La Chouffe Houblon Dobbelen Ipa Tripel

Pours frothing piling inches of marangue like foam on top. Very like a Belgian in carbonation. Head sticks out above the glass despite a moderate rate of bubble ascent. Nice light gold color. Very clear.

Not a ton of aroma. Citrus and a bit of spice. A tad of earth..the sense of green freshness...probably from the Saaz. Bottle also says there are Amarillo and Tomahawk hops.

Tastes great. On the sweet side for an ipa but very expect in a Belgian. The hop bitterness doesn't come in until the end after the swallow which is nice. The bitterness washes away the sweet and hangs out for a little while. Easy to put down but a little less sweetness would make it even easier.

Mouthfeel is slightly coating at first but I find the bitterness crisp it out. At 9% & 750ml, I'm in for a fun evening.

This is a nice beer, one I'd definitely buy again. It's just really interesting to see a Belgian tripel aspiring to take on some of the big "San Diego" IPA characteristics.

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Unibroue Quatre-Centieme Brassin Commemoratif

I read about this beer in the most recent All About Beer magazine. The beer is by the Canadian brewery Unibroue, a maker of many fine Belgian-inspired beers like La Fin Du Monde, Maudite, etc.

It poured very pale, a nice fizz to it, and created a great head in the tulip glass. It's very Golden in color and cloudy...a bit like Hoegaarden but maybe a bit darker. It's actually quite sweet, but at 7.5% it packs quite a punch and the sweetness completely covers the ABV. There's a bit of spice in there, the AAB articles said they used 4 spices to commemorate 4 centuries of Quebec City, but after an initial sense that something interesting is in there I lose it in the sweetness.

It has the mouthfeel of a session belgian witbier with a very distinct Unibroue quality to it. Not sure where it's from, likely a consistent yeast, or it's a just a slightly modified Don De Dieu (label has that on it actually). The beer actually has an enjoyable aftertaste that lingers on my palette and I like. Although I'm so used to bitter hoppy beers that maybe my taste buds are just reveling in something new.

All in all, it's very easy drinking, has a nice aroma, and a good flavor. Maybe too sweet, maybe not the most complex beer in the world. But for a delicious, easy drinking wit-style plae beer, you could do much much worse.

Only thing that sucks is I paid 10.99 for the 750mL at my grocery.

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Ninkasi Tricerahops Double IPA

So tonight after a long day in the Seattle studio, I hit up the Whole Foods again for a sleep aid in the form of a Ninkasi Tricerahops Double IPA. Woooweee!

From Eugene, OR it's not exactly local to the Seattle area. But I spent some time in Whole Foods looking through all of the beers. They had quite a few breweries I'd never seen before since I am on the other side of the country after all. They had some interesting Stone beers I'd never seen as well as some Japanese beers. In general, a great selection. While I was there, a worker stocking the shelves struck up a conversation with me and we started talking beer. He knew his beers well and pointed me towards a few good directions. Another guy showed up and also knew his beer...although he made a comment about how super hops beers are a great exploration. While I agree, I've come to find that I appreciate balanced beers better than overtly hoppy beers. Hops are great, but something that is super bitter and smells like a pine cone just for the heck of it really isn't that amazing. But I digress...

Ninkasi Tricerahops. A beautiful double IPA. 8.8% ABV but you'd never know it. Rather bitter with a long residual bitterness. HAS to be over 100 IBUs. It has a golden, finely brushed copper color. Fairly light carbonation. It's a very slow trickle with hardly any head.

It's definitely bottle conditioned as there's a layer of loose sediment several millimeters thick. A slight movement of the bottle and the sediment is all over the place. I tried very carefully to not disturb it coming out of the store, but of course the checkout girl turned the beer quickly on its side and back to scan the barcode and all the sediment went into suspension. I put it on ice for a while and some of it settled out again, so I'm not sure how that stuff affected the taste.

The double IPA is well-balanced with malts. I'm guess an excessive bill of pale malts and some caramel or amber malts which has given it a sweeter flavor and deeper color. It has a touch of sweetness but isn't coat your mouth with stick malt like some DIPA's. Really it's not overly heavy which is a problem with some IPAs...some feel like a whole meal.

Ooo just got a hint of espresso or rich coffee in the aftertaste. Kind of like you've had a cup of coffee, but now your done and you have that bitter taste that makes you click your tongue and look for a piece of gum. There's also a bit of pretzel dough or something.

Aroma is what you'd expect. Fresh NW hop aromas with a hint of something I can't define. One thing I know is my nose sucks. I can't smell anything. Too bad. But then again, maybe they didn't go crazy with aroma hops.

Anyway, it's a super bitter, super hoppy double IPA that is nicely balanced and lip-smackingly delicious. Now I want them to make a Hopisaurus Rex!

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Hale's Ales Mongoose IPA

What prompted me to start blogging again is the fact that I'm in Seattle for work. My hotel is right above a Whole Foods and they have a great beer selection. Since the Pacific Northwest is the cradle of American Hops, I've tried a couple of local IPA's to see how they craft them out here.

Yesterday I had the Mongoose IPA from Hale's Ales, which is local to Seattle. There was a note from Whole Foods calling it out, so I figured I'd give it a try. The bottle says they use 50 lbs of hops per batch, including Amarillo leaf hops. It also uses pale malted barley, Crystal malts, Centennial and Nugget hops, Hale's special yeast and filtered water.

Well, it had hops. I had it yesterday so I don't remember all the details. But it was really good and a great IPA. Nice flavor, great bitterness, typical NW aroma. But what was nice was no you didn't quite have that hop profile in a lot of PNW hop beers. It must have been fairly strong because after the 22oz. I felt pretty good.

So yeah, if you're out on in the Seattle area it's a nice local to try. Although I suspect there are better (and the guy at Whole Foods today agreed).

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Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron

Malt beverage brown ale 12% aged in handmade wooden brewing vessels. Wood is Palo Santo wood giving it a special flavor.

Super dark like a cola. No light gets through. Very caramely with hints of vanilla. A slightly off aftertaste but a smooth flavor and texture.

Like a stout but different. Good to try and I recommend it.

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Maredsous dubbel

A Belgian abbey ale from a well-known brewery. At 8% it's a nice medium alcohol content which keeps it smooth. Its quite dark in color, a rich brown. Its touch of sweetness makes it go down easy and it has a refined texture.

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Krušovice Lager

I needed a beer, so I went to Riverside Market and perused the selection. I was delighted to see Krušovice there, a beer that I have enjoyed many times both in the US and in Prague. The reason I chose it was because of hockey. Last night at MSG, we witnessed an amazing performance by Czech-born Jaromir Jagr. All season long I've been on his case from the stands for seemingly not giving enough to the team. Well I guess he had been saving it up for the playoffs, and he has more than made up for it. He gave the NY Rangers some pride last night to avoid the sweep and give them a shot at making history. At any rate, I don't know what Jaromir thinks of Krušovice, but I picked up the Czech beer in salute to him. Last night he played for his team, his fans, his season, and maybe his career with the Rangers and the NHL. Cheers Jags!

As far as the beer, I love this one. It's always great to see a Czech beer besides Pilsner or Budvar (although I love both of those as well). Krušovice is fiercely carbonated which makes if very refreshing. It's a simple, but refined lager with a great color and a smooth taste. I've put down maybe half liters of this brew at Radegast in Williamsburg and the Bohemian Beer Garden in Astoria. I can drink it all day long on a warm summers day. It's simplicity is it's strong point here. These Czech beers are old and are pushing the limits of flavor and aroma with massive amounts of exotic hops. They're just doing what they've been doing for centuries: making damn good lagers.

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Hitachino Nest Real Ginger Brew

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Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale

Hitachino from the Kiuchi brewery in Ibaraki, Japan is a fantastic brand. They make a lot of very interesting beers that push the limits of tastes, flavors, and styles. They're always worth a shot, but they can be rather expensive.

This one, the Red Rice Ale, has a coppery color and a firm alcohol bite on the tongue. It is citrusy, yet has an element I can only describe as a distinct fermentation presence. It feels strong. Oddly it has a faint aroma that is very unique...maybe it's that I know it's Japanese but it smells like that very cloudy unfiltered sake. Makes sense though given that sake is fermented from rice and this is a rice beer.

This beer warms you up going down. It's extremely unique, but I'm not sure I could have more than 2. Certainly the star of this show is the rice (take that, Budweiser!) not hops or malted barley. I could see drinking this on a nice summer day, but it's not exceedingly smooth.

All in all pretty decent.

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Magic Hat HI.P.A

This is a seasonal beer from VT-based Magic Hat. I haven't been too wowed by Magic Hat but I had to try this one after reading about it in a magazine. Wow its very hoppy. Extremely bitter and flavorful. Its great if you love hops but I found the aftertaste to be a bit rough if you don't keep drinking. A few other people tried it and weren't big fans, but admitted it grew on them. I liked it and its definitely for people who like big hops. I've had others that were more balanced but this is a good one to test your taste buds with.

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Bitter xx

Belgian golden ale. The hopiest beer of Belgium. De ranke brewery at 124 old rabbit club.

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Brooklyn Brewery IPA

Flight is delayed so I was very happy to find a place with this Brooklyn IPA. I drink a lot of Brooklyn but I don't think I be had this one, which is weird given my love of IPAs. At any rate its a pretty good offering. Nice light color, smells good, and easy to drink. Its got that edge to it that is representative of IPAs. I get a hop aroma and a bit of bitter, but not too much of that fresh green hop flavor I've com to love from the hop crazy micros. Make no mistake this is a good beer from a brewery that continues to impress and grow. But if you're like me and love that big bitter hop flavor then this will not knock your socks off. But I'd go for it over most brews typically on tap.

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Arcadia Hop Rocket

The label of this beer says it's made with English 2-row barley and Pacific NW hops. It's a nice, slightly cloud beer with a deep amber color. It has a vigorous carbonation, and reminds me a lot of Harpoon IPA, but is slightly sweeter. It has a very floral aroma that is matched by a subtle hops bitterness; the gf says it stings the nose a little. It's not overpoweringly bitter thanks to a healthy heaping of malt, which I assume is where the amber color comes from.

Overall this is a great IPA and I would definitely buy it again. The only thing is I detect a slightly off aftertaste. My advice is to just keep drinking it and that will probably go away.

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Urthel Hopit

The label says this is a "superior hoppy blonde ale", and I have to agree. It's a 9.5% abv from the Netherlands and I have to say it's really good. I expected it to be a bit more like the Belgian beers, but this has a great hoppy flavor. You don't see too many big hop flavors from that region.

Hopit has a cloudy, golden color, and a delicate sweetness. There's a bit of aftertaste, but nothing to really detract. I appreciate the hops in the aroma and taste. In the end, I conclude that this is remarkably like all those Belgian beers I've had with a lot of extra hops. It's quite good!

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Dogfish Head Burton Baton

This is quite an interesting beer from Dogfish Head, a company that continually surprises me every time I try a new beer of theirs. This beer is an oak-aged Imperial IPA that is quite delicious. It has a tight bubbled carbonation, a nice reddish amber hue, and is relatively clear (although dark enough to not see all the way through). This brew is sweet, but not overly malty, which is what I like. At 10%, this is a strong beer but it's flavor is great so that makes it dangerous in terms of getting happy very fast. The alcohol does not overwhelm the flavor though.

Overall, this wouldn't be a beer I'd drink all night due to the moderate sweetness. But, it is refreshing and a nice brew.

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Victory Golden Monkey

This brew from Victory is pretty solid. It's a triple, very sweet & fruity, and has a light clear golden color. At 8% it's fairly alcoholic, but the sweetness compensates for the bite to create a good balance. It's reminiscent of a wheat beer, but it has a bit more bite and nice fruit flavors.

I'd give it another shot, so would the girlfriend.

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Witkap-Pater Abbey Triple Ale

The Wikap-Pater is a Belgian beer with a deep, golden color. In fact, it's almost rather when it's not in direct light. It's fairly high in alcohol at 7.5% and seemed to have fairly low carbonation as it was poured from the bottle. The beer is rather cloudy and had a thick layer of sediment that I didn't stir up and pour into the glass. Usually I always include the sediment but since it was already pretty cloudy I opted not to this time.

On tasting, this beer has a mild sweetness in the presence of a bit of alcohol bite that hits your tongue. The girlfriend suggests that it has a minerally taste, and I agree but it's not really a negative. This beer has a nice flavor and good body. It'd definitely pick it up again.

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Wittekerke Belgian Wheat

I actually shared this one, but it was really good so I wanted to record it. It's a Belgian wheat that is rather floral and fruity. It had a fizzy mouth feel, and the flavors were unique compared to the other wheat beers I usually drink. It's a lighter color and 5%, so it's closer to a Blue Moon or a Franziskaner than a Weihenstephaner or Schneiderweiss.

This is really a great alternative and a good one to try after getting spoiled by the prevalence of the major German Weiss beers.

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Inis & Gunn Oak-Aged

This beer was surprising in a number of ways. It's aged 77 days using oak barrels (although I think it's not in the barrels the whole time), which gives it a very unique flavor. Interestingly, there are hints of vanilla in the taste and nose. The nose has something mildly funky about it, but not in a discouraging way. The oak definitely works some magic and you can sense the similarities to scotch. It even looks a bit like scotch. The taste is a bit sweet too, but not overly malty.

This beer from Scotland is one of the more interesting beers I've ever had. For that reason, I'd recommend it to people. Although I don't think it'll be my first choice any time soon.

Also had this at 10 Degrees.

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Avery IPA

We went to 10 Degrees on St. Marks and I saw the Avery IPA on the menu. I was excited because I'd read somewhere that Avery is a great brewery.

This beer is a very smooth, rather gentle IPA. It's not overly hoppy and is probably a great way for people to get into IPAs. It's really very good and balanced and doesn't try to blow your taste buds away with crazy hops.

I like this beer and would definitely turn to it if I didn't want to go for the huge flavors one night.

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