Liam Deegan

Archive for the ‘Hops’ Category

Beer Review: Boulder Beer Co. Flashback India Style Brown Ale

In Black IPA, Hops, India Brown Ale, Reviews on November 13, 2010 at 12:36 pm

Boulder Beer Co. has been brewing for a long time, in fact they are Colorado’s first microbrewery.  Flashback came out for their 30th anniversary.  Here’s my review:

Pours a deep mahogany, amber with an off white foam cap.  Very clear beer.

Hops and malt mingle in the nose with hints of dark chocolate, coffee and caramel malt that plays with light and floral hop notes.

This is an interesting beer.  The hops and malt seem to be battling for domination, perhaps a beer with identity issues.  The sweet and burnt caramelized flavors turn nutty then transition to a bitter citrus hop bite that continues on into the back with some more malt returning, only to be pushed aside again for a lasting floral finish.

Medium in body, this reminds me a bit of a Vienna lager style, only it contains darker malt flavors and less floral hoppiness.

This would be a good beer to have before a meal.  The bitterness serves as an aperitif would, while the malt lends to its substance.  I’m not sure how I feel about this beer.  It is definitely interesting, the brewery calls it an India Brown Ale, somewhat similar to the new India Black Ale style, but where the Black ale succeeds in balance, the Brown Ale, to me gets a bit lost in it’s own ambition.  What do I know, try it for yourself.

Style: India Brown Ale? India Black Ale?

ABV: 6.8%



Beer Review: Odell St. Lupulin Extra Pale Ale

In American Pale Ale, Hops, Reviews on November 11, 2010 at 12:59 pm

This week at PourThought is Colorado week.  Thanks to my good buddy Skander Frank who lives out there, I got my hands on some stuff from Colorado breweries that you can’t get in Louisiana.  Colorado is a great place, and a great beer place.  It is one of those states that really loves craft beer and their hometown products show for it.  Besides “tapping the Rockies,” Colorado makes some world class brews.  First up a pale ale from Odell’s Brewing Co. from Fort Collins.  Here’s my review:

Golden straw in color with a white foam head.

Green, grassy and floral in the nose.  Really resinous with some bright grapefruit.  So far, it delivers on the hoppy promise in the name, as lupulin glands are what hold the hop oils and resins.

Throughout there is a great hop flavor with a subtle malt backbone.  Pleasant floral hop notes with grapefruit shining through that lends to a somewhat sweet malty, but bitter finish.

Light to medium body with bright flavors.  The carbonation level adds to make it a really refreshing drink as it is a summer seasonal.

As it is a summer release, I suggest breaking out the grill and drinking this with some grilled swordfish, shrimp or lobster.  The bright citrus flavors will go great with the seafood.

Style: American Pale Ale

ABV: 6.5%


Beer Review: Sierra Nevada Northern Hemisphere Harvest Wet Hop Ale

In American IPA, Hops, Reviews, Wet Hopping on October 22, 2010 at 12:38 pm

It’s that time again…Fresh from the hop fields!  This wet hop ale was brewed with hops that have been added to the brew kettle within 24 hours of being picked, therefore, there is no need to dry them, as with most hops used in brewing.  I got this beer as fresh as possible, within hours of delivery at Steins Deli, along with a delicious sandwich!  Here’s my review:

Pours out of the bottle a beautiful sunset orange with some reddish and amber highlights, with a huge topping of creamy, off white foam.

The aroma is complex and definitely fresh smelling.  Malt, biscuit, pine, fruits, orange zest and a lemony grassy note.

The beer is creamy and starts off with a tangerine fruitiness with sweet malt upfront and a bubbly and bitter center that fades to an herbal and earthy hop finish, with some leafy green grass qualities with a lasting bitter citrus rind twang of a finish.

This is a very fresh tasting American IPA, but isn’t as bitter or intense as I expected.  The hops taste fresh but do not completely dominate the brew.  Very good sipper, I suggest pairing with some slightly spicy dry rubbed ribs, a good burger, or step it up with grilled pork chop with a fruity sauce.  Again don’t worry about the weight of the sauce, the carbonation of the beer will stand up.

Style: American Pale Ale

ABV: 6.7%


Beer Review: Sierra Nevada Southern Hemisphere Harvest Ale

In American IPA, Hops, Reviews, Wet Hopping on October 20, 2010 at 11:09 am

You can tell I’m behind in my posts.  The Northern Hemisphere Harvest is out, and I’m just getting to the Southern Hemisphere Harvest from half a year ago.  Well after reading this you can go try the one that’s out now, and look forward to the next release of Sierra Nevada’s Southern Hemisphere Wet Hop Ale. Here’s my review:

The beer is copper colored with a tight creamy off white head and very sticky lace.

It is very herbal and floral to the smell.  There are notes of lemon and grapefruit, with orange peel.  Overall, very fresh smelling with some caramel and biscuit.

Upfront the beer is malty, with some grain, and then a citrusy grapefruit burst in the center with a grassy bitter finish.  It has a resiny stick, and is highly quaffable.  The fine balance of biscuity malt and bittersweet citrus makes it intriguing and delicious.  Grab a bottle when it comes out this spring!

Style: American IPA

ABV: 6.7%


Beer Review: Weyerbacher Double Simcoe IPA

In Double IPA, Hops, Reviews on September 24, 2010 at 12:25 pm

Some beer brought back from a trip up North.  This is a Double IPA, with a single hop used.  The Simcoe hop is most famous for smelling like cat pee, and also has a pretty high alpha acid content at about 14%, which means it can make for a very bitter beer.  Here’s my review:

Pours deep brick/copper color with a creamy, off-white head.

Has a musty aroma, with the expected cat pee, which is not as off putting as it sounds.  It’s also floral and a bit fruity, namely peach and apricot.

On the palate, sweet malt and green hop flavors come through first, with some bitter citrus and herbal, leafy, earthy and musty notes.  Mango, peach and orange peel hit in the middle and a strong malt backbone keeps it all together.

It has a creamy mouthfeel with some good malt chewiness to it.  The resins give it a nice sticky feeling and it closes out with a sweet, fruity but bitter finish.

The beer is not overly bitter, it is complex but well balanced and subtle, not overly aggressive hops.

Mango chutney was the first thing that came to mind when thinking of food.  Obviously it would blend well with the fruity flavors in the beer.  An oily fish would go well and can be topped with a mango salsa.  Fish tacos would be great with this beer from Weyerbacher.  A grilled swordfish steak, lightly seasoned would go very well with it.

If you’re not into fish, try it with some slowly smoked ribs or some other salty meat, or maybe some spicy Cajun food.  Hungry yet?

Style: Double IPA

ABV: 9%


Beer Review: Mikkeller Tomahawk Single Hop IPA

In American IPA, Hops, Reviews on September 15, 2010 at 2:14 pm

First let me start out by saying that I am a big fan of the Tomahawk hop variety.  Obviously a badass name, but besides that, it is the first commercially grown “Super Alpha” variety.  It is called such because of it’s high level of alpha acid (14-18%) compared to the (4.5-6%) Cascade, or even the lower still ~3% Saaz hop used in pilsners.  Simply put, without going to deep into the brewing process, alpha acids are responsible for IBUs, or the amount of bitterness in the beer.

Here’s my review:

Pours a bright copper with an off-white meringue head with sticky lace.

Gives off a floral and fruity aroma with notes of pine which then flourishes into fruity pineapple, mango skin, apricot, green banana, grapefruit and some lingering grain.

The taste is of pine and bright, tart grapefruit, with some herbal and earthy tones followed up by malt on the back that barrels into a delightfully bitter finish.

Creamy and well carbonated, with a medium body, just as the previous beers in the series most likely due to the same grain bill used to create identical beers, with just different kinds of hops used.

All the great aspects of Tomahawk are on display in this really well done IPA.  My favorite so far.

Try it with some brie and crostini.  Also BBQ chicken came to mind while drinking it.  The tangy sauce would dance with the bright tart flavors of the hops.

Style: American IPA

ABV: 6.9%

Beer Review: Sierra Nevada Harvest Wet Hop Ale

In American IPA, Dry Hopping, Hops, Reviews, Wet Hopping on March 23, 2010 at 6:54 am

This is a wet hop American IPA.  Wet hopping is somewhat of a rarity as it is very time sensitive.  Dry hopping is something which is done more often in beer, where dried (usually in pellet form) hops are added to steep in the fermented bee.  This adds hop aroma.  Hops are added during the boil of the ingredients at different stages: for bittering, flavor and aroma.  The less time the hops boil, the more they move from bittering to aroma.  Wet hopping uses freshly picked and undried hop cones to be added to the beer while being fermented.  Sierra Nevada ships Cascade and Centennial hops from the Yakima valley in Washington to Chico, CA where they add them to the beer for a fresh, green hop flavor and aroma.

Here’s my review:

Pours a clear light amber with orange highlights and a frothy, off-white head that leaves a sticky lace around the inside of the glass.

Smells of sweet pine, with grassy notes and some citrus.  There is some malt on back with bready notes.

The first sip reveals green pine flavors, tart grapefruit and floral hops on the back with a bitter but bright finish, and a touch of malt in the background.

This beer has a deliciously creamy mouthfeel and has a medium to full body.

The bittering from the hops is dead on perfect.  It’s not too much, a perfect amount for a good hop bite in the back with great fresh hops up front.

This beer is extremely drinkable, and it delivers awesome hop flavors.  A must drink for hop-heads.  The balance definitely favors the hops, but malt is not this beer’s focus.  The Harvest and “wet hop” promises, and the taste delivers.

My suggestion: this will go great with some lamb or ribs. Make sure to drink it fresh.  Don’t let all that hard work to deliver it fresh to you go to waste.

Style: American IPA

ABV: 6.7%