Pipeworks Close Encounter

Since I post so far in advance, I’ll be home months before anyone reads this, but I was sent for two weeks to California from a business trip. Today is my first full day, so expect lots of commentary about California. I haven’t been in 10 years, so I didn’t know what to expect. I’m staying in Diamond Bar, which is slightly south of LA. Anyways, beer time.


ABV: 8.5%

Style: American Double/Imperial Stout

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Malts: 2-row, Caramel 80, Chocolate, Roasted Barley, Midnight Wheat. Hops: Chinook, Zythos, Falconer’s Flight. Adjuncts: Dextrose.”

Random: I worked out at the hotel gym and my back is killing me now.

This brew poured with a one finger, thick, khaki head. It took forever to dissipate and left some lacing on the glass. The body was a dark brown that was almost black with no visible carbonation because of the color. The nose had a lot of old wood smoke and ash. I also picked up roasted malts and cocoa powder. On the nose, there was not much in terms of hops, which is odd, given the fact they market this as a “hoppy stout.” The taste was really smoky, but not in a good way. It had a smoked meat taste that didn’t work for me, and I love smoked meat. It had leather and tobacco as well, but not a lot of hops. Roasted malts and milk chocolate finished the sip. The body was thick and chewy with moderate carbonation, yet the booze was hidden. It had a lengthy finish with rare, red meat and smoke. A pounder can of this was $3.49 ($.22 per ounce). I didn’t like this beer at all, no matter what the price was.

Untappd Rating: 2.5/5.0

Pipeworks Santa Vs. Unicorn

This is the first beer from Pipeworks that I’ve managed to get my hands on. Their label art is ridiculously cool. Even if I wasn’t into craft beer, I’d want to buy these bottles. Conceptually, it’s also cool…like what other brewery would name a beer after a fantasy fight between a unicorn and the mascot of Christmas. I think Santa would win.


ABV: 10%

Style: American Barleywine

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Malts: 2-row, munich, caramel 80, special roast, rye, flaked oats, midnight wheat. Hops: columbus, galaxy, zythos, falconner’s flight, cascade. Adjuncts: dextrose”

Random: I am not a big fan of when brewery websites don’t capitalize things.

This beer poured with a half a finger of off-white head. It dissipated slowly and left some lacing on the glass. The body was a deep sienna color with no visible carbonation because of the color. The nose had some alcohol and big hop notes. Specifically, I got pine resin, grapefruit pith and pine needles. After the beer warmed a bit, there was some sweetness with caramel as well, but I was shocked at how hoppy the nose was. The taste had some hop character as well. It manifested as pine and was moderately bitter. Caramel and toffee came through too. The alcohol was hidden on the palate. It had a lighter than expected mouthfeel for the style with light carbonation. The finish was lengthy with the piney bitterness. A bomber of this was $11.99 ($.55 per ounce). This was a really nice beer and great if you enjoy hops. I would highly recommend this one if you can find it, since it’s not distributed in Jersey (I had to go to New York for this one).

Untappd Rating: 4.5/5.0