“Good ideas often start over beer. Always looking to take a good thing too far, we sat down and over a beer (or two) decided that beer itself was a good idea. Of course, not just some easy-drinking institutional prole beer, but stuff like the beers we’d had at great bars. We had frequented places with extensive and varied beer lists. Places with lists 180 items long, all of which we tried twice (not in one night). In short, we wanted beer with flavor. Complexity. Character. Intensity. Not words found in the mass market lexicon.” Continue Read here
CLOSURE ALE: 82 Points
This American Pale Ale is released with a different hop every time it is brewed. Available in 12 oz. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “When one door closes…Ready to put the past behind you and reach for something new?”
My Description: My initial issue with this beer is that it is brewed with a new hop variety every time but it doesn’t say anything about it on the bottle. I had no idea what hop this beer was highlighting, when I looked it up online it tells me they used Apollo hops but how am I to know that this particular bottle is the one with Apollo hops. These hops are spicy and citrusy, which this beer has but Closure Ale also has some floral notes. Whatever, I reviewed this ale without thinking about which hop they used! It pours a large, off-white colored head with a retention level that holds for a while leaving behind an abundant amount of lacing. The aroma smells sweet with notes of malt, biscuits, floral hops, and herbal hops. The aroma left me curious with what the flavor profile would be because this beer smells sweeter than other APA’s I’ve had. Closure Ale is medium bodied, with a moderate carbonation level, and a dry finish. The flavor profile has a big malt backbone that delivers caramel malt notes and a hefty amount of sweetness, but that doesn’t hide the floral hop notes which are strong and flavorful. Some orange peel notes and a hint of hop spice can also be detected. The aftertaste is moderately bitter but it could be cleaner. It tastes somewhat sharp and the transition to the finish isn’t smooth. I think the flavors need some improvement because they don’t’ work harmoniously together. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with pecan crusted salmon, coconut shrimp, or a fruit salad.
ABV: 6.1% Color: Copper/Dark Orange Sweetness: 3/10 Bitterness: 5/10
DUNEGRÄS: 92 Points
This IPA is available year-round in 12 oz. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “A justly hopped india pale ale with absolutely no dunegrass. Combining west coast and noble hops, we created our own IPA with a shining finish. And as an environmental treat, absolutely no dunegrass was killed in order to make our fine beer, so drink up!”
My Description: I’m not sure what the name of this beer means but I know it is a well crafted American IPA. It pours a very large and fluffy, light tan colored head with an excellent retention level that holds the whole way leaving behind a nice amount of lacing. The aroma is a hop bomb that smells delightful with notes of American hops like pine and citrus along with some floral hop notes and a touch of malt. Dungräs is medium/full bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. This beer tastes great and is balanced beautifully. A strong malt backbone holds up notes of pine hops and hints of caramel malt. Hop spice undertones and a touch of floral hops add depth. The aftertaste is moderately bitter, very clean, and lingers for some time. I can see this as an easy choice when searching for a local Michigan IPA. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with Thai noodles, spicy shrimp, or fried chicken.
ABV: 6.7% Color: Hazy Amber Sweetness: 2.5/10 Bitterness: 5.5/10
SUNSPOT: 88 Points
This Hefeweizen is released seasonally in the Summer months in 12 oz. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “A hot way to cool down. Hot. Drenched. Delightfully blinding. Right. We’re not talking about that ball of fire in the sky, but our refreshing Hefewiezen. Skip the shade and down a glass or two and be cool.”
My Description: This beer goes down smooth and satisfies on that warm Summer night. It begins with a decent, off-white/tan colored head that thins down to a film that lingers for some time leaving behind a minimal amount of lacing. Surprisingly, the aroma has a sweet note that stands out along with your typical Hefe notes of yeast spices like cloves and bubblegum. Sunspot is medium bodied with a slightly higher carbonation level and a dry finish. It drinks a little thicker than most Hefeweizens from Germany, which affects the overall drinkability slightly but it also makes it unique. The flavor profile is tasty and interesting because there seems to be a woodsy-like flavor throughout that is faint but noticeable. Big banana notes dominate along with yeast notes of cloves and a mild note of black pepper. Some earthiness can also be detected and the hop notes become more prominent as the beer warms. I enjoyed this offering from Greenbush, it isn’t as clean or refreshing as their German counterparts but nonetheless Sunspot is flavorful and satisfying.
ABV: 6% Color: Murky Apricot Sweetness: 2/10 Bitterness: 2.5/10
REMNANT OF DRAGON: 94 Points
This Imperial Red IPA is a limited release in 12 oz. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: N/A
My Description: This is a well designed IRIPA, it begins with a very large and dense, off-white colored head with an excellent retention level that leaves behind a good amount of lacing. The aroma is bold and smells clean with American hops dominating like pine and citrus. Caramel malt can be detected and there are also tropical hop notes such as mangoes and pineapple juice that add character. Remnant is medium/full bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. This beer boasts strong and intense hop flavors that taste just like they smell with notes of citrus hops and tropical fruit hops. But, there is a noticeable malt backbone to this beer with caramel malt flavors and notes of toasted bread making this beer nicely balanced. As the beer warms, it becomes more complex and flavorful without losing its smoothness. The aftertaste has a moderately high bitterness level that drowns out the alcohol nicely. I love Red IPA’s and this is right up there with a great flavor profile, an excellent body, and potent bitterness level. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with grilled sausage, spicy Buffalo wings, or beef stew.
ABV: 9% Color: Orange/Red Sweetness: 2.5/10 Bitterness: 7/10
SOTTO VOCE: 80 Points
This Witbier is released for a limited time in 12 oz. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “Our crisp American Wit with oranges, cardamom, peppercorn and toasted fennel seed will leave you speechless.”
My Description: This is a satisfying beer for those hot days. It pours an extremely large, off-white colored head that lasts the whole way leaving an abundant amount of lacing. The aroma is mild and pleasant with notes of orange juice, floral hops, wheat malt, and some yeast notes as well. Sotto Voce is light/medium bodied with a slightly higher carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is tasty enough but the orange juice isn’t as present as I thought it would be. There are notes of sweet malt, yeast spices, and a hint of orange zest. The aftertaste is slightly bitter with lingering clove and spice notes. There is nothing off putting about this beer but at the same time I have had many other witbiers that were better executed. Nonetheless, it is still a fine beer. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with grilled shrimp, salads, or sautéed asparagus.
ABV: 6.3% Color: Golden/Orange/Amber Sweetness: 2/10 Bitterness: 3/10