Lagunitas Little Sumpin’ Extra

I’ve seen this one called a double IPA, but it is curious. It does taste like an IPA for certain. It has strong floral and citrus notes in the aroma and in the flavor. However, it is made a heavy dose of wheat. In fact, the “extra” is extra wheat over what is used in the smaller version, “Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’.” If this is an IPA, it is oe of my favorites. The floral and citrus notes are fantabulous. The wheat gives the beer a little pineapple and a little spicy flavor, but the body is kept light, unlike a lot of double IPAs. This is a very refreshing summer hoppy beer. Almost as much as the Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin. I love this beer with pizza on a Friday night. Five out of five proper pints.

Avery Perzik Saison

This is a great canned summer beer, perfect for the backyard or a camping trip. Very refreshing after a long bike ride too. It’s not heavy on the peach flavor, if you worry about that like I do. There is nothing worse that too much peach or that fake peach flavoring taste. It’s pour a light straw color and has a nice light fruit flavor, probably more from the yeast than the peach, but the peach does give it a slightly richer after taste than just the yeast would. I would choose this over some other canned ales, just because it’s more refreshing and thirst quenching with a little more flavor than some. I would not go for an IPA for example and doing some sweaty backyard work or a long hike. This would be just fine for either of those. Four out of five proper pints.

Adroit Theory Imagination Atrophy

First, I like the name. I worry sometimes that people’s imagination, especially kids’, are atrophying. I’m not sure what the connection is to this beer, though it seems consistent with AT’s manifesto. I think a Caramel Macchiato Milk Stout is pretty darn creative. Maybe it’s ironic? Anyway, I like milk stouts and I like caramel macchiatos, so I figured I’d try it out. This beer pours dark, almost black. It had a thin off white or beige head to it. There was definitely caramel and coffee in the aroma, along with some bourbon and malt. The bourbon was not overwhelming at all. It was slightly in the aroma, and then at the very end of the flavor wave. I would say it didn’t seem as creamy in body as what I would expect from a milk stout, or as sweet, but it was not at the thickness of a Russian imperial stout either. A very enjoyable beer for sure, either way. I would say it was a nice after dinner digestif. I had some dark chocolate with it that paired well with the caramel and coffee flavors. Five out of five proper pints.

Hardywood Blackberry

A blackberry wheat beer made with 1,000 lbs. of blackberries per 40 BBL batch. That’s roughly 1/4 lb of blackberries per bottle. I would say that seems to be just the right amount of blackberries to give the beer a nice refreshing and tangy flavor without overpowering it with blackberries. This beer also has a little rye and obviously some wheat in it that add a spicy and lemony flavor, perfectly complementing the blackberries. It comes across as nice and light, almost like a slightly fruity white wine. It could sneak up on you easily with a 6.8% ABV, so watch out. Still, this is perfect for a hot day, with some grilled corn on the cob and a burger. I would give it four out of five proper pints.

Brooklyn Quintaceratops

I grabbed this one with gusto when I saw it at my favorite beer store, Norm’s Beer and Wine in Vienna, VA. Brooklyn is one of the earliest craft breweries I liked and it will always have a special place for me. They are solid craft brewery and every one of their beers is a great representation of its style. My only slight criticism is that they have not always been quick to jump on the bandwagon of trends and sometimes their beers are a littles less exciting than the latest new double IPA, or sour or barrel aged stout. I respect that they don’t feel the need to do that, but with my “fear of missing out” on new things, I have to admit it’s been a while since I had a Brooklyn beer. They do make some limited edition beers that come out in champagne bottles and they tend to be spot on. This is one. I really enjoyed it. This is a Belgian Quadruppel that is aged in rum and bourbon barrels. I’ve tired a little of the bourbon barrel trend, but I do like the flavor. I prefer beers that have only a slight hint of the bourbon and when it is complimentary to the style and flavor of the beer. In this case I would say it is. There is a slight bit of the bourbon flavor mixed with the rum. I would say the rum flavor is a hint more noticeable. There is also a nice blend of cherry and molasses. It does have a slightly drier finish than I would expect, but not in a bad way. It was not as sweet as I expected, which I appreciated. Overall a very nice beer. I give it four out of five proper pints.

Avery Insula Multos Collibus

This is one of a series of four sour beers released by Avery this Spring (2015). It is a sour ale aged in bourbon barrels with cherries and vanilla added. The result is a sour beer with what I would call a “medium” pucker factor. In other words it’s not so sour as to make your lips completely pucker up, but it’s also not just a teeny bit sour. The bourbon flavor is noticeable strongly followed by the cherry and the vanilla. There is a noticeable parallel to a Manhattan, which I think is what they were going for. As it warms, it seems a little less sour and the cherry becomes more prominent. A nice choice for a sour beer. Four of five proper pints.

Deschutes Abyss 2014

This is a special release beer from Deschutes that the owner specifically asked the brewmaster to put together using cherry bark and black strap molasses. It is a big Russian Imperial Stout to begin with and they add lots of molasses and at the end cherry bark and vanilla. Then they aged it in three different barrels, new oak, bourbon barrels and pinot noir barrels. The result is really something special. I’ve had a lot of stouts aged in bourbon barrels and not all of them are very good. This one has so much going on that it’s really unique. It pours very dark, truly almost black with a thick tan head. You can smell chocolate, roast, vanilla and some dark fruit in the aroma. The flavor is heavily chocolate with noticeable waves of vanilla, bourbon, cherry and oak. The flavor changes as it warms as well. The molasses adds a thickness to it as well that compliments the flavors. The cherry becomes more dominant as it gets warmer. It is a high ABV beer at 11%, but it is masked very well. In fact it can sneak up on you. I wouldn’t have this all the time. In fact I had it in May, but I would say it is a better cold weather beer. I did have some dark chocolate with it and highly recommend that pairing. I could also see having a big steak with this beer. I give it five out of five proper pints.

The Bruery Or Xata

Horchata (which can also be spelled Orxata) is a milky non-alcoholic drink popular in Spain and Latin America. It is often made with almond milk, or tigernuts, sometimes it includes actual milk and sometimes not. It often also include cinnamon, vanilla and sugar. I’ve heard of it before, but never actually had it, so I can’t attest to whether this beer actually tastes like it or not. What I can tell you is I liked this beer a lot. It is a blonde ale with rice, cinnamon, and vanilla beans added. Lactose is also added which gives it a creamy mouthfeel. It definitely is a blonde colored beer, which plays with your mind a little when you taste flavors you associate with darker beers, especially when you add in the creamy mouthfeel. The aroma is strong with vanilla and cinnamon. You can distinctly taste each of the things that has been added. However, when they are combined, the flavor reminds me of cream soda or possibly rice pudding. I would love to have this beer again. Four of out of five proper pints.

Ballast Point Indra Kunindra

Virginia seems to be getting invaded by San Diego beer and it’s awesome. We’ve just recently started getting more choices from Ballast Point, as well as Green Flash, including some limited releases. From what I’ve seen Indra Kunindra is hard to come by and I actually bought the last bottle of it at Norm’s in Vienna. It is a most unusual variation of a Stout, bearing spices such as curry, cumin and cayenne pepper along with Kaffir lime and coconut. Nevertheless the blend of spices gives it a complexity that to me was very intriguing and pleasant. It was also not a huge ABV beer at 7%. I would think a boozy imperial stout would dilute some of the spice flavors. Each of the flavors hits you in a separate swirl of tastiness, followed by a slight roastiness from the malt and a slightly creamy mouthfeel. This would go really well with some spicy Indian food. I could see some people not liking it and I don’t think I would have it just anytime. I happened to have it with some spicy popcorn while watching a movie. That worked out pretty well. I don’t think I would recommend it without some kind of spicy food or if you were having a bunch of beers with buddies at a bar. This is definitely a food pairing beer. I give it five proper pints for creativity, but four overall.

Green Flash Road Warrior

I’ve been really excited lately to see Green Flash in Northern Virginia. I came across them once by accident in San Diego while visiting the Stone Bistro and Gardens in Escondido when I Googled other breweries and found Green Flash about half way back to where I was headed in San Diego. I really liked virtually all of the beers I tasted, but once I got back to the East Coast I couldn’t get them…until now. Apparently, they soon plan to open a brewery operation in Virginia Beach, adding to the already burgeoning Virginia beer scene. This beer is an Imperial Rye IPA. The it pours a nice dark copper color with a thick white head that lingers. The aroma is very piney and citrusy. The flavor is a deep toffee and brown sugar with some bread, along with a flowing combination of grapefruit, mango and pine from the hops along with a little spicy twist from the rye. Very complex. It is a little boozy, but still nicely flavored. Very pleasurable. I would give this one five out of five proper pints. I could just about drink this any time.