Tag Archives: Indiebeer

Boise Breweries – Barbarian and Boise Brewing Company

Barbarian Brewing

I tried six tasters that barbarian brewing based upon recommendations from my friend suggesting that this is the best spot in the city. None of the beers particularly stood out as favorites and the sours were not particularly exciting compared to my top 5 sour producers in the country. For sours from a small brewery they are fairly average and I preferred the sours at Woodland Empire personally.

I started with wheezing the juice, a hazy IPA. It was creamy with strong hop acidity, suggesting that it was quite fresh, with notes of pineapple but otherwise fairly muted hop aroma. The acidity was a bit overpowering the rest of the beer. The Imperial Stout was lightly smoky with notes of cherry though overall not a ton of flavor.

Blackbirds sour was acidic and berry forward with a nice tart finish while not overly sweet with an acidity that lingered at the finish from the berries. This was the better of the sours, although I have had better examples of a similar beer. The Red Sonja, was nicely balanced red sour with light oak and a strong tart finish that balanced nicely with notes of white cake.

Tooth stains, blueberry sour with coffee, was an interesting blend of blueberries and coffee though the coffee overpowered. The beer was quite tart and acidic on the finish although I did not particularly care for the mixture flavors. Pisco sour, an interesting take on the Peruvian mixed drink, had mild oak character and on Nitro at least had a similar mouth feel to the original drink. Overall, it felt a little bit too subdued in flavor for the style and the drink it is meant to imitate.

While I had a couple of sours that I enjoyed here, they were not at the level that I would suggest someone make a trip specifically to visit them. Fans of sours would likely enjoy the blackbird and/or Red Sonja, though they are both fairly average in the sour category. Still a sour fan will likely find one or two sours they enjoy here as long as they aren’t expecting world-class sours.

Top two:
Blackbirds berry sour
Red Sonja

Boise Brewing Company

I tried six tasters at one of the older breweries in Boise on my second day in town. While I was not expecting much, I was quite impressed by the flavor and balance of the various IPAs and Hoppy beers that I tried. I started with the red session, which I expected to be more of a balanced smooth red ale but instead was a take off the session IPA style with a little more malt character. The beer was super dry with an herbal hop bite, mild bitterness, and light caramel malt base that worked in line with the session IPA style.

The Porter was fairly thin with notes of cherry and coffee and mild caramel. It was fairly average and not particularly remarkable. The Irish red was decent, with cherry character from the malts and a dry finish. I would’ve preferred a little bit more roasting malt base or body to the beer. The American pale ale was quite dry with a medium bitterness on the finish and a nice mixture of herbal hop right with tropical fruit on the finish. It was nice because the bitterness did not linger on the tongue and the hops were not particularly overpowering.

The two IPAs, called obstruction and hip check, were both quite excellent with extremely dry finish and fairly mild bitterness. Of the two I preferred obstruction with its hint of tropical fruit character, though neither one of the two was particularly hop aroma forward. Hip check was a bit more malt forward, balancing toasty malts with resin and pine. Though both beers claimed to be 100 IBUs, I did not experienced them to be that bitter. Though none of the beers were particularly hypermodern, or exploding with hop aromas, they were excellently crafted and none of them lingered on the tongue more than they should.

Top two:
pale ale
obstruction IPA

Paul McGuire

Paul McGuire is a craft beer enthusiast. He likes to travel with his husband and enjoy the great outdoors. In his day job, Paul is a divorce attorney serving clients in San Diego California.

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Moonraker Brewing Company Update 2018

When I first visited Moonraker some two years ago they were fairly new and I was quite harsh as I judged them by the same standards that I judge most breweries. However, in order to fully recognize their progress, I made another trip to Sacramento so that I could try their beers again see how much better they have gotten over the last few years. While not every beer was amazing, there were two beers that were much more in line with my expectations for a proper hazy IPA.

Cloud castles was a deliciously citrus forward beer with a light bitterness and mild hop acidity on the finish. The beer was quite delicious although not as hazy as other beers I had on the same flight. Yojo, one of their most popular beers was quite excellent this time and very close to the flavor and mouth feel of fresh treehouse green, which I have been enjoying recently. The beer was quite tropical with guava, mild citrus, and a pillowy body. I was quite disappointed that they did not have cancer that I could try this side-by-side with treehouse green.

Yojo 33 1/2 was much thinner and had notes of bubblegum and grape. While easy drinking it lacked the punch of hop aroma of the previous two beers but it was still good. Hazy Duz It a double IPA was a bit darker in color and flavors of more resinous or pine character with more prominent malt flavor as well. I felt this beer was a bit muted in the hop aroma character but still good. The cloudy judgment double IPA was much more my style, thick and creamy with light citrus notes and flavors of sweet white cake, mango, and pineapple. This was another standout for me. I finished with the double vespers milk stout with coconut and vanilla and while it tasted pretty good at the beginning, it quickly tasted like sunscreen for me and I did not care for it.

In summary, Moonraker has achieved a quality of their hazy IPAs that makes their hyped status worth it especially for Yojo. From the lineup, it does appear as if they still have not gotten to the point where all of their beers are as creamy but they are able to achieve it sometimes. This particular batch of Yojo was spot on.

Top 2:
Yojo
Cloudy Judgment

Paul McGuire

Paul McGuire is a craft beer enthusiast. He likes to travel with his husband and enjoy the great outdoors. In his day job, Paul is a divorce attorney serving clients in San Diego California.

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Monkish Hazy DIPAs, An Experiment

With Monkish Hazy Double IPAs there are some people who say that they peak around two weeks. I did my own experiments though I didn’t choose the best beer for the experiment because the Gasket Hunter release I snagged seemed to be hopped much more than usual. I was able to verify this once I picked up some cans of Rinse in the Riffs that did not have the same green taste even a week after release.

Monkish has been hyped like crazy for their hazy double IPAs in the last couple of years and from what I have been able to try I find them to be worth the hype. The purpose of this experiment was to see two things. First, if the fans were accurate and the beers peaked around two weeks after packaging, and second if the beers hold up nicely a month or so after release.

Gasket Hunters is unique in that they ridiculously saturated the beer with hops, so much that even a month old the beer was still tasting somewhat green. I had saved one can of the beer to see how it tasted a month and a half in but it was not in my fridge when I returned from a short trip. The beer was still quite enjoyable overall with flavors of overripe tropical fruit and melon coming through at the various stages. What makes the beer green in the first month to me is the strong hop acidity at the finish and the highly noticeable alcohol character.

I am comparing this to my experience with Monkish growlers that hide the alcohol insanely well and drink like 5% alcohol though being really 8.5% alcohol. Even 3 weeks and 1 month old, various cans of Gasket Hunters were insanely grassy and acidic in a way that I typically don’t experience with Monkish beers.

In comparison, the Rinse in the Riffs beer was creamy and delightfully balanced at 11 days old based on the canning date. It stayed deliciously creamy and hoppy up through when I opened my last can at almost a month and a half old. This is consistent with what I have read reported by many people as far as when Monkish Double IPAs peak in flavor and experience. My assumption from reading fans’ discussions online is that the Gasket Hunters was hopped more like a triple IPA so that once I determined it was a bit too harsh for my palate i should have sat on the beers even longer before getting into them further.

In conclusion, my results verified what people told me on BeerAdvocate forums. Most double IPA releases from Monkish hit peak balance just around two weeks and from there get slightly more mellow but still stay flavorful for up to a month and a half. If you read a description for a beer that claims to be as saturated with hops as Gasket Hunters was, you may want to test out for yourself starting at three weeks in to see how it is tasting. Of course even when a beer is “green” some of you may prefer that flavor because it is up to personal preference.

Since writing this blog, I had the pleasure of putting together a few side-by-side tastings with Tree House Hazy IPAs and Monkish Hazy IPAs. The result, no surprise to me, was that for the double IPAs, the beers were indistinguishable. In particular, I put Waterballoon Fighters from Monkish up next to Doubleganger from Tree House (an extra-hopped version of doppleganger) and could hardly tell the difference other than one beer was a little more “green”. If you like a good hazy IPA, I haven’t found a brewery in Southern California more consistently great than Monkish is though Modern Times occasionally comes close enough and is more readily available.
With Monkish Hazy Double IPAs there are some people who say that they peak around two weeks. I did my own experiments though I didn’t choose the best beer for the experiment because the Gasket Hunter release I snagged seemed to be hopped much more than usual. I was able to verify this once I picked up some cans of Rinse in the Riffs that did not have the same green taste even a week after release.

 

Paul McGuire

Paul McGuire is a craft beer enthusiast. He likes to travel with his husband and enjoy the great outdoors. In his day job, Paul is a divorce attorney serving clients in San Diego California.

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Port City Brewing Alexandria Virginia

Port City is a nice neighborhood brewery in Alexandria and overall they had a solid lineup of beers that were quite enjoyable. They have a wide open tasting room with tons of space to sit both inside and outside. Because they don’t have taster flight trays, they give you one or two tasters at a time from your six taster flight. This works out well for the most part.

I started with the porter. It was roasty and lightly smoked with notes of cherry, bitter chocolate, and toffee. The beer was easy drinking with a nice medium body. I can see why this is an award-winning porter. The scottish ale was easy-drinking with notes of cherry. It would be quite easy to drink down by the pint. The session IPA had a mix of bitter grapefruit and floral hops with a strong bitter finish. The beer had a good medium body and a crisp dry finish. Though I would prefer slightly less floral hops, this was well done.

The English IPA was lightly sweet with a soft body and notes of peach. The flavors balanced nicely with a mild bitterness on the finish. The Integral IPA was soft and juicy with bright citrus on the notes and notes of juicy tropical fruit and melon finished off with a light bitterness. I really enjoyed this one and might have had a pint except a band was about to start playing where we were. The Scotch ale was a caramel color and had notes of caramel and raisin with a hint of cinnamon to balance out the sweetness.

All the beers I tried at Port City were well done and they had an excellent porter and IPA. This is a great neighborhood spot and worth visiting if you are in the area.

Top 2:
Integral IPA
Porter

Paul McGuire

Paul McGuire is a craft beer enthusiast. He likes to travel with his husband and enjoy the great outdoors. In his day job, Paul is a divorce attorney serving clients in San Diego California.

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Aslin Beer Company – Herndon Virginia

Aslin recently closed their tap room so when I stopped by I bought cans and left. Thankfully they had a good variety so I was able to try quite a few beers. I picked up cans of Orange Starfish, hazy pale, Progeny Devil’s Son in Law, Hazy IPA, Gose with apricots, Gose with blackberry and raspberry, and Master of Karate DDH Double IPA.

Both Orange Starfish and Progeny were tasty hazy beers. Orange starfish was creamy with notes of citrus. Progeny was a nice mix of ripe tropical fruit and herbal hops on the finish with a good medium body. The apricot gose was delicious with tons of apricot flavor that balanced nicely with the base beer. The berry version was my favorite, bursting with juicy berry flavor and a nice soft mouthfeel.

The Master of Karate was my least favorite of the bunch. It was a bit restrained on the hop aromas and seemed a bit more malty than I would have preferred. It had some notes of tropical fruit and an herbal bite. While it didn’t blow me away it is still a good drinkable hazy DIPA.

Hazy Double IPA
Progeny IPA

Aslin is a worthwhile stop if you are in the area and need your hazy IPA fix. The price per four pack is reasonable and the beers are all quite good. If you compare it to other hazy IPA breweries in the North East US they are about average in the Hazy IPA department but stand out with the deliciously juicy gose beers. The berry gose was more explosively juicy than most beers I have had of the similar style. If you are not in the area but looking to trade, go for their fruited gose beers because that is where they really win out.

Paul McGuire

Paul McGuire is a craft beer enthusiast. He likes to travel with his husband and enjoy the great outdoors. In his day job, Paul is a divorce attorney serving clients in San Diego California.

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