Sunday, April 28, 2013

Review: Dogfish Head/Sierra Nevada's Rhizing Bines

I know what you're thinking: this beer is made by the gods! It most certainly is. Dogfish Head and Sierra Nevada are the top craft breweries in America, and this isn't the first time they've partnered up on a beer. In 2009 they released Life & Limb which was a darker maple syrup-based beer. Now they've come together to make the obvious: an imperial IPA. I mean, between SN's Torpedo IPA and Dogfish Head's 90 Minute IPA, they've certainly established themselves as breweries that know their hops.

Continually hopped in the classic Dogfish Head style, Rhizing Bines is chock full of citrusy Bravo hops and a new kind of hop only known as Hop 644. I'm eager to see how this baby holds up, so let's get right into the review:

Appearance: 3.5/5
Rhizing Bines pours a light golden amber with a damn good amount of head. The head doesn't last all too long, but it leaves some decent lacing. With a pile of head on top, it's a nice-looking IPA.

Nose: 5/5
Boy, those Bravo hops pack a wallop. Rhizing Bines smells quite powerfully like citrus. I already know from how good it smells that it's going to be one hell of a hoppy experience.

Taste: 5/5
Rhizing Bones isn't quite as powerful as you may think. It's definitely hoppy, don't get me wrong. I taste strong citrus notes and some bitterness, but there's also some sweetness to it to counteract the bitterness. I'm thinking that Hop 644 is a sweeter breed of hop, which is a good move. Too much bitterness and citrus taste could have made this beer unbalanced and straightforward. Instead, it's quite balanced and smooth.

Mouthfeel: 5/5
A moderate body, mostly sporting hop character versus malty thickness. Pleasant on the palate.

Finish: 4/5
Rhizing Bines goes down quite smooth. The finish is nice, leaving behind a good amount of citrus taste. It's quite pleasant and rounds out the experience well.

Total Score: 96.5/100

The kings did a pretty bang-up job on this one. While it's not the greatest IPA out there, it certainly holds its own. The taste and aroma will definitely have you wanting more, that's for sure. Pick yourself up a bottle if you're interested in collabs. Until next time, cheers.


Saturday, April 27, 2013

Review: Great Divide Brewing Co.'s Espresso Oak Aged Yeti

I got my hands on a real monster this weekend. After seeing a nearly flawless review for Espresso Oak Aged Yeti on Sud Savant, I had to run down to my local beverage center to pick up a bottle. I had a glass last night and was rather impressed!

Yeti is an imperial stout aged, not in oak barrels, but over oak chips. That's an interesting break from the norm. Of course, on top of the chocolatey malts used in this stout, there is espresso. The only other coffee-centric stout I've tried is Founder's Breakfast Stout. That baby packs a huge coffee punch! So let's see how this mythical beast hold up:

Appearance: 5/5
While I wish I had a snifter to drink this stout out of, I had to make do with my pint glass. The head retention in my glass sucked, which is disappointing because the little bit of head I did get to see looked absolutely mouthwatering. It was so thick and dark that it looked like I could cut into it and eat it. So do yourself a favor and use a tulip or snifter when drinking Yeti for maximum head retention. As far as color goes, it's a pitch-black stout and looks very handsome.

Nose: 2/5
Light espresso notes come through in the aroma, but not in the heavy way I wanted them to. I do detect stronger chocolate notes, which is nice as well. Still, the aroma of this beer kind of falls flat.

Taste: 5/5
A rush of chocolate and coffee flavors immediately attacked my palate. It's a nicely balanced taste; the coffee doesn't outdo the chocolate, nor does the chocolate outdo the coffee. It's rich and even creamy.

Mouthfeel: 5/5
This is a heavy beer! I've had experience with high-ABV stouts, such as Brooklyn's Black Chocolate Stout, but this is still quite strong with a thick full body.

Finish: 4.5/5
Yeti finishes quite smooth, actually. Despite its powerful presence on the palate, it goes down nicely, leaving hints of coffee lingering behind. Definitely a nice finishing touch for this beer.

Total Score: 84/100

While the aroma of Yeti left a lot to be desired, I still found that it was a flavorful and enjoyable beer with a head that looked to be some of the best out there. This is a damn good stout and will be right up the alley of anyone who enjoys a hint of coffee in their stouts to counteract the chocolate malts. Don't let the aroma of this beer get you down; go out and pick yourself up a bottle and enjoy!


Friday, April 5, 2013

Review: Dogfish Head's Positive Contact

I was in the beverage center today, intent on picking up a bottle of Dogfish Head's Chateau Jiahu, but I stumbled upon this beer too. I picked it up and started reading the description on the label (thank God Dogfish does that so openly) and found that it sounded just odd enough to be worth the $14 for a bottle. The story listed on Dogfish Head's website is that Positive Contact was born through a collaboration with Dan the Automator of the hip-hop group Deltron 3030. It's a blend of what Dogfish wanted to use as a base and a bunch of ingredients which Dan liked.

The ingredients list is what got me so curious in the first place. I'm a fan of Shock Top End of the World Midnight Wheat, which incorporates chili into the mix for an odd kick that goes along so well with the chocolate malt used in that beer. So when I saw that cayenne and cilantro were in this beer, that settled it for me. I had to see what other beers using spicy ingredients like peppers or chili tasted like. Thus, I ended up with this very interesting and complex cider-ale (yes, it boasts that it's made with apple cider - Fuji cider to be exact, but feels like more). So let's see how this strange beer holds up:

Appearance: 4/5
I couldn't be happier. The beer looks light and golden in color, as you'd expect from any other cider (though this isn't exactly a cider, but I may refer to it as such throughout). It's interesting because at 9% ABV and with such a range of ingredients, I suppose I expected a darker amber beer. Still, the head on this beer is ridiculous and the lacing is superb (probably the finest I've seen).

Nose: 5/5
Positive Contact is very aromatic. Immediately I smelled the very fresh-smelling cider notes, but with each consequent nosing I noticed more and more. It definitely smells like there are spices present, which is probably the cayenne and cilantro. It's a complex smell, and I very much like it.

Taste: 5/5
Just as complex as the aroma of this beer is its taste. I think it should be noted that it tastes more like a cider than anything else because spices that are like chili or peppers should be paired with chocolate or other darker malts to reach their full potential. But I do like that the notes of spice aren't completely hidden. It's flavorful, even sweet, but it bites enough to give it a strong presence.

Mouthfeel: 5/5
Positive Contact definitely feels like a cider and very much drinks like one, which is great. While the body of this beer is very cider-like, there is a rounding-out effect created by the spicy notes.

Finish: 5/5
Even more than in the mouthfeel and taste of this beer, the spicy notes come out in the finish. A light amount of sweetness lingered around, but the kicks of the cayenne and cilantro stayed with me for  a while. It's a flavorful, welcome feeling.

Total Score: 99/100

Positive Contact is damn close to perfect, in my honest opinion. It's approachable, odd, and interesting all at once. Any fan of Woodchuck would probably dig this beer because it's up their alley, but strays from the path in nice ways. It's a handsome, flavorful beer that is fully drinkable and enjoyable.

Until next time, cheers!


Review: Dogfish Head's Aprihop

Some hail Dogfish Head as the kings of the craft brewing revolution. I count myself among that crowd. No other brewery has struck me with the sheer range of the beers they brew. From their standbys like 60 Minute IPA and Indian Brown Ale (easily the best brown ale I've ever had) to their seasonal releases to their powerful rarities like Chateau Jiahu and Fort, the people behind Dogfish Head are sheer geniuses with the number of concoctions they're able to put together.

Their spring seasonal release is the focus of this review, though. It's called Aprihop because it's an IPA brewed with apricots. What a great idea for a spring release: something fruity and flavorful, yet interesting enough to take the place of Bud Light Lime in your fridge as the days warm up. I tried this refreshing brew last night and had to give it a formal review because it was that good. I won't say it's above any other IPA I've ever had because it's just a different entity. But it is damn good, so let's examine just what makes it that good!

Appearance: 3/5
Aprihop has a nice color to it. It's a medium reddish amber. It sure looks like an IPA. The head isn't superb, but the lacing that lingers as you drink is very present.

Nose: 5/5
The hops don't exist in this IPA's aroma. I think that's an interesting move on Dogfish Head's part because it makes you feel like you're not about to sip an IPA at all, but rather a nice fruity ale. All I get in the nose, no matter how hard I try, is the smell of fresh apricots. It's a mouthwatering aroma.

Taste: 5/5
Here's where the hoppy nature of Aprihop breaks through, but not overwhelmingly so. Just as in the nose, the strongest thing about this beer is the apricot flavor. I taste the fruitiness, and it's rather sweet. The hops, I think, deliver a roundness to the beer so it's not just a run-of-the-mill fruity beer. It really has character. There are bitter notes that come in underneath the apricot taste.

Mouthfeel: 5/5
Aprihop sports a full body with a rather crisp mouthfeel. It makes itself present on the palate while being enjoyably fruity and bitter.

Finish: 4/5
There's nothing to really complain about in the finish. I get the nice, smooth flavor of apricots left behind and feel very refreshed and ready for another sip.

Total Score: 96/100

I'd say Dogfish Head have outdone themselves with Aprihop. Granted, the only other seasonal beer of theirs that I've tried is their fall brew, Punkin Ale, which is some rather weak sauce compared to all the good-to-great pumpkin beers I've had. Regardless, this is a fantastic beer that brings spring to mind and is so very flavorful and refreshing. Even those who don't like IPAs should try this beer because it's just that tasty.

Until next time, cheers!