I’m visiting the Arlington, VA area this weekend and it just started snowing in the past hour or so. Normally it wouldn’t be that big of a deal, except the NWS has just released an updated forecast of 20-30 inches over the next 30 hours! Some areas are supposed to exceed 30 inches! This should definitely be the largest snowstorm I’ve even been involved with.
In preparation, yesterday I went to the grocery store and of course the beer store! I got your usual suspects but I also hand-picked a 6-pack of well reputed, tasty craft beers. Most of these I’ve never had before, one I had to get again because it’s just that good and out for a limited time. I felt ambitious about this 6 pack and decided I’d grade these brews and write a bit about each as I partake. After all, I don’t think I’m going anywhere anytime soon. I will follow the rating rules of the BeerAdvocate: Appearance, Smell, Taste, Mouthfeel, and Drinkability. Each category scores out of 5, then averaged for the total.
Be sure to check back after the jump throughout the weekend as I pop these bottles. I may have all of them tonight, I may spread it out. Haven’t gotten that far yet. Frump on for the lineup of culprits.
*update* 2/9/10 5:45p.m.– It just started snowing again and we’re supposed to get 10-20 more inches, so I just opened the last one!
Reminder: I haven’t had any of these before except for the Bell’s Hopslam. It’s just really good and a limited release(one 12 oz. bottle per customer where I shopped). Come to think of it, I may have had this particular Unibroue at my local watering hole as well, but can’t recall.
Green Flash Brewing Co.(Calif.) – West Coast IPA – Style: American IPA – ABV: 7.3%
A: 3.8: A hazy, copper color once poured. A nice, frothy head. Alive for sure. Once head subsides, you’ve got the nice hoppy collections at the top.
S: 4.3: A nice, sweet, perfumy, hops smell. Hints of fruit and berries.
T: 3.5: Quite a bitter, hoppy taste. Smells much sweeter than it tastes. Hops dominate.
M: 3.4: Mediumly carbonated. Mediumly a word? Definitely alive in your mouth. Bitterness dominates this brew…almost too much…notice I said almost.
D: 3.8: “Extraordinarily Hopped” is the motto and I believe it. If strong hops and bitters is your thing, this would be your beer. I like it, just like other IPA’s better.
Total: 3.76 B+
Clipper City Brewery(Mary.) – Heavy Seas Loose Cannon Hop3 – Style: Amer. IPA – ABV: 7%
A: 4.0: A golden hazy color. A lot lighter than I had anticipated. A nice finger height head which seems quite alive.
S: 4.4: A fruity, perfumy smell, which is consistent with IPAs. Almost a grapefruit hint. Also a hint of malt.
T: 4.3: At first I think of a piney hop taste. After a moment, I feel it’s the grapefruit taste. A bit of a caramel malt taste. Pleasant, bitter finish.
M: 4.1: Moderate carbonation. A sweet core, but a bitter finish.
D: 4.5: This beer is the definition of something where the sum is greater than it’s parts. A nicely balanced IPA that I could definitely drink for a few.
Total: 4.26 A-
Victory Brewing Co. (Penn.) – HopDevil Ale – Style: American IPA – ABV: 6.7%
A: 3.8: A clean, clear reddish color with a bit of an orange hue. A 1.25 inch head initially that goes down to .5 inch. Very inviting color. Very alive at first, but loses the head quickly.
S: 4: Of course a hoppy smell. You also get floral, citrusy, and perfumy scents. Not overwhelming but inviting.
T: 4.3: A nice mix of sweetness and bitterness. You get the perfumy feeling through the taste. This fits w/ your typical hoppy IPA.
M: 4: It’s got a light, yet quite carbonated feel to it. Quite smooth.
D: 4.5: It’s bold, yet smooth enough to be quite drinkable. An example of how hops should be incorporated.
Total: 4.12 A-
Bell’s Brewery Inc. (Mich.) – HopSlam Ale – Style: Amer. Dbl/Imperial IPA – ABV: 10%
A: 4.2: It has a golden hue to it, with waves of haze that swirled to begin with. A bit over an inch of a nice frothy head.
S: 4.5: Nice citrusy, hoppy smell. Very perfumy. I get a grapefruit smell. My girlfriend says she would put on lotion that smells like this.
T: 4.6: You get a nice citrusy hop punch in the face(a slam if you will) but with a nice mix of honey and sweetness.
M: 4.8: It is silky smooth. Almost “milky” if that’s possible. I would drink this all day if I were a millionaire.
D: 4.8: You get the hop “slam”, but what differentiates this from other hop-strong brews is the brilliant mix of honey and sweetness along with the hops. Add the fact it’s 10% and you can see why it’s so anticipated each year for it’s limited release.
Total: 4.58 A+
Unibroue Brewery (Quebec, Can.) – La Fin Du Monde – Style: Tripel ABV: 9%
A: 4: A hazy, golden color that is quite alive after the pour. A strong, frothy 1 inch head. You can tell it’s strongly carbonated.
S: 4: A sour, slight citrusy smell. Also, a bit metallic, malty.
T: 3.5: Slightly bitter taste, spicy. Also sweet and very malty. This tastes quite belgian(expected), also a bit watered down than most belgians.
M: 3.8: Medium to high carbonation. Spicy and sweetness.
D: 4: It’s not as complex as my favorite belgians, however it’s got a nice mix of sweet and bitter. I’m not always crazy about high carbonation but would definitely drink again.
Total: 3.86 B+
Founders Brew. Co. (Mich.) – Breakfast Stout – Style: Amer. Dbl/Imperial Sout – ABV: 8.3%
A: 4.5: Pours dark brown and thick. Can’t see through it holding it up to light. Very thin, caramel brown dull head.
S: 4.25: True to it’s description through smell, strong chocolate, coffee, and oat smell.
T: 4: A strong punch of coffee at first, with a nice balance of nutty chocolate and oatmeal afterwards.
M: 3.75: It’s got a thick, smooth, nice heavy feeling. Hits the back of the throat hard.
D: 4: This is a heavy stout, not surprisingly. Perfect for a snowy day like today. I’m not a huge stout drinker, but this one is worth a shot.
Total: 4.10 A-
I probably won’t go in this order as to not compromise my palate. Also, so it’s not incredibly clear how far downhill my writing skills go after a few of these. I hope you enjoy!(although I’ll probably enjoy it more)
UPDATE: So, I finally finished the 5 brews. I opted to only review 2 each night, because as with most snowed-in parties, there were other drinks to be had and I didn’t want to compromise my palate. The beers all got pretty good scores, but that’s expected since I picked highly regarded brews to begin with. Regardless, I have enjoyed this thoroughly! (I’ll probably do it again at some point)