|Highest Rated||Hazy IPA (86 / 100)
||Average score||69 / 100 (Very Good)|
|Lowest Rated||Wheeze the Juice (57 / 100)
69 / 100
Pint can purchased from Tasty Beverage Co. in Asheville, NC. Brought back to Sydney and shared with Sam. Canning date of 01/25/2019.
Very hazy, slightly dark peachy colour with a fine ring of gauzy white that leaves specks of lace. Body is full and firm, with fine carbonation.
Nose is a little bit dirty and chalky, but it does have an underlying character of pasteurized tropical juice, with a bit of guava and banana. Slight pepper comes through as well, which again is not necessarily the character you really want. Aromatic banana and pandan leaf comes through as it warms, giving a bit more of a tropical evocation.
Taste is also a little bit gritty at the start, but it does have more of a rounded fruit character, almost a little bit berry-like, with strawberry and more guava. There's a touch of bitterness towards the back, a little more than you expect for the style, but it may just be the confluence of the extra booze and the front-loaded hops. It's still pretty nice.
Feel is smooth, but with a slight chalkiness.
Overall, it's a pleasant, drinkable beer for the most part. It's not a stellar example of a NEIPA though, so it falls a little bit down on what you feel it's trying to do. I like how well the booze is hidden, at least.
Pint can purchased from St. Gambrinus in Brooklyn.
Pours a pleasant hazy yellow colour, with a foamy, fairly coarse head of white that leaves large specks of lace. Body is fairly light, actually, liquid and swift in the body, with minimal carbonation. Looks okay, but not one of the best looks to a beer.
Nose is pleasant. It has a strong mid-fruit sweetness. Mangoes and pineapple are strong, and the citrus takes a back seat. The herbal characters you sometimes get are really quite subdued. But it is aromatic. There are notes of rubbed lemon and a little lavender. All up: very pleasant.
Taste is soft and supple. It's a little bit doughy—or too sweet perhaps. It doesn't have the bite to really make the balance quite right. Not even the sharp fruit aromatics which would provide a complement to the heavy sweetness. It's not bad, but it's too one sided—a NEIPA in theory, but missing too much of the things which make for a good overall beer. It's pleasant though.
I think I've used the adjective "pleasant" more than any other in this review, and I think that's a fair way to summarise it. It's not the kind of beer that really extends the style, nor one that really exemplifies it, and there are some things which drag it back a bit. But it's perfectly reasonable and pretty drinkable. I'm not sure why I'd drink this though when there's plenty more options.
78 / 100
Pint can purchased from St. Gambrinus in Brooklyn.
Pours a very deep golden colour, almost brassy in the depths, with a moderate amount of hazing, but certainly not opaque. Head is a frothy cap of white, that leaves tiny streaks of lace. Body is fairly light and fluid.
Nose is rather pleasant, with a hop direction more towards woody and herbal than most NEIPAs. But it works rather nicely, with some light fruit backing it up—a little passionfruit and lime perhaps, under the broader, earthier tones.
Taste is also very good. Here, there's more of a luscious fruit quality, and a smoothness on the palate that delicately transforms into a soft finish. It doesn't cloy, but it doesn't prickle with overt bitterness—it's just naturally balanced. Through the mid you get hints of mango and pineapple, leavened by some of those herbal tones—a little parsley or celery leaf, perhaps.
Feel is good. Not as creamy and soft as some NEIPAs, but suitable—not overly carbonated.
Overall, this is a nice beer. I'd not come across Alewife before (nor heard any particular recommendations for them), but this was a solid entry, and a very nice NEIPA.
On tap at the brewery.
Cloudy pale orange colour, amber. Head is white, filmy around the edge. Lacing is good, just generally looks good.
Smells hugely tropical. Big pineapple, banana, pawpaw and maybe some lychee character. Sweet with coconut as well, nutty and creamy. Has no real malt but it's pretty appealing and aromatic.
Taste is a bit lacklustre, mostly just tropical and it's a bit meek. Pineapple and passionfruit, touch of mango. Slightly bulky in the middle but then the finish is weak and doesn't have much to it. It's kind of in the style but also just the bare minimum to tick the boxes. Slight bitterness which is quite nice but yeah just not that impressive.
Mouthfeel is tangy, bit of pull; decent body. Feels alright.
Yeah it's not a bad drop but it's just tropical juice with a mild bitterness and not much else to it.
73 / 100
510ml (?) brown bottle purchased from Jane's Beer Store in Mountain View, CA. Shared with Loz.
Pours a rather hazy peach colour, with a fine, but minimal cap of white that leaves some sinewy lace. Carbonation is very pleasantly fine, forming powder as it's tilted. Body has some heft to it which is pretty solid—it makes it for a good NEIPA look all up.
Nose is decent, especially taking into account the fact that there's probably a bit more age on this than is appropriate. It has a dustiness to it, but it has characters of apricot nectar and mango still sitting in the background. Slight weedy herbal character comes in as well. It's decent.
Taste is better. There's a pleasant combination of stonefruit sweetness through the centre with a bittersweet citrus character on the back. It's not quite grapefruit—more like dried orange, with a bit of pucker to it. Finish is quite dry—it's not the usually slick and creamy feel of a NEIPA. But it's pretty solid.
I like it. It's an enjoyable beer, with nice balance and some interesting fruit characters. I would love to try it super fresh, and this is good enough that I'll probably actively try to seek it out some time.
Can given to me by Jez for my birthday; reviewed live. Yes I am drinking it right now. Well, I'm not of course, because I need to review appearance and smell first.
Speaking of which, pours a hazy orange colour; seemed clear for a lot of the pour but then got the yeasty haze as part of the last stream. Head is white, nice and dense and foamy but dissipates pretty quickly, leaving some nice sticky lacing. Looks pretty decent.
Smells a little west coast, really. Not necessarily a bad thing, but it's not full-on west coast, it just smells quite limey and a little tart. Some mildly stodgy passionfruit notes underneath it, with some mildly spicy tobacco character as well. Yeah doesn't excite me like a great IPA should, not does it seem like something super-juicy that would excite others.
Taste is... honestly, it's unexciting. But it's not bad. It's kind of unexciting in a good way, because instead of being explosive and complex, it's just nicely balanced, with the right amount of tang, the right amount of acidity, and a very low bitterness which adds to the lack of excitement but also makes it very true to the spirit of the style. Some apricot character throughout, touch of orange midway, then a very mild citrus character lingers on the back with a touch of tropical flavour, mild sprucey bitterness as well. Yeah, it's got a good malt character underlying, and a lot of the complexity that's there is quite subtle. It's actually quite good.
Mouthfeel is a little bitty and somewhat too dry towards the back so it's a little sharp. Decent texture but a little too busy.
Yeah, look it's a NEIPA for sure, and it's probably the least exciting NEIPA I've tried. But that's surprisingly not to its detriment; it ends up making sense in a way that plenty of flashier NEIPAs don't. Good stuff.
Can gifted to me by Jez for my birthday, tried on my own.
Pours an opaque straw yellow colour, peachy and vibrant. Head nice when poured, settles to clumpy lacing on the top, some large bubbles. Good cloud and texture; looks good.
Smells juicy and pleasant. Big distinct peach aroma, with mango and passionfruit and a touch of lime. Lovely sharpness to it which actually accentuates and underlines the sweeter tropical notes, just brings it into focus. There's a touch of pepper but little else on there except fruit salad. Does there need to be?
Taste is alright, but surprisingly savoury and not all that fruity. Burgeoning fruit characters upfront but they don't really grow, instead there's a notable spice character that comes through midway with a touch of resin and maybe some cedar wood. Peppery towards the back with even a touch of tobacco. Late in the piece there's a hint of fresh lime, but it's very little and quite late. Definitely lacking that middle section, but it's otherwise a nice, slightly oily and quite spicy IPA.
Mouthfeel is fine; bitty and almost chewy really. Sense of protein as it goes down, in a good way. Bit dry at the back.
Yeah it's not quite what I expected, feels a little too-late hopped so it's aroma and little else. Or else the hops chosen are a bit too dank and don't give much flavour. It's fine though.
Pours a hazy, yes, hazy orangey amber. Head is healthy; bubbly and a little whispy but a good three fingers left over after a while. White, some isolated clumps of lacing left behind. Pretty decent looking NEIPA.
Smells super juicy indeed. Big citrus note with orange, grapefruit and some tropical aromas of passionfruit and guava. Some underlying spice notes reminiscent of gooey dark rye bread and pfeffernüsse. Very pleasant.
Taste is enjoyable, doesn't quite pop with the same complexities as the nose. Starts out quite citric as well with some piquant lemon and grapefruit notes, develops some almost vegetative character with sweet pumpkin followed by burgeoning mango and passionfruit. Still fairly sharp and citric on the back but without any big astringency or pull, just this swipe of citric tang, and feels a little empty in the middle where the malt could be a touch bigger. It does what it says on the label for sure, but it's not quite as big or juicy on the back as I may have expected. Otherwise nice flavours.
Yeah a little bit of pull and some sizzle from the carbonation. Just feel it's a little thin, so fairly crackly and dry at the same time.
Drinks well but feels a bit big and sharp at times as well, just doesn't round out nicely with anything to chew on. Decent IPA though.
77 / 100
Another NEIPA. I like the style, but you'd think people would be finding something new to do by now, right? 375ml can purchased from Camperdown Cellars in Leichhardt.
Pours a properly hazed vibrant golden colour, with a frothy, loose-bubbled head of white that leaves some specks of lace. Carbonation is very fine, but overall, it looks rather still. Body is quite light. It looks good though: and more, it looks very much like what it should.
Nose is very pleasant. Indeed, quite juicy and bright, perhaps turning towards orange pithy. There's a faint hint of grassiness, and a suggestion of dried hop pellet, but it's held straining back at the end of that leash, and it pretty much survives. Instead, you can take it as juicy, smooth, fragrant and bright.
Taste is very good though. There's a balance here in the body, making the faintly bitter orange brighter and smoother than it would be otherwise. It's not sweet, but there's just the right amount to create that illusion of creaminess. Despite this, the feel is quite light and evanescent. There's just a bit of seltzer at the finish, which you would say is wrong for the style, but actually provides a lovely piece of punctuation.
Overall, I'm genuinely impressed. The style is du jour at the moment, and every dog and his attached human is attempting it. But Hope have a good history of hop-forward beers, and they clearly understand the dance of this style. This is one of the better ones I've had from Australia.
73 / 100
500ml brown bottle purchased from Jane's Beer Store in Mountain View, CA.
Pours a suitably hazy pale apricot colour, with a fine crest of white that leaves a decent ring. Lacing is excellent, forming in intricate sheets that look like some elaborate piece of crochet. Carbonation is powdery—it works. Looks as it should.
Nose is really quite pungent—it's almost sour in its orange intensity, turning towards sharper notes of passionfruit and capsicum. It's also hard to deny though that there's a pronounced pellety hop note, which is less pleasant than the aromatics the hops themselves imbue. It's pretty good all up though.
The palate is a relief, because it is soft and smooth, without the chewy bitterness you often get from hop residue left in the beer. It has a hint of the creaminess of the best examples, but this drops pretty quickly, leaving the rest of the work to the fact that it's actually just not bitter. Some mild hop character lingers on the back—but it's more like hop aroma than the alpha acid bitterness in a traditional IPA.
Feel is smooth—it could be smoother still, but it's still pretty good.
Overall, though, it's an extremely pleasant beer. It has a lot of the hallmarks of the best examples of the style. While it doesn't completely pull them off, it does an extremely fair interpretation of pulling them off.
78 / 100
22oz brown bomber purchased from Whole Foods, Los Altos. Bottled on date of November 2017.
Pours a pleasantly hazed, but not chunky-thick bright yellow colour, with a firm, frothy head of white, that bubbles up and out, leaving large, pocked crater-like bubbles on the top. Decent streaky lace. Carbonation is voluminous, but quite coarse. Looks decent.
Nose is rather pleasant. There's a dominant character of tropical fruits to it, underlaid with a dusty hop note that gives a kind of gritty, earthy character. As it warms, there's more of a direct fruit character, with pineapple and mango coming through. It's not amazing, but it's nicely put together.
Taste is great, though, and here brings all the stylistic flourishes to the fore. There's a smoothness from front to back, giving some vanilla on the middle, turning to a slight coconut note in the finish. Fruit is prominent through the centre—pineapple is the dominant character here—and it does linger towards the finish with a hint of hoppy bitterness. It's certainly dialled back though on a regular IPA.
Feel is smooth, chewy and slick.
Overall, it's a very nice NEIPA. It hits the main marks of the style, and ends up with something really very balanced and very enjoyable.
57 / 100
12oz can given to me by Sam for Christmas. Full disclosure, I drank this directly following my first encounter with Heady Topper, so it has some competition.
Pours a very hazy lemon-gold colour—it feels hard to tell its true colour due to the depth of haze. Head is coarse, forming a frothy ring that leaves mild streaks of lace. Carbonation is languid but sparse. Looks decent enough.
Nose is juicy, in a rather banal way. It has the aroma of pasteurised OJ, perhaps with a little bit of age on it. There's an odd kind of sugar-meringue character to it too—brittle and sweet. That's kind of it. It's a little flat, and with a slight suggestion of being off.
Taste definitely has something off about it. I think there's a slight lactic bite to it, which moves it off what you expect. There's still some nice juicy characters to it, here with hints of peach and pawpaw, that provide a warmth to the body. It's kind of okay if you get over the yoghurty character.
Feel is smooth. Carbonation is light, but springy, letting the silkiness of the body do most of the work.
Overall, this is a decent beer. It suffers from recent comparisons, ahem, but I suspect that it would have been okay in isolation. I still think there's something actually wrong with it—it has a definite lactic fault to it—but if you kind of put your blinkers on, it ends up okay.
375ml can purchased for me by Sam as part of the #fletchvent Advent Calendar. This was Day 8.
Pours a very hazy straw yellow colour, with a thick, fine head of white that leaves some sheeting lace. Carbonation is very fine, with a shower of fine white springing up when the glass is tilted. Body has some slick weight behind it too. Looks pretty decent.
Nose is distinctly odd. It's mostly fruity, but with something slightly plasticky behind it as well. I get a little lemon zest, backed up by cut plasticene and carob. There's a little herbal note too, maybe thyme and fresh oregano providing a slightly bitter aromatic flick. Interesting stuff.
Taste is perhaps weirder, and perhaps it's just the same kind of weirdness only faster, the Max Power way. There's more sweet citrus on the front, but it's backed by a really weird organic note that's herbal but also artificial. It tastes a bit like quinine-heavy Schweppes Bitter Lemon, with a slightly bready aftertaste. Hmm.
Feel is chewy and smooth. It definitely has some weight behind it.
Overall, I don't mind it, but the oddities on the palate are enough to make me scratch my head, and almost enough to make me question whether the beer is actually any good. But I'll drink it, and that's the main thing.
86 / 100
Tried on-tap at the Great Divide Barrel Room in Denver.
Pours a hazy, pineapple colour. Head is fine, mostly persisting in a ring, but promoting great filming lace. Carbonation is extremely powdery. Looks very good.
Nose is big on pineapple, tying it into the look. There's a mango pulp character though as well, all overlaid with a slight farty organic character. There's some savoury notes that come through as a result, like crushed tomatoes on a pizza base, with a hint of spice. It's really good.
Taste is gorgeous. There's a smooth, creamy entry, with some vanilla ice-cream characters, which morphs into characters of orange sherbet and mango milkshake. It's amazingly aromatic once it's in the mouth too. Relatively sweet through the centre to the back of the palate, with no lingering bitterness. Faint linger of dried pineapple in the finish.
Feel is creamy and powdery. How it feels like both is beyond me.
Damn that's good. I've not had enough of the style to really say where it stands, but this is undeniably a good'un. It has captured better the creaminess brief than some of the progenitors of the style.