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While I don’t quite get where the name came from with Left Hand 400 Pound Monkey, I do get what they’re trying to do with the style.
To me, English IPAs focus a bit more on balance of malt and hops and aren’t simply out to destroy your palate. Spicy hops lead the way but there’s a distinct wheat breadiness. Also some of the hard water flavor found in a lot of English ales. Very unique mixture of hops including Magnum, Boadicea and Sovereign.
More punch than a Pale Ale, not as much as most IPAs. Respectable 6.8% ABV that adds just a touch of warmth.
It’s definitely good, but maybe a step below their porters, stouts, and the Good Juju.
If you like your stouts big and roasty (and you should), then the inviting aroma of Avery Out of Bonds Stout will draw you in very quickly.
Color is right on, deep brown with amber edges. But it’s the smell that will hook you early. Luckily, the taste is even more delicious. Roasted malt, bittersweet chocolate, anise, and big body. The finish is dry, quite bitter, and chalky.
This doesn’t have the accoutrements of oatmeal, coffee, barrel aged, or any of that, but it doesn’t need it. A stout done right, this is one to find. And at 6.3% ABV, a few will put you where you want to be without being too much.
Oak? IPA? Great Divide? Yes, please! Lots of promise with Great Divide’s Rumble Oak Aged IPA.
The color from the wood aging shows through and the nose is full of hops. A hint of sweet malt followed by very pungent hops and some lingering vanilla and caramel. This is no timid beer. The hops are more prevalent than the oak for sure, but this is great for hop heads looking for a bit of a change. Quite bitter, and a nice 7.1% ABV.
A nice start with a hazy bronze color and big fluffy white head. Smells like piney hops and a bit of wood. Big round malt flavor followed by a hit of hops. Extremely well balanced. Long and intensely bitter finish. Very creamy texture and a lot of the hop hit comes in the finish rather than while you first drink it. Noticing quite a bit of orange in this brew.
I like it. Good balance not only between malt and hops, but among the different hops, too. Fantastic mouthfeel, as well.
Even thought I missed out on Volume 1, last year’s Fade to Black, Baltic Porter, was outstanding. And as the chile beer is something I’ve been eager to try, I’m very excited for Left Hand Fade to Black Volume 3: Pepper Porter.
The color is perfect and the fragrance promises lots of smoked chiles. There is a lot more depth to the flavor than just chiles, though. There’s bittersweet chocolate, anise, and the smoky chiles.
There is some subtle heat, and at just a touch under 2000 Scoville units, that puts it at about the same as a poblano. It’s just enough that you know it’s got chiles in it. The heat does get a little more intense as the beer warms.
Smooth, complex, drinkable, and just enough heat to have you know this is something unique. Real chile heads won’t feel much here, but I am a fan and will be seeking out more of these!
My feelings on ginger are mixed. Love it fresh, can’t stand Ginger Ale (the pop), love the women. This is my first try at a ginger beer, Left Hand Good Juju.
The color is a hazy light copper with a fluffy just off-white head. One whiff and even if you didn’t read the label, you’d know it’s a ginger beer. The most powerful flavor is, of course, ginger, but there’s some malt and a bit of hops in the finish. It’s not particularly complex, but I do think the ginger is well balanced. Just a tinge of that ginger heat, too. You don’t need to worry about the alcohol in this one, just 4.5%. I’m thinking of some Chinese dishes this would be the perfect match with.
Another winner from Left Hand. I’d like a little bit more hops just to give it a bit more complexity, still it’s very good.
Can’t beat that bottle design, either. I don’t like all their bottle redesigns, but I love this one.
Left Hand makes a lot of tasty brews, and this is the first I have tried the Stranger Pale Ale. Light in color, the nose is full of hops and orange. But the flavor isn’t has bold as the smell would lead you to believe. There is a bit of hop bitterness and character, but also a lot of grass and rye. A dry, spicy finish.
It’s almost like a mild IPA. It’s smooth and drinkable, even if the flavors aren’t over powering. And at 5% ABV, it’s a good session beer.
I don’t think the Stranger is bad, but I’m not in love with it. Doesn’t have enough to be an IPA, but maybe a bit more than what a standard Pale Ale should have. At least it’s aptly named.
After a brief tease of summer, I thought it might be nice to try something a little lighter with Avery’s White Rascal. A Belgian White Ale, it’s hazy, cloudy yellow with a thin white head. Smells of orange and coriander. Little bit of black pepper, too.
The taste is light and crisp. Bitter and a bit sour at first, some citrusy sweetness, then a spicy kick at the end.
I think it’s a pretty good example of the style, and would be good in the right setting. Plus, at only 5.6% ABV, it’s not going to blow you away.
Bonus points for the sweet label!
A beer and a brewery I have been wanting to try for a while, Great Divide’s Yeti is a multiple award winning Imperial Stout. Black as the abyss with a dark sticky head. The smell is roasty and a lot hoppier than I had anticipated. The taste is huge and complex like an Imperial Stout should be! Bittersweet chocolate, caramel and toffee, then finally a big, musty, dry, woody finish. It doesn’t have that currant flavor that a lot of RISs do. Velvety texture and so drinkable you need to be careful that the Yeti’s 9.5% ABV doesn’t unleash your untamed side. Superior lacing, as well. Every sip is a little different. The hops are more noticeable as it warms.
Complex and curious, this isn’t a beer to gulp, it’s one to savor and discover. Try it!
While Black IPA might be an oxymoron, it does produce incredibly interesting beers. This is my first try from Tommyknocker, Hop Strike Black IPA.
The aroma is an interesting mix of chocolate, rye, and a bunch of grapefruit. The color is quite nice, too. Pitch black with some maroon around the edges. The grapefruit is all over the flavor as well. The rye is nice, and I do get some chocolate, but the finish is like I just drank a glass of grapefruit juice.
Not my favorite Black IPA. I wanted more of the “black” side of things and the grapefruit is way too much for my taste.