Tag Archives: ipa

Rogue Brutal IPA

Rogue Ales need no introduction. They haunt the United States like a spectre, appearing here, there and everywhere, dominating conversations, elbowing out Barbarians, Bards and Wizards with beard yeast, peanut butter beers and Brutal IPAs.

This 6.3% beer, which must be Rogue’s 250th variety of IPA, is a lusciously luminescent mandarin colour with moderate head and carbonation. It reeks of citrus, orange muscling in over pineapple and sweet sugar syrup. It’s smooth, thick and tannic, with a big bitter bite backing up a deliciously warm, gluggy brioche malt cocktail. Hop flavour peeks out here and there but the blanket of malt wins out. Nice.

I bought a pint of this beer at Rossi’s Bar, Chicago, IL. This tiny place had possibly the blandest bartender I’ve ever encountered, tinged with an edge of seething hostility. Quite something. Definitely affected how the beer tasted and the atmosphere as a whole, which I didn’t mind really as I was only stopping in. So much for the friendly Midwest!

Bend Paddle Brewing Golden IPA

The Bent Paddle Brewing Co. is a Minnesota brewery owned by two married couples. They make fairly middle-of-the-road style beers, nothing too mad, and package them in very attractive cans. Their name is explained thus:

Bent Paddle Brewing Co.® is named for the bent shaft canoe paddle Bryon used to mix his brewing mash while at Rock Bottom Brewery as well as a shared passion for canoeing.

Of course, a mash paddle.

This thick, opaque beer is a solid bronze with a pockmarked, cheese-whip style big head. It pours very well and smells fresh: syrup sweet lollies, caramel malts, apple and jackfruit. This is the first beer that I’ve ever found jackfruit in – clearly an aroma hop contribution (at least four hops are in this). The beer is juicy, slick and undercarbonated in the mouth and carries a grand hit of crystal malt, smoothing over a light to medium bitterness.

There’s not too much hop flavour to be tasted here but this is still a solid, slightly Northeast U.S.A. style IPA with a great nose.

I bought this 6.2% ABV canned beer at Happy Harry’s Bottleshop and drank it at a house in West Fargo, North Dakota.

Samuel Adams Grapefruit IPA

I won’t go into Sam Adams here as most readers will be aware of their stature. I have been witnessing with curiosity the fruit IPA wave from the antipodes, and while I would have preferred to try one from a different brewery, this grapefruit IPA was the first beer to cross my path on this trip to Chicago.

It’s a very one-note beer, which surprised me given it’s ostensibly a fruit beer, thus should at least have TWO notes. It looks a sparkling mandarin EBC, vaguely radioactive/fluorescent, with definite chill haze and no sign of any head – a first. The aroma is grapefruit. That’s it. Grapefruit. Is it coming from hops or fruit? Very hard to tell, too hard for my old olfactory senses.

This beer was poured quite warm for me and I think it would have benefited from a cooler temperature. But it still felt fairly smooth and light in the mouth, myriad bubbles dancing around the gums. A strong, appropriate bitterness strikes the tongue at first, followed by a kind of hollow sweet baked muffin flavour; a malt hit similar to Woolworths or Coles muffins, a sort of half-frozen, industrialised baked good.

There’s maybe the smallest touch of grapefruit in the flavour, but not enough to really contribute much. So there you have it: grapefruit IPA. Smells like grapefruit. Tastes like IPA.

I drank this draught beer at Humble Bar, a nice, quiet, cheap and straight-forward watering hole on North Ave, just opposite the park in Logan Square, Chicago, Illinois.

Piece Brewery Kick the Tires IPA

The Piece Brewpub has been around for a while and serves up absolutely huge pizzas with small-batch beers. Although small batch, the line-up is pretty regular; but not too heavy on the lagers or IPAs, which is unusual for brewpubs like this in the U.S.A.

The brewpub itself is wide open and comfortable with only thirteen flat screen TVs, truly a paucity. All the fancy fermentors are in a side room and friendly bar staff work hard among the banjo music and baseball.

I ordered the only IPA on the menu and it comes sitting in a chilled tulip glass in colours of robust mahogany and copper. Clarity is entire. The aroma is general citrus, caramel malts, very sweet and dangerous. It’s not a big bold bouquet of hops, rather sweet, steady smells of mango and toffee win out. The mouthfeel is medium, delivering a great big dry finish, but one that keeps a little pancake with it, a little malt overtone. It’s very fizzy on the tongue, right through.

The sparkling finish carries over fresh resin hop flavour and a bitter backbone. It’s not quiet East or West Coast IPA but somewhere in between – fitting for a Chicago brew. Drinking this IPA after walking ten kilometres on a warm, wet, windy autumn day, I couldn’t help but be satisfied. It’s a bog standard IPA with a higher than normal ABV, which is fine by me.

I drank this 7.5% ABV draught beer at the Piece Brewery and Pizzeria in Wicker Park, Chicago, Illinois.