Guava, white nectarine and Asian pear are the adjectives summoned by the brewery and, to me, the pear notes come through the strongest. Unity pours a super clear yellow and has what I consider a “wet” character. Not slick or bubbly. It seems more lager than pilsner to me. A little more filling. Naming aside, this beer has a really good bitter to beer style balance.
Reaching year 8 is great. Pacific Plate Brewing has notched that level now and have released a big Saison in honor of it. Let’s review it here….
Very barrel. Oodles of wood notes. Idaho 7 and Cashmere hops? Sure. The barrel crushes them. Some Saison spice notes escapes the rum barrel vortex. But when I think anniversary beer, I want something big. This is big. It is only 8.5% but it stops you in its tracks.
Next is review number five from the City Beer Store of San Francisco beer purchase. By the end of the month, I will rank all six.
Currently Side Pull is one with IPL is Dead second, Lenticular Cap third, and Working for Tips at 4. Only two slots remain to be ranked.
Hello Friend is the hazy side gig of one of my favorite sour beer makers, The Rare Barrel. This hazy IPA has the cloudy look without taking on that dark grey murk. It is a pretty light yellow. Filled with Citra and Nelson Sauvin hops. Got a hit of pineapple when first opened. That fades though and the flavor is quite muted. Pineapple mixed with grass but not powerful. Some lemon tucked in the back as well. The can design is a little on the creepy side for me as well.
I am going to put this last. Primarily because I has some high expectations for it and this could have been bigger in flavor.
You kinda had to figure that Stone Brewing would go big for their 25th Anniversary. And they obliged with a triple IPA.
This celebratory ale pours a dark orange color and the strength of it can be smelled when the can is popped open. Also getting a bit of a wood chip aroma here. This is heavy with pine but with a wide streak of citrus to it. A touch dry to me as well. Finishes strong with alcohol, you will know it is over 12%.
Stick Figures 5.5 is a collab of Mumford Brewing of LA with Finback of NY. Imperial Stout with coconut is par for the course but Mumford dials it up further with banana and then ages it in mead barrels from Superstition Meadery. Firstly, this loses points because of a extra sweetness. Neither the coconut nor banana really comes through. I am getting heavy spice note. Cinnamon and what I think of as Indian spicing is present. Very thick and viscous. Very much a dessert beer.
Straight from San Luis Obispo is There Does Not Exist. Here is my take on my first beer from the brewery, Psychic Advisor Double IPA.
This is an old school West Coast Citra bomb. Pours a clear dark yellow with an herbal citrus aroma. Quite the intricate label art, all swirling lines with maybe an Ent like creature. The lemon really shines through. This is a strong beer but as opposed to DIPAs that pop you upside the head, this just is.
Next up from the prolific AleSmith is a hazy IPA that is a jam.
Well, actually a marmalade.
This new release from San Diego pours a light yellow color with not much in the way of haze on view. Getting mango and pineapple on the nose, so checkmark for tropical.
Very light body with a solid kick of bitterness that does linger a bit. Getting a bit of raspberry and orange flavor after the bitter. The end brings a touch of alcohol heat mingling with malt character.
There is a nice juicy mouthfeel and indeed tropical but the haze and the softness I associate with it are not. Nix that word from the label and this beer is spot on.
It has been a bit of a NZ Hops month, so I turned to a style away from IPA from Third Window in Santa Barbara, Nelson Saison.
Here is my quick review – Pours a yellow / absinthe light green color. Very dry with a champagne flavor profile. Pronounced wine grape aroma that follows into the flavor. The Belgian yeast esters slide underneath.
Let’s start with Nelson, a West Coast IPA. It pours a dark orange color. I get grape must and a slight tannic quality on the first sip. A little cat pee in the aroma. Further sips reveal a Concord grape note. There is a good hit of bitterness. Finishes with a combination of herbal and spicy.
Elenna is a hazy and a higher ABV than most FW beers which usually land in the 5.6% range. It pours a murky yellow color in keeping with the style. Aroma is forest like. Quite soft on the palate. Little bit of a cream texture. At the end I get a mixture of cherry and citrus.
Two more from Eureka Brewing to review (one of which is a bit long in the date tooth)…
West Coast Drift – big, big pineapple aroma and flavor. Like opening a can of pineapple in pineapple juice. Medium low haze in the glass. Overall nice strong bitterness to balance the juice notes.
Double Bogey DIPA – This one was canned in late January so a tad out of date. Sweet tart meets alcohol. Strong but not super bitter. I would like to taste a fresh one for comparison.