Monday, May 05, 2008

6Pac - April 2008

Today we embark on a Beerjanglin' experiment, we will get a mixed six pack, we will drink the entire thing, and we will tell you about it. The emergence of mixed six packs has been a godsend to geeks such as ourselves, as it allows us to sample a great variety of beer one bottle at a time, rather than one full six pack, and at a cheaper price than at the local tavern. Because seriously, what could possibly worse than having to endure a full six pack of beer, when you can tell from the first sip of the first bottle that you aren't going to like it. Well, I suppose being hit by a meteor could be worse, but only by a slim margin.

At any rate, here is your line-up for this inaugural entry; the story of some beer I bought back in April of 2008, in six chapters:


  2. WILD GOOSE - English Style Amber Ale

  3. AVERY - 14'er E.S.B.

  4. WILD GOOSE - India Pale Ale

  5. SIERRA NEVADA - Stout

  6. MENDOCINO - Imperial IPA
And now, the verdict on each....

  • #1: Green Flash Brewing - West Coast IPA. To call this sucker an IPA is like calling an Escalade a station wagon. This is a supremely bitter IPA offering, more akin to an Imperial ippa than the regular variety.
    The first thing that strikes me about this beer is its look, which is copper-orange and with big chunks of something or other floating around. It looks like it's suspended in amber. It looks big and chunky. The smell is full of those sweet, pungent west coast hops we all know and love so well. The hops in the smell are citrusy and flowery; breathtaking ... literally!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Actually, I would have to say that this is one of the most perfectly-aromatic beers I've had. The smell is balanced, however the flavor is all hops. If you are a hophead, this is going to be right up your alley, but don't expect much malt in the flavor. It's a thick and chewy beer, and incredibly bitter. Just don't buy the "regular" IPA label.

  • #2: Wild Goose English Style Amber Ale. While it appears like a standard red/amber ale. Like the West Coast IPA, the smell on this one is fantastic as well, although in a different way. The Wild Goose's aroma is smooth and buttery, showcasing a sweet and biscuity malt, with just a hint of butterscotch (and not spoiled kind). It has hints of honey and even a mild sweet grape. As it warms, the aroma becomes more roasted.

    The flavor is nicely balanced between a hint of sweetness in the pale ale-ish notes and the roasted amber malt. It tastes like a pale amber, and has a nice tension between the burnt and the sweet. Not bad at all. It becomes more sweet, but never cloying. A good, solid ale.

  • #3: Avery 14'er ESB. There appears to be a glow coming from within this beer in the form of a hazy light orange. The smell and taste of this beer are both mild and balanced. The sweet and biscuity malt is the perfect counterpoint to the flowery-but-bitter hop presence. Starts sweet at the sip, ends bitter at the swallow. It's a perfect change-of-pace beer; not incredible, but incredibly pleasant.

  • #4: Wild Goose India Pale Ale. Lots of bubbling carbonation floating to the top of this hazy bright orange brew. Leaves a nice icy lace and a big fluffy head.
    The smell is slightly sweeter than a normal pale. It does smell more like a regular pale than an IPA, that's for sure. There are some bitter hops, but more pislnery in the nose than IPA'y. A definite hint of pale crystal malts and even a hint of a burnt malt. To call it even an English IPA is pushing it.

    The taste is a bitter symphony of both malt and hops. The hops are a tad flowery, but overpowered by the pilsner/pale flavors. It could use a bit more balance, in my opinion. It feels bubbly and bites a little on the way down. It does mellow out after a little while. It's a tad too bitterly harsh to drink all night. (That's not to say I don't like bitter flavors, but this one could have used the relief of something a little more sweet or muted.) I'm honestly not a huge fan of pales lately for some reason, so that may be shaping my opinion here.

  • #5: Sierra Nevada Stout.
    One of my go-to beers of the past winter. It's a dark chocolate brown with a head the color of Nestle Quik, big and puffy. The smell is burnt coffee and dark chocolate, charred to perfection.

    The taste is a beautiful balance of sweet dark chocolate & toffee, countered with the burnt coffee malt. Just a deliriously good beer. I'm sad to see it go away, but it kept me warm for many cold months. It is thick and rich. It feels milky on the way down, but smooth like motor oil. Only 5.8% but you'd never know it, cuz it gives the warm feeling if drinking brandy. Top notch.

  • #6: Mendocino Imperial IPA. One of my all-time favorite IPAs of any kind, and possibly the first IPA I really fell in love with. Clear right orange color with a nice pillowy, foamy head. Sits still in the glass with no sign of carbonation.

    The smell of this beer is to die for. West Coast hops that are slightly piney, slightly citrusy, and completely intoxicating. Other than possibly Stone Ruination (of which this beer reminds me a great deal) there might not be a better balance of hop flavors on Earth, or Caprica for that matter. (Sorry, I'm watching Battlestar Galactica as I drink this.) This one has been sitting in the fridge for a few weeks, so it has just the slightest hint of mustiness, but we'll see what happens.

    The taste confirms why they used to ship these from England to India. The hops have a graceful citrusy sweet first taste (like a grapefruit, Javen!) and then a woodsy bitter second wave. It hits both parts of the tongue and together they form a terrific combo. The sweet tries to charm you; the bitter acts like it could care less if you like it or not. What a beautiful balance in the hops. The malt is really an afterthought here.

    As I'm drinking it, there are beautiful icicles of lace surrounding the inside of the glass. It leaves a bitter residue on the tongue, like nature letting you rent it out for a few extra hours at no charge. Magnificent. And 7.5%.

I hope this little journey gave you a couple of good suggestions. I certainly enjoyed the research.

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