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Friday, August 16th 2013

Bottom Up Wit
(Revolution Brewing Company)

Born in February 2010, Revolution Brewing Company is part of the burgeoning craft beer scene in and around Chicago. As this review goes to press, seven of Revolution’s 18 distributed creations are available in craft cans, of which four are seasonal/specialties and three are year-round offerings.  Their cans are currently available in Illinois and Ohio, though additional distributors in other states are being considered as their brewing capacity allows (special thanks go out to our Illinois beer bud Bobby T for hooking us up with several cans). This year-round offering took gold in the Wheat, Hefeweizen, and Wit category at the 2013 AmeriCAN Canned Craft Beer Festival, so we’re super excited to give this one a run!

From the Revolution site:

"Our interpretation of this classic and refreshing Belgian style ale is brewed with organic pilsner and wheat malts from Canada.  Freshly ground coriander and Curacao orange peel, along with a special Wit yeast strain, contribute wonderful orange and citrus aromas and a crisp, yet silky, mouthfeel." 

Here we go...

Pour – cloudy, orange, with a large wet head that receded very quickly.  Spots and curtains of very thin lacing.

Aroma – crisp, clean wheat, citrus and just the right amount of yeast spice.  If you were to go into this beer blind the aroma would give it away in a split second.  Perfect.

Taste – medium-soft mouthfeel; light banana, solid orange, a touch of wheat and yeast spice.  Finishes very, very clean compared to several other wits we’ve tried.  Good carbonation assists in the clean finish and makes this very easy and pleasant drinking. 

Overall – a straightforward, super clean wit that is deserving of its medal at this year’s AmeriCAN fest.  We found it to be perfectly suited for porch/patio/deck drinking on cool spring and summer nights (or mornings, if that’s how you roll.  This reviewer admits he rolled that way while putting the finishing touches on this post).

NOTES: 

Managing partner Josh Deth was kind enough to share his thoughts on canning Revolution's beers with us back in 2011. And his beer story is a great example of how a little luck and a lot of persistence can result in something awesome. Check ‘em out!  


Bottom Up Wit
Style: Witbier
Brewery: Revolution Brewing Company
City: 
Chicago, Illinois  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 5.0%
IBUs: 14
Date: August 16th, 2013

Posted by Trent


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Sunday, December 16th 2012

Abominable Winter Ale
(Hopworks Urban Brewery)

It really is amazing how craft beer can design just keeps on getting more and fun and exciting. HUB's newest canned release, as well as their first seasonal can, features a hard to resist illustration of "Mr. Yeti" by Portland artist Martin Ontiveros. For years this brew has been available on draft and in 22 oz. bottles, also with incredible artwork by Ontiveros, and now for the first time its available in cans. If you see some, get some. Did we mention that this, and every other beer that Hopworks brews, is totally organic? Just a side note. Also, we just found out that HUB barrel-ages some of this and pours it under the name "Kentucky Christmas". That is surely incredible...

From the Hopworks Urban Brewery site:

"This mythological beer emerges from the depths of our brewery every winter. Made with Cascade, Centennial and Chinook hops and six organic malts. “A-Bomb” has a complex floral, spicy and citrus hoppiness backed up by just the right amount of malt sweetness.

Don’t turn your back on the BEAST!"

Here we go...

Pour - dark auburn in color with a big beastly, snow-white head on top. Loads of sticky lacing inside the glass. 


Aroma - citrusy, piny, grassy, molasses-y. Very nice aromas of sweet oranges and caramel. Very balanced between hop aroma and malt aroma. 


Taste - the first taste reminds me of grapefruit with some sugar on top. Its both puckering and citrusy but with a sweetness. Each additional sip brings about similar sweet citrus flavors from the hops and malts working together. There is certainly a good deal of pineyness here as well. Each sip is completed with a not-too-dry and not-too-bitter finish. Nice lingering hop flavors and malty sweetness sticking to the tongue. This isn't too heavy but certainly has some bigger flavors. 

 

Overall - this beast has some bite but has an overall balanced temperement. Great hop flavors and aromas and a winter brew that doesn't taste like someting you'd rather eat than drink. This should appeal to the hopheads as well as the maltheads. Its big but not too scary. This is the type of monster that you're happy comes along with a few of his friends.

 

Note - you can check out more of Martin Ontiveros' artwork over on his website MartinHead.Com

 



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Abominable Winter Ale
Style: American Strong Ale
Brewery: Hopworks Urban Brewery
City: 
Portland, Oregon  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: Cascade, Centennial and Chinook
ABV: 7.3%
IBUs: 70
Date: December 16th, 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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Friday, April 13th 2012

Bacon Brown Ale
(Uncommon Brewers)

Bam! It's bacon time! Not only is Uncommon Brewers' Bacon Brown Ale one of very few production beers actually brewed with real bacon, its also brewed with real organic bacon. You've got to admire Uncommon Brewers' devotion to doing unique things with beer. Brewery owner, Alec Stefansky, is not afraid to try new things. If you missed our Q & A with him check it out as he reveals a lot about what can be expected in the future from Uncommon Brewers.

From Uncommon Brewers' owner Alec Stefansky:

"...the newest addition to our line, the Bacon Brown Ale, I'm using toasted buckwheat and, yes, bacon-cured organic pork. It brings a hint of smoke to the nose and a nutty, savory finish to the beer. The bacon flavor is subtle, quite intentionally. I want the beer to be drinkable, not just a pork-fetish novelty. It'll never be like you're chewing on a piece of bacon. Instead the pork flavor comes on the finish, building as you get deeper into the glass."

 

Here we go...

 

Pour  fills the glass with a deep, dark, chestnut color. A very rich brown with a nice fluffy off-white head on top. Great looking pour coming out of the can.

 

Aroma – fairly sweet with a toasted brown bread and doughy aroma along with some slight hints of smokiness as well as dark fruits like red grapes, plums and ripe apples.


Taste – the first sip is a definite mix of flavors. Plenty of those fruit flavors come into play at first, its sweet and malty but in the end there is a lingering smokiness. This is a beer that you'll want to sip many times and let warm up to really allow for the flavors to come out. As my glass warms the flavor profile shifts and the smokiness of the bacon begins to manifest itself slowly and surely. Wow, is this good. Not over the top smokey which is key. You don't want to drink this too quick or too cold or you're liable to miss out on the main attraction. 

 

Overall - we're big supporters of brewers doing what they want to do and Alec at Uncommon Brewers is a great example of this. His Bacon Brown Ale is an altogether unique and "uncommon" ale with an ingrediant that many of us never thought they'd find in their beer - but it works. The smokey undertones of bacon in this brown ale really work well and to the unassuming imbiber they might not even realize there is bacon in their beer - organic bacon at that! Cheers Alec! Keep on being uncommon!


Note - Uncommon Brewers actually had to file paperwork with the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau to include actual (organic) pork in this beer. Because of the animal additive, Bacon Brown Ale is one of very few beers that actually needs approval at the federal level. - source Santa Cruz Sentinel

 




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Bacon Brown Ale
Style: Nut Brown Ale
Brewery: Uncommon Brewers
City: 
Santa Cruz, California  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 6.8%
IBUs: ???
Date: April 13th, 2012

Posted by Russ


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Friday, November 25th 2011

Uncommon Brewers Baltic Porter
(Uncommon Brewers)

The first Baltic Porter to be brewed and canned in the US. We've not yet confirmed if it's the first in the world. There could very well be some small brewery in Russia or Poland that put a Baltic Porter in a can first. The research will continue. By the way, a Baltic Porter differs from a regular porter because it is actually bottom fermented as a lager instead of top fermented as an ale. 

From the Uncommon Brewers' site:

"Late in the 18th century Britain's great brewing families were working hard to break into new markets. For the Baltic Sea ports they created an export version of the traditional British Porter. Styled like an IPA to preserve them for the voyage, those profound Baltic Porters served to ward off the chill winds of that northern sea.

That said, we weren't satisfied with the Baltic Porter's traditionally subtle hint of black licorice. This ale features a blend of whole licorice root and star anise to create an uncommon addition to that traditional export Porter's hearty character."


Here we go...


Pour  very, very dark. This is pitch in color pretty much with only a thin coffee-colored head. This is pretty much impossible to see through and looks rich and flavorful.


Aroma – molasses, licorice, Tootsie-Rolls, cocoa powder, milk chocolate, Play-Doh and some earthy notes. Quite a lot going on in the nose with this beer.


Taste – one sip and you know this is something unique. Lots of dark roasted malt flavor combines with the licorice and molasses notes and there is an effervescence on the tongue that is hard to describe. A bit of a sweet, dry finish almost like eating dried fruits. There is also just the faintest hints of citrus hop flavor and some bitterness biting in the end.


Overall - very good. Uncommon Brewers does this one well, perhaps well enough to be the best of their canned offerings so far. Well done. You've got to know a little bit about this particular style of beer to fully appreciate it. It's an interesting history of an interesting style.


Note - like the other canned offerings from this Santa Cruz, California brewery, this one is totally organic. Uncommon Brewers has also announced plans to can their Bacon Brown Ale in the coming months. This will be the fourth addition to their canned offerings and the first ever "bacon" beer to be canned.

 

   



Can Scale:
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Uncommon Brewers Baltic Porter
Style: Baltic Porter
Brewery: Uncommon Brewers
City: 
Santa Cruz, California  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 7.8%
IBUs: ???
Date: November 25th, 2011

Posted by Russ


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Monday, April 5th 2010

Real McCoy Amber Ale
(Mammoth Brewing Company)

This will be my first Mammoth Brewing beer. I'd have to say I am pretty excited anytime I am trying my first beer from a brewery. It never gets old and its part of what makes beer so great. So many breweries and so much variety! I'd say that is what makes beer so addictive but some cynics would probably say its more likely the alcohol.

The can reads:

"This Amber Ale is smooth, malty and well balanced. We start with pristine alpine water from our own source at 8,000 feet; brew with organically grown barley and hops; and then can-condition with active yeast to keep this beer fresh and alive from our brewery and into your hands Cheers!"

Here we go...


Pour - orangeish-brown in color and rather rich looking. Plenty of bubbles streaming towards a big fluffy white head. This one started out big, bright and clear but has become a bit cloudy and when held to the light it almost looks unfiltered. It may just be the temperature.


Aroma - slightly sweet and syrupy, malt, raspberries, a slight bit of butter or butterscotch and some slight sour cherry. 


Taste - the taste, I am happy to say, didn't match the strange aromas I was smelling. Nice malty profile with some slight flavors of apples and raspberries as well as some brown sugar and caramel.


Overall - lots of flavor for a beer at 4.5%. I really dig beers that can do both well. It is increasingly more difficult to find a beer that is under 5% these days. Aside from a bit of funkiness in the aroma, I really enjoyed drinking this brew. It was very nice out on the deck as the sun goes down on a very unseasonably warm day here in New England.


Note: Mammoth Brewing has been brewing award-winning beers since 1995. They can both their Real McCoy Amber and their High Country Pilsner (aka Golden Trout Pilsner). I've heard they'll be rebranding soon and they also seem to be working on a new website.


Can Scale:
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Real McCoy Amber Ale
Style: American Amber/Red Ale
Brewery: Mammoth Brewing Company
City: 
Mammoth Lakes, California  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: German Pilsner and Aromatic Malts
Hops: ???
ABV: 4.5%
IBUs: ???
Date: April 5th, 2010

Posted by Russ


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Tuesday, August 11th 2009

Siamese Twin Ale
(Uncommon Brewers)

This beer has been on my radar for a while. Not only because its another amazing beer that comes in a can and that its from Santa Cruz, California, a town I called home during high school BUT also because of its ingredients. Siamese Twin is truly a beer that is pushing craft beer in a direction that is exciting. Its not a super hopped IPA or a super strong Imperial Stout, instead its an organic Belgian-style Dubbel brewed with some very unique ingredients. I am really looking forward to this.

From the Uncommon Brewers' site:

"Siamese Twin is a traditional Belgian-style Double seasoned with coriander and entirely uncommon Thai spices. At first surprising, the floral notes of lemongrass and sharper bite of kaffir lime blend with the deep malt of this double to produce a dangerously drinkable beer."


Here we go...


Pour  pours a murky brownish/orangish/rubyish color, its sort of viscous which is a sign of that high alcohol percentage. It slightly resembles an unfiltered fresh apple cider. The head is pretty thing with lots of little tiny bubble uniting to form a half-inch layer of stark white foam. When held to the light this one glows brightly and looks absolutely delicious. 


Aroma – a lot of sweet fruit initially (apples, pears) but there is also some watermelon perhaps a bit of that kaffir lime adding a citrus note. Its a very aromatic beer that is truly inviting. 


Taste – a nice big sip. Lots of flavor complexity. There is definitely the dark fruit that you get with a Belgian dubbel or quad, the apples, pears, prunes etc...but along comes a lime/citrus bitterness in the finish. Its an interesting mix of flavors, one that I can't say I've really experienced in a beer before. Its very refreshing and the high ABV really isn't noticeable. Its just about the perfect beer for 10:30 on a very hot and humid night here in New England. I am truly impressed. 


Overall - Siamese Twin is truly an "uncommon" beer and that is what makes it so great. I truly wish I had a few more of these as I am absolutely loving it.


Note - Uncommon Brewers also puts out some draft only brews that I'd love to try, especially their Baltic Porters. Cheers to you Uncommon Brewers and to all the "uncommon" beer drinkers out there that yearn for something new and refreshing!



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Siamese Twin
Style: Belgian Dubbel
Brewery: Uncommon Brewers
City: 
Santa Cruz, California  
Country: 
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 8.5%
IBUs: ???
Date: August 11th, 2009

Posted by Russ


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