Bell’s Brewery, Inc. – Hopslam – This beverage is one of the more sought after beers in the area. Bell’s has a solid distribution area in twenty states. But this beer is one of their specialties and only comes out once a year. It’s so popular that a beer store in town was accused of buying cases from other stores for later re-sale. Thanks to the Columbus Dispatch for that gem of a story. Is this beer worth getting in trouble for, yes. They use six varieties of hops and toss in Simcoe hops during the dry hopping process. Bell’s also throws in honey just for a touch of sweetness which is the only thing taming this beast of bitterness. They don’t list an IBU but it’s got to be around my 90 IBU threshold. It’s a double IPA so it packs a punch at 10.0% ABV. It’s only available from January until March so you’re out of luck for now but keep your eyes peeled next year.
Brooklyn Brewery – Sorachi Ace – I didn’t know the story behind this beer until reading their website. Here’s what they had to say:
A large Japanese brewery first developed the hop variety “Sorachi Ace” in 1988. A cross between the British “Brewer’s Gold” and the Czech “Saaz” varieties, it exhibited a quality that was unexpected – it smelled really lemony.
This beer is part of their Beer Master’s Reserve line because of the uniqueness of the hops. When I was tasting this beer though it was the Belgian yeast used that stood out to me. I do think that yeast has a flavor that pairs well with the lemon so it’s a good pairing. The hops aren’t overwhelming either with an IBU of 34. The hops certainly delivers a punch though because this beer is 7.6% ABV. Though I had this beer in January, it’s a perfect beer for the warm weather that is coming around now. If you can find it in your area, go give this special beverage a try.
North High Brewing Co. – Blonde – This company keeps popping up. It shows how much I drink local by tossing these reviews into the mix and helps to keep things fresh for me. Because my two favorite beers in town are the Blondes from Zauber and Four String, I knew this one had some stiff competition. This one varies from the others because it is lower in IBU, 17 compared to 30 and 28. The ABV is higher than the other at 6.7%, compared to 5.5% and 5.0%. Both of these differences make a difference in the taste. The Belgian yeast needs to be offset by a little more bitterness so this one isn’t quite as balanced as the others. It’s nice to have a more punch but it isn’t a session beer like they suggest. Don’t get the wrong idea either, I enjoyed this beer but I’m putting it in third place in Columbus.
Great Lakes Brewing Co. – Edmund Fitzgerald – I was not surprised to find out this beer was on tap at Zauber Brewing since Geoff Towne had mentioned to me that this was his favorite beverage when he worked for Great Lakes. I had bought a 12 of Great Lakes for a party shortly after he had said this but the Fitzgerald was already drank by the time I had thought about it. Don’t worry, that wasn’t the only beer supplied for the party. Having it at the bar was my first time drinking it since finding out this information. I’m not sure it changed my opinion on it either. I avoided this one because I kept mixing it up with their Commodore Perry, which is an IPA. Fitzgerald is a tasty porter with roasted malt and just enough hops (at 37 IBUs) to be peaking it’s head above the malt. It has just the right thickness too, not as thick as a stout but thicker than any other beer. This beer isn’t quite session-able at 5.8% but it won’t knock your block off either. I would suggest getting your hands on this porter, so long as they distribute in your area.
It’s Memorial Day Weekend, so make some pasta salad, break out your cooler, grab a #SippyTimeBeer and enjoy the three day weekend. – Kevin
Filed under: Beer Reviews, Kevin's Blog | Tagged: Bell's Brewery, Blonde, Brooklyn Brewery, Commodore Perry, Edmund Fitzgerald, Great Lakes Brewing Company, Hopslam, Memorial Day, North High Brewing Company, Sorachi Ace |