Dark City Charrette

Tonight’s selection is another (relatively) local beer. Let’s see how it was.

ABV: 7.3%

Style: Belgian IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “We often get asked about how and why we chose the name Dark City Brewing Company. We chose it for several reasons. Mainly it is a widely known nickname for Asbury Park. There are many interpretations as to where, when and why this nickname came about. Our decision to adopt this name and run with it comes from our desire to celebrate Asbury Park’s ability to bounce back from hardships of every form. This city has been around for a long time, it has seen a lot of ups and downs, hurricanes, ships running aground, race riots, power outages, you name it. Guess what? It’s still here, stronger than ever. We think that is pretty awesome and worthy of raising a glass to. Cheers to the City by the Sea.”

Random: I’ve been to Dark City and their bar is really pretty.

The brew poured with a two finger, off white head. It took awhile to dissipate and left some lacing on the glass. The body was hazy and a burnt orange in color. There was a decent amount of carbonation visible, despite the cloudiness. The nose started with Belgian yeast, bubble gum and spice. There was some citrus from the hops as well. I picked up white peppercorn and pear as well. The taste started with much of the same. It had a lot of bubble gum and Belgian yeast. There was some spice from the rye, along with white peppercorns. Dry crackers came through next, along with pear. The body was on the thicker side and there was a bite from the alcohol. The finish was quick with rye spice. A can was $4, which came to $.25 per ounce. I thought this beer was nice, I just wish the booze flavor was toned down.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Duvel Tripel Hop 2017 (Citra)

As I write this, all of the cats are laying on me or above my head on the couch. It’s always fun writing with 35 pounds of cat on you.

ABV: 9.5%

Style: Belgian IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Ever since 2007 the brewers at Duvel have been busy innovating with a third hop variety to give Duvel a surprising twist and some extra bitterness. Each spring this results in the launch of a unique Tripel Hop, which complements the rest of the Duvel range. Six Tripel Hops later, in 2016, Duvel went in search of the ultimate Duvel Tripel Hop. More than 5,000 fans tasted and voted, and Citra was clearly the favorite. The Duvel Tripel Hop with citra not only won a gold medal at the Brussels Beer Challenge, it was also awarded the consumer trophy at the Zythos Beer Festival. Our brewers do not simply add a third hop variety when creating the Tripel Hop, we also apply a special process of dry-hopping. In this case, besides adding the usual hops during the cooking process, extra hop cones are added at a later stage in the brewery process (during the lagering process). This intensifies and refines the hop aromas in the finished beer. The aromatic third hop is grown in the Yakima Valley in Washington and enriches the flavor palate with fresh hints of grapefruit and tropical fruit.”

Random: Citra is the name of my smallest cat.

The beer poured with a gigantic, four finger, fluffy, white head. It dissipated slowly and left a lot of lacing on the glass. The body was cloudy and bright yellow. I could still see a lot carbonation, despite the cloudiness. The nose of the beer started with some tobacco and earth. It quickly migrated into tropical fruit with dank pine. The taste was much of the same. It started with tobacco and quickly went into honeydew, apricot and peach. Then, the pine sap came through next with some yeast. The body was moderate thickness with generous carbonation. It had a lengthy finish with stone fruit and pine sap. A bottle of this was $3.87, which came to $.32 per ounce. This beer was definitely expensive, but as usual, was very enjoyable.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Pipeworks Glaucus

I’m not sure when Pipeworks started distributing to New Jersey, but their cans started popping up and I saw this one and needed to give it a try.

ABV: 6.2%

Style: Belgian IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Pipeworks Brewery was established in Chicago in 2012 by two friends with a shared dream of crafting quality and creative beers. Since putting the first cap on the first bottle, the brewery has garnered accolades for its distinctive beers and original artwork thanks to a growing and enthusiastic team. Pipeworks self-distributes in Illinois, but can be found in New York and Connecticut through Sarene Distribution, in Colorado through Tivoli Distribution, and in Boston through Nightshift Distribution. The Dojo, our Bottle Shop, is located within our production facility at 3912 W Mclean Ave in Chicago. Pipeworks is located at 3912 W. McLean Ave Chicago IL 60647”

Random: There is no information about this beer on the website.

The beer poured with a finger and a half of slightly off white head. It went away slowly and left some lacing on the glass. The body was very cloudy and a bright yellow. There was some carbonation visible. The nose had a lot of hops to it with honeydew as well. I also picked up black and white peppercorns and grass. The taste had a lot more Belgian influence than the nose implied. It still started with a lot of hops that manifested as grass, pine and honeydew melon. There was also some yeast that came through, along with white peppercorns. The body was on the thicker side with generous carbonation. It had a lengthy finish with peppercorns and Belgian yeast. This beer was $3.25 a can, which came to $.20 per ounce, which is on the pricier side, but definitely worth it. I will be searching this beer out again.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

3 Stars Ghost – White IPA

Since I’ve started the blog, I get a lot of beer from out-of-state. Whenever my parents or my sister or Val leaves the state, they come back with beer. I’m not complaining, but lately I feel like I’m reviewing more beer that doesn’t get NJ distribution. This is one of those beers and as soon as I saw it, I loved the can and hoped the liquid would be just as good…


ABV: 5.9%

Style: Belgian IPA

Trivia: This beer uses Amarillo, Simcoe, Columbus and Citra hops.

Random: It’s going to start getting cold soon. I’m not looking forward to snow.

The beer poured with a two finger, thin white head. It took awhile to go away and left a lot of lacing on the glass. The body was clear, which I didn’t expect and bright straw yellow with lots of carbonation. The nose started with grass clippings and old pine but shifted gears quickly and wheat and caramel malt came through. It was actually pretty sweet on the nose. The taste was equally sweet with the same caramel malt and wheat. When the hops came through, they were muted and had a lot of old orange zest that you would find in potpourri. It had a thick body with moderate carbonation that made this difficult to drink. The finish was unfortunately lengthy with the same aged citrus zest. You can pick up a single of this for $3 ($.19 per ounce), but I don’t think they have NJ distribution (Val picked this up outside of DC). I didn’t like this beer at all. It was a chore to finish the pounder can and I wouldn’t have it again.

Untappd Rating: 2.0/5.0

Nebraska HopAnomaly – Reserve Series Aged In French Oak Chardonnay Barrels

Tonight’s selection is from Nebraska Brewing Company, which apparently gets distributed to Jersey now. I found this lone bottle at Canals and was interested to try it since it was aged in white wine barrels.


ABV: 10.6%

Style: Belgian IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “An artful creation which began with our HopAnomaly Belgian-Style IPA, enhanced by a 6 month maturation in French Oak Chadonnay Barrels. This version of Hop God is a fascinating, big, bold Belgian-style Tripel hopped in very high amounts to concentrate citrus, grapefruit and floral aromatics in the nose. The addition of Chardonnay barrel aging adds further dimension and oak tannins to an already wonderfully complex Ale – bringing to mind tropical fruits and peach. We know of nothing that compares – enjoy!”

Random: I used my new River Horse glass for this review. We got a set of two from an event.

This beer poured with a huge, four finger, thick egg white head that took forever to dissipate. When it finally did, it left a lot of lacing on the glass. The body was a cloudy dark orange with high carbonation visible. The nose had notes of golden raisins, peach, apricot and astringent booze. It had some white grapes and oak as well. The flavor had some bitterness and grapefruit pith. There was less golden fruit than the nose and more emphasis from the white grapes and oak. The alcohol was well-hidden hidden. The body was thick with high carbonation. It has a long and dry finish with oak and grapes. This was an expensive bomber at $17.99 ($.82 per ounce). Despite the high price tag, I found it to be an interesting take on the style and had marked influence from the barrel aging.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Wild Onion Faux Pas

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.


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

Stone Encore 08.08.08. Vertical Epic Ale

Val came home with this beer and I saw that Stone re-released it for their 20th anniversary. I didn’t get to try the original one, but this provided me a chance to give it a shot.


ABV: 8.6%

Style: Belgian IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “In 2008, Stone Brewmasters Steve Wagner and Mitch Steele traveled to Belgium, where they enjoyed a number of hop-driven Belgian tripels, pale ales and IPAs—beers that had taken a cue from the U.S. craft brewing movement and inspired us in return. It’s a big reason 2008’s summer season came to be known at Stone as our ‘Summer of the Triple.’ Upon their return, they crafted Stone 08.08.08 Vertical Epic Ale, the seventh beer in the 11-beer Stone Vertical Epic Ale series. Packed with floral, spicy essence from Belgian yeast plus plenty of hoppy New World character, it’s our West Coast take on hop-driven Belgian beers.”

Random: I’m curious to see if the re-release any other years.

This beer poured with a one finger, white head that left no lacing on the glass. It left a slight crown on top of the body. The body itself was a clear, golden-yellow with light carbonation visible. The nose was filled with honey, Belgian yeast, clove, and golden raisins. Peach came through as well. The taste had a lot of fruity esters up front. I picked up banana, peach, apricot and golden raisins. Belgian yeast came through too, along with light clove spice. The alcohol was well-hidden. It had a medium thick body with light carbonation. The finish was quick and sweet with honey and golden fruit. This was $7.99 for the bomber, which came to $.36 per ounce. I really enjoyed this beer, although I wouldn’t have guessed it was a Belgian IPA, since I didn’t pick up many hoppy characteristics from it.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Devils Backbone Catty Wompus

The next brewery we went to was Bunker. This was one of the smallest breweries that we visited. They only had three beers on tap to try. The brewery itself was very small and there was no seating inside the brewery. They had picnic tables outside as well as a deck. We took a seat at the picnic tables with our samples proceeded to get bitten like crazy by bugs. I thought their beers were decent, but not worth getting bug bites over. After about 20 minutes, we were off to the next destination right as the Brew Bus pulled in.


ABV: 7.5%

Style: Belgian IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Cattywompus returns to the line up as the next release in our Trail Blazer series. The Belgian inspired India Pale Ale combines old and new world techniques, ingredients and flavors. This ale is brewed like an IPA and a Belgian ale and blends pine and citrus hop flavors with hints of apple and pear.”

Random: Val picked this beer up in DC for me.

This beer poured with a thin, one finger white head that dissipated almost instantly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a clear amber color with high carbonation. The nose was more Belgian-inspired than IPA. I picked up Belgian yeast, cloves and honey sweetness. The taste was more of a balance between the styles. It started with notes of grass and some bitterness. Then, golden raisins came through with yeast and clove. The alcohol was present and drying. It had a medium body with high carbonation. The finish was quick with clove and alcohol. This was $2.17 for the bottle, which broke down to $.18 per ounce. This wasn’t a bad beer, but the prevalence of the alcohol distracted from the other flavors.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Manayunk St. Alpha

This was the last beer that I had at Manayunk. At this point, I had given up on the food and the service was still pretty sad. But, I wanted to give their Belgian IPA a try. It was one that I had never seen before.


ABV: 8.5%

Style: Belgian IPA

Trivia: According to phillytapfinder.com, “A hybrid of two different styles, our Belgian IPA contains ingredients from both sides of the pond. Aromas of apricot and banana from the Belgian yeast combine with the piney, citrusy aroma of American hops to create a wonderfully complex bouquet. This golden-colored ale’s taste is dominated by the assertive bitterness of the hops while maintaining a balance that will please fans of both Belgian and hoppy American styles of beer.”

Random: I haven’t been sleeping well lately. I’m going to sleep poorly tonight since the other half is headed to visit a friend in DC for the weekend.

This beer poured with a one finger, white head that dissipated quickly and left some lacing on the glass. The body was a hazy, orange color with no visible carbonation. The nose was filled with the normal Belgian characteristics of yeast and spice and transitioned into bright grapefruit. The taste was pleasant with lots of Belgian spice and yeast. Then, the grapefruit bitterness came out, but it wasn’t so assertive that it took away from the Belgian notes. It had a thick body with moderate carbonation. The finish was long and hoppy. Out of the beers that I tried at the brewery, I enjoyed this once the most and it was a good example of a balanced Belgian IPA. I would recommend this to anyone who likes the style.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Cambridge Brewing Company The Audacity Of Hops

The second movie that we watched on Sunday night was “Gone Girl.” I hadn’t read the book (my other half did) and I managed to fall asleep at the end. I finished it on Monday morning. It was a very disturbing movie and could easily give someone nightmares. My biggest question was why she was allowed to leave the hospital covered in blood. That would have been cleaned at the hospital. But, I digress. This was the beer I had during that movie.


ABV: 8%

Style: Belgian IPA

Trivia: This is going to be a year-round release for CBC.

Random: Apparently this beer name is a play on the Obama slogan, “the audacity of hope,” which I didn’t realize until my other half told me.

This beer poured with a huge, four finger, fluffy white head that looked like whipped egg whites. It dissipated slowly with lots of lacing left on the glass. The body was a clear, light orange color with high carbonation. The nose had a lot of citrus and grass with Belgian spice. I specifically picked up coriander. The taste was nice, although was definitely more on the citrus IPA side as opposed to Belgian. It started with grapefruit and grass and quickly went into a spice note with Belgian yeast. Citrus was fresh, but definitely pronounced. The booze was really well hidden, which worked because the body was medium thick. It had high carbonation as well. The finish was long with grass and then a biscuit note from the yeast. Again, I can’t comment on the price point because this was a gift (and who doesn’t love free beer?). I thoroughly enjoyed this beer and would have it again.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0