Tasting Notes: Alpha Abstraction – Vol. 9 from Wild Leap Brew Co.

WildLeapAADIPA9x2_editedFor this installment of Tasting Notes, we feed our need for hops by getting into a few cans of Alpha Abstraction Double IPA – Vol. 9 from Wild Leap Brew Co. (LaGrange, Georgia).

Released in mid-October to “[follow] in the juicy footsteps of its predecessors” in Wild Leap’s experimental Double IPA series, Alpha Abstraction – Vol. 9 is a Hazy Double India Pale Ale that has been double dry-hopped with Michigan Chinook hops, a Midwest varietal of the Chinook hop that is typically grown on the West Coast. These hops have a “new, distinct taste” that lends this beer “the sweetness of pineapple . . . paired with a tart grapefruit bite.” Alpha Abstraction – Vol. 9 clocks in at 8% ABV and 46 IBUs.

Like all releases in the Alpha Abstraction Series, this Limited Release offering was made 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.

Alright . . . now that we have provided a brief overview of Alpha Abstraction – Vol. 9’s background info, let’s get into these Tasting Notes and see how these Michigan Chinook hops carry this brew!

Tasting Notes for Alpha Abstraction – Vol. 9 from Wild Leap Brew Co.

Appearance:  This Double IPA pours a burnished orange in color and is capped with over two fingers of creamy, bright white foam.  When held to direct light, the color holds but bright beams of yellow do push through at the edges of the glass. The beer is super hazy, but a bit of carbonation can still be seen meandering about within. Head retention is quite good, falling slowly to a lasting half finger that absolutely saturates the glass with lace.

Aroma:  Punchy levels of pine, spice and just pure dankness great the nose, providing a nostalgic sense of more old school, West Coast-style DIPAs.  Things then shift gears to the more Juicy DIPA side as sweet pineapple and citrus turn up.  Those juicy notes are further supported by a fair amount of nondescript malt sweetness that surfaces on the back end.

Taste:  Big notes of grapefruit, orange and tangerine take the lead here. These notes are not overly bitter or tart, they just supply plenty of sweet citrus flavor with an added kick of sharpness.  Pine resin enforces that sharpness a bit, but it is not at all heavy handed.  Sweet pineapple, papaya and grains then engulf the experience with a burst of lasting sweetness.

Mouthfeel:  Medium in body with a medium carbonation, this brew has a good weight to it and is nice and velvety on the palate.  The balance here is impeccable, and the overall experience dries up nicely, is ridiculously easy drinking, and is devoid of any hop burn.  The ABV reads much lighter than 8% and does not offer any heat at all.  The aftertaste is all pine and pineapple.

Final Thoughts: By focusing on Michigan Chinook hops in Alpha Abstraction – Vol. 9, Wild Leap has created another memorable Double IPA that is a good mix of new and old.  The aroma carries plenty of memories of old school hops and West Coast-style IPAs (even with the amount of sweetness present) while the flavor fully embraces the Juicy/Hazy Double IPA style by offering plenty of sweet pineapple and citrus laced with just the right amount of pine.  Factor in the beer’s high level of drinkability, and Alpha Abstraction – Vol. 9 comes together to be just about everything you could possibly want from a modern IPA/DIPA.  This beer’s availability window has all but closed, so be sure to give it a try while you still have the chance.  Prost!

 

Narragansett Beer Embraces the Holiday Spirit with Release of Holiday Ale

narragansettLogoNarragansett Beer (Providence, Rhode Island) has officially announced that a very limited amount of Holiday Ale is returning to shelves in December.

Back once again to embody all that is good about the holiday season, Holiday Ale is a Winter Warmer brewed with Two-Row and Cara Bohemian malts, Simcoe hops, and an “array of spices” that includes cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and orange peel.  Coming in at 7% ABV and 45 IBUs, Holiday Ale is “perfect for sipping at any holiday party or family festivity.”

Holiday Ale officially released at the start of December and will hang around only as long as supplies last.  You can expect to find this Limited Release offering available in 4-packs of 16 oz. cans at select beer-friendly establishments located in Massachusetts and Rhode Island only.  Prost!

Vital Information for Holiday Ale from Narragansett Beer

Release – Limited/Special; December 2019
Style – Winter Warmer
ABV – 7%
IBUs – 45
Malts – Two-Row & Cara Bohemian 
Hops – Simcoe
Added Ingredients – Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves & orange peel
Availability – 4-packs of 16 oz. cans
Distribution – Limited; Massachusetts & Rhode Island only

 

Terrapin Beer Co. Brings Mosaic Red Rye IPA out of Retirement

unnamed (45)Terrapin Beer Co. (Athens, Georgia) has officially announced that its fan-favorite Mosaic Red Rye IPA will make a long-awaited return in December 2019 as a Seasonal Release.

Developed to be an artful study in Mosaic hops, Mosaic is a “ruby red” India Pale Ale brewed with rye malt and 100% Mosaic hops.  This recipe yields “aromas of stonefruit and blueberry” while “flavors of dark cherry and caramel complement spicy flavors of rye malt and hop bitterness.​”

Mosaic is rolling out now and is scheduled to hang around as Terrapin’s first Seasonal Release of 2020.  You can expect to find this Seasonal offering available in 6-packs of 12 oz. cans and on draft at craft beer-friendly establishments located in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and throughout the rest of the brewery’s distribution area.  Prost!

Vital Information for Mosaic Red Rye IPA from Terrapin Beer Co.

Release – Seasonal; returning December 2019
Style – American India Pale Ale
ABV – ???
IBUs – ???
Featured Hops – Mosaic
Availability – 6-packs of 12 oz. cans & draft
Beer Finder – https://terrapinbeer.com/beer-finder/

B. Nektar Adds New Wave Lemonade to Year-Round Lineup

BNektarlogoB. Nektar (Ferndale, Michigan) has officially announced that it will add New Wave Lemonade to its Year-Round portfolio in December 2019.

Following Punk Lemonade as B. Nektar’s latest lemonade-themed offering, New Wave Lemonade is a Mead made with blueberry and lemon.  Light magenta in appearance, New Wave Lemonade (6.4% ABV) is filled with “sweet blueberry and creamy honey followed by notes of blueberry skin and tart lemon.”

New Wave Lemonade will release in B. Nektar’s Taproom on December 14 and is scheduled to enter distribution shortly after the on-site release.  You can expect to find this new Year-Round offering available in 500ml bottles and on draft at mead-friendly retailers, bars and restaurants located in Alabama, Florida, Michigan and throughout the rest of B. Nektar’s distribution area.  Prost!

Vital Information for New Wave Lemonade from B. Nektar

Release – Year-Round; launching December 2019
Style – Mead
ABV – 6.4%
Added Ingredients – Blueberry & lemon
Suggested Food Pairings – “Brie & goat cheese, chicken salad, pan-sauteed cod with dill, lemon basil pasta, cornbread or sausage stuffing, lemon pound cake, blueberry buckle.”
Availability – 500ml bottles & draft

Cahaba Brewing Co. Celebrates Alabama’s 200th Birthday with Release of Two Versions of Bicentennial Barleywine

CahabaLogo3Cahaba Brewing Company (Birmingham, Alabama) has officially announced that it will hold a Double Bottle Release for Bicentennial Barleywine and Barrel-aged Bicentennial Barleywine at the brewery on Saturday, December 14.

Created to recognize “200 years of Alabama history,” Bicentennial Barleywine is an English-style Barleywine that features “sweet, smooth and robust flavors” alongside “fruity esters” supplied by an English yeast strain.  Weighing in at 10.5% ABV, Bicentennial Barleywine is “perfect to pair with your holiday meals or give as a gift to someone you love.”

Meant to be a special offering that is “worthy of the Alabama Bicentennial celebration,” Barrel-aged Bicentennial Barleywine takes that English-style Barleywine to the next level by aging it for 9 months in Bourbon barrels – the same barrels that previously housed Cahaba’s Batch 1000 brew – to create “a more mellow and complex finish.” This treatment imparts “notes of toffee and sherry [that complement] the sweet, full-bodied and flavorful qualities of the Barleywine.”

Bicentennial Barleywine and Barrel-aged Bicentennial Barleywine will officially debut in the Taproom at Cahaba Brewing Company during the brewery’s Cahabazaar Bicentennial Holiday Market on December 14 from noon to 6 p.m.  22 oz bottles of both Limited Release offerings will be available as long as supplies last.  If you would like to secure your bottles in advance, you can do so by visiting Cahaba Brewing Company’s CraftCellr page (click here to do so)Bicentennial Barleywine and Barrel-aged Bicentennial Barleywine are both brewery exclusive releases and are not expected to see distribution.  Prost!

 

Creature Comforts Brewing Co. Set to Release The Cocoa Dance Imperial Stout

creaturecomfortslogoCreature Comforts Brewing Co. (Athens, Georgia) has officially announced that it will hold a Limited Bottle Release in its Tasting Room for The Cocoa Dance on Friday, December 13.

Inspired by and named after “a method used to polish and preserve the cocoa bean during processing” in Mexico and Central America, The Cocoa Dance is an Imperial Stout made with cocoa nibs “sourced . . . locally from Athens-based bean-to-bar chocolatier Condor Chocolates,” whole Ugandan vanilla beans, and lactose.  Featuring “10 pounds of cocoa nibs per barrel,” The Cocoa Dance (12% ABV) promises to be an incredibly “rich and milky” treat.

The Cocoa Dance will officially release in the Tasting Room at Creature Comforts Brewing Co. on December 13.  This Limited Release offering will be available in 750ml bottles as long as supplies last.  The Cocoa Dance is a brewery-only release and is not expected to see distribution.  Prost!

Vital Information for The Cocoa Dance from Creature Comforts Brewing Co.

Release – Limited; December 13, 2019
Style – Imperial Stout
ABV – 12%
Added Ingredients – Cocoa nibs from Condor Chocolates, whole Ugandan vanilla beans & lactose
Fun Fact – “In Mexico and Central America, the Cocoa Dance is a method used to polish and preserve the cocoa bean during processing, while also serving as a cultural artform to ease the hardship of working the cocoa plantations. These traditional methods inspired the making of this rich and milky imperial stout.”
Availability – 750ml bottles
Distribution – None. Brewery only

Boulevard Brewing Co. Introduces Brandy Land as Newest Limited Release

Brandy-LandBoulevard Brewing Co. (Kansas City, Missouri) has officially announced that it is entering December with the Limited Release of Brandy Land, a spiced Imperial Stout.

Arriving just in time to serve as a perfect holiday treat, Brandy Land is a “cinnamon-infused, double-mashed Imperial Stout that slumbered 12 to 24 months in casks that held bourbon and apple brandy.” Coming in at 12.4% ABV, the warming Brandy Land supplies its drinker with “notes of chocolate, espresso, baked apple and spiced wood.”

Brandy Land officially debuted in the Greater Kansas City area on December 2 and will experience wider distribution shortly after that date.  You can expect to find this Limited Release offering available in 4-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft at select craft beer-friendly establishments located in select regions found within Boulevard’s national distribution footprint.  Prost!

Vital Information for Brandy Land from Boulevard Brewing Co.

Release – Limited/Smokestack Series; December 2019
Style – Imperial Stout
ABV – 12.4%
IBUs – 32
Added Ingredients – Cinnamon 
Treatment – Double mashed Imperial Stout aged 12 to 24 months in casks that held bourbon & apple brandy
Fun Fact – “The barrels aged bourbon twice at a distillery, and were then filled with apple brandy once, which extracts a lot of the wood tannins. As a result, Brandy Land does not have a prominent tannin flavor. Together, the previous usage of the barrels give the beer complimentary chocolate/espresso flavors, as well as apple and spices.”
Suggested Food Pairings – “Apple tart with vanilla bean ice cream and whipped cream, or a salted caramel crunch cake”
Availability – 4-packs of 12 oz. bottles & draft
Beer Finder – https://www.boulevard.com/beer/beer-finder/

Tasting Notes: Hessian Session S-IPA from Iron Fist Brewing Company

HessianSessionPourFor this edition of Tasting Notes, we close out the week by crushing a few cans of Hessian Session S-IPA from Iron Fist Brewing Company (Vista, California).

Released at the tail-end of October to pay homage to a “traditional West Coast classic,” Hessian Session is a West Coast-style Session India Pale Ale that has “a Pilsner malt and a top secret undisclosed malt [meet] Mt Hood, Citra, Amarillo, and Cascade hops.” To put a unique spin on the style, the beer was then “dry hopped with Kaffir Lime Leaf, letting the beer simply rest on the leaf to allow everything to break down and release that great, yet subtle flavor out.” Weighing in at a slightly higher ABV than most Session IPAs, this special brew has been named Hessian Session “because only heavy hitting sketchy hessians are going to pound a 5% [ABV] beer as a session.”

Hessian Session S-IPA hit Iron Fist Brewing Company’s Vista and Barrio Logan taprooms in late October 2019.  This Limited Release offering is available in limited-edition 12 oz. cans and on draft as long as supplies last. Like all Small Batch Experiments, Hessian Session S-IPA is a taproom exclusive release.

Now that we are all caught up on the process behind the beer, let’s get into these Tasting Notes and see how it turned out!

Tasting Notes for Hessian Session S-IPA from Iron Fist Brewing Company

Appearance:  A somewhat rushed pour produced a slightly orange-hued, golden yellow brew capped with nearly two fingers of airy, bright white foam.  When held to direct light, the color lightens to more of a straw yellow.  The beer is mostly clear and displays steady streams of carbonation coursing within.  Head retention is decent, falling somewhat quickly to a thin but lasting ring that coats the glass with broad sheets of wispy lace patterns.

Aroma:  The aroma is quite citrus driven, boasting notes lime juice and zest, orange and tangerine. There is a pleasant floral note that complements and carries all those citrus notes beautifully.  A muted malt sweetness lies in wait underneath all the bright aromatics provided by the hops and kaffir lime leaf.

Taste:  Just like in the nose, the flavor opens with big citrus notes dominated by pure lime character (sans any tartness) and sweet orange.  This is accompanied by a citrusy floral tone from the kaffir lime leaf, an herbal Noble-like hop presence, and just a grace of tropical fruit and melon.  The malts are reserved, only here to provide a touch of balancing sweetness.

Mouthfeel:  Light in body with a crisp carbonation level, this Session IPA is appropriately light, thirst quenching and clean.  It offers just the right amount of hop bite in the finish, but it is otherwise nicely balanced.  Although the 5% ABV is a bit elevated for the style, the alcohol content is well hidden and the beer drinks just as easily as any other Session IPA out there.  The aftertaste is just a light, lingering presence of floral and citrus notes.

Final Thoughts:  Hessian Session is a fantastic take on the Session IPA style.  It has plenty of West Coast-style hop flavor and bite – although reduced a bit for the sake of elevating its level of drinkability – tucked away into an incredibly light brew.

With that said, it sets itself apart from the field of other Session IPAs with how Iron Fist incorporated the kaffir lime leaf.  By “dry-hopping” the beer with the lime leaf, it translates as almost hop-like in character by lending pure lime flavor and aroma without any tartness or sharpness.  It accentuates and complements the hop bill, and just splendidly rounds out the entire experience.

Although the process for creating Hessian Session may have been inventive and imaginative, the beer still translates easily and simply . . . just like a Session IPA should.  Yeah, this one makes you think a bit about that kaffir lime leaf, but that moment of thought does not keep you from crushing a can in record time.  Hessian Session succeeds at everything it set out to do, and it needs to be on the radar of any hophead out in Southern California and beyond.  Prost!

Schlafly Beer Launches Low-Calorie Line of Boomerang Mead Spritzers

SchlaflylogoSchlafly Beer (St. Louis, Missouri) has officially announced that it will introduce Boomerang, a new line of mead spritzers in 12-ounce cans, on December 6 with the release of Boomerang Lemon Lime Mead Spritzer.

Developed to be an “all-natural alternative to the current growing hard seltzer market,” Boomerang is a twist on a Mead – a traditional style made from fermented honey and water – that “utilizes more water than the ancient recipe yet still allows for natural fermentation.”  This approach results in an “effervescent drink with a crisp finish that’s . . . gluten-free with only 4% ABV, three grams of carbs, and no artificial flavors in addition to being only 90 calories with zero added sugar.”  The Boomerang lineup will launch with Boomerang Lemon Lime and other flavors are expected to turn up later in 2020.

“As we watched this latest trend in consumer tastes quickly grow in the industry, we asked ourselves is this something we wanted to pursue, and if so, how can we craft a spritzer that feels authentic to our Schlafly brewing team. We believe that we’ve achieved that with the Boomerang mead spritzer.  

 

We’ve experimented in various traditional meads in the past, but this is a whole new take on what a mead can be, taking one of the oldest fermented beverages in human history and using that as a lower ABV base for this very modern spritzer. We hear guests requesting gluten-free options and asking about the calorie count on beers, and we have to listen to that. Boomerang is our way to answer those consumers’ questions, and also offer them a product that they can feel good about – a local, all-natural crafted spritzer that tastes delicious.”

– Jared Williamson, Lead Brewer at Schlafly Beer

Boomerang Lemon Lime will debut in the St. Louis area on December 6 and is expected to hit full distribution shortly after that date.  You can expect to find this new Year-Round offering available in 6-packs of 12 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 Boomerang Lemon Lime from Schlafly Beer

Release – Year-Round/Boomerang Series; launching December 6, 2019
Style – Hybrid (Mead/Spritzer)
ABV – 4%
Ingredients – Water, honey and natural citrus flavor
Calories – 90
Carbs – 3 grams
Fun Fact – “Boomerang will be the first new release from Schlafly Beer in 2020, and it is the first new year-round product to be packaged only in cans by the brewery.”
Availability – 6-packs of 12 oz. cans & draft
Beer Finder – http://www.schlafly.com/beer-finder/

 

Founders Brewing Co. to Introduce Más Agave Grapefruit Alongside Re-release of Más Agave in 2020

mas_agave_grapefruit_12oz_bottleFounders Brewing Co. (Grand Rapids, Michigan) has officially announced that it will release Más Agave Barrel-aged Imperial Lime Gose in tandem with its first variant, Más Agave Grapefruit, in May 2020.

First introduced in 2019 and back to reclaim the summertime slot in Founders Brewing Co.’s Barrel-Aged Series, Más Agave is a margarita-inspired Imperial Gose “brewed with agave, lime and sea salt and then aged . . . in tequila barrels for just the right amount of kick.” Ridiculously smooth and easy drinking for 10% ABV, Más Agave is “a party in a bottle.”

New for 2020, Más Agave Grapefruit takes Más Agave to a new level after it is removed from the barrels by getting “a dose of fresh grapefruit juice to ramp up the tanginess and to pay homage to [Founders Brewing Co.’s] other favorite tequila-based cocktail, the Paloma.”  Also coming in at around 10% ABV, Más Agave Grapefruit is “sweet, salty, and mouth-puckeringly delicious.”

Más Agave and Más Agave Grapefruit will both release in May and are scheduled to hang around into July 2020.  You can expect to find both of these Limited Release offerings available in 4-packs of 12 oz. bottles, 750ml bottles and on draft at select craft beer-friendly establishments located in Alabama, Florida, Michigan and throughout the rest of Founders Brewing Co.’s nationwide distribution area.  Prost!

Vital Information for Más Agave from Founders Brewing Co.

Release – Limited/Barrel-Aged Series; May – July 2020
Style – Imperial Gose
ABV – 10%
IBUs – 20
Added Ingredients – Agave, lime & sea salt
Treatment – Aged in Tequila barrels
Availability – 4-packs of 12 oz. bottles, 750ml bottles & draft
Beer Finder – https://foundersbrewing.com/beer/find-our-beer/

Vital Information for Más Agave Grapefruit from Founders Brewing Co.

Release – Limited/Barrel-Aged Series; May – July 2020
Style – Imperial Gose
ABV – 10% (+/-)
IBUs – ???
Added Ingredients – Agave, lime, sea salt & grapefruit juice
Treatment – Aged in Tequila barrels
Availability – 4-packs of 12 oz. bottles, 750ml bottles & draft
Beer Finder – https://foundersbrewing.com/beer/find-our-beer/