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Monthly Archives: March 2012

Boatswain American IPA

6.7%

Bottled

Pours a dark copper, very clear. Smells a bit sweet, with some nice earthy malts, though something is just not quite as round as it should be. The first taste is a bit malty and sweet. It follows out to be bitter and hoppy. Unfortunately its not the nicest bitter finish in the world. The bitterness at the end is harsh, and blends right in with the alcohol flavors on the back-end.

Impression: This is not the typical beer that I review. It is a brand carried exclusively by Trader Joe’s, and sold for about $2.30 for a bomber. For the price I was expecting something a bit worse. While it may not have the best flavors in the world, it exceeds what it needs to be worth its money. This is not a beer that will impress most people, but if you are low on cash and it comes down to this or Bud Light, go with this. I cannot recommend this beer whole heartedly, but I can say that when it comes down to it, it is a decent option.

Sometimes you have to make sacrifices, but when it comes to cutting down on your beer spending, this will make it a little less painful.

Grade C

Clown Shoes Blaecorn Unidragon Russian imperial Stout

12.5%

Bottled

Pours pitch black, no light shows through even with a camera flash held directly behind the glass. Smells very strong and malty, with a bit of coffee or chocolate and a big kick of alcohol. The first taste is a tiny bit smokey, with some good espresso and cocoa coming through. At the end you get that same big ol’ kick of booze you got from the smell.

Impression: This beer does not drink as heavy as you would expect from the color. It goes down a little bit lighter than a lot of stouts until you hit the alcohol on the back-end. It is easy to forget on the front end how big this beer it, but once you put it down and get that burn you can’t mistake it. This beer could you just a little bit more creaminess, but as Russian imperial stouts go, this is pretty good. Make sure you sip this one slowly, because it will catch up to you pretty quickly.

It is very important to make sure this is not too cold. When I first sipped it, it was quite a bit too cold. The full aroma of the beer really got shut down when it was too cold. Even more concerning was the fact that there was a bit of a funky taste in there somewhere. When it was too cold there was almost an aspartame type metal flavor. After giving it about twenty minutes to get closer to room temperature, the metallic flavor was gone, the aroma was much better, and the alcohol flavor back off a lot. This is a whole different beer when it is at the proper temperature.  If you are drinking this, keep it at room temperature, throw it in the fridge for ten minutes, and drink up.

Grade: B+

Blatant IPA

6.5%

Bottled

Pours a slightly hazy mustard yellow. Smells strongly of hops, a citrus hop, not a ton of pine notes, also a nice sweetness to the malt, but not overwhelming. The bottle gets it right when they say “Obviously hoppy – Definitively Blatant” The hops are the main flavor in this IPA, but it is a nice hop, not too harsh, but you know it is there.

Impression: This IPA falls under the type that I tend to like, if you tend to go for heavily hopped IPAs this is a good way to go. A nice strong flavor that would hold up to a nice flavorful dish. The feel of this beer is nice and creamy, with a nice long linger on the back-end of the hops. The citrus of the hops falls in very will with the sweetness of the malt.

The color of this beer is very deceptive. It looks a bit weak, if it were like catching a fish, you would probably throw this one back at first sight. Thankfully that is one of the few weak things about this beer. It is not the best of the best, but it is a very good IPA. While this review is based on Blatant IPA from a bottle, I have also had this on tap, and it is even better. What is a good beer from the bottle here, becomes a near-great beer when it is on tap.

Grade: B+

Heavy Seas Loose Cannon

7.25%

Bottled

Pours a pretty average amber, smells very fruity with a bit of malt. Almost no hops in the smell. The taste is pretty true to the smell, with only a bit of hops on the very back-end. This is one of the sweetest american IPAs I have had in a long time.

Impression: I had a bit of an odd first impression with this particular beer. I leaned in to take a nice big whiff to get the smell of this beer, unfortunately leaning a bit to close left me inhaling quite a bit of head. As for the actual beer itself Loose Cannon is very sweet. The citrus notes are the very strong, with the sweet malt they are probably the most pronounced flavor of this beer. I would like to see a bit more hops in this one, rather than just an aftertaste. A lot of that has to do with the style of IPA I prefer, but it would do a great job balancing the sweetness out a bit more.

Now, while this beer does seem a bit too sweet for my tastes, it is far from a bad beer. It would make a great IPA to drink if you are only planning on having one beer. While it does not stand up to some of the stronger IPAs it will hold its own if you are having one at an office party, or over appetizers before dinner with people. Just, whatever you do, don’t plan on drinking this one all night. It will lose its allure quickly after one maybe two.

Grade: B

Victory Whirlwind Whitbier

5%

Bottled

Looks very cloudy, not too surprising for a Belgian style whitbier. Smells a bit citrus-ey, the yeast also plays a pretty big role in the smell, a bit of clove as well. First taste is surprisingly refreshing. Nice and creamy feel to it, with a bit of lemon and spice. Finishes nice and crisp.

Impression: With the freakishly warm weather we have had as of late this beer really hits the spot. Just how refreshing this beer was turned out to be a little bit of a surprise. The flavors are pretty good. Everything tastes about how it should for a Belgian whitbier. There is not a lot that brings it above and beyond other than how crisp it is, while still starting creamy. Whirlwind is not the knock your socks off, high-end craft beer that some people may be looking for. On the other hand it is pretty tasty, and you could have a few of them without feeling like you just had a loaf of bread. This is a beer that I would highly recommend if I were sitting out on a patio of a bar, or bringing it to a cookout. I don’t think that I would go too far out of my way to find it. This is a great example of a pretty average beer that has just that little bit to make it stand out.

Grade: B

Southern Tier Eurotrash Pilz

5.2%

Bottled

Pours a pale yellow, if you told me it was a Pabst or Coors it would not be hard to believe. Has a bit of a grassy smell, but really just smells like any other pilsner. The taste leaves quite a bit to be desired. There is very little depth to the flavor. Best described by one of the other people I am tasting with as any crappy beer, with a bit of flowers thrown in.

Impression: I really wanted to like this beer, Southern Tier is usually one of my go to beer brands. Unfortunately, this is no better than a normal pilsner. In terms of value, this is one of the worst beers I have had in a long time. I keep trying to like this beer, I really do, it just doesn’t seem to offer anything more than a simple Pabst. They say life’s to short to drink shitty beer, life’s too short to drink Eurotrash.

Grade: F

Ruckus Hoptimus Prime

9%

Bottled

Pours a hazy amber, fairly medium look to it. Smells nice floral and hoppy, not particularly strong smelling. Tastes a bit surprisingly malty for a double IPA. The main taste is still citrusy hops. Feels pretty good in the mouth, with just a bit of booze on the aftertaste.

Impression: This beer hits all of the notes that a strong IPA to a double IPA should. Unfortunately it does not quite hit any of these as well as it needs to. The taste has some pretty good hope notes, strong on the citrus side. As far as a double IPA goes I would like this to be a bit more bitter. I can’t quite put my finger on what leaves this beer lacking a bit. Maybe it is the overall quality in the process, but unfortunately it does not quite hold up to some other double IPA’s. That is not to say that there is not a purpose to it. A bomber is only about $6, and with a name like Hoptimus Prime it can be a fun beer to bring if you are going over to someones house for a cook out or a pizza. Don’t pick this one up if you are looking for something special, but if you are looking for a decent double IPA for a fun night somewhere, it will certainly do the trick.

B-