Happy Valentine’s Day! I’m not a big fan of the holiday, but I wanted to pick something sweet to review today, and this cider definitely fits the bill. Val picked up a mixed-pack of Ciderboys and this was the featured cider in it. I don’t think I’ve ever tried a pineapple cider, so let’s see how it is.

pineapplehula

ABV: 5%

Style: Cider

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Taste rides an unexpected wave. Refreshing sweet tart flavor alive with the inspired pairing of apple and screaming yellow pineapple. Big citrus taste born of a feeling the wave will never go flat. You close your eyes at the peak moment a tremendous feeling rushes over you. It’s wild. Ride it out.”

Random: Grilled pineapple is one of my favorite things in the summer.

This cider poured with a half a finger of head that looked to be slightly off white, but it dissipated instantly. It also left no lacing on the glass. The body was a light orange and had some haze to it. There was moderate carbonation as well. Nose was filled with overripe pineapple and honey sweetness. I didn’t pick up any apple component. The taste was cloyingly sweet. There was a lot of sweetness and the pineapple manifested in a pineapple gummy candy. Apple juice was in there as well, but it only added to the sweetness. The body was on the thicker side and it had high carbonation. The finish was long and really sweet. A bottle of this was $1.42, which was $.12 per ounce. I just didn’t like this cider, no matter what the price. It was way too sweet for my liking.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

Stone Punishment

Posted: February 13, 2016 in Chile Beer, Reviews, Stone Brewing Company

Since I reviewed the “little brother” of this beer yesterday, it’s only fitting that I review this beer today.

punishment

ABV: 12%

Style: Chile Beer

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Although many find only pain in this beer, chile pepper connoisseurs, daredevils and masochists proclaim it in a fine, intense and enlightening experience. Never intended for the timid, Punishment is the capsaicin-throttled spawn of the beer behemoth Double Bastard Ale. Months of aging in Kentucky bourbon barrels intensify this beast of a beer’s already massive flavor, while the unceremoniuous addition of chile peppers (jalapeno, serrano, Fresno and more) morphs it into a truly punishing beer.”

Random: This was first brewed in 2010.

This beer poured with a half a finger of tan head. It dissipated slowly and left no lacing on the glass. There was a crown that was left on top of the hazy, walnut colored body. Because of the cloudiness, there wasn’t much carbonation visible. The nose had some of the most spicy peppers that I’ve ever smelled. Some bourbon and oak came through with vanilla. On first sip, the peppers hit like a kick in the mouth. The spice was intense and just bordering on overwhelming. The oak came through later with vanilla and bourbon. The heat from the peppers lingered forever. The booze warming added to it as well. The body was on the thicker side with light carbonation. It had a long and spicy finish. A bomber of this wasn’t cheap at $18.99 ($.86 per ounce). I liked this beer, but it was bordering on too strong.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Stone Crime

Posted: February 12, 2016 in Chile Beer, Reviews, Stone Brewing Company

This is a beer that I wanted to try since it first came out, but was never able to find. I love chili peppers, so this seemed right in my wheelhouse.

crime

ABV: 9.6%

Style: Chile Beer

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “This beer was crafted for those who adore both pain and pleasure (but mostly pain), those who should know better and those who don’t know better. It is the result of what many beer enthusiasts would consider a most egregious crime – sequestering Arrogant Bastard Ale, Double Bastard Ale and OAKED Arrogant Bastard Ale in Kentucky bourbon barrels, then blending them together with jalapeno, serrano and other chile peppers. The result is something unsuitable for the faint of heart, mind of palate. Still confident you can handle this? Very well, but be forewarned: You’re playing with fire…be prepared for the consequences.”

Random: Their descriptions for beers are quite lengthy.

This beer poured with a half a finger of ecru head. It dissipated slowly and left significant lacing on the glass. The body was a deep sienna color that was cloudy. The nose had a lot of notes of bourbon barrel. I perceived oak and vanilla from the bourbon barrel. The next thing I picked up was a sweet, malt presence with brown sugar and toffee. There wasn’t much impact from the chile peppers on the nose. On first sip, I picked up the same maltiness with brown sugar, toffee and then went into oak. And then, the chili pepper hit the back of my throat. The first sip was intense with lots of heat. The heat was not for the faint of heart and the more I drank the beer, the more I enjoyed it. The booze was insanely hidden, which I’ve come to expect from Stone beers. The finish was lengthy with the chili pepper heat and oak. The bomber was $18.99, which came to $.86 per ounce. I really enjoyed this beer and appreciated how intense the heat was. I would have this again.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

This is a new (canned) offering from Victory. Val picked it up for me in a mixed-sixer. Let’s see how it was.

vitalipa

ABV: 6.5%

Style: American IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “The IPA style can be a powerhouse of flavors and impressions. But what is vital to you? What commands your taste and attention? We packed our Vital IPA full of fresh, crisp and fruity notes driven by whole flower American hops and robust German malts. You’ll find it bright, delightfully aromatic and complex, leaving you with dry, spicy satisfaction. Taste Victory in these flavors Vital to your senses. Aromas of pine, tropical fruits, and stone fruits precede intense, yet refreshing flavors in this light bodied, golden IPA.”

Random: This beer uses Pilsner and CaraPils malts and Simcoe, Citra and Chinook hops.

The beer poured with a dense, two finger white head. It looked like whipped egg whites. It took forever to dissipate and left a lot of lacing on the glass. The body was a clear, straw yellow. It had moderate carbonation visible. The nose was light. It had grass and some unremarkable citrus. The taste had so much more depth. It started with grassy and earthy hops. Significant grapefruit pith and bitterness came through next. Then, biscuity malt was present with more toasted bread than sweetness. The body was light with high carbonation. It had a long and pithy finish. I really enjoyed this beer. It went down easily and had nice flavor, not that I would expect anything less from Victory. It paired really well with Chinese food too.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

There is a lot of talk in the beer world about session beer. This beer is billed as a session, although it’s 6.5% ABV, which is way above the session mark for me (and in doing some research, most people would agree). I don’t know if they were trying to capitalize on the “session beer” popularity, but the label is just plain confusing. Now that I’m off my soapbox, let’s see if it was any good.

fauxpas

ABV: 6.5%

Style: Belgian IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “A ‘Session IPA’ that balances the distinct aromas and flavors of our Belgian Wit yeast strain with the tropical, vibrant Citra hop. The name comes from the French term for mistake-a few years ago a mishap in the brew house became one of our favorite seasonal releases.”

Random: I think Val got this for me at Canals…or maybe it was Pennington Buy Rite?

This beer poured with a one finger, cream-colored head. It dissipated slowly, but did not leave any lacing on the glass. Instead, it left a crown on top of the very cloudy, bright orange body. It had some visible detritus floating in it as well. The nose had grass, orange segments, clove and some cracker as well. The taste had more clove than the nose. Then, some cracker came through. Orange segments and orange pith came next. It was more towards the Belgian side of Belgian IPA. The body was light with high carbonation. The finish was lengthy with orange and clove. This beer was pretty good and had nice flavor. A single can set me back $1.55 ($.13 per ounce). I wish it had a bit more balance, other than that, I have no complaints.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

This is (unfortunately) the last beer that I have from Stoneface. If you’re ever in New Hampshire, definitely stop there. The beer is solid and the staff is insanely friendly.

stonefaceporter

ABV: 5.5%

Style: American Porter

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Currently, our IPA, India Red Rye Ale and Pale Ale are available on draft and in bottles. You can find our beers in better beer stores and beer centric bars and restaurants. Right now, we are only distributing our beer in NH. You can also find our beers at the brewery in bottles and growlers. We live free to make [and drink] what we want. We love to make beers we like to drink — we hope you enjoy them too.”

Random: I really wish that Stoneface would update their website. They have no information about the beers they currently have.

This beer poured with a one finger, thick, khaki colored head. It dissipated slowly and left some lacing on the glass. The body was black and no light passed through it. As a result of the color, I couldn’t see any carbonation. The nose had espresso, roasted malts and smoke. The taste was really robust given the ABV on the beer. It had a lot of espresso, like the nose did. Dark chocolate came through next, with some smoke and bready malt. The mouthfeel was thick and chewy with light carbonation. It had a lengthy finish with espresso and roasted malts. The beer was $5.49 for the bottle, which came to $.32 per ounce. I really enjoyed this beer on a cold night and was an affordable price. If only they would distribute to New Jersey.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

It’s been over a year since I’ve had a Sam Adams beer. It’s not that I don’t like their beers, but there are so many others out there that I want to try. I also find their beers to be good “gateway” beers, but they rarely wow me. This beer was part of a mixed-pack that I bought for a party. Let’s see how it was.

hoppyred

ABV: 5.7%

Style: American Amber/Red Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Amber, smooth, and resinous, this ale was inspired by our exploration of Australian hops. We discovered that their rugged, spicy and piney character brightened a back-bone of roasted caramel malts, creating a beer with surprising depth and smoothness.”

Random: Although Sam Adams updated their labels not too long ago, I still find them boring.

The beer poured with a half a finger of ecru colored head. It dissipated quickly and left lacing on the glass. The body was a deep, clear mahogany color with moderate carbonation. The nose had some pine sap and grass. Malt came through too. The taste had a bitter note, but not pleasant hop bitterness. It was like old lemon juice. The next thing that came through was a dominant floral note that had a perfume-like taste to it. There was some bread after, but not enough to cut through the other flavors. The body was on the thicker side with medium carbonation. It had a quick finish with floral hops. A single bottle of this ran $1.17 ($.09 per ounce). I didn’t love this beer, although I like to see Sam Adams putting out hoppier beers.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0