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 14 beers for June and rated them according to our very own interpretation of the BJCP scoring guidelines, on [for the first time ever] a newly implemented 5-star scale and listed in alphabetical order. We considered aroma, appearance, flavor, mouthfeel, overall impression and trueness to style. The rating system can be interpreted as follows:
✶✶✶✶✶ SEEK IT OUT
✶✶✶✶ VERY GOOD
✶✶ 2 STARS
✶ SKIP IT
This month DIPAs dominate, summer sours take the stage, and California and Michigan get highlighted.
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – 4.4% ABV
A light, yet fruity, easy drink’n tropical IPA. This silty brown pour is deceiving from appearance to palate, but is a nice break from other dense takes on the hazy styles.
Drink to: break from the other hazies.
STOWE, VT – 8% ABV
The keystone stout from the famous makers of ‘old school’ NEIPAs. It’s intensely roasty, and chocolately with obvious nods to burnt toast, with a hoppy dank tinge.
Drink if: you like burnt toast.
BEND, OR – 4.3% ABV
Where to begin here…? While the ‘kombucha radler’ descriptor provided intrigue, this simply missed the mark on all fronts, and unanimously so.
Drink if: you want to zing your tongue, for better or worse.
PITTSBURGH, PA – 5.0% ABV
This was a pleasant and welcome surprise, from PA. It’s grainy, and dry yet balanced perfectly so. Immediately, we recognized this as a perfect pair-with-pizza beer.
Drink while: you’re splitting a large spicy sausage pizza with some cohorts.
Imperial Brown Stout
LONDON, UK – 9.1% ABV
A deceptively welcome drinker, given it’s 9.1% ABV. It’s got big fudgy body, with a slightly dry bitter finish. Like a boozy brownie.
Drink to: replace your chocolatey dessert.
PETALUMA, CA – 7.4% ABV
A Lagunitas-style ale you’ve come toexpect. It brings–as the brewery describes it–that seasonally unexpected wet-hop flavor to an unfiltered, juicy nectar. We’ll toss in ‘dank’ to the descriptor list, too.
Drink to: remind ya of the West Coast IPAs.
Oak Barrel Aged Flanders Red Ale
CHICAGO, IL – 6.7% ABV
Everything about this one had us excited. In a sea of trendiness, simply brewing a Flanders red is intriguing. However, it’s oakiness is hard to detect, alongside a sweet, citrusy Flanders-sourness. Points for differentiation, still.
Drink to: shake things up.
State of Bean
KALAMAZOO, MI – 5.5% ABV
Adversely, nothing about this had me excited, yet, I was floored by how much it caught me off guard. Coffee? Hardly there; instead butterscotch meets pecan…meets butter, in this rich blonde ale from Kalamazoo.
Drink with: some strawberry shortcake.
Roasted Agave Heart Gose
CHICAGO, IL – 4.0% ABV
This one had us expecting a hefty dose of tart and tang. However, we were met with a much lighter take on your traditional salty sour gose. It’s crisp and a bit crackery, with a slight smokiness and just enough sour to appease the style.
Drink with: a heaping bowl of chips ‘n guac.
CINCINNATI, OH – 9.3% ABV
Remember big, sweet, dank DIPAs? Well this Midwest take is full-bodied, moderately bitter and impressively balanced. It’s a boozer, still, with a passion fruit meets melon fruitiness that proves ‘old school DIPAs’ are still welcome.
Drink to: slowly end your evening, with a friend or three.
BROOKLYN, NY – 4.0% ABV
Holy sweetness, Batman! This is a vessel full of liquified Fruity Pebbles, with the slightest tangy bite. If there ever was a ‘beer for people who don’t like beer’…
Drink on: a sun-soaked boat deck, alongside a cocktail or two, if you can.
The Great Filter
COMSTOCK PARK, MI – 7.0% ABV
Admittedly, we’ve sat on this bottle for a few months. And this foeder aged sour with honey held its own. It’s oaky, funky and sweet with a slight grassy/earthiness. Yes.
Drink when: your hop-soaked taste buds need a repreive.
SAN DIEGO, CA – 8.5% ABV
A candied, fruity, classic DIPA. Stone says it best: ‘juiced up with massive tropical & citrus notes; the mild bitterness and dry body compliment the style, and the residual maltiness nicely rounds it out.’
Drink: if you’re overdue for a Stone.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – 3.5% ABV
This Kolsch brewed for post-run consumption is a nod to endurance athletes and its bee pollen recipe is meant to aid in recovery. At a watery 3.5%, I can certainly see it’s after-race appeal. But…it lacks anything memorable beyond that.
Drink: a few to quench your thirst, post-run.
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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