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Thursday, March 13th 2014

2020 IPA
(Golden Road Brewing)

2020 IPA is Golden Road Brewing's fourth release in their Custom IPA Series. I'm sure we speak for all of the hopheads out there when we say, "keep 'em coming". This LA brewery has done a fantastic job with these seasonal IPAs and we'd love to see them expand the series and bring on a few more varieties of the most popular style of craft beer in America. Cheers!

 

From the Golden Road Brewing site:


"For the Spring 2014 Release in our Custom IPA Series we’ve partnered with the LA River Revitalization Corp to brew 2020 IPA—a dark red IPA, with a rich pine aroma, light roast, all balanced by a hearty hop bitterness.  2020 IPA celebrates the Greenway 2020 Project, which will connect 51 miles of the LA River—transforming it from a neglected, concrete riverbed to a connected, public green space by the year 2020."

 

Here we go...


Pour - pours a dark amber with plenty of reddish highlights and hues and a great looking inch of off-white head on top. The grains used really give this beer a great look when out of the can and into a glass.


Aroma - resiny, sticky hoppy goodness combines with a solid amount of malt sweetness - has a faint aroma of sweet Hawaiian bread. Love the deep citrusy notes, blood oranges and ruby red grapefruit. 


Taste - the first sip brings a mouthful of maltiness and hoppiness fighting for supremacy. Ultimately the hops are the victor and wave of cirtrusy and pine floods the palate. The bready, toasty malt flavors provide this IPA with some distinct character while the hops remind us that this one comes from Southern California. 


Overall - there may not be a Red IPA category but if there was this would be an excellent example of the style. This is a very well-balanced beer with a solid malt backbone but evened out by an aggressive hoppiness. We really enjoyed this one and look forward to whatever comes next from Golden Road. 


Note -  Golden Road Brewing's Custom IPA Series so far includes four different beers to correspond with the four seasons. They include Heal the Bay IPA, Burning Bush IPA (a smoked IPA which we found amazing), Better Weather IPA, and now 2020 IPA. 



Hops Scale:
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2020 IPA
Style: American IPA
Brewery: Golden Road Brewing
City: 
Los Angeles, California  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: 2-Row, Crystal 77
Hops: Warrior, Palisade, Cascade, Chinook, Simcoe, Ahtanum
ABV: 7.4%
IBUs: 74
Date: March 13th, 2014

Posted by Russ


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Wednesday, January 15th 2014

Roughtail IPA
(Roughtail Brewing Company)

Roughtail IPA is one of three beers that Roughtail Brewing is currently canning. This Oklahoma brewery opened its doors last year and has since been brewing up some very well-received beers. We definitely dig their can designs and are looking forward to our first tastes of their beers! Cheers!


From the Roughtail Brewing site:


"Our flagship IPA is brewed to kick your taste buds in the ass and leave your palate begging for mercy. Pine, resin, and citrus aromas leap out of the glass. The extreme bitterness hits next, to give you your fix. The finish is dry, clean, and leaves you wanting more. We put a crazy amount of hops into this beer just for you, fellow hop heads. Enjoy."


Here we go...


Pour - darker amber in color with some suspended yeast and a fluffy inch of head on top. Lacing inside the glass is pretty impressive with this beer. Wow. Okay, let's do this.


Aroma - wow, talk about a huge amount of fresh hop aroma streaming out of the can! You can almost taste it. Loads of pine, oranges, pineapple, and other tropical smells that are just fantastic. 


Taste - one taste and the IBUs are at work. The palate really gets a hop workout almost immediately. This is sticky, resiny, and chewy with an absolute ton of bitter hoppy goodness that will have you licking your teeth. Very balanced with a solid malt backbone, this almost drinks like a bigger beer than it is. 


Overall - these guys aren't messing around when it comes to making an IPA for IPA lovers. This is a very solid example of the most popular style of craft beer in America and it shouldn't get lost in the crowd. With an absolute train load of hop aroma and flavor Roughtail IPA hits all the marks. If you favor beers that are of the hoppy persuasion than this one is certainly worthy of your wishlist. 


Note - Roughtail Brewing takes its name from the rought-tailed gecko which although not native, can now be found in Texas and the American Southwest. The brewery's founders felt that reptile's look and demeanor embodied what their brewing style was all about. 


Roughtail IPA
Style: American IPA
Brewery: Roughtail Brewing Company
City: 
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: Columbus, Nugget, Summit
ABV: 7.0%
IBUs: 80
Date: January 15th, 2014

Posted by Russ


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Saturday, January 11th 2014

REEB Ryed IPA
(Oskar Blues Brewery)

Our very first CROWLER™ from Oskar Blues. Thanks to our friend Mike for making this possible. If you aren't familar with the awesomeness that is a Crowler™, you can learn all about it HERE. As for this fresh, hoppy, rye IPA, we can't wait to crack this quart-sized can of goodness open and enjoy what's inside. 

From the Oskar Blues site:

“In the Ozarks, the masked bandit is notorious for raiding the corn patch. Or, for finding—and eating—the perfectly ripe watermelon in the garden just before it's picked. Our handcrafted Masked Bandit India Pale Ale is a black rye IPA that is raccoon proof…as long as the raccoon in your neck of the woods isn't a hop head.”

Here we go...


Pour - dark amber with ruby hues and a fluffy white head. Pours clean and with nice carbonation. Definitely impressed by how well this travelled and how it pours and looks. 


Aroma - big whiffs of piney hops with some citrus and slight fruity aromas. Smells fresh and hoppy that's for sure, sort of like I just poured my own draught beer from the taps at The Tasty Weasel! 


Taste - plenty of big hoppy flavors with some spicey rye notes in the finish. Nice and balanced with citrus and some caramel sweetness forming a solid malt background. Very easy drinking and one for the hopheads for sure. 


Overall - this is an altogether excellent IPA! Smooth, crisp, hoppy, with just that kick of rye spiciness. If the folks at Oskar Blues are ever considering another IPA for year-round canning, well, we would certainly be in favor of this brew being made available to the masses. 

 

Notes - REEB is the name of Oskar Blues' owner, Dale Katechis' mountain bike company. You can learn more about these incredible bikes by checking out www.REEBcycles.com 

 



Hops Scale:
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REEB Ryed IPA
Style: American IPA
Brewery: Oskar Blues Brewery
City: 
Longmont, Colorado  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 32 oz. CROWLER™
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 7.0%
IBUs: ???
Date: January 11th, 2014

Posted by Russ


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Monday, January 6th 2014

Masked Bandit IPA
(Piney River Brewing Company)

Piney River Brewing Company's Masked Bandit IPA is one of several new seasonal beers this southern Missouri brewery has recently put into cans. This small brewery makes a lot of great beers for craft beer lovers in the Ozarks and recently took home a well-deserved gold medal at this past GABF for their Old Tom Porter. We're looking forward to this one for sure!

From the Piney River Brewing site:

“In the Ozarks, the masked bandit is notorious for raiding the corn patch. Or, for finding—and eating—the perfectly ripe watermelon in the garden just before it's picked. Our handcrafted Masked Bandit India Pale Ale is a black rye IPA that is raccoon proof…as long as the raccoon in your neck of the woods isn't a hop head.”

Here we go...


Pour - dark auburn in appearance with a slightly tan head. Looks very quaffable, clean, and enticing.


Aroma - dank, chewy, piney, hop goodness hits the senses full on! The citra and centennial hops really shine and make this beer extremely aromatic. Hopheads take notice.


Taste - one sip and I'm smiling. Fresh, flavorful hops are in the foreground here and they do wonders for this beer. The rye adds a bit of spiciness and a dry finish. I am really digging the flavors of this beer, the hops provide an almost juicy quality and a resiny, bitterness for that perfect hop fix. WIth some of the black IPAs out there I get a slight taste of licorice or anise that I'm not overly fond of, Masked Bandit on the other hand is a smooth, very hoppy beer with a balanced malt background that compliments the hops quite well.


Overall - fantastic. The pungent hop aromas, the spicy rye malt, and the balance between bitter and sweet is done extremely well. Very crisp and clean, full-bodied, and delicious. Piney River is kicking out some incredible beers and flying under the radar of many craft beer lovers. This is definitely a beer to seek out or detour to enjoy at in the brewery's BARn. Cheers!


Note - Piney River's other winter seasonal is called Hot Date. This unique brew is an amber ale made with the addition of dates and chipotle peppers. Stay tuned for a review of that one soon. Cheers!

 



Hops Scale:
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Can Scale:
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Masked Bandit IPA
Style: American IPA
Brewery: Piney River Brewing Company
City: 
Bucryus, Missouri  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: Dark Malts and Rye
Hops: Citra and Centennial
ABV: 7.0%
IBUs: 70
Date: January 6th, 2014

Posted by Russ


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Saturday, August 10th 2013

Twister Creek IPA
(Denali Brewing Company)

If I was to make a beer run to Denali Brewing Company to pick up some cans of Twister Creek IPA it would be a pretty epic journey...the drive from my house to the brewery is about 4,500 miles. Thankfully a friend in Alaska sent some airmail and it arrived tasting extremely fresh. Very thankful for the chance to try this harder to find IPA! Cheers!

From the Denali Brewing site:

"When it was discovered that hops not only added bitterness and aroma to beer, but made it last longer too, British brewers created the IPA style to survive the long voyage to India, where her majesty’s thirsty troops awaited unspoiled ale. Twister Creek IPA combines the finest Pacific Northwest and British hops atop a foundation malty enough to balance its 71 IBUs. High octane, full-flavored, well-balanced. This is the beer you’ve been thirsty for."

Here we go...


Pour - light gold in appearance with a great looking inch of white foam on top. Clean and clear in the glass, very nice looking pour. 


Aroma - big whiffs of resiny pine, fresh cut grass, and citrus. Some hints of pale malty sweetness. Aromatic and inviting.


Taste - bitterness invades the tongue with grapefruit, sweet orange, and lemon peel flavors along with some floral and fresh hop notes. The malt sweetness is present in the aftertaste and stays on the tongue duking it out with the hop bitterness. Solid IPA that is crisp, hoppy, and refreshing. 


Overall - well-balanced IPA that is both aromatic and flavorful. Definitely could drink a few pints of this at the bar and be happy with the decision. Too bad this one is so hard to get a hold of! 


Note - Twister Creek takes its name from a stream located not from Talkeetna which is known for its fishing. Its also the name of a restaurant in town. Along with Twister Creek IPA, Denali Brewing is also canning their Single Engine Red and Mother Ale. 

 



Hops Scale:
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Can Scale:
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Twister Creek IPA
Style: American IPA
Brewery: Denali Brewing Company
City: 
Talkeetna, Alaska  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 6.5%
IBUs: 71
Date: August 10th, 2013

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Monday, July 8th 2013

Sculpin IPA
(Ballast Point Brewing Company)

When we first heard that yet another world class IPA was coming to cans, we were pretty damn excited. Sculpin is one of those beers that never lets a hophead down and we couldn't wait to get our hands on some of these hopped-up beauties. Also, in case you're someone who is a fan of public opinion, Sculpin is currently ranked as the #3 American IPA over on RateBeer and is ranked #4 over on BeerAdvocate. Not too shabby.

From the Ballast Point site:

"The Sculpin is a testament to our humble beginnings as Home Brew Mart. It showcases bright flavors and aromas of apricot, peach, mango & lemon. The lighter body also brings out the crispness of the hops.

This delicious Ballast Point Ale won a gold medal at the World Beer Cup 2010 in the International Pale Ale category. The Sculpin fish has poisonous spikes on its fins that can give a strong sting.

Ironically, the meat from a Sculpin is considered some of the tastiest. Something that has a sting but tastes great, sounds like a Ballast Point India Pale Ale."

Here we go...


Pour - bright orange with an inch of off-white head sitting nicely on top. Clean appearance and boy does it smell good.


Aroma - ahhhhh. Stick your face into a glass of Sculpin and you may never come up for air. A boatload of floral aromas, tropical fruits, pine, and sweet citrus all hit the like a soft smack in the face with a pillow stuffed to the max with fresh hops. 


Taste - chewy and resiny, working our way through a lot of pineapple, grapefruit, mango, oranges, and lemons. Bittersweet on the palate with all those tropical notes working well with sticky pine and sweeter caramel malt flavors. At 7% Sculpin packs a bit of heat and after a couple of these you'll be feeling pretty good. It's a sneaky fish that's for sure...but we can't get enough. If you've yet to try this IPA you need to put it near the top of your list. 


Overall - outstanding. Sculpin offers IPA lovers the complete package. It's big and bold with a ton of hop profile both in the aroma and on the tongue. Loads of tropical fruits, pine, and citrus combine extremely well with a solid malt backbone. When it comes to American IPAs in cans it is very, very tough to beat this one.  

 


original Sculpin can design and mock-up


Note - Ballast Point originally had another design ready to go for their Sculpin cans. This design was based on that of their bottle labels. In the end they went with a clean look across the board for all of their cans, of which there are currently four. Look for cans of Sculpin, Big Eye IPA, Pale Ale, and Longfin Lager - all of them are worth your while.

 


Ballast Point cans both their Big Eye and Sculpin IPAs



Hops Scale:
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Can Scale:
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Sculpin IPA
Style: American IPA
Brewery: Ballast Point Brewing Company
City: 
San Diego, California  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 7.0%
IBUs: 70
Date: July 8th, 2013

Posted by Russ


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Wednesday, July 3rd 2013

Ethos IPA
(Tallgrass Brewing Company)

The versatility of the American IPA never ceases to amaze us. Brewers continue to concoct new ways to brew this popular style and as consumers we are continuously rewarded. Ethos IPA, the newest canned release from Tallgrass Brewing Company, is double dry-hopped and brewed with six different types of hops. It rocks an incredible 110 IBUs and comes in at a manageable 6.8%. We've been hearing a lot of great things about this beer and are very much looking forward to trying it out for ourselves! Cheers!

From the Tallgrass site:


"The beer foretold in legend. Six types of hops are gathered from the corners of the world to make this legendary brew. This is no earthly IPA. They will write ballads, build monuments, paint caves, and sacrifice goats to this beer. They will drink Ethos and dance to shake the heavens. The aroma is the harbinger of the tastes to come. Big, bright, and beautiful, this beer exceeds all expectations and grants wishes. Twice dry-hopped and brewed with the aid of a dark alliance from another realm, this beer bestows upon you all the complexity of the hops' flavors without overwhelming your senses. Ethos IPA is a gift to you, beer mortals. Drink it and fulfill your destiny."

 

Here we go...


Pour - bright orange to golden amber in appearnance with an inch of off-white head on top. Carbonation looks good. A nice clean pour.


Aroma - wow. Loads of tropical fruit aromas and piney, resiny, hops start immediately start assaulting the senses. We could sit here and bask in the aromatic glory of this beer for hours OR we could dive in and see how all those aromas translate on the palate.


Taste - one sip brings a smile to our faces. The big tropical flavors from the hop bill are just amazing. They combine with grapefruit and pine as well as a solid malt backbone to produce an outstanding American IPA. Ethos is juicy, thirst quenching, flavorful, and is heavy on the hops. Even at 110 IBUs, this is not a one-side hop bomb. Its balanced with the malty sweetness playing nicely with the flavors of mangos, pineapple, and passionfruit. 


Overall - The double dry-hopping does wonders for the overall experience, providing a ton of hop aroma. This is one of the most aromatic and flavorful IPAs we've had. Certainly a winner from Tallgrass and an IPA we hope to find more of soon! 

 

Note - Tallgrass has made some memorable videos in the past that have coincided with their launch of new beers. Ethos is certainly no exception. Check out the video below:

 




Hops Scale:
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Ethos IPA
Style: American IPA
Brewery: Tallgrass Brewing Company
City: 
Manhattan, Kansas  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 6.8%
IBUs: 110
Date: July 3rd, 2013

Posted by Russ


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Monday, June 10th 2013

PsycHOPathy
(MadTree Brewing Company)

One of three cans recently released from Ohio's MadTree Brewing Company. How could you pass up a can that's color just screams "check me out! I'm loaded with hops"! I know we couldn't, which is why we're looking forward to this one from Ohio's first canning craft brewery.

From the can:

"he subtle malt backbone combats the bitterness and intensity of floral, grassy, and citrus hop flavors. However, taste is perception. What’s your slant?"

Here we go...


Pour - dark honey to golden in appearance with a full inch of off-white head on top. Great carbonation levels and a clean, clear pour. We're ready to dive right in..


Aroma - citrus, pine, and floral hops aromas combine with some hints of straw and light caramel malts. The type of hop aromas you once only got from those West Coast IPAs are now prevalent in IPAs from all corners of the US. Hooray for hops.


Taste - bitter, citrusy flavors hit the tip of the tongue first while a nice semi-sweet malt presence soon comes into play. Floral, earthy, grassy hop flavors abound with some hints of pine and tropical fruits. At close to 7% this beer makes itself known without being overly aggressive. 


Overall - great American IPA. Plenty of hop presence without being abrasive, definitely balanced but all those C-hops make themselves known to your palate. A great addition to MadTree's three flagship canned offerings and certainly worthy of any hophead's beer shopping list.

 

Note - we loved the design on this can. The inkblot illustration was done by artist, and musician, Margaret Weine, while the design of the can was done by John Pattison. MadTree is one of a few craft brewers who provides this information on the actual can. 



Hops Scale:
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PsycHOPathy
Style: American IPA
Brewery: MadTree Brewing Company
City: 
Cincinnati, Ohio  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: Chinook, Centennial, and Cascade
ABV: 6.9%
IBUs: 70
Date: June 10th, 2013

Posted by Russ


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Friday, May 31st 2013

Kentucky IPA
(Alltech's Lexington Brewing Co.)

A brand new beer from Alltech's Lexington Brewing Company (also known as Kentucky Ale), Kentucky IPA is also their first canned release - and the first craft beer in a pint can in Kentucky. Until now the brewery was not packaging an IPA (or a Pale Ale) so this is a smart addition for sure. They also have plans to can their Kentucky Kölsch, formerly known as Kentucky Light. 

From the Alltech's Lexington Brewing Company site:

"Kentucky IPA™ is a deliciously hoppy, golden-hued American IPA. It has bright citrus flavors and sweet floral aromas which come from liberal dry-hopping with American hops."

Here we go...


Pour - dark honey and amber in appearance with an inch and a half of thick head on top. 


Aroma - orange, lemon, and grapefruit along with a solid backing of sweet malt aromas. 


Taste - caramel malt flavors providing a tangy sweetness at first, followed by some citrusy hop flavors that don't whip the tongue around too much. Some hints of pine, candied oranges, and floral notes. Medium bodied IPA with a nice smooth finish with a crispness that isn't overly dry. 


Overall - very easy drinking, balanced without being overly bitter. This is a very approachable IPA. If you're a fan of hops, but not obsessed with hops, you'll enjoy this beer as it has a solid amount of hop presence but its not going to peel the enamel off your teeth. Nicely done. 

 

Note - Alltech also opened a distillery in Lexington last year, the first new distillery in the city in over 100 years. They produce Town Branch Bourbon and the barrels that age it are used in the production of the brewery's popular Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale. 

 



Hops Scale:
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Kentucky IPA
Style: American IPA
Brewery: Alltech\'s Lexington Brewing Company
City: 
Lexington, Kentucky  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: 2 Row, Aromatic, Caramel 40
Hops: Cascade & Columbus (boil), Centennial & Simcoe (dry hop)
ABV: 6.5%
IBUs: ???
Date: May 31st, 2013

Posted by Russ


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Thursday, May 30th 2013

Blur IPA
(Seabright Brewery)

Northern California was a place I called home for a good part of my life and Seabright Brewery was one of the first breweries I ever visited, having gone to high school in nearby Soquel. It's hard to believe that this year they're celebrating 25 years of brewing beer in Santa Cruz! One of the ways they've commemorated the occasion is by releasing a limited amount of their Blur IPA in cans, which was made possible with the help of the good folks from The Can Van. Thanks goes out to my stepfather for swinging by the brewery to pick up some cans for me after dealing with UCSC students all day. Cheers! 

From the Seabright Brewery site:

"This beer is a traditional filtered Pacific Northwest India Pale Ale. Although golden in color, this is not a light beer. With more than 60 bitterness units it’s got a bite to it, but is well balanced by the sweetness of a 7.4% alcohol by volume brew. This a is a very aggressive tasting beer."

Here we go...


Pour - brilliant orange/amber in appearance with an inch of off-white foam on top. Lacing is quite good as it settles. 


Aroma - sweet malts, honey, caramel, lemon and orange zest, muted pine and citrus. 


Taste - first sip and a lot of the caramel and malt sweetness hits the tongue. A sharp citrus flavor from the hops follows and takes over. Not overly bitter but certainly citrusy. At 7.4% this is a fairly strong IPA but without any hot alcohol notes. A little oily and resiny with a bitter-sweet-bitter finish. 


Overall - a solid IPA that drinks below its strength yet packs a nice hop bite. Happy to get a chance to try this one from a can and share a few with friends who've never been to Santa Cruz. Also, and this has nothing to do with the beer, I really like the label design. Very cool. 

 

Note - this is the first beer that has been canned by Seabright Brewery and is only being sold at the brewery in Santa Cruz. The Can Van has also canned a limited run of Casinos IPA for nearby Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing. Uncommon Brewers, also in Santa Cruz, cans a number of their beers as well. Lot's of canned craft beer options in my old hometown.  




Hops Scale:
(See All Rated)
Blur IPA
Style: American IPA
Brewery: Seabright Brewery
City: 
Santa Cruz, California  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 7.4%
IBUs: 60
Date: May 30th, 2013

Posted by Russ


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Friday, May 24th 2013

7 New Canned IPAs to Help Kick-Off the Unofficial Start to Summer

Memorial Day weekend is upon us. The unofficial start to summer is finally here and coolers everywhere are getting dug out of closets and basements and cleaned up for the warm days ahead. Whether you're headed to the beach, the mountains, or your own backyard we've got you covered when it comes to knowing your canned craft beer options. We know that IPAs are year-round favorites for many of us and it's hard to beat the refreshment factor that goes along with a nice cold IPA on a warm, sunny day. In honor of all the hopheads out there that are constantly seeking out the next tongue-numbing hop experience, we've come up with a selection of 7 newly canned IPAs to try out this summer. So, clean out your cooler, buy some bags of ice, and enjoy! Have a great holiday weekend everyone from all of us here at CraftCans.Com. Cheers!




 

 

 

 

 



Posted by Russ



Wednesday, May 8th 2013

Loose CANnon IPA
(Heavy Seas)

Another hoppy favorite has made its way into cans. Heavy Seas has just released cans of their Loose CANnon and not a moment too soon. The brewery also has plans to can several of their other beers in the future, including their Davy Jones Lager and their AARGHtoberfest! Cheers!

From the Heavy Seas site:

"Our flagship beer, Loose Cannon wins people over at first smell. The carefully cultivated interplay of Simcoe, Palisade, and Centennial creates a most fragrant IPA—its nose bursts with notes of grapefruit, herbs, and pine. Bitterness is somewhat subdued by the floral quality that pervades the taste. The color is burnished gold, and the mouthfeel is creamy. A strong malt backbone balances out the triple-hopped beer."

Here we go...


Pour - deep golden in appreance with an inch or so of dense white head which slides down the inside of the glass leaving some nice lacing. Clean pour and well-carbonated.


Aroma - Heavy Seas has packed a pirate ship's worth of green, sticky, resiny hops into each can of Loose Cannon and as soon as that top is popped its comes flying out of their like a hop cannon! Big whiffs of tropical citrus, floral hops, caramelized sugar, and pine. Bursting with grapefruit and sweet orange aromas. Plenty for your nose to enjoy while your tastebuds are saying, "hurry up and let's move on to drinking this...."


Taste - one sip and your inner hophead will be rejoicing. Loose Cannon is not lacking in the hops department. There is plenty of bitter, tangy citrus hop flavor to get your tongue dry and thirsty for more. Floral hops, malty sweetness, and all that citrus combine very nicely and make for a very well balanced IPA. 


Overall - At 7.25% and 45+ IBUs this is definitely not a session brew but also not a one dimensional hop bomb that will have you reaching for another style. Nope, you'll want to finish a can and reach right back in the fridge/cooler/cold mountain stream for another one. Happy to have this one in cans and I'm sure plenty of people in Maryland/DC are as well. Should make for a great summer!

 

Note - you'll notice on the side of the label that this beer is called "HopIPA." The "Hop3" is a reference to the fact that the beer is hopped in the boil, the hopback, and the fermenter.

 



Hops Scale:
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Loose CANnon IPA
Style: American IPA
Brewery: Heavy Seas
City: 
Baltimore, Maryland  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: 2-Row, Munich, Caramalt
Hops: Warrior, Simcoe, Palisade, Centennial
ABV: 7.2%
IBUs: 45
Date: May 8th, 2013

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Thursday, April 11th 2013

Wachusett Light IPA
(Wachusett Brewing Company)

The world's first "light" IPA!  Wachusett first released this beer at Wachusett Mountain, a ski hill in Massachusetts, in honor of the 50th Anniversary of the Crowley family's ownership. Not just another session beer with a catchy name, the designation of "light" is not something taken, well...lightly by the FDA. The brewery needed to jump through several hoops, such as showing that the beer is in fact lower in calories than other beers, in order to secure approval to use the name. The good news is that this is a beer that is not light in taste like most other beers bearing the same designation. 

From Wachusett:


"Being fans of all styles of beer but really looking for an easy drinker packed with hops and flavor, President/Founder Ned LaFortune decided to embrace this very untouched style. The Light IPA is 4.0% ABV, 37 IBUs and only 121 calories."

 

Here we go...


Pour - darker golden in appearance with a big, white fluffy head on top. Clean pour with spot on carbonation. 


Aroma - a good deal of fresh hop aroma is present which is backed up by a malty sweet grainy aroma. This beer definitely has plenty to offer when it comes to aroma. The hops really are pronounced and come at you as soon as you open the can. I can't help but also pick up a bit of earthiness as well.


Taste - one sip and you'll realize that you are indeed drinking something that is light and sessionable. The hop aromas translate into a good amount of hop flavor but the maltiness is somewhat subdued. Light on the palate with a bit of tanginess and citrus flavor. Crisp and refreshing in the finish with a flood of hoppiness at the end that leaves your mouth just a bit puckered and dry.

 

Overall - Light? Yes. Sessionable? Definitely. Drinkable? Absolutely. This is a well put together light-bodied IPA with plenty of hoppiness to let you know that you are not drinking a low ABV pale ale. I can definitely see these being a great option for the beach during the summer or anywhere outside in the heat. Well done. Skeptics beware, you may be left with hoppy smiles on your faces. 


Note - in order to designate a product as "Light" it must describe a food/beverage which has been significantly reduced in fat, calories, or sodium. The FDA is pretty strict on what can bear a label and Wachusett has gone through the measure to get approval for the designation of this beer as a Light IPA. Unlike most other beers, Wachusetts' Light IPA lists the calories, carbohydrates, protein, and fat contents of the beer on the side of the can. Interested to know how this beer ranks against other light beers when it comes to calories? Here you go...

 

Natural Light - 95 calories

Miller Lite - 96 calories

Coors Light - 104 calories 

Bud Light - 110 calories

Wachusett Light IPA -  121 calories

 

In case you're wondering, a medium-sized carrot has about the same amount of calories (30) as the caloric difference between Natural Light and Wachusett Light IPA.  Food for thought...

 



Hops Scale:
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Wachusett Light IPA
Style: American IPA
Brewery: Wachusett Brewing Company
City: 
Westminster, Massachusetts  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 4.0%
IBUs: 37
Date: April 11th, 2013

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Friday, March 8th 2013

Hop A Potamus
(Great River Brewery)

 

Great River Brewery in Iowa is producing some outstanding beers and doing so in a fairly quiet way. One of their beers that certainly garners them a bit of attention is their Hop-A-Potamus. This is a big, hop-laden beast they refer to as a "Double Dark Rye Pale Ale". Call it what you will, it's an altogether unique brew with a lot for your palate to experience. Once we've finished staring at the hop-munching hippo on the can we're going to dive into this...cheers!

 

From the Great River Brewery site:


"Hop-A-Potamus is a double dark rye pale ale made with a ton of pale and six kinds of rye malt for a "full" body. This double dark pale ale is fiercely hopped with a Northwest blend for a stampede of flavor and aroma."

Here we go...


Pour - deep auburn in appearance with a thin head. Slightly viscous at 9%. Some reddish hues make an appreance when held to the light. Dark and mysterious like the Hop A Potamus himself.


Aroma - bready and toasty, Tootsie Rolls, caramel, pineapple, candied fruits, and some hints of pine.


Taste - the malty sweetness of Hop A Potamus hits the palate first. A load of caramel, molasses, and brown bread combines with some tropical fruit flavors and other fruit esters. The rye certainly does not go unnoticed as it provides a spicy, dry finish that is anything but subtle. It really works well with the malt/hop balance of this bigger beer. This is "soft" on the palate as the carbonation is on the lighter side and it is fairly high gravity. 

 

Overall - certainly a full-bodied brew with plenty going on. The big malt and hop flavors and the kick of bitter rye adding some dryness and spiciness in the finish all make for a solid beer drinking experience. One, perhaps two, of these and you'll be feeling just fine - drink the whole 4-pack and in the morning you may feel like the Hop A Potamus trampled you unmerficully. 

 

Note - the can design for Hop-A-Potamus won a "Canny" award in the category of "Best Illustration of Beer Name" during the 2012 Craft Brewers Conference in San Diego. It was done by Kevin Deichmueller.




Hops Scale:
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Hop A Potamus
Style: Rye Beer
Brewery: Great River Brewery
City: 
Davenport, Iowa  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: Pale, Rye
Hops: ???
ABV: 9.0%
IBUs: 99
Date: March 8th, 2013

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Tuesday, February 26th 2013

Elevation Triple India Pale Ale
(Renegade Brewing Company)

We're definitely excited to open this can of Elevation Triple India Pale Ale from Denver's Renegade Brewing Company. Not only is this one of our 13 Cans to Look for in 2013 but was also named the "2nd Best Beer in Colorado" in 2011 by Denver Off the Wagon. Oh yeah, at 11% this will also be the strongest canned beer we've reviewed since Oskar Blues' Ten Fidy Imperial Stout over 4 years ago! How far we've come. Bring it on! Cheers!

From the Renegade Brewing Company site:

"You wanted hops? You got it. Single hopped with Summit hops for a citrusy yet earthy punch. At 11% ABV the bold malt character of this brew balances out the hops well so you won’t be overwhelmed with bitterness. Voted 2nd Best Beer in Colorado for 2011 by the readers of Denver Off the Wagon!"

Here we go...

Pour - for a beer of this strength this has a beautiful, big, thick head and a great looking bright golden hue. Pours rather viscous as one might imagine. Lacing forms quite well as the inch or so of white foam begins to sink down.


Aroma - wow. Huge whiffs of pungent and dank tropical fruit aromas - loads of pineapple, passionfruit, orange, tangerine, and guava. This smells heavenly and just ridiculously fresh. I can't wait to dive into this.


Taste - a massive wave of floral, fruity, tropical, hoppiness immediately takes over the palate. Very bitter with a sharp, dry bite in the finish. At 11% this is packing a serious punch but remains extremely smooth. The summit hops are certainly the focus of this brew and they really shine. Along with all those great tropical fruit notes are some strong pine flavors, the kind that anyone who has developed a love of hops over the years is happy to come across. As this warms a lot of the flavors really start to stand out. If you can force yourself to slow down and drink this slowly you'll be rewarded.

 

Overall - yes, if you consider yourself something of a hophead you'll want to seek some of these out. A very big, very aromatic, very flavorful, and very full-flavored IPA x3. Certainly worthy of the praise it has received. 

 

Note - when it comes to strong hoppy beers in a can. Here are the top 6 strongest canned beers that have a focus on hops...

 

11% Elevation Triple India Pale Ale (Renegade Brewing Company)

10% GUBNA Imperial IPA (Oskar Blues Brewery)

10% PRO/AM 2012 (Southern Star Brewing Company)

9.7% Abrasive Ale (Surly Brewing Company)

9.7% Cant Dog Imperial Pale Ale (Marshall Wharf Brewing Company)

9.7% Hop Crisis (21st Amendment Brewery)




Hops Scale:
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Elevation Triple India Pale Ale
Style: Double/Imperial India Pale Ale
Brewery: Renegade Brewing Company
City: 
Denver, Colorado  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: Summit
ABV: 11.0%
IBUs: 100
Date: February 26th, 2013

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Monday, February 25th 2013

Old Wylie's IPA
(Rivertowne Brewing Company)

In the past two months Rivertowne Brewing Company has release six different cans. The move comes after the Pittsburgh area brewery finished work on a production facility and installing a canning line from Cask Brewing Systems. You've got to love the Warhol-esque can design they've gone with for their Old Wylie's IPA! Cheers!

From the Rivertowne Brewing Company site:

"Andrew Maxwell put over 1.5 decades of recipe development into this India Pale Ale, creating the fourth dimension of flavor. Combining four varities of hops produces a unique beer that has an aggressive hop flavor, bite and aroma without denying the presence of malt which I.P.A.s often lack."

Here we go...

Pour - bright orange with nice carbonation levels. We've learned that it can be tricky to get that down when you first start canning. The inch of head retreats into the hoppy abyss leaving some nice lacing.


Aroma - a slightly tropical sweetness is the first thing that we smell followed by pine and sharp citrus. There are also some hints of grainy maltiness.


Taste - that first sip hits the tongue's bitter receptors and is followed by a wave of bready/biscuity sweetness. Some floral hop flavors are present along with a sharp, crisp finish. Plenty of IBUs leave the tongue a bit dry but certainly not down for the count. A little more of this and it will be just fine.

 

Overall - Old Wylie's delivers a dose of hoppy bitterness that is balanced well by a malty/biscuity sweetness. Not over the top with astringent hoppiness, instead this is an easy drinking IPA with a nice bite in the finish. Certainly worth another pint ...just to make sure.

 

Note - the tongue's taste buds that detect bitterness are the most sensitive. Because bitterness is commonly a flavor of things that are toxic, the ability to detect this flavor in very tiny amounts is a survival tool and something that has played a key role in evolution. 



"Old Wylie" is the name of the fish that appears in the brewery's logo


Old Wylie's IPA
Style: American IPA
Brewery: Rivertowne Brewing Company
City: 
Murrysville, Pennsylvania  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 6.2%
IBUs: ???
Date: February 25th, 2013

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Tuesday, February 19th 2013

Anti-Hero IPA
(Revolution Brewing Company)

Not all that long ago, Revolution Brewing Company opened up a new production facility just a couple miles from their original brewery. That is where they're canning these little beauties. Anti-Hero IPA is a highly-rated, and thus highly anticipated, beer. We're excited to try this one and may we just say that the whole line-up of cans from Revolution Brewing Company look amazing - Ian Law and Oliver Barrett did an excellent job! Cheers!

From the Revolution Brewing Company site:

"An American hop assault for all the ambivalent warriors who get the girl in the end. “Look, I ain't in this for your revolution, and I'm not in it for you, Princess.” This iconic ale features a blend of four hop varieties which creates a crisp bitterness and imparts massive floral and citrus aromas."

Here we go...

Pour - golden in appearance with some orange hues and a beautiful looking inch of stark white foam on top. 


Aroma - ahh...the aroma of hops. Anti-Hero is certainly not Anti-Hops! Cirtus, pine, mango, pineapple, and sweet oranges are all present in the aroma of this hop-laden brew.


Taste - first sip and a rush of grapefruit and pineapple coats the tongue and a sharp, bitter bite almost has us clenching our teeth in delight. Plenty of hoppiness is packed into each concurrent sip and we couldn't be happier. Tropical fruit flavors and pine intermingle nicely with a solid malt backbone. Crisp and flavorful with a finish that will have you thrusting your face back in the glass almost immediately. 

 

Overall - an excellent IPA! You can't go wrong here if you're a lover of all things hops. Big hop aromas and flavors without being a palate destroyer. Sure, you're tongue will be numbed and dry but you'll have no problem opening another can - or two. 

 

Note - we did a Q & A with Josh Deth, owner of Revolution Brewing Company, when the brewery was in the planning stages for the new production facility as well as canning. You can check it out HERE!



Hops Scale:
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Can Scale:
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Anti-Hero IPA
Style: American IPA
Brewery: Revolution Brewing Company
City: 
Chicago, Illinois  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 6.5%
IBUs: 70
Date: February 19th, 2013

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Monday, January 7th 2013

Black IPA
(Santa Fe Brewing Company)

Clad all in black and containing a liquid that closely resembles a color close to that of the can, Santa Fe Brewing's most recent canned release, their Black IPA, is one badass can of beer. The design, which is very similar to that of their Happy Camper IPA, is the sun symbol, or Zia, that is also a part of the brewery's logo and represented on the New Mexico state flag. 

From the Black IPA can:

"What is Santa Fe Black IPA? It's everything you love about a delicious IPA, minus that incredibly predictable orange-yellow color. You're welcome. Santa Fe Black IPA. Big. Roasty. Tasty. Hoppy. Black."

Here we go...

Pour - pretty damn dark - perhaps one might even say black. Seriously though, this is close to pitch with a very nicely contrasting off-white head on top that is looking like it is going to stick around for awhile. Nice lacing as well.


Aroma - wow. Ever visit a brewery and while doing the tour they take you into the cooler where they keep all their hops? Its a place you never want to leave, we know. This beer smells like that place. Big whiffs of fresh hops, citrus and pine with some hints of malt and caramel...and Tootsie Rolls.


Taste - first sip brings about some great hop flavors like grapefruit, oranges, and pineapple. The dark roasted malt adds some bitterness and some dryness and compliments the 95 IBUs slanging hoppiness quite well. Its like someone took an amazing IPA and an amazing shot of espresso and somehow magically combined them to make something altogether fantastic. 

 

Overall - if you're a fan of Black IPAs/Cascadian Dark Ales/American Black Ales than you'll want to get your hands on some of these beauties. Loads of uber hoppy goodness backed up with some roasty/toasty malts. At 7.1% and 95 IBUs this is a serious beer but its also scary easy to drink. 

 

Note - Santa Fe Brewing Company's can designs are done by Matt McCaffree and Brad Jungles. These guys have done an amazing job giving Santa Fe Brewing's beers some great branding. Keep up the good work, we can't wait to see what comes next!

 




Hops Scale:
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Black IPA
Style: American Black Ale
Brewery: Santa Fe Brewing Company
City: 
Santa Fe, New Mexico  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: Two-Row Pale, Crystal, Chocolate, Midnight Wheat
Hops: Columbus, Citra, Eldorado, Simcoe, Amarillo
ABV: 7.1%
IBUs: 95
Date: January 7th, 2013

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Friday, January 4th 2013

Independence Pass IPA
(Aspen Brewing Company)

Aspen Brewing's Independence Pass Ale takes its name from high-mountain pass that marks the eastern boundary of the Roaring Fork Valley and the City of Aspen. It is located at an altitude of over 12,000 feet and along the Continental Divide. Four miles to the west of the pass lies the site of Independence, the village whose establishment on July 4 led to the pass's current name. Aspen Brewing began canning their IPA in late 2010.

From the Aspen Brewing site:

"Independence Pass Ale is our super-hopped high altitude rendition of the classic India Pale Ale style. Independence Pass Ale utilizes insane amounts of Palisade hops—a hop that is relatively new on the IPA scene. With alpha acids up near the 10% mark, IPA aficionados will love the hoppy brew as much as they love their Magnum and Cascade-hopped IPA’s. In addition, we use Columbus, Cascade, and Simcoe hops. Set in contrast with our secret mash recipe, be prepared to be wowed. This beer radiates hops, hops, hops."

Here we go... 

Pour - a brilliant orangish-red color in appearance that is clean and clear with a big fluffy off-white head that fills the rest of the glass quickly. 


Aroma - big whiffs of all that makes an American IPA such a great style - pine, sweet orange, pineapple, grapefruit. I'm ready to dive in to this one...


Taste - sticky and resiny on the tongue with sharp bitter notes of pine and grapefruit. The carbomation pushes things across the palate nicely an d the finish is semi-sweet with a lingering, drying, hop finish. 

 

Overall - quite balanced with a lot of hop flavor and bitterness. At 7% this pack a bit more of a punch than one might think and has a nice malt backbone. Love to visit the brewery and have a few fresh pints in their tasting room.

 

Note - Aspen Brewing Company began brewing in 2008 and currently cans their Independence Pass IPA and This Season's Blonde. The brewery was featured in an episode of Drinking Made Easy (air date 4/4/12).

            



Hops Scale:
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Independence Pass IPA
Style: American IPA
Brewery: Aspen Brewing Company
City: 
Aspen, Colorado  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: Palisade, Columbus, Cascade, and Simcoe hops
ABV: 7.0%
IBUs: 67
Date: January 4th, 2013

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Thursday, January 3rd 2013

Hopitoulas IPA
(NOLA Brewing Company)

 

Hopitoulas IPA takes its name from New Orleans' Tchoupitoulas Street (CHOP-it-TOO-luhs), where NOLA Brewing Company is located. The can design features an image of the Big Easy's skyline and some great intricate artwork on both the front and reverse. This is NOLA's first 16 oz. can and one of their most popular draft offerings. Cheers!

From the NOLA site:

"Hopitoulas was the third addition to our year-round beer portfolio. This 6.5% ABV ale is a West Coast style India Pale Ale that combines 6 malts and 6 hops with additional dry hopping for three weeks. It takes about a month and a half to make each batch and we think it is worth the wait.  Hints of pine and citrus with a powerful, yet balanced hoppy flavor, Hopitoulas packs a punch that you won’t forget."

Here we go...

Pour - a great looking amber, dark honey color with a solid inch of off-white head. Looks like a clean pour with spot on carbonation. 


Aroma - very piney along with some tropical fruits (pineapple and mango) as well as lemon and grapefruit citrus aroms. Very aromatic with a touch of sweetness and malty, toasty notes.


Taste - rather light on the palate as soon as it hits the tongue, definite flavors of pine and grapefruit with a solid and sweet malt backbone. The tropical notes are definitely there and combine well with the sweetness of the malt. Not a hop bomb by any means and quite easy drinking - found myself at the bottom of this glass quite quickly and was wishing I had a few more cans in the fridge...

 

Overall - a great candidate for anyone who like hops but doesn't need them at an overwhelming level. Hopitoulas IPA is a very balanced beer with great piney notes along with a solid malt base. Well done NOLA!

 

Note - if you look closely at the reverse of the Hopitoulas IPA can you'll see the phrase, "Laissez la bonne biere verser", which is French for "Let the good beer pour". 

 



Hops Scale:
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Hopitoulas IPA
Style: American IPA
Brewery: NOLA Brewing Company
City: 
New Orleans, Louisiana  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 6.5%
IBUs: ???
Date: January 3rd, 2013

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Thursday, December 13th 2012

Cant Dog Imperial Pale Ale
(Marshall Wharf Brewing Company)

We've been hearing about cans from Marshall Wharf for awhile and were pretty excited to finally pick some up on a recent trip up to Maine. If you're not familiar with Marshall Wharf Brewing Company that's completely understandable. Outside of New England, or perhaps outside of Maine, they are relatively unheard of as the brewery is fairly small and distribution is pretty limited. In fact, the reverse of their cans reads, "We can and distribute one 200 gallon batch per week." So yeah, they are small...but damn do they make good beer.

From the Marshall Wharf site:

"This beer is the one beer that our brewers and I would take to that mythical deserted island if we could only bring one Marshall Wharf beer. Huge malt backbone matched with huge amounts of hops."

Pour - dark golden with hints of reddish orange, nice deep colors with a substantial head on top. At close to 10% this definitely has some legs and pours rather viscous.


Aroma - BIG aromas of pineapple and mango. Love those tropical notes brought on by ridiculous amounts of hops. This is an extremely fragrant brew with loads of floral aromas and sweetness from the malt backbone. Wow, this is one of those beers that you get pleasure from just from burying your nose in the glass.


Taste - all those big fruity, tropical aromas translate into some amazing palate pleasing flavors that combine with a big malt backbone. Defintiely some sweetness to this beer but not cloying or syrupy whatsoever. The bitterness is pretty much held in check and a lot of the flavors are coming straight from the hops - and they are pretty tasty. 

 

Overall - excellent. I feel pretty satisfied with finally being able to enjoy a pint of Cant Dog in the comfort of my own home. Its great to see the amazing beers of this small, mid-coast brewery are now packed in a portable package that will definitely introduce quite a few new fans to this pretty special little brewery. 

 

Note - Marshall Wharf is currently only canning their Cant Dog Imperial Pale Ale. The cans were designed in a way that will allow the brewery to place a clear adhesive denoting whichever beer they happen to put inside. If you're in Maine be sure to hunt these down, have a pint of their beer on tap, or if you have the time head up the coast and visit their brewpub in beautiful Belfast. 

 

 




Hops Scale:
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Cant Dog Imperial Pale Ale
Style: Double/Imperial India Pale Ale
Brewery: Marshall Wharf Brewing Company
City: 
Belfast, Maine  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 9.7%
IBUs: ???
Date: December 13th, 2012

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Wednesday, December 12th 2012

oSKAr the GRauch Smoked IPA
(Oskar Blues and Ska Brewing)

How do two of Colorado's most well-respected breweries both celebrate ten years of canning their beer? Brew an amazing beer together, can it, and then throw a big party! That's what Oskar Blues and Ska Brewing did a few weeks back. The beer they brewed, which was aptly named oSKAr the G'Rauch, is a big, hoppy, smoked IPA and was packaged in both 16 and 19.2 oz. cans. Check out the label art, who doesn't love a skeleton-faced monkey riding a bike? Happy CANniversary!

From Oskar Blues:

"What did oSKAr the G’Rauch say to the face? Slap! Aromas of freshly-peeled orange and apricots with a touch of……..smoke? Juicy citrus and fruit flavors dominate but don’t overpower the slightly sweet malt structure. Finish is all citrus rind ping-ponging with some smoky phenols. 8.5% ABV. MANY IBU."


Here we go...


Pour – deep golden in color with a very clean appearance and a big, thick, fluffy white head that sits gloriously on top. This looks very, very good.

Aroma – plenty of smokiness hitting the nose right away with some sweet smelling tropical fruit aroma in the background. Love that smokey aroma, wow. This smells pretty much what you might expect a smoked IPA to smell like. Sort of like someone took a bag of fresh hops and threw them in a smokehouse for awhile. The hop aroma is there but it is certainly tinged by the smokiness from the malt.

Taste – wow. Really. This is an impressive beer. The smokiness is not overpowering on the palate but it also sitting idly by while the hops take over. Nope, this is definitely telling you that there is plenty of smoked malt in there to balance out the El Dorado hops that are also assualting the sense with big sweet orange and pineapple flavors. Somehow it all comes together nicely and the tastebuds are rejoicing after each sip and continue to do so as the smokiness and the hoppiness linger happily side by side.


Overall - very impressive beer. One can only imagine that with a beer like this it would be easy to have things go wrong. A little too much smoked malt and this turns into something completely different. Too many hops and this becomes too bitter and unbalanced. We're glad to see two of our favorite breweries come together after so many years and brew something so original...and so delicious. CANgrats!


Note - Smoked IPAs are a relatively new, and still unrecognized, "style". Very few have been done at a production level. One of the only others we know of was Golden Road Brewing Company's Burning Bush Smoked IPA, which was the second release in their Custom IPA series. Perhaps we'll see more of them, who knows. We sure hope so!




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oSKAr the G'Rauch
Style: American IPA
Brewery: Oskar Blues Brewery
City: 
Longmont, Colorado  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: El Dorado
ABV: 8.5%
IBUs: ???
Date: December 12th, 2012

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Tuesday, December 11th 2012

Burning Bush Smoked IPA
(Golden Road Brewing)

Wow, a "Smoked IPA"! Definitely a first in my book and perhaps the first version of this "style" that I've ever seen. As much as I'm leaning towards being a bit apprehensive, I'm also quite excited to try something that sounds so unique and new. Burning Bush is Golden Road's second release in their "Custom IPA" series. This was also their fall "seasonal" which ties in with the name of the beer and the can design. It was first released as a draught-only offering during the breweries opening celebration last year. Yeah, hard to believe that they've only been brewing for just over a year.

From the Golden Road site:

"Brewmaster Jon Carpenter had a vision so absurd in scope that it took his brew team tasting the finished Burning Bush to believe that his revelation was divine. The first known Rauch IPA to our knowledge, Burning Bush uses the smoked malt characterized by a traditional German style Rauchbier with the hops of an west coast IPA. This deep copper colored ale has a light smoky aroma that sits atop a generous floral and piney hopping. At 8%, it’s difficult to taste the alcohol in this smooth-drinking IPA. With its wispy smoke character, Burning Bush is also an incredible complement to grilled foods."

Here we go...

Pour – golden peachy in appreaance with a nice clean and clear hue as well as a half inch or so of white head. Leaves some nice lacing as it fades.

Aroma - stick a nose in a glass of Burning Bush and you'll be left picking out aromas for awhile. The first thing that hits the senses is a combination of sweet citrus and a campfire. The smokiness is there but not overly assertive in the aroma. It's amazing how much piney hoppy aroma this is packing but never without that smokiness coming into play in the background. As a fan of both rauchbiers and big hoppy IPAs this is really a treat to take in.

Taste – one sip and you know you've gotten the best of both worlds. My palate instantly starts picking out the smokey malt flavors that swirl around inside my mouth and begin to dry out my tongue while at the same time there is a barrage of big citrusy and piney hop flavors. This is all backed up by a good deal of regular malt sweetness as this is weighing in at 8% - but you'd never know it from the way it tastes. I love the flavor combination here. The hops are big and bold and the smokiness is at a level where its not overpowering but very, very present. This is delicious and unique and my tastebuds aren't all that sure what is going on - but they do know they're quite happy to try something so new and exciting!

Overall – holy sh*t! This is a beer like none other that I've had in quite some time. At a time when most beers are placed in specific categories it really is nice to try something that is both unique and ridiculously good. It should be interesting to see if other breweries try something similar as this is one of the best new beers I've had in a long time.

Notes - the design on the can, and everyone of Golden Road's cans, is from a picture taken by a local photographer. The Burning Bush can features an image of the Griffith Park (a large municipal park in Los Angeles) wildfires that took place in 2007. It is certainly a striking image for a can of beer and really shows how far we've come with the art and design of today's cans. 



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Burning Bush
Style: American IPA
Brewery: Golden Road Brewing
City: 
Los Angeles, California  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: 2-Row, Victory, German Rauch, Munich 120L
Hops: German, Northwest, & New Zealand Varieties
ABV: 8.0%
IBUs: 70
Date: December 11th, 2012

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Thursday, November 8th 2012

House Brand IPA
(Big River Brewing Company)

Earlier this year Big River Brewing Company made canning history when they became the first brewery in their state to begin offering their beers in cans. They released both their House Brand IPA and their Big River Pilsner in cans during the summer and both were an instant hit with consumers in the Volunteer State. You can also find both of them on tap, as well as quite a few other offerings, at any of the four different brewpubs they operate.

From the Big River site:

"This classic copper colored ale has a pronounced hop aroma and assertive bitterness. American- grown Galena and Cascade hops are the star of this fragrant and citrusy dry-hopped masterpiece."

Here we go...

 

Pour - light auburn in appearance with a good inch of white head on top. Carbonation looks spot on, a very nice looking pour.


Aroma - pine and citrus, pineapple juice and other tropical fruits, apricots, along with some floral notes. Very aromatic.


Taste - first first sip is crisp with a strong hop flavor, plenty of those tropical fruit flavors as well. A nice malty backbone balances out the hoppiness which is assertive but not astringent. Plenty of IPA goodness is packed with love into this can. 

 

Overall - a solid IPA from the good folks in Chattanooga. Nicely balanced with great hop aroma an almost juicy hop flavor .Very easy drinking with a nice hop profile along with a fresh aroma nice sweet tropical notes. It would be easy to drink a lot of these...


Note - if a 12 oz. can isn't enough to satisfy your thirst you'll be happy to know that Big River also puts both their House Brand IPA and their Pilsner in 5-liter mini kegs!

 

                     




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House Brand IPA
Style: American IPA
Brewery: Big River Brewing Company
City: 
Chattanooga, Tennessee  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: Galena and Cascade
ABV: 6.0%
IBUs: 55
Date: November 8th, 2012

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Saturday, November 3rd 2012

PRO-AM Ale 2012 Double IPA
(Southern Star Brewing Company)


Since 2009 Southern Star Brewing Company has hosted an annual homebrew contest. Local homebrewers submit their beers with the winning entry getting brewed at the brewery using their professional equipment. This year's winner, a Double IPA, submitted by Steve Capo and Charles Vallhonrat - a.k.a. The Sly Bastards, was the first to be put into cans and the brewery used their multi-functional seasonal can with a PRO-AM sticker around the top. 

From the Southern Star site: 


"A Double IPA and is full of juicy citrus hop aromas and flavors."


Here we go...


Pour - amber with some reddish highlights and a big, sticky, white head that looks like it might just cling to the inside of the glass for a few days.


Aroma - opening the can is like walking into the cooler at a brewery where all the hops are stored. It's a blast of citrus, pine, pineapple, and fresh-tastic hoppiness. This smells big even if it looks innocent enough in the glass.


Taste - wow, this is definitely a double IPA - no joking around here. Big hop flavors are backed up nicely by a big malt backbone. Loads of tropical fruit sweetness and resiny hop flavors abound. Very balanced despite the ABV and IBUs being on the upper end of sane. This is probably something for a snifter and a beer you want to sip and enjoy each flavorful mouthful - but its also a beer you want to get nice and cold and pour into a pint glass and just enjoy all that fresh hoppy goodness. 

 

Overall - awesome beer. Loads of all the good stuff any hophead is looking for and without being too astringent or over the top - even at ~10% and god knows how many IBUs. It's awesome to see these sorts of contests as they really connect the brewery with the community. I'm sure Steve and Charles had an awesome time at the brewery brewing up this beer on a much bigger scale! Congrats!!!


Note - Southern Star has now released three different beers using their "Seasonal" can design. We're excited to see what comes next. 

     



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PRO-AM Ale 2012 Double IPA
Style: Double/Imperial India Pale Ale
Brewery: Southern Star Brewing Company
City: 
Conroe, Texas  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: Simcoe, Centennial and Columbus
ABV: 10.0%
IBUs: ???
Date: November 3rd, 2012

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Thursday, October 11th 2012

Jai Alai IPA
(Cigar City Brewing Company)

It is truly an honor to be able to crack open a can of Jai Alai IPA that was canned less than a week ago. Thanks a ton to Geiger Powell down at Tampa's Cigar City Brewing Company - who also happens to be the talented artist behind the artwork that graces many of Cigar City's bottles and cans. Jai Alai IPA is the first of the brewery's beers to be canned with their Maduro Brown and Hotter than Helles Lager soon to follow. Having had this beer in bottles and on tap - as well as their Cedar-Aged version in their "Humidor Series" - I'm certainly excited to see how well this heavenly hopped brew has held up in its new aluminum packaging. Cheers! 

From the Cigar City site:

"Jai Alai, a game native to the Basque region of Spain, is played on a court called a fronton. Jai Alai players attempt to catch a ball using a curved mitt whilst the ball travels at speeds up to 188mph! Proving they have a sense of humor the Spanish dubbed this game, with its ball traveling at racecar speeds, “the merry game.” Tampa was once home to a bustling Jai Alai fronton but sadly all that remains of Jai Alai in the Tampa Bay area is this India Pale Ale that we brew in tribute to the merry game. The India Pale Ale style of beer has its roots in the ales sent from England to thirsty British troops in India during the 18th century. Pair Jai Alai India Pale Ale with Beef Empanadas, Deviled Crabs and other spicy dishes."



The first batch of Jai Alai IPA cans make their way down the line...


Here we go...

 

Pour - darker honey color in appearance, clean and clear with nice carbonation leaving a thick, rich, white head.  Some clingy lacing sticks around as things settle.


Aroma - big whiffs of pine needles, freshly cut grass, pineapple, sweet citrus aromas and some other tropical fruit notes. Very aromatic, this screams green and sticky. 


Taste - that first sip brings about a mouthful of big, juicy hop flavors. Loads of tropical fruit notes like pineapples and mangos. This is followed by a bitter hop kick with some citrus flavors. Balanced with a nice malty sweetness that plays well with the hop profile producing a lot of those sweeter tropical flavors. 

 

Overall - such a great IPA - and now available in a can! It is sort of scary how easy drinking this is at 7.5%. Where did those 12 ounces go? Jeez. If you've yet to try this world class IPA you'll need to make some friends down in Florida or make a road trip to Tampa - actually just fly into Tampa's airport as they've got a brewpub their too! These guys make amazing beer - seriously.

 


Note - there used to be a number of Jai Alai "frontons" in the US. Many have closed in recent years. The first "fronton" opened in the US was in St. Louis and operated in the early 1900s. The fasted recorded speed of a Jai Alai ball, known as a pelota, was recorded at Newport Jai Alai in Rhode Island. The speed was clocked at 188 miles per hour. The Jai Alai fonton that operated in Tampa closed in the early 90s. Only seven Jai Alai fontons are still in operation in the US - six of them are in Florida and the other is in Connecticut. You can watch a LIVE feed of the Jai Alai Fonton in Connecticut HERE. Very cool.



Jai Alai 101



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Jai Alai IPA
Style: American IPA
Brewery: Cigar City Brewing Company
City: 
Tampa, Florida  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 7.5%
IBUs: 70
Date: October 11th, 2012

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Saturday, October 6th 2012

Wolf Among Weeds
(Golden Road Brewing)

Finally, our first review of a beer from LA’s newest canning craft brewery and the first release in their "Custom IPA" series. Wolf Among Weeds comes to us under the brewing leadership of a distinguished trio with prior experience at the likes of Oskar Blues, Speakeasy, and Dogfish Head. Only 500 cases of this extra special brew hit the market, so we feel privileged and excited to give this one a try!

From the Golden Road site:

"This beer is a balanced showcase of the majestic hop specie, in Latin, Humulus Lupulus, which translates “Wolf Among Weeds”. It is the first beer to be canned in our Custom IPA series, which celebrates California’s enthusiasm for hop-forward IPAs. At 8%, Wolf will sneak up on you from behind the fresh pine sap and tropical fruit notes mirrored in its aroma and flavor profile."

Here we go...

Pour – enticing deep amber color suggests a bigger malt bill and is reminiscent of some of our favorite DIPAs. Head retention is very good. Promising start!

Aroma – sweet malts, a hint of toffee, piercing pine and smooth tropical fruit notes. Looks good, smells good. Let’s get it tasted already!

Taste – first thought is this is a very well-balanced beer, especially after the appearance and aroma set us up to expect some degree of palate punishment. Medium toffee flavor in the sweet grain start, a mild splash of complex hop bitterness in the middle and just a touch of warming in the back of the throat at the otherwise dangerously clean finish.

Overall – Our sample was canned two months before our tasting, and perhaps as the result of its age we concluded this is a balanced American IPA that registers just tick in favor of the malty end of the scale. After trying (and failing) to figure out the hop varieties by taste alone, we switched from sips to gulps, which released more hop flavors and bitterness, at least on our palates. It still didn’t help us decode the unique and complex hop profile, but it did help them to stand out a little better against the delicious caramel malts. We’d definitely have this one again and share it with friends as a great example of how different hop combinations create completely different tasting ales that fall under the American IPA category.

Notes - Golden Road plans to stick with the IPA style for their upcoming “seasonal" releases.  At last report the next release in their Custom IPA series will be their Burning Bush Smoked IPA - a smoked IPA. We are intrigued to say the least.



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Wolf Among Weeds
Style: American India Pale Ale
Brewery: Golden Road Brewing
City: 
Los Angeles, California  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: Two Row, Caramel 70° Lovibond
Hops: Cascade, Galena, Simcoe, Warrior, Zythos
ABV: 8.0%
IBUs: 70
Date: October 6th, 2012

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Wednesday, September 19th 2012

West Sixth IPA
(West Sixth Brewing Company)

Yes, this is the ONE and ONLY canned craft beer in the state of Kentucky. West Sixth Brewing Company, named for their location on West Sixth Street in Lexington, began canning these beauties earlier this year. This four man crew is carving out a craft beer following in Central Kentucky and with 7 brews on tap at the brewery we're hoping to see a few more in cans in the near future.

Here we go...

 

Pour - bright golden, clean with a great looking tight, white head that leaves loads of lacing in the top of the glass and is not too quick to dissipate.


Aroma - great big whiffs of pineapple and citrus, some sweet maltiness and plenty of floral hops. Great smelling IPA with plenty of tropical fruit aromas. Definitely makes you want to dive right in!


Taste - a large wave of those tropical fruit flavors hits the palate first, pineapple and mango as well as citrus flavors of lemon, orange and grapefruit. It's sweet on the tongue but that is quickly matched by an onset of hop bitterness that gives the tongue the lashing you've been waiting for. 

 

Overall - Full bodied and balanced. Definitely not a one-sided, astringent IPA. This has a ton of flavor and drinks bigger than it is. Very well put together and certainly an IPA that we'd love to have in the cooler or the fridge all year round. This may be the only can of craft beer produced in the Bluegrass State but its certainly no slouch. A great debut brew from West Sixth. Cheers!


Note - West Sixth Brewing Company announced recently that they have plans to double their output so keep an eye on these guys. Currently,they only distribute in the immediate Lexington area and around Central Kentucky. By the way, West Sixth IPA is currently sitting on an average score of 95 over at Ratebeer. A pretty impressive score for a debut brew from these guys. Did we mention we also love the design of these cans? 

 



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West Sixth IPA
Style: American India Pale Ale
Brewery: West Sixth Brewing Company
City: 
Lexington, Kentucky  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: ???
IBUs: ???
Date: September 19th, 2012

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Wednesday, August 29th 2012

White IPA
(Blue Point Brewing Company)

Blue Point Brewing has the distinction of being the first American craft brewery to can a White IPA style beer. This relatively new "style" of beer is a combination of a Belgian Wit and an American IPA. Subtly different than the Belgian IPA, this is combo that works extremely well during the summer (or anytime for that matter). We love the can design that features a NYC subway stop design. Very cool. By the way, this is a brand new beer for the Long Island brewery and it can be found year-round.

From the Blue Point site:

"Remaining at the forefront of experimentation, the brewers at Blue Point have produced a white beer/IPA hybrid that is well on its way to creating a new style for the beer description books. Our White IPA is an unfiltered European-style white ale with a fresh American IPA finish. Brewed with malted and unmalted wheat and just the right amount of west coast hops, it’s fermented with German yeast to give it a perfectly balanced character with less bitterness than traditional IPAs."

Here we go...

Pour - soft in appearance, a little cloudy with a with wispy white head that leaves some decent lacing. Looks very much like a witbier.

Aroma - some nice sweet citrus tang, some floral hop notes, a bit of tropical fruit aroma, along withi some yeasty spiciness. Quite aromatic.  

Taste - soft on the palate and super smooth on the tongue. Blue Point's White IPA first delivers some some citrus flavors that dance around in the mouth and are followed up by a bit of yeasty spice. A very thirst quenching beer that provides an almost juicy finish with some nice lingering bitter, piney hop notes. A bit of lemon and orange zestiness round things out nicely. 

Overall - definitely fans of this yet-to-be style of beer. The combination of the two styles works so well together and this delivers the best of both worlds. So easy to drink and very satisfying on a warm summer night. We expect to see a lot more breweries provide their take on this style soon. Cheers!

Note - Along with their White IPA, this summer Blue Point also released their flagship Toasted Lager and their Summer Ale in cans. 



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White IPA
Style: White IPA
Brewery: Blue Point Brewing Company
City: 
Patchogue, New York  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 6.0%
IBUs: 40
Date: August 29th, 2012

Posted by Russ


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Wednesday, August 15th 2012

Elevated IPA
(La Cumbre Brewing Company)

Big thanks to Rob out in New Mexico for sending some of these our way. You rock Rob, seriously. So, why are we so excited? Well, this little canned gem holds 16 oz. of this past Great American Beer Festival's gold medal winner in the extremely crowded, and highly fought over, American IPA category. If you've got a penchant for all things hoppy than you'll probably agree with us when we say that we can't wait to crack this open and try if for ourselves.

From the La Cumbre site:

"Did someone ask for hops? Tired of beers that promise a full lupulin experience, but never deliver more than richly malted bitterness? It’s no secret that this is what we excel at. We’ve been brewing world class IPAs for years. Our flagship is the culmination of a decades worth of studying and brewing. Take a step above and acclimate to what an IPA should be."

Here we go...

Pour - amber to honey-colored pour with a white head that steadily forms and as it retreats leaves some sticky lacing inside the glass. Carbonation looks good and this is ready to go..

Aroma - once the can is opened you'll know you're holding something special. The smell hits you from an arms length away. This packs some big, make that huge, aromas of fresh, green, sticky, hops along with an intense smell of pine. I could sit here and smell this all day. But then I wouldn't get to drink it. But if I drink it I won't be able to smell it. Dilemmas, dilemmas. I should probably take one for the team and at least try a small sip. 

Taste - fan of hops are ya? Well, one sip of Elevated IPA will have you rejoicing. Loads of fresh pine and grapefruit flavors abound with big resiny notes, a sharp bitter hoppy punch and a finish that will keep your palate very happy until the next sip. In no way is this a one-sided IPA that simply brags about IBUs, those 100 bad boys are backed up nicely with a sweet, tropical-flavored maltiness. Balanced, intense, and outstanding. 

Overall - absolutely one of the best IPAs we've ever had. If you're a hophead then put this one on the top of your list. Definitely worthy of the gold at the 2011 GABF and if it's back this year it's going to be hard to beat.

Note - Along with beating out 175 other entries to win the Gold in the American IPA category with this beer, La Cumbre also took home Gold in the American-Style or International-Style Pilsener category with "BEER" as well as Silver in the Foreign-Style Stout category with their Malpais Stout. Well done!



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Elevated IPA
Style: American India Pale Ale
Brewery: La Cumbre Brewing Company
City: 
Albuquerque, New Mexico  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 7.2%
IBUs: 100
Date: August 15th, 2012

Posted by Russ


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Sunday, August 12th 2012

Threadless IPA
(Finch's Beer Company)

In case you're not aware of the back story behind this particular can of beer. Finch's partnered with Threadless, a well known t-shirt company, and held the "Threadless IPA Design Challange" to pick the label art for this can. 169 different entries were submitted and ultimately the winner was this particular design submitted by Sergiy Chebotaryov. This is the brewery's third canned offering.

From the Finch Beer site:

"Our Threadless/Finch collaboration IPA is a balanced experience of both perceived hoppiness and true bitterness. It pours a darker amber color and finishes with a citrus flavor, and when combined, will require this to be the last IPA you ever drink! Well, maybe, we realize you will probably drink more, but the result of this recipe clearly evolves into a very balanced IPA. The grain bill on this big pale includes melanoidin and Victory malts. We hop it up before the boil starts with some Columbus first wort hopping, then add a bunch more for bittering."

Here we go...

Pour - peach colored pour with a hazy appearance, not sure if its chill haze or just things taking some time to settle and clear. The foamy head on top looks just about perfect and is quite content to stick around for awhile. Overall a nice looking beer in the glass.

Aroma - citrus, lime zest, powdered sugar, pineapple along with some caramel notes. Lots of tropical fruit aromas after sticking a nose in the glass a few more times. Quite aromatic and enticing.

Taste - sharp, but not astringent, hop bitterness right off the bat but its balanced nicely by sweet tropical fruit flavors and a nice malty backbone. The mouthfeel is actually quite soft despite the hop profile. Not a bad IPA by any means and one that we're really enjoying as we reach the bottom of the glass. 

Overall - flavorful and hoppy with tropical fruit notes ranging from mango and pineapple all the way to papaya and even coconut. Soft on the palate with a good amount of hop bitterness. Solid IPA and the best of the three Finch cans we've had so far.

Note - You can check out all the different designs that were submitted for the label design contest HERE - there are definitely some that were very well done, even if they didn't win.

 



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Threadless IPA
Style: American India Pale Ale
Brewery: Finch's Beer Company
City: 
Chicago, Illinois  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: Melanoidin and Victory malts
Hops: Columbus
ABV: 6.0%
IBUs: ???
Date: August 12th, 2012

Posted by Russ


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Monday, July 23rd 2012

Ryeteous Rye IPA
(Renegade Brewing Company)

Renegade just recently began canning their Ryeteous Rye IPA. With the help of the nomadic canning crew at Mobile Canning, Renegade was able to put a bunch of their best-selling brew in bright white pint cans.  Emblazoned with a big "R", they're hard to miss! Big thanks once again to our buddy Mike for making the trek down to Denver to pick some of these up for us. Cheers!

From the Renegade site:

"Hop head? Yeah, this one's for you. Crisp malt with a touch of caramel and a generous helping of rye. Oh yeah, and hops, hops and more hops. This Rye IPA is 7% ABV and 100+ IBU's."

 


Canning at Renegade | 5280 Magazine

Here we go...

Pour – bright orange with a peachy sort of glow and some great looking lacing filling up what little space is left at the top of the glass. Carbonation levels look spot on and this looks ready to enjoy!

Aroma – tropical fruit, caramel malts, some spiciness along with hints of citrus and pine needles. All of those aromas come together and form something quite appealing and very aromatic. 

Taste - big brash hop flavors abound with plenty of grapefruit, oranges, lemons and some tropical flavors like mango mixing with sharp pine notes. The rye lends a spicy backbone to this bold hoppy brew. Its light on the palate, almost soft on the tongue, with a taste that is definitely more unique compared to the standard American IPA. The rye and the hops lend to a dry finish that keeps your face in the glass. Very tasty brew.

Overall - perhaps the "Rye Beer" category is a bit too broad and we need to give the Rye IPAs there own category. There seems to be more and more these days. This is a great beer and the combination of the rye and the hops really give it something special. We could definitely enjoy a few of these every week.

Note - A few months ago I was out in Denver and stopped in for a visit to Renegade Brewing. What really struck me about this new, and relatively small, craft brewery was the fact that it was truly a neighborhood place. It had a taproom with some tables and a food truck parked outside. There were bikes locked up out front that showed that a bulk of the patronage was coming from close by. To me it just seemed to represent a part of the craft beer industry that is truly taking off. Its not about being the next Sierra Nevada or Dogfish Head, instead its about making a living brewing beer and supporting the community in which you operate. If you're ever out in Denver be sure to check it out. 


      Cheers!




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Ryeteous Rye IPA
Style: American India Pale Ale
Brewery: Renegade Brewing Company
City: 
Denver, Colorado  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: Crisp, Caramel and Rye malts
Hops: ???
ABV: 7.0%
IBUs: 100
Date: July 23rd, 2012

Posted by Russ


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Friday, July 13th 2012

Organic Hopworks IPA
(Hopworks Urban Brewery)

Portland, Oregon's Hopworks Urban Brewery (HUB) has just released their Hopworks IPA and their HUB Lager in 16 oz. pint cans. You've got to love the designs on the cans as this bike loving brewery has incorporated a bike chain image on the side of the cans. This portable package should make many folks happy as they can now carry a few cans on their next bike trip. Cheers!

From the Hopworks site:

"Our namesake IPA is a Northwest classic. Generous additions of Ahtanum, Centennial, and Cascade hops find their way into the kettle, hop-back and dry-hop. This judicious use of the “brewer’s spice” creates rich and resinous flavors of citrus fruit and pine. The finest organic Canadian pilsner malt and organic Munich and Caramel malts then bring balance to your new favorite beer."

Here we go...

Pour –bright golden and honey colored in appearance with a big foamy white head on top. Looks like a great brew coming out of the can. Carbonation is spot on and plenty of lacing inside the glass. 

Aroma – big bouquet of floral hops, light tropical fruit aromas, lemon and lime zest and some sweet smells of fresh flowers. Very aromatic IPA, quite pleasant.

Taste - piney & citrusy with a nice bitter kick that makes you feel each and every one of those 75 IBUs. Lots of the floral hops are present on the palate with slightly sweet malty side balancing things out. This is ight and refreshing on the tongue with a crisp clean finish. Kinda scary how quickly those 16 oz. disappeared...

Overall - A very easy beer to enjoy that is for sure! Hopworks IPA is a well-built IPA that stays true to the Northwest style with big hop flavors and aromas but isn't astringent or one-sided. This is very balanced and an overall great IPA.

Note - cans of HUB's cans are available in Oregon, Washington and British Columbia. HUB's brewery and Hopworks BikeBar are both sustainably built. All of their beers are certified organic and they incorporate a ton of green practices.

"From composting to rain barrels, and from pervious pavers to hand dryers, we have made every effort to protect “our” future with a thoughtful alternative. Hopworks is 100% renewably powered and “cradle to gate” carbon neutral."



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Organic Hopworks IPA
Style: American India Pale Ale
Brewery: Hopworks Urban Brewery
City: 
Portland, Oregon  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: Organic Canadian Pilsner, Organic Munich, Organic Caramel malts
Hops: Athanum, Centennial and Cascade
ABV: 6.6%
IBUs: 75
Date: July 13th, 2012

Posted by Russ


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Wednesday, July 4th 2012

Hoppy Boy
(Twisted Pine Brewing Company)

Here it is! Fresh and hoppy! Twisted Pine Brewing's first canned release. Hoppy Boy is the brewery's flagship offering and the first to get canned using the brewery's new canning line. We love the design of the can (look at all those hops!) and the fact that this is 16 oz. of hoppiness - or a Tall Hoppy Can as it reads. We're looking forward to seeing what Twisted Pine puts in cans next. Perhaps one day we'll see cans of their infamous Ghost Face Killah!

From the Twisted Pine site:

"Hoppy Boy India Pale Ale is the flagship beer of Twisted Pine. It pours a hazy pale orange and has a dry, tart taste with an earthy bitterness.   Pleasant grapefruit and citrus notes are provided by the addition of Cascade hops.  This classic American IPA is brewed with medium caramel malts that play off the citrus and orange rind hop flavors to make this beer most enjoyable."

Here we go...

Pour – floods the glass with a gorgeous copper colored liquid that has some nice darker amber hues and a beautiful, lacey, thick foamy head on top. A great looking pour! 

Aroma – big tropical fruit aromas, fresh pine, grapefruit and sweet oranges. This has the type of aroma that makes a hophead tear up a bit. 

Taste - ahhh, the familiar taste of an awesome IPA. Big grapefruit and pine notes and a juicy citrus flavor that leads into a dry finish. Nicely balanced with a sweet, caramel-like maltiness but not too sweet so as the hops aren't in control. They definitely mantain the steering wheel with this IPA. This is a refreshing beer that I'd love to have an entire shelf of  in my fridge! Love it!

Overall - if you've not yet tried Hoppy Boy then you need to put it on your list. This is the type of IPA that IPA lovers are always looking for. It has the strong hop aroma that sucks you in and then once you've started drinking it you never want the experience to end. It hits all the marks for the style with the big piney flavors, the strong citrus notes and a dry, tongue numbing finish. This is an altogether excellent example of an American IPA. Cheers!

Note - this month Twisted Pine is releasing 750 mL bottles of their "Hoppy Girl" beer. The beer is an India Pale Ale infused with hibiscus and jasmine and is part of their Artisan Ale Project - a new beer is introduced during the first Saturday of each month in 2012. The labels for the beers are designed by a local Colorado artist. Pretty cool!



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Hoppy Boy
Style: American IPA
Brewery: Twisted Pine Brewing Company
City: 
Boulder, Colorado  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: Cascade, Northern Brewer, Chinook
ABV: 6.2%
IBUs: 65
Date: July 4th, 2012

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Thursday, June 21 2012

Monkeynaut IPA
(Straight to Ale)

Monkeynaut is brand new to cans and is the first aluminum clad offering from Alabama's Straight to Ale. The brewery's hometown of Huntstville is known as "The Rocket City" due to its association with U.S. Space Missions. In the late 1950s, the Jupiter rocket program took shape and became the space vehicle that would take several space monkeys into the heavens, including "Miss Baker" who can be seen on the Monkeynaut IPA can.

From the Straight to Ale site:

"Albert. Able. Gordo. Miss Baker. Bonny. Goliath. Between 1948 and 1961 these primate pioneers and others bravely went where no man had ever gone before, paving the way for manned U.S. spaceflight. This hoppy little monkey of a beer is a tribute to those Simian heroes of yesteryear. It has a citrusy, floral hop aroma, a strong malt body and a crisp finish."

Here we go...

Pour – dark amber to cherry in appearance with loads of sticky white lacing stuck inside the walls of the glass. Carbonation looks spot on and we're ready to get down to business. 

Aroma – loads of citrusy hop aromas along with a faint aroma of black pepper, sweet oranges, pineapple and other tropical fruits. Quite aromatic and inviting.

Taste – one tasty sip and we're on to something quite delicious. Monkeynaut has some solid, bitter hoppy notes that combine some citrus and pine with tropical fruits and packs a righteous amount of malt backbone needed to keep everything well balanced. When it comes to well put together IPAs this is certainly one to add to the list.

Overall - very enjoyable brew. This is the type of beer you'd be happy to introduce to a friend and/or have as your go to backyard BBQ beer. Very appealing in the heat of the summer. Put some of these in the cooler and get them nice and cold and let that hoppiness satisfy your thirst. Well done Straight to Ale! Cheers!

Note - the monkey featured on the Monkeynaut IPA can was a squirrel monkey known as "Miss Baker". She was born in Peru and in 1959, at the age of 2, she went to space aboard a Jupiter rocket. She would be the first American "animal" to go to space and return alive. She would live to the ripe old age of 27 before passing away in Straight to Ale's hometown of Huntsville, Alabama. She is buried at the entrance of the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville. 

Straight to Ale also brews a "Gorillanaut Imperial IPA" that weighs in at 9% and is the "bigger, badder brother" to their flagship Monkeynaut IPA.
 



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Monkeynaut IPA
Style: American IPA
Brewery: Straight to Ale
City: 
Huntsville, Alabama  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 7.2%
IBUs: 70
Date: June 21st, 2012

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Wednesday, June 13th 2012

Rodeo Clown Double IPA
(Karbach Brewing Company)

Recently I was down in Houston for a week for work. I didn't know much about the beer scene there but was directed to check out a few places and a few local brews. One of the breweries that I knew I'd be on the lookout for was Karbach Brewing (the name comes from the street that the brewery is located on). Despite being relatively new to Houston they've done very well in their hometown thus far as their beers are available on draft and in cans at a lot of places around the city. Rodeo Clown is one of four beers that they're currently canning with hopefully more to come. Cheers!

From the Karbach site:

"It’s a job. And a hazardous one at that. Benefits, you ask? I hardly think so.

But the show must go on. So, it’s with bravado that the Rodeo Clown takes his place in the arena lights. Whether or not he’s insane is not important right now.  It’s with grit and intensity that the Clown steps in the path of almost certain destruction.

Our Double IPA is much the same. At 9.5% ABV, Rodeo Clown Double IPA coats the tongue in bitterness and packs a punch that will knock a bull on its ass . Intense and maybe a little insane drink carefully, but drink often. Ladies and Gentlemen, let the show begin."

Here we go...

Pour – fills the glass with a dark amber liquid with a big, off-white, sticky head that creeps down the inside of the glass. A nice clean appearance. This looks very tempting.

Aroma – as soon as the can was cracked open some of hop aromas made their way a good 2-3 feet right to my nose. This has some seriously intense citrus hop aroma along with some tropical aromas of pineapple and mango. There is quite a bit of sweetness in the aroma as well, its obvious that this is packing some bitterness and some heat simply by sticking your nose in the glass.

Taste – a little viscous on the tongue, swirling around the mouth there some burnt caramel flavors, some of those big sweet tropical fruit notes and of course a boat load of hop bitterness. As it warms a bit some flavors of mandarin oranges and grapefruit come out. A tad sweet on the tongue, sticky and coating, but quite delicious. Surprisingly for a beer of this strength it is quite balanced and the tongue is battered and bruised but will certainly survive to see a few more beers this evening. 

Overall - very solid and well put together Double IPA. All the big hop flavors and aromas are present and accounted for and a nice malty sweet backbone is there to back things up. The tropical notes are especially nice and the rather complex hop profile is fun to try and figure out as this warms. 7 different hops from both sides of the Atlantic were used in this beer! Enjoy!

Note - Rodeo clowns are now commonly referred to as bullfighters. The job they do today is much more serious compared to what it was many years ago when they were simply there to entertain the crowd much like circus clowns do. Yet, they still dress like clowns. Go figure.



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Rodeo Clown Double IPA
Style: Double/Imperial India Pale Ale
Brewery: Karbach Brewing Company
City: 
Houston, Texas  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: Pale, medium Crystal, dark Crystal, Munich, Biscuit
Hops: Amarillo, Citra, Chinook, East Kent Goldings, Simcoe, German Magnum and Sapphir. Dry-hopped intensely with Citra, Sapphir and East Kent Goldings
ABV: 9.5%
IBUs: 85
Date: June 13th, 2012

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Tuesday, May 15th 2012

Firestarter India Pale Ale
(Bonfire Brewing Company)

The town of Eagle, Colorado (pop. 3,000) is about a two and a half hour drive due west of Denver. This is where you'll find Bonfire Brewing, home to a now famous barleywine called "Tebrew"and makers of this particular IPA which they've just recently begun canning with the help of Longmont-based, Mobile Canning. We love the theme with Bonfire's beers and the idea of sipping some great beer around a big fire with friends is one of those joys in life that is hard to beat.

From the Bonfire site:

"A traditional India Pale Ale recipe, bitterness-enhanced with Falconer’s flight hops and aroma-strengthened with an extra dose of Cascade hops.  At 6.6% ABV, this one gets the fire going quickly."

Here we go...

Pour – a glowing orange with yellow hues. The head forms loose but leave some decent lacing as it slinks away. Carbonation might be a bit on the light side.

Aroma – citrus, lime leaves, vanilla, a bit of pineapple and perhaps some mango. Nothing too overpowering in the aroma.

Taste – that first sip provides the malty sweetness and its quickly followed by a nice smooth bitterness coming from those hops. Some lemon and lime citrus flavors are present as is a caramel malty sweetness that sticks around. In the end my tongue is dried out a bit, which means the hops have done their job. 

Overall - a solid IPA with some nice floral hop aromas and flavors. Not overly bitter and without a real "bite" so to speak. Still, at 6.6% and 72 IBUs this is an extremely refreshing and easy-drinking IPA. 

Note - Bonfire Brewing's story is one that has been echoed a number of times in the craft beer world. A story of years of homebrewing turned into a business plan and eventually a small brewery that is a labor of love. You can read more about it HERE!

 



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Firestarter India Pale Ale
Style: American India Pale Ale
Brewery: Bonfire Brewing Company
City: 
Eagle, Colorado  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: Falconer's Flight, Cascade
ABV: 6.6%
IBUs: 72
Date: May 15th, 2012

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Monday, April 23rd 2012

The Corruption
(DC Brau)

Our third and final review of the ales currently being canned by this one-year old brewery in our nation’s capitol.  We reviewed DC Brau’s pale ale The Public in October 2011, and at the time we wondered what their IPA would be like.  We now have the answer.


From the DC Brau site:


"The Corruption" comes in at 6.5% ABV. This beer straddle's the line between IPA and Imperial IPA and has a supportive malty backbone with an assertive hop presence that smacks your mouth with a dank, resinous bitterness followed by pleasant aroma's of pine sap and burnt spruce."


Here we go...


POUR: dark amber with a big white head that is as thick as soft-serve ice cream.  A broad patchwork of lacing refused to give up the cling dream for the duration of our tasting.


AROMA: Sharp, resinous pine jumped out of the can as soon as it was opened.  Frankly, not much more was able to penetrate the sappy aroma.  The pine is so strong and genuine that we were mentally transported back to our favorite golf courses in northern Michigan (we admit the quality of our game is such that we spend a lot of time searching for our golf balls among the evergreens and wooded areas in general). 


TASTE: we thought DC’s pale was a bitter bruiser, and its slightly bigger IPA brother takes it up a notch or two. The Columbus hops crushed our palates the instant they hit our tongue without the courtesy of offering any citrus fruit flavor to soften the blow. A solid malt backbone provided some needed caramel-like relief in the middle before the hops gave us a backhanded slap at the dry finish. A very pleasant sweet malty aftertaste stuck around long enough for us to momentarily forget the hop punishment and have yet another drink.  


OVERALL: We sometimes categorize IPAs as either malty or hoppy, but we can’t do that with this one - it’s clearly both. Also, single hop IPAs can be very good but they’re often one-dimensional, so creating one that is tasty and has some complexity is no easy feat and seems to require a perfectly matched malt bill. The Corruption’s huge flavors represent a coalition between big hop flavor and big malt flavors, and does so without any crooked back-room bargaining.   


NOTES: 




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The Corruption
Style: American India Pale Ale
Brewery: DC Brau Brewing Company
City: 
Washington, District of Columbia  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: Pale 2 row, C-10, Honey and Victory malts
Hops: Columbus
ABV: 6.5%
IBUs: 80
Date: April 23rd, 2012

Posted by Trent


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Friday, April 20th 2012

Alphadelic IPA
(Hop Valley Brewing Company)

Oregon is the second largest hop producing state in the country, Washington ranks number one. In the 1800's Oregon was however the "center of the hop growing universe" according to at least one article we've read. On top of that, most of the hops grown in Oregon during that time were grown in Springfield, Oregon - home to Hop Valley Brewing Company. So, yep, lots of hop history in this brewery's hometown. As this is our first brew from Hop Valley, why not start with the IPA, that makes sense right?

From the Hop Valley site:

"A true NW IPA, with an orange-copper hue, & enough malt to back it up."


Here we go...

 

Pour - out of the can, Alphadelic fills the glass a soft golden color with a rich, thick white head floating on top. Super clingy foam sticks on the walls of the glass. This has the makings of a fine beer.


Aroma - loads of sweet citrus, cotton candy, bitter lemon, pineapple and passion fruit. No shortage of aromas to take in as this one settles. As it warms a tad those aromas increase and those aromatic hop driven smells really come out.

 

Taste - can't help but start with a big sip. This smells great and has been leading me on a bit. Lots of grapefruit taste right off the bat, something I will always love about some breweries take on this style. This has the citrus, the dankness, the bitterness and the floral and raw hop flavor that drives a great IPA - and yes it really does have enough malt to back it all up. Really enjoying this beer and wishing I had more of them...

 

Overall - when you call your brewery Hop Valley and your based in one of the most historic hop growing areas of the country than you know people are going to expect a LOT from your hop focused beers. Alphadelic IPA does not disappoint. This was a beer we really enjoyed and would love to get out to Springfield and have on tap while learning more about the regions hop-growing history. 


Note - Matt Groening, of The Simpsons fame, has revealed that Hop Valley Brewing's hometown of Springfield, Oregon was indeed the true Springfield. The town is located next to Eugene, Oregon and a trek down Route 5 from Groening's hometown of Portland. Perhaps we need a craft brewed Duff lager? Cheers!


     



Alphadelic IPA
Style: American India Pale Ale
Brewery: Hop Valley Brewing Company
City: 
Springfield, Oregon  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: Great Western Two-Row and Munich
Hops: Simcoe, Cascade, Cluster and Palisade
ABV: 6.5%
IBUs: 90
Date: April 20th, 2012

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Thursday, March 15th 2012

Isis
(Sun King Brewery)

Previously a draft-only seasonal release, Isis is the fifth specialty brew to end up in Sun King's special release cans. Isis, the Egyptian Goddess of motherhood, magic and fertility and was the sister (and eventual wife) of Osiris. This big, hoppy brew is based on Sun King's Osiris Pale Ale recipe - just think bigger, stronger and hoppier. This is the big sister, so much so that she skips right over IPA and goes straight from Pale Ale to Imperial/Double IPA!

From the Sun King site: 

"This is a massive double hopped IPA based on the recipe for our Osiris Pale Ale. Isis has a spicy malt base to help balance the citrus punch from the huge American hop-load. It's everything you and love in Osiris, just more intense."

Here we go...

Pour – dark amber in appearance with a clean, clear disposition and a perfectly formed head on top. A great looking beer coming out of the can, you just know its going to be good!

Aroma – a big wallop to the olfactory glands. Tons of citrus and piney hops along with a good dose of cotton candy and powdered sugar. There is a faint hint of the alcohol and plenty of bitter, floral hops. No shortage of aromatics with this beer.

Taste – I'll try to keep in mind that this has its roots in the recipe for Osiris (an excellent American Pale Ale). First sip brings about a load of fresh orange flavor, pineapple and tropical fruits as well as a good dose of sweetness from the malts. What amazes me is just how light and smooth this is on the tongue. Such a well put together beer with so much flavor yet it doesn't feel heavy or palate killing. A few more sips bring about some flavors of melon, honey and a bitter, spicy finish that leaves the tongue a little dry...and thirsting for more. 

Overall – we've yet to be disappointed by anything coming out of a Sun King can and Isis is no exception. Upping the ante with all of the things that make Osiris great truly paid off. Loved this beer and want to say thanks to the folks at Sun King for making that possible. We need to start planning a trip out to Indy! 

Notes - the name Isis means "throne" and the headdress she is usually depicted as wearing is shown as a thrown. She was the first daughter of Geb, god of the Earth, and Nut, goddess of the Sky. She married Osiris, her brother, and she conceived a son named Horus by him. Isis resurrected Osiris when he was murdered by Seth (god of storms and chaos) by using her powers and bringing his body back to life after having gathered the body parts that had been strewn about the earth by Seth. 

 


Sun King's special release cans so far...



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Isis
Style: Double/Imperial India Pale Ale
Brewery: Sun King Brewing Company
City: 
Indianapolis, Indiana  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 9.0%
IBUs: 91
Date: March 15th, 2012

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Wednesday, March 14th 2012

Firewater India Pale Ale
(Catawba Valley Brewing Company)

Our first can from a new canning brewery located in the small town Western North Carolina town of Morganton. Catawba Valley Brewing just recently released three of their brands in cans bringing the number of breweries now canning in the Tarheel State is up to five. Since they are using decal labels on blank cans be on the lookout for more offerings from these guys in the near future.

From the Catawba Valley site:

"This golden straw colored IPA is made with 5 varieties of malts and 6 massive hop additions. It is outstanding in flavor and aromatics."


Here we go...

 

Pour - a clean, medium amber color with a BIG fluffy head that sticks tightly to the inner walls of the glass. Nice carbonation levels and a great looking pour.


Aroma - spicy, caramel, honey, sweet citrus and what to me smells like coriander or something similar to that of a witbier

 

Taste - slight flavors of orange peel, spicy, earthy hops and a dry finish that is quite refreshing. After a few more sips I am really digging this beer. Its not an in your face hop assault but more like the IPAs that were around in the mid-90s which more balanced. It has a certain spiciness that I can't seem to figure out as it almost makes this taste like a Belgian IPA. Perhaps its the yeast strain? 

 

Overall - a great IPA that was actually ramped up in ABV for the canned version as the draught is closer to 5%. Regardless this is a very balanced beer with a nice hop flavor and solid malt backbone. A little more of a unique take on the style and one that won't wreck your palate and will permit you to enjoy a few without worry.


Note - Catawba Valley Brewing brewed their first batch of beer back in 1999. They are currently canning three of their brands (below) and distribute in North Carolina and Western Tennessee. 

 



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Firewater India Pale Ale
Style: American India Pale Ale
Brewery: Catawba Valley Brewing Company
City: 
Morganton, North Carolina  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 6.0%
IBUs: ???
Date: March 14th, 2012

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Saturday, March 10th 2012

Fire Eagle American IPA
(Austin Beerworks)

Austin Beerworks began canning their beers in the summer of 2011. Designed to embody the look of old oil cans you've got to love the three cans they've released thus far (see below). Fire Eagle is the brewery's take on the classic American IPA. Brewed with four different hops and a grain bill that features wheat, this is indeed an original recipe. 

From the Austin Beerworks site:

"Flavor swoops in (cue EAGLE SCREAM), grabs you by the face and flies you through the hop rainbow. At the peak of the ride it swoops back to earth and gently drops you back on your bar stool where you are refreshed, excited and ready to ride again. It’s hoppy, bold and American."


Here we go...

 

Pour - soft golden to honey-colored in appearance with a bubbly, but well-built white head on top that slides into the depths leaving some lacing.


Aroma - like walking through a pine forest when suddenly it opens up into a grove of mango trees and there you happen upon a bunch of ripe pineapples cut up and sitting out on a picnic table. Sit back and imagine that and you might have something close to what is coming from this glass of hoppy goodness.

 

Taste - resiny and drying in the finish with a crisp, hoppy bitterness on the tongue. Some hints of tropical fruit flavors, citrus, over-ripe pineapple and some bready/doughy malty notes. Put it altogether and you've got the makings of a hop-forward IPA that is certainly worth your while.

 

Overall - this will paint your palate green and leave a dry, bitter taste on the tongue for as long as you're enjoying this beer. Nice floral and tropical flavors with a crisp, refreshing finish and a solid amount of IBUs. Crack open a can and enjoy!

 

Note - one of the reasons that Austin Beerworks went with cans is because you can drink beer while tubing in Texas - just not from a glass container. We'd like to think that a good many cans of their beer have floated their way down many-a-river in the Lone Star state. Cheers guys!


       



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Fire Eagle American IPA
Style: American India Pale Ale
Brewery: Austin Beerworks
City: 
Austin, Texas  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: Pils, C-40, C-60, Wheat
Hops: Summit, Columbus, Centennial, Amarillo
ABV: 6.4%
IBUs: 70
Date: March 10th, 2012

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Monday, February 27th 2012

Torpedo
(Sierra Nevada Brewing Company)

The time has finally come! Both the cans of Sierra Nevada's legendary IPA and their hop-heavy Torpedo have landed on shelves. We had a tough time deciding which one to open and review first so we figured we'd do them both in one sitting. Both cans look great and the brewery did a great job transferring those iconic labels to their can designs. We've got a feeling that a lot of these cans are going to be sold as the weather warms up. Cheers!

From the Sierra Nevada site:

"Sierra Nevada Torpedo is a big American IPA; bold, assertive, and full of flavor highlighting the complex citrus, pine, and herbal character of whole-cone American hops."


Here we go...

 

Pour - dark auburn in appreance with some orange and reddish hues and big, frothy white head that sticks inside the glass like crazy glue. Absolutely fantastic looking beer coming out of the can and certainly flatters our plain can-shaped glass.


Aroma - spicy and floral with some sweet citrusy notes along with some raw sugar and burnt caramel aromas. Plenty of pine and tropical fruits as well. Quite aromatic and certainly appealing enough to make you want to stick your face to the glass and take a big sip.

 

Taste - malty sweetness hits the tongue first before the wave of bitter hoppiness, citrus and fruits like mango and pineapple assualt the palate. Smooth and balanced with a lasting tropical fruit flavor on the tongue and a friendly amount of bitterness. Sierra definitely did the right thing when they kept Torpedo and got rid of the other IPA they were brewing for awhile. This is a great beer.

 

Overall - Torpedo may be heavy on hops but it won't sink your palate like some of the double IPAs out there. With 65 IBUs and a solid malty backbone this is a balanced IPA with some serious drinkability installed. Pint cans are being sold in four-packs which is just about perfect. 

 

Note - the name "Torpedo" refers to the device Sierra Nevada uses to dry hop this and other beers.

"Our obsession with harnessing huge hop flavor led to the development of what we call the hop torpedo, a revolutionary method of dry-hopping designed, built, and debuted here at the brewery. Our torpedo is a sleek, stainless-steel piece of hardware that delivers more pure hop aroma than any method of dry-hopping we’ve ever seen." - Sierra Nevada Brewing Company

 

     



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Torpedo
Style: American India Pale Ale
Brewery: Sierra Nevada Brewing Company
City: 
Chico, California  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: Two-row pale and Crystal
Hops: Magnum, Citra, Cystal
ABV: 7.2%
IBUs: 65
Date: February 27th, 2012

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Thursday, February 23rd 2012

Snake Handler Double IPA
(Good People Brewing Company)

First, I have to say that I absolutely love the name of this beer as well as the can design. Second, I love that the good people at Good People went all out and canned this huge, hop-centric beer. I'm sure the hopheads in Alabama are rejoicing now that this one is on shelves. A big thanks to Gabe Harris, who champions the good beer cause in Alabama as President of Free the Hops, for hooking us up with a couple of these beauties. If you missed it, Gabe also was on hand during the first canning of Snake Handler and took some great pictures. Cheers! 


photo by Gabe Harris

From the Good People site:

"A big, joyous celebration of all things hoppy (5 different varities). Large flavors and aroma of pine, citrus, flowers, spice, pineapple, and grassiness complimented with a touch of biscuit and caramel backbone. Our most requested beer.


Here we go...

 

Pour - an absolutely stunning head of thick, off-white foam sits atop this orange-yellow brew. It looks as though I could float a quarter on top of this. Just a great looking pour and it looks so innocent. But this snake is about to strike.


Aroma - dried pineapple, raw sugar, slight alcohol notes, mango and other tropical fruits. Aromatic with a lot of sweet fruits and also some of that piney resiny notes that accompany these big, sticky, double IPAs.

 

Taste - one sip and it hits your palate (and your brains) that this has some strength and this snake can bite. Big tropical fruit flavors up front such as mango and passionfruit along with grapefruit and pineapple. It sits heavy on the tongue and warms the throat going down. Plenty of hop bitterness lingers and you're definitely feeling those 103 IBUs as your tongue slowly dries out and your palate waves the white flag (which you'll ignore like you always do). 

 

Overall - what's not to love? A big, strong, hopped-up beer that's befitting of its name and the can it's delivered in. You're not going to drink one of these by mistake. If you're looking for a stomach-warming, tongue numbing beer that satsifies your jonesing for hops than look no further. Also, if you're a lover of canned craft beer and aren't yet a collector of cans then this one might be a good start to a collection as its going to be really tough to recycle one of these and just keep it around.

 

Note - not that long ago a can of craft beer was pretty much unheard of in the state of Alabama, not too mention that anything over 6% abv was illegal in the state, but Good People Brewing is doing a great job proving that great beer can indeed be canned and that is has its advantages. Well done, we look forward to whatever you guys decide to can next!



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Snake Handler Double IPA
Style: Double/Imperial India Pale Ale
Brewery: Good People Brewing Company
City: 
Birmingham, Alabama  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 9.3%
IBUs: 103
Date: February 23rd, 2012

Posted by Russ


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Monday, February 13th 2012

Resin
(Sixpoint Craft Ales)

 

Check out that can! It's a slim 12 oz. can that stands the same height as a 16 oz. can but has a sleek, slender build. Sixpoint is the first craft brewery to package a beer in this style of can. Resin, the Brooklyn-based brewery's latest canned release, is a strong, hoppy beer that has some serious IBUs and packaging that will turn heads like a three-headed snake.  


From the Sixpoint site:

 

"We zeroed in on the botanical structure of the hop cone to get to the essence of this beer. When hops are at their peak maturity, their cores swell up with a sticky, golden, resinous substance that is the flavor you crave from an IPA. WIth an IBU of 103 and ABV of 9.1%, Resin can be loosely described as a double IPA — but rarely do Sixpoint beers adhere to any strict style demands."


Here we go...

 

Pour - dark amber in appearance with an solid inch of sticky, yellowish head that leaves some nice lacing inside the glass before very, very slowly slinking into the hoppy depths. Viscous coming out of the can this one is going to pack some heat.

 

Aroma - intense citrus, rum, orange peel, herbal tea, pine needles and light molasses. Every time you stick your face into the glass you'll pull out something else.

 

Taste - the first sip promptly numbs the palate with bitterness from all those IBUs. Loads of concentrated pine and citrus flavor hits the palate fast and without mercy. A little sweet, a little sticky and certainly delivering a punch to the senses. Resin has some herbal flavors, some medicinal or aloe-like notes as well as a floral-like profile. It finishes dry and warming and slightly boozy.


Overall - This one is a sipper that is for sure and it couldn't have been given a more appropriate name. Resin is sticky and intense and leaves your mouth coated with a bitter, hoppiness. Layers of flavors are packed into this brew and it delivers a unique hop-heavy experience.

 

Note - we commend Sixpoint for their drive to create something new and exciting and also for their efforts to progress canned craft beer by taking a new path in packaging. Perhaps we'll see some more high gravity brews in these types of cans from them in the future. Cheers!

 




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Resin
Style: Double/Imperial India Pale Ale
Brewery: Sixpoint Craft Ales
City: 
Brooklyn, New York  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 9.1%
IBUs: 103
Date: February 13th, 2012

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Tuesday, January 24th 2012

Deviant Dale's IPA
(Oskar Blues Brewery)

Deviant Dale's IPA will be the first 16 oz. can released from the folks who got this whole canned thing rolling a decade ago. Not a bad choice considering this was the hop-laden brew that just won a silver medal at the Great American Beer Festival in the very competitive India Pale Ale category. As you can plainly see, this is not the new can. It's merely a vessel used to transport the precious liquid in advance of their new canning line becoming operational. It's what's inside that truly matters, right? A big thank you to Chad at Oskar Blues for letting us have a sneak preview of what is to come!

From the Oskar Blues site:

"At 8% ABV, four hop additions, and a final excessive wallop of Columbus dry-hopping, this beer is meant to say one thing: MORE HOPS! The Deviant is a returning favorite from the little brewery in Lyons, Colorado that started the CANNED Revolution with Dale’s Pale Ale."


       
it's what's inside that matters


Here we go...

 

Pour – a darker golden hue with a sticky, clingy white head that leaves some serious lacing inside the glass. A very clean appearance with the look of a well-brewed IPA.

Aroma – I believe that someone has knocked me unconscious and I have woken up inside a huge pile of hops and could possibly suffocate from intense hop aroma. This is the real deal. TONS of that lovely grapefruit and mango goodness that the upper echelon of hopped up beers deliver. Plenty of pine, and pineapple for that matter, and overall super magnified lupulin experience for the olfactory system.

Taste – massive pine and resin flavors coming flooding in and are rounded out by a punch of bitterness and finally some sweet maltiness in the finish. Lots of those great tropical fruit flavors from the constant barrage of hops to the palate. A little less boozy than G'KNIGHT or GUBNA but certainly no less focused on hops. So, yes, this is worthy of it's medal and worthy of any IPA lover's glass. Cheers!

 

Overall - This one packs a wallop that is for sure. A full pint of this will certainly leave your tongue wounded but asking for more. This is a beer that will please even the most picky hopheads as it is balanced with a clean hop taste that isn't one-sided or a cloying, syrupy mess. We can't wait to have access to more of this brew on a regular basis and are certain that hopheads nationwide will rejoice when 4-packs of these tall boys are released.

 

Note - tall boy cans of Deviant Dale's should be hitting shelves in the next 4-6 weeks throughout the Oskar Blues distribution area. Oskar Blues is currently installing close to $4 million worth of new equipment which includes a new canning line filler and seamer that will allow them to can 300 cans per minute. 



Coming Soon Enough



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Deviant Dale's India Pale Ale
Style: Double/Imperial India Pale Ale
Brewery: Oskar Blues Brewery
City: 
Longmont, Colorado  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: Columbus
ABV: 8.0%
IBUs: ???
Date: January 24th, 2012

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Thursday, January 5th 2012

Westbrook IPA
(Westbrook Brewing Company)

Westbrook Brewing Company began canning their IPA and White Thai in late 2011. Both can designs are very appealing and the beers inside are certainly worthy of the great art on the outside. We've been looking forward to getting a few of these in our hands so cheers!


From the Westbrook Brewing site:


"A base of pale, Munich, and Carapils malts is just enough to contain the massive hopflavor and aroma packed into this highly drinkable IPA. A blend of four American hop varieties is added four times in the kettle and twice in the fermentor for a complex and layered hop experience. Best served at 45-50˚F in a tulip or English style pint glass."


Here we go...


Pour - peach colored with some red and orangish hues and about a half inch of frothy white head. Golden when held to the light. 

 

Aroma - sticking a nose close to the glass and I'm immediately met by some smells that will make a hophead happy. Mango and pineapple tropical notes along with some sharp citrus and pine aromas. 


Taste - lots of tropical fruit flavors from this IPA! Plenty of mango, passionfruit and pineapple to go along with a sweet orange and grapefruit finish. It truly is amazing how much hops can do for a beer - especially when applied liberally! The flavor profiles from the hops and the malt are very well balanced and this is a great example of an IPA that just might find some fans from the folks who might not like a super bitter hop bomb. The tropical fruit sweetness and overall flavors of this beer should please most palates. 


Overall - Very refreshing and altogether very easy drinking. This is one of the more aromatic and flavorful IPAs we've had. If you like a more tropical, grapefruit-y IPA then this one is for you. Very well put together and just a great tasting beer. We're wishing we had a lot more of these!


Note - Westbrook Brewing is the second craft brewery in the state of South Carolina to can thier beer, the first being New South Brewing Company in Myrtle Beach.


          




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Westbrook IPA
Style: American India Pale Ale
Brewery: Westbrook Brewing Company
City: 
Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: Pale, Carapils and Munich
Hops: ???
ABV: 6.8%
IBUs: 65
Date: January 5th, 2012

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Saturday, December 31st 2011

Hop Knot IPA
(Four Peaks Brewing Company)

Hop Knot IPA is one of three beers currently being canned by Four Peaks. If you're a fan of big, pungent IPAs that still fall into the category of easy drinking and six-pack worthy than this is one you'll want to hunt down. 

From the Four Peaks site:

"Hop Heads this is your beer. American malt, lots of American hops, mixed in with a bold pioneering American spirit. Hop Knot IPA gets its name from weaving seven different hops added at seven seperate times during the brewing process. Including the cavernous hop-back, which gets so stuffed with whole leaf hops that we feel genuine guilt for its excess.So you know it's chock full of hoppy goodness. It's the cure-all for the hop obsessed."

Here we go...

Pour - on the lighter side of amber to gold in appearance. Half an inch of loosely formed foam on top that sinks away leaving some faint lacing and a thin layer of wispy white head. 


Aroma - lemon and lime with some pineapple and mango notes followed by some sweetness and some hints of pine, floral hops and resiny-ness. Certainly aromatic enough to entice most hopheads.


Taste - you know the type of IPAs that make you say, "yes, there you go, that is what I want"? Well, this is one of those type of IPAs. Plenty of floral hop notes but also a nice punch of grapefruit and pine to remind you that this is indeed something that says American IPA and says it loud and proud. 


Overall - another great canned brew from Arizona! They're giving Colorado some serious competition when it comes to craft beers shroud in aluminum. Definitely an IPA worthy of any hopheads fridge, cooler or backpack. Easy drinking, hopped-up to eleven and well worth your time.


Note - a nifty little video that Four Peaks put together announcing the release of Hop Knot in cans last year. 

 

 
Hop Knot Hero


          



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Hop Knot IPA
Style: American India Pale Ale
Brewery: Four Peaks Brewing Company
City: 
Tempe, Arizona  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: Two-row, caramel 20L, special pale
Hops: Cascade, Glacier, Magnum, Liberty and Simcoe
ABV: 6.7%
IBUs: 47
Date: December 31st, 2011

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Thursday, December 29th 2011

Hop Box Imperial IPA
(Joseph James Brewing Company)

 

Joseph James Brewing Company has canned three of their offerings thus far. They first began canning in September of 2011 and along with this Double IPA they've also canned their JJ's Craft American Lager and Fox Tail Gluten Free Ale - the nation's first canned gluten-free beer. 


From the Joseph James Brewing site:


"This Imperial IPA has a large Hop Aroma and sweetness from dark caramel malts. This brew uses Simcoe and Cascade hops and is hopped at 5 lbs per barrel. The brew is 9.3% ABV, 90 IBU's, and best enjoyed at 55F. Serve in a 25cl goblet."


Here we go...

POUR: dark auburn in color with some reddish hues and a big, off-white pancake batter-like head on top. Clean in appearance with some serious lacing as that big head retreats into the hoppy depths.

AROMA: sticky and sweet with scents of pine needles, pineapple, Cara Cara oranges and ruby red grapefruit. This smells like a big, bold, hopped-up red ale. 

TASTE: smooth and sweet with lots of sweet citrus notes. Plenty of hop bitterness and some astringency. The tongue is bombarded by an onslaught of IBU-laden hop rockets and caramel maltiness. As this warms a bit it really comes out just how easy to drink it is even at 9.3%. It's a tad bit scary. 

OVERALL: a very nicely put together Imperial IPA from the folks at Joseph James. Not knowing much about this Nevada brewery we weren't sure what to expect. This was a nice surprise. If you like a BIG hoppy brew with a very generous grain bill to match than this is one to hunt down. 

NOTE: there are now about a dozen canned Double/Imperial IPAs available in the US. 

          



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Hop Box Imperial IPA
Style: Double/Imperial India Pale Ale
Brewery: Joseph James Brewing Company
City: 
Henderson, Nevada  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: Dark Caramel Malts
Hops: Simcoe, Cascade
ABV: 9.3%
IBUs: 90
Date: December 29th, 2011

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Saturday, December 10th 2011

Big Cock IPA
(Great River Brewery)

 

I'm sure you're wondering by now how Great River Brewery managed to get the name of this beer approved by the powers that be. Hell, you might have only gotten this far because of that. Well, before you assume something childish and immature you should know that the name is one that pays homage to the Ring-necked pheasant (Phasianus colchicus). Male pheasants are known as "cocks" and a "big cock" is...well you get it by now. Sure, it's a name that will turn some heads but the good news is that it's a pretty tasty beer and some of the profits are being given to a worthy cause. Cheers!


From the CAN:


"Changing habitat conditions have taken a toll on the populations of the beautiful and delicious ringneck pheasant. We donate a portion of the sales of our IPA to Pheasants Forever and named it as a prompt to other outdoorspeople to continue that support. True to the style, our IPA is brewed with pale malt and fiercely hopped, the perfect beverage after a day afield."

 

 


Here we go...

POUR: auburn colored liquid fills our glass and a very rich and creamy head erupts on top leaving some streaks of lacing as this IPA recedes. Carbonation levels look great and this is clean and clear. Very nice looking pour.

AROMA: lemon peel, powdered sugar, caramel, grilled pineapple, mandarin oranges and caramel.

TASTE: first sip we come across what appears to be a very balanced IPA with a rich, malty backbone backing up less pronounced hoppiness. Some flavors of orange and grapefruit are there and the finish is one with lingering bitterness and mouth drying potency. A little light in body but certainly not an IPA to turnaway or put back on the shelf. 

OVERALL: solid IPA. Not a huge amount of pine or grapefruit and its not a hop bomb by any means but its a very drinkable and balanced hop-forward beer. We wish it had just a little more oomph to propel it into greatness but that's just us. Cheers! We really do love everything from this brewery.

NOTES: Great River Brewery has now canned six different beers. The brewery utilizes a shrink wrap type label for their more limited releases and have printed cans for both their 483 Pale Ale and Roller Dam Red Ale. 

          



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Big Cock IPA
Style: American India Pale Ale
Brewery: Great River Brewery
City: 
Davenport, Iowa  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: Pale Malt
Hops: Simcoe and Amarillo
ABV: 7.0%
IBUs: 70
Date: December 10th, 2011

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Wednesday, December 7th 2011

Missouri Mule IPA
(Piney River Brewing Company)

Cans of Piney River's beers have just come off the canning lines and are hitting shelves in the local area around the brewery. Along with Missouri Mule IPA they are also canning their McKinney Eddy Amber Ale. This relatively small brewery, it's a husband and wife team who both have full-time jobs, decided to can their beers to allow the folks in the Ozarks to enjoy their beers outside. This is why each of their cans has the line, "Pack it in. Pack it out. Enjoy nature."

From the Piney River site:

"Missouri mules hauled hundreds of wagons across the West and packed supplies in World Wars I & II. For decades, mules were also the most reliable Ozark farm hands. Like a Missouri mule, you can rely on our handcrafted India Pale Ale. This IPA packs a hop explosion that will not let you down."

Here we go...

Pour – fills our glass with a dark amber, reddish-auburn color with a soapy head that quickly dissipates leaving a perfect ring around the inside of the glass and some specks of lacing.

Aroma – caramel malts, Tootsie rolls, sweet oranges, lemon, pineapple juice and some floral hops.

Taste – That first sip hits the back of your palate with a wave of bitter sweet citrus that is followed by big malty aftershock. Very balanced with a great body and flavor profile. Some nice tropical fruit notes pop up from time to time as this one settles a bit. This ends with a bitter finish and just a kiss of sweetness. Nothing is too out of balance and I'd say a conservative take on a style that is often taken to extremes will serve this brewery well. Well done Piney River.

Overall – we wish we knew the ABV on this as it's dangerously drinkable (EDIT: We've been told that it's 7%). This seems to fall somewhere between a hopped up amber ale, a malty IPA and a strong pale ale. Wherever it lies in the beer style spectrum its certainly a worthwhile brew and is definitely making hop-loving outdoorsy folks happy down in the Ozarks! 

NOTES: Piney River is the first craft brewery in the state of Missouri to both brew and can their beers in the state. Both O'Fallon and Schlafly have canned their beers but do so at Stevens Point Brewery in neighboring Wisconsin. If you'd like to learn more about Piney River check out the Q & A we did with brewery co-owner Joleen Durham.

 
Piney River Brewing Company's first two cans




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Missouri Mule IPA
Style: American India Pale Ale
Brewery: Piney River Brewing Company
City: 
Bucryus, Missouri  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 7.0%
IBUs: ???
Date: December 7th, 2011

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Tuesday, November 1st 2011

Great Crescent IPA
(Great Crescent Brewery)

 

From the brewery that brought the world the first ever canned barrel-aged stout comes this 16 oz. can of IPA. We don't know too much of the specifics about this particular beer - such as it's strength or it's IBUs not to mention we also have no idea which particular hops or malts are used in brewing it. Oh well, sometimes it's fun to guess. 

 

From the Great Crescent site:

"The beer that was created to make the ocean voyage to India when it was a British Colony lives on today in many interpretations - all hoppy, some a lot more than others. Great Crescent IPA is made in the classic British style and maintains some balance between the malt and the hops. There is a moderate hop aroma with a carmel malt presense. Hop flavor and bitterness come through very cleanly in the finish."


Here we go...

 

Pour - great looking orange to peach colored IPA. Head resembles pancake batter and leaves some ridiculously thick lacing inside the glass. Very good looking beer coming out of this can.

 

Aroma - citrus along with some Christmas tree pine aromas that sort of lean towards being astringent and soapy smelling. Not a whole lot of malt sweetness detected in the nose. This almost has the aroma of plastic a bit. Hmm...

 

Taste - first taste and I get some more of that astringent bitter flavor. It reminds me of pine but perhaps a bit more than I'm used to tasting in an IPA. Some malt backbone comes into play but this lacks much in the way of hop flavor. The flavor profile of this particular India Pale Ale leaves me scratching my head and tapping the glass.

 

Overall - not overly impressed by this one. I can't help but feel that there are some off flavors and something isn't quite right. Even if this was more of the British-style of IPA I'd be getting more hop flavor and aroma along with a solid malt backing. The astringency of this brew is a little off-putting. Bummed as we've loved the other beers we've tried from Great Crescent. Perhaps it was just this particular batch?


Note - Great Crescent cans every one of the beers they brew. They do so by utilizing a can that allows them to adhere a label denoting the style within. This is similar to what both Sun King Brewing Company and Dolores River Brewery are also using. 



Can Scale:
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Great Crescent IPA
Style: American India Pale Ale
Brewery: Great Crescent Brewery
City: 
Aurora, Indiana  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: ???
IBUs: ???
Date: November 1st, 2011

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Saturday, October 15th 2011

Grapefruit Jungle IPA
(Sun King Brewing Company)

Grapefruit Jungle IPA is the third special release beer from Sun King that is packaged in their very versatile multi-style can. The first IPA released from the brewery, this was made available just recently and only for sale at the Sun King Brewery. Big thanks to our can-loving hero Woody Chandler for sharing. 

From the Sun King site:

"With two pound of hops in each barrel Grapefruit Jungle is a hop lover's dream. It's named for the rich grapefruit characteristics of the three hops used to create it."


 
The story behind the beer...

 

 

Here we go...

 

Pour - streaming out of the can GFJ fills the glass with a brilliant orangish golden color topped with a good inch of fluffy white foam. Nice carbonation, clean and clear. Great looking beer!

 

Aroma - tons of citrus, resiny, piney goodness. Lots of great hop aroma bursting forth from this IPA. Smells like a fresh halved pink grapefruits, oranges and lemons. Some slight sweetness in the aroma as well. 

 

Taste - wow! My tongue has been awoken by an onslaught of big hop flavors and plenty of bitterness. Lots of tropical fruits like passionfruit and mango combine with pink grapefruit and sweet blood oranges. The piney, bitterness that comes into play at the end of each sip is masochistically delicious. So many great flavors in this beer and its well-balanced too! 

 

Overall - excellent IPA! I can't possibly say enough good things about this beer. The hop profile and the flavors it imparts are just outstanding. Lots of big tropical fruit and citrus flavors with a solid malt backbone (yet, certainly hop forward) make this a real joy to drink. I only wish I had more of them! I feel lucky to have had the chance to give this one a try. I would encourage the folks at Sun King to order 100,000 Grapefruit Jungle IPA cans and put this one into year round production.

 

Note - Grapefruit Jungle IPA was until recently only available on draught. Sun King released these special cans at the brewery on Friday, September 30th at a price of $17.50 per four pack. 

 

 




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Grapefruit Jungle IPA
Style: American India Pale Ale
Brewery: Sun King Brewing Company
City: 
Indianapolis, Indiana  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 7.5%
IBUs: 77
Date: October 15th, 2011

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Thursday, October 13th 2011

Grand Circus IPA
(Atwater Brewery)

Released in cans the same time as their Atwater's Lager, Grand Circus is another entry in the growing list of lower ABV ales marketed as an IPA. Let’s see how this one stacks up with no definitive style guidelines to light the way. 

From the Atwater site:

"Detroit’s Grand Circus Park is at the center of the city.  It has always been a meeting place where businessmen and visitors alike can relax and enjoy the sights and sounds of the bustling streets.  Every city has a place just like Grand Circus Park.  Nice and easy.  After two years of research and sampling, we’ve found the IPA that craft fans have been waiting for.  The one that epitomizes Grand Circus Park.  A nice and easy, deliciously hoppy IPA that is only 5% ABV and works perfect with a day in the park.  Plus, it too is available in cans."

Here we go...

POUR: A bright, vibrant copper color in the glass with a very dense and creamy white head.

AROMA: Dry crackers and some malt sweetness.  The hops make their presence known as it warms and after the head recedes.

TASTE: A malt-forward ale when cold, the hop flavor becomes more noticeable when it warms up a little bit.  There’s some light sweet tea flavor at the start and middle with a twinge of hop bitterness at the finish that cleanses the palate and gets you ready for the next sip.  Just a little bit of pleasant malt sweetness hangs around for an aftertaste.

OVERALL: A nice and light but flavorful pale ale that would pair well with many outdoor activities where higher ABV beers are not a good idea.  The malt-forward flavor profile with some moderate hop bitterness is what I imagine a lighter version of Breckenridge’s Lucky U IPA might taste like.  The easy, smooth drinking might also make this one a good candidate to use to introduce friends into the world of craft beer (and craft beer in cans!). 

NOTES: Understandably, craft brewers have been using the term “session” instead of “light” to describe ales like Grand Circus, probably because the latter term has been used in the brand name of some watery, thin-bodied, and flavorless beers.  No craft brewer wants a customer to associate their creations with something bland.

We’re OK with the term “session” as a craft beer description for “light.”  If you call it a “session IPA,” like Two Beers’ did with their Trailhead India Style Session Ale then the consumer knows what they’re buying. And here’s where Atwater may run into some trouble with Grand Circus: the packaging and label don’t provide a clue that this is a “light” or “session” IPA.  Even the ABV is noticeably absent from the can, which would give semi-informed beer drinkers a good indication that this is not a typical IPA. 

Good surprises are great, while bad surprises can be really bad.  Had we not known this was a “session IPA” before our tasting then Grand Circus may have been one of those bad surprises.  We think the folks at Two Beers did it right by including “session” in the brand name of their lighter IPA and hope that Atwater finds a way to sneak an extra word on the label before the next canning run.  

 

         

 



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Grand Circus India Pale Ale
Style: American India Pale Ale
Brewery: Atwater Brewery
City: 
Detroit, Michigan  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: Centennial and ?
ABV: 5.0%
IBUs: ???
Date: October 13th, 2011

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Wednesday, August 24th 2011

Evolutionary IPA
(Two Beers Brewing Company)

Evolutionary IPA is one of the first three canned offerings from Seattle's Two Beers Brewing Company. The can is nice enough to tell the drinker that this IPA is indeed brewed using Washington Hops and Grain. You've got to be a bit envious of the brewers in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. They live and work in the nation's "hop belt" and take full advantage of all those little green bundles of joy that grow in their backyards.

From the Two Beers site:

"Evo. IPA is made for hop heads, those that smell hops and start to shake, jitter, or obsess over the taste this fine plant imparts on beer. So in that sense, this beer is made for the adventurer, the one not afraid of the nuances of life, the complexity of life and the unknown turn in the road ahead. Cheers to the journey ahead."

The CAN reads:

"This beer is made for the adventurer, the one not afraid of the nuances of life, the complexity of decisions, or the unknown turn in the road ahead. So if you like to embrace life to the fullest then this beer is for you. Cheers! - Joel"

Here we go...

Pour - bright amber with lots of reds and oranges and a big, sticky white head on top. This has some serious lacing. All those tiny little bubbles cascading upwards sure is a nice sight to see as well.

 

Aroma - you want fresh hops? Perhaps the type of hop aroma that tickles the inside of your sinuses? Well, here you go! Evolutionary IPA has a lot of piney, resiny hoppy goodness going on and its very apparent even from a few feet away. Some nice citrus smell like grapefruit and lemon round out the aroma. Does it get much better than a very aromatic India Pale Ale? I think not...

 

Taste - a sip of this and you'll get a sense of where all 70 of those IBUs are coming from. Lots of hop flavor is packed into each sip and defended against lupulin overkill by a solid, sweet malty backbone. With Magnum, Simcoe, and Amarillo hops going into this IPA you're tasting some nice array of pineapple and other tropical fruits along with your typical citrus tastes like orange and lemon. This is an IPA that will make your tongue satisfyingly dry but bring it back to life with every sip. Delicious.

 

Overall - great IPA. This has all the features I'm looking for in an assertive West Coast India Pale Ale. Big hop aroma and flavor and bitter enough to make you know your not just drinking some hoppy amber ale. Well done and I think the aluminum outfit suits it well!

 

Would I buy more of it? - abso-HOP-lutely. Very tasty IPA with lots of great hop aroma and flavor. It pays to be near the source and you can taste it.

 

Note - one that thing that makes the cans from Two Beers a bit different than some of the others you'll see, and its not entirely obvious, is that their labels are actually shrink wrapped on to the cans. As this allows the brewery to can as few, or as many, cans as they want by just ordering shrink wrap labels and blank cans, this could be a cheap and easy way around the cost of ordering the rather large amount of cans many manufacturers currently require. 

 

      



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Evolutionary IPA
Style: American India Pale Ale
Brewery: Two Beers Brewing Company
City: 
Seattle, Washington  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: Magnum, Simcoe, and Amarillo
ABV: 6.2%
IBUs: 70
Date: August 24th, 2011

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Monday, August 15th 2011

Trailhead India Style Session Ale
(Two Beers Brewing Company)

One of three canned offerings now available from Seattle's Two Beers Brewing Company (with a couple more on the way). Trailhead ISA (India Session Ale) is a great example of the movement to provide more sessionable beers to an increasingly craft-leaning American drinking base. A great idea for their summer seasonal and hopefully a first of many low ABV IPAs to come.

From the Two Beers site:

"Trailhead ISA is being released as our Summer Seasonal. A Northwest India-style Session Ale (ISA) aggressively dry-hopped with Columbus and Cascade hops and brewed with light crystal and honey malts. A hoppy crisp beer perfect for the sunny days of summer."

The CAN reads:

"Toss this in a backpack and hit the trail to find freedom, escape, and a more simple life. As the sky above and good friends keep you company this generously dry-hopped ISA will complete the trinity of the good life. Pack it in. Pack it out. Cheers!"

Here we go...

Pour - nice golden, peachy color in appearance with a half inch or more of white foam on top. Carbonation looks great and this beer is screaming drink me.

 

Aroma - as soon as I opened this can I could get a whiff of the hops. The late addition dry hopping sure leaves a lasting aromatic impression. Fresh, green, sticky, piney hop aromas are very, very present. 

 

Taste - right away you can feel that this IPA isn't carrying a lot of weight compared to a lot of other IPAs that are weighing in closer to the 7% mark. Trailhead packs a nice citrusy punch and a light to medium malt backbone. Not to sweet and not too bitter. The aroma each time you stick your nose in the glass really adds to the enjoyment this beer brings. I get a bit of a peppery flavor from this as well as that of orange peel. Not sure where that is coming from but it works for me. Good stuff right here.

 

Overall - it seems that many brewers are scaling back these days and offering something that provides a lot of the flavors beer lovers crave but without the high alcohol - something that isn't always easy to get right. Trailhead does a great job providing a lot of the hop flavor and aroma without the booziness brought on by many bigger IPAs. I'd love to see more and more session IPAs in cans, it just seems like a perfect match especially during summer. 

 

Would I buy more of it? - I would as this is a great sub 5% IPA and a perfect candidate for these hot August days working in the yard. I'm looking forward to trying their Evolutionary IPA - which is also now in cans. 

 

Note - one that thing that makes the cans from Two Beers a bit different than some of the others you'll see, and its not entirely obvious, is that their labels are actually shrink wrapped on to the cans. Great River Brewery in Iowa has also done this with a couple of their cans as well. As this allows the brewery to can as few or as many cans as they want by just ordering shrink wrap labels and blank cans, this could be a cheap and easy way around the cost of ordering the rather large amount of cans many manufacturers currently require. 

 

      
Two Beers Brewing Company's current canned offerings




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Trailhead India Style Session Ale
Style: American India Pale Ale
Brewery: Two Beers Brewing Company
City: 
Seattle, Washington  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: Light Crystal and Honey Malts
Hops: Columbus and Cascade
ABV: 4.8%
IBUs: 48
Date: August 15th, 2011

Posted by Russ


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Monday, August 8th 2011

Sockeye Red IPA
(Midnight Sun Brewing Company)

This year alone has seen the number of craft breweries canning in the 49th state jump from one to three. Midnight Sun's Sockeye Red IPA is now out in cans and available only in Alaska (for now). These were first released in early July and word is they are selling fast...really fast! A big thanks goes out to Jim in Anchorage for making it possible for us to try this one. This is one of three Alaskan craft beers (soon to be four and who knows how many after that) that are being canned now, although I'm not sure if Sleeping Lady has got their canning line back up and running yet. Here's to the canned craft beer scene in The Last Frontier, cheers!

From the Midnight Sun site:

"Brewed in the bold spirit of Alaska, Sockeye Red IPA is a finely crafted Pacific Northwest-style India Pale Ale with a real bite. Ample pale two-row malt creates a fresh, firm body while specialty malts impart a spawning red hue. The predominant character of this fiesty catch comes from outlandish portions of Centennial, Cascade and Simcoe hops, giving this beer tremendous citrus and floral aroma and flavor.

Determined and bitter but amazingly balanced,Sockeye Red IPA is gnarly enough to take you hook, line and sinker. Forget about a bigger rig; grab a bigger glass."

Here we go...

Pour - dark amber in color with some reddish highlights and a nice inch of foamy, off-white head on top. This is rather dark for an IPA and personally I like that as it means there is likely to be a solid malt backbone.

 

Aroma - sweet, tangy, citrusy with some nice pineapple notes as well as orange and mango. Lots of hoppy smells emanating from this glass. I'm excited to dive in as it's the perfect evening for an IPA from Alaska!

 

Taste - that first taste hits the lips, the tongue and the back of the throat with a blast of bitter citrus and resiny pine. This is followed by some of that sweet pineapple I caught in the aroma and a malty caramel finish. There are some honey notes as this one warms a bit and those hop flavors start to really stick and dry out the tongue. Delicious.

 

Overall - definitely more than a just one-sided IPA and the perfect candidate for Midnight Sun's first cans sent down the line. I can imagine this would be a big hit with all the outdoors folks up in Anchorage as it would fill a lot of coolers quite nicely. Great stuff and am glad we were able to taste it while it was fresh!

 

Would I buy more of it? - if it meant a trip to Alaska I'd certainly love to get more but without that expensive airline ticket I think I'll have to wait until they expand their distribution considerably. 

 

                          

 

Note - Sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka), also called red salmon or blueback salmon in the USA, is an anadromous species of salmon found in the Northern Pacific Ocean and rivers discharging into it. There are also completely landlocked populations of the same species, which are known as the kokanee. Sockeye salmon is the third most common Pacific salmon species, after pink and chum salmon. The name "sockeye" is an anglicization of sθə́qəy̓, its name in Halkomelem, the language of the indigenous people along the lower reaches of the Fraser River. - wikipedia.com

 



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Sockeye Red IPA
Style: American India Pale Ale
Brewery: Midnight Sun Brewing Company
City: 
Anchorage, Alaska  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: Centennial, Cascade and Simcoe
ABV: 5.7%
IBUs: 70
Date: August 8th, 2011

Posted by Russ


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Sunday, August 7th 2011

Northern Lights India Pale Ale
(Starr Hill Brewing Company)

Another canned offering from the growing craft beer-land that is the American Southeast. Northern Lights IPA is joined by Festie as one of the first two canned brews from Starr Hill with more to come we'd imagine. Cheers!

 

From the Starr Hill site:


"A classic American-style India Pale Ale, Northern Lights weighs in at 52 IBUs and 6.5% ABV. Characterized by its full-flavored bitterness and poignant citrus-floral aroma, a perfect blend of barley and hops make this a very balanced IPA. For the craftbrew connoisseur, Northern Lights is a deliciously crafted piece of the heavens."


Here we go...

 

Pour - nice looking amber to dark golden in appearance with some nice rubyish highlights and an inch or so of foamy white head on top. Some lacing present in the glass before I can manage a sip. Not a bad looking pour. 


Aroma - the first things I get from sniffing the glass are lemon juice and caramel malt. Some other sweet citrus aroma are present but not a whole lot of hops going on here. More on the sweet to malty side in the nose.

 

Taste - following suit with the aroma, the first taste on my tongue is that of sweet malt. Not overly cloying but definitely sweet. There is some decent bitterness hitting the back and sides of the tongue but not a defined hop flavor, just bitter. A couple sips in and I begin to enjoy this beer. The flavors begin to melt together and that sweetness begins to balance out with the hop/bitter flavors that are present. 

 

Overall - Sure, this is more on the malty side when it comes to IPAs but you can't hold anything against it for that. Creative license is the name of the game when it comes to making beer. Style guidelines are just that. Guidelines. Drinkable and tasty at that. 

 

Would I buy more of it? - if I find myself in Virginia again for work sometime in the foreseeable future I'd certainly pick some more of these up. Having visited the brewpub in Charlottesville a few years back I'd also be happy to check that place out again too. 

 

Note - According the the Starr Hill site, "Northern Lights is a beer that used to be called Stinky; it has a lot of hops." I'm also thinking that the Northern Lights reference may not be a reference to the Aurora Borealis and perhaps a reference to a kind relative of the almighty hop. Hmmm....



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Northern Lights India Pale Ale
Style: American India Pale Ale
Brewery: Starr Hill Brewing Company
City: 
Crozet, Virginia  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: Two Row, Caramel, Munich & Wheat
Hops: Cascade
ABV: 6.5%
IBUs: 52
Date: August 7th, 2011

Posted by Russ


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Friday, August 5th 2011

Lucky U IPA
(Breckenridge Brewery)

Lucky U IPA is one of three canned releases from Breckenridge Brewery, the first was their flagship Avalanche Ale and the other is their seasonal SummerBright Ale. You can now find their canned offerings all over a wide distribution area. According to the Breckenridge Brewery site their beers are sold in at least 25 different states (Massachusetts isn't listed but they definitely sell their beer here). 

From the Breckenridge Brewery site:

"We like to think this is an ale for everyone who believes you make your own luck. We sure did. And the result is a well-balanced, soulful IPA with just the right amount of hoppiness. An even keeled ale that goes down clean and refreshing, but still lets you know it’s been doted on by the Brewmaster. It's true to it’s IPA heritage, but also highly drinkable. Lucky U. And we seriously mean that."

Here we go...

Pour - bronze and copper color; clarity lets you watch the hundreds of tiny bubbles dance around in a spiral on their way up to form a very large white head.

Aroma - light, sweet notes of pineapple at first. A grassy aroma joins the citrus party after the head settles down.

Taste - this one leans strongly towards the malt side of the IPA range with some very mild caramel sweetness at the start. Some hoppiness appears near the end of the swallow as the high carbonation dashes across the tongue and dries out the finish.

Overall - Lucky U is a fine example of a malt-forward IPA. It is a very smooth, drinkable brew with a nice flavor profile and a reasonable ABV for the style.

Would I buy more of it? - My favorite IPAs are hop-forward and make my eyes water a little bit. However, this would be a very good craft brew to have on hand for friends who want a good ale but might not be ready to try one of the hop bombs in your fridge.

Note - Lucky U IPA, which is available in both bottles and cans, pays homage to the Tivoli Brewery. 5% of the proceeds of the sale of this beer go to the Tivoli Foundation for the continued restoration of the Tivoli Brewery building in Denver, Colorado. The Tivoli brewery’s history began in 1866 and was named after a famous amusement park in Copenhagen.  This impressive Colorado landmark now serves as a student union but still bears the Tivoli name.  



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Lucky U IPA
Style: American India Pale Ale
Brewery: Breckenridge Brewery
City: 
Denver, Colorado  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: Two Row Pale, Munich, Carmel, Torrified Wheat
Hops: Amarillo, Magnum, Perle, Cascade, Apollo, Fuggle, Goldings
ABV: 6.2%
IBUs: 68
Date: August 5th, 2011

Posted by Trent


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Tuesday, July 12th 2011

Hop Slayer Double IPA
(Wild Onion Brewing Company)

I'm just going to start by saying that I absolutely love the label on this can - as well as the others from this brewery. I've already written to the brewery telling them that it would be best if it ends up on a t-shirt very soon.

Hop Slayer is one of the newest canned offerings from Wild Onion and is one of ten (soon to be twelve) Double/Imperial IPAs currently being canned in the US. We're looking forward to cracking this open and enjoying the ride!

From the Wild Onion Brewing site:

"Hops are the story here and the story is BIG!  Five different varieties were used in very deliberate ways. Bitterness hits you up front and then the citrus character follows along with slight earthiness. Malt was not forgotten to balance this beast with just the right amount of sweetness. Enjoy, but enjoy responsibly as to not get slayed!"

 


Here we go...


Pour - dark orange with some red and brown highlights thrown in. The inch or so of foam is starting to leave some streaks of lacing inside the glass. This looks slightly hazy and a little ominous...I like where this is headed.

 

Aroma - a big blast of tropical fruits, grapefruit and a pineapple hit me right between the eyes. As soon as I get near this glass it's like someone is shoving my face in a bag of hops. 

 

Taste - chewy, resiny with plenty of hop bitterness hitting the tip of the tongue and balanced very nicely by lots of tropical fruit sweetness. It has some astringency from all those little green fellas. Not overly cloying and certainly not too hoppy. It leaves my tongue coated with alpha acids (well, probably not literally) and give me a nice warm feeling inside - like I want to go hug a big hop-shaped pillow.

 

Overall - Want a big IBU-laden and hops-infested IPA? Here ya go! Hop Slayer should provide what many-a-hophead craves - that being lots of hop bitterness with a malty backbone to keep everything in check. You don't want those little green bastards getting out of control and ruining things for your palate. It's nice to be able to say that I love the label on this can and definitely enjoyed what graced the inside of it as well. 

 

Would I buy more of it? - sure thing. I wouldn't mind having some of these chilling in the fridge at all times, just in case. This is a beer that I don't mind drinking a little on the cold side despite the high alcohol. Something about a nice, cold, strong IPA works wonders on a warm evening.

 

Note - Wild Onion Brewing is now canning five different brews! They're also going down in the craft can record books for being the first American brewery to can a pumpkin ale! Below is a close-up of one of our favorite labels ever to grace a can of beer! The artist's name is Tim Hooker by the way and he's done the other labels for Wild Onion as well. 

 


"Viva el Lupulo"



Hops Scale:
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Hop Slayer Double IPA
Style: Double/Imperial India Pale Ale
Brewery: The Wild Onion Brewing Company/The Onion Pub and Brewery
City: 
Lake Barrington, Illinois  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 8.0%
IBUs: ???
Date: July 12th, 2011

Posted by Russ


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Wednesday, July 6th 2011

Bengali Tiger
(Sixpoint Craft Ales)

 

A very much anticipated canned release from Sixpoint. Their not so little kitty is now available in a can. How sweet it is. This will be the last of the four current Sixpoint cans that we're reviewing as it was the hardest to get our hands on - we're guessing people are loving this stuff and it's flying off the shelves! 

 

From the Sixpoint site:

"The Bengali Tiger entices you with an aroma of citrus, pine and spice and unleashes a wave of bitterness upfront. Yet it strides forward at a steady pace, smooth as a tiger's gait, and finishes balanced.

 Notice the lacing of stripes around the glass as you finish your pint - it's the mark of the Bengali Tiger."


Here we go...

 

Pour - dark auburn with some brilliant red and orange highlights. A nice half inch of thick white foam cover the top of the pour and the streaking lacing begins to take hold.

 

Aroma - pineapple, mango, lemon zest along with caramel and honey. Not an "in your face" hoppiness, it's much more subtle yet very much predominant.  

 

Taste - light pine, pineapple, lemon rind along with brown sugar and honey. The more I drink this the more the taste grows on me. At first this is a very balanced, almost malt forward beer but then the hops come marching in and "bam" you are struck with a citrusy, tangy tongue ringing. This is an IPA that needs to be taken at more than face value. It has some depth and kitty has some claws. 

 

Overall - definitely a delicious IPA. This is not an over the top, crazy hoppy, extremely piney and grapefruity example of the style to so be forewarned. This is balanced with a reasonable amount of hops but oh so much more. Give this beer a chance and you, and you're palate, will be quite happy you did.

Would I buy more of it? - absolutely. It would be sweet if they put out a four-pack with one of each of their four currently canned offerings. Until then I'll keep picking up four-packs of each one individually - they're all that good.

Note - Sixpoint is currently canning four of their beers. These include; The Crisp (Pilsner)Sweet Action (Cream Ale), Righteous Ale (Rye Beer) and Bengali Tiger (American IPA). Collect and enjoy them all! Cheers!

 

    



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Bengali Tiger
Style: American India Pale Ale
Brewery: Sixpoint Craft Ales
City: 
Brooklyn, New York  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 6.5%
IBUs: 66
Date: July 6th, 2011

Posted by Russ


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Friday, July 1st 2011

Hop Crisis
(21st Amendment Brewery)

Everything about this beer seems to be raising the bar just a bit when it comes to canned craft beer. High IBUs, high ABV, lots of hop varieties, aged on oak spirals and all that in one hell of a package design. This used to be a draught only brew and a one time gold medal winner. It was actually scaled down a bit for the canned offering. Jeez! Definitely a beer worthy of nice glassware and some time to sit and contemplate just what it is that you're consuming. Cheers!

From the 21st Amendment site:

"Shaun and Nico have to break out of Alcatraz. And fast. The Hop Syndicate is hoarding hops, depriving the people of their right to hoppy, aromatic beer. Join Shaun and Nico on their adventure to Free the Hops! First, they plan a daring escape through the sewer pipe, then they surf monster waves on ironing boards, and finally they attempt a high speed cable car getaway.

Hop Crisis. Crisis? What Crisis? A few years ago, when hop prices shot through the roof and the worldwide hop market went into a tailspin, at our pub in San Francisco we decided there was only one thing for us to do. We made the biggest, hoppiest IPA we could imagine and aged it on oak for good measure. This Imperial IPA breaks all the rules with more malt, more hops and more aroma.
"

Here we go...

 

Pour - rather viscous and golden in color with a rather thin, wispy head. This has some legs running down the inside of the glass. You can see that this has some strength behind it.

 

Aroma - lemon cream, it's like someone mixed citrus and vanilla together with some faint resiny hints. A little boozy with some astringent aromas. Candied orange peel, cotton candy and simple sugar. 

 

Taste - sweet, citrusy, astringent and bitter. This has some potency and a sh*t ton of hops to boot. The oak spirals impart some vanilla flavors as well as some possible smoothness to this strong brew. What really stands out in this brew is the balance, yeah, its sweet and yes it's hoppy but those two are fairly equal. The strong hop flavor lends to an astringent bitterness that I kind of like. There is plenty of sweetness behind it all. Certainly warming and a sipper that gets better as it settles and breathes. The sweet, tingly bitterness this leaves on the back of your tongue after every sip should leave a lot of people happy - or maybe that's just the fact that this beer is almost 10% alcohol!

 

Overall - Why oak spirals in a big IPA? Why not. This is a first in the canned craft world. So far it's really only been 21st Amendment that has done anything with wood and then canned it (with the exception of Great Crescent's recently canned Bourbon Barrel Stout). I really enjoyed this beer. Sure, it's sweet but there is a lot of other things going on if you give it some time and let your taste buds explore without getting too overwhelmed. 

 

Would I buy more of it? - sure. Although a four-pack will probably last awhile as it is. 

 

Note - oak "spirals are used in brewing as they provide more surface area for the beer to come in contact with. While it's not the same as barrel-aging it does provide a lot of the flavor associated with the wood - vanilla being the primary one.

 


you've got to love the packaging for this beer!

 



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Hop Crisis
Style: Double/Imperial India Pale Ale
Brewery: 21st Amendment Brewery
City: 
San Francisco, California  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: Pale Malt, Munich and Dextrose
Hops: Columbus, Centennial, Cascade, Simcoe, Ahtanum, Amarillo,
ABV: 9.7%
IBUs: 94
Date: July 1st, 2011

Posted by Russ


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Friday, June 29th 2011

Pako's Eye-P-A
(Snake River Brewing Company)

Snake River Brewing Company has just put out two of their beers in cans. Both their Pako's EyePA and their Snake River Pale Ale are in aluminum and on shelves wherever their beers are being distributed. We were pretty excited to get some of these in the mail and beyond excited after we cracked open our first Pako's! Cheers Chris! 

From the Snake River Brewing site:

"Named for Pako (say “PACO”) the dog (No wait, Pako’s not a dog!) This full flavored, fully hop-evident IPA will have the hopheads rejoicing. 6.8% ABV and 60+ IBUs with explosive hop aroma from a pungent Simcoe/Columbus blend."

Here we go...


Pour - a beautiful golden orange color that's quite clear and produces about an inch of white foamy head that leaves some nice lacing. 


Aroma - before you even bring this beer to your nose you'll be smelling two things; grapefruit and pineapple. The nose on this beer is heavenly. Loads of big tropical fruit aromas along with the bitter pine and astringency of those simcoe hops. They've got the hop blend down perfect and certainly didn't skimp on those green little monsters.


Taste - bitter, tropical fruit, sweet oranges, loads of grapefruit, resiny and just about perfect. The weight of this beer and the sheer volume of hop flavor along with being nicely balanced and not too astringent is out of this world. It's light on the tongue and not too sweet and those pineapple and grapefruit flavors just keep coming. This is an outstanding IPA.


Overall - hands down one of the best canned IPAs we've had in awhile (or ever). I'd easily put this among the top 5 available in the US. This might be a secret all you folks in Wyoming have been keeping but we're going to get the word out. If you love big, hoppy IPAs than this is one you'll definitely want to get your hands on! 


Would I buy more of it? - no question about it. I would absolutely be buying a six-pack of this beer on many occasions. I'm still shaking my head as to just how good this IPA is, wow. 

Note - Heterochromia iridum is the term used to describe it when a person or animal has two different color irises. This is usually determined by  the concentration and distribution of melanin. Although infrequently seen in humans, complete heterochromia is more frequently observed in other species, where it almost always involves one blue eye. (Wikipedia)



Hops Scale:
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Pako's Eye-P-A
Style: American India Pale Ale
Brewery: Snake River Brewing Company
City: 
Jackson, Wyoming  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: 2-Row, Munich TL, Carastan 34L
Hops: Simcoe and Columbus
ABV: 6.8%
IBUs: 60
Date: June 29th, 2011

Posted by Russ


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Thursday, May 12th 2011

Vortex IPA
(Fort George Brewery)

Fort George went through a pretty massive expansion recently and part of that included the addition of a canning line. The first two canned offerings to roll of that line, both in 16 oz. cans, are their 1811 Pre-Prohibition Lager and their Vortex IPA. We should hopefully see some other canned releases in the near future. 

From the Fort George site:

"India pale ale's were designed to withstand the long voyage to India. Today, it seems one has to design the IPA strong and hoppy enough to make the trip back as well. Vortex IPA is the Fort George's first foray into this strong beer category. Our IPA is made with generous additions of Cascade, Simcoe and Palisade hops throughout the brewing, fermentation and conditioning phases, balanced with heaps of organic pale malt. We designed this to not rip your taste buds off your tongue, but rather vigourously stimulate them and your palate into a lupulin-ecstacy of pleasure. During the cross-country truck trip our brewery made to find it's home in Astoria, it was nearly scattered to the cornfields of Nebraska by a tornado. We try to capture some of nature's intensity in every pint."

I've got my Vortex IPA hat on so here we go...

Pour - bright glowing orange and amber with an inch of biscuit mix-like foam on top. Nice lacing left on the sides of the glass and the carbonation levels are spot on. I'm excited.

 

Aroma - I actually caught a whiff of this as soon as I cracked open the can. An intense wave of pine and citrus flew at my nose and got me excited right away. Sticking my nose in the glass now I get some resiny, piney aromas along with some nice sweet biscuity smell as well. There is some hints of orange peel and fresh cut grass. I'm sold, lets drink this!

 

Taste - one sip and the quality of this IPA is apparent. Some time and dedication was put into making this beer. Lots of sweet, orangey flavors combine with bitter, piney hoppiness. The malt backbone backs up all those hoppy, citrusy flavors very well. Its sweet and tangy with some toasty flavors thrown in. I love this IPA and am very sad that I only have this one can to enjoy. If you're able to get cans of this beer you are truly fortunate so take advantage! 

 

Overall - excellent brew from Fort George. This is a solid, balanced IPA with some great hop aromas and flavors along with a sweet, bready malty backbone balancing it all out. I could definitely get comfortable with four cans of Vortex IPA. I think I'm addicted.

 

Would I buy more of it? - yes, yes, yes. Pint-sized cans of beer like this are a must have. I love the flavor of this IPA and the fact that its a tad high on the ABV scale just makes it even better on a cool summer evening around a campfire. 

 

Note - we absolutely love the Vortex IPA logo. It was designed by a design firm called PLAZM located in Portland, Oregon. PLAZM also did much of the design work for the branding of both of Fort George's canned offerings as well as logo design for the brewery itself.

 

 



Hops Scale:
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Vortex IPA
Style: American India Pale Ale
Brewery: Fort George Brewery
City: 
Astoria, Oregon  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: Cascade, Simcoe and Palisade
ABV: 7.4%
IBUs: 97
Date: May 12th, 2011

Posted by Russ


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Thursday, April 28th 2011

Hop Ottin' IPA
(Anderson Valley Brewing Company)

Hop Ottin' IPA is the newest member of the Anderson Valley canned family. The brewery decided to replace their Poleeko Gold Pale Ale with their IPA and we think it was a great decision (since we love hops). The can sports the new design being used  by AVBC so look for it on cans of their Boont Amber and Summer Solstice Cerveza Crema as well. 

From the Anderson Valley site:

"Hop Ottin’ IPA is as hoppy as they come. The name means “hard working hops,” in Boontling, and that tells it all. Generous additions of high-alpha Pacific Northwest hops added during a vigorous boil, plus traditional dry hopping, with whole hop cones, give this ale a delicious citrus aroma, and an intense hoppy bite. This IPA is a hop lover’s dream.

Here we go...

Pour - bright golden in color with a nice clean look with a decent sized stark white head. Things are looking good in this glass. I'm ready to dive in, both figuratively and literally...who wouldn't want to swim in a big glass of IPA!

 

Aroma - a little grassy, some nice citrus aromas, a bit of sweet caramel and maltiness as well. Not a huge amount of fresh hops in the nose, it's a lot more subtle.

 

Taste - a big swig from the glass and my mouth is flooded with both maltiness and hoppiness in equal parts. I think my palate is a little confused as its trying hard to focus on whether this is super hoppy or if its super balanced. In the end it finds a happy medium. It's sort of both. There are a lot of nice citrusy, resiny hoppy notes that are well paired with the sweetness that a significant grain bill offers. Their is a slight bit of butteriness that I catch, not sure if that's the yeast or not. Finishes sweet but dry with a lasting bitterness that stays on the tongue. 

 

Overall - very well rounded IPA. Love this on tap and love it from the can. Plenty of hoppy bitterness but well balanced and extremely refreshing. At 7% this one will sneak up on you!

 

Would I buy more of it? - absolutely. This would be perfect for camping or a round or two of disc golf. I love that they've started canning their IPA! 

 

Note - Did you know that Anderson Valley has a disc golf course at their brewery? I hope to get a post up about their sustainability projects and their disc golf course and how canning their beers ties in. Also, major thanks goes out to Anderson Valley for sending samples of each of their canned offerings. Cheers!

 



Hops Scale:
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Hop Ottin' IPA
Style: American India Pale Ale
Brewery: Anderson Valley Brewing Company
City: 
Boonville, California  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 7.0%
IBUs: 80
Date: April 28th, 2011

Posted by Russ


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Wednesday, April 13th 2011

Cornerstone IPA
(Rochester Mills Beer Company)

Rochester Mills' second canned release after Lazy Daze Lager. Cornerstone IPA is brewed and canned in Royal Oak, Michigan by Millking It Productions. Looking forward to cracking open 16 oz. of IPA goodness...

From the Rochester Mills site:

 

"This unfiltered amber ale is packed full of hop bitterness, flavor and aroma. IPA is the most bitter beer style and it is enjoyed by people we refer to as “hopheads.” We dry hop this beer with a combination of English and American hop varieties for a wonderfully aromatic finish."


Here we go...

 

Pour - dark honey, amber in color. Clean, clear appearance with a decent sized bubbly white head on top. 


Aroma - caramel and orange juice in the aroma as well as some grassiness and lemon. A bit of vanilla and only a slight bit of pine. Not a whole lot of hoppiness in the nose.

 

Taste - definitely a malt forward IPA with a nice hoppiness that seems to appear at the back of the tongue as you get that first sip down. It's almost like a "hop ghost" appearing when you least expect it. Cornerstone has a good deal of caramel sweetness combining with orange and lemon citrus flavors as well as a bit of pineapple juice. 

 

Overall -  at first I wasn't sure what to think but then the hoppiness kicked in and the balanced nature of this IPA came out. Sure, it's not a crazy hop bomb but every beer has it's own unique signature so to speak. Give this one a shot, have an open mind and we're sure you'll enjoy it. 

 

Would I buy more of it? - when it comes to cans of craft beer in Michigan we've got a lot to get through. With the recent announcement that Bell's will be canning in 2012 and a number of other Great Lakes State breweries about to release cans we might need to work our way back to this one, which should be a fun quest!

 

Note - You can try a variety Rochester Mills Beer Company beers by going to their brewpub in Rochester, Michigan. They've got about a dozen brews on tap including their upcoming canned release, Milkshake Stout



Cornerstone IPA
Style: American India Pale Ale
Brewery: Rochester Mills Brewing Company
City: 
Rochester, Michigan  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 6.6%
IBUs: ???
Date: April 13th, 2011

Posted by Russ


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Monday, April 11th 2011

Stowaway IPA
(Baxter Brewing Company)

It's barely been three months since the kettles were fired up at Lewiston, Maine's Baxter Brewing Company and already they've planned to double capacity to keep up with demand. Stowaway IPA is one of their two canned offerings thus far (the other being Pamola Xtra Pale Ale) with more on the way as well as some draft only beers to come. I've had precious little experience with this not-so-faraway brewery and hope to change all that this summer. 

From the Baxter Brewing site:

 

"Deep amber-to-orangish in color; pours with a nice, creamy head; huge hop aroma of citrus, pine and grapefruit rind notes with a big, complex, and intense hop flavor that lingers for a very long time. The malt flavor up-front turns dry and crisp; full bodied and a dry finish with a pleasant, long lasting, hop aftertaste and beautiful lace left in the glass. Stowaway leaves you wanting more."


Here we go...

 

Pour - tangerine-orange in color, clean and clear with a very rich, very thick and creamy head. Very impressive pour, be it from a can, bottle or on tap. 


Aroma - citrus, fresh pine and evergreen needles, orange peel, grapefruit and 


Taste - lemony-orange citrus flavors hit the tongue first followed by some malty sweetness and some notes of passionfruit and other tropical fruits. Nice carbonation levels with tiny little bubbles bringing refreshment to your taste buds. A bit dry in the finish which has you dipping your face back in the glass for more. Somehow this beer weighs in at 6.9% ABV, but I don't taste it. I could get into some trouble with a case of these...

 

Overall - a nice debut IPA from the canning folks in the great state of Maine. As this brewery ages I expect to see this beer mastered and certainly become one of the top IPAs in a very crowded New England brewing scene. 

 

Would I buy more of it? - absolutely. I'll definitely be picking up some more cans of this IPA next time I'm up in Maine. 

 

Note - Baxter Brewing is the only brewery in the state of Maine that cans their beers. They are also the only brewery in New England that has chosen to can their entire lineup of beers. Why yes, the flying moose in the label has a story behind it...the below is from the Baxter Brewing site:

 

 

What’s with the flying moose? 


The creature in our logo is Pamola, an Abenaki and Penobscot legend of a spirit which is said to be the god of Thunder, the cause of cold weather and protector of Mt Katahdin, the tallest peak in the state of Maine. The Indians described him as having the head of a moose, the body of a man and the wings and talons of an eagle. Pamola was both feared and respected by the tribes who believed in him.

 



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Stowaway IPA
Style: American India Pale Ale
Brewery: Baxter Brewing Company
City: 
Lewiston, Maine  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: 2-row malted barley
Hops: 5 different hops from the Pacific Northwest
ABV: 6.9%
IBUs: 69
Date: April 11th, 2011

Posted by Russ


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Monday, March 28th 2011

Good People IPA
(Good People Brewing Company)

One of the first two canned brews from the folks at Good People (the other is their Brown Ale). This IPA also represents one of the only two canned craft beers currently from the state of Alabama. Since both the IPA and the Brown Ale were just released, we're pretty psyched to get our hands on some as we know they're fresh!

From the Good People site:

 

"Copper in color with herbal and earthy hops being most prevalent. Light caramel flavors balance out this unique ale. Hop lovers will enjoy this unfiltered, dry-hopped IPA"


Here we go...

 

Pour - orangish-red in color with a thick, rich, brain-y head on top. At first it looks a bit like an unfiltered ale but as it settles it becomes more clean, clear and golden in appearance.


Aroma - big, sweet, citrusy hops! Lots or orange and grapefruit along with some cotton candy. The smell of this IPA is more than enough to entice any hop lover to shove their face in their glass.

 

Taste - instantly sweet on the tongue and then WHAM! the bitterness takes over and you get a nice dry, crisp hop-enduced bite. Why I think of Pop Rocks is beyond me. This is very well balanced with a solid malt profile. There is also a tanginess that's quite refreshing and that citrusy hop flavor is pungent to the senses, it's almost in the sinuses. This does the American IPA style proud.

 

Overall - If you like a bitter, hoppy brew than you'll certainly find this beer enjoyable. I know we did. Great job. Solid, super drinkable and refreshing. This may be the only canned IPA in the state of Alabama but it's definitely a good one! 

 

Would I buy more of it? - absolutely. I like to make the rounds with IPAs all summer long and this would certainly be on my beer list.

 

Note - Good People plans to can their Snake Handler Double IPA in the future. It's a 9.3% hop bomb with 103 IBUs that's guaranteed to pack a serious bite. We can't wait for that to hit shelves.

 



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Good People IPA
Style: American India Pale Ale
Brewery: Good People Brewing Company
City: 
Birmingham, Alabama  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 6.0%
IBUs: 64
Date: March 28th, 2011

Posted by Russ


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Sunday, February 27th 2011

One Hit Wonder
(Oskar Blues Brewery)

One Hit Wonder is a special release from Oskar Blues that coincided with the launch of G'Knight (the re-branding of Gordon). They canned and labeled only 200 cases of this Imperial IPA so once its gone, its gone. Here's to hoping we see more of these special releases from them in the future. Cheers!

From the Oskar Blues site:

"Fruity esters and generous dry-hopping give this 9% ABV ale the aroma of tropical fruit while a touch of English crystal malt provides the perfect backdrop for tangy hop flavors of tangerine and mango. The Tasty Weasel Taproom is the only place to get 6-packs of this pig."

 

Here we go...

 

Pour – beautiful orangish-reddish color with some very bright highlights and a soapy yet lacy head. Looks like a nice, clean pour. Very nice...

Aroma – lots of pine and lemon, perhaps even a bit like Pine-Sol (but in a good way). A couple deep whiffs of this and you certainly are going to get plenty of fresh hoppiness. There are also some faint hints of fresh cut grass, vinyl car seats, caramel and pineapple. I better not sit around smelling this anymore, my mouth is getting mad.

Taste – washing this over the palate brings about a lot of tropical flavors. I definitely get the tangerine and mango mentioned above as well as pineapple and papaya. It's sweet, tangy with a great bitter hoppy finish. This is not a hop bomb by any means, in fact its quite balanced with some amazing flavors brought out by the malt and hops. 

 


this beer is super fresh!


Overall - Don't expect to lose any enamel with this big IPA as it's only rocking 60 IBUs compared to many others that break the century mark. That being said, sometimes its nice to have flavors aside from bitterness. One Hit Wonder hits all the marks and I'm certainly glad I got a chance to try it. 

 

How it compares to GUBNA - despite being in the same style category, the two are very different. GUBNA is stronger and much hoppier. One Hit Wonder has balance, a lot more tropical fruit flavors and a very different hop bill. Both have a lot of sweetness but neither are too cloying. I'd love to do a side by side comparison, but for that I'll need more cans of One Hit Wonder. Sigh.

 

Note - Information about The Tasty Weasel Taproom from the Oskar Blues site:

"The Tasty Weasel Taproom located inside Oskar Blues Brewery puts you in the front row of beer soaked nirvana.  Drink OB brews including weekly specialty firkin creations along with Oak Aged selections while enjoying the view of stainless steel fermentation tanks.  The Tasty Weasel offers 7 taps, growlers to go and a behind-the-scenes glimpse into one of America’s hottest breweries.  Drink alongside brewery & cannery employees as you soak in the suds, smells & sounds of Oskar Blues beer culture."





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One Hit Wonder
Style: Double/Imperial India Pale Ale
Brewery: Oskar Blues Brewery
City: 
Lyons, Colorado