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 October and rated them according to our very own interpretation of the BJCP scoring guidelines, on 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 hazy IPAs…are still here, a few big stouts enter the fold, and a handful of saisons really win with their creativity…
PORTLAND, ME – 5.5% ABV
The faintest bit of funk is the highlight with this Pils from Allagash, which gave us an otherwise sweet, grain-forward and buttery lager that we honestly wish was a bit more refreshing if we had one wish…
Drink if: you enjoy grain-forward lagers.
TOURPES, BEL – 6.1% ABV
Here, Allagash and Dupont show us what they do best: make industry standard farmhouse ales. This saison is perfectly yeast-celebrated with a noticeable–and welcome–hop bite and a tinge of spice.
Drink to: wake up your palate.
PORTLAND, ME – 6.5% ABV
Brewed for Trader Joe’s, this organic IPA option from Maine is very even keel. It’s West Coast inspired, with a dank, piney-meets-citrus bitterness that closes out with a bready crisp finish. Nothing to wow ya here and that’s the point we’d guess.
Drink if: you want a cost-effective IPA.
CHICAGO, IL – 12.0% ABV
This bruiser from the Une Année folks is from earlier this year, but we had to pull it back out for fall. It’s still plenty coconut/vanilla sweet, and more mellow than its 12% would lead you to expect. Still, share this one with a couple pals.
Drink with: a few friends.
CHICAGO, IL – 5.3% ABV
Our first taste of this new Chicago saison project (from a former Pipeworks brewer) was a welcome entry to the brand. Rye is present, with a peppery and coriander bite that you would expect from a saison. Plus, it introduced us to triticale.
Drink because: the hype is for real…
Fuego del Otono
DEXTER, MI – 6.1% ABV
This collaboration with Monkish is deceptive; it drinks less ‘sour’ ale than it does as a funky beer disguised as a cider. It’s loaded with rye and nutmeg spice, and a touch of plum, making it perfectly ‘fall’ as the name implies.
BELGRADE, SERBIA – 6.2% ABV
This porter from the Serbian brewery we’ve come to know and enjoy is a very mellow version of the style. It drinks a bit thin and cola-like, with a dark berry profile and prickly, carbonated finish.
Drink because: it’s a Serbian porter.
PETALUMA, CA – 7.7% ABV
Another hazy IPA from Lagunitas, it’s a murky, mellow, melony and very easy drinking NEIPA. It’s super soft thanks to the abundance of oats, as well as fruit forward. Drinks much easier than 8%.
Drink if: you’re looking to…get hazy.
ATLANTA, GA – 7.1% ABV
This hazy from Atlanta gives off a Swiss-cheesy aroma that subsides immediately upon first sip to welcome a soft Mosaic-Simcoe-El Dorado profile with a slight hop bite finish.
Drink on: a Monday night, like we did.
Storming the Gates
COMSTOCK PARK, MI – 7.0% ABV
Here you’ve got a candied pineapple, creamy, fluffy hazy that’s very ‘of the moment’ (in style and in cultural reference). Don’t expect this one to last too long, much like the news story.
Drink if: you enjoy candied fruit.
TIJUANA, MEX – 9.3% ABV
A World Beer Cup award winner, this imperial stout from down south conveys a bevy of characteristics: nutty, light coffee, caraway seeds, dry and chalky. It’s a welcome take on a bigger stout, without the need for time in a barrel.
Drink if: you want less coffee in your coffee stout.
King of Carrot Flowers
DENVER, CO – 5.9% ABV
We’ve gotta say, we were most worried about this beer–given its carrot juice and elderflower additions. But, this saison won us over in its surprise factor and creativity. It’s sweet, orange zesty, and drank like a radler-meets-creamsicle.
Drink in place of: an actual creamsicle.
SANTA MONICA BREW WORKS
SANTA MONICA, CA – 12.0% ABV
This BBA stout is unmistakably vanilla abundant. It’s decadent, with a touch of chocolate to pair with its obvious marshmallow characteristics. It’s a dessert stout without being overly sweet, and will warm you right up at 12% ABV.
Drink if: you’re still looking for a way to enjoy a S’more into the chillier weather..
Old Fashioned Ale
ST. LOUIS, MO – 8.0% ABV
Another caramelly offering from STL, lighter-than-a-cocktail cocktail inspired ale is mellow, buttery, and just the slightest bit of oaky. While it smells much like its namesake drink, we wish it tasted just a bit more akin to it too. Still, a really fun beer to share with a friend.
Drink to: substitute an Old Fashioned.
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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