Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I tend to stay in on the drinking holidays and today I am doing the same with a taste test. Guinness vs. Itself but its non-alcoholic sibling.
And to make it a little more interesting, gonna do this blind and see if the 0 is easy to taste. My wife laughed at the suggestion since most of my N/A experience boils down to “too thin.”
But this blind nearly fooled me. They both pour that familiar darl brown almost black. Both have the widget The 0 Draught has a more pronounced Guinness smoke and chocolate combo compared to the draught we know and love on this particular day in particular. But, the taste was noticeably thinner with a touch of wine sour as well. That lack of fullness was enough for me to semi-comfortably pick it out.
The aroma was probably amplified for the 0 to compensate and in that lies a lesson for others making N/A beers. Pull focus away from the thinness inherent in these beers with aroma and you can get close to the original.
Time to see if I like the Elixir Hop. Checking out the latest single hop pilsner from Enegren Brewing.
First up a primer on Elixir from Yakima Valley Hops, “Elixir is a new and exciting hop variety developed in the legendary growing region of Alsace, France. Elixir is a robust and complex hop that offers unique aromas of cognac, leather, and tobacco that are backed by sweet citrus fruits as well rose and lovage. Elixir is well suited for darker styles but can also be incorporated into fruit-forward styles or even spicy saisons.”
This is a really complex low alcohol pilsner. Getting a lot of red fruit initially followed by rose and flowery potpourri notes. It pours a bright and super clear yellow. You can see through it. I am not getting the bigger robust flavors like the cognac and tobacco but there is a real earthiness to it. That said, this is quenching and silky at the same time.
Trademark Brewing has three beers out under the Doodle Pad small batch series, I am going to look at the two IPAs and not the bigger brother/sister. And I will keep the focus on the descriptive part of the label since I am not fond of dog in lab coat art on the front.
Bird of Paradise – The label description says tropical fruit, honeydew melon and a “breeze” of resinous pine. I would counter that it was more than a stiff wind. Pours a lovely-bubbly light orange color. A bit of guava flavor comes through but the primary on the case is that pine resin note. Some malt notes are in the back as well.
Hüll Be Back – Just two hops in this hazy, Huell Melon and Cashmere. Quite a flavor profile in the description. Guava, passion fruit, candied fruit and lime peel. Of those, I found a weird hard candy taste that was green melon and lime. This grew on me though and overall, I liked the weirdness here more.
I was quite impressed by a pair of North Park Beer Co. IPAs at a Cellador festival last year, so when I saw that they had a Strata Hop beer, I plucked it off the shelf to try.
This DDH West Coast IPA (to give a full taxonomy) pours a bubbly dark yellow color. Getting a bright lemon aroma. A touch of tea as well. Bitterness is, at first, below median but as the carbonation dissipates it grows. Grassy notes dominate but I also get a bit of Concord grape as well.
Finally found the English Trappist Ale, Tynt Meadow! So, of course, had to review it.
Overall, a bit disappointed with this. Pours a muddy red, brown color with lots of brown floatie bits at the bottom. Everything is light. The Christmas spice is light. Banana is light. Mouthfeel is light. Kinda fruitcake-y. And just a little musty tasting. I was glad it was a small under 12 ounces.
“…whiskey barrel-aged wheat wine ale with coffee, cocoa nibs, and cinnamon,”
Boy do the whiskey aromas blast when you open the cap on this 2022 beer. It pours a bubbly dark red color. My initial reaction is not coffee or cinnamon but German chocolate cake. Getting coconut and whiskey. There is sweetness abounding here. As it warms, you get some tiny bits of coffee and tinier bits of spice. By the end there is a little brown sugar.
I will give you one guess as to the main hop. This IPA pours a dark-ish yellow. The aroma is like lemony hard candy. It is really nice and different. Not too overpowering with bitterness but enough to know this ain’t no session IPA. Very much lemon meets bitter with the citrus coming out slightly ahead.
Let’s dive into a new hazee from Smog City Brewing in Torrance, Frost Flowers in the colorfully bright can….
Haven’t seen a flower with even a smidgen of frost on it here in L.A. but I will take Smog City’s word for it. This Hazy IPA is 6.4% and pours with a decent amount of orangey haze. It is the first Smog Days Series beer for 2023. Hopped with Amarillo, Ekuanot and Azacca, I get orange peel and tangerine initially. More bitterness here than pillowy haze. A secondary hit of black tea. Tastes quite strong.
Obviously the reason for reviewing this beer is the fact that there are fluffy kittens on the label for this DIPA from Almanac Beer Co. named Seeing Kittens.
El Dorado and Nelson Sauvin are the stars of this show and that first sip of the light orange / dark yellow West Coast DIPA leans into Concord grape notes. There is a nice bitter bite at the beginning before transitioning into the fruit notes. The 8% ABV is well hidden. There is a bit of pineapple and old school fruit punch as minor players in the flavor profile but the beer ends by finishing quite dry.
I missed the seventh anniversary party for Brewyard Beer Company but I made a point of grabbing a 4-pack of their Bourbon Barrel-Aged Belgian Quad, Cat’z Pajamas.
The feline Quad pours with a slight reddish tint to it. Sharp and bubbly on the palate. The bourbon notes are present but not overwhelming. The barrel provides a nice sweet, almost maple note to the beer. For a double digit ABV, it only gives a little jolt when drinking in keeping with the balanced nature.