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.

An Intro to Craft Beer- The Beer List

intro craft beer list bar
The first thing you’ll probably do upon entering a new brewery is check out their beer list. Depending on the brewery, the beers on it could vary tremendously. There are some core ideas though, that you’ll probably see in most every brewery you visit.

The Information on a Beer List

Firstly, you’ll see the names of the beer. Duh, right? But give them a little thought, they will clearly showcase the atmosphere that the brewery is going for. Is there a theme? Do the beers have their style in the name? Are they funny, clever, obscure, etc.? The beer is a brewery’s business card, and they’ll want them to showcase the company’s personality and character.

craft beer list wood display

Aside from the names, you’ll probably find some other information. If the styles of the brews aren’t incorporated into the names, they’ll most likely list the style as well. This is the best guideline for new craft beer drinkers. Have you had a pale ale that you liked? Grab another pale ale from another brewery to compare. Want something a little more intense? Maybe step up to an India Pale Ale (IPA) for a bigger beer with more aggressive flavors. Want something dark? Check out the stouts, porters, and brown ales on the list. Each style provides a different take on a malt forward beer, see what you like the best and then branch out. Of course, if you want something on the lighter side, try out some lagers or a pilsner for a more crisp and refreshing beverage.

How Drunk Will it Get You?

In addition to the names and styles of a breweries offerings, it is typically required to display the Alcohol by Volume, or ABV. The amount of alcohol in a beer is crucial information for many reasons. Craft beer tends to be stronger than marco-brews to enable a larger flavor profile. You might be used to having a few Bud Lights and be unaware that beer weighs in at 4.2% ABV, so a 10% Imperial IPA might knock you right on your ass. The entire industry of alcohol advocates drinking responsibly, and consumers need to be aware that ordering a craft beer at a brewery might not entail the same effects as ordering a beer at a more typical restaurant or bar you frequent. Do your research and know your limits.

How Bitter Will it Be? (Not as much as she is…)

The last piece of information that’s becoming fairly standard to display is IBUs. IBU stands for International Bitterness Units. While they don’t correlate directly to how “hoppy” a beer is, they do tell you objectively how bitter it is. The malt and grains in a beer are there to sweeten the brew and stimulate alcohol production during fermentation. The hops balance out that sweetness. While IBUs don’t tell you how hidden the bitterness is by other flavors, they’re a good baseline to begin evaluating your options. If you know you don’t enjoy the bitter aspect of beer, keep it on the lower end, under 40 IBUs for example. If you’re curious about the hop craze, step up the IBUs on each beer to try to find your ideal interval. While IBUs don’t tell you how much hop flavor is in a beer, there’s a pretty good chance that a more hoppy beer will be higher in IBUs.

There could always be more information presented on any brewery’s beer list, but these are the tidbits that are most essential for you to scope out what might be your favorite thing on the list. Other stats like OG (Original Gravity) and specific ingredients used are more for homebrewers and beer geeks and don’t offer much to a craft beer novice. It never hurts to ask though. If you see anything else on the list, always feel free to ask the bartender, I’m sure they’ll be happy to clarify.

Have you seen anything not mentioned here listed on a breweries beer list? How crazy and detailed was it? Let me know in the comments below!