Tag Archive: USA


Cushnoc: All Souls IPA (USA: IPA: 6.2% ABV)

Visual: Clear gold to yellow. Massive white mounded head that leaves lace. Lots of small bubbled carbonation.

Nose: Vanilla fudge. Pine needles. Light crushed custard cream biscuits. Lightly resinous. Soft kiwi. Light flour to floured baps. Apricot touch. Cake sponge.

Body: Prickly bitterness. Dank hop oils. Light charring. Kiwi and grapefruit. Popcorn hop feel. Floral. Vanilla. Dry fudge. Moderately dry overall. Lightly chalky. Slight sweet grapes.

Finish: Flour. Popcorn hop feel. Good bitterness. Light charring. Slight chilli seeds.

Conclusion: This has a nice range of notes from the hops, yet keeps the bitterness on point. While I knew this was made with a mix of West Coast and Australian hops it didn’t explicitly say it was West Coast style, so I wasn’t sure what to expect going in, but I kind of hoped for west coast influenced at least.

Anyway, it is very west coast like. Yayz! And it does it well as well.

So, let’s dig into things, how does it feel?

Base body is pretty dry, not bone dry – there is some vanilla and drier fudge notes in there, so the malt base isn’t completely out of the way. It is however dry enough to be exactly what I want for a hop delivery system.

Those delivered hops emphasise bitterness, mainly in the popcorn feeling hop kick and some charring notes. I will admit the charring isn’t my favourite thing, but in general I am down for what this beer is selling on the hop bitterness side.

Outside of that it is more subtle. There is some tart grapefruit and hints of apricot sweetness and soft kiwi. They are not pushing any element too heavy but they are there – little grace notes around the edges.

It is lovely being able to try more USA made West Coast style IPAs, even if again I think this comes from the east coast. I think. This is quality made – light charring aside- there is nothing unusual, but is another good example of exactly how to do a lovely bitter kick IPA with just enough release and interesting qualities that it isn’t one note.

I may just be recovering from the NEIPA trend and just jumping onto any proper clear and bitter IPA, but I am loving these in general and enjoying this in specific.

Background: Another IPA grabbed from Beer Bruvs, this one with canned on date of 22/12/20. So a bit older than perfect, but on the line where I would expect it to still hold a lot of the flavour, if not the full effect. I have had two other IPAs from them that were older, around the 9 month to year mark and they were definitely past their best by that point so I didn’t do full notes on them. The oldest one was on sale, but still felt it lost too much to be worth it even like that. At this point I would say most of their beers are from very fresh, to decent if not great freshness, but if you want fresh IPAs it is worth keeping to their more recent arrivals. Again, I have sympathy, as a new start up in these times, but I would not be doing my best for you all of I did not advise. Hopefully as they get more established their turnover will increase keeping things fresh. Anyway, this is made with a mix of Australian and West Coast hops, which is what caught my eye. Not much else to add, put on a mix of Television Villain tunes while drinking. I am biased as I know one member, but I think they are amazing.

Ingenious: Smarty Champagne Sherbet (USA: Berliner Weisse: 6.8% ABV)

Visual: Strawberry juice red. No real head, just a handful of bubbles. Some small bubbled carbonation.

Nose: Strawberry jelly babies. Crushed love hearts. Palma violets. Fudge. Seville orange.

Body: Light sherbety mouthfeel and sherbet lemon. Fudge to chocolate fudge. Grapes. Strawberry. Raspberry soft drinks. Crushed love hearts. Sweet white wine. Grape juice. Orange jelly sweets.

Finish: Chocolate fudge. Chocolate orange. Sweet raspberry. Lemon sorbet. Green grapes. Slight funky feel. Palma violets. Red grape juice.

Conclusion: This is nothing like what I expected. Which is partially my fault, with something called Champagne Sherbet I should not be surprised when it has lemon sherbet flavours.

My bad.

What is unexpected is how restrained the Berliner sharpness is. There is a soft, tart, fizzy character but nothing like the acidic pain from my first Berliner Weisse experience. It may help that I don’t have an unknown tooth cavity this time.

Again, my bad.

It is fruity, with the expected strawberry and raspberry notes coming through quasi naturally, but what really sticks out in this is that it feels like some one took a ton of crushed love hearts and dumped them into the beer.

But in a good way.

It results in an odd mix of natural fruit and super artificial sherbet fizz. Then you back it with soft white wine like notes and a bit of yeast funk at the end and you have something that should not at all mesh together, but somehow does.

It has a champagne feel only in the funk in the finish, and the fruit used comes across cleanest in the aroma; In-between the two there is a massive mix of everything that went into this. So, yeah somehow they manage to make drinking crushed sweets through fruit stewed in white wine work. Which is impressive.

It is fun, but unlike a lot of “fun” beers it feels well brewed and almost could even be called balanced. Almost. Lets face it, something that tastes like crushed sweets will never be 100% balanced.

Fun, funky. Fruity and sweet. I need a word that means sweet but begins with f to continue the alliterations. Fructose? Nah that is rubbish. Anyway, if this was a lower abv this would be a perfect drinking in the sun refresher. As is I enjoyed the hell out of it anyway.

Background: Ok this is a (Deep breath) Berliner brewed with champagne yeast and conditioned on raspberry, strawberry, orange, lime and vanilla. Which is a bit of a mouthful. At time of doing the notes initially I was only aware of the strawberry and raspberry, so I am happy I picked up on some of the others as well. This is listed everywhere as “Smarty Champagne Sherbet” but on the can I could initially only see “Champagne Sherbet” and that is from an additional label stuck on it. Anyway, yeah I see it NOW! Go figure. Additionally the label, and most of the internet calls this at 6.8% abv, but if you peel off the label the can calls it as 6.1% ABV. Again, go figure. No canned on date for this one, so not sure how long it has been since it was brewed. As you may have guessed from that, this is another one grabbed from The Beer Bruvs website. Went with Evan Greer’s Spotify Is Surveillance as backing music again. Easy to listen to but politically sharp. I like it.

Big Oyster: Hammerhead IPA (USA: IPA: 6.4% ABV)

Visual: Clear, darkened yellow body. Large white mound of a head that leaves suds. A small amount of small bubbles for carbonation.

Nose: Vanilla fudge. Pine cones and needles. Slightly oily, resinous character and bitterness. Lime cordial. Cake sponge. Apricot. Flour. Grapes.

Body: Good bitterness. Oily hops. Prickly. Kiwi. Light charring and gunpowder tea. Tart grapefruit. Tart white grapes.

Finish: Greenery. Hop oils. Oily charring and good bitterness. Good hop punch. Light grapes and grapefruit. Flour. Kiwi.

Conclusion: While I have been on a right West Coast IPA kick recently, this is the first USA made one I have had for a while – so as the originators of the style, are they still the masters of it?

Well, first impressions are what you would expect. Clear on the eye, simple but effective on the nose.

The aroma opens up with sweet vanilla, though that definitely diminishes over time; In return more oily, pine cone hop character comes out backed by a light freshness.

The body delivers on that promise of the aroma. It is mainly straightforward hop bitterness, light charring and a slightly dry kick, but with resinous edges. The bitterness goes hard, into occasionally harsh with gunpowder tea like notes, but with just enough grapefruit release for it to work

There are sweeter notes, with apricot and kiwi, but fruit wise the tarter grape and grapefruit notes are doing the heavy lifting. Even that is never the main course of the beer, but they are evident enough to freshen it up and keep it from being too harsh.

As time passes the bitterness, greenery and hops rise to dominate the beer, and it is the main thrust at the end. Which admittedly is exactly what I wanted from a west coast.

Not unusual, or fancy, but as I say, damn this does exactly what I want from a west coast. Bitter, resinous and just enough release from the harshness.

I have missed this.

Background: It is getting hard to get American craft beer over here in the UK, outside of a couple of regulars that have become commonplace, so when I saw that there was a website called “Beer Bruvs” that was importing and selling some lesser seen craft beer from over there I thought I would give them a go, see how they do. Even if Beer Bruvs as a name is like nails on a blackboard for me. I will not judge them on that. Mostly. While I am not cult like in my need for freshness, I will be posting canned dates where relevant, as a new importer am am interested in what sort of turn around they have on beers, especially the hoppy ones. Now, these are cans which will help, and frankly with COVID, Brexit and the like hitting the entire infrastructure right now I am more than happy giving them leeway, but is is still useful info for you all to know when I am doing notes. This one is dated as 16/03/21 (Yes I changed to UK style dates), so pretty good – probably the freshest of the IPAs they sent. A few different IPAs were back from Sept last year, which isn’t the worst, but may put off people who want them super fresh. Anyway, I don’t know much about the brewery, but was excited to try a proper old USA made West Coast IPA (Even if the brewery is, I think, based on the east coast) – been a while and I adore the style. I went with Mclusky: Mcluskyism as backing music for this for some random energy.

Connecticut Valley: Nothing By Chance (USA: Fruit: 15% ABV)

Visual: Hazy reddish brown. Hind of hazy apple juice like colour. Thin off white head.

Nose: Honey. Glazed apple Danish. Liquorice touch. Boozy. Cut apples. Brown sugar.

Body: Apple pie filling. Honey. Golden syrup. Brown sugar. Boozy. Slight dry oak. Blended whisky. Vanilla.

Finish: Warming treacle air. Liquorice. Brown bread. Apple pies.

Conclusion: Ok, apple beers, be it straight apple, apple pie dessert stouts, or just ditched into other beers, have always appealed to me as an idea, but they have not had the greatest history of actually, well, working.

So, how does this one do?

Pretty well. I mean, it is boozy as fuck, but at 15% abv I kind of expected that already. It makes the entire beer unsubtle as hell, but here, I kind of dig that.

There is a very apple pie to sugar glazed apple Danish kind of style to this, but with a bit of dry oak touch and sweet vanilla from the barrel ageing that adds high and low notes to the whole experience.

The high booze and sweetness gives occasional real thick and sugary golden syrup, but more generally a more manageable honey hazy hovers over the whole thing. Thankfully the dryer oak notes work very well as occasional release, and match with the savoury liquorice notes which offer a haven in which you can prepare yourself before the next sweet burst. Often I find liquorice notes don’t work in a beer, but here they feel very necessary as a grounding element and are pleasing in themselves.

Overall it is simple, boozy and sweet – with the barrel ageing feeling like it is responsible for 90% of any of the complexity you actually get, but ya know what?

It does apple well. That is rare. It still manages to feel beer like under that and shows heavily but is not dominated by the barrel ageing. That is a nice wee set to hit.

Rough and simple, but despite that I really dig it.

Background: Saw that Bottles and Books over in Bristol had some very tasty beers in, lot of Imperial Stouts especially, so I treated myself and put an order in from them. Very helpful staff there as well, helping me sort a mistake I did with the order. Anyway this, not an Imperial Stout, is one of the beers I ordered from them. What it is is a very high abv apple ale that has been aged in bourbon casks. Now, my experience with apple beers has been mixed to say the least, but I am eternally hopeful that one of them will wow me, and this was different enough that I thought it may be the one to do so. Had recently stayed up to watch the Undertale Fifth House Ensemble concert livestream on twitch, so listened to the Undertale Live music while drinking. Yes I am a big Undertale nerd. I love it.

Equilibrium: Super Fractal Laboratory Set (USA: IIPA: 10% ABV)

Visual: Cloudy peach skin to apricot coloured body. Medium sized bubbled white head that leaves suds.

Nose: Cake sponge. Muggy hop bitterness. Pine needles. Custard slice. Mango. Apricot skin. Grapes.

Body: Mango. Pomegranate. Cake sponge. Thick. Peach. Marshmallow but dry. Custard. Honey syrup. Watermelon jolly ranchers. Resinous. Gherkin like sour touch. Hop oils

Finish: Pine needles. Muggy bitterness. Granite touch. Savoury, lettuce like touch at the end. Honey.

Conclusion: This feels heavy. Thick, kind of savoury and with a bready to cake nature. It is kind of sticky as well – the fruity feels dried but in a way that clings to the tongue.

There is sweetness, predominantly expressed as a honey, again sticky notes that hangs around for a long time at the end. However, considering the abv it comes across moderately attenuated in a way that I would not expect. Not dry, but restrained, drier than the malt load would suggest.

The bitterness is, again, moderate. Some resinous character, a good level of bitterness but slightly muggy rather than prickly, and slightly oily but not the main character. It isn’t lacking in bitterness, but it isn’t exactly the front either.

The front is instead an odd, slightly muggy, slightly dry, fruit set of unusual notes; Rocking with pomegranate and mango more than the more common choices. There are hints of sweeter release, but generally it is kind of savoury, slightly soured unusual notes with some dry sweetness.

It gets a bit sweeter over time and feels much more clinging – the flavours and hops last long, long into the finish. It is decent, but a tad too sticky kind of clingy for me. The thick body and dryness keeps every flavour around, but without those notes that pop out to make it feel more welcome and complex over time.

Still, decent – lots of flavour and identity, just not quite expressed to a style of my preference.

Background: Ohh, a new brewery to me from the USA. With the smaller USA craft brewers being pretty rare in the UK these days I was again happy to snap up something to try. There seemed to be a lot of variants of this Super Fractal beer, so being a science fan I grabbed the Laboratory Set variant and thought I would see where it would take me. Yep, a very formal selection method used. This is called Triple IPA, but I have to admit I always thought 10% fell under the high end of a double IPA. Feh, I’m listing it under IIPA anyway for ease, but I am fairly sure 10% abv is not in the triple range. The base beer – Super Fractal is described as having a simple grain bill, the can doesn’t list ingredients so I’m not exactly sure what that entails, to which this adds massive Citra hopping. Cool. Ok, let’s see how that goes. Went with Ulver: Flowers of Evil when drinking – a brighter sounding but still musically complex work from the always great Ulver. Oh I bought this at Independent Spirit.

Maker’s Mark: Makers 46 (USA: Bourbon: 47% ABV)

Visual: Very deep reddened bronze colour. Fast and thick sheet of streak comes from the spirit.

Nose: Warm honey. Vanilla. Shredded wheat. Lightly peppery. Slight stewed apricot. Caramel. Water adds custard slice touch.

Body: Strawberry crème. Warm golden syrup. Vanilla toffee liqueur. Thick. Oaken underneath. Water makes smoother. Some alcohol jelly like touch. More vanilla. Cherry pocked biscuits. Liquorice touch.

Finish: Honey. Vanilla sheen. Toffee liqueur. Oak. Water gives a grape touch. Jelly. Shredded wheat.

Conclusion: This feels like Maker Mark’s bigger, smoother, more fulfilling brother. What I am saying is it is more bangable basically.

Neat it feels like warm honey and golden syrup drizzled over cereal. It still has that kind of rustic feel I associate with Maker’s Mark, but with the sweetness shoved way up. The extra alcohol strength , as well as upping the thickness of mouthfeel, also seems to have given it room for some odder notes to make themselves known. From strawberry notes, to cherry biscuits hints hanging around in the thick, heavy texture, there is a bit more variety – it doesn’t give release from the sweetness, but adds more depth to the thick, sweet character.

Neat is has a kind of weight that gives away that it has the higher alcohol content; Not a burn, just an unusual thickness. Water takes it into a smoother, more drinkable dram – closer to standard Maker’s Mark but still with more complexity.

Maker’s Mark has always been a go to bourbon for me for general drinking, and this, while still a touch one track minded, is more complex, more satisfying and more weighty without moving outside of the general drinking field. It feels like it pays off all the promise standard Maker’s Mark had.

It isn’t super complex but as a sipping bourbon this is excellent.

Background: Now the question I was asking myself was, why “46”? Especially as it is 47% abv, which was going to be my first guess. Well it is Maker’s Mark, but a version finished with oak staves. The fact that they were only used for finishing means that it still counts as bourbon – I think that for standard ageing they would not be allowed. Anyway I googled it, apparently this was a result of experiments with French toasted oak labelled “Stave Profile No. 46”. So they kept that as a name, because the marketing team was out at lunch or something I guess. Anyway – been a fan of Maker’s Mark for a while, since it got me through America when craft beer was hard to find – so tried this at The Star a while back and enjoyed it – they have a fair decent whisky selection at a decent price. This bottle was grabbed from Independent Spirit. Went with the new Ulver album for backing music – the wonderful sounds of “Flowers Of Evil”. Amazing as always.

Barrier: Money (USA: IPA: 7.3% ABV)

Visual: Hazy, cloudy lemon curd colour with large yellowed white mounded head. Lots of small bubbled carbonation.

Nose: Apricot skin. Nicely bitter hop character. Jiff lemon. Pineapple.

Body: Good bitterness. Sweet pineapple. Grapefruit touch. Tart grapes. Resinous style. Light chalk touch. Light strawberry.

Finish: Oily hop bitterness. Growling bitter character, but of medium intensity. Caramel touch. Peach. Gritty hop grip. Light strawberry. Grapefruit.

Conclusion: Ok short version – This is a good IPA, the Double Dry Hopped variant is better. This is good, that is great. Got that? Cool now for people who want more, here is the long version.

This is more instantly cloudy, on first pour it already had the NEIPA cloudy look that only came late pour for the DDH version. Thankfully, like DDH it still holds the hops – still resinous and oily. Less so, but still rocking a full variety of the hop range.

It is more evidently pineapple led, in quite a sweet but fresh take with some tarter grapefruit notes behind. This is bigger on the citrus pop, but has less range to go with it. When you combine the bigger emphasis on the citrus with the more subtle hop style it makes for a more general drinking, fresh, IPA but at the cost of some complexity in exchange for that lovely drinkability.

It still has that backing malt sweetness, more evident in the caramel touches in the finish, present but unobtrusive in the main body – giving just enough sweetness and weight for the hops to work against.

It is a lovely IPA – fresh, just enough East coast style sweetness, but very restrained against a sweet, tart citrus feel that reminds me of New Zealand beers, matched with a good range of hop expression.

Don't mistake not being as good as the DDH version and not being worth trying. This is still a joy.

Background: Last month I tried Money DDH edition, and found it very much to my taste. I was tempted to just grab another can of it, but decided to grab the baseline Money to see how it works, and what it was they built off. Hope that doesn't turn out to be a big mistake. Another one grabbed from Independent Spirit, same place I grabbed the DDH version. Went with Ghost: Prequelle as backing music. Looking at the internet Ghost seems to be either the greatest thing ever, or a crime against metal and I should be ashamed to listen to it. This is my first Ghost album and … it’s fun, reminds me of 80’s stadium metal and Sigh’s Gallows Gallery. Lighter than my usual metal, but full of energy.

Thin Man: Jar Of Green (USA: IPA: 7% ABV)

Visual: Yellow to cloudy peach skin coloured main body. Massive yellow white loose bubbled head that leaves suds.

Nose: Clean. Good fluffy hop feel and some hop bitterness. Peach. Pineapple. Vanilla custard.

Body: Thick. Oily bitterness. Greenery. Just below acrid level hop character. Soft charring. Brown bread. Heavy feeling. Smoke and sulphur.

Finish: Lots of greenery. Smoke. High hop bitterness. Sulphur. Peppery.

Conclusion: Ok, this does what it says on the tin. This is very green, be it in actual greenery notes, or smoke and sulphur notes. By smoke and sulphur notes, I am assuming from the name and nature of this beer that this is made with fresh, wet green hops, which gives it a vegetable character and those aforementioned sulphur characteristics. It makes it quite a brutal beer for drinking.

Oddly, on doing a google search I found this beer listed as a NEIPA multiple times, which led to me asking two questions. 1) How the fuck do I find a non NEIPA IPA these days? And 2) What does NEIPA even mean now? Does it just mean hazy? As it matches exactly zero other expected characteristics for a NEIPA for me. I’m enjoying it for one.

However, while I am enjoying it – it is very one note. The aroma possesses some fruit notes, yes, but that ain’t what you get once you start sipping. It is all heavy, dark, dank hops – all charring, greenery, smoke and bitterness all the time. As a burst of a beer I like it, but it could get old very fast.

The malt does try to show some sweetness, but it rarely comes up, instead showing itself mainly in the very thick mouthfeel.

Not one I would recommend as a general drinking beer, but it is an utter blunt burst of green hops. As I say, it does what it says on the tun.

I’m fairly sure you know from that if you will enjoy it or not.

Background: Another one grabbed from Independent Spirit’s new batch of USA beers from breweries I had not tried before. Another one that unexpectedly turned out to be hazy. There seriously needs to be a law that this stuff needs to be listed on the can! Ok not that seriously. Also I am fairly sure when it says pint it means tiny USA pint. I miss my extra 95ml. Anyway, went with The Germs: MIA The Complete Germs as backing music. Early smart punk which I have a soft spot for but hadn’t revisited for a while. Not much else to add. Too warm. Fuck Covid-19.

Barrier: Money 2 Times Dry Hopped IPA (USA: IPA: 7.3% ABV)

Visual: Pale hazy lemon juice colour. Huge white mounded ice cream float looking head that leaves suds. Moderate bubbled carbonation and some sediment on final pour.

Nose: Pineapple. Juicy. Wheaty hop character and low but present bitterness. Slightly dry. Lemon juice. Vanilla ice cream.

Body: Vanilla. Buttery. Good hop character. Vanilla ice cream. Kiwi and lime. Resinous. Lots of greenery. Hop oils. Lightly “dank”. Apricot. Creamy. Custard notes.

Finish: Good hop bitterness. Choc toffee eclairs sweets. Good hop character. Some charring. Hop oils. Resinous and “dank”.

Conclusion: Ok there is some serious sediment and haze in this beer, it just didn’t come out in my first pour. The second pour where I emptied the can emptied everything out and really changes this beer!

On first pour this had a good hop character and some bitterness, but it pushed the fruit character more with great kiwi character, and some apricot and pineapple. It had some resinous and hop oil characteristics but they served more as a backing to a fruity IPA.

Then, after taking my time to enjoy this I rolled the remainder of the beer around the can and added it into the glass for a nice refill. Instantly it is more hazy – I was suddenly nervous, was this going to go full NEIPA on me and just be all fruit and hide the hops? Then I saw the sediment that came with it. Was this a good sign of hop character, a sign of bad filtering, a problem, an opportunity, all of the above?

I should not have worried. It became oily, resinous and yes …sigh ..”dank” – all nicely bitter. Whatever had been left in the latter third of the can made this the beer I wanted as soon as it was poured in. Still fruity, but now with the hops up front in all their varied resinous, oily, bitter and fluffy stylings.

Still lightly caramel sweet, with a creamy thick body, but now using it all to kick. Sweet apricot, kiwi, etc are all still there. Custard and toffee notes and still there, especially in the finish, but holy heck it kicks the hops up a notch.

I am digging it. The second pour took this from good to great. Enjoy it if you can.

Background: Independent Spirit had a bunch of breweries from USA I’d not encountered before in, so I decided to grab a couple to try. With a weak pound and all the crap going on we don’t get many of the less mainstream USA breweries these days so was very happy to try. Went mainly with some IPAs as, in general, it seems to be a style where the USA does it best. I don’t know what it is, and it is generalising a massive amount of breweries both in the USA and the world, but they seem to hit the spot more often than most. Anyway, this is a double dry hopped version of the original Money, which I have not drunk so cannot compare. On ratebeer this is listed as a NEIPA – while it is slightly cloudy on the eye it didn’t really hit me as that, but maybe that is because I enjoyed it and I am massively biased against NEIPAs. Who can say? Went with Evil Scarecrow: Galactic Hunt as backing music. Funny, b-movie, horror Metal. Something absurd and fun was just what I needed.

Pipeworks: Imperial Cherry Jones Dog (USA: Imperial Stout: 10.5% ABV)

Visual: Black and still. Thin grey brown dash of a head.

Nose: Brown sugar. Warming booze. Chocolate smelling alcohol. Walnuts. Cashews. Liquorice. Chocolate cake. Liquorice all sorts.

Body: Black cherry. Toffee yogurt. Liquorice. Walnut cake. Vanilla fudge. Cherry pocked biscuits. Cocoa backing. Glacier cherries touch. Light chalk touch.

Finish: Coffee cake. Walnuts. Crushed bourbon biscuits. Cherry picked biscuits. Cocoa. Vanilla sweetness. Alcohol air.

Conclusion: You know, for an over 10% abv imperial stout stacked with special ingredients, this is fairly restrained. Which as always, I should point out, does mean it would be considered restrained by any normal beers standards, natch, just for one this big.

The special ingredients show differing amounts of influence. There’s a creamy character, but against that a more solid chocolate cake feel and taste. It has a vanilla sweetness matched to the creaminess as one of the bigger elements, but the cherries come out as a subtle character laced throughout – sometimes even coming through more as black cherry.

These all build up over time to an impressive weight of flavour by the end. This is one of the few 10% abv and up beers where the full pint is worthwhile for appreciating the beer, rather than being better suited to a half of even third.

It is slow to build and subtle up front, with a touch of the alcohol noticeable but it is far from boozy. It doesn’t have any one element that pushes it to a classic, but has a lot that works well together – a great cocoa backing, some sweet bursts, subtle cherry and an initially high liquorice that slips out of the way to give the other elements time in the limelight.

By the end are a bit more obvious – more noticeable alcohol, bigger flavour – it isn’t as good in itself, but shows a progression that keeps the beer interesting, which offsets that. It has a good use of the lactose for sweetness and mouthfeel, nice subtle use of the cherry and so much cocoa.

A very complex and solid imperial stout, not a must have but well worth a look.

Background: Pipeworks, a new new brewery on me, but this one sounded fairly epic, so I decided to give it a try. Also, new beers and breweries from the USA are less common than they used to be – for many reasons, one of which I would guess would be the plummeting pound over the years. Anyway, this is made with cherries, cocoa nibs, lactose and vanilla. Of course. Went with Le Tigre’s self titled album for music while drinking. This was another beer grabbed from Independent Spirit.

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