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.

AB InBev on the Death of Craft Beer

AB-InBev Gives Craft Beer a “Couple Years”

AB-InBev has been getting some heat based on a video the released showing members of The High End talking about the death of craft beer coming within “a couple years time.” I certainly have some issues with the video and how the idea presented,  but that point isn’t one of them. The term craft beer might be dead in a few years. That could be for the best, and it could really hurt AB-InBev.

6_pack brewers association independent craft beer sealGoodbye Craft, Hello Independent

Enthusiasts of the craft beer industry have likely seen the branding around the Brewers Association’s latest campaign. The newest leg, “Seek the Seal,” implores beer drinkers to be on the look out for their Independent Craft Brewer Seal the next time that they’re out at a brewery, bar, or beer store. This seal denotes that a product is made by an independently owned brewer that follows the BA’s definition of a craft brewer, though that subject is getting murkier as the industry develops. Yes, the seal still features the term “craft” that the Brewers Association has been using to define itself for years, but the focus is now on that first term, independent.

The BA’s definition of what constitutes a craft brewery has largely been supported by the industry of small brewers, but that’s predominantly from an industry professional position. To the average consumer, craft beer is just high-quality beer, which can be seen as anything aside from the American macro lagers that just about everyone is familiar with.

The issue with craft beer is not the industry or the quality of the product for the BA, it is the term craft. Craft is too generic for where they see their mission statement pointing them. AB-InBev can and does make full flavored beer that some people really enjoy and see as high quality. They see it as craft. The BA’s specific definition does nothing for the average person grabbing a 6-pack on their way to a friends house to denote where they want consumers to look.

brewbound nielsen craft beer survey independent The Value of Independence

It’s not just the BA or the brewers that wants this clarity. In May of 2017, Brewbound and Nielsen collaborated on a survey of beer drinkers about what influenced their purchasing decisions. 81% of the 2,000 beer drinkers surveyed said that the terms “independent or independently owned” resonated with them and it was determined to be the most positively influential descriptor on the survey. Terms also included words like “sour” and “hazy” both of which negatively influenced purchasing decisions in 2017. Oh, how our tastes and trends have changed.

Americans like supporting others on their way to the “American dream,” especially if that dream involves making beer! When the average consumer sees a new IPA in the beer aisle with a clever name  and a list of hops used, most assume they’re supporting a local, small business when they buy it. The BA wants to make it absolutely clear to people the difference between an independent craft beer, and what the industry has labelled as “crafty” beer, breweries that want to be capitalize on the popularity of local brewers but are owned by large scale macro-breweries.

Whether Elysian, Ballast Point, or Blue Point are some of your favorite breweries out there or not isn’t the point. The Brewers Association is trying to make it as clear as possible whether your next beer purchase is supporting a locally owned craft brewer, or one of the largest beer companies in the world. It’s not a statement about the quality of their beer, it’s about the story behind it.

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”