, but in the spirit of trying new things and experiencing seasonal ales as they come out, I figured Howl was worth a try.

The pour revealed a black beer with little head that disperses quickly. The aroma immediately burst of mocha and malt, two overpowering flavors that I try to stay way from in my beers. The taste immediately hits you with a sweet malt flavor accompanied by some kind of toasted note. Howl finishes clean and leaves very little taste lingering in the mouth. What I’m missing is any kind of hop flavor which I am incredibly disappointed in.

Howl comes in a 6 pack or as part of the Magic Hat seasonal pack. At around $8 a six pack, it’s a good buy and should be around well through the winter. I haven’t always been a big fan of Magic Hat in the past and now I’m finding less and less to like about their beers. As a rule, I tend to stay away from black beers, but I wanted to give this one a chance nevertheless. I’m disappointed mostly in the lack of any unique flavor profile or really anything that separates Howl from any middle of the road black IPA.

Grade: C-