Review – Grüvi Mocha Nitro Stout

Not a big fan of the un-groovy name, Grüvi but I was interested in a N/A Nitro Mocha Stout. “This creamy non-alcoholic brew is a smooth yet full-bodied ale with notes of coffee and chocolate. The addition of nitrogen makes tiny bubbles and helps us create an ultra-creamy beer that pours like a dream.” It even shows how to do an aggressive pour.

Did not get a big nitro pour from the can. Maybe it needs that widget that I did not hear in the bottom of the can. As with most non-alcoholic beers, this is pretty thin, which is really evident in a stout. Past that, there is a bit of a Mexican Hot Chocolate vibe off of this. Of the three adjectives on the packaging, it is a bit creamy, kind of smooth and roasted for sure. Overall, kind of disappointing.

Review – Skyduster IPA

Still trying to catch a bead on who or what Skyduster Beer is or where they are. No idea where Mission Junction is. But it is the liquid that matters, so let’s test out their West Coast IPA…

Described as “firm, yet restrained bitterness, this beer is aggressively hopped with Citra and Mosaic.”

Packaged in the stovepipe 19.2oz can and weighing in at 7% abv, this is a pretty good West Coast IPA. Did not know what to expect from this brewery. Has an initial bright and grassy aroma with a hint of citrus to it. Initial taste is a pleasing leafy and vegetal with a nice level of bitterness to it, A bit pillowy but as it warms takes up more West Coast notes.

Review – Kumquat Saison from Smog City

I have been looking forward to the 2023 version of Smog City’s Kumquat Saison for a bit of time. And now, is the time to take from the ‘fridge and taste it.

2023 marks the 8th year that Smog City Brewing Co. has joined forces with Food Forward for the release of Kumquat Saison. 600 pounds of kumquats were plucked from fruit trees in backyards that otherwise would not have been used.

Food Forwards’ efforts to end food insecurity are helped with each can sold as a portion of the proceeds from each 4-pack of Kumquat Saison will be donated to Food Forward as part of Smog City’s 1% for the Planet Community Impact Series.

The saison pours a bright yellow color.  Nice and tart on the tongue as that kumquat citrusy flavor shines through. Light on the palate with a bare hint of the Saison yeast coming through.  The malt base is right where it needs to be to let the fruit lead the way.

RTD Reviews – Rod & Hammer

SLO + Whiskey + RTD craze = a taste test of California Whiskey cocktails from Rod & Hammer. Mule vs Mai Tai.

The Whiskey Mule is spicy first and foremost. Strong and good ginger ale used here. But it does not have three Bourbon notes that I expect. No oak. No vanilla. No coconut. It doesn’t taste alcoholic either which is sneaky because this is 11%.

The Whiskey Mai Tai had a nice Tiki flavor start. Almost baked pineapple. There was a fruit punch aroma to this though that the kid in me liked. Whiskey was discernible this time but still really a background player.

I do like the word centric labels and the rough hewn colors and feel an even with a lack of Whiskey flavors coming through, I would be interested in trying their distilled spirits.

Beer Review – The OG Infinite Wishes from Smog City Brewing

Yes, variants are fun. But, let’s focus on the base or as Smog City Brewing calls it, the OG of their barrel-aged Infinite Wishes.

This imperial stout is aged in bourbon barrels for a year. Here is my take on the 2023 version…

…IW23OG (sorry for the clumsy acronym) pours jet black with espresso swirls on the surface. I get a little syrup nose to start with just a skosh of wooden barrel. For such a high ABV beer, it is more sparkly than silky. Getting a bit of dark chocolate flavor. A little sweet and a fair share of char as well. Barely an alcohol burn at all when sipping. Really good and really simple.

Beer Review – Single Hop Pilsner – Elixir from Enegren Brewing

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.

Beer Review – Stratacadabra from North Park Beer Co.

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.

Review – Seeing Kittens DIPA from Almanac Beer Co.

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.

Review – Rick’s Near Beer vs. Al’s Classic

The very retro can of Rick’s Near Beer goes up against Al and his classic. Who will come out on top?

Rick’s – lighter color with not a lot of bubbles. aroma is malty with a young / green smell. the taste is led by the usual N/A thinness which is followed by a nice crispness and corn flavor. overall a bit bland though inoffensive but lacks the pop that I associate with a Pils.

Al’s – much bubblier yellow which I take as a good sign. quite a weird smell to it almost like masa. this is even thinner but it has an herbal, sweet tart hoppiness which adds a second layer of interest.

I would probably choose the Al’s by a hair. It would have been less close if it had more heft to it and did not have that smell.

Christmas Beer Review – Our Special Ale 2022 from Anchor Brewing

You’ve at least ordered the Anchor Brewing Story, if not devoured it by now, so let’s dive into their 2022 Our Special Ale.

Right off the bat, the 2022 smells really malt. Just opened malt bag, malty. There is a bit of spice and a bit of apple cider here. To be honest, it tastes a little under done to me. I notice a little black licorice note as well. It doesn’t not say Christmas but it seems tilted to, dare I say, pastry stout? Apple cider and a yeasty bread roll version.