Posts Tagged hoppy

Mystery Year End

Alpine HFS IPANothing like a glass full of mystery to finish the year off right! Alpine Brewing recently opened a tasting room not too far from their old location, thanks to their acquisition by Green Flash. This allowed the addition of a rather nice tasting room with a back-woodsy lodge feel to it. Lots of open space on the patio, with a pretty standard tasting room and restaurant inside. I got no pictures, but I’ll be back.

Instead of touring the place, I ordered a beer that had just come out and was not described anywhere on the menu as a result. Mysteriously called Alpine HFS IPA (6.5% abv), I knew only that it would likely be hoppy. With Mosaic, Citra and Simcoe hops, hoppy it was, according to our server. “Mosaic” was all I needed to hear and I was in.

It poured a rich golden color with small bubbles and light thin white head. It smelled fruity and fresh, with a touch of bitter hoppiness. It tasted piney and reminded me of being in nature at the first sip. Some of the hop bitterness followed, with pine flavors returning toward the middle and a slight maltiness. Light body and medium carbonation kept it fresh into a somewhat malty finish, with the same piney flavor lingering.

Just a bit too much nature in a glass for me:

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                 MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

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There’s Copper and Gold in Them Glasses!

Ballast Point Nitro Copper ESBAs the Christmas holiday draws near, I think about what will warm my belly in the most seasonal way possible, while still providing some taste exploration. Ballast Point isn’t afraid to experiment with their beers, which is good for us consumers. Case in point: the Copper ESB on nitro (5.5% abv): It poured a rich copper color (duh) with a creamy cap of off white head. So thick was the head that not much made it through the foam in the way of aromas. The taste started off very mild, with a little caramelly sweetness. There was just a touch of bitterness into the middle. Almost no carbonation and a surprisingly light body did nothing to change the mildness. Not much else to distinguish it. A seriously benign drink.

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To wake up my taste buds from such a sleepy start, I next tried the Schooner Wet Hop Ballast Point Schooner Wet Hop(5.5% abv): This one poured a deep golden color, with thin white head. It smelled grassy, floral and pretty refreshing. The taste was mild, with a moderate hoppiness and some of the flowers and grass I got from the smell. Mild through the middle, with medium carbonation and light body, it finished hoppy and somewhat sour, with flowers and grass lingering. I appreciated the change from hoppy to sour back to hoppy, but overall another mild one.

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Oktoberfest ist Vorbei

Helix Brewing sign

Oktoberfest may have officially ended October 4, but the folks at new start-up brewery Helix Brewing Co. in the eastern part of San Diego sure know how to keep the party going. I missed most of the festivities they held earlier, like a traditional stein-holding competition, but staff and guests alike were all still in a festive mood. There were Bavarian flag pennants hanging from the ceiling and wall outside, bartenders in Lederhosen and official Hofbrauhaus steins on the bar inside.Helix Brew Collage

Entering through the patio, the outside gave me the impression of walking into a warehouse or fish cannery. A corrugated metal roof and support beams wrapped in rope greeted me on my way in the door. There was a tree in a planter right in the middle of the patio, with party lights strung throughout that alleviated this somewhat. Inside, there was brick to the left and unfinished wood to the right on the walls. A concrete bar sat in front of the brewing area to the right with four small tasting tables in front of that. A large TV and chalkboard also hung on one wall.

Helix Red n ActiveWith no Oktoberfest beers on tap (??), I opted for the Red ‘N’ Actvie Hoppy Red Ale (5.2%). This beer poured bright amber, with thin white head that dissipated quickly. It smelled somewhat malty, with far less hoppiness than the name of the beer implied and a slightly fruity aroma. The taste, however, was hoppy up front. This continued into the middle, where some maltiness worked its way through. Medium-bodied with light carbonation, the maltiness continued to a finish that saw the hoppiness return. Unfortunately, there was no real dynamic flavor profile to this one. I wish I could have had an Oktoberfest…

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Oktoberfest Prost

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Attack of the Red!

RosieRiveter

PortSharkAttack_glassEvery year on the first Monday of September is the celebration of the achievements of American workers and the contributions they make to the country as a whole. We each celebrate in our own way. I, for instance, cracked open this lovely beer from Port Brewing Co. Shark Attack Double Red Ale (9% abv) poured dark amber in color with tiny bubbles and a thick cap of foamy off white head. It smelled surprisingly malty sweet for a double red, given the amount of hops advertised on this one. There was only a hint of hoppy aroma, some dark fruit in there and a sweetness not connected to the malts, as well. It tasted rich and malty right off the top. The hoppiness came through right after that, with the fruitiness from the aroma and a bit of spiciness toward the middle. With medium body and light carbonation, it finished mostly hoppy and a bit dry. Good for a hoppy non-IPA.

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It Was an OK Day At Sea

I recently found occasion to go back to Ballast Point to sample more of their ever-expanding list of experimental beers. As usual, they did not disappoint. Starting with the always good Sculpin on nitro (7% abv), this beer poured golden in color, with thick creamy white head. I detected sour and mild malty aromas with only some hoppiness. The taste was mild and light. Hoppy and creamy up front, it was light in body and carbonation, mostly due to the nitro. It finished smooth with some sourness and hoppiness. Not a lot going on with this beer, but a good everyday drinker.

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A little out of order, next up was Homework #5 Hoppy Belgian Ale (5.2% abv). This one poured rich golden-yellow as well, but with only a thin layer of white head. Sour smell at the front and somewhat sweet aromas at the back. It tasted malty sweet at first, then smooth into the middle. With light-medium body, it finished hoppy and mild. An adequate beer, but nothing really to hold my interest for very long.

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Ballast Flight

Then I tried the Sea Turtle Saison (abv not available, as they were too quick with the eraser after they ran out) made with green tea and mint: It poured a pale opaque golden color, with loose white head that did not stick around long. It smelled sour and tart, with some fruit aromas coming around the end. It tasted sour and effervescent up front, with a touch of hoppiness. The middle was light and smooth, finishing equally as light and smooth. There was not nearly the amount of dynamic, if delicate, flavor profile I expected from this one. Sure, I could blame it on the two prior tasters, but I thought this one was a little lacking. Points for effort, however.

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Lastly, I tried the one I was most afraid would taste like fruit juice, but had to try because it was from a cask: Tart Wahoo with hibiscus and lime (7% abv): It poured the color of cranberry juice, with lots of fizzy bright white head. Tart berry aromas dominated the smell, as expected. It tasted super tart from the start. With virtually no carbonation, despite the copious fizz on the pour, it was light. There was no real discernible taste through the middle of the drink, but finished a little sweet and tart. This was probably not one I would get again and, from the full glasses of folks around me who had already been there a while, I was not alone in this assessment.

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