Tropical Cream Pop IPA, Bolero Snort Tropical?

Bolero Snort TVB Tropical Cream Pop IPA

(C) 2017 popsonhops

Tropical Cream Pop
Tasting: September 16, 2017
Style: IPA with mango, pineapple, milk sugar and vanilla
Beer #: 1,094
ABV: 6.3%

Tropical. Aaah. Makes me think of a mid-winter retreat to my favorite Caribbean destination, Grand Cayman. Pardon me while I have a sensory memory of deplaning via the rolling staircase. The hot and humid air is intensified and stirred up by the whirring jet engines. An instant lather of sweat wells up as I haul my luggage to the car rental office across the street. Last year, it was so hot, the wheels on my luggage melted (yes, really). My thickened New Jersey blood needs a week of tropical rum punch and lawnmower beer to help me acclimate.

Okay, daydream over. Let’s pour a beer. This can’s label indicates that this IPA is made with mango, pineapple, milk sugar, and vanilla. Unfortunately, I don’t get any of these flavors. Way off the mark here. Has a mild throat burn and a clunky bitterness. A bit too  too much in the way of lime or citrus rind. No juiciness whatsoever. Tropical Cream pop may have a couple moments when it’s tolerable but the false palate readings don’t help. 83 points, yikes.

The Orange Cream Pop was a bit better

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M-43 New England Style IPA Old Nation ...and Juicy New England Style IPA from Petoskey Brewing

Trillium Brewing Double Dry Hopped Summer Street

(C) 2017 popsonhops

East Coast vs West Coast Craft Beer

There’s this “east coast versus west coast” thing in beer. Funny, there seems to be an east coast versus west coast thing virtually everywhere. In football, there is the west coast offense versus northeastern smash mouth football. Rap music had a bicoastal rivalry that resulted in more than one murder. For many years, craft beer has had a rivalry. The west coast (specifically California) has Pliny the Elder and the east coast (specifically Vermont) has Heady Topper and fans bicker over which is better.

In Massachusetts, brewers like Trillium and Tree House have kicked up the rivalry a bit with a trendy push to hazy looking or unfiltered juice bombs. These beers moved away from the assault of bitterness found in popular west coast style IPA and highlight flavors of fleshy citrus and sweet tropical fruits. However, brewers from Oregon have claimed to have been creating these juice bombs long before their east coast counterparts.

What makes New England Style IPA different than other IPA?

According to Beer and Brewing, unlocking the Secrets of New England Style IPA Here are the six characteristics that distinguish the style:

  1. Higher protein malts, such as wheat and oats, in the grist (POH: grist is de-husked grain or could mean grain already ground)
  2. Use of contemporary, fruit-forward hops varietals
  3. Restrained bitterness from fewer kettle-hops additions (POH: kettle hops are added at start of boil) and higher whirlpool-hops rates (POH: Whirlpool is cooked beer or wort that is pumped into a vessel at high velocity causing a whirlpool)
  4. Adjusted water chemistry to favor higher chloride levels than typical for IPAs
  5. Fermenting with a low-attenuating (POH: attenuating is the amount or percentage of sugar consumed by yeast), low-flocculating (POH: flocculation describes how yeast react at the end of their life-cycle), ester-forward yeast strain
  6. Unique dry-hopping techniques and schedules, including dry hopping during fermentation

If you don’t live in New England, what’s a beer lover to do?

The New England style IPA has gained a strong legion of fans but unfortunately, the most popular brewers in the northeast are self-distribution and typically brewery-only releases. Trading sites on Facebook are bursting with activity and interest in juice bombs from the northeast.

Other regional brewers have started to introduce their own interpretation of the style and I’m glad to have my hands on two popular entries from the great craft beer state of Michigan.

M-43 Old Nation Brewing

M-43 IPA Old Nation Brewing, NE Style IPA, part of the New Orthodox Series of IPA

(C) 2017 popsonhops

Tasting: September 8, 2017
Style: New England Style IPA
Beer # : 1,092
ABV: 6.8%

M-43 is a 136-mile Michigan highway that connects the East Lansing area, Kalamazoo and points southwest. The highway also passes through Williamston, the location of Old Nation Brewing. This beer could be the quintessential New England style IPA of the region and I’m happy that my friend gave me one from his recent trade.

M-43 is the first release in Old Nation’s “New Orthodox” IPA series, it uses Calypso, Simcoe, Citra and Amarillo hops. According to the brewery, it promises citrus, tropical notes of pineapple, mango and grapefruit with a soft, pillowy mouthfeel. Bitterness is moderate at an IBU of 65.

I got plenty of juice with mango, papaya and pineapple. Really enjoyable, I wish I had more. 94 points.

Visit the Old Nation Brewery Website

Tasting: September 8, 2017
Style: New England Style IPA
Beer # : 1,093
ABV: 5.7%

Juicy New England Style IPA brewed by Petoskey Brewing, Petosky, Michigan

(C) popsonhops

Juicy? Not in my book but entirely drinkable. Has a lot of tea leaf and honey. I like that the bitterness is throttled back. The flavor does drop-out mid-palate and there is some odd fizziness on the finish. In conclusion, Juicy is a solid beer at 92 points.

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Jigsaw Jazz by Fort Hill Brewery Is it a masterpiece or muzak?

Jigsaw Jazz Ameican Double/ Imperial IPA by Fort Hill Brewery Southhampton, MA

(C) 2017 popsonhops.com

Jigsaw Jazz

Tasting: June 18, 2017
Style: American Double / Imperial IPA
Beer #: 1,091
ABV: 9.3%

Even though our coolers would be packed to the gills with goodies from both Trillium and Tree House, my friend and I could not resist a stop at Yankee Beverage in Sturbridge to investigate some of the local “shelfies”. It’s like a treasure hunt, but this time there weren’t any rare gems to be found in a sea of unfamiliar labels. Since Jigsaw Jazz was recommended to my friend before our trip, we each bought a six-pack of twelve-ounce cans.

A little odd this one. The first sip is of clove and cracked black pepper. Opens up to a tropical fruit IPA complete with grape juice and melon. Alcohol is wonderfully concealed. I’ll also say I expected a pretty big sweet malt base to support the ABV but it isn’t overly sweet. Not a fan of the upfront spices but overall, Jigsaw Jazz is a well-executed beer, 89 points.

Visit the brewery’s website

How about another Belgian-influenced IPA?

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Tree Bucket, Hair Raiser, DCBC1 and more Brewmaster Jack, Hoppiness is a Warm Pun.

Tasting: November 14, 2016
Style: Belgian-style hybrid IPA
Beer #: 1,087
ABV: 9.3%

Brewery Vivant
Tree Bucket

This can was a gift from a friend. Overall, I’d call it interestingly unique. Tree Bucket has a strong Belgian influence of clove and spice but fairly complimentary pairing to the grassy and lemon hops. I like it mostly for its change of pace. Interesting and well-done execution of a hybrid style, 88 points.

Visit the Brewery Vivant Website

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Tasting: May 28, 2017
Style: American Double / Imperial IPA
Beer #: 1,088
ABV:8.2%

Brewmaster Jack
Hoppiness is a Warm Pun

I’m a sucker for suggestions from beer clerks and this single can came as a suggestion while buying some SingleCut in Warwick, NY. Up front, I get some potent lime with some minor tangerine and biscuit, cereal grains. Some sugary syrup and a little boozy astringency. Not bad, but wouldn’t seek out again 87 points.

Visit Brewmaster Jack Website

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Tasting: July 30, 2017
Style: American Double / Imperial IPA
Beer #: 1,089
ABV: 8.0%

Exhibit A
Hair Raiser

Pours very clear rich amber color. Has herbal, clove and black pepper up front. Takes some time to acclimate. Does balance with some melon sweetness. Mouthfeel is somewhat syrupy. Hops offer some mild citrus. All-in-all, well-balanced beer. 90 points.

Visit “Exhibit A” Website

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Tasting: August 27, 2017
Style: Bourbon-barrel aged Imperial Brown Ale
Beer #:1,090
ABV: 10.5%

Dark City
DCBC 1

Usually, bourbon-barrel aging will lend complimentary flavors of vanilla, oak, earthy woodsiness. This influence in this can of DCBC 1 is far from complimentary as these may be the only flavors. Oh, maybe some booziness to boot. Almost like they left a little too much bourbon at the bottom of the barrel (wink-wink). Luckily, I like bourbon influence enough to give DCBC 1 a score of 88 points.

Dark City
DCBC1

Visit Dark City Website

How about some more odds and ends?

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