Me and Hazy IPAs, Featuring Henhouse Brewing’s Keanu is Immortal

henhouse brewing co hazy juicy ipa keanu is immortal

Hazy IPAs Confuse the Beer Drinker In Me

This is a beer. I often have to remind myself that when I’m offered a freshly canned and super trendy beer in the SF bay area. I’m only 30, but I’ve been drinking IPAs for a decade, which has turned me into the closest thing to a grouchy old beer enthusiast who still gets carded from time to time.

Overall, hazy IPAs are good for craft beer. They’re the boozy training wheels that a new generation of beer fans have cut their teeth on. A gateway into the world of beer beyond marco lagers, but we’ll have to see how many of these new found fans transition away from hazies to their local breweries other offerings. The catch that I’m wary of, the other beers probably taste like beer…

In a world where there are businesses everywhere finding new ways to package and sell alcohol, it is easier than ever to find an alternative to beer. With a generation of beer fans raised on beer that tastes like melted, citrus ice cream, will the breweries out there cultivating this fan base be able to keep them interested?

Maybe. I hope so at least. We’re nearing the end of a time when you can go into a tap room with ten IPAs on, only to find out that not a single one is clear. I am grateful for this fact. But, it would be disheartening to see the tide of the hazy IPA trend go out and sweep all of those fans out with it, and toward some other fruity, alcohol-infused beverage. Hazy IPAs are here to stay, I have little doubt of that. Although, despite their huge popularity, they’re an outlier style in the world of beer as far as flavor. There is nothing else like a fresh, but not too fresh, juicy, IPA, and that is how they’ve risen to they heights they have. They’re the most popular style of IPA, which is the most popular style of beer. My hesitation comes from the thought of consumers getting tired of the style and trying something else at their local, craft brewery, only to realize that they don’t much like any beer that isn’t a hazy IPA.

There are so many styles out there to get interested in, whether they’re traditional, historic, or completely new. They all have aspects in common so enthusiasts are able to network themselves from one style to the next. That’s the adventure of craft beer. That network of similar aspects ends with hazy IPAs though. I just wonder how this generation of craft beer drinkers will, or might not, move beyond hazy IPAs, when the previous generations all got their start with Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and the like, classics that left almost endless avenues to find related beer.

Henhouse Brewing Co.’s Keanu is Immortal Hazy IPA Tasting Notes:

Appearance:

Haze Craze

You Know

Aroma:

It legitimately smells like a floral version of orange sherbet

Mouthfeel:

Has a thicker and less crisp character than I prefer, but lacks the gritty, turbid texture of some hazy IPAs

Flavor:

Hop driven, but not like a beer

Big orange blossom honey and orange marmalade flavor. Like a orange sherbet with a slight spice and bitterness too it, almost not enough to notice. The beer is focused on an orange juiciness that it follows through on, with just a hint of green, fresh cut grass that adds a tinge of bitterness. It’s not like chewing through orange or mango sherbet, but it’s closer to a frozen dessert that recently melted in the sun than anything I would ever imagined a decade ago when I was first getting my hands on craft beer.

Evil Twin Brewing Molotov Lite – Beer Thoughts

evil twin brewing molotov lite beer imperial ipa archer

The Approachable, Clear Imperial IPA

I was recently turned on to Evil Twin Brewing because the owner, Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø, was heavily featured in a VinePair article about the ticker culture of the new that’s taking over craft beer. I know the brewery and I’ve had some of their offering from time to time, but the quotes in the article let me know that I liked their owner’s style.

In the article, he vented his frustration with beer drinkers seeking out everything that is new rather than what is good. Just about everyone loves trying a new beer, but there is a distinct line between enjoying a new beer and trying one that you never want to have again once you’ve had it once. It seemed like me and Evil Twin Brewing have a good amount in common, so I wanted to try more of their beers.

Low and behold, I find Evil Twin Brewing’s Molotov Lite. Molotov Lite is an imperial IPA riff on natty ice design. They brewed it in an attempt to bring some life back to the everyday happy hour of light lagers that Americans only somewhat enjoyed for so many decades. The “ale brewed with natural flavors” tagline is a nice touch if the blue, black, and silver geometric design didn’t clue you in to the joke.

Getting past the personal appeal of the can, this is a killer beer that has a lot to offer. On the surface, it’s a good and bitter American Imperial IPA clocking in at 8.5%abv. But once you get to know it a little, the bitterness and alcohol warmth steps aside to reveal a bouquet of orange blossom honey, cantaloupe, and a hint of resinous pine tar that is a near perfect blend for me personally.

As far as my first critical take on a beer from Evil Twin Brewing, I couldn’t have gotten more lucky with my choice. College days reminiscent can art laid the foundation for an Imperial IPA experience that might’ve been my favorite of the year. I doubt it’s for everyone, but damn I almost feel like this beer was brewed for me.

Who Is This For:

Anyone who enjoys hop forward beers that have a little bite and has been drinking them for a bit. This is definitely a bit more abrasive on the palate and hides it’s fruit character a bit more than a juicy double IPA, but the flavor similarities are their, albeit arranged completely differently. If you’re looking for a non-hazy Imperial IPA that won’t beat you up too much, but won’t go easy on you either, this is a solid step up in complexity from your average hazy DIPA.

Evil Twin Molotov Lite Tasting Notes

Appearance: Golden-orange in color. Decent head retention after pouring with a solid head of big bubbles. Translucent, with a slight orange hue and blur.

Aroma: You can smell the buzz that comes along with this Double IPA, it’s not hiding the alcohol like some modern IPAs. But, along with the ever so slight and interesting burn, you get a big orange blossom aroma with a touch of resinous pine tar to even it out.

Taste: Big bitterness with a blend of orange blossom herbal tea and cantaloupe. Despite this beer feeling decently dry, the alcohol content gives it a perceived sweetness that really sets off the fruity character of the hops. Thankfully, the fruit character isn’t as in your face, you have to sort through the bitterness and subtle burn to find the solid citrus and tropical character. You have to work for it just a little. Once it warms up a hair, it’s almost straight grapefruit pulp and pith, the sweet and the bitter.

Mouthfeel: Somewhat dry but deceiving because of the alcohol content. It coats your palate with intense flavors and a big body for a clear IPA, then slowly dissipates to leave a bit of warmth and bitterness. It almost feels like it finishes dry for an 8.5% double IPA until you realize its coated your mouth with a bitter and slightly tropical nectar.

Overall: This beer makes you work for it, and I love it. First impression, it’s a pretty standard American Double IPA. It’s clear and a golden orange hue with big bitterness and an overwhelming flavor. Then you break through the initial barrier. It’s good from the start, but then it becomes phenomenal. This is one of my favorite imperial IPAs that I’ve had, and one of my favorites in recent memory.

Newest Article – The Birth of Brut IPA

brut ipa craftbeer.com article featureNew CraftBeer.com Article on the Brut IPA

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Kim Sturdavant of Social Kitchen and Brewery in San Fransisco about the development of his own beer style that has recently been gaining traction on the world beer scene for CraftBeer.com.

Brut IPA is an emerging beer style developed by Kim that focuses on ultra dry and easy drinking American IPAs that feature fruit forward hops. For more info about the style, how it’s made, and what it feels like to be solely responsible for a brand new style of beer, you can check out the full story of the Brut IPA on CraftBeer.com.

Fieldwork Brewing Co. Stars Hollow Pale Ale Beer Review

fieldwork brewing co stars hollow pale ale beer reviewFieldwork Stars Hollow-Intro to Hazy IPAs

I’m still warming up to hazy, juicy IPAs. I liked them on occasion in Colorado, because they were more of an occasional occurrence. They’re everywhere in California. They’re hard to escape here, and that’s because they’re some of the most popular beers on the market. Given that I’m now working at Fieldwork Brewing Co. (Disclosure of somewhat-bias), I have to give them a chance. So far, Stars Hollow Pale Ale stands out from the crowd.

I’ve found that I’m still pretty burned out on hazy IPAs, they’re all just so much of everything I’m not exactly looking for when I want an IPA. Hazy pale ales are a bit more subtle. They may still look a bit like orange, or in this case pineapple, juice, but the juicy profile isn’t as in your face. There’s nuance in a 5.0% pale ale where a 7.5% IPA is more overwhelming.

People love drinking beer that could be a new form of alcoholic pineapple juice and hops, and I will never hold that against anyone. It’s not for me, at least not right now. Something a bit lighter on the palate, but still with some serious late stage hopping, is more my speed. The hop selection here, amarillo and blanc, aren’t my favorites, but they play nicely together here. Light pineapple and grapefruit peel make sure the beer is refreshing, but the more subtle malt bill makes sure they don’t overwhelm your senses.

Beer Review Overview

Appearance: Super hazy, golden straw colored pale ale. Pure eggshell white head with small bubbles that don’t last.

Aroma: Light pineapple and floral honey

Taste: A bit of pineapple without the candy sweetness. Almost like a stealth pineapple extract blended with a King’s Hawaiian sweet bread malt character. Subtle grapefruit rind and herbal lemongrass start the bitter finish that ends with a vegetal bitterness that lingers on the palate and lets you know you’re still drinking a heavily hopped American pale ale.

Mouthfeel: Light and smooth body with minimal carbonation that just adds a zing to the perimeter of your tongue when combined with the mild bitterness.

Overall: A refreshing and flavorful American pale ale with a new age hazy IPA spin on it. Not as crisp as I prefer my lawn games beer to be, but that’s not what they were going for. The bitterness adds to the crisp refreshing character to the pale ale without the carbonation interfering with the hops. I’m sure that any hazy IPA enthusiast would love a glass of this to go with their cup-holder equipped lawnmower on a sunny, California afternoon. Or morning, I don’t judge.

Stone Brewing Sues MillerCoors

The “Stone” Branding Has Gone Too Far

Greg Koch announced earlier this week that Stone Brewing has issued a lawsuit against MillerCoors over their packaging and branding efforts for the Keystone Light brand of beer. Stone is asserting that Keystone is willfully confusing customers with the prominence of the word “Stone” on the cans, as “Key” is on a different line in smaller text. I remember the campaign that seemed to play a major role in the rebranding, starring none other than Keith Stone. The ever-cool everyman was designed to be a casually , mustachioed man who was cool enough to show up at any college and be the life of the party. Continue reading “Stone Brewing Sues MillerCoors”

Craft Games and Indie Beer

Independent-Craft-Brewer-seal indie megaboothIndependence in Beer and Gaming

I work in the beer industry and follow the games industry. I have passion for each, and there’s more in common with them than you might think. Craft beer is produced by small and independent breweries that want to brew good beer and build a community. Indie game makers are small teams inspired to make something that they’ve dreamed up that isn’t out there. Both are characterized by passion. While you can make money in each of these endeavors, that’s never the main drive. It’s a need to create and a passion for the craft that keeps people going. Continue reading “Craft Games and Indie Beer”

Alesmith Brewing’s Evil Dead Red Ale

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Beer Notes: AleSmith’s Dead On Red Ale

In celebration of Halloween, AleSmith Brewing Company has again released their Evil Dead Red Ale. I’m a sucker for a good red ale, but there’s a huge amount of variety in the style between reds and ambers, so you never really know what you’re going to get. AleSmith has hit a home run with this one though, at least for me personally. Not only is the pop culture reference spot on, but the rich flavors presented in this pint distinguish from the crowded fall seasonal landscape.

Appearance

The first thing that stands out is the rich scarlet color. It goes perfectly with the shambling zombies printed on the bomber. The rich red color is, of course, indicative of blood, but the crystal clarity reminds you it’s just a hand crafted beer.

Aroma

The aroma is killer too. The ale has a sweet malt character that is well balanced with a crisp toasted scent and a hint of black cherry, all without any of them being overwhelming. The reds I’ve had recently focus almost completely on a rich, toasted malt character, that’s not a bad thing but I prefer the Evil Dead’s diversity. The aroma is full and satisfying, but still crisp like a breath of fresh air.

Body and Taste

The body is typical of a red, dense and malty, but the hops give it a refreshing crispness on your palate. The balance between the malt build of a classic red ale and the citrus hops is spot on. This duality is well executed and the most unique quality of the beer. The toasty aroma and flavors factor heavily into the taste, until a decadent caramel flavor takes over. Then, before the caramel sweetness becomes too heavy handed, the fruity and refreshing hops kick in and give it a citrusy and pleasantly bitter finish. The bitterness does linger, but it doesn’t outstay its welcome, especially if you identify as a hop head.

The head and lacing aren’t great, but I don’t give much weight to those aspect of a beer personally. Both can be impressive, but are also characteristics that everyone except the heartiest of beer geeks ignore. I don’t attribute much significance to them for the more common craft beer enthusiast.

Final Beer Notes

The reason the AleSmith Red stands out to me is the kickass toasted malt character that defines a red ale, combined with a perfect citrusy hop bitterness. The bitterness is similar to many IPAs, but is completely different when in concert with the grains typical of a red ale. The combination of these aspects is incredibly well executed. If you’re at all into red ales or red IPAs, do yourself a favor and make one of your Halloween treats an Evil Dead Red Ale from AleSmith Brewing Co.

I can’t leave out that the ABV is calculated at 6.66%. AleSmith’s eye for detail is inspired.

I give the Evil Dead Red Ale 4 and a half homemade chainsaw hands out of 5.