The San Francisco Brewery has been making this first modern American porter for 40 years. Color is black, as it should be, with a very fluffy beige head. The aroma is an inviting mix of chocolate, coffee, and roasted malt. Sweet malt comes through first in the flavor, with plenty of coffee and chocolate. Dry, oak finish.
Smooth texture, phenomenal balance and flavor, and at only 5.6% ABV, it’s not heavy handed. It’s beautifully crafted brews like this that make me love porters so much! Probably between this and Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald for the best American porter I’ve had.
This is the first beer I’ve had from Mission out of San Diego, their Blonde Ale.
Pours remarkably clear and light. If not for the thicker white head, you might have trouble telling this from a macro lager just from the sight. The aroma is mostly grass and straw with some faint grape and peach in the background. Flavor isn’t particularly strong, but the grass and straw flavors and fruity notes come through. Finishes a little dry.
I don’t dislike this, but I don’t know if I’d have it again. The flavor isn’t bad, there just isn’t much there.
I’ve been trying to get my hands on this one for a while. With quite the cult following and many prestigious awards to back it up, here is Fat Head’s Head Hunter IPA.
Pours incredibly crisp and clear with a sticky white head that won’t go away. Citrus and pine dominate the aroma, as expected. Lots and lots of hops here. Attractive lacing, too. At 87 IBUs, you’ll definitely feel the bitterness. Not much in the way of malt for balance, it’s a just a big bruiser. So if that’s your thing, you’ll love it!
Great Lakes is not known for big, hoppy brews. But if they keep pumping out gems like Alchemy Hour, that could change.
The extra hops are evident early in the aroma with overflowing grapefruit and sweet citrus. The citrus hops hit first, but the pine comes in at the end. Sweet malt and citrus balance with bitter hops brilliantly. With a combination of Mosaic, Nugget, and Cascade hops, I’ve never had a beer quite like this. At 80 IBUs and 9.4% ABV, this is quite a hefty beer, but it should be.
I like that Rye malt is a growing trend in craft beer. Here is the very cleverly named Rye of the Tiger from Great Lakes.
I expected the color to be more red, but this is a faint orange. Viscous head won’t let go of the glass. Spicy hops present in the aroma. Don’t be mislead by the Rye in the name, this is a full on IPA. And wow does this tiger attack. Clocking in at 92 IBUs, this is hugely bitter. That’s a full 12 IBUs more than Great Lakes’ new DIPA (which I will be getting to soon). The rye is there if you search for it, but this is all about the hops. It’s very interesting coming from Great Lakes. Don’t get me wrong, I love Great Lakes, but most of their beers are not this aggressively hopped.
Originally brewed in 2011 as a Brown Shugga’ substitute, due to construction-induced capacity issues. But we liked it so much it had to make a return trip.
So here we have Lagunitas Sucks, a brew boasting a complex malt backbone and a whopping dose of hops to make it a double IPA.
Pours a bit lighter and crisper than expected. The frothy white head doesn’t stick around for long. Hops completely dominate the aroma. Yeah, a double IPA for sure. Hop oils assault the palate. Grapefruit and pine, mostly. Hint of heat from the 7.8% ABV. Rye comes through a bit in the finish. But this is all about the hops. Surprisingly, it’s only 65 IBUs. Thought this would push closer to 100.
The barrel aging is evident in the aroma with strong smells of oak, vanilla, and char. The oak comes through some in the flavor, as well, but it’s different than bourbon barrel aged beers. Initially, there is an interesting sweetness, but the charred wood and smoke cut through. A dry, boozey finish provided by the 6% ABV.
It’s good, but not quite great. I think for something boasting oak aging, I want more of that flavor.
Just from the label, you know you’re in for something interesting from Founders Curmudgeon. Art aside, an Old Ale with molasses and aged in oak, certainly lets the imagination run wild.
Pours a hazy orange that’s just on this side of brown. Virtually no head. Oak, raisins, and must in the aroma. The flavor is mostly oak and molasses. Bit of punch from the 9.8% ABV. A touch of bitterness from the hops at the end. It’s a sipper, but something different comes out with every sip, including maple syrup.