Featured this week:
LAGUNITAS- 12th of Never
AGAINST THE GRAIN- Citra Ass Down
LOCAL PICK: LAKEFRONT- Brandy Barrel Cherry Lager
LAGUNITAS- 12th of Never
Holy smokes, Lagunitas in cans! One of my favorite breweries just released a 12 pack of cans called 12th of Never. This is the first can to be offered from the brewery that has its origins in Petaluma, CA. If you ever have a chance, and are looking for a day adventure, take a trip down to their new brewing facility in Chicago, IL. As with most of Lagunitas’ offerings this is another hop-forward brew. Lagunitas has been nailing these hop-forward brews with their IPA and Hop Stoopid. With the warmer weather and summer activities, cans seem to be making quite the push in the craft beer market. This beer first hit the Milwaukee market in late July and will be available year-round. At a reasonable ABV of 5.5% this beer may not be as “session-able” as the popular Founders All Day IPA, however it may be a nice change of pace from the 15-pack session IPA offered by Founders. With a nose of tangerine citrus and a light pale color, this beer is focused on what a growing number of consumers are looking for; a bright, citrusy, hopped beer that will not ruin the next morning. The beer has a small and long lasting foamy head. The bitterness is nice and not over-powering, and it dissipates at the rate that the carbonation fades from the palate. As I attempted to record my thoughts, I found myself with a desire to take another sip. A 12-pack can be quite the investment with the variety of different beers that become available on a weekly basis, but this beer however IS worth the investment. I have found that consistency in beer is a highly desirable quality, and have never had an issue with a Lagunitas beer. So next time you are having a friend over, grab a twelve pack of Lagunitas 12th of Never and introduce it to that friend. This beer is a high quality pale ale that is approachable for many palates. Don’t be afraid of the hops, and remember, beer speaks people mumble.
AGAINST THE GRAIN- Citra Ass Down
Citra hops. Two words many beer drinkers have loved hearing the past few years. Citra Ass Down, from Against the Grain in Louisville, KY, features those highly sought out hops. While citra hops are featured in the beer, they are not the only hops used. Nobody can describe the hops used for this beer better than the brewery: “In Citra Ass Down we used American Columbus for bittering and 11# of Citra at the end of the boil for late kettle addition flavor and aroma. Then we added 6 more pounds Citra and 5# Centennial post fermentation for aroma.” For an in-depth explanation of Columbus hops check out http://beerlegends.com/columbus-hops. Served in a snifter, the aroma was pleasant. There was a touch of citrus, as well as a bit of earthiness on the nose and I was excited to take my first sip. With a higher ABV at 8.2% this double IPA packs a punch. With a strong malt backbone, the balance is highly desirable and the first sip was full bodied and complex. While this beer was purchased as a 4-pack, 16oz package, I could not see myself having more than one of these a night. I would have enjoyed this beer alongside food, such as a burger on the grill with pepper jack cheese. The pungent and dank characteristics in this beer make it one I would consider a must try. Grab one of these and you are in for a good time.
Revolution is another exciting brewery to arrive in the Milwaukee market. Brewed in Chicago, IL one of their most popular beers is Anti-Hero IPA. While Anti-Hero is a fantastic beer, I wanted to try something different from the brewery. Porter is one of my favorite styles of beer and it is a style that I believe can be enjoyed year-round. Sitting around an outdoor fire I always picture myself with a porter. This beer is about as dark as they come and the first sip was fantastic. This beer is roasty and robust with a lingering malt finish. My only complaint about this beer is that I did not try it sooner. I am a consistent drinker of Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald, as well as Deschuttes Black Butte Porter, and this beer is on the same level. The drinkability blew me away and if you see this beer on the shelf make sure you pick it up. Availability of Revolution has been inconsistent since its debut in Milwaukee. But, if you do happen to see Eugene on the shelf, grab it!
LOCAL PICK OF THE WEEK:
LAKEFRONT- Brandy Barrel Cherry Lager
I would like to feature one beer every week from the state of Wisconsin. This week is a special offering from Lakefront Brewery. The beer is a barrel aged lager that is aged in brandy barrels. I am not sure if you could find a more Wisconsin beer than a cherry lager aged in brandy barrels! Lakefront Brewery says that the beer “pours deep red with a thin, lacy head. Strong brandy overtones of fresh cut oak, tobacco, and red fruit greet the nose, followed by notes of toffee and marzipan. The taste echoes the aroma with intense brandy flavors of wood, vanilla, and mild black pepper, with tart cherry and toasty caramel malt in close pursuit. Medium-bodied, it finishes with lingering cherry tartness and mild alcohol warmth.” When I approached this beer it was apparent that it was barrel-aged. The distinct aroma of sweet brandy and cherries let me know this would be a great beer to end the night on. Weighing in at 10.7% ABV this beer was still palatable. The cherry flavor was enjoyable and tasted like cherry juice not from concentrate. I would like to sit this one in the cellar for a year and see how it turns out. After aging, I would expect the barrel characteristics to flatten out and the cherry flavor to fade in a desirable way. Overall, this beer is definitely a good Wisconsin selection.