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Posts Tagged ‘Imperial India Pale Ale’

Bright Lights Brew City: Prohibitive Favorite

December 15th, 2010 Bill Zavorskas No comments

The Blind Tiger is a cozy place to enjoy a pint or two

I’ve been watching Boardwalk Empire on HBO, which focuses on Atlantic City during the days of Prohibition. During this time, speakeasies were popular; in fact, Chumley’s in Greenwich Village started out as a speakeasy in 1926 and remained a neighborhood icon until its closing in 2007. And in between seeing family and enjoying the sights, I stopped by a contemporary Village landmark on Saturday.

The Blind Tiger Ale House, named for the nickname given to speakeasies back in the days of Prohibition, is a hip little brewpub with an exceptional beer list, artisan food, and live music to boot. I was especially pleased to see that they had one of my all-time favorite DIPAs on tap.

I ordered a pint of Green Flash Imperial IPA (Green Flash Brewing Co.; Vista, CA; Imperial India Pale Ale; ABV: 9.0), the first time that I’ve had it on tap in almost three years. While excellent in a bottle, it’s on tap where this ale’s effervescent character is brought out. Golden amber in color, with a burst of citrusy notes up front balanced by sweet malt and piny hops. GF Imperial, which I’ve raved about several times on this blog, is smooth, nutty, and spicy with a crisp clean finish. Definitely one of the classic West Coast IPAs.

I tried the Grilled Cheese w/ Tomato & Olive Tapenade, along with the pub’s homemade tomato soup, then ordered a mug of cask conditioned Sixpoint Chocolate Rye Porter (Sixpoint Craft Ales; Brooklyn, NY; Porter; ABV: 6.3), which was on. Dark brown in color with subtle notes of chocolate complimented by roasted malt and a rye backbone. This porter is silky smooth through and through with a nice dry finish.

I finished up by sampling Sixpoint Righteous Rye Ale (Sixpoint Craft Ales; Brooklyn, NY; Rye Beer; ABV: 6.5), which was also cask conditioned. This amber colored ale has notes of sweet caramel and rye malt complimented by spicy hops. Righteous Rye Ale is an easy drinking beer throughout, with the rye backbone in perfect balance with the sweet and spicy notes.

I highly recommend each of these ales, and strongly endorse a trip to the Blind Tiger Ale House next time you’re in town.

Blind Tiger Ale House on Urbanspoon

Hoppy Hell Hound

November 2nd, 2010 Bill Zavorskas No comments

Even old dogs love this hellacious hop bomb

Anne and I spent Halloween at our friends Brad and Rachael’s house. We all got into the spirit of things, which included passing out candy to the excited trick-or-treaters. We also had the opportunity to savor a couple of exceptional IPAs from Laughing Dog.

Laughing Dog Devil Dog Imperial IPA (Laughing Dog Brewing; Ponderay, ID; Imperial India Pale Ale; ABV: 10.0) is an absolute hop bomb. This amber colored DIPA has humongous notes of Cascade and piny hops in the nose and initial taste, complimented by sweet caramel malt with a slightly bitter finish. The malty sweetness doesn’t overwhelm the hoppy backbone, so Devil Dog still has the feel of an IPA. It’s quite drinkable for a beer of its potency, and the alcohol content of 10% isn’t too noticeable.

I first tried Laughing Dog DogZilla Black IPA (Laughing Dog Brewing; Ponderay, ID; Black India Pale Ale; ABV: 6.9) at the Tap House Grill in Seattle last year, so I knew what a treat this Black IPA is. Chestnut in color, DogZilla is a crisp, smooth drinking ale. The citrusy hops are nicely balanced by dark fruit and chocolate, with a sweet caramel finish. At 7% ABV, it’s easy to wolf down a pint or two!

Both of these wonderfully monstrous IPAs will leave you howling for joy, and I highly recommend them.

Sumpin’ Else

October 24th, 2010 Bill Zavorskas No comments

This Imperial IPA is definitely A Lil Sumpin' Extra!

Anne and I stopped by the newly renovated Shamrock’s Pub yesterday, and noticed that they had Lagunitas A Little Sumpin’ Extra! Ale (Lagunitas Brewing Co.; Petaluma, CA; Imperial India Pale Ale; ABV: 8.7) on tap. I’ve always enjoyed offerings from this brewery, especially the IPAs, so I was especially eager to give this one a try.

A Lil Sumpin’ Extra! is golden amber in color, with hearty notes of citrusy fruit, particularly grapefruit, in the nose and initial taste. The citrusy presence is balanced by sweet caramel and piny hops with a slightly bitter finish. While the alcohol content of nearly 9% is apparent, it’s not to the point of being overwhelming. A Lil Sumpin Extra! is quite smooth and definitely a beer to be savored. Hop-heads will really appreciate this Imperial IPA.

A Lil Sumpin’ Extra! truly lives up to its name, and I highly recommend it.

Respect This Elder

September 25th, 2010 Bill Zavorskas No comments

Pliny The Elder is the quintessential West Coast IPA...

As is the equally superb AleSmith IPA

I have been a huge fan of West Coast IPAs for some time now, and had the chance recently to savor two of the world’s best. I reacquainted myself with the first one, while trying the second ale for the first time. Suffice to say, it was a very rewarding experience.

Russian River Pliny The Elder (Russian River Brewing Co.; Santa Rosa, CA; Imperial India Pale Ale; ABV: 8.0) needs no introduction. This is the Imperial IPA that many a beer aficionado thinks of when discussing world class offerings in this style. Golden orange in color, Pliny The Elder has big notes of grapefruit up front, highlighting the array of citrusy hops. The hoppiness is complimented by roasted malt and caramel with a crisp, clean finish. It never fails to amaze me how this ale can have such a sizable hoppy presence, yet be so surprisingly smooth to drink.

AleSmith IPA (AleSmith Brewing Co.; San Diego, CA; India Pale Ale; ABV: 7.3) is categorized as an IPA, but has the feel of an Imperial. Light amber in color, this is a very well rounded beer. AleSmith IPA has substantial citrusy notes up front, particularly grapefruit and orange, balanced by sweet malt and resiny spices with a piny hops backbone at the end. Like Pliny The Elder, this ale is as smooth as it is complex.

Each of these IPAs are among the best in their style, and I highly recommend both to hop-heads and no hop-heads alike.

Brewfari

August 9th, 2010 Bill Zavorskas 4 comments

I was in my natural habitat at Wazoo 2010

Anne and I had a blast at Wazoo 2010 this past Saturday night at the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa. In addition to having more than 250 beers and beverages from around the world, the event featured cuisine from restaurants as well as live music from area based artists Velvet Jones, Impulse, and The Paper Stanleys. We also had a chance to get out of the heat for a bit at the zoo’s Beastly Beverage Club, which featured dinner and live music as well. Wazoo 2010 was a well organized brewfest, and I had the chance to sample some old favorites, as well as some new ones. I listed a sampling of the latter below.

Samuel Adams Sample A – Belgian IPA; Boston Beer Co.; Boston, MA; Belgian India Pale Ale; ABV: 8.0. Part of this year’s 2010 Longshot Series, this ale is my pick for the brewery’s 6th annual Beer Lover’s Choice. Golden in color, with big notes of citrusy and piny hops balanced by sweet malt and a spicy undertone from the Belgian yeast. As full-bodied as it is complex.

Samuel Adams Sample B – American Rye Ale; Boston Beer Co.; Boston, MA; Rye Beer; ABV: 5.3. This Longshot Series candidate pours a deep mahogany color and has notes of rye and roasted malt complimented by citrusy and floral hops. Very easy to drink with a nice dry finish.

Saint Somewhere Pays du Soleil; Saint Somewhere Brewing Co.; Tarpon Springs, FL; Saison / Farmhouse Ale; ABV: 8.0. A delicious saison from area based brewery Saint Somewhere. Amber in color, the big notes of tart and citrusy fruit are complimented by sweet caramel and toffee with a sour finish typical of a wild ale.

Saint Somewhere Saison Athene; Saint Somewhere Brewing Co.; Tarpon Springs, FL; Saison / Farmhouse Ale; ABV: 7.5. An excellent farmhouse ale. A golden saison brewed with chamomile, fresh rosemary and black pepper. The array of spices are backed by notes of sweet malt and citrusy fruit with a crisp clean finish.

Sierra Nevada Tumbler Autumn Brown Ale; Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.; Chico, CA; American Brown Ale; ABV: 5.5. A smooth brown ale, Tumbler has notes of sweet caramel and roasted malt, balanced by piny hops and a brown sugary backbone.

Dunedin The Rock Double IPA; Dunedin Brewery; Dunedin, FL; Imperial India Pale Ale; ABV: 8.0. From the local brewery’s Brewmaster Series, this DIPA pours a burnt orange color and has big notes of citrusy fruit balanced by caramel malt and piny hops with a slightly bitter finish.

Southampton Pumpkin Ale; Southampton Publick House; Southampton, NY; Pumpkin Ale; ABV: 5.5. An exceptional pumpkin ale from the Long Island based brewery. Copper in color, with the pumpkin pie presence complimented by sweet caramel and cinnamon spices.

Tampa Bay McBrews Scotch Ale; Tampa Bay Brewing Co.; Tampa, FL; Scottish Ale; ABV: 7.0. A smooth, easy drinking Scottish ale. Amber in color, with notes of sweet malt and chocolate balanced by light hops with a resiny finish.

Brooklyn Sorachi Ace; Brooklyn Brewery; Brooklyn, NY; Saison / Farmhouse Ale; ABV: 7.6. A superb saison from the acclaimed brewery. Golden in color, with the Japanese Sorachi hops balanced by notes of citrusy fruit, sweet malt, and peppery spices. Refreshing from start to finish.

Southern Tier Farmer’s Tan; Southern Tier Brewing Co.; Lakewood, NY; Imperial Pale Lager; ABV: 9.0. An eclectic, straw colored imperial lager. Big nose of citrusy and piny hops complimented by notes of sweet malt, wheat, and peppery spices.

Leffe Blonde; Anheuser-Busch InBev; Leuven, Belgium; Belgian Pale Ale; ABV: 6.6. A golden, easy drinking Belgian ale. The notes of citrusy fruit, particularly bananas, are balanced by sweet malt and light spices such as cloves.

We concluded the evening by sampling an excellent dopplebock from The Beer and Wine Makers Pantry. Called Strawberry Dopplebock, it poured a dark amber color with big notes of strawberries, roasted malt, and a hint of chocolate. I’m guessing the ABV is around 6-6.5%.

All in all, our brewfari was a total success!

Take Flight – Part 2

August 6th, 2010 Bill Zavorskas No comments

I just had to go for seconds

I enjoyed the initial flight with the cheese pairing so much, that I ordered a second one featuring the following beers:

Blue Point Double Blonde Ale; Blue Point Brewing Co.; Patchogue, NY; American Blonde Ale; ABV: 7.4. A delicious blonde ale with notes of floral hops complimented by sweet caramel and toasted malt. Very easy to drink as the alcohol content of nearly 7 1/2% is well hidden.

Blue Point Old Howling Bastard; Blue Point Brewing Co.; Patchogue, NY; Barley Wine; ABV: 10.0. One of the the best barley wines that I’ve had this year. Amber in color, with big notes of sweet caramel well balanced by bready malt, citrusy fruit, and piny hops. Old Howling Bastard goes down smoothly, and the 10% alcohol content is well hidden.

Blue Point 10th Anniversary IPA; Blue Point Brewing Co.; Patchogue, NY; India Pale Ale; ABV: 7.0. A truly outstanding IPA. Copper in color, with big notes of citrusy and piny hops complimented by sweet caramel malt and a slight bitterness at the finish. Very easy to drink, 10th Anniversary Ale makes an excellent session beer.

Blue Point Rastafa Rye Ale; Blue Point Brewing Co.; Patchogue, NY; Rye Beer; ABV: 7.5. A well balanced rye beer with the feel of an IPA. Deep amber in color, Rastafa Rye Ale is an array of grassy hops, citrusy fruit, and caramel malt with a nice rye presence in the backbone. This IPA is silky smooth with a nice clean finish.

I talked shop with Rob later in the evening, and was pleased to learn that one of my favorite all-time IPAs will be coming out of retirement. Blue Point No Apologies Imperial IPA (Blue Point Brewing Co.; Patchogue, NY; Imperial India Pale Ale; ABV: 10.0) will once again be brewed in the coming months. This amber colored DIPA is an absolute hop bomb, with the substantial notes of earthy hops balanced by caramel malt and dark fruit.

Gubnatorial Candidate

August 2nd, 2010 Bill Zavorskas No comments

Gubna gets my vote

There’s been a growing trend among breweries to sell beer in cans. Besides the obvious cost cutting advantages, storing beer in a can will preserve it longer, as well as act like a mini keg. Colorado brewery Oskar Blues, and Keweenaw Brewing out of Michigan, are among the leaders in this movement. And a DIPA that I had from the former is quite simply the best beer that I have ever had in a can.

Oskar Blues Gubna Imperial IPA (Oskar Blues Grill & Brewery; Lyons, CO; Imperial India Pale Ale; ABV: 10.0) is an absolute hop-bomb! It pours a golden orange color, with big notes of citrusy and piny hops. The big hoppy presence is well balanced by caramel malt and peppery spices with a slightly bitter finish. Despite its potency, the alcohol content of 10% isn’t too noticeable. Crisp and refreshing, Gubna replaces Oskar Blues own Gordon Imperial IPA as my favorite canned beer.

I cast my vote for Gubna, and highly recommend that you give it a try.

Hair Of The Dog That Bit Me

June 28th, 2010 Bill Zavorskas No comments

You could go rabid for Adam and Doggie Claws

“Hair of the Dog That Bit Me” is a saying that goes back to olden times. There was a belief that a shot or two of alcohol could cure just about anything, from rabies (along with hair from the rabid dog) to hangovers. There’s actually been some scientific studies to support the latter. In any event, there are several beers from the outstanding brewery Hair of the Dog that have left many a good beer aficionado wagging his/her tail!

Hair of the Dog Adam; Hair of the Dog Brewing Co.; Portland, OR; Old Ale; ABV: 10.0. Brewed in the historic Adambier style of Germany, Adam is a superb full-bodied old ale. The first beer brewed by Hair of the Dog, it’s jet black in color and has notes of chocolate and tart fruit in the nose and taste, with the latter complimented by caramel malt, spices, and light hops, with a woody feeling in the backbone. Adam is velvety smooth, but also quite robust, so the 10% ABV isn’t going to sneak up on you. It reminds me a little of a more potent version of the Ola Dubh Reserve Series from Harviestoun.

Hair of the Dog Doggie Claws; Hair of the Dog Brewing Co.; Portland, OR; Barley Wine; ABV: 11.5. A big tasting, traditional West Coast barley wine. Deep mahogany in color, there’s ample notes of Simcoe and Amarillo hops in the nose and taste, balanced by sweet malt, dark fruit, and cinnamon spices with a hint of honey as well. Doggie Claws has a sherry like feeling to it, and is quite warming as well. This is a sipping beer for sure, in order to fully appreciate its wonderful complexity.

Hair of the Dog Fred; Hair of the Dog Brewing Co.; Portland, OR; Barley Wine; ABV: 10.0. Another exceptional barley wine, Fred was brewed to honor beer writer and historian Fred Eckhardt. Deep amber in color, Fred has notes of sweet caramel and Cascade hops in the nose and taste. The latter is backed up by dark fruit, vanilla spices, and a wine like oakiness at the finish. This beer is quite sweet and easy to drink, and I agree with several of my friends that it reminds one of a kinder, gentler version of Dogfish 120 Minute IPA.

Each of these ales are as enjoyable as they are complex, and highly recommended.

Bonus Time

June 8th, 2010 Bill Zavorskas No comments

110K+OT Batch #3 is right on the money

Cigar City annually releases a limited batch of their 110K+OT. Each year they brew a different style of beer that’s widely anticipated. Cigar City even holds a very popular release party at their brewery to mark the occasion. This year’s offering is Batch #3.

Cigar City 110K+OT Batch #3 (Cigar City Brewing; Tampa, FL; Imperial India Pale Ale; ABV: 10.0) is a full-bodied DIPA that’s definitely worth the wait. It pours a deep amber color and there are notes of floral hops and tropical fruit in the nose. The taste is very sweet with the floral hops and tropical fruit complimented by caramel malt, honey, and a slightly bitter finish. Like Bigfoot, this is a DIPA that reminded me of a barley wine. If you’re a fan of the latter like I am, then Batch #3 will certainly be a hit with you.

All in all, I enjoyed Batch #3 even more than last year’s eclectic and smoky imperial stout Batch #2. I highly recommend that you give it a try.

Jurassic Pint

June 2nd, 2010 Bill Zavorskas No comments

T-Rex is no match for Tricerahops

I decided to use a catchy title for this post, although like most of the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park, Triceratops actually lived during the Cretaceous period. As large as a bus, with a head equipped with three horns and a protective frill, this ceratopsian was more than a match for any predator of its time, including a certain Tyrant Lizard King.

Our friends Brad and Rachael invited us to a barbeque at their new house on Memorial Day, and I knew that Brad was a big fan of IPAs. So I decided to bring a bottle of Ninkasi Tricerahops Double IPA (Ninkasi Brewing Co.; Eugene, OR; Imperial India Pale Ale; ABV: 8.8). Like its namesake, this ale really packs a punch.

Tricerahops pours a rich amber color, and there’s big notes of hops in the nose. The full-bodied taste is an array of piny and citrusy hops, complimented by sweet caramel malt and honey with a nice dry finish. Tricerahops is smooth from start to finish, and paired well with the great BBQ that our friends put together. The alcohol content of nearly 9% isn’t noticeable initially, so precede with caution, or you could end up like a T-Rex on the wrong side of Triceratops’s business end!

I’ve seen a couple of reviews that described Tricerahops as a West Coast version of Bell’s HopSlam. With its big hoppy presence and malty backbone, however, I consider it to be more like a West Coast equivalent of Southern Tier Unearthly.

Like their Total Domination IPA, Ninkasi has brewed another classic ale. I highly recommend Tricerahops, and was glad to share it with Brad and Rachael this Memorial Day.