Abita Brewing Company – Purple Haze, Jockamo IPA (Beer)

 

I love the fact that independent and micro-breweries have been able to move their beers to cans. The costs can decrease considerably, while the transportation of cans allows for a wider distribution than would normally be necessary. Abita Brewery is one of the companies that have moved towards the inclusion of cans, and I believe that they have succeeded in getting their name out to a wider audience than normal.

There are two reasons for this. First off, the design of the cans is sharp. The bold colors of Purple Haze and the Jocamo IPA will capture buyers’ eyes, while creating a cohesive brand identity for the brewery. The second reason for this success comes in the quality of their beer. The 2010s have been marked by breweries simply rehashing a few worn-out flavor profiles and beer styles, but Abita is boldly forging through with new takes on beer. One needs only take a sip of their Purple Haze to be hit with something utterly distinct from everything on the shelves.

I understand that Purple Haze is one of their best sellers, but the brewery is not a one-trick pony. Their Jockamo IPA shakes up what the IPA style can do. Where other breweries are pushing the bitterness limits, the Jockamo IPA is much more smooth going. I believe that this IPA may be the future of the style, just as the can may be the future of beer containers for microbreweries. Abita is at the forefront of both of these waves, and I believe that their desire to innovate will be what grants them considerable success in the years and decades to come. Pick up a sixer whenever you can make it to your well-stocked beer store.

Rating: 9.4/10

Abita Brewing Company – Purple Haze, Jockamo IPA (Beer) / http://www.abita.com/brews/

Newcastle Winter Ale (Beer)

Newcastle’s unique flavor is something that has to be present in any seasonal effects from the brewery. This IPA variant is able to build off of this unique mantra and provide imbibers with an experience that is unparalleled. Newcastle has provided individuals with a blend of Super Styrian and Styrian Goldings hops. This has the effect of inserting a little bite to the subtle smoothness that exists. This is assertive enough of a beer to wash down any sort of large dinner that may be present, but will go down easy enough if dinner is over or one begins a session.

I appreciate also that this is not a Christmas ale. Practically every brewery that we keep tabs on has some form of holiday ale, and I believe that most of them are utter rubbish. This is likely due to the brewers attempting to make the beer match the ingredients, rather than making the ingredients bolster and otherwise highlight the beer. Newcastle has noticed that a traditional holiday ale is not the way to go, and has make something stellar in their Winter Ale.

I like the fact that Newcastle reinvented the beer wheel when they made their Winter Ale. A number of brewers, both large and small, simply tweak one of their beers and call it a new point. Fans that simply expect a slightly more bitter version of Newcastle Brown may be disappointed, but anyone that likes the art form that is beer will be able to polish off a sixer or two. Here’s to hoping that Newcastle can continue to release these new efforts on a seasonal schedule. I know that I will be looking eagerly on the shelves for anything that is coming down the pipeline.

Rating: 9.0/10

Newcastle Winter Ale (Beer) / http://www.newcastlebrown.com

Samuel Adams Alpine Spring

It is hard for a beer company to continually innovate. This is made all the more difficult when it feels that may beer companies are utterly complacent with the beers that they are currently releasing. Samuel Adams is one of the few breweries that are actively changing their efforts in a meaningful way, and this is a great amount of the reason why I find myself picking up a sixer whenever I can make it out to the store.

I believe that fans of witbiers will be able to get down with the Alpine Spring. While there is a bitter taste that is present in many of the efforts in this style, I feel that Samuel Adams is able to moderate this considerable. This means that while the beer does have some bite to it, that it ultimately seems effervescent and refreshing at the end of each session.

The beer itself unites a variety of different classic styles – Helles, spring bocks, and Kellerbiers are all touched during the creation of the Alpine Spring. I contend that the company has also looked at the golden styles that have fueled American beer and have picked only the most flavorful notes.

If you are interested in the Alpine Spring, make a sojourn out to your local well-stocked beer store, supermarket, or gas station (if your state allows). A sixer will likely run about $8-10. This is a limited-time release, so make sure to pick it up before Samuel Adams moves to their next unique offering. Microbreweries should look at what the company is doing – they are able to continually have unique beers without going too far in left field to do so. They make beers for a current America, and I thank them.

Rating: 8.1/10

Samuel Adams Alpine Spring / Beer / http://www.samueladams.com

Flying Dog Kujo Imperial Coffee Stout

In the last few months, we at NeuFutur have received a number of efforts that have been plain boring. This is true even with the independent breweries that are on the map – it just feels as if there is a collective malaise in brewing. Flying Dog shatters that aura of complacency with their Kujo Imperial Coffee Stout. While I was expecting a dark, biting, and coffee-heavy effort, the brewery is able to come forth a high-octane beer that will have imbibers wanting a sixer.

This is because each of the beer’s constituent elements work in harmony. The coffee flavor is moderated by the burn of the alcohol, while the imperial styling has the richness of the coffee to content with. With each sip providing individuals with a different face, the experience that will be had with the Kujo Imperial Coffee Stout is truly unique.

I must admit, the current state of beer is beyond sad. It nearly makes me want to stop drinking. However, Flying Dog has made one of the best beers that we have reviewed, and it is my hope that enough people like this effort to make it a full-time thing. The Flying Dog website contains all the information that viewers may want to know about their seasonal, one-time, and full-time beers, while letting them know about the different events that may be coming to their neck of the woods.; If I was in the Maryland or District of Columbia area, I would check one of these out in a minute.

Rating: 8.3/10

Flying Dog Kujo Imperial Coffee Stout / 8.9% ABV / http://flyingdogales.com/

Avalanche Ale (5.41% ABV)

There are a number of problems that I have noticed with the different Amber Ales that are on the market. If they are something like Killian’s, they may have a decent flavor but possess no (or incredibly little of a) bite. However, those that are a little too happy when it comes to including hops may make something that is much too bitter to properly appreciate. Breckenridge’s Avalanche Ale is able to come forth with a great blend of bitter and sweet, making for a solid beer that one can put away.

The Avalanche Ale is a perfect palette cleanser, as the somewhat sharp hop side will wash away any beef or pork; it’s eclectic flavor allows it to also be paired nicely with chicken or fish. The hop bite present in Avalanche Ale is fairly assertive but does not tend to stick around. Each subsequent sip with re-introduce imbibers to this nuanced flavor, which links citrus, grain and woodsy elements together.

Keep an eye on Breckenridge in the months to come – they have some interesting efforts that either have or will be hitting storefronts. Any fan of Amber Ales should search out Avalanche Ale; the unique qualities of this beer should make it a mainstay in a refrigerator.

Rating: 8.5/10

Avalanche Ale (5.41% ABV) / Breckenridge Brewery / http://www.breckbrew.com/

Philadelphia Pale Ale (4.6% ABV)

I feel that a great number of the microbreweries that are currently in operation make beer that is ultimately forgettable. However, there are a few intrepid breweries that are able to push forward and create unique beers that should be checked out. Yards Brewing Company has done just that in their Philadelphia Pale Ale. There is a nuanced taste to the beer that will be tremendously compelling to those that are not typically fans of the Pale Ale style; the different fruit notes that are present in the beer moderate the hop bite in a good form.

No matter where an individual is at in a bottle of the Philadelphia Pale Ale, there is a refreshing quality to the beer that works admirably as a palette-cleanser. What results in the Philadelphia Pale Ale is a beer that should replace any “working” beer (Bud, Coors) in terms of what one can sit back, have a few of, and just relax. The much more flavorful style of the Philadelphia Pale Ale will make drinking something that one can appreciate, rather than just being a way to get messed up. If you find yourself in a place that has any Yards efforts, make it a point to pick them up.

Their brilliant work in creating new and fresh tastes while touching upon currents and styles that are time tested are precisely why the brewery is at the top of its game. Check them out today.

Rating: 9.0/10

Philadelphia Pale Ale (4.6% ABV) / Yards Brewing Company / http://www.yardsbrewing.com/

Homunculus Beer Review

The beer comes out with a very yellow-orange color and an opaqueness that immediately establishes the effort as pretty unique. The whitish-yellow head that pours out added to the slightly astringent nose provide imbibers with a few hints about the beer, but it does take a few solid swigs to get a better appreciation for the beer. There is some sweetness to be had, but it is moderated substantially by the presence of a slightly more bitter, hop-laden flavor profile.

The enjoyable range of temperatures for Homunculus is fairly substantial, as different characteristics of the release come out at different levels. Where a great many efforts of the “Golden” variety seem to have little in the way of a backbone, the hoppy bite of the Homunculus makes this beer into the perfect palette cleanser. This sharpness will be loved by some and may be a little too assertive for others – I believe that having a few bottles of the Homunculus and allowing it to rest in the bottle will provide a fully different experience in 2012, 2013, or whenever one can get to before cracking open the bottle.

Regardless of when this happen, what individuals should expect when it comes to this beer is a complex experience that blows the top off of what one should expect from the “Golden Ale” designation. Make sure to buy Homunculus before August, as the Farmhouse Ale will look to replace it as the current offering in the “Big Beer Series” lineup.

Homunculus / Smuttynose Brewing Company / http://www.smuttynose.com
Rating: 8.3/10

Monk’s Blood (Beer)

Since we have started the beer reviews section at NeuFutur. I feel that our love for the stuff has drastically decreased. This is likely due to the fact that a great number of breweries create efforts that are not too terribly offensive. However, we have received a beer in the 21st Amendment Brewing’s Monk’s Blood that really recreates our love for the stuff.

This beer comes out of the can extremely dark, with a coloration that provides the beer with its name. There is little lacing present; the head pours with a much darker color than many. I believe that the softly-stated top of the beer shows that all the bells and whistles usually associated with beers have been placed into the flavor profile. What is perhaps most surprising about Monk’s Blood has to be the taste given its 8.3% alcohol by volume; there are hints of fruit alongside vanilla and other spices. Monk’s Blood’s flavor changes slightly dependent on whether individuals drink it at room temperature or cold.

I personally felt that many of the flavors that come out when the beer has been chilled are muted at a warmer temperature, while being at room temperature leads to a more nuanced experience. The Monk’s Blood does a great job in ramping up the alcohol content, keeping heavy flavors down, while providing imbibers with something that is considerably different from what the vast number of other independent breweries are currently doing. Look for the Monk’s Blood at your local beer store; the 4-pack will run about $10 and should be seen as worth every penny. Simply put, this is perhaps the best beer that we have had so far in 2011.

Rating: 9.3/10

Monk’s Blood (Beer) / 21st Amendment Brewing / http://www.21st-amendment.com

A person who drinks in moderation is less likely to need alcohol addiction help in the future than one who drinks excessively.

Boulevard Pilsner (4.8% ABV)

This beer begins its pour in a tremendously effervescent way, which will ensure a solid inch-plus head in a pilsner glass, no matter how carefully individuals pour. The continual bubbliness of the beer is a sight to see, while there is little in the way of nose to speak of. The first taste of the Boulevard Pilsner provides imbibers with two distinct sides. First off, there is a decidedly run-of-the-mill American-style beer taste to be had, meaning that fans of Schaefer, Piels, or even Pabst Blue Ribbon will be happy. However, Boulevard has given more experienced beer-drinkers something to chew on – in each sip of the Pilsner, there is a slight bite towards the end that replaces the overwhelming sweetness of some of those aforementioned beers. Continue reading “Boulevard Pilsner (4.8% ABV)”

Breckenridge Summerbright Ale (Beer)

After we opened up the beer side of the alcohol review section, I found myself in a serious quandary. We were receiving some seriously full-body beers, and were not getting too much in the way of more mild or properly seasonal types of efforts. The Summerbright beer is the perfect middle ground between these tremendously deep and full-bodied beers and the more familiar, macro styles of portable bread. Saying that, there is a tremendous versatility present in the Summerbright Ale that allows individuals of all (legal) ages, beer familiarities, and tastes to enjoy this. Continue reading “Breckenridge Summerbright Ale (Beer)”