Sunday, February 7, 2016

Craft Beer Reviews by a cool-ass dude

Liliko'i Kepolo - Avery Brewing
Belgian-style white ale brewed with spices and passionfruit added
4.0 out of 5.0

When I saw the word "passionfruit" in the description on the can, my eyes lit up instantly. I have probably not had a passionfruit-flavored beer in five years. I used to regularly pick up Kona Brewing Company's Wailua, a passion fruit wheat ale from my local Safeway in Oakland, California. Being back on the east coast however, I am limited in the releases I can find by Kona, who are located all the way in Hawaii. Ladies and gentleman, I present to you the Liliko'i Kepol from Avery Brewing in Boulder, CO. The Liliko'i Kepolo can boasts the words "Tropical & Tart"up above, so-as to warn those out there not into tart fruit beers to look elsewhere. A fitting disclaimer indeed, as this beer is certainly tart. Not the tartest I've ever had but it's up there. For me, that was a good thing. Although I enjoy mostly stouts, porters and a few select IPAs, I have no shame in telling you that I love fruit beers. If you don't, you won't enjoy this. The passionfruit flavor is certainly present here, as is an almost-pineapple-like aftertaste. This is by far superior to the Kona Wailuas I used to drink. You know things are rough in Hawaii when a bunch of snowboarders living in the mountains of Colorado are brewing a better Hawaiian-themed beer than them. Not to rip on Kona Brewing too hard though..but props to Avery Brewing for making the best passionfruit beer I have had yet.


Wynona's Big Brown Ale - Voodoo Brewing
Imperial Brown Ale
4.0 out of 5.0

Quite a smooth brew.. Nothing extraordinarily unique, but certainly a quality brown ale. On par with Bell's brown ale to be certain. Chocolatey. Malty. Tasty. And at 7.5% ABV, it holds it's own.

Victory At Sea - Ballast Point
Porter With Coffee And Vanilla
5.0 out of 5.0
I have a great respect for Ballast Point. These boys know how to brew. They make one of the only IPA's I'm able to actually enjoy (their Grapefruit Sculpin). When I saw this new addition to my local bottle shop, I knew I had to try it (especially with the incredible 97/100 rating given to it on, my go-to craft beer review site). This beer pours beautifully and I must say is simply exceptional by any and all standards. This is one deliciously creamy porter. The elements of coffee and vanilla are exquisitely balanced and I can honestly say this is easily one of the best coffee porters I have ever had. Victory At Sea is eerily smooth, considering it's 10%ABV. Go hunt this baby down.


Beer Camp - Sierra Nevada Brewing
Tropical IPA

3.5 out of 5.0
Beer Camp's label boasts "aromas of mango, papaya, and bitter orange". I would probably call this false advertising, as I can't sense any of the above in this beer. Truth be told, I am not a fan of IPAs to begin with, but I think I got my hopes up with this one. It's Sierra Nevada, so you know you're getting a quality IPA. This one is somewhat smooth and drinkable, even for a non-IPA guy like myself. Unfortunately, it's just not anything more than that.

Crunch - Manayunk Brewing
Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter

4.75 out of 5.0
Let me just start off by saying that I am quite a fan of the chocolate peanut butter porter genre in general. That said, this baby is a real treat. From the moment you crack open the can, the smell of peanut butter just smacks you in the face. Manayunk Brewing Company is a brewery out of Philadelphia, PA and they have managed to brew what is quite possibly the best chocolate peanut butter porter I have yet had. Some (on the east coast) may be familiar with Sweet Baby Jesus by Duclaw Brewing in Maryland. Sweet Baby Jesus has become increasingly popular, but believe me when I say that Crunch by Manayunk gives SBJ quite a run for it's money. It would probably be best described as a sweeter (less dark) version of Sweet Baby Jesus. Crunch is quite the hidden gem. I could drink my way out of a swimming pool filled with this stuff. That's how tasty it is. Savory from start to finish. If you enjoy sweeter stouts, you must give Crunch a try,


Otra Vez - Sierra Nevada Brewing
Gose-style Ale Brewed With Cactus And Grapefruit

4.25 out of 5.0

Let me tell you something: I love grapefruit. And not surprisingly, grapefruit IPAs are typically the only IPAs I seem to enjoy. Sierra Nevada makes a seasonal "Red IPA"(which has the grapefruit taste to it) called a Flipside, which I'm unfortunately unable to find anymore in this area. Unable to locate Flipsides anymore, I was happy to see a different grapefruit-inspired brew from SN in my local bottle shop. The description on here had me puzzled at first. "Cactus?! A cactus-flavored beer?Really??". To be totally honest, I don't even know what cactus tastes like, so it's hard for me to grade this according to that. Here's what I can tell you: This stuff is tasty and a worthy addition to the Sierra Nevada lineup. The grapefruit is certainly present here and there's a noticeable (but not over-the-top) tartness that lingers in the aftertaste. This is probably now my favorite Sierra Nevada. Props to California's favorite brewery.

Chocolate Truffle Stout - Thomas Hooker 
A Sweet Connecticut Collaboration featuring Munson's Chocolate

4.0 out of 5.0

This brewery out of Connecticut has concocted a respectable addition to the chocolate stout world. While not anything revolutionary, this brew is sweet and chocolatey without being too overpowering. Those that enjoy their stouts more on the robust side will most likely still enjoy this. Depending on what region you pick these up in, they can be priced quite right for what they are. I've picked up chocolate stouts that were definitely lower in quality than this by River Horse brewing (a slightly more popular and widely distributed beer) and I recall paying more for them and wishing I had gone with the cheaper and better option of Thomas Hooker's Chocolate Truffle Stout.