SixPoint Bengali Tiger IPA

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Stopping by The Sunset Grill & Tap is always a pleasure with great ribs and a crazy craft beer selection (around a hundred). It’s tempting to go with a hard to find beer you know you love when they have it, but for you, our loyal CBS readers, I committed to blaze new trails and risk disappointment.

Plus, they were out of Green Flash West Coast IPA. I tried.

In any case, new brew it is. Scanning the list, I’d had most of the IPA’s, and then one caught my eye I’d not heard of: SixPoint Brewery’s Bengali Tiger IPA (in a can). Now six months ago, I’d have turned my nose up at a beer in a can. However, thanks to our well-documented experiences with the amazing Heady Topper, I now no longer see a can as a mark of a bad beer. It’d be like refusing to drink a wine in a screw top bottle. 10 years ago that meant MD 20/20 and the like, but nowadays there are many great wines that don’t use corks (particularly those from New Zealand seem to favor the practice).

The color of the beer is hard to judge in the dim restaurant lighting, but it looks like a slightly cloudy amber with great lacing on the glass (“the mark of the tiger” according to the label. It smells of the pine, hops and citrus typical of IPA’s.

I tried it both straight from the can HT-style and in the glass. Taste was about the same both ways: soft at the front with little carbonation maybe a little oily, with nice citrus and hops flavored and a slightly bitter finish. Drinkability is excellent. A nice find for sure.

Taste: B+ Very nice IPA I wouldn’t hesitate to try again.

Drinkability: A Really smooth. You’ll be done before you know it.

Vitals: Poured from a 16 oz can into a glass at a warmer temp than it’d come out of my fridge. Maybe 50F. ABV: 6.4%

HaandBryggeriet’s Dobbel Dram Imperial IPA

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I’ve gambled on a lot of craft beers picked randomly off the shelf in my day simply because they looked interesting, and my success rate is probably just above the Mendoza Line when it comes to picking winners.

Thankfully, sometimes it does indeed work out.

 

Case in point is the Dobbel Dram Imperial IPA made by HaandBryggeriet out of Drammen, Norway.  This was a bottle I picked randomly off the shelf at Redstone’s simply because I had never had a Norwegian beer.  

 

It pours an inviting cloudy orange color with lots of thick foam, but the lacing didn’t really adhere to the glass.  Great smelling beer for sure, with a big, bready head with lots of malts, citrus, and especially what I’d describe as candied orange in the bouquet.  Some other reviews I found mentioned pine, but I never picked that up.  Based on that bouquet I was looking forward to what this beer had in store

 

First sip proved the smell was no mistake.  A medium mouthfeel and medium prickly carbonation. Slightly “chewy” up front with a pleasant lemony bitterness at the back.  Caramel, spices, breadiness, and lots of different citrus varieties (grapefruit, orange, lemon).  Lots of wonderful complex flavors going on in this glass, yet the 9% ABV is disguised very well with the moderate sweetness of the brew being the only indicator of its potency.

 

The Dobbel Dramm is not as overly hopped as most imperial (or even single for that matter) IPA’s.  What you do get is something entirely different, surprising, and very satisfying.  Realize what it is when you try it and you won’t be disappointed.  

 

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Taste:  A-  This is an imperial IPA that’s a bit off the beaten path, but I would not hesitate to recommend it to lovers of the style.  A fantastic beer from Norway of all places.  Well done.

 

Drinkability:  C+  You’ll definitely be slowed down by this one, but in a good way.  This is a beer to savor, and I hope you get the opportunity to do so.

 

Vitals:   Poured from a bottle into a pint glass at about 48F.  ABV:  9.0%

Can from Maine, Baxter’s Stowaway I.P.A

This thursday beer is brought to you by Maine’s own Baxter Brewing’s Stowaway I.P.A. I’m a little surprised that this really good beer has yet to be reviewed by the crew here, it’s right up their ally. It’s a local, hoppy, uniquely packaged beer, with plenty to say about it. 

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Acording to beer news.org the lewiston Maine based Baxter is poised to break New Belgium’s initial year distribution record, on tract to produce 5k barrels since it’s January debut. All while just scratching the surface of New England distribution. It’s available in MA, but I have a hard time finding it outside of the greater Boston area. Which means I made a special trip to pick this up, and so should you. 

Now on to the tasting notes. I poured the can into a glass, as recomended by @baxterbrewing. It pours with a pillowy white head, which has laced my glass from top to bottom. The initial pour was at colder than optimal temp, but as it warmed the earthy slightly piny aroma came on strong. It’s not a sweet or tropical hop smell like you’d get from a west coast ipa, it’s a punched up English ipa made with more floral American hops. Hoppy but not overly bitter, tasting balanced, finishing dry but not biting. If you like beers like Green monster IPA, Dale’s pale ale you’d like this. I’d go as far as saying it’s the best IPA I’ve had in a can. Speaking of cans this one is cool looking, Black with a Jolly Rodger, and a cool orange tab.

Taste: A-. As said above, this is my favorite IPA in a can. 

Drinkability: B+. For it’s abv, it really drinkable, I can see having a few in the cooler at the beach, or BBQ, and thinking nothing of having a few.This isn’t a knock, just I can’t imagine wanting to drink more than one of these in one sitting. It’s meant to be savored. 

Vitals: Poured from a can 50F into my DFH pint glass. 6.9% ABV 69 IBU’s 

 

 

Heavy Seas – Loose Cannon (Hop3 Ale)

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Tried this new-to-me beer on the recommendation of a bartender last night. When faced with many IPAs on a menu (they had Goose Island, Wachusett Monster, Dogfish Head 60 Minute and this one) I’ve been trying to expand my hoppy horizons and was not disappointed. 

The beer had a nice head (poured from a bottle into a tiny glass…) and was an orange/ambery color – a little darker than your typical IPA. There was a nice light grapefruit nose, with some floral notes. Very smooth and easy to drink. Great hoppy taste, but with a lot more floral than some IPAs I’ve had recently. Definitely felt lighter than it’s 7.25 ABV would suggest, and was well carbonated – looked almost fizzy in the glass but had a crisp feel in my mouth.

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I really enjoyed this beer; I’d never heard of Clipper City Brewing before, but I’m excited to see what else they have out there. Definitely check it out if you get the chance!

Taste: Smooth and hoppy with pronounced floral notes. Reminiscent of Ithaca’s Flower Power for me. 

Drinkability: Very easy to drink. Crisp and well carbonated. 

Vitals: 12oz bottle poured into a tiny glass. 7.25% ABV.

 

Diving into Hill Farmstead Earl #StoutDay

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I’ve been holding onto this one since March, when I made the voyage up to Hill Farmstead in Greensboro Bend, VT. I cracked one back then and it was young and angry. Let’s see what eight months in the bottle has done for it. 

First of all, I’m a fan of the package, although it’s on the understated side. There’s all the info you need and it’s a clean logo and overall design. I give it an A. 

Earl is an coffee oatmeal stout that’s been aged in bourbon barrels. It pours a deep brown/black color with plenty of carbonation. Even with an easy/gentle pour I ended up with a three finger head. The smell is heavy on the bourbon, with both brown sugar and vanilla sneaking in there. If there’s such a thing as a “sweet” smell, this has it. 

The taste is bitter coffee and bourbon right up front. Roasted malt and burnt sugar are there too. There’s also a fair amount of alcohol, but I’m not sure if that’s the heavy bourbon barrel tricking my palate. The body is a lot lighter than other stouts I’ve had recently, but the flavor is big (bigger?). There’s just layer after layer in there. While I’m still developing a taste for bourbon barrel beers, this is a good one. While the bourbon flavor is present, it’s not the only player on the stage. As the beer warmed it mellowed considerably. It took on the taste of a great coffee ice cream shake made with a shot of bourbon. Rich and delicious. 

At the outset of this post I mentioned that Earl was young and angry in March. What is he now? He’s middle aged, but still brash. I’d love to taste this beer again next Fall and as luck would have it I’ll have that chance. I have one more bottle of Earl sitting in the cellar. I’ll put a note on it to enjoy next November. 

Note: I enjoyed this beer in two sessions. The first alone, after a pasta dinner. The second I tasted with a block of stilton. I didn’t notice a dramatic difference between the two sessions, but the cheese definitely helped draw out some of the more complex flavors. 

Taste: A-. This is my current favorite bourbon barrel aged beer, but it’s still not my favorite style. A great beer all the same. 

Drinkability: C. This isn’t a knock, just I can’t imagine wanting to drink more than one of these in one sitting. It’s meant to be savored. 

Vitals: Served from a 500ml bottle at 45F. 8% ABV. 

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A tiny big beer on #stoutday Rogue XS – Imperial Stout.

For #stoutday I dug deep and pulled out a tiny bottle with a ginormous taste. I did so, because it was the only stout I had on hand. Despite my coffee addiction, and my enjoyment of high % coco chocolate, I really am not much of a fan of the dark bitter beers. So I’m not sure how much my opinion will be tainted by my appreciation or experience with the style.
If Derek hadn’t just reviewed two of a similar size, I’d think this were a unique format for Rogue’s Imperial Russian Stout. I’ve never quite understood 22oz packaing of 11% beer. This size just right for this rich powerful ½ pint. I’m a big fan of the packaging of this beer, the handsome bottle is chock full of information about the beer, including the 11 ingredients, all the vitals below, and a word of recommendation that the beer is best when aged for 1 year. Advice which I headed, this a bottle from 2010 picked up for about $3.50. 

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I poured the small bottle into an equally small glass, and a nice head formed. I’m always impressed when beers this dark are able to muster nice head and this one thinned, but persisted  lacing my glass as I drank. I’m also impressed with the mouthfeel, thick but not syrupy. For a beer that starts at 26*plato, this beer has little lingering sweetness, and it’s abv is well hidden.
My first sip coated my tongue with an over extracted espresso like bitterness, that is still with me.  Overall, while it’s not my favorite style, this beer could grow on me. I would definitely pick up a few to have on hand for those nights when you just have to have a stout, like for say #stoutday.
 

Taste – B Dark slightly sweet with a coffee like twang.

Drinkability – B  it came in the right size package, I couldn’t imagine having a bigger pour.
Vital Stats – 7.oz bottle, 11% ABV, 87.5 IBU, 258*Love