Russian River Brewing Pliny The Elder

Well, I know it’s not a Sunday Funday, but I couldn’t wait another day to taste and review one of the top 15 beers in the world per Beeradvocate.com After a long week of working in SoCal and trying some great beers, I was able to snag a few of the legendary Pliny The Elders. This was going to be my 1,000th different beer, but I got this early so it’ll make a great 780th! Side note, went hiking for the first time, and it is something this Florida

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Hiking in Claermont, CA with the Florida team!

boy needs to do more often!

Appearance: It pours a slightly hazy sunrise yellow. There is a ton of carbonation that creates a one-finger head that slowly disappears and leaves a wonderful lacing. It continues to effervesce throughout the entire tasting experience.

Aroma: The aroma is nothing to write home about if we’re being honest. To quote the boss lady, “it smells like every other IPA I’ve had”. This means you’re getting piney and citrusy hops. It smells more earthy than anything else.

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The only utensils needed are bottle openers

Taste: Well, I think Tori said it best. “Wow, this is the best IPA I’ve ever had”. Russian River melded piney hops, sweet malt, and the bittersweet carbonation together to create an ultra smooth, delicious IPA that somehow starts dry and ends juicy. Unlike a New England style IPA, this is earthy and piney, but unlike a West Coast style IPA, it is still ultra juicy and has some sneaky notes of citrus. This is the perfect marriage of bitter, sweet, piney, citrusy, dry, and juicy. Unlike the Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA, this is best enjoyed fresh and has multiple warnings to not age.

Mouthfeel: This is a velvety smooth drink, which based off the effervescence, I would not have guessed. Considering it is 8%, it is almost as smooth and refreshing as an ice cold water on a hot summer day.

Value: $7.99 for a 17.25oz bomber!? This is the steal of the century. It’s $8 a Bud Light at some bars downtown. Just ignore the cross country flight costs and it’s a great value!

Overall: I think this may be the best IPA I’ve ever had. Definitely a 10/10 would recommend to any beer lover. It is a well blended, excellently balanced IPA that isn’t extreme in any of the flavor profiles that an IPA can be. I wouldn’t recommend this to folks who are new to the craft beer scene just because they may not appreciate it. The only beer that can hold a candle to this is the Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA that has been properly aged. Guys, this beer is off the chain.

Until next time, tight lines and cheers!

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Highland Brewing Company Daycation IPA

Happy Sunday Funday ya’ll! Its been a hectic few weeks for the soon-to-be Mrs. and I between wedding planning, flight booking, and spending time with family. I’m happy to say, we are booked and going to Costa Rica for some offshore fishing and honeymooning! Additionally, I’ll be out in California for work this week, however, I will be stalking one of the best IPAs in the world: Pliny the Elder. I’ve got a buddy who says he has the hookup, so hopefully I get to sample what some consider the “Holy Grail” of IPAs. Just like the Costa Rica trip, this is something I’ve had on my bucket list for as long as I can remember. Anyways, I picked Daycation up at the local Publix that billed itself as a “Hoppy Floral Session IPA” and came in at a reasonable 4.9%

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Pretty slick looking cans!

Appearance: I’m not sure if there is a trend towards unfiltered beers, but this is a hazy orangey/amber beer. It’s not as thick as a true “unfiltered” beer, such as a UFO or Hoegaarden, but it definitely isn’t the crystal clear lager styles. It poured a two-finger head that slowly receded and left behind a lovely lacing.

Smell: Well, they weren’t kidding about the hoppy/floral. Its a tropical smelling beer that starts with orange and ends in a resinousy hop finish. This might be a touch heavy for a session beer in the Florida summer heat.

Taste: The taste is a bit lighter than the smell belies. No surprises here, but the flavors of citrus and piney hops are well put together. There’s an almost floral quality to the hops that lends an airy quality to the taste. This is definitely sessionable; it might be just a bit too sessionable to pick up on a work night!

Mouthfeel: Even though the taste is light, it is a bit heavier on your tongue. The earlier carbonation seems to have disappeared and it leaves a slick, lightly syrupy coating on the tongue. It goes away after a few seconds, but overall doesn’t suit itself to a sweltering Florida summer.

Value: It looks like the going rate for a craft sixer is $8.99, and this was no different. Not sure how I feel about it being that expensive, but it is still way cheaper than going out.

Overall: Come October this would be a great alternative to a Bud Heavy at a tailgate or watch party. For now, it is a bit too much to have more than a few. I’d give it a 5/10 as it misses its mark as a Session IPA, but it has great flavor. If you want a good craft beer that isn’t too crazy on the ABV, give it a shot.

Until next time, tight lines and cheers!

Rogue Brewing Hazelnut Brown Nectar

Happy Sunday Funday ya’ll! After a long week of work travel, and a longer weekend of painting my fence, I’m worn out. Thankfully, the Fiance came through in the clutch with a new sixer from the esteemed Rogue Brewing, and I’m enjoying this while watching the Rays battle the Yankees in extra innings. Disclaimer: I feel that Rogue is overpriced and overrated, but I will try to keep an open mind reviewing it.

20180624_165836.jpgAppearance: This pours a root beer brown with more carbonation than I expected.

Smell: No surprise here, getting heavy notes of hazelnut and roasted malts. Overall, a bit sweet, but smells good.

Taste: This comes off sweet and slightly smokey-like, well, a hazelnut coffee. There is no bittering counterbalance of hops, but the sweetness is well developed. Even for a guy who isn’t big on sweets, this is a darn good tasting beer.

Mouthfeel: This is a bright but smooth beer that coats your mouth. Not ideal for a hot day, but sitting in the AC it is A-OK.

Value: $11/sixer is still better than a bar, but it’s a touch expensive for my taste.

Overall: This was a pretty solid beer. I’d give it a 6/10 because the flavor was on point, the mouthfeel was decent, but the price is a bit steep. Come winter time, I may have to revisit this on one of these freezing Central Florida nights sitting around a bonfire.

Until next time, tight lines and cheers!

Karbach Brewery Review

Happy Sunday Funday! After two long weeks in Houston, Texas, I’m finally back in the Sunshine State. While I was out there for work, I found some time to sneak over to Karbach Brewery, which is a Houston staple and actually started distributing in the Central Florida area. Turns out, they were also just bought out by Anheuser-Busch, which may explain the widespread distribution. They had a pretty cool layout and a bunch of different beers, and even some special releases that I got to sample.

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Photo courtesy of Missioncontinues.org

When we rolled up, you could definitely tell it was a way bigger operation than everywhere I’ve ever been, including Cigar City. It was probably one city block between the brewery, restaurant, and beer garden. The beer garden was outside only, but had plenty of fans to help fight the Texas heat. Being said, I’m always a little skeptical that these larger breweries have “sold out” as in making pretty bland, widely palatable beers with nothing exciting or pushing the envelope. So when I was offered the option to get a pint glass and 3 beers for $15, I wanted to see what they had.

I may have come in a little hot with my first beer being their Hop Delusion Imperial IPA clocking in at 9% but, as they say, it’ll buff. The beer was very well balanced and not too boozy sweet or bitter, which is a tall task considering all that goes into that. I followed it up with their lighter Tasty Waves coming in at a much more reasonable 4.9%. It is a session APA that was pretty fruity and super drinkable.

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Beer Garder photo courtesy of Tripadvisor.com

 

I then made the mistake of doubling down on their Rodeo Clown DIPA rocking a mean 9.5% ABV. Between the Texas heat, grueling work schedule, and no waters in between, my memory was a bit hazy. However, I remember it being more sweet than hoppy and pretty thick. The rest of the night I enjoyed some cornhole and watching the Astros game. They also had a stage for live bands set up, but being a Tuesday nobody was playing.

Overall, this was a great example of a big brewery that stayed true to its roots. I hope AB leaves it be so they can continue to come out with quality beers. More Florida breweries should follow their example so they don’t lose sight of where they came from and what made them a success. If you’re out in that neck of the woods, give it a shot! You won’t be disappointed.

12th of Never Ale by Lagunitas

Happy Sunday Funday ya’ll! After a nine-week hiatus from beer (thanks, Keto diet…), I’ve finally returned. This week I’ll be touring the Karbach Brewery out in Houston, Texas, while out for work as well as hopefully a few more. I picked up this bad boy on sale for $9 a 12-pack. Gotta ball on a budget, you know?

Appearance: Like most ales, it is an effervescent gold with a medium head.

Smell: The smell is light and crisp, loaded with grains and biscuity notes. This type of ale is perfect for poolside chilling as it is fresh and bright.

Taste: Just like the smell, you get a ton of grain and biscuit notes. It’s a bit heavier than the smell or name implies, however. Clocking in at 5.5%, it makes a little more sense why it isn’t as drinkable, however.

Mouthfeel: This has a classic lager or light ale mouthfeel. It is super refreshing and crisp, leaving you with a slight bitter, but juicy, aftertaste.

Value: Clearance rack, gotta save some Roosevelts!

Overall: I think this missed its mark as an ale or an APA. I’d give it a 6/10 because it is tasty, but it is too heavy for the time of year it’s targeting. If you take them to a pool or BBQ, just know you’ll be pretty full after 1 or 2. Until next time, tight lines and cheers!

Macro Brew Final 4

Happy Sunday Funday! I know I’m late, but I have the Final Four finally ready. After a long weekend of striking out fishing, I needed something to wash the shame away. Here it goes.

Heavy Bracket: Budweiser vs Heinenken

Budweiser is hailing from the much harder South side of the Heavy Bracket whereas Heineken managed to reach the Final 4 by just being less than completely terrible. The fans are expecting a blowout but who knows, this Cinderella story may continue! As these two come out, Heineken’s skunky flavor just can’t hang with the “King of Beers.” Between offering a better value, more flavor, and a less pretentious atmosphere, Bud Heavy just steamrolled its competition. Winner: Budweiser

Light Bracket: Miller Lite vs Busch Light

Well, I’m not sure how to say this. But as I opened my fridge to grab my Miller and Busch, it looks like Team Busch didn’t show up. After asking around, it looks like my roommate drank my last one, leaving only Miller Lite to show up to the game. With a heavy heart, I must declare the huge favorite Busch Light, to forfeit the match. Winner: Miller Lite

Bogotá Beer Company Candelaria Kolsch

Happy Sunday Funday ya’ll! After watching a great second half comeback by Michigan and running around doing wedding stuff all weekend, I needed a break. My good buddy Luis was recently in Colombia and brought me back some beers from a microbrewery in Bogota. A huge shout out to Luis, you’re the real MVP on this one. Time to dive into my first ever South American microbrew.

20180401_131707Appearance: This Kolsch pours a light and airy gold with a 1 finger head that leaves behind wonderful lacing. It is extremely effervescent in the glass which adds to its light appearance.

Smell: Like most Kolsch style beers, it has light grains and an almost fruity touch. It has just the faintest grape smell on the back end.

Taste: Just like the appearance, there is just a light grain taste that has a sharp note of hop bitterness at the end. This is some hot weather beer at is finest.

Mouthfeel: This is more smooth than the effervescence belies. Each sip leaves with a clean and crisp finish.

Value: Not sure what the import cost Luis, but I’m about it.

Overall: As far as Kolschs go, this is one of the better ones I’ve had. It ranks a 7.5/10 because it is great, but not world class. For a hot spring day, this certainly hits the spot. As far as Central/South American beers go, this has much more flavor and a better profile than a Modelo or Corona, and if you see it anywhere, definitely give it a shot!

Until next time, tight lines and cheers!