This content was originally published by The Hop Review, a digital magazine that joined the Hop Culture family in March 2020.
This piece was written by Jack Muldowney.
Each month, we share a handful of beers that we think you should know a little more about, through the perspective of our collective palate.
We tasted through the following 20 beers for April and rated them according to our very own interpretation of the BJCP scoring guidelines, on a scale of 100, listed in alphabetical order. We considered aroma, appearance, flavor, mouthfeel, overall impression and trueness to style.
This month coffee is king, a few stouts still linger into spring, IPAs return to non-hazy realm, and Michigan, the Northeast, and the UK get highlighted.
Barrel & Bean
PORTLAND, ME – 10% ABV
A great example of a non-malt-forward beer with a coffee addition; it’s surprisingly palatable, with plenty of roastiness and a mellow oaky finish.
Drink with: your Easter brunch.
LONDON, UK – 9.5% ABV
This is a coffee stout, no doubt about it. There’s espresso roast, without too much bitterness. Plus, it closes out with a pleasant, nutty finish.
Drink if: you crave a big bodied roast.
PORT CRANE, NY – 7.9% ABV
Third beer in the lineup, third straight coffee ale. This one’s a bit lighter in body, with a milky, hazelnuty profile. Didn’t detect much in the way of cinnamon, but that’s alright for this one.
Drink if: you’re a café con leche fan.
MARQUETTE, MI – 5.5% ABV
Blackrocks brought some intrigue to the standard cream ale, by dry-hopping it with Willamette. It’s a working man’s beer, with some zip. But, not too much zip. And what’s more April-y than rabbits?
Drink during: your first spring lawn-mowing session.
IPSWICH, UK – 4.3% ABV
A dry, crisp, citrusy session pale ale that fills and cleanses the palate beautifully. At just 4.3%, it still provides enough character to keep ya wanting more.
Drink when: the temperature finally hits 60.
SAN DIEGO, CA – 5.5% ABV
The more we encounter the hazy, the more we’re expecting uniqueness. This beer is simply “fine.” It actually drinks quite boozier on the tongue than you’d expect at 5.5%, and finishes with a bitter fruitiness.
Drink if: you’re still riding the haze train.
Paz y Piña
CHICAGO, IL – 7.1% ABV
How had we not heard about this one from Cruz Blanca yet? This is a beautiful, super hay-like funky, pineapple tropical farmhouse ale. It’s a lot to take in, in the best way and ends on an oaky buttery note.
Drink with: a few friends/fans of funk.
WIXOM, MI – 7.7% ABV
A piney, resinous, old school bitter IPA. Rather harsh, but a nice change-up from the haze craze that dominates the market.
Drink if: your IPA palate needs a reminder.
BBA Sap on Tap
GRAND HAVEN, MI – 10% ABV
An easy drinking BA stout, considering the ABV. A big maple and vanilla nose with an aftertaste that reminds us of dipping biscotti in milky coffee.
BROOKLYN, NY – 6.7% ABV
While we much prefer the saisons from Grimm, this IPA was a well balanced execution. It’s tropical and mellow, with a tinge of pineapple.
Drink if: you believe in the Brooklyn hype.
Czech Style Lager
KINGSVILLE, CAN – 5% ABV
Ontario’s Kingsville crafted this Czech-style lager, and it’s sweet, caramely, and bready. It’s a tad maltier than you’d hope, but the biscuity, doughiness of it add plenty of body for an easy-drinking lager.
Drink when: you need a reminder of the versatility of lagers.
LAGUNITAS x MOONLIGHT
petaluma/santa rosa, CA – 7.1% ABV
The ‘pale bock’ was a style originally brewed in the winter and held onto for Easter spring celebrations. This version is indeed pale, but with that is a lack of body and heft you hope for with a bock.
Drink if: you want another reminder of an old-world lager style.
Cuckoo for Coconuts
PORTLAND, ME – 8% ABV
Full of bubblegum and marshmallow sweetness on the nose, on the tongue this’s full of even more sweetness. There’s toasted coconut and plenty of milk chocolate. Is that a Mounds bar in there?
Drink as: a sweet-tooth alternative to Peeps
PORTLAND, ME – 8% ABV
A strong aroma of muddy earth exudes from this pungent mushroom stout. It’s fitting though, considering the dry finish and vanilla profile; a unique take.
Drink even if: you hate mushrooms.
FORT BRAGG, CA – 9.4% ABV
This was a surprisingly hefty alcoholic bruiser. We wanted a bit more robust, sweet malt body, but got too much unexpected papery dryness.
Drink because: it’s been a while since you had a Belgian abbey ale.
Zen & Zymurgy (#002)
COOPERSTOWN, NY – 5.8% ABV
A super well-executed blended farmhouse ale from the Belgian-style kings of NY. It’s just funky enough, with a Brett bite and an oaky buttery finish. Buy this.
Drink if: you need a special occasion beer to accompany your dinner.
GOTHENBURG, SWE – 6% ABV
Our first sample from Sweden’s O/O was this piney APA beauty. It poured out a lovely rocky head and presented us a pleasant lemony, grassy profile.
Drink if: you’re of fans of grassy IPAs.
HOOD RIVER, OR – 4.9% ABV
It’s crisp, grassy, and balanced by a honey sweetness. This is as classic and easy drinking as you could hope for is a pils.
Drink with: Korean tacos, like we did.
LAKEWOOD, NY – 4% ABV
I was taken aback when I saw this claiming to be an IPA. It’s so incredibly light, it’d fool anyone who traditionally avoids the style. But, along with that, there was little hop bitterness to round it out into an interesting drinker. But, just 110 calories…
Drink if: you are counting calories.
FALMOUTH, UK – 4.5% ABV
Verdant hits another home run with this one. From the citrusy, lemony dry profile to the somehow sort-of-creamy finish, it’s a fantastic reminder that IPAs can be fruity and flavorful without being ‘brut’ or ‘juicy.’ We like that.
Drink if: you need an intro into excellent UK takes on the American pale ale.
The Hop Review’s monthly beer reviews are collected from beers gathered at the discretion of our team. They include beers collected from travels as well as shared samples.
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