Browsing articles in "Beer Reviews"

Airdale Brewing Co. The Angry Panda Review

Airdale Brewing Company The Angry Panda

“San Diego Brewery” Airdale, (actually brewed locally in Irvine) recently had to shut down its doors but that doesn’t mean they didn’t make good beer. Early last June, I walked into my local beer store, BottleCraft, looking for something interesting, something new, and really just something delicious. Store owner, Brian, made the great recommendation to try a new Imperial Red that they’d just started carrying called The Angry Panda. I took his suggestion and subsequently fell in love. This is my review.

Brewery: Airdale Brewing Company

Name: The Angry Panda

Style: Imperial Red Ale

ABV: 9%

IBU: 77

Look: Ruby color with a light off white head.

Smell: Hop presence covers up just about everything else with it’s earthy aromas. Slight bit of caramel mixes in with the hops but is still relatively subdued for a considerably dark brew.

Taste: The huge hop bill is surprsingly balanced by the sweet malt. It’s flavor really comes out as it warms so let this one sit for a half hour or so before finishing your glass. Once the hops fade away, notes of dark fruits, cherry, raisin and cranberry emerge as the sip tails off.

Feel: Resinous and sticky on the palate but not to the point of feeling heavy. This consistency helps keep the flavors around long enough to let’s the beers high IBU really kick your tongue to your ass, satisfying any true hop head.

Philippe Gagnon is the founder and writer for Craft Beer Culture. Currently residing in Orange County, California, you can find him at the local brewery drinking craft beer or online through FacebookTwitter, and .

Iron Fist Brewing Co. Renegade Blonde #299

Iron Fist Brewing Company Renegade Blonde Craft Beer

Brewery: Iron Fist Brewing Company

Name: Renegade Blonde

Style: Kölsch Style Blonde Ale

ABV: 5.2%

Look: Cloudy straw-like color. Highly carbonated creating tons of pIllowy soft white head.

Smell: The yeast aroma hits first, which taste Belgian to me even though it’s labeled as a German Style Kolsch. I could very well be wrong but it’s smells very familiar. Notes of orange and lemon peak through behind a surprisingly noticeable hop bill. Everything sits balanced and appealing, especially perfect for a warm weekend afternoon.

Taste: This beer is both smooth and drinkable without having to sacrifice any flavor which, to me, is the perfect recipe for a delicious blonde. In the flavor, the yeast comes out balanced and mild which lets the fruitiness of the hops come through on the finish. A subtle reminder that this is a beer from a San Diego brewery.

Feel: The mouthfeel is light and crisp with a slight texture created by the yeast. A nice resinous hop character lingers as the beer fades away.

Overall: There isn’t any single thing that stands out in this beer but that’s exactly what makes it so great. Iron Fist’s Brandon Sieminski created a perfect balance of yeast character, pale (maybe pislner) malt, and subtle hop flavor. This is a perfect beer for just about anytime.

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Philippe Gagnon is the founder and writer for Craft Beer Culture. Currently residing in Orange County, California, you can find him at the local brewery drinking craft beer or online through FacebookTwitter, and .

Lagunitas Brewing Co. Little Sumpin’ Wild Ale Review

Lagunitas Brewing Company Little Sumpin Wild Ale

Kicking off The Quest for 366 Beers in 366 Days is one great beer. As a big fan of Lagunitas’ Wheat IPA named A Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale, I found the “wild version” had that little sumpin’ that really made it stand out from the rest.

Brewery: Lagunitas Brewing Company

Name: Little Sumpin’ Wild Ale

Style: Belgian India Pale Ale

ABV: 9.4%

IBU: 72

The label describes it best.

“Net Contents: 12 fluid oz’s…. of hops, malt, hops, hops, yeast, hops, water, and hops.”

Look: Golden yellow (like many IPA’s). Sticky and resinous with a slightly off-white head that sticks to the side of the glass.

Smell: Blend of belgian funk and lemon with a bit of honey on the finish. Super pungent and full hop aroma.

Taste: Starts out really hoppy and citrusy then bam… that Belgian yeast flavor hits. I actually found this nice and balanced even though I wasn’t a huge fan of the other Belgian IPA that I tried which was Stone’s Belgo IPA. The yeastiness was a bit much for me in that one but Lagunitas hit the spot with the amount of flavor from both the hops and the yeast. The finish is earthy and spicy fading into the taste of Belgian’s finest.

Feel: I wouldn’t call this beer dry but it isn’t particularly resinous either. It has just the right amount of sweetness to help counter the heavy-handed hopping, the high gravity and to ensure that it sticks around on your palate long enough to tease you as you anticipate the next sip. It’s definitely a solid beer and a great example of the “Belgian” IPA style.

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Philippe Gagnon is the founder and writer for Craft Beer Culture. Currently residing in Orange County, California, you can find him at the local brewery drinking craft beer or online through FacebookTwitter, and .

Russian River Brewing Pliny the Elder Review

Russian River Pliny the Elder

Brewery: Russian River Brewing Company

Name: Pliny the Elder

Style: Double India Pale Ale

ABV: 8%

IBU: 100

Look: Ultra clear. This beer defines clarity in an IPA as you can literally see your fingers through the side of the glass. Nice bright orange hue and decent hoppy head that foams up than dissipates out slowly.

Smell: Hops… Lots and lots of hops. Hard to smell beyond them as they’re so floral and fragrant. Light notes of grass and lemon. Swirl it around and the earthiness comes out leaving it smelling fresh like the air after heavy rain. Incredibly aromatic.

Taste: Beautifully bitter and perfectly hop forward. This bottle was really fresh so there was hardly any sweetness at all. The citrus notes come through at the end. In a sense, tt doesn’t taste like it smells, which in this case is fine because if you take a big sniff as you sip, you get an aroma explosion that complements the flavor profile nicely.

Feel: My favorite part of Pliny is the mouthfeel. Russian River is definitely using highly attenuative yeast which rips through the sugar leaving the mouthfeel really light with a clean dry finish. This makes this 8% ABV Double IPA, very easy to drink and delectably light on the palate, especially considering the extreme hop bill. Definitely one of my favorite IIPA’s even considering the intense hype.

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Philippe Gagnon is the founder and writer for Craft Beer Culture. Currently residing in Orange County, California, you can find him at the local brewery drinking craft beer or online through FacebookTwitter, and .

Stone 15th Anniversary Escondidian Black IPA Review

Stone Brewing 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA

Whether you call it an American Black Ale, a Cascadian Dark Ale, or in this case, an Escondidian Imperial Black IPA, the only thing that matters is that this style is incredible and I can’t get enough. So much so, that I purchased a couple of extra bottles intending to open one after 3 months and the other after 6, as recommended by Stone. Needless to say, they were long gone before the end of the first month. Here’s my review of a very fresh and very delicious bottle of Stone 15th Anniversary Escondidian Black IPA.

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Karl Strauss Off The Rails Review

Karl Strauss Brewing Company Off The Rails

Doubling beer recipes is becoming a real trend in the craft beer world but in the case of Karl Strauss’s Off The Rails (a double version of Red Trolley), it’s a welcome addition to an already stellar lineup of beers. Off the Rails is an Imperial Red by style, which means a lot of malt (more malt = more sugar for the yeast = more alcohol) and a double IPA’s worth of hops.

Originally meant to be a one-off seasonal release last May, they’ve since begun bottling it again and it can usually be found at their restaurants or at a good bottle shop. This specific bottle was from that release but I didn’t drink until about two months after it was bottled so that’s something to keep in mind while reading the review (hoppy beers tend to lose their bitterness over time).

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Ballast Point Sculpin IPA Review

Ballast Point Brewing Co Sculpin IPA

The day before IPA Day, I walked into Total Wine in hopes of finding something special. I went straight to the back walk-in fridge, a spot a kind employee once showed that frequently has delicious and hard to find beers. This is where I came upon an unopened case from Ballast Point Brewing Company. I carefully lifted one of the cases flaps, grabbed the top of a 22oz bottle and pulled out the one and only, Sculpin IPA.

Sculpin has a perfectly gold color and its head stays consistent until the very end. It smells of really fresh hops which gives it a bitter nose but in a really pleasing way, similar to the aroma of a good coffee. There are also lots of fruity flavors like peach, apricot, melon, and pineapple that really jump out of the glass.

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Baird / Ishii / Stone Japanese Green Tea IPA Review

Baird Ishii Stone Japanese Green Tea IPA

As part of their 2011 Collaboration Series, Stone’s head brewer Mitch Steel got together with Toshi Ishii of Ishii Brewing Co and Bryan Baird of Baird Brewing, to make a Japanese Green Tea IPA. Together they brewed a huge beer to benefit the Tsunami Relief effort. This IPA features five different hop varieties: Warrior, Crystal, Pacifica, then dry hopped with Aramis and Sorachi Ace.

To put the icing on the cake, they also dry hopped it with Sencha, a whole-leaf green tea from Japan. And, in typical Stone fashion, they made it big, brewed at 9.2% to commemorate the 9.2 magnitude earthquake. The five hop varieties and addition of green tea makes this not your everyday IPA.

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