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Category Archives: IPA

Flying Dog Raging Bitch Belgian-Style IPA

8.3%

Bottled

Flying Dog Raging Bitch Belgian Style IPA

Pours a nice caramel amber, clear. Smells primarily of hops, but there is a nice fruit presence and a bit of spice. Tastes fruity on the front, if a bit weaker than expected. That is followed up by a strong kick of bitter hops. The aftertaste is almost pure hops, with a bit of spice.

Impression: This is a beer that I used to drink quite often if I could find it on tap. Unfortunately in the bottle some of the shortfalls come through a bit more. The first taste is a bit weaker than it should be in order to balance well with the bitterness of the finish.

It is still quite a worthwhile beer though. There are some sweet floral flavors to pick out that connect it to a Belgian style beer, though I think it is only named Belgian style because it does not quite hit other categories as well.

The hop flavor could easily be a bit too bitter for those who are new to heavily hopped beers, but if you enjoy hops it really is a nice kick. This beer may not fall that neatly into a category, and it may not be the most balanced beer in the world,  but for some reason it just works.

Raging Bitch has a charm about it that may not appeal to everyone. For those who do like this beer though, it does its job very well. Nothing is being held back here, and if you like that this will be a great beer for you.

Grade: B+

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Oskar Blues Gubna Imperial IPA

10%

Canned

Pours a very slightly hazy yellow/amber. Smells a bit sweet, with some hops, but not as hoppy as expected for an imperial IPA. Tastes surprisingly light for what it is, nice and refreshing for an imperial IPA.

Impression: This is a nice strong imperial IPA. Oskar Blues is joining the growing number of breweries that are canning their beers. I did not check the alcohol before trying this beer and was shocked that it was 10%. It does a great job of not burning or letting the alcohol mar the flavor at all.

Starts out nice and sweet with the malts. There are some great pine notes and the mouth feel on the back end is smooth, though a bit sticky. There are some notes that are very similar to a belgian tripel IPA. I would like slightly more hops, as the flavor of the hops is a very nice pine flavor. This is a good beer, not exceptional, but quite good.  It can be a little bit pricey however.

Grade B+

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

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

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-

Kennebunkport Brewing Co. IPA

6.2%

Bottled

Pours pretty standard for an IPA, a bit on the amber side but not too dark. Nose is butterscotch, hops, and just a tiny bit of something that could be almost like cognac. It tastes like an IPA plain and simple. Pretty light for an IPA.

Impression: This is an IPA, not a lot to it. It is not horrible, it is not great. If you are in a store and want to pick something up for cheap this is not too bad. The big draw to this beer is that it is sold at Trader Joe’s for pretty cheap. There is not much there, but there is also not too much offensive about it. If you are looking for a nice strong IPA it will leave a bit to be desired. If you  need something and you are not too concerned, go for it, it is not going to kill you.

Grade: C+