Elysian Avatar Jasmine IPA

This is great. Hoppy, refreshing, hint of flowery Jasmine. Just makes it go down smooth. Makes me reconsider an idea I had for a homebrew...maybe IPA's can have some of this floral aroma and flavor too. Curious...

Anyway, too lazy to take a photo and give a full review. But it's got a nice color, it's crystal clear, has a great flavor, and is delicious. Jasmine is the perfect amount, you get a hint but not overwhelming.

Company site

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Dogfish Head Midas Touch

A- Beautiful golden in color fitting of the name, not unlike clear honey. Extremely clear. Fizzy with a nice head that falls away quickly into a light foam.

S- Not a great aroma. Very alcohol apparent with a bit of a medicinal quality.

T- Very sweet and honeylike. Sadly I don't get any of the saffron the label proclaims. It's easy to drink because of its sweetness, but it's not the easiest to drink. It's syrupy

M- Thick in the mouth due to the sweetness, but otherwise washes away smooth.

All in all it's an interesting concoction. The overwhelming sense is sweet with sadly not a ton of complexity that I expected from the muscat grapes, honey, and saffron. It's worth a try. Once.

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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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Bell's Oberon Summer Ale

An American wheat described as having "the color and scent of a summer afternoon". This entry from Bell's of Comstock, MI is interesting. A gorgeous color, unfiltered, and cloudy. Its a wheat but has a bite to it almost like a pilsner. Its not sweet or fruity and doesn't have any hint of banana or anything. If you gave this to me blind, I'd never guess it was a wheat beer.

Its pretty doesn't and drinkable, but its not what I expect from a summer wheat beer. In this category I'll stick with hefeweizens from Germany. There are other summer seasonals that are better. Bell's IPA is pretty tasty so I'll stick with that one.

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Barley Creek Lager

Had this beer at a wedding in the Poconos. I have been to the brew pub that makes this which is on the way to Camelback ski mountain in PA. This beer was reminiscent of your basic Buds, Heinekens, etc. But it's made by a small brewer so that automatically made it my choice for the night instead of the other massies.

In reality it's not bad. Easy drinking and flavorful, but really nothing special. It's in the same category as Amstel, Heineken, Stella, etc. But if you see it pick it up and give it a try to support the little guy.

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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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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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Samuel Adams lager

So this is an airport beer. I'm sitting at LGA and they actually have an ok selection for an airport. I asked for Spaten but the menu was old and they don't have it anymore. So I went with the Sam Adams draft instead. This is my go to for commercial beers for some reason. I like its color and its taste. Its just got character where so many massies don't. I mean its not great and its a last resort but really it's pretty solid. I mean good color and I swear I actually get a bit of good hops. So while many people might disagree I think that in a pinch it's a good one to go for. Of course I try to avoid being put in such a pinch, so I still just rate this one as "Not Bad".

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Arcadia IPA

Arcadia Ales is from Michigan and they put together some tasty brews. This IPA I had at The Half Pint near Washington square park. It was really great. Nice color, nice flavor, good hops. Not much else to say but that it's just pretty good. It was nicely balanced, not overly aggressive with the hops, and just tasted nice and refreshing.

Give it a try if you see it.

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Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA

This Imperial IPA from Dogfish Head says it ages well, but I'll never know because I drank it. On the label, they clearly state this is "The Holy Grail for Hopheads". Well, I'm not so certain of that. It's interesting and you can tell it's painstakingly crafter, but it's just not my style I don't think. My favorite is the 60 minute and when I feel like less bitter the 90 minute is worth every penny. The 120 minute is just a bit over the top.

Dogfish Head says this is continually hopped for 120 minutes then dry-hopped every day for a month. Wow, that's a lot and it sounds beautiful. But my problem is it's just to sweet, malty, and syrupy. It has a beautiful reddish tint, like a regal robe or something. But it's very sweet and the malt is evident in the earthy, musty smell. I'm not sure what the abv is, but I'm betting it's rather high.

For being hopped so long, I don't sense what I normally sense. Perhaps this is due to an amateur palette, but everything is overpowered by the malt in this one.

Now don't get me wrong, this is one everyone should try. But I'd put it as a special occasion beer for drinkers who really know what they're doing.

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Long Trail IPA

I love Long Trail, their standard beer is fantastic. In some weird way it's one that I remember as really getting me excited about beer. I remember having it for the first time on a trip to Killington, VT. It was delicious and I still buy it.

But this isn't that beer. This is their IPA. I was really excited because I love Long Trail and I love IPAs. But sadly it left me a little flat. I mean, it's good and I'd drink it again. But with so many great IPAs out there it didn't really stand out from the pack. So get it if it's on the beer list and there aren't many other options. But there's other IPAs that I prefer out there.

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Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA

Had it last night at Blue Smoke on 27th St. This is one of my favorite IPAs. It has a strong hop bitterness, flavor, and aroma. But it's nicely balanced so it doesn't hit you over the head and leave you reeling. I don't have detailed tasting notes, but I can tell you it went great with the Kansas City dry-rub!

Update 3/15/08:
Man, this is a great beer! My local bodega started stocking it, which is awesome (although it's super expensive there). This is probably my favorite Dogfish Head. It just has so many things going for it. Beautiful color...not too light and not too dark. The hops is clearly evident, but it's there to make this beer good...not to make sure you know they used a ton of hops. It's supremely balanced. The bitterness sets off the malt beautifully.

I can't stress enough that this is one of my favorites. I could drink it all night long over and over again.

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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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Dogfish Head World Wide Stout

Whoa. Let me start by saying I'm not really a stout drinker. I bought this beer because I read an article about it proclaiming it's virtues and it's high alcohol content (supposedly, something like 18 or 22%). This beer is super dark, it's a black hole from which light does not return. My bottle had a very low level of carbonation and not the nitrogen-type you get with Guiness. Unlike most stouts I've had, this beer is super sweet. It's like a Belgian Trippel. The aroma reminds me of a red dessert wine. Phew, you can tell it's really alcoholic, but this sweetness pretty much covers it.

When I look at this it kind of reminds me of a cola, and the alcohol hits you in the corners of my neck a little bit. I get the sense this would give me a nasty hangover. Fortunately I'm only going to drink this one. I recommend people give this a try for the novelty, but I probably won't go for it again.

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Goose Island Matilda

Gorgeous. Even a visiting Chicago native was singing praises about this beer after I very regretfully let him take a sip.

Goose Island is a great brewery and I've been finding some small batch brews, which lets me know that they keep experimenting. I bought this one at New Beer Distributor, but I also found it on tap at Schoolbred's in the East Village. It's a Belgian-style that has a beautiful brown-amber color. It has a nice light flavor with a hint of fruit. It has a fresh smell and you can sense the presence of good hops, although they don't have a starring roles. There's a slight alcohol bite at 7%, but this might be one of the best Belgian-style beers I've had from a US brewery.

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Souther Tier Unearthly IPA

(image from TimeOut)

This image is from a timeout article and I used it because I had this beer for the first time at Spitzer's Corner in the LES. This gastropub is great, and this beer is F***KING incredible.

It's a brilliant beer from a brewery that someone recently turned me on to. Southern Tier claims it's a double IPA, and it's got a thick, deep flavor with a hint of citrus. It feels very heavy as you drink it, yet somehow doesn't fill you up and overpower you somehow. It's a miracle. It has a sweet, deep flavor of malt but is balanced by the strong, aromatic, and flavorful hops. It's awesome. At 11%, it's a barn-burner but there's something about this beer that will make me order it anytime I see it.

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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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Flying Dog Snake Dog IPA

We went to Brother Jimmy's BBQ on 8th Avenue before a Rangers game (kicked the crap out of Florida!) and I had a couple of the Flying Dog Snake Dog IPA's. I don't see Flying Dog around too much for some reason.

This beer is very hoppy, which I like. It's also rather bitter and just oozes hops. It's really awesome if you're into strong hop everything. It's definitely not for the faint of heart and amateurs might think it's nasty.

I also found it had a clean finish for being so intensely hoppy.

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ABITA Andygator

I got this beer from New Beer Distributor on the LES in a 32 oz. flip top. They have some beer on tap and charge about $6 to fill a 32 oz. bottle. The best part is if you bring the bottle back you can fill it up again with whatever they have on tap for $2 cheaper, which is just like how you'd get beer before mass production.

ABITA Andygator is an interesting beer. It's good, but there's something a little funny about it that keeps it from being a favorite. It's golden and clear with a floral, sweet flavor. It didn't really have a strong aroma or a lot of carbonation, which is likely due to the keg to 32 oz. transfer it went through the day before I finally drank it.

At 8% abv it's strong, but you wouldn't really know it from the taste. It almost tastes like a light wheat or Belgian, in fact in kind of looks like one. There's something in the taste that I can't quite place, and the aftertaste is a bit funky. But, it's a smooth drink and a good alternative for times when I don't want to hit myself over the head with an IPA.

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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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Goose Island Demolition 2007

A great beer from the great Chicago brewery, Goose Island. I fell in love with Goose Island Honker's Ale when I used to live in Chicago. This brew has Saaz and Styrian hops which yield a fresh, grassy, citrus aroma and taste. Makes me feel like I'm in a hop field, but not in an overbearing way. It tastes really fresh on the tongue with a great floral aroma. It's very smooth and mild with a delicate, yet well-developed hops profile. It's golden in color, darker than most Belgians, and a bit cloudy.

With it's great flavor, aroma, and clean finish this is a top beer. Love it. You can taste the fresh hops, with the smoothness of a Belgian, and the subtle bitterness of a Pilsner.

$2.75 at New Beer Distributors.

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