Evil Twin Brewing Stratford, CT
Citra Sunshine Slacker
The name was too apt not to try; having slacked off for 692 days, I’m in need of inspiration. The stylized geometric Lebowski on the can helps too.
Crystal clear golden straw color with a crackling snow white head. Fine pearl strands wind up the glass keeping the froth rocky. The nose is fresh cut sativa and grass, with a touch of over-ripe orange. The mouthfeel starts with that effervescence skittering across the palate, opens up wide, then thins out in a wave of bitters. The flavor starts tart and citrus, blending and evening out a bit before dissipating into a slightly vegetal tang. A few more sips help even things out and the bubbles take on a hand-pulled quality. It’s a good session beer albeit one that tries to clone the effect of an IPA rather than settle for its own profile. Sessions have become their own thing, mimicking English cask pales more than their overblown American counterparts. This one abides.
Clipper City Brewing Co.
Heavy Seas Gold Ale
A slow, slightly glugged pour yields little in the way of head, though a lacy white honeycomb sits on top of this mildly carbonated ale. The clarity is just this side of glassy. There is some blush through the middle of the glass, but the color is otherwise a wonderfully tawny gold.
The nose is biscuity – warm bread crust and honey on top of some slightly floral hop perfume. A light vegetal smell sits beneath the slightly murky lupulin layer.
The mouthfeel is nice and even; soft at first as a mild ale should be, but opening up towards the back of the swallow with sweet tangerine and mandarin that carries just a faint tart pop. The finish hangs on for just a moment, coating slightly, before gradually dissipating into a slightly malty sponginess.
Again, this is a mild, though not entirely quiet session ale. I’d sit down with a couple more of these in front of me.
Uinta Brewing Co.
Salt Lake City, UT
Four+ Hive Ale with Honey
While I’m awfully skeptical about the prevalence of crappy products with honey added, it makes sense in beer, what with brewing’s relation to mead.
The pour is lively, with a very tightly-knit, cloudy white head that has just the faintest hints of orange. The head is active and the surface teems as fine carbonation swells up throughout excellent clarity.
Less yellow than I expected, this really looks like a jar of honey – amber thinned out by marigold and some faint dun tones. As the head recedes to just below a half-inch, it clings to the inside of the glass like a wet sheet.
The nose is wonderfully malty and reminds me of East Anglian pubs – there is an earthy smell of wet wood, flour batter, hay, and a little bit of lemon zest.
The feel is quite good – the frothy head helps – and cereal grains show up first, though more thinly than the smell originally let on. There’s an interesting moment when the (very) faintly sweet honey mixes with the grassy hops; it’s not a battle between the two, but they don’t necessarily get along at first. Rapidly though, the honey becomes less sweet, and more floral while the hops become a bit more like lemon soap.
All in all, a pleasant brew, and an impressively delicate session ale (not lager!). While I might not seek it out as something incredibly complex, it is interesting enough, and infinitely refreshing.
SweetWater Brewing Co.
420 Extra Pale Ale
This is a gorgeous beer – a golden orange, late summer sunset over a hayfield, with a slight haze from the lack of pasteurization adding to the effect. A crackly lemon sorbet head persists at over half an inch. That same foam catches at the edges of the glass and the ultra-fine carbonation is frenetic and constant.
The nose is sticky sweet like an orange Creamsicle. Some subtle pine needles emerge as slow and as sap, and with the malt coming through just as sweet with mild sourdough pungency. This is shaping up to be an elegant English pale.
The mouthfeel is good, though the start of the first sip is a bit thin. It kicks it up a bit though after a couple of sips and the warmth of my hand around the glass. There is no hop uppercut – everything here is subtle. The wash of hops is very green with lettuce and cucumber being the most distinctive tastes. The malt provides some breadth to the sip and expands out from the middle of the tongue with touches of honey and caramel malt.
Certainly a good session beer (though at a shade over 5%, I’m not sure if it technically qualifies) and if you don’t necessarily want a full-on assault on the palate, this beer is like the perfect blind date: beautiful, smells nice, and has a lot more character than you initially thought. There’s a funny simile about lace in there somewhere, too, but I’ll let it go.
Sand Creek Brewing
From this relatively new brewery in the very old brewing state of Wisconsin, Pioneer lager is very coppery and pours with a very thick, very white head, despite what seems to be little relative carbonation. The head dissipates into a thin, light lace. The nose is pleasantly malty with a slight sweetness. The flavor is biscuity and neat, with soft bread notes finishing on the back of the tongue. Very drinkable.