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.

An Intro to Craft Beer- The Basics

craft beer basics intro

Your Craft Beer Primer

Craft beer is exploding in popularity. If you’re checking out this post, you’ve probably tried and enjoyed some craft beer. The Brewers Association just celebrated the number of breweries in the U.S. climbing beyond pre-prohibition levels. We’re now at over 4,200 breweries, the vast majority of which are far from the macro-breweries that supply the majority of this country’s beer.

Craft beer has a different sort of character than the mass produced American lagers out there. There’s a culture establishing itself around the industry. Weirdly enough, there’s a lot to know about craft beer, it is the second oldest beverage in the world after all. Luckily, drinking beer is a social activity, which makes it pretty easy to spark up a conversation at your local brewery about what’s up. If your curious about the basics before heading in for a brew though, here are some of the basics.

Firstly, I tend bar Upslope Brewing Co. in Boulder, CO. A huge part of what I do at Upslope is talk about beer with interested patrons. I got into craft beer and homebrewing shortly after I turned 21 when I discovered that there’s something out there aside from Natty Light. I used to splurge on a good 6-pack to split with my friends when I picked up a few 30 packs of cheap beer for us at the liquor store. That way, we could start the night with something nice before continuing on in a more typical college-y way. I still enjoy a Natty Light, or similar light American lager, from time to time, but there are so many more interesting brews out there.

Well then, let’s get started. Here are some of the basics of craft beer.

craft beer basics intro-2

The Ingredients

Beer consists of 4 ingredients on a basic level: water, malt, hops and yeast. There is even a law in Germany about them called the Reinheitsgebot, or the German Purity Law. It states that those are the only four ingredients that are allowed to be used in beer, with barley being the specific malt. It is still in effect to a degree today, although many German breweries have branched out to include other less traditional ingredients in their beer. The law, somewhat humorously, was put in place to conserve wheat and rye to be used for bread so that the country’s grains weren’t all turned into beer instead of food.

A Little Prohibition History:

American breweries got a bit of a kick-start after prohibition, which has resulted in a huge amount of experimentation and innovation in the field. That innovation also came along with a relative disregard for the old world rules about beer, resulting in the plethora of options we have today. Shutting down all of the traditional breweries rid us of any preconceived notions once it was repealed. Prohibition seemed like a pain in the ass in its day, but we have it to thank as it indirectly made the U.S. beer scene more unique than ever.

Huge Beer style chart

The Styles

There is a style of beer for almost everyone, regardless of how they feel about beer. We have a lot of fun at work with people who bring in friends or family members who don’t like beer. We have 24 beers on tap and I can always find something that they’ll have at least one glass of. One of my fiancé’s friends from Australia told me that she had never finished an entire beer before and stuck to cider. She had 2 glasses at the brewery and loved it. There is truly a beer for almost anyone out there.

Styles range from light and refreshing lagers and blonde ales, to deep and robust stouts and barrel aged sours. BJCP (Beer Judge Certification Program) featured 34 main styles of beer in their 2015 list, each one with a multitude of subcategories. Styles are also evolving every year, as well as re-emerging into prominence. A gose(a German salted, soured ale) is categorized as a historical beer by BJCP standards, but they’ve just been coming back into popularity in the past few years. Needless to say, there are a lot of styles out there. If you find something you haven’t seen before, give it a try.

The India Pale Ale:

The most popular style of beer in the U.S., among competitions, is the American IPA. Any beer competition will have a little bit of everything, but they’re always flooded with American- style IPA category entries. India Pale Ales feature robust, refreshing hoppy flavors, and a crisp bitterness that can get a beer drinker hooked. It’s a style that people acquire a taste for though. IPAs are aggressive and overwhelming to your palate. In fact, it’s very natural to have an aversion to overly bitter beers. It’s based on an animal instinct to avoid bitter tastes, as they often correlate with poisonous plants.

craft beer basics intro-4

The Experience

A big part of why people are interested in craft beer is for the experience. Almost everyone above the age of 21 has had a Bud Light, but there isn’t much to be excited about with a Bud. Light American lagers are a bit bland, but that’s part of the reason they’re enjoyable. They’re simple, light, refreshing and easy drinking. They have their place, but they can get boring after awhile. Craft beer makes drinking an experience again, beyond just the effect alcohol plays in the fun.

Rather than just knowing that you like beer, you can try out a variety of styles and figure out what specifically you like about the beverage. Through that knowledge, you can find similar beers that showcase that characteristic specifically and discover other beers you’ll love. It sounds crazy, but once you have a firm foundation in craft beer experimentation, it’s really fun to try out new beers and talk about them. There’s way more to talk about than you might think.

The End

Well, that’s enough for now, go out and have yourself a beer. This post will be the first in a series introducing different facets of craft beer as a hobby. Be sure to let me know what you thought of the post or if you have any specific questions about beer in the comments below! Thanks for reading!

Images and references courtesy of: Medical Bag, The Brewers Association, the L.A. Times, The Craft Beer Academy