Head High Tasting: September 1, 2017 Style: American-style IPA Beer #: 1,102 ABV: 6.6%
I have foodie friends and when they gush on about certain dishes, they often describe the fresh flavor. I think everyone gets that sentiment, and it’s easy to distinguish the differences between freshly picked tomatoes from your garden and the flavorless red things sold at the supermarket. I think the same can be said for hop-based beer. A positive experience can be described as a beer that has a fresh hop flavor. That is a bit deceiving as many hops used are dried and pelletized and really aren’t fresh off the vine. I think the interpretation is that you can taste the true characteristics of the hop and the latest evolution of craft beer has brewers working to spotlight a fresh flavor.
For many years, hops were added primarily in mid-boil and late boil. The mid-boil hop addition converts the alpha acids found in hops to bitterness compounds. The late hop addition released enough hop oils to contribute to a beer’s aroma. The boiling of hops doesn’t do much for imparting that fresh hop flavor. Today, brewers are shifting away from the bitterness addition and concentrating on the late or post cooling by using hopbacks, whirlpools and dry/wet hopping. So, when someone say that a beer has a fresh hop flavor, a lot of creativity went into the finished product.
A friend stopped by Kane during a recent beach trip and picked me up a few four-packs of Head High and Overhead – 93 points. Purely a guess, but I think Head High and Overhead might describe wave heights as overhead represents an imperial IPA as compared to the base IPA.
I’ve had this beer many times and I’m surprised that it hasn’t appeared in my blog. Fresh hops abound here and Head High is a solid go to beer, 91 points.
If you want release information, Kane tends to make announcements via their Instagram Page
Tasting: September 29, 2017 Beer # 1,095 ABV: 6.8%
Apparently, they’ve tweaked the earlier version of Wrench IPA. According to the label, they had to “unlearn everything”. I’m glad they did as this is very New England. It’s entirely smooth, drinkable and crisp. I get a pithy lemon, pear some mellow mango and a wisp of pineapple. Wrench IPA is a very nice 91 points.
Tasting: September 29, 2017 Beer # 1,096 ABV: 5.4%
Label says that this is tastefully dry-hopped with Cascade, Centennial and Comet hops. Simplistic and not much depth here but still entirely drinkable. A tad fizzy a little clunky bitter on the finish. I’d tab Green Room at 86 points.
Silent Disco by Funk Brewing
Tasting: September 30, 2017 Style: American IPA Beer#: 1, 097 ABV: 6.8%
Pear and citrus upfront. Just a tad fizzy and has some minor throat burn. However, still a well-balanced easy drinking beer. In conclusion, 90 points.
The theme of this past weekend was New York/New Jersey breweries and the two-fold highlight was that I scored a four-pack of Grimm Artisan Ales’ Afterimage at the Growler and Gill and my friend scored me a four pack of each of the Other Half releases at the Brooklyn brewery.
Brooklyn has established itself as an artisan community and it seems like hand-made craft culture has made its way to a number of critically acclaimed brewers that call the borough home. It begs the question – is Brooklyn the new Vermont of the craft beer world?
Both Brooklyn-based breweries featured here are clearly on an upward trajectory. Other Half was started in 2014 by Samuel Richardson and Matt Monahan. I fell in love with this brewery after having just one of their offerings – All I See is Green – 93 points. It just dripped of fresh resinous, dankness. Their reputation grows with each can release.
Grimm Artisan Ales was started in 2013 by a husband and wife team – Joe and Lauren Grimm. This Brooklyn couple are currently “nomadic” brewers and they took the craft beer world by storm with their surprising silver medal in the 2014 Great American Beer Festival for their stout Double Negative – 93 points. In an era of stout aged in bourbon-rye-whiskey-tequlia-rum barrels with vanilla-coffee-pepper-coconut added, Double Negative is just straightforward awesomeness. This can release has also created quite the buzz in the craft beer community.
Let’s have some beer!
Other Half: All Green Everything Tasting: September 26, 2015 Style: Triple IPA Beer #: 814 ABV: 10.5%
Wow – this one from Other Half is an absolute monster – massive flavor bombards – raw dank hops, sticky and resinous. Rich with mango, pineapple and grapefruit. The real story here is the massive wave of boozy heat. It’s a love hate thing and I’m in the camp that it somewhat detracts from the experience. Could have been a classic but the booziness tempers the experience – 93 points.
An afterimage refers to an image continuing to appear in one’s vision after the exposure to the original image has ceased. Think of the area that float in your vision after briefly looking into a light source. I’ve stared at the can and nothing. Maybe better results after emptying the can.
Afterimage has wonderful nose and my first impression is that this Imperial IPA has a beautiful texture. Fresh, green hops, wonderful but mellow citrus. My only knock is that the flavor is a bit demure for such a rich body. Don’t get me wrong – this is an awesome beer and I’d love to have a fridge full of Afterimage. 95 points.
Other Half: Citra Tasting: October 6, 2015 Style: IPA Beer #: 816 ABV: 7.0%
Citra hops hit the craft beer world in 2008 and are a dual purpose hop with high alpha acid content of 11-13% (strong bitterness qualities). A flexible hop that can be used for bittering and flavor/aroma. It imparts aromas/flavors of passion fruit, tropical fruit, and citrus.
Other Half has been producing a number of single hop ales and Citra would seem to be a perfect ale for this versatile and popular hop.
I love Citra hops – so crisp and tart. Citrus rind in the background along with honey, melon. Herbal, peppery finish. Solid effort 92 points.
Other Half: Cascade Tasting: October 6, 2015 Style: IPA Beer #: 817 ABV:7.0%
Another single hop ale, this time using a craft beer classic – Cascade. First used commercially in 1976, cascade imparts a pleasant, flowery and spicy, citrus-like quality with a slight grapefruit characteristic. The hop is good for both flavor and aroma uses.
Not much up front as the hops kick in on the tail end with some muddled citrus bitterness. Not a well-balanced beer 86 points.
Other Half: Green Diamonds Tasting: October 7, 2015 Style: IPA Beer #: 818 ABV:9.1%
Acquired in a deal for some other Other Half beers. It seems my trade partner had made it a point to get all of the single hop releases from Other Half but he missed Citra and Cascade. Definitely sticky and dank and raw with green hops. Nice tropical fruits. While All Green Everything was a bit too boozy, Green Diamonds delivers some boozy heat, it makes its presence known but doesn’t detract from this well-balance imperial IPA – nicely done 94 points.
Other Half: Hop Showers Tasting: October 8, 2015 Style: IPA Beer #: 819 ABV:7.4%
Acquired as a bonus beer in my Green Diamonds trade. Not sure if it was bargaining positioning but my partner swears this is his favorite beer from Other Half. Crisp and citrus bitterness up front with a diminishing herbal finish. Entirely drinkable and before I know it the entire sixteen ounce can is gone. Nice beer 90 points.