Tasting Notes: Lo-Res Sesher IPA from Sixpoint Brewery

LoResTasting Notes keeps the hop theme this week, but we adjust our focus a bit as we get into a few cans of Lo-Res Sesher IPA from Sixpoint Brewery (Brooklyn, New York).

Not too long ago, we provided you with the news that Sixpoint Brewery was fending off the heat of summer with the release of Lo-Res Sesher IPA.  Arriving as the smallest sibling in the Resin family of beers, Lo-Res is a Session India Pale Ale that changes the resolution to “focus on the juice.”  This easy-drinker has been heavily dosed with Mandarina Bavaria hops to “provide a huge citrusy blast, while a pale, dry body finishes super clean and easy.” Thanks to its 4.5% ABV, you can enjoy a couple Lo-Res Sesher IPAs “before things get pixelated.”  This Limited Release offering is available now in 8-packs of 12 oz. cans and on draft at craft beer establishments located in Alabama, Florida, New York and throughout the rest of Sixpoint’s distribution area.

Now that all the fine details are covered, let’s zoom out a bit and take in all that Lo-Res Sesher IPA has to offer by jotting down some Tasting Notes.

Tasting Notes for Lo-Res Sesher IPA from Sixpoint Brewery

Appearance:  Lo-Res pours up a slightly hazy, golden yellow-colored brew that holds some bright orange tones as well.  When held to direct light, the liquid radiates with bright, lemon yellow hues.  A meandering carbonation presence can be seen feeding the half finger of wispy white foam capping the beer.  Retention is decent, but it eventually fades to a bubbly ring that leaves thin, airy tracts of lace behind whenever the glass is jostled.

Aroma:  From the first whiff, it is abundantly clear that the brewers at Sixpoint were focused on coaxing out the fruity characteristics of the chosen hops.  I say that because the aroma is not translating as the expected dank hoppiness . . . no, what we got here is a whole lot of nice and clean citrus notes translating primarily as tangerine and orange.  A touch of sweetness creeps in along with just a breath of bitterness, but this profile is mostly concerned with juicy citrus fruit.  Smells of summer.

Taste:  There is no denying that Lo-Res is the lil’ bro to Resin because that hop bite is alive and well in the flavor department.  Aggressively dank, the bitterness impressively asserts itself before easing back a bit to allow notes of tangerine zest and juice a chance to get some attention.  That bite returns with some grapefruit bitterness just before a slight amount of nondescript, balancing sweetness arrives to close things out.

Mouthfeel:  This Session IPA is light in body with a moderate carbonation level to supply an easy-drinking and refreshing experience.  Although it is mostly bitter on the palate, it dries out nicely for a wonderfully clean finish.  As you would expect from the style, the ABV plays no part here.  The aftertaste is just a bit of grapefruit zest.

Final Thoughts:  Lo-Res Sesher IPA may be a great deal smaller in size, but it certainly maintains its familial ties to Resin IIPA and Hi-Res IIIPA.  This Session IPA mirrors its family’s hop-laden personality and edge, but it does so in a way that somehow keeps it easy-drinking and gulp-worthy to basically provide its drinker a big ol’ IPA experience that’s wrapped up in a 4.5% ABV package.  It may not be a 1-UP to the traditional IPA, but Lo-Res Sesher IPA is certainly here to provide us all with a cheat code that allows us to enjoy as many pours of hoppy goodness as we want.  That’s definitely something I can get behind.  Be sure to check out Lo-Res before it’s game over on this Limited Release offering.  Prost!

 

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Tasting Notes: TripleTail Tropical IPA from SweetWater Brewing Company

SWTripleTailThis week’s edition of Tasting Notes returns to the land of lupulin for a hop fix as we get into some TripleTail Tropical India Pale Ale from SweetWater Brewing Company (Atlanta, Georgia).

Released back in June as SweetWater’s newest Catch n’ Release Seasonal, the summer-appropriate TripleTail “weaves juicy and bodacious hops with notes of papaya, pineapple and passionfruit into this lush hop-forward IPA.”  Clocking in at an incredibly reasonable 5.5% ABV, this easy-drinker promises to “refresh from sun up to sun down.”  TripleTail Tropical IPA is available now, and you can track it down in 12 oz. cans, 12 oz. bottles, Variety 12-packs and on draft at craft beer establishments located in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and throughout the rest of SweetWater Brewing’s distribution footprint.

Now that we have all that background information out of the way, let’s find a place to lounge and get into some Tasting Notes!

Tasting Notes for TripleTail Tropical India Pale Ale from SweetWater Brewing Company

Appearance:  TripleTail fills the glass as a soft orange-colored brew wearing two fingers of fluffy, bright white foam.  Held to direct light, things change dramatically as the beer gains vibrancy and exposes a sunny golden yellow residing within.  The body has just a touch of haze to it, but you can still easily spot a gentle carbonation presence bubbling away.  Head retention is fantastic, falling only slightly to a lasting finger of chunky foam that effortlessly notches the glass with lace.

Aroma:  Tropical hop notes burst from the glass with papaya leading the way.  Ripe pineapple then takes control as things move in more of a dank hop direction.  A little lemon zest turns up just before the profile closes with some crackery malt sweetness.

Taste:  Although absent in the aroma, the passionfruit really asserts itself here alongside that papaya.  Pineapple plays more of a subtle role behind a developing citrus character of grapefruit zest and juice.  Just a grace of sweetness works its way in at the end, but it is only present for a bit of balance.  One thing is clear here: TripleTail is all about those fruity, juicy hops.

Mouthfeel:  This beer is leaning toward the lighter side of medium in body with a medium carbonation level.  Although quite hoppy in aroma and flavor, the bitterness is tame thanks to one hell of a balancing act.  The beer dries up almost immediately, leaving the drinker with an incredibly clean and refreshing experience.  Aftertaste is minimal, but a bit of papaya and grapefruit can be found lingering.

Final Thoughts:  If you are looking for a refreshing summertime brew that is still serious about its hops, TripleTail Tropical IPA has you covered.  The true highlight of this beer is the fact that is just so damn clean and easy-drinking.  Those juicy and fruity hop notes are big, but not at the expense of refreshment.  Thanks to a tame level of bitterness and a low ABV, this beer is completely chill and has no aggressive qualities at all.  Its main goal is to establish that tropical beach vibe and allow you the opportunity to escape the heat, kick back and relax. Goal achieved, yo . . . and I do believe it is time for another.  Prost!

Tasting Notes: Sho’nuff from Against the Grain Brewery

AtGShoNuff1000This week we look to find out who’s the baddest mofo low down around this town by going toe to toe, glow to glow with Sho’nuff from Against the Grain Brewery (Louisville, Kentucky).

If you have not figured it out by now, Sho’nuff – and this entire post for that matter – has been inspired by the flawless, classic 80’s film known simply as The Last Dragon.  Not only did the brewers at Against the Grain craft Sho’nuff to be “a low down Golden Ale”, but they also wanted this offering to pull double duty as a Belgian Table Bier.  Basically the inspiration behind what we now call Session Beers, the low ABV Table Beer is an easy-drinking but full-flavored brew that “is meant to be consumed with food but also [stand] well on its own.”

At 4.9% ABV, Sho’nuff is “the beer for bad mo-fo’s” that can mercilessly handle anything you throw at it.  Need a beer that can stand up to just about any food coming at you?  Sho’nuff has got you covered.  Need a brew to crush after a long day in the heat?  No problem.  Looking to make a few mistakes and wish to shotgun the Shogun?  Just follow the “Puncture Here” instructions clearly marked on the can and do some work.  Sure, you may have to deal with some attitude and kiss some Converse from time to time, but Sho’nuff is here for you on draft and in 4-packs of 16 oz. cans.  Look for this brew to be available at craft beer-focused establishments located in Alabama, Florida, Kentucky and throughout the rest of Against the Grain’s distribution area.

Alright, no more games.  Let’s face the Shogun and get into these Tasting Notes!

Tasting Notes for Sho’nuff from Against the Grain Brewery

Appearance:  Sho’nuff presents itself as a shimmering bronze-colored brew wearing a finger of bubbly, slightly off-white foam.  When held to the light, the beer gains vibrancy and glows with deep gold and orange hues.  The body is clear and displays a dutiful carbonation presence streaming within.  Head retention is decent, but the foam eventually recedes to a chunky ring that lays down gobs of lace from time to time.  Sho’nuff asks, “Am I the prettiest?”  And we emphatically answer, “Sho’nuff.”

Aroma: With all the bready notes kickin’ around in here, you’d think you just walked into Daddy Green’s Pizza.  This beer is just billowing with fresh-baked, crusty bread goodness.  It has a nice crackery quality to it, but tones of heartier grains push through at times. An underlying spicy rye character closes out the nose by adding a bit of complexity.

Taste:  Those bready aromas translate beautifully into the flavor.  Mostly biscuity, a lovely but restrained rye note surfaces to add just enough depth with added grain character and a touch of spice.  Only here for balance, the hops are light and lend further support to the rye’s spicy character.  The yeast plays a much bigger role here by reinforcing the bready notes and also adding some fruity notes of apple and pear.

Mouthfeel:  Sho’nuff is on the medium side of light in body with a moderate carbonation level.  This allows this brew to come across as much more substantial than it is.  At an easy-drinking 4.9% ABV, the beer hits the palate with a beautiful balance that tips ever so slightly toward the sweet side.  Aftertaste is minimal, but a little biscuity malt lingers.

Final Thoughts: A wise man once said that “those who are bound by desire see only that which can be held in their hands”, and that’s kind of a perfect way of looking at the Table Beer’s place in craft beer these days.  In a world where over-the-top ABVs, dank hoppiness, and extreme flavors reign supreme, the Table Beer has no desire to be more that what it is.  Subtly confident, this low-ABV style is here to supply beer lovers with an easy-drinking experience meant to be enjoyed with food or on its own.  Its seemingly-simplistic and complementary character is meant to bring out the beauty that exists in the meal/world surrounding it.  In doing so, it transcends trends and shows its own beauty by proving that complexity can exist in simplicity.  Having learned this lesson, Sho’Nuff does just that but with a Shogun of Harlem level of personality.  If you get this beer to the designated place at the designated time, it will gladly designate your ass with a proper Table Beer experience.  Playtime is over, kids.  Step up, open your mind, and learn for yourself who’s the master of the Table Beer.  Prost!

Tasting Notes: The Love from Starr Hill Brewery

LoveCan1000This week’s Tasting Notes brings it in for the real thing as we experience The Love Wheat Beer from Starr Hill Brewery (Charlottesville, Virginia).

The Love comes to us by way of Starr Hill’s new Summer Jam Can Variety Pack, the brewery’s first ever mixed 16-pack of 12 oz. cans (click here for more details).  This established, Year-Round offering is a German Hefeweizen that “is distinguished by its extremely light body and fruity aroma, finished with spicy notes.”  At just 5.1% ABV and 9 IBUs, The Love is an easy-drinking, approachable beer that is a fantastic go-to for any occasion or season.  You can find The Love in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles, in the Summer Jam Can Variety Pack and on draft at craft beer establishments located in Alabama, Virginia and throughout the rest of Starr Hill Brewery’s distribution area.

Alright, let’s get into some Tasting Notes and see what The Love is all about!

Tasting Notes for The Love Wheat Beer from Starr Hill Brewery

Appearance: The Love hits the glass as a hazy, golden rod-colored brew topped with nearly two fingers of pure white, pillowy foam.  Held to the light, a myriad of yellows, from light straw to deep gold, burst forth.  The body holds its haze, but a lively carbonation presence can be seen working hard within.  The head has fantastic retention, and that foam leaves behind some impressive, chunky lace patterns whenever the beer is jostled.

Aroma: Just as they should, banana and clove are the first notes to waft from the glass.  Hearty wheat provides a solid, grain-based backbone.  A grace of bubblegum develops before the profile closes with a refreshing breeze of lemon zest.

Taste:  The yeast is hard at work here as well with clove and other light phenols leading the way.  An earthy and floral character develops to work beautifully alongside the wheat malts and a light spice note.  Citrus tones brighten things up a bit before the beer settles in for a very satisfying finish filled with ripe banana.

Mouthfeel: This brew is medium in body with a bright carbonation level.  This provides an experience that is wonderfully light and crisp on the palate.  The ABV can be located if you go looking, but it has very little intention to make itself known.  Aftertaste is minimal, but a little bit of banana and bubblegum does hang around from time to time.

Final Thoughts:   Full disclosure – this is not my first experience with this beer and it certainly will not be my last.  The Love impressed me a long time ago when a first sip emphatically read as a German Hefeweizen.  I know what the label description says, but I have had a good amount of encounters with American takes on the style that left me disappointed or wanting more.  Not the case with The Love.  This beer proudly possesses that needed and showcased balance between the wheat foundation and the playful yeast character.  Then we have the citrus qualities that bring it all together to result in an approachable, refreshing offering that we all long for after a hot and humid summer day. The folks at Starr Hill did a fantastic job with this beer, and it is clear that they did their homework before placing the word “German” anywhere on the label.  That’s respect, and it shows in each and every pour of The Love.  Well done.  Prost!

Tasting Notes: Blackbeard’s Breakfast from Heavy Seas Beer

HSBlackbeardbottleIn this latest installment of Tasting Notes, we start our day as pirates do by cracking an early bottle of Blackbeard’s Breakfast Bourbon Barrel Aged Porter Brewed with Coffee from Heavy Seas Beer (Baltimore, Maryland).

The folks at Heavy Seas Beer release Blackbeard’s Breakfast once a year as a part of their Uncharted Waters Series, a lineup of barrel/wood-aged limited releases that exhibits elevated levels of brewing prowess.  This offering is an Imperial Porter that has been brewed with English malts and Dark Sumatra coffee from Chesapeake Bay Roasting Company.  Once the brewing is completed, Blackbeard’s Breakfast is finished off with a long rest in Bourbon barrels so that it may pick up notes of vanilla, oak and whiskey.  Weighing in at a sizable 10% ABV, Blackbeard’s Breakfast promises to be an experience that “will please coffee and beer connoisseurs alike.”  Blackbeard’s Breakfast had an official release schedule set from May to June, but you can still find this limited release gracing shelves (22 oz. bottles) and taps at select craft beer establishments located in Alabama, Florida, Maryland and throughout the rest of Heavy Seas Beer’s distribution footprint.

With all that background information now covered, I do believe that means we can allow the day-drinking and Tasting Notes to commence!

Tasting Notes for Blackbeard’s Breakfast (2017) from Heavy Seas Beer

Appearance: Blackbeard’s Breakfast fills the glass as an inky black brew that wears a full finger of brown sugar-colored foam.  Held to direct light, the darkness holds and the beer remains opaque, glossy and reflective.  The creamy head eventually gives out and is reduced to a thin, but complete ring.  Since the beer is slick on the glass, any lace that grabs ahold ultimately slips back down into the dark depths below.

Aroma: Dark sugars and molasses grab the nose immediately with a deep, rich sweetness.  Chocolate and caramel easily build off of that base, and the aroma opens further to expose subtle notes cherry, coconut and toffee. All of this is enrobed in a warm, comforting bourbon note that is filled with oak and vanilla tones. Just a waft of coffee breezes through at the end to finish off the profile.

Taste: Although nearly lost in the aroma, the coffee really finds its home here in the flavor.  Pronounced with a beautiful roasted character, the coffee acts as the ideal note to introduce all the flavors that await their moment.  Those flavors include notes of dark chocolate-covered almonds, nearly burnt caramel, creamy vanilla, brown sugar, and sticky toffee.  Bourbon laces itself through all these notes to administer the perfect dose of booze and woodsy character.

Mouthfeel: This Imperial Porter falls on the lighter side of full-bodied with a soft carbonation presence.  This makes for a chewy experience that still remains a bit silken.  Mostly sweet on the palate, the coffee and hops do add a necessary level of bitterness to keep the beer from becoming cloying.  Although they do take their time to clear out, this beer’s flavors are more than welcomed to linger.  Noticeable but not overwhelming, the 10% ABV adds a building warmth in the belly and throat to the experience.  The aftertaste is all molasses and roasted coffee.

Final Thoughts: If you have been looking for a wildly consistent and affordable Bourbon barrel-aged brew to stock up on, look no further than Blackbeard’s Breakfast.  This beer is exactly as it should be.  To start, it avoids the pitfall that many barrel-aged beers fall into, and that is completely losing the base beer behind the barrel character.  Blackbeard’s Breakfast is a big ol’ Porter and it reads as such.  Its English malts retain their integrity to lay a firm and established base of nutty, roasty, chocolaty and toffee-filled notes.  The coffee then enters the picture to support the malts with added roastiness while also lending a touch of balancing bitterness to the equation.  The bourbon waits for that foundation to be properly set before it glides in with its tones of vanilla, oak and booze.  The bourbon has personality, but it is not brash.  It knows it place and that is as a piece of a whole.  The base beer benefits from the Bourbon just as the Bourbon benefits from the base beer.  Blackbeard’s Breakfast finds this harmony, and it truly is a beautiful thing to experience.  Be sure to check it out before this year’s release disappears from shelves and taps.  Prost!

Tasting Notes: d-Unkle Peanut Dunkle Weizen from Garage Brewing Co.

GarageDunkel1000Tasting Notes starts the week off in a bit of a nutty direction as we take a look at d-Unkle Peanut Dunkle Weizen from Garage Brewing Co. (Temecula, California).

Released as a part of the brewery’s line of Specialty Beers, d-Unkle Peanut Dunkle Weizen is Garage Brewing Co.’s riff on the traditional German Dunkelweizen.  “Dedicated to your favorite Uncle that might just be a bit nutty”, d-Unkle Peanut Dunkle Weizen combines the style’s trademark dark malt and wheat characteristics with the flavor of roasted peanuts.  Full-flavored but still easy drinking, this brew clocks in at just 4.8% ABV and 14 IBUs.  d-Unkle Peanut Dunkle Weizen is nearing the end of its limited run, but it can still be found in 22 oz. bottles and on draft at craft beer establishments located within Garage Brewing’s distribution area.

Alright, you wanna get nuts?  C’mon, let’s get nuts and get into some Tasting Notes!

Tasting Notes for d-Unkle Peanut Dunkle Weizen from Garage Brewing Co.

Appearance: d-Unkle Peanut fills the glass as a chestnut brown-colored brew that is capped with a creamy finger of light tan foam.  Held to the light, red and amber hues appear to give the brown an added pop of vibrancy.  Although the beer is a bit hazy, a healthy carbonation level can be seen coursing within.  The head shows good retention, eventually falling to a silken, half finger that lasts throughout.  Lines of lace draw across the glass after each sip, but most eventually slip slowly back down into the top cap.

Aroma: The first thing to hit the nose is straight up peanut butter.  This is definitely a surprise as I was expecting more of a roasted nut note, but this will do just fine.  That peanut buttery goodness is surrounded by the beer’s dark wheat malts to conjure up youthful memories of spreading unreasonably sized gobs of delicious peanut butter across really good wheat bread – no jelly necessary.

Taste: The flavor moves in more of a Dunkelweizen direction with dark, deep wheat tones leading the way.  The hops surface with a touch of bitterness before being pulled back under by notes of cereal, fresh baked bread, and just a bit of banana and clove.  Just as we near the finish, the peanuts show up to lock in with all other aspects of this beer.  This thing has tons of flavor, but it is not muddled at all.  Completely direct, clean and cohesive.

Mouthfeel: This Dunkel falls on the lighter side of medium in body with a medium carbonation level.  It is lightly sweet on the palate, but that is easily countered by the beer’s roasty character and balancing bitterness.  The fact that this beer is just 4.8% ABV is ridiculously awesome, and it keeps the experience delightfully easy-drinking.  As it should be, the aftertaste is all roasted peanut.

Final Thoughts:  To be completely honest, I was more than a little excited when I first laid eyes on d-Unkle Peanut Dunkle Weizen.  This is for two reasons:

  1. I am a devout lover of German styles and you really do not see many American breweries taking on the Dunkelweizen these days.
  2. It is creative take on the Dunkelweizen, and for some reason that is an incredibly rare occurrence in craft beer.

With that now disclosed, this beer had a lot of high hopes to live up to . . . and it more than met those expectations.  It all starts in the aroma as that peanut butter note is so spot on that it will easily stop anyone in their tracks to take notice.  More surprises await as you move into the arena of flavor and discover how effortlessly the roasted peanuts merge with the style’s defining characteristics of wheat, banana and clove.  Then you wrap all of that in a full-flavored package that is still somehow light and easy-drinking?  I mean, it is absolutely dumbfounding how well this beer came together, and it left the entire Mashing In crew wondering why more breweries are not experimenting with peanuts in Dunkelweizens?  It just works.  Seriously, why isn’t this a thing?  To the folks at Garage Brewing Co., good on you for making d-Unkle Peanut Dunkle Weizen a reality.  You’ve got a winner here.  Prost!

Tasting Notes: SWEET ACTION Blonde from Sixpoint Brewery

6ptSweetActionCan1000As another week comes to a close, the latest Tasting Notes segment has us slipping into the weekend with a little SWEET ACTION from Sixpoint Brewery (Brooklyn, New York).

Staying true to their evolutionary, mad science approach to craft brewing, Sixpoint Brewery recently announced that they have reformulated their entire line of Core beers to create “the rawest, juiciest, and most modern iterations” to date.  The affected beers and their updates are as follows:

  • BENGALI IPA – “With BENGALI, we tweaked the hop character, and incorporated some new hop strains we’ve just recently acquired, to seriously dial in that citrusy-tropical aroma. Then we smoothed out the texture with oats, and dried out the malt body to let the hops take full control. This thing is all about huge tropical character up front, and a clean, dry finish.”
  • THE CRISP Pilz – “We went to Germany for this one. When it comes to German hops, American breweries are often left with the scraps (we call that the “hop sausage.”) So we go straight to the source to get the prime cuts. For the first time, the Tettnanger and Hallertau hops in THE CRISP are sourced 100% directly from farmers in Tettnang, Germany — now that bright, floral aroma on this dialed in Pilz comes absolutely flying out of the glass.”
  • RESIN IIPA – “This dank dive into the hop cone just got more potent — unfiltered RESIN is insane. The hop aroma coming off this thing is almost scary.”
  • SWEET ACTION Blonde – “You can think of SWEET ACTION Blonde as a cleaner take on SWEET ACTION, with a massive focus on the juice. The addition of Huell Melon hops, a new and super legit strain, plus the unfiltered nature of the beer give you an amazing hop aroma that you’ll still recognize as distinctly SWEET ACTION. It’s got aspects of a blonde ale, a wheat beer, and a juicy pale ale.”

To keep the packaging as fresh as the updated beers within, Sixpoint has added “both Canned On and Best By dates” to their cans.  Additionally, the 6-pack holders now include a “Freshness Window” – a clear opening on the bottom of the package – so that you can easily check these dates at the time of purchase.

The reformulated Core beers are available now in 6-packs of 12 oz. cans and on draft.  You can find these updated brews at craft beer establishments located in Alabama, Florida, New York and throughout the rest of Sixpoint Brewery’s distribution area.

The update information seems to indicate that SWEET ACTION has undergone the biggest overhaul of the four beers, so let’s crack open a can and take some Tasting Notes on this reinvented brew!

Tasting Notes for SWEET ACTION Blonde from Sixpoint Brewery

Appearance: After a careful pour, SWEET ACTION presents itself as burnt orange in color with a little over a finger of slightly off white foam sitting on top.  Held to direct light, the colors brighten to expose deep golden yellows that surround an orange core that remains at the beer’s center.  The beer is moderately hazy, but it still allows the drinker to observe the streaming carbonation presence within.  The head has fantastic retention, falling marginally to just under a finger of creamy foam.  This ever-lasting head leaves behind considerable chunks of lace all over the glass.

Aroma: The hops are definitely running this department.  Fresh and fruity hop notes of melon, tangerine and a touch of berry confidently lead the way for a more reserved malt sweetness.  The aroma is all business.  Attention grabbing, straight-forward and direct, its mission is to cut through all the BS to take you deeper into the SWEET ACTION experience.

Taste:  This is probably one of the cleanest representations of Huell Melon hop character that we have ever experienced.  This hop is clearly the star attraction here, and its melon notes are incredibly blatant and lovely.  A bit of orange zest comes through, but that melon just dominates the hop flavor profile.  Reserved but not anywhere near forgotten, the malts do surface toward the finish with a doughy, bread-like character to add some balancing sweetness to the equation.

Mouthfeel:  This brew is on the light side of medium in body with a crisp carbonation level to it.  The beer teases both the bitter and sweet areas of the palate.  The flavors do lightly linger a bit before clearing out, but this is more than welcomed considering that melon note just further adds to the beer’s overall refreshing and easy-drinking nature.  The 5% ABV is hinted at from time to time, but it is absolutely no cause for concern.  The aftertaste is just a touch of citrus zest.

Final Thoughts: Just as Sixpoint Brewery says in the updated description for SWEET ACTION, this brew seriously does show characteristics of three different styles.  To start, the appearance leads you to believe that you are looking at an American Wheat Beer. An American Pale Ale then boldly surfaces in the aromatic and flavor profiles with a forward hop character that is wonderfully balanced by the malts.  Finally, the mouthfeel goes all American Blonde Ale on you to supply an overall experience that is refreshing and approachable.  With all of this considered, it is easy to declare that the reformulated SWEET ACTION has all the moves necessary to capture and keep your attention for quite a while.  This beer is a hit and you really need to check it – and the rest of Sixpoint’s reinvented Core lineup – out as soon as possible.  Prost!

Tasting Notes: Grateful Pale Ale from Starr Hill Brewery

GratefullabelAlways grateful for another amazing week, we show our thanks by having a look at the newly “Remastered” version of Grateful Pale Ale from Starr Hill Brewery (Charlottesville, Virginia).

Not too long ago, we hit you with the news that Starr Hill Brewery had “Remastered” a classic by updating the recipe for their Grateful Pale Ale.  The brewers decided to take Grateful back in the direction of an American Pale Ale instead of a Session IPA.  The beer was tweaked so that it would carry a fuller mouthfeel to support “a revamped hop bill [featuring] Cascade, Mosaic, Centennial and Falconer’s Flight.”  Thanks to hop-bursting techniques, Grateful Pale Ale now has enhanced aroma and flavor profiles that have been carefully balanced by the beer’s sturdier malt backbone.  Grateful Pale Ale – Remastered is available now in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles, 12 oz. cans, and on draft at craft beer establishments located in Alabama, Virginia and throughout the rest of Starr Hill’s distribution area.

Now that the particulars are out of the way, let’s really see what these changes are all about by getting into some Tasting Notes!

Tasting Notes for Grateful Pale Ale – Remastered from Starr Hill Brewery

Appearance: Grateful Pale Ale pours up a soft golden in color with a little over a finger of white foam resting on top.  Held to the light, bright yellows gain vibrancy, push forward and dominate the color.  Despite a slight chill haze, the body is clear and shows off a vivacious carbonation presence.  The head recedes quickly to a fluffy ring that successfully lays down a complete sheet of lace on one side of the glass.

Aroma:  Lemon and orange zest make themselves known first with a very fresh floral tone following closely behind.  This opens a bit further to expose a bit of grassiness and grapefruit.  This fresh and citrusy aromatic profile just screams of refreshment and clean hop goodness.

Taste: Right off the sip, citrus gets all up on the palate with big notes of grapefruit, orange and tangerine (zest and juice).  That floral and grassy earthiness turns up here as well to break things up a bit.  All of this hop character eventually gives way to a softly sweet malt layer.  The malts are nondescript in flavor, adding just enough sweetness for balance.

Mouthfeel:  This Pale Ale is medium in body with a medium carbonation level.  The beer has good weight to it, allowing it to linger just a bit on the palate.  Although this brew is hop forward in flavor and aroma, the bitterness has been nearly canceled out with a beautiful balancing sweetness.  The ABV has minimal effect, and the beer proves to be wonderfully refreshing and easy-drinking.  A little orange zest is left behind to linger in the aftertaste.

Final Thoughts: With its newly reformulated recipe, Grateful Pale Ale – Remastered certainly harkens back to the days of the classic American Pale Ale in body and feel while still staying current with its pronounced but balanced hop character.  Don’t let us mislead you because this beer absolutely highlights all the citrusy and refreshing qualities possessed by the utilized hops.  Hop fiends will surely find plenty to like in Grateful Pale Ale, but there is more at work here that must be lauded. This beer’s dedication to the Pale Ale may appear subtle on the surface, but it easily gets your attention if you happen to go looking for it. Its mouthfeel has a luxurious weight and texture to it that you just cannot find in today’s Session IPAs.  Then you have Grateful’s laser-focused balance that gives you hop flavor with very little residual bitterness.  This approach to the American Pale Ale provides us with a beer that can either be crushed without a thought after mowing the lawn or slow-sipped and contemplated over while relaxing after dinner.  Grateful Pale Ale – Remastered has depth, and it is clear that a lot of thought went into its development.  Incredibly well done and we will definitely be back for more.  Prost!

Tasting Notes: Hatchery Series #2 – Mexican Style Lager from SweetWater Brewing Company

hatcheryMEXlabelNow that we have successfully completed the move of Mashing In’s headquarters, it is finally time to celebrate with a little Tasting Notes action featuring Hatchery Series #2 – Mexican Style Lager from SweetWater Brewing Company (Atlanta, Georgia).

Released as SweetWater Brewing’s official beer of Cinco de Mayo and summer (a.k.a. Lawnmower and Shower Beer Season), Mexican Style Lager is the second packaged release from the brewery’s Hatchery Series – a line of limited release beers (typically draft only) created on the brewery’s new pilot system.  For their take on the Mexican-style lager, SweetWater laid a base with a proper malt bill (2-Row, Flaked Maize, Vienna Malt, Carapils) and then dosed it with “El Dorado hops to give this brew slightly sweet, malty, and tropical fruit aromas.”  At just 4.8% ABV and 29 IBUs, Mexican Style Lager is an easy-drinking, go-to option meant for any occasion during the summer months.  12 oz. bottles of Hatchery Series #2 – Mexican Style Lager are available now exclusively in SweetWater’s Summer Variety Pack alongside Cool Breeze Cucumber Saison, Goin Coastal IPA with Pineapple, 420 Extra Pale Ale, and Hash Session IPA.

Now that the details are covered, that can only mean one thing: cerveza time!  Let’s get into these Tasting Notes!

Tasting Notes for Hatchery Series #2 – Mexican Style Lager from SweetWater Brewing Company

Appearance: Mexican Style Lager fills the glass as a bright golden brew topped with a finger of loose, pure white foam.  When held to the light, the beer radiates with tones of rich golds and electric yellows.  The body is perfectly clear and wonderfully displays the beer’s spirited carbonation activity.  The head has decent staying power, but eventually falls to a chunky ring that notches the glass after each pull.

Aroma: The aromatic experience begins with that alluring and quintessential lager note of lightly sweet, bready grains.  A touch of corn rises up and gives way to a delightful hop character.  Notes of apricot and sweet melon easily distinguish themselves, but do so in a manner that still allows room for those gorgeous malts to remain and bloom. Beautiful.

Taste: Malts once again lead the way with notes of quality bread, sweet corn, and just a dollop of honey.  The hops play more of a role here by really showcasing a pronounced apricot character, but a touch of pineapple and watermelon can be found kicking around in the back.  The fruitiness is relatively subtle, but just forward enough to give the flavor profile a bit of added depth and complexity many may find lacking in typical Mexican-style lagers.

Mouthfeel: Just as it should be, this lager is light in body with a pretty sizable carbonation presence.  The beer is playful on the palate with a slight sweetness that is consistently canceled by just enough hop bitterness.  Skillfully balanced, incredibly clean, nicely crisp and damn refreshing.  At just 4.8%, the ABV displays zero effort to make its presence known.  Aftertaste is a slight but wonderful mix of grain and apricot.

Final Thoughts: Hatchery Series #2 – Mexican Style Lager is exactly as billed . . .  a really good take on a Mexican-style lager.  Although the El Dorado hops are a fresh (and lovely) addition to this established style, the beer remains a beautiful homage to the many beers that came before it.  It pulls this off by really emphasizing each and every aspect of its malt bill to give it that incredibly recognizable lager grain quality.  By perfectly setting the dials marked “malt” and “hops”, the brewers at SweetWater have supplied their fans with a stunning lager that is somehow both simple and dynamic.  Those terms may sound contradictory, but those descriptors are truly a requirement for any great lager of this style.  You simply do not run across many memorable Mexican-style lagers, but Hatchery Series #2 – Mexican Style Lager absolutely is one.  Be sure to check it out this summer.  Prost!

Tasting Notes: Tropical IPA from Garage Brewing Co.

garageTropIPA1000Our well documented love of hops surfaces once again in this week’s installment of Tasting Notes as we have a look at the Seasonal release of Tropical IPA from Garage Brewing Co. (Temecula, California).

Established in 2013 in what was once an eight-bay garage, Garage Brewing Co. hit the California beer scene with a mission “to provide exceptional beer in an array of styles that appeal to a broad spectrum of beer lovers.”  Since many homebrewers got their start in a garage, Garage Brewing Co. uses their own to adopt the homebrewer’s freedom to dabble and experiment so that they can “stay on the cutting edge of the craft beer industry.”  This approach allows their brewing team to “maintain four or more year round styles and regularly rotate in five to six seasonal creations.”  The beers of Garage Brewing Co. are currently available in over 100 locations within the Inland Empire and San Diego County areas of California.

One of the most recent releases from Garage Brewing Co. is their Tropical IPA.  This Seasonal brew is an American India Pale Ale that has been heavily dosed with the flavors of grapefruit, pineapple and passion fruit.  At 7.5% ABV, this refreshing brew promises to be the perfect balance of tropical fruit notes and hoppy goodness.  Tropical IPA is available for a limited time in 22 oz. bottles.  It just so happens that we were lucky enough to get our hands on a bottle, so let’s pry off this cap and get to some Tasting Notes!

Tasting Notes for Tropical IPA from Garage Brewing Co.

Appearance: Tropical IPA fills the glass as a bright orange-colored brew with a frothy two fingers of white foam lounging comfortably on top.  Held to the light, sun-kissed yellows appear but that deep, vibrant orange holds its ground at the center of the pour.  The beer is pristine in clarity and displays an enthusiastic carbonation activity coursing within.  The head drops down to a complete and lasting finger that lays down wide sheets of lace after each sip.

Aroma: Tropical leads in the name and it certainly leads in the department of aromatics.  Incredibly clean notes of pineapple and grapefruit hit the olfactory quickly and clearly.  Seriously, the pineapple is impressively pronounced and enticing.  Orange and tangerine notes reinforce the tropical character before giving way to a lightly sweet grain presence.  A wisp of hop resin breezes through to close things out.

Taste: Juicy, tropical fruit notes once again strike first with passion fruit and grapefruit immediately establishing their dominance.  Those notes eventually allow the hop character the chance to show off a playful bitterness that bounces back and forth between pine and the zest of various citrus fruits.  Pineapple slips through the back door with the malts to lay down a bit of balancing sweetness.

Mouthfeel: This IPA is on the lighter side of medium in body and has a prickly carbonation level.  This combination keeps the beer easy-drinking and constantly begging for another sip.  The hops do have some stick to them, and this allows the beer’s flavors and bitterness to linger a bit.  Both sweet and bitter on the palate, balance is eventually achieved so the beer can clear out and allow the palate to reset.  At 7.5%, the ABV presence is well masked and never makes a noticeable appearance. The aftertaste keeps things tropical with lasting notes of pineapple and grapefruit.

Final Thoughts: Garage Brewing’s Tropical IPA absolutely showed up to represent itself in the incredibly popular fruited IPA segment while still remaining true to its West Coast IPA roots.  The tropical fruits definitely get top billing in this release, but the hops are still given a chance to work and add their own distinctive dimension to the experience.  The real showstopper with this beer is the aroma.  I simply cannot think of another beer that has such a blatant and pronounced pineapple character billowing from the glass like this Tropical IPA.  Once you combine that with the juicy tropical fruit flavors and the hidden ABV, you are left with a ridiculously easy-drinking and refreshing IPA that is a fantastic go-to option after any hot day.  If you happen to be in the SoCal area, be sure to give this one a shot.  Prost!