Tasting Notes – OG: Cascade DIPA from Wild Leap Brew Co.

WildLeapOGCascadePourx600For this edition of Tasting Notes, we kick it old school with a few cans of OG: Cascade Double IPA from Wild Leap Brew Co. (LaGrange, Georgia).

Serving as the inaugural release in Wild Leap’s newly-established OG Double IPA Series that explores “the original hops that played critical roles in the evolution of the American IPA”, OG: Cascade is a “lighter, dryer” Double India Pale Ale that showcases the “spicy citrus profile” of the Cascade hop.  Although its West Coast roots will make it a bit more floral than previously released DIPAs from Wild LeapOG: Cascade (8.1% ABV) does feature a couple modern touches such as a reduced level of bitterness (49 IBUs) and “a juicy haze.”

A limited amount of OG: Cascade hit the market in late February, but you should still be able to find some floating around out there.  Look for this Limited Release to be available in 4-packs of 12 oz. cans and on draft at select craft beer-focused establishments located within Wild Leap’s distribution footprint in Georgia.

Now that we are all caught up on the story behind OG: Cascade, let’s get into a pour and reminisce on the iconic Cascade hop over some Tasting Notes!

Tasting Notes for OG: Cascade Double IPA from Wild Leap Brew Co.

Appearance:  OG: Cascade pours a dandelion yellow in color and is capped with just under a finger of creamy white foam.  When held to direct light, the deep yellow color holds but some lemony tones do push through at the edges.  This DIPA is quite hazy, but a poised carbonation presence can still be seen working within.  The head falls rather quickly to a delicate ring that scatters thin lines of lace across the glass.

Aroma:  A grassy, floral hop presence is first to greet the nose, but it quickly succumbs to citrus notes of grapefruit and lemon.  Soft tones of pine add a cool, resiny spice quality to the profile.  The malts contribute just a touch of honey-like sweetness, but these aromatics are absolutely dominated by those classic Cascade hop characteristics.

Taste:  The Cascade hops flex their power as the flavor profile opens with resinous pine and a bright, lasting pop of grapefruit zest and juice.  Meyer lemon and key lime offer a sweeter citrus quality, taming the hop bitterness a bit. The malts surface just as the hops take on more of a floral character, creating a gorgeous honeysuckle-like note that beautifully ties everything together.

Mouthfeel:  Medium in body with a moderate carbonation level, this DIPA is incredibly pillowy and light on the palate.  It is impeccably balanced and dries out nicely, but that “OG” West Coast hop bite still slyly sneaks in at the finish.  The 8.1% ABV brings a touch of warmth to the throat and belly, but it is not at all out of hand.  The aftertaste is a nostalgic mix of resinous pine and grapefruit zest.

Final Thoughts:  In one tight, incredibly-composed package, OG: Cascade is simultaneously all that is good in old school West Coast IPAs and the new school breed of Hazy/Juicy IPAs.  It boasts a big, punchy Cascade hop aroma that warns of a beautifully assertive hop presence, but the newer hop techniques that were employed here tame the bitterness (avoiding the palate-wrecking days of old) while still thoroughly embracing hoppiness. To further satisfy today’s IPA fan, the grain bill adds that eye-catching haze and oh-so-soft feel that everyone seems to be after.  This clash of styles and techniques somehow yields the ultimate hop experience that possesses an unrivaled level of drinkability.

This is a beer that has an obvious appreciation for the past, but it still recognizes all that the present/future has to offer.  This forward-thinking sense of nostalgia has completely set OG: Cascade apart from any other IPA/DIPA being produced today.  It has something for any hophead out there, and it just might be the best “modern” IPA/DIPA that we have ever had. Seriously, you need to try this while you have the chance.  Prost!

 

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Creature Comforts Brewing Co. Schedules Limited Release of Pearson

1500wCreature Comforts Brewing Co. (Athens, Georgia) has officially announced that it will host a bottle release for Pearson, a fruited ale made with peaches from Pearson Farms, on Saturday, March 30.

Arriving as the latest offering to come out of Creature Comforts’ newly-expanded Wood Cellar, Pearson is “a fruited ale aged in oak barrels that showcases locally sourced peaches from Fort Valley, Georgia’s Pearson Farm.”  To ensure that Pearson (6.5% ABV) would be “the best peach beer possible”, the brewery “worked directly with ‘the Peach Guru’ John Short of Georgia Proud Provisions to select the Elberta peach, the original king peach of Georgia, to feature in the 2018 vintage, and determined select barrels to create a blend that honors the flavors of the chosen peach variety.”

Pearson will begin flowing on draft in the Creature Comforts Tasting Room at noon on March 30, and “the first 50 folks to order the beer on draft will get a souvenir stemware.”  This Limited Release offering will also be available for purchase in 500ml bottles for the price of $16 each (limit of 6 bottles per person).  Pearson is a brewery exclusive release and is not expected to see distribution.  Prost!

Vital Information for Pearson from Creature Comforts Brewing Co.

Release – Limited; March 30, 2019
Style – Fruit Beer
ABV – 6.5%
Added Ingredients – Elberta peaches sourced from Pearson Farm in Fort Valley, Georgia
Availability – 500ml bottles & draft
Distribution – None. Brewery exclusive release

Jester King Brewery Set to Release First Batch of SPON Muscat

muscat6Jester King Brewery (Austin, Texas) has announced that it will officially release the 2018 vintage of SPON Muscat on Friday, March 22.

Arriving as the newest offering to come out Jester King’s SPON program, SPON Muscat is “a blend of 100% spontaneously fermented beer refermented with 2,000 pounds of Muscat grapes from Sulphur Bluff, Texas (2018 harvest).” The folks at the brewery report that the grapes reminded them “of honeysuckle and flowers, and refermented very nicely with SPON.” 2018 SPON Muscat (6.4% ABV) “was blended last September and packaged last December.”  The 2018 “vintage” date indicates the year the beer was packaged.

2018 SPON Muscat will officially release in Jester King’s Tasting Room & Restaurant on March 22.  This Limited Release offering will available by the glass and in 375ml bottles to go ($25 per bottle, limit of four bottles per customer per day).  Outside of special events, 2018 SPON Muscat is not expected to see distribution.  Prost!

Vital Information for 2018 SPON Muscat from Jester King Brewery

Release – Limited; March 22, 2019
Style – American Wild Ale
ABV – 6.4%
Treatment – A blend of 100% spontaneously fermented beer refermented with 2,000 pounds of Muscat grapes from Sulphur Bluff, Texas
Fun Fact – On the SPON program – “Our SPON beers (short for ‘spontaneous’) are brewed with unfiltered well water, Texas malted barley, Texas raw wheat, and aged hops from our barn. The wort sits overnight in our coolship and collects wild yeast and bacteria from the air before spontaneously fermenting in oak barrels for typically one to three years. They are then conditioned in bottles and kegs through natural refermentation. As we state on our label, SPON is a unique reflection of the ecology of the Texas winter, the Texas Hill Country, and the people of Jester King.”
Availability – 375ml bottles ($25 each, limit of 4 per customer per day)
Distribution – None, brewery only

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Able Seedhouse + Brewery Adds Better Selves IPA to Core Lineup

AbleBetterSelvesAble Seedhouse + Brewery (Minneapolis, Minnesota) has officially announced that Better Selves IPA will join its portfolio of Core offerings on Friday, March 29.

Bearing a name that evokes “an elevation of thought and action”, Better Selves is an unfiltered India Pale Ale “built with a blend of tropical hops including Idaho 7, Bravo, and Ahtanum.”  White wheat and oats “balance out the bright citrus tones for a pillow-soft finish and smooth, silky mouth feel” and also supply the beer with a “cloudy consistency and milky straw hue.”  Clocking in at 4.4% ABV and “a lower IBU”, Better Selves is “a flavorful, versatile option rounding out Able’s core selection.”

“Better Selves is not a version of what most people would call a hazy IPA,” says Able Head Brewer Bobby Blasey. “Ours is lighter, cleaner, and much more delicate. Often hazy IPA’s have twice the number of hops and a high ABV, which make them much bolder. Better Selves is mellow with an easy drinking nature.”

Better Selves IPA will debut in Able’s Minneapolis taproom on March 29 and distribution is scheduled to begin the first week of April.  You can expect to find this Core offering available in 12 oz. cans and on draft at select craft beer-focused establishments located within Able’s distribution footprint in Minnesota.  Prost!

Vital Information for Better Selves IPA from Able Seedhouse + Brewery

Release – Year-Round/Core, launching late March 2019
Style – American India Pale Ale
ABV – 4.4%
Featured Hops – Idaho 7, Bravo & Ahtanum
Fun Fact – On the beer’s name: “The name comes from author and naturalist William Wordsworth, who liked to explore his sense of self through solitude and nature,” says Casey Holley, Able Founder. “This has become a core tenet here at Able – expressing ourselves through art, nature, community and of course, beer.”
Availability – 12 oz. cans & draft
Beer Finder – http://ablebeer.com/contact

Schlafly Raspberry Hefeweizen Makes Seasonal Return

schlaflyRaspHefeSchlafly Beer (St. Louis, Missouri) has officially announced that the Seasonal release of Raspberry Hefeweizen will begin during the week of March 18.

Also known as “brewers’ summer water” at Schlafly, Raspberry Hefeweizen is an unfiltered Wheat Beer “that uses real raspberry in the brewing process.”  Hazy pink in color, this “true fruit beer” allows the flavor and aroma of raspberries to mingle “with citrus aromas from the wheat and a desirable tart flavor.”  Coming in at a “delightfully drinkable” 4.1% ABV and 16 IBUs, Raspberry Hefeweizen “is low in bitterness and not overwhelmingly sweet, but refreshing and balanced.”

“Drinking pink isn’t only for the rosé lovers out there,” says Founding Brewer Stephen Hale. “Our Raspberry Hefeweizen is the ideal crushable beer for warm weather. Now, in 16-ounce cans, it is even more approachable for summer pool hangs, beach time, or porch sipping.”

Raspberry Hefeweizen is officially rolling out this week with plans to hang around through the warm weather months.  You can expect to find this Seasonal offering available in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles, 12-packs of 16 oz. cans and on draft at craft beer-friendly establishments located in Missouri, Tennessee, and throughout the rest of Schlafly’s distribution footprint. Prost!

Vital Information for Raspberry Hefeweizen from Schlafly Beer

Release – Seasonal, returning mid-March 2019
Style – Hefeweizen/Fruit Beer
ABV – 4.1%
IBUs – 16
Added Ingredients – Real raspberry
Availability – 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles, 12-packs of 16 oz. cans & draft
Beer Finder – http://www.schlafly.com/beer-finder/

Highland Brewing Company Brews 25th Anniversary Rustic IPA with Sierra Nevada

HBC_16oz_CanMockupHighland Brewing Company (Asheville, North Carolina) officially announced that it is brewing a new collaboration brew – Rustic IPA – today alongside Sierra Nevada Brewing Company (Chico, California | Mills River, North Carolina) and independent, family-owned hop and malt suppliers including Riverbend Malthouse, Briess Malting, Crosby Hop Farms, Roy Farms, and CLS Farms.

Brewed by Highland Brewing and Sierra Nevada – two multi-generational, independent craft breweries – with malt and hops exclusively sourced from independent, family-owned suppliers, Highland’s Rustic IPA 25th Anniversary Ale is a Hazy India Pale Ale featuring “experimental hops like Motueka, Zappa, Azacca, and Strata that lend notes of tropical fruit and lemongrass to the brew.”  A “hazy malt bill featuring flaked oats, rye, pilsner malt, and wheat” rounds out the recipe and further accentuates the beer’s “fruity hop character.”  Coming in at 5.8% ABV and 45 IBUs, Rustic IPA promises to be “a balanced showcase for the best of innovation and tradition from each of the collaborators.”

Brian Grossman, Family-Owner and Second-Generation Brewer for Sierra Nevada in Mills River, said, “When Sierra Nevada chose to build our second brewery in Asheville, Highland welcomed us with open arms. Being multigenerational, family-owned companies, we share similar values and experiences. We were proud to collaborate with our friends to brew a special beer to celebrate their 25th anniversary. “

 

“Good businesses are built on relationships and we genuinely enjoy and are proud of our relationships with Sierra Nevada and these suppliers,” said Family-Owner and President of Highland Brewing, Leah Ashburn. “Brian and I are in a small group of second-generation family leaders in craft beer and we intend to build a sustainable future for both our breweries. This collaboration beer celebrates that future.”

Rustic IPA will debut at Highland Brewing Company’s two-day anniversary festivities on May 3-4 and limited distribution is scheduled to follow the on-site release.  You can expect to find this special collaboration available in 4-packs of 16 oz. cans and on draft at select craft beer-focused establishments located in North Carolina, Tennessee, and South Carolina.  Prost!

Vital Information for Rustic IPA from Highland Brewing Company & Sierra Nevada 

Release – Limited, May 2019
Style – Hazy India Pale Ale
ABV – 5.8%
IBUs – 45
Hops – Motueka, Zappa, Azacca & Strata
Grains – Flaked Oats, Rye, Pilsner Malt & Wheat
Featured Malt & Hop Suppliers – Riverbend Malthouse, Briess Malting, Crosby Hop Farms, Roy Farms & CLS Farms
Availability – 4-packs of 16 oz. cans & draft
Distribution – Limited; North Carolina, Tennessee & South Carolina only

Highland25thBrewDay
On the morning on March 19, representatives from Highland Brewing Company, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Riverbend Malthouse, Briess Malting, Crosby Hop Farms, Roy Farms, and CLS Farms gathered at Highland Brewing Company to mash in the brewery’s 25th Anniversary Ale – Rustic IPA.  Photo Credit: Highland Brewing

Founders Brewing Co. Adds Green Zebra to Seasonal Lineup

greenzebra_featuredneweditFounders Brewing Co. (Grand Rapids, Michigan) has officially announced that Green Zebra will return in April as the brewery’s spring-to-summer Seasonal.

Originally introduced in 2017 as a part of Founders Brewing Co.’s ArtPrize Series, Green Zebra is “a delightfully tart and slightly sweet gose style ale, brewed with watermelon and sea salt.”  Built for supreme refreshment, the added watermelon offers “a hint of satisfying juiciness to balance the tang and bite we love in a gose style” while addition of sea salt provides “a soft mouthfeel and dry finish.”  Coming in at an easy-drinking 4.6% ABV, Green Zebra “pairs well with warm days and never-ending sunshine.”

Green Zebra will officially release in April and is scheduled to hang around through July 2019.  You can expect to find this Seasonal offering available in 6-packs of 12 oz. cans, 15-packs of 12 oz. cans and on draft at craft beer-friendly establishments located in Alabama, Florida, Michigan, and throughout the rest of Founders Brewing Co.’s distribution area.  Prost!

Vital Information for Green Zebra from Founders Brewing Co.

Release – Seasonal, April – July 2019
Style – Gose
ABV – 4.6%
IBUs – 10
Added Ingredients – Watermelon & sea salt
Availability – 6-packs of 12 oz. cans, 15-packs of 12 oz. cans & draft
Beer Finder – https://foundersbrewing.com/beer/find-our-beer/

GreenZebra_15PK_031519

Terrapin Beer Co. Delivers Krunkles IPA Travel Trunk Mixed 12-pack

unnamed (38)Terrapin Beer Co. (Athens, Georgia) has officially announced that it will introduce Krunkles IPA Travel Trunk, a new variety 12-pack of Krunkles-inspired India Pale Ales, at the end of March 2019.

After nine years of traversing the world and brewing innovative India Pale Ales to serve as Side Project/Limited Release offerings for Terrapin Beer Co., the legendary and mysterious Krunkles has returned from his travels with a Travel Trunk full of goodies. The Krunkles IPA Travel Trunk is a mixed 12-pack of 12 oz. cans that contains two well-known and beloved Krunkles brews and one of his newest concoctions, the aptly and simply named Mr. Krunkles.  The full descriptions for all three beers featured in the Krunkles IPA Travel Trunk are as follows (descriptions sourced directly from Terrapin’s website):

  • Luau Krunkles | Passion Fruit Orange Guava IPA – Tropical aromas of Passion fruit, Orange and Guava dominate the nose while a big juicy hop flavor and smooth bitterness complement the balance of the beer.  ABV – 6.5%  IBUs – 72
  • Panama Krunkles | Pineapple Papaya IPA – Continuing his world brewing tour, Krunkles is back with another fruit-forward IPA. “Panama Krunkles” blends the tropical juiciness of pineapple and papaya for this Central American-inspired beer.  ABV – 6.5%  IBUs – 77
  • Mr. Krunkles | India Pale Ale – The newest IPA from our man of mystery. Perfectly balanced by a tropical fruit forward hop bill, this delicious IPA highlights his craftsmanship and favorite beer ingredient…hops.  ABV – 6.5%  IBUs – 50 

The Krunkles IPA Travel Trunk will officially release in late March and will hang around through the summer months.  You can expect to find this new variety 12-pack at craft beer-friendly retailers located in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and throughout the rest of Terrapin’s distribution area. Prost!

 

Tasting Notes: Schöfferhofer Pomegranate from Schöfferhofer

SchofferhoferPomPour2_editedFor this edition of Tasting Notes, we close the office down early and slip into the weekend with a little help from a bottle or two of Schöfferhofer Pomegranate Hefeweizen from Schöfferhofer and the Radeberger Gruppe, the leading German brewing group.

Created to be the latest line extension from Schöfferhofer and the sister brew to the incredibly popular Schöfferhofer Grapefruit, Schöfferhofer Pomegranate is “made of 50% authentic unfiltered German Hefeweizen and 50% pomegranate juice.” Coming in at an astonishingly low 2.5% ABV, Schöfferhofer Pomegranate promises to supply its drinker with “a refreshingly tart and tangy taste experience.”

After a successful limited launch in the Pacific Northwest and parts of Florida, Montana and Northern California in 2018, Schöfferhofer Pomegranate will now be more widely available throughout 2019 in areas that include Tampa, Orlando and Miami (Florida), Boston (Massachusetts), Southern California, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Las Vegas and Reno (Nevada), New Mexico, Idaho, Arizona, Colorado, Alaska, Ohio and Wisconsin.  You can expect to find this new offering available in 6-packs of 11.2 oz bottles at craft beer-friendly establishments located in the previously mentioned areas.

Now that we have gotten all of that official background data out of the way, let’s pop a few bottles and get into these Tasting Notes!

Tasting Notes for Schöfferhofer Pomegranate from Schöfferhofer 

Appearance:  A lively pour yields an orange-tinged pink brew that is capped with a solid finger of bubbly white foam.  When held to direct light, the color brightens to take on the appearance of a pithy pour of ruby red grapefruit juice. The beer is quite cloudy and nearly opaque (not at all surprising since the base is an unfiltered Hefeweizen), but steady streams of carbonation can be seen coursing within.  Head retention is quite good, slowly falling to a 1/4 finger of tight foam that lays wide, sticky tracks of lace down on the glass throughout the experience.

Aroma:  First impression – this smells like a super tropical mixed drink or fruit juice cocktail.  Pomegranate is incredibly pronounced and brings with it notes of dragonfruit, banana, orange and raspberry.  Clean wheat and a sprinkle of white sugar turns up at times to support, but the fruitiness completely dominates the aromatics . . . and I cannot get my nose out of this glass.  Smells. So. Good.

Taste:  The pomegranate juice is quick to rush the taste buds and is accompanied by a burst of raspberry and cranberry juice.  Not to be outdone, the Hefeweizen then asserts itself with notes of banana, bubble gum, apple and vanilla, bolstering the fruitiness with a healthy amount of added sweetness.  The juice does dominate the wheat a bit, but you do occasionally get a wisp of earthy grain. All tropical juiciness here as well.

Mouthfeel:  Light in body with a bright carbonation, this juicy brew is so wonderfully crisp that it practically dares you to gulp down the entire glass in one pull.  Although it is tart and tangy, the balance does tilt to the sweet side.  This is a good thing though because it forces you to slow down, sip, and enjoy each pour as a tropical treat.  At 2.5% ABV, the experience is remarkably light and easy-drinking.  The aftertaste is all tropical fruit punch.

Final Thoughts:  If you have been on the hunt for an infinitely crushable beer option that is full of tropical flavor but still low in ABV, look no further than Schöfferhofer Pomegranate.  The aromatics are heavenly, the tropical flavors are over-the-top tasty, and the overall experience is just extremely refreshing.  Sure . . . it does lean to the sweet side a bit, and I imagine that could make this a “love it or hate it” scenario for some folks . . . but, if you look at this as more of a Radler than Hefeweizen, expectations can be dialed in appropriately and that scenario can be trimmed to just “love it” (Pro Tip: If you are at all a fan of beer cocktails, a little added gin or vodka can probably work wonders here to cut that sweetness a bit).

All in all, Schöfferhofer Pomegranate is just a fun, easy-drinking option that is sure to come in handy now that the temperatures are beginning to rise here in Florida and around the country.  Be sure to check out Schöfferhofer Pomegranate whenever it hits your area.  Prost!

 

Wild Leap Brew Co. Begins Limited Release of Alpha Abstraction DIPA – Vol. 6

WL_IndividPage_AlphaVol6-400x520Wild Leap Brew Co. (LaGrange, Georgia) has officially announced that it will release the sixth offering from its wildly successful Alpha Abstraction Series during the third week of March 2019.

Boasting “the same juicy haze we have all come to love” from Wild Leap’s experimental Double IPA series, Alpha Abstraction – Vol. 6 is a Hazy Double India Pale Ale that explores the newly developed Lotus hop.  Previously known as Experimental Hop #06297, these fruity Lotus hops supply Alpha Abstraction – Vol. 6 (8% ABV) with “a warm, tropical combination of orange, vanilla and berry.”

“This hop is incredibly unique and fresh,” explained Head Brewer Chris Elliott. “When we first received the shipment, the bag still had #06297 as the name!”

 

“We first discovered these when we were looking for a perfect addition to Truck Chaser, but decided to save them for the Alpha 6 series,” said Elliott. “It turned out to be exactly what they said it would be – carrying strong notes of vanilla with an almost tropical punch flavor.”

Alpha Abstraction – Vol. 6 is scheduled to release during the third week of March and will only stick around as long as supplies last. You can expect to find this Limited Release offering available in 6-packs of 12 oz. cans and on draft at select craft beer-focused establishments located within Wild Leap’s distribution footprint in Georgia. Prost!

Vital Information for Alpha Abstraction – Vol. 6 from Wild Leap Brew Co.

Release – Limited/Alpha Abstraction Series, late March 2019
Style – Hazy Double India Pale Ale
ABV – 8%
IBUs – 46
Featured Hops – Lotus
Fun Fact #1 – On Lotus hops: “Lotus hops are experimental in nature. They have been crossbred across several different hop varieties and until recently went under the name Experimental Hop #06297. This past February this experimental strand was dubbed ‘Lotus,’ symbolizing the rebirth and celebration of a hops harvest.”
Fun Fact #2 – On the Alpha Abstraction Series: “The Alpha Abstraction Double IPA series began as an idea to explore experimental hops and a chance to think creatively about new flavor profiles.”
Availability – 6-packs of 12 oz. cans & draft
Beer Finder – http://www.wildleap.com/beer-finder/