Departed Soles Cantankerous Blonde

Val and I visited Departed Soles awhile ago. It’s on a side street in Jersey City and the space is really nice. They also have their samplers on mini skateboards. Apparently a lot of people have taken them, so you have to give them your license if you get one until you return the skateboard. I picked up this beer before we went there, so let’s see how it was.

cantakerousblonde

ABV: 5.4%

Style: American Blonde Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “We teamed up with the Fuse Media to brew this beer originally, then the Viking Army Supporters to create a light, semi-sweet tailgating beer. The result is our honey blonde ale, which starts off with honey derived sweetness and rounds out with a bready, malt finish.”

Random: Blondes are becoming more popular in Jersey breweries. They’re always hit or miss for me.

The beer poured with a one finger, white head that dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass. It did leave a very small crown on top. The body was a bright orange color with very little carbonation visible. On the nose, I picked up wheat and a mild clove note. I let it warm up for a few minutes and didn’t pick up much else. The taste had more depth to it. It started with wheat, clove and orange peel. There was also some honey as well. It had a thicker body than I expected for the style with lots of carbonation. It finished with wheat and orange peel. A pounder can of this was $3, which came to $.19 per ounce. I can see why they would market this as a tailgating beer. It had a good amount of flavor and was really drinkable. I would have this one again.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

New Belgium Fat Tire And Friends Fat Hoppy Ale

Val and I are watching a show that details what happens to tiny house owners after their house is built. We couldn’t live in one of these and I give people a lot of credit who make it work. While watching this, I definitely needed a beer.

fathoppyale

ABV: 6%

Style: American Amber/Red Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “For our new Fat Tire & Friends Collabeeration Pack, we teamed up with Firestone Walker from Paso Robles, Calif. A happily hopified Fat Tire thanks to our California friends. First, they created an assertive hop presence and then they added a lager yeast to the Fat Tire recipe. The result? A hoppy amber lager version of Fat Tire with an amplified American hop aroma and flavor. Time for you to hop on this Fat, too.”

Random: I couldn’t live in a place without a real toilet.

The beer poured with a three finger, off white head that was thick and dissipated slowly. It left a lot of lacing on the glass. The body was a clear, amber color with moderate carbonation visible. The nose was quite herbal with a vegetal note that I couldn’t place. It also had grapefruit pith and pine needles. The taste was filled with pine and dry alcohol. It also had a flavor that reminded me of green NyQuil. The body was medium thickness with high carbonation. It had a quick, but medicinal finish. The bottle was $1.42, which broke down to $.12 per ounce. This beer was a total miss for me. I wouldn’t have it again.

Untappd Rating: 2.0/5.0

Downeast Cider Maple Blend

Val picked this cider out when we were browsing an aisle in the beer store. She popped this one open and let me have a few sips to give it a proper review.

downeastmaple

ABV: 5.4%

Style: Cider

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “A WINTERY MIX WE CAN ALL GET BEHIND: FRESH-PRESSED APPLE CIDER WITH A HINT OF VERMONT MAPLE SYRUP. Like all of our ciders, maple blend is unfiltered, using fresh-pressed apples from tom’s farm in stow. we add pure maple syrup from fournier’s sugar shack in lyndonville, vermont, and the resulting hard cider is light and refreshing with notes of vanilla and maple. just the thing for a day of skiing, shoveling or playoff football.”

Random: The older I get, the less I like maple syrup on pancakes.

This cider poured with almost no head that dissipated instantly and was gone by the time I took my picture. It left no lacing on the glass. The body was a cloudy lemon yellow with moderate carbonation visible. The nose had red apple skins, apple juice and maple syrup. The taste had some spice to it, specifically ginger and cinnamon. This went along with the maple syrup and transitioned right into a concentrated apple juice note. The body was on the thicker side for a cider with just enough carbonation. It had a lengthy, sweet finish with maple syrup. A can of this was $2.37, which broke down to $.20 per ounce. This was a decent cider, it just needed some more balance between the apples and maple syrup.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

New Belgium Fat Tire And Friends Fat Funk Ale

I think that brewers taking chances and reimagining old classics is pretty cool, which is why I bought the New Belgium Fat Tire and Friends mixed pack. I’ve already reviewed a few on the blog, so let’s see how this one is.

fatfunkale

ABV: 5.6%

Style: American Wild Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “For our new Fat Tire & Friends Collabeeration Pack, we teamed up with Allagash Brewing from Portland, Maine. Who wants the funk? Fat Tire wants the funk. Our New England friends at Allagash brought it, taking Fat Tire back to its Belgian roots with a De Dolle house Belgian yeast strain that adds classic pear, banana and spice to Fat Tire’s malty goodness. They then bottle-conditioned the beer with Brettanomyces Allagagensis for a spicy finish. Get your funk on.”

Random: Every time I see a horse in the winter with a blanket on, it makes me think of a funky beer.

The beer poured with a huge, four finger, off white head. It dissipated slowly and left a lot of lacing on the glass. The body was clear and mahogany colored with light carbonation. The nose was lightly funky with green apples, white grapes and caramel malt. The taste had white grapes up front and less funk than was apparent on the nose. It also had green apple skins and light toasted malt. It had a medium body with moderate carbonation. The finish was lengthy with white grapes and green apples. A bottle of this was $1.42, which broke down to $.12 an ounce. I thought that this was an interesting take on a classic, but I wouldn’t have more than one.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Gigantic IPA

Tonight’s selection is from a brewery that I’ve never tried before. I assume that they just started distributing to Jersey. I haven’t heard much about them, but I’m always down to try a new IPA. Let’s see how it was.

giganticipa

ABV: 7.3%

Style: American IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “True to its name. Cascade, Centennial, Crystal and Simcoe create a citrusy hop confluence that continuously embiggens with each drink. The embodiment of our brewing philosophy to ‘Never Give An Inch’.”

Random: Last Fall, I paid someone to take my leaves because I didn’t have time due to my work schedule. The pile ended up being about double the size of car. At least they take leaves straight from the curb here.

This beer poured with a one finger, white head that dissipated slowly and left a lot of lacing on the glass. The body was a dusky orange color with light carbonation visible. The nose started with grassy hops and quickly went into pine sap. It also had a hard citrus candy note. The taste also started with grass and had candied orange peel. There was some astringency with pine needles and a touch of booze. The body was light and didn’t have enough carbonation. The finish took awhile with hops and pine sap. The bomber came home with me for $5.99, which came to $.27 per ounce. This beer had some nice flavor, but it’s not the most impressive of the style that I’ve ever had, although the bomber price was reasonable.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Flying Dog The Gourd Standard

The other half and I have been binge watching “Quantico” today. It’s a bit challenging to keep track of the plot since it takes place in two different time frames, but I still enjoy watching it. I tend to like crime shows, so this one is right in my wheelhouse. Although, this season is a bit more confusing since it now involves the characters being in both CIA training and still in the FBI. Either way, it’s better watching it with a beer.

gourdstandard

ABV: 6.7%

Style: Pumpkin Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Nutty and semi-sweet cheeses like Gouda and Gruyere, roasted sweet potatoes or butternut squash, pork with sweet glazes…and Mom’s pumpkin pie.”

Random: Butternut squash bisque is one of my favorite soups.

The beer poured with a two finger, cream-colored head. It dissipated slowly and left a lot of lacing on the glass. The body was a dark, cloudy mahogany color with moderate carbonation visible. The nose had notes of pumpkin with cinnamon, wood and vanilla. On the nose, there weren’t any IPA notes. The taste was also filled with pumpkin notes. I picked up ginger, cinnamon and vanilla. There was also some grass and dried grapefruit. It had a thick and chewy body with high carbonation. The finish was lengthy with cinnamon and vanilla. A bottle of this was $1.83, which broke down to $.15 per ounce. Conceptually, I found this beer to be really interesting, but I got way more pumpkin notes than IPA. Despite that, I enjoyed it a lot.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Short’s Strawberry Short’s Cake

Short’s is being distributed to Philadelphia, so I get to try some of their beers now. I’ve had a few so far and they have some nice offerings. This one used strawberries, so I got it for Val and she let me have a taste of it.

strawberryshortscake

ABV: 5%

Style: Fruit/Vegetable Beer

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Strawberry Short’s Cake is a Golden Ale brewed with the addition of strawberries and milk sugar. The flavors of shortcake and fresh strawberries transform this beer into rose-colored party nectar that is pleasingly sweet with hints of cream. Biscuit flavors and aromas arise from the use of large amounts of Victory malt.”

Random: We bought a heating pad and I have been using it on my back all day. It is glorious.

The beer poured with a half a finger of pure white head. It dissipated slowly and left some lacing on the glass. The body was slightly cloudy and amber-colored. It had generous carbonation that was visible. The nose had notes of strawberry jam along with a lactic acid note that reminded me of strawberry shortcake good humor bars. The taste started with something that reminded of a brown ale base, filled with nuttiness and roasted malts. Then, the strawberry flavor came out. In the taste, it was more like a strawberry cheesecake. It had a milk note as well, which made it creamy. The body was on the lighter side with moderate carbonation. It had a lengthy, jammy finish with strawberry. I paid $1.67 for this bottle, which came to $.14 per ounce. This was an interesting beer and I liked the utilization of the strawberry, but I don’t think I could have more than one of these.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Magic Hat Poppy Agave Ale

Today’s selection is a beer that I’ve been seeing more and more in coolers at parties. Even at my family reunion, something out of the Magic Hat mixed pack is the first beer that everyone grabs for (although my parents usually only pick that and Coors Light). Let’s see how this beer, which started as an Odd Notion was.

poppyagave

ABV: 5%

Style: American Pale Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “AN ODD NOTION BACK IN MOTION. Brewed only once before, Poppy Agave Ale was part of a series of exceptional (and mostly odd) specialty releases known as Odd Notions. This crisp, clean ale is brewed with agave nectar and poppy seeds for a slightly sweet, nutty flavor.”

Random: Poppy seeds always get stuck in my teeth.

The beer poured with a two finger, white head. It went away quickly, but still left some lacing on the glass. The body was a dark, straw yellow color with moderate carbonation. The nose smelled like a Mexican lager with sweetness from the agave. It also had some pilsner malt. The taste also had agave sweetness. It had a small amount of spice from the poppy seeds. I kept trying to find more in the beer, but there wasn’t much there. It had a thin body with high carbonation. A bottle of this was $1.83, which came to $.15 per ounce. This beer was really boring and needed a punch of flavor. I wasn’t a big fan of this beer, but I had no problems finishing it. If the choices at a party are this or a macro, I’d go with this.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Magic Hat S.M.A.S.H. Hits Volume 2

Single hop and single malt beers are becoming the new trend in beer. I’ve had some good ones and some not great ones, but I think it’s interesting how the trends keep changing. It will give more familiarity with certain hops and malts though, which I think is a good thing. Let’s see how this one was.

smashvol2

ABV: 5.5%

Style: American IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “ONE HOP, ONE MALT, ONE SMASHING IPA. A delectable duet of Cascade hops and Goldpils Vienna malt sing notes of citrus and grapefruit and rich, toasty malt tones.”

Random: I’m almost done watching “Blindspot.” I really enjoy the series so far. It reminds of the first few seasons of “Prison Break.”

The beer poured with a one finger, white head. It went away quickly and left some lacing on the glass. The body was a clear, straw yellow with high carbonation. The nose had a lot of pilsner malt with mineral water and grass. I didn’t pick up much in the way of hops, but what was there was grassy and had some lemon rind. The taste had more of a hop presence with grapefruit segments. But, it also had an off-putting metallic note. It also had some sweetness from the malt. It had an overly thin body with high carbonation. The finish was quick with grain. A bottle was $1.83, which came $.15 per ounce. This IPA was overly thin and simplistic. It would be good for a beginner who was just getting into IPAs, but would be boring to the experienced drinker.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

Troegs Hop Knife Harvest Ale

It’s finally starting to get a bit warmer out. Soon, I’ll be complaining about how hot it is. But, for now, I’ll take this weather. I love when the Spring flowers start coming out and the cherry trees bloom. We have a large cherry tree on the property and I want to try to plant a few more this year. Val wants me to plant some honeysuckle too, so I guess I’ll need to get on that too. Now that we’ve talked about the plants, let’s get to the beer.

hopknife

ABV: 6.2%

Style: American IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Hop Knife Harvest Ale recognizes the time-honored tradition of hand-harvesting at the peak of maturity. At the end of fermentation, the beer flows through our HopCyclone releasing a bounty of preserved citrus rind, crushed jungle and tropical aromas.”

Random: I still love my fuzzy blanket on the couch even if it’s just a little cold in the house.

The beer poured with a half a finger of pure white head. It dissipated quickly and left some lacing on the glass. The body was slightly hazy with moderate carbonation visible. The nose was filled with grass clippings, pine needles and freshly cut wood. The taste started with fresh pine sap, cedar wood and light grain. I didn’t pick up any alcohol. The body was medium thickness with high carbonation. It had a lengthy and sticky finish with pine sap. The bottle was $1.83, which broke down to $.15 per ounce. This beer was really good and was another solid offering from Troegs.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0