The other beer that I reviewed at the River Horse event was this one. There was only one station pouring this and it was hidden all the way in the back of the brewery. But, I managed to grab a pour of this and yet another pretzel.


ABV: 6.7%

Style: American Porter

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “We start with a brown porter brewed with dark roasted malts, and add one pound of chocolate per barrel. We then throw in some Madagascar Vanilla beans to accentuate the chocolate flavors, resulting in a decadent porter.”

Random: This beer started as part of their “Brewer’s Reserve Series” and was then changed to a seasonal that is available From February to March.

This beer poured with a half finger of thick, tan head. It dissipated quickly and left some lacing on the glass. The body was a dark brown with high carbonation visible, despite the color. The nose had a lot of milk chocolate and cocoa powder. It was quite sweet, like malted milk balls, but didn’t have the roast or smoke qualities that I can usually pick up with a porter. The taste had milk chocolate as well with lactose sweetness. What I missed was that there was very little roast characteristic to balance this out, so after a few sips, I wasn’t thrilled with the prospects of finishing an entire pint. It had an overly thin body with high carbonation. The finish was quick, and again, very sweet and chocolate. This beer wasn’t a standout to me and needed some balance.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

When I flew back from California, the next day, River Horse was having an event celebrating their release of their new year-round beer, Roly Poly Pils. Although the draft list wasn’t the most exciting I’ve ever seen and I thought the tickets were a touch overpriced ($15 per person for entry, a glass and one beer token), we decided to go the event. I hadn’t been to the new brewery and the space was open and clean. They also had unlimited soft pretzels, which I took advantage of. The first beer I had was this one.


ABV: 5.3%

Style: Czech Pilsener

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “A complex balance of malts round out Czech Saaz and German Hallertau hops, followed by a clean and crisp finish A class Czech-style Pilsner, our Roly Poly Pils is a super drinkable and tasty year round beer!”

Random: Because we live in the same town as River Horse, we have more glasses from them than any other brewery.

This beer poured with a half a finger of off white head. It dissipated slowly and left a lot of lacing on the glass. The body was a clear, straw-yellow with lots of carbonation visible. The nose had mineral water and Pilsner malt. It had a really clean smell. The taste also had a nice mineral quality with some grass and grain from the pilsner malt. The body was on the thicker side of the style with high carbonation. It had a quick finish with slight sweetness from the malt and light grass. This beer was insanely drinkable and one that I enjoyed a lot. I wouldn’t hesitate to pick up a six-pack for a barbecue.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Tonight’s selection is a cider that I picked up in New York. One of the beer podcasts that I listen to, did a beer versus wine dinner and they brought out a Basque cider for one of the courses. I can’t say that I’m very familiar with them, but everyone on the podcast raved about the unique flavors, so I figured I’d jump on the bandwagon.


ABV: 8%

Style: Cider

Trivia: According to the cidery website, “A homage to the basque style ciders, crafted using wild yeast from a skin contact fermentation and aged and blended using our solera method. A wildly tart style with unique farmhouse qualities and a mellow tannic finish.”

Random: I hate wax topped bottles. I’m always afraid I’m going to cut my finger when I open them.

This cider poured with no head on top of a very cloudy, light yellow body. There was light carbonation visible, despite how hazy the cider was. The nose had apples and a tartness with yeast. It also had an earthiness to it that I couldn’t completely place. The taste was filled with unripe apples. It had yeast and a white wine grape note with white vinegar. It also had the same earthiness as the nose, that manifested like hay with some nutmeg too. It had significant tartness, but it wasn’t overwhelming. The body was light with light carbonation. It had a quick, dry finish with tart apples. A bottle of this wasn’t cheap at $20.75 ($.83 per ounce). I had no problem drinking this cider and it was really unique. I’ve been searching out Basque-style ciders and this one did not disappoint. I would highly recommend it, especially to pair with cheese.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

This was the last beer I reviewed in California. I love blood oranges, so this was a no brainer for me.


ABV: 5%

Style: Witbier

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “It had the humblest of beginnings. A simple offer from tasting room locals completed changed the direction of the brewery and our brand. Ken and Tina have property up in the hills behind the brewery, and their land was filled with citrus and avocado trees from east to west. Amongst the grove of avocados, navel oranges, and lime trees grew a tree unlike the others. Its fruit was smaller, with dark burgundy pulp. Not having much experience with blood oranges, or fruit in general, we were not exactly sure how to brew with them. Nevertheless, we went for it and just added the whole fruit, peel and all, into a batch of Belgian Style Wit. The result was amazing, and almost overnight it became our best selling and most popular beer.”

Random: My parents went on vacation in Temecula and didn’t mention this brewery being there.

The beer poured with a three finger, pure white head. It dissipated rather rapidly, but still left some lacing on the glass. The body was a cloudy, lemon-juice color. I could discern some carbonation. The nose was bright with not only blood oranges, but wheat and coriander and cracker. Citrus was the dominant scent. The taste was crisp with the same blood oranges, but the spice note was almost absent in the taste. The yeast was present in the form of biscuit, more than cracker on the taste. It also was missing the wheat, which made the beer a bit boring for me. It had a light body with high carbonation. The finish was quick with citrus peel. A can of this was $5 ($.31 per ounce). Although I enjoyed that blood orange was highlighted here, it would have benefited from the spice being more present.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

This was the second beer I had at the gastropub in California. I saw the beer in cans at the beer store, but passed up on them. Since this was the second-most interesting thing on the draft list, I decided to give it a shot.


ABV: 6.8%

Style: American IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Orange you glad we listened? Now available in cans, year-round. A unique twist on Modus Hoperandi, this citrus IPA is dry-hopped with a generous portion of Mandarina Bavaria hops and brewed with sweet orange peels. Steak, burgers and other grilled or smoked meats. Especially with a citrus marinade or sauce. Indian curries spiced with tamarind and coriander, Thai and Mexican dishes with spicy and citrus components. Desserts with orange and caramel overtones like orange creme caramels or flan, or even an orange cheesecake.”

Random: I ordered a California turkey sandwich while enjoying this beer. They served it to me and then told me that they ran out of avocado, which was the whole reason I ordered that sandwich.

This brew poured with a one finger, cream-colored head that dissipated slowly. It left significant lacing on the pint glass. The body was a clear, dark orange with light carbonation visible. The nose was filled with citrus, not surprisingly, Mandarin oranges. There was also a grassy element to the nose, which gave it more depth. The taste was more balanced than the nose. It had the same mandarin orange note with some malt sweetness too. Grass came through at the end of the sip. It had a light, drinkable body with high carbonation. The finish was lengthy with orange peel and caramel sweetness. I enjoyed this beer a lot, my only complaint was that I’ve never tried Modus Hoperandi to compare this too.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

While I was out in California, I found a small gastropub with sandwiches and salads and some interesting draft selections. I stopped in for an early dinner and they had this on draft. Even though I went to The Bruery a few days prior, I didn’t remember seeing this one on tap.


ABV: 5.1%

Style: American Pale Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Batch No. 1731 is a 100% brettanomyces-fermented hoppy session ale created by homebrewer Kevin Osbourne of Los Angeles. When we judged through all of our competition entries, his complex yet quaffable creation shouted WINNER! (as well as tropical! funky! and dry!). It puts El Dorado, Mosaic and Chinook hops on a pedestal as much as one possible could.”

Random: The tour at The Bruery was one of the best I’ve been on, behind Flying Dog.

The beer poured with a thick, one finger, cream-colored head. It dissipated at a slow pace and left spiderweb lacing on the glass. The body was bright orange and hazy with no visible carbonation due to the haziness. The nose had a lot of orange peel and a touch of tartness. It had some grapefruit peel as well. The taste had some mustiness to it, I’m assuming from the addition of Brett. It had light tartness and orange and grapefruit peel. This was a beer that let the hops shine through rather than the wild bugs. It had a thin body with high carbonation. The finish was quick, dry and musty with some citrus tartness, like an unripe orange. The beer was very easy to drink and given the low ABV, I could have put a few back without an issue. I would definitely have this one again, even though I didn’t pick up any of the tropical aspects of the beer.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

After my first Modern Times beer, I decided to pick up another four-pack for my hotel room while I binge watched “Forensic Files.” By the way, watching that show before going to sleep made for some really creepy nightmares.


ABV: 6.8%

Style: American IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Booming Rollers is a showcase for the juicy awesomeness of Citra hops. These new wave American hops impart a remarkable aroma and flavor, which we’ve amplified with the dark stone fruit character of New Zealand-grown Motueka hops. Some Centennial is thrown in to balance the tropical fruit party, and the malt body is just assertive enough to support Booming Rollers’ snappy bitterness. It’s a party in your mouth and all the beautiful people are invited.”

Random: This is a seasonal beer from the brewery from March through May.

The beer poured with a two finger, slightly off white head. It dissipated slowly and left a lot of lacing on the glass. The body was a clear, bright yellow with moderate carbonation visible. The nose started with a lemon cleaner note and quickly went into tropical fruit. I picked up mango and passion fruit. The taste was grassy with citrus flesh. It had intense bitterness. The tropical fruit note was lost in the flavor, which was unfortunate, because it would have given the beer some depth. There was no malt to speak of in the flavor. The body was thick with high carbonation. It had a lengthy finish with grass and bitter citrus. A pounder can of this set me back $3.00, which came to $.19 per ounce. This was a nice beer, and I had no problem putting it back, but it wasn’t the best of the style that I’ve had. Despite that, I’m glad I got to try this since it’s not available in New Jersey.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0