Oktoberfest

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Upland Brewing Oktoberfest

It’s that time of year again.  The leaves start to turn from a dark rich green to multiple shades of brown and gold.  The night air turns a little cooler and the sun sets a little earlier.  Fall is upon us.  That can only mean one thing.  Oktoberfest brews are hitting the shelves.  Oktoberfest is a Bavarian style lager or Bavarian Märzenbier.  This particular Oktoberfest comes from the great state of Indiana.  Upland Brewing hails from Bloomington, which is a college town, a great place to brew and sell beer.  The brew is 6.7% ABV and only 20 IBU, putting it right in line with the style.

When poured from the bottle a nice head forms, but it dies all too quickly.  I like a nice strong head on my german beers.  In a clean glass a lace will form, but not as strongly as one would like either.  The color is a nice amber/copper tone and crystal clear.

The mouthfeel is rich, creamy and smooth.  Not too heavy, it’s actually nice and light considering it’s rich flavor and mouthfeel.  The finish is clean and crisp, leaving the drinker desiring more.

This is a very tasty beer.  There are notes of caramel malts creating a good sweetness that is balanced in the end with just enough hops.  There are also notes of toffee.

Overall I would say this is an enjoyable brew that could help keep you a little warmer on those upcoming fall nights.

Prosit!

 

Head Hunter IPA

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Fat Head’s Head Hunter IPA

Today we are going to visit a little Ohio brewery called Fat Head’s.  They have put out an IPA called Head Hunter, which has won a few awards.  Specifically the Silver at the World Beer Cup in 2012 and 2014 and a couple of more medals at the Great American Beer Festival.  But we aren’t hear to discuss the awards this particular beer has won.  I’ve seen beers win all kinds of awards, but then not find the beer enjoyable.   Let’s see what we see with this bad boy.

First let me point out that this brew is sitting at an ABV of 7.5%, which is a very nice level.  Not so high that you can’t have a couple, but not so low that you drink a damn 24 pack like a Natty Light.  The IBU is at a pretty high 87, which means this brew is going to have a lot of in-your-face hops, which is not a bad thing at all, so long as you enjoy a good strong IPA.  This is a West Coast style IPA that uses Columbus, Simcoe, Centennial hops to create a nice citrus hop profile.  The malt used is Pale, CaraMalt, C-15, and Cara-Pils.

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Head Hunter IPA

A good strong head forms when poured into a glass.  The head eventually dies off, but not completely.  I’m obsessed with the quality of the head on a beer.  It’s a sign that proper care was taken and quality ingredients were used in the brewing process.  When in a nice clean glass the head will form a lace.

Head Hunter has a strong hop aroma that is quickly noticeable when the bottle is popped open and becomes even stronger as the brew is poured into the glass.  It smells amazing.  It’s a relaxing aroma, one that let’s you know that everything is going to be alright, one that beckons you to drink the beer.  “Don’t worry” it says, “It’s OK”, it calls, “Drink Me” it demands.  One can definitely tell this was a dry hopped beer because of the aromas emanating from the glass.

Those 87 IBUs are very apparent upon the first sip of Head Hunter.  It is very much a punch-you-in-the-taste-buds moment.  After the initial shock of the hops, one can tell this is actually a very well balanced beer.  For some it would be nice to get that balance on the first bite.  When letting the beer swim around on your taste buds for a bit you can pick up the citrus and grapefruit notes of the hops, which helps add a nice bit of sweetness mixed with the malts to bring some balance back to the hop bitterness.

There is a good crispness to the beer that makes one feel like this would be a refreshing beer on a hot day after mowing the lawn.  The mouthfeel is nice a smooth in the finish.  There is nothing overly heavy in the feel of Head Hunter, it is actually a very light beer for an IPA.

Over all I would have to say this is a pretty damn good beer.  If they are in your area, you should consider grabbing a couple.

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Award Winning.

 

Hipster Repellant IPA

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Falls City Beer – Hipster Repellant IPA

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Beer Me.

A few days ago I wondered into my local beer store and stumbled across an IPA that I’d never seen before.  Now it might have been there the whole time, hiding for years.  Hell, it might have been repelling me…  However, I don’t think I’m too much of a hipster.  I do listen to a lot of vinyl, generally have a beard and drink a lot of craft beer, but I don’t do any of it ironically.

I like it when breweries write descriptions or stories about their brews on the bottle.  Here is what Falls City Beer threw on their bottle:

A piney and citrusy hop character is balanced nicely by a caramel and toffee malt base.  An extra dose of city hops was added for dry hopping to give this beer a character that will out last any trend.

They also claim on the label that this beer used to be cool.  Ok, that’s enough about the bottle, label and such.  Let’s get to what’s in the bottle, the whole reason I brought it home, the beer.

When tasting a beer for the first time I always pour it into a glass, just like any wine aficionado.  Many people don’t realize that Beer and Wine are very similar.  As with wine, Beer should be displayed in the correct glass in order to show the color, release the aromas, and create the head.  All of these characteristics let the drinker know about the beer before he takes a sip.  Hipster Repellant IPA is no different.  When poured a nice creamy head develops, however like an old man with no viagra it dies quickly.  I like it when the heads lasts a bit longer.  There is a head throughout the drink and if your glass is clean it will leave a lace.  Drink from the same side and you can count how many sips you took.  The color is a nice Amber color and it is clear, no cloudiness.  All of these characteristics point to a well made beer.

The taste is piney, earthy, and woodsy.  The label was correct in the description.  There is a nice bit of caramel sweetness upfront, then the beer does as it should and turns hoppy and that’s when the earthy tones come out.  There is a slight bit of chalkiness to the after taste, nothing that ruins the beer, but it would be nice if one had a clean palette after drinking.

The mouthfeel is very crisp up front, with a nice smooth finish.  Hipster Repellant IPA is a very drinkable beer.  When determining drinkability of a beer, I imagine if I could drink one after a hard day working in the sun mowing my lawn or if I could drink it all day at a Baseball game while baking in the sun.  I didn’t feel heavy or bloated after drinking a couple of these brews, which to me is the proof in the bottle that I could drink this beer all day.

Hipster Repellant has a nice 6.5% ABV, which will keep you feeling nice all day.

Hipster Repellant IPA

This Beer Used to be Cool.

Single Wide IPA

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Today we have Single Wide IPA by Boulevard Brewing Co. out of Kansas City.  I’ve had Boulevard Brewing in the past and nothing sticks out in my mind as negative, nor positive.  I just know that I’ve had their product and have probably enjoyed it.  Now that I’m back on here keeping tabs of what I’m drinking I’m sure that I’ll remember the Single Wide IPA for days to come.

I poured this beer from a bottle, I was not fortunate enough to taste this particular brew on drought. When poured a nice quality head forms on top of the beer, white, creamy, not too many large bubbles.  If one was adventurous one could attempt to float a bottle cap on top of the head to see how stable and creamy it is.  The head does die quite quickly, it does not maintain through out the drink.  A good lace will form around the glass as one drinks, if your glass is clean enough to hold on to the head.  This is always the sign of a well made beer and well maintained beer glasses.

The aroma has strong citrus notes when the beer is first poured, these do fade very quickly as the beer settles.  One can smell the hops, but they don’t smell bitter, they smell sweet and fruity.  There are also notes of malty goodness rising from the glass.

The color is a nice golden amber.  There is a slight cloudiness to the beer, but this is because the beer is bottle conditioned, nothing to be alarmed about.

Now to the most important part of the beer.  Taste.  The brew is nice and sweet upfront with a good bitter finish.  While Boulevard Brewing describes this brew as a very bitter beer, I would not.  While it does have bitterness and is clearly an IPA, it is not an overwhelming amount of bitterness at all.  The IBU on this beer is 57, which is not exceptionally high.  The only complaint that one can make about this beer is there is a slight chalky aftertaste that doesn’t linger too long, but is very noticeable.  Mouthfeel is nice, smooth up front with a nice strong bite in the finish.  There is a small amount of creaminess in the middle of the drink.

Overall I would say that Single Wide is a quality IPA.  I don’t believe that this beer is going to be winning any major awards at the Great American Beer Fest, but I would say this is a beer I would let a friend buy me a few times at a baseball game, preferably a Texas Rangers game.

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Boddingtons Pub Ale

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Boddingtons_Pub_Ale
Today we head over the  pond to try out Boddington’s Pub Ale.  Whenever there is a blurb from the brewer on the can or bottle I like to quote it here:
“Since 1778 when it was first brewed at the Strangeways Brewery in Manchester, Boddingtons has been renowned as a unique, pale-gold ale.  In English pubs, Boddingtons is served using the traditional hand pulled method which mixes air with the ale as it pours, producing a distinctive creamy head and smooth body, with little gassiness.  Ordinary packaged ale cannot match this quality, but the new Draughtflow System does.  By releasing millions of tiny bubble when opened, Draughtflow cans give the creamy head and authentic fresh taste of Boddingtons Pub Ale.  

Ok, now that you know that, is the beer any good out of the can and can it possibly compare to the beer that is pulled on draught in England?  To be honest, I don’t know this particular beer tastes like on draught in England.  I do know that it’s pretty darn good out of the can.  As the quote above says, it is a unique brew.  It’s very smooth and light upfront, with a slight hint of hops in the finish.  There is a light caramel sweetness from the malt.  The color is a pale-gold and the beer is clear.  The creamy head does cling to the glass.  All of these show signs of a quality brew.  I will admit this brew has a bit of an aftertaste that won’t appeal to everyone, but overall it is a quality product.  I would readily drink this on a hot summer day when I need a cool drink.