IPA Madness Final Four

Happy Sunday Funday ya’ll! It was a long weekend of fishing, grilling out, and generally being a responsible adult. So now it’s time to shake off the Sunday Scaries while cheering Duke on in the Final Four. Oh yeah, and the wife brewed her first beer today, so we have about a month until there is a review on that! We made a Stone IPA clone and are planning to randall it on chai tea spices for a Chai-PA. Anyways, let’s get into it.

Jai Alai vs. Joyland: Our Cindarellas come in fresh off upsetting Bells Two Hearted and look to continue the party. They come off with a great smoothness, but a lesser hop profile and complexity of the Jai Alai. Meanwhile, Cigar City’s flagship beer keeps the pedal to the metal with citrusy hop flavors and a counterbalance of a malt backbone. It combines complexity with drinkability, which our Joyland can’t find an answer to. In the end, Jai Alai cruises to another easy win.

Founders All Day IPA vs Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA: This matchup is a clash of two styles, one a lighter, more drinkable, but still hoppy, session IPA and a full bodied heavily hopped traditional IPA. Can this smaller, more agile beer out-IPA a blue-blood? The All Day IPA has a grassy malt backbone and a nice crisp bitterness while DFH 60 Minute comes barreling down the court with a full bodied pine hops aroma. Even though you can crush a dozen of the All Day IPA, it loses out again on the flavor and complexity that the 60 Minute carries.

It looks like we have a championship set-up between two storied and widely loved beers. The Jai Alai and the 60 Minute. This should be a barn burner, so stay tuned!

Until next time, tight lines and cheers!

Final Four

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IPA March Madness!!!

Happy Sunday Funday. I know everyone is thinking about March Madness, but I couldn’t let this magical time of year slip by without breaking out some beer bracketology. Just like March Madness, there are the stalwarts of the IPA scene you have known and loved for years, like Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA. There are others that are “Cinderellas,” like Ivanhoe Brewing’s Joyland IPA. Who will win? Who will get upset? Let’s drink some beer and find out!

Cigar City Jai Alai vs. Lagunitas IPA: In this match-up, we have the flagship beer of Cigar City that really put Florida beers on the map. It hits with heavy citrus notes and a puckering citrus bitterness. Now Lagunitas also has their flagship in this heavyweight match-up. This IPA has much more earthy and piney hops with more malt sweetness at the end. Overall, it is still more bitter, but not nearly complex. Cigar City walks away with this one handily due to its depth of flavor.

Bell’s Two Hearted American IPA vs. Ivanhoe Park Joyland IPA: Will this be a Cinderella story or a #1 seed crushing a team just happy to be invited to the dance? Bell’s Two Hearted is a hopsational behemoth while Ivanhoe Park hails from a microbrewery not even a year old. From the get-go, Two Hearted is running down the court with a full bodied malt backbone, high ABV of 7%, and a strong hop dunk. However, the little guy Joyland is doggedly hanging close with them. It too starts with a strong malt presence and finishes with a West Coast-style hop finish. Joyland is giving a soft flavor on the outside and then collapses down to a lock-down hop finish. It’s coming down to the wire. Somehow the little guy Ivanhoe Park Brewing pulls away. Bell’s just didn’t have the heart, I mean hops, to win this IPA bracket.

Founder’s All Day IPA vs. Sweetwater 420: The match-up between these two highly drinkable IPAs is set at the outdoor court (grill). Session IPAs are taking off as a flavorful yet less-than-lethal alternative to the typically high ABV IPAs. While Sweetwater’s offering is also lighter, it still packs a punch at 5.7% ABV. That is a whole percent higher than the Founder’s. The session IPA is a quick and agile beer with good flavor, but nothing overpowering. Sweetwater is trying to control the match-up with a heavy, resinous hop profile. Founder’s has the home court advantage of being enjoyed while grilling, which gave it the edge it needed to beat out the classic 420.

Dogfish Head 60 Minute vs. New Belgium Voodoo Ranger: In this match-up we have a blue-blood IPA, the iconic 60 Minute, and the new kid on the block, the Voodoo Ranger,  which is a heartier take on the Ranger IPA. The 60 Minute jumps out with a nice hop flavor, but not super citrusy like most East Coast IPA’s. The Voodoo Ranger hits back with a spicy hop finish. This is a tight competition, but DFH is pulling away. In the end, the Voodoo is more spice than hop and 60 Minute’s hour-long dry hop addition puts it just ahead.

Well, UCF soundly beat VCU, but I’m not going to hold my breath against Duke. I’m just happy we got there. If there are any beers you want to see me try,  leave a comment! Until next time, tight lines and cheers!

Round 1

 

Cold Bear Brewing: Fat Dwyer

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Cold Bear Brewing ‘s Biggest Fan!

Happy Sunday Funday ya’ll! It’s been a long weekend of running errands, cleaning up the house, and generally being responsible. I know that may come as a shock for you, but yes, I was semi-responsible this weekend. On the bright side, it is finally time to unseal the hushed casket (Halo reference) and try my second ever home brew. I am calling it Fat Dwyer as it is a Fat Tire reference and I’ve been watching too much Parks and Rec. (Andy Dwyer is my favorite character on it.) Well, here goes nothing; at worst it’s a skunky beer and at best it’s another great beer!

Appearance: I’ll be brutally honest. This pours creek mud brown with an inch of head. That is probably because I didn’t strain and filter the sediment out, and I had the surviving yeast from the fermentation process carbonate it naturally instead of forcing CO2 into it. But let’s not judge a book by its cover.

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Cold beer on a hot day!

Aroma: I am getting a ton of bready malts and some baker’s yeast on the nose. It smells great!

Taste: Unlike the well known Fat Tire, this is  much more malty and markedly less hoppy. The taste starts very forward with breads, has a yeasty tang like most Belgian style beers, and then fades off with some faint roast malts. It isn’t a super complex beer, but the flavors seem to be well developed.

Mouthfeel: Probably due to the lack of filtration, it is a bit thicker than your standard amber ales, but the carbonation helps cut some of that. Overall, it is still fairly light.

Value: Let’s put it this way; you ain’t brewing to save money…

Overall: I’ll break the mold here and not give it a numerical ranking, but I’d say it’s P.D.G. or Pretty Darn Good! I may be biased, but I think it is a very drinkable, yet flavorful brew that highlights different malt flavors. I’d like a bit more hops to it, but for a hot day like today, it really hits the spot.

On another note, for my next home brew, I’m torn between brewing a knock off of Stone Brewing’s IPA or a classic Oktoberfest style beer. Leave a comment on what you want to see next!

Until next time, tight lines and cheers!

Sierra Nevada Helles in the Tropics

Happy Sunday Funday! This has been a whirlwind of a weekend celebrating the marriage of our best friends in Tampa. Now that all the festivities have died down, I need something to fight the work week scaries, so we snagged a variety 12-pack from Sierra Nevada that had two of six types of beer instead of the typical three of four types. I had to do some yard work this afternoon, so I picked Helles in the Tropics to cool off. The

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Beer Can Chicken and some Helles in the Tropics

notes on the back of the bottle claim it to be a crisp summer beer that is “absolutely crushable.” Needless to say, let’s see how this stacks up against the ultimate summer beer, Busch Light. Also, for those of you following along at home the Homebrew “Fat Dwyer” will be cracked next week!

Appearance: This pours a bright lemon yellow and is absolutely clear and bubbly. It has a better appearance than most light beers.

Aroma: Just like the appearance, it is bright and crisp almost like a Pacifico or Corona.

Taste: This tastes like a classic Helles with crisp malt notes, but a surprising amount of hops on the end. These are the earthy, piney, hops not the out and out bitterness that some carry. This has just the right amount of flavor, not too much, but it’s not like drinking that Dilly Dilly water.

Mouthfeel: For as much carbonation as this beer had, it is fairly flat on the palate and thicker than a typical Helles.

Value: $15 for 12 beers and 6 different types is not a bad deal whatsoever. There’s at least one style for any type of beer drinker, even the non-craft beer fans.

Overall: Well, color me surprised. This is a super crushable beer that is easier to drink than a “session” IPA and has more flavor than your run of the mill macrobrews or even many Helles. I’d give this an 8.5/10. The only detractor I have is the cost because as easy as it is to drink, a sixer will probably run you $9 and a twelve pack will push $15-$17. Overall, this is a great baseball tailgate and grilling out beer.

Until next time, tight lines and cheers!

Hourglass Brewing Nut Squasher Autumn Ale

Happy Sunday Funay ya’ll! Man oh man, it was a busy weekend! Between bass fishing on Lake Toho, celebrating my buddy Tyler’s birthday, and bottling my next batch of homebrew, I’m whooped. I thought we were out of wedding present beer, but I found a bomber of a local brewery, Hourglass. It turns out to be named Nut Squasher and is a bourbon barrel aged autumn ale. Based on the name alone, I’m a bit intimidated, not to mention the fact that it clocks in at 8.4%.

Appearance: It pours with next to no carbonation with a hazelnut brown hue.

Aroma: I thought my sniffer might not be working, but the wifey confirmed that there is no aroma to this. This is strange because even Busch Lattes have a faint aroma profile to them.

Taste: This starts with heavy bourbon notes, but ends with a really sour bite. With an autumn ale, I figured there would be hazelnut, roasted malts, and other flavors. This just goes from bourbon-y to almost a Berliner-Wiesse. I’m not a sour guy, so this is definitely a pass for me.

Mouthfeel: For being a high gravity brew, it is surprisingly light and thin with a sharp bite at the end.

Value: Not my style, so I can’t tell you.

Overall: If you’re into bourbon barrel aged sours, then this might be a smash hit. But for me, this is a strong pass. I’ll give it a 2/10 and it gets the 2 because it’s got a great color profile and a high ABV. Otherwise, this style is not for me.

In two weeks, we will have the latest in my homebrew collection, Cold Bear Brewing’s amber ale I call the Fat Dweyer. It’s a replica Fat Tire with my own twist.

Until next time, tight lines and cheers!

 

Left Coast Brewing Asylum

Happy Sunday Funday ya’ll! I missed last week’s post because I was busy brewing up my latest home brew Cold Bear Brewing: Fat Dwyer. This beer will be a model of the widely enjoyed Fat Tire by New Belgium. Stay tuned, I will be bottling next Sunday and enjoying it the following. Also, we had an eventful sports week with catching the Orlando Magic in a suite (humble brag) on Valentine’s Day, UCF baseball taking down Sienna on Saturday, and finishing with the Orlando Solar Bears hockey team crushing their opponent 8-2.But enough of that, let’s get into the beer!

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Tori is trolling in the back

Appearance: This pours a hazy, opaque apricot color with zero carbonation. Clocking in at a monster 11.3% I’m not surprised though.

Aroma: This is super malty and super boozy with just a touch of spice. This thing smells like it’ll knock you upside the head on your first sip, let alone second or third beer.

Taste: Well, I wasn’t wrong about the smell. It hits with a heavy kick of alcohol and finishes with some malty sweetness and a bit of a bitter note. The alcohol hangs around like a shot of tequila does and warms you right up. Too bad it’s 87 degrees here in sunny Central Florida, because this would be great for a cold day!

Mouthfeel: It starts out thick and smooth, but slowly changes to a thin and fleeting vapor. It’s a really cool transition that I can’t say I’ve had before.

Value: Mad props to Mason and Summer as this was another wedding gift!

Overall: I’d give this a middle of the road to slightly above 5.5/10. It packs a heck of an alcoholic punch, but lacks any depth to its flavor profile. I love Belgian Tripels and Quads and there are much more flavorful choices out there such as my go-to Golden Monkey. It has a really cool mouthfeel that helps redeem it, but the flavors just aren’t there to rank it any higher.

Until next time, tight lines and cheers!

DuClaw Brewing Sweet Baby Java

Happy Sunday Funday ya’ll! I know I’ve been posting less consistently as of late, and I’m going to blame it all on the holidays and the final month of wedding planning/getting married. It’s safe to say I’m back and thirstier than ever! Today is an American holiday of sorts: it’s Superbowl Sunday. Millions of red-blooded Americans will be cooking all sorts of meat and carb-heavy dishes, knocking back non-descript light beers until the cows come in. I’m going to be bucking that trend and enjoying a wedding present from some craft beer lovers. They got us a customized six-pack holder with our names on it and six

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Props to Summer and Mason!

unique beers. The first one I grabbed was Sweet Baby Java from DuClaw Brewing.

Appearnce: This poured like motor oil with very little carbonation. However, it laced beautifully with what it did have.

Aroma: This is very sweet, mocha-y, chocolate-y, malty aroma. I’m concerned it might taste artificially sweet with how strong the nose is on this. My editor-in-chief (wife) says it smells a Starbucks Java Chip Frappuccino, to which my response was “What the hell is that?”

Taste: To quote the great Ricky Bobby, “Sweet baby Jesus!” This hits you with a mocha chocolate sweetness and follows up with a roasted coffee bean finish. The flavors are bold and pronounced, but not overpowering. The brewers did a fantastic job of balancing what could easily be an over-sweetened stout. I believe that the carbonation helps cut the sweetness and provides a clean finish to it.

Mouthfeel: This is not as smooth as it looks to be. The carbonation, as I mentioned in the Taste section, leaves a nice sharp finish to it.

Value: Per Google, a six-pack at Total Wine runs you $9.50, which is a fair price for this.

Overall: This beer is a great choice for anyone who likes coffee, stouts and porters. It’s not too heavy to where you can only have one, but not too light to where it leaves you wanting more. For a sweeter beer, this is probably the best balanced one I’ve had. I’d give this a 9/10, or in other words, “Get you some!”

Next Saturday, I’ll be brewing up some home brew for Cold Bear Brewing, so keep your eyes peeled for that. Until next time, tight lines and cheers!