Showing posts in category: American India Pale Ale

Green Flash Brewing Co out of San Diego, California celebrate their 10th anniversary in the beer biz in 2012. Married couple Mike and Lisa Hinkley started the company in Vista, CA but soon moved to San Diego. After a couple of years now-world-famous brewmaster Chuck Silva joined their team and the rest is history as they say.

Unlike previous reviews we’ve decided to sample four different brews from the very same brewery, one after another. It so happened that we had four of Green Flash Brewing Company’s beer in the fridge. The line up includes seasonals Rayon Vert, Le Freak and Palate Wrecker as well as their year-round West Coast I.P.A. Equipped with a cooler bag and gang of colorful ice packs we made way to the city’s finest beer tasting grounds.

It was a warm late summer evening as we sat down in Cornelisparken, a tiny little park perched on a rock, lending a spectacular view of Stockholm’s inner boroughs. In the background across the water is Stockholm’s small but legendary amusement park, Gröna Lund.

Green Flash Rayon Vert
Style Belgian Pale Ale · ABV 7.0% · 355 ml bottle
Total Score 7/10

First off this evening is the brewery’s Belgian Pale Ale. A careful pour yields a cloudy rose-hip hued beverage with a massive foam head. The nose gives way to a funky and yeasty brett (brettanomyces) aroma tailed by dishcloth, sweet apples, green grapes and honeydew. Sipping the beer there’s a taste of dry aniseed paired with an earthy hop flavor. The general flavor following is fruity, mostly green fruits like pears and sweet apples, reminiscent of calvados. Finishing off the flavor is a light and smooth bitterness. It has a light to medium body with a somewhat watery feel to it considering that Rayon Vert clocks in at 7.0 % ABV. All in all it’s a complex and interesting pale ale and Green Flash does fulfill their promise of adding a “modern twists on traditional styles”.

We’re blessed by a beautiful clear August evening serving us the view of the skyline of Gamla Stan and its church towers. Temporarily memerized by the breathtaking sight of the city we now move onto beer number two.

Green Flash Le Freak
Style Belgian IPA · ABV 9.3% · 650 ml bottle
Total Score 9/10

This evening’s only bomber bottle holds Green Flash’s Belgian IPA called Le Freak. It’s a hybrid beer where a Belgian Abbey Trippel meets an American IPA. An ambivalent beer if you will. The aroma is dominated by exotic fruits, mostly passion fruit followed by green apples and rose-hip all resting atop a brettomycones yeast profile. Fantastic nose! The drink itself is full of apples, honeydew, black currant, candy and coconut and abruptly finished off with a bitter bang. Concluding the evening we both found Le Freak being our top pick out of the four beers tonight. Malty goodness, great hops and a distinct yeast profile is hard to resist!

Green Flash West Coast I.P.A.
Style American India Pale Ale · ABV 7.3% · 355 ml bottle
Total Score 7/10

The third bottle pulled out the cooler bag is an perennial American India Pale Ale that clocks in at 7.3% ABV. Popping the cap on the 12 oz bottle, pouring its content into a glass I get a pale amber with sticky lace on the glass. The aroma is an outstanding one simply oozing cassis as well as fudge, pine and nuts. Taste wise this one is phenomenal. It’s piney, it’s resious, it’s bitter, it’s West Coast! Brutally bitter and piney as the taste is the bitter storm is backed up by a sound caramel and fudge malt base. The body is a medium with lots but just the right amount of bubbles. Although a great IPA, the dominating bitter does knock off a point in the final rating.

Green Flash Palate Wrecker
Style American Double / Imperial IPA · ABV 9.5% · 355 ml bottle
Total Score 8/10
And so the hoppiest beer of them all. Sporting a crazy 3 kgs of hops per barrel (approx 119 liters). Originally it was brewed for a local San Diego bar’s 2nd anniversary in 2008 but has now luckily been bottled. The drink’s a transparent amber, cleaner than the others for some reason. One whiff reveals black currant and honey. The flavor’s a complex story of biscuity malt, caramel, resin and pine. Although even more bitter than their West Coast I.P.A. it’s much better balanced by a heavier malt base in the end producing a better beer. All those fermentables makes it a full-bodied beer. For some reason Palate Wrecker’s kind of low on carbonation, which on the other hand doesn’t makes it less enjoyable. This Green Hulk of an IPA puts a very positive and pleasent end to our tasting session earning a second place among the beers quaffed. As we slowly pick up our things and start our way back home, the streets of Stockholm are calm and dark.

Want to sample some of these beers? Will you be in the Stockholm area the next coming two weekends? Make sure to swing by the Stockholm Beer and Whisky Festival and check out Brill & Co’s booth where they’re serving up Green Flash Double Stout, Hop Head Red, Le Freak, Palate Wrecker and West Coast IPA. 99 Bottles will attend the Festival on October the 5th. Hope to see you there!

All beers brewed by Green Flash Brewing Co · San Diego · California · United States
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Style American India Pale Ale · ABV 7.1% · 355 ml bottle
Brewed by Great Divide Brewing Company · Denver · Colorado · United States
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Time flies when you’re getting married and the kid comes home sick from day care like the millionth time, therefore the gap in posting on the site. Anyway it’s Saturday, the wifey’s away, the kid’s asleep and it just happens to be one of those ever so rare and beautiful summer evenings at 59° North latitude. Stockholm’s at its best so naturally I’m out on the patio slamming a dry-aged top blade piece of U.S. beef on the barbie. Accompanying the meat is potato wedges, coleslaw, Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey Chipotle BBQ Sause and homemade salsa making it The Great American Dinner Plate. What better beer to wash it all down with than America’s Great Divide Titan IPA.

Appearance 3/3

Pouring into the footed beer glass is a perfectly clear amber barley beverage simply teeming with carbonation. A sturdy three finger head with a light yellowish color slowly settles to a two finger foam top leaving dry netted curtains on the glass.

Aroma 9/12

The smell of a robust and thick caramel malt foundation bombarded with skunky-funky piney American hops. Definitely some overlapping herbal and flora notes coming through. In the back I pick up some overly ripened lemon and lime. Eventually a stronger pine and as well resin smell appear. Although a great nose on the Titan I’m sure it has slightly waned off with time which ultimately effects the rating.

Flavor 18/20

Explosion is an understatement here. The flavor burst is a monster! The sweet caramel maltiness meets funky piney hops once again. A herbal taste overlapping slightly with a floral one. Trailing is a fruitiness comparable to pitted fruit like peaches. A substantial bitterness builds up as I sip on the brew, but nothing that really disrupts the balance of the flavors like in many other IPAs. The finale is a dry and crisp one.

Mouthfeel 4/5

Titan’s got a bold and heavy medium body, almost too heavy. The liquid’s got a creamy and sugary feel to it, hitting the bull’s eye of a perfect liquid. The few and very soft bubbles constitute a carbonation that lends just the right amount of help in distribution the flavors.

Overall impression 8/10

On the verge of becoming a Double IPA (don’t worry, mighty big brother Hercules is here to do that job) this IPA is packed to the breaking point with hops and sweet malts. Assertive? Yes! Aromatic? Hell yeah! Yet it’s relatively light on the bitterness. The ingredients of this beer all speak the same language resulting balanced yet complex dialog in flavor. Do you like IPA and yet haven’t had Titan? This needs to go on your beer bucket list. Titan is one of the reasons why I love and drink IPA!

Total Score 42/50

Excellent – Exemplifies style well, requires minor fine-tuning.

Style American India Pale Ale · ABV 6.8% · 355 ml can
Brewed by Ska Brewing Company · Durango · Colorado · United States
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I stumbled upon this beer a year ago. Didn’t really know anything about it at the time, but I bought it anyway, probably out of curiosity and because it had a pretty bad-ass label. It was summertime, and the ska-like attributes on the label seemed like a good match for some reason.

Almost a year later, me and Tobias went to Oliver Twist to have a bite to eat and and grab a beer. I saw this bad boy on the menu, and didn’t hesitate for a second. I remember it as being a pleasant and tasty beer, but wanted to try it out one more time to get a more definitive answer. So here it goes.

Appearance 2/3

Pours an amber color, with a deep reddish tone. It’s topped off with a healthy one-two fingers off-white foam, that settles pretty quickly, but leaves nice big curtains around the glass.

Aroma 10/12

Extremely nice fresh hop-aromas with traditional american IPA characteristics like Apricot, Pineapple, Grapefruit, Citrus. Very flowery, pollen-like sweetness, a bit of honey is in there as well.

Flavor 18/20

The flavor has many of the same characteristics as the aroma has, namely exotic fruits, floral and fresh citrus flavors. Which is followed by a hefty amount of bitterness. Grapefruit, pine, resin and orange zest. The bitterness is balanced out well by the sweeter and slight maltier flavors.

Mouthfeel 4/5

Light to medium mouthfeel, with an adequate carbonation level. Pretty dry, crisp finish. Has a very astringent bitterness towards the end, but it’s not overpowering.

Overall impression 8/10

I knew this was a good beer, but the second time around, it was even tastier. Really rich hoppy flavors, but still nicely balanced. Maybe it’s not for the faint-hearted, but for hop-lovers this is a real treat. I really look forward to try more brews from Ska Brewing Company, as this is the first I’ve tried from them. If you haven’t tried this one yet, I suggest you give it a go.

Total Score 42/50

Excellent – Exemplifies style well, requires minor fine-tuning.

Style American India Pale Ale · ABV 7.1% · 500 ml bottle
Brewed by Omnipollo · Stockholm · Sweden
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Omnipollo had a release-party for it’s new beer Russian Roulette at Bishops Arms (Linnégatan) some time ago. I went with a friend of mine, Per Backtröm to check out the festivities and to talk to the brewer of Omnipollo, Henok Fentie. The beer in question, Russian Roulette is a collaboration between Omnipollo and Evil Twin Brewing and was brewed at Amager Bryghus, Denmark late January 2012.

They produced two slightly different brews but released it under one collective name. First you got a Pale India Pale Ale and second you got a Black India Pale Ale. The name, Russian Roulette, derives from the fact that you can’t tell which one you’re going to get when you order one. A beer with a twist as they say.

Fortunatly we had the opportunity to taste both of them that night, but for the sake of clarity, I’ve divided them up into two different reviews, since they differ in both taste and flavor. First up is Henok’s brew, the lighter one of the two.

Appearance 2/3

Pours golden, slightly hazy, with a medium thick off-white layer of foam that settles pretty quickly, leaving a thin foam layer and lacing around the glass.

Aroma 11/12

The aroma on this one is off the charts! Could be that it’s fresh from the brewery, but I’m getting loads of fruits, like passion fruit, pineapple, strawberry, citrus. Very flowery, getting a pleasant elderflower aroma. Also has some slight dank and earthy notes that balance the sweeter one well.

Flavor 16/20

The taste is fruity, citrusy, grapefruit, herbal, grassy, in other words, very fresh flavor. Also has a fresh and crisp pilsner malt backbone, with some earthy and bready notes. It’s fairly dry with a moderate carbonation level and has a pretty strong bitterness that lingers on after a sip. But hey, that’s what you get with this much hops, right?

Mouthfeel 4/5

Light to medium body, very dry, feels very smooth. The carbonation is adequate, but could use some more to carry the many flavors.

Overall impression 8/10

This is a great summer IPA. Very light, clean, crisp, with loads of wonderful flavors. I can easily see myself enjoying a bottle of this beer at a bar with outdoor seating this summer. Just be sure to have the waiter bring out the bottle and hold it up towards the sun, so you know which one your getting.

We had a great time at Bishops, and were lucky enough to have the brewer himself Henok, give us the backstory of this beer and the brewing process he had together with Jeppe from Evil Twin, while we were enjoying it.

Too conclude a great summer (pale) IPA with loads of aroma and flavors.

Total Score 41/50

Excellent – Exemplifies style well, requires minor fine-tuning.

Style American India Pale Ale · ABV 7.0% · 330 ml bottle
Brewed by Pang Pang Brewery · Hökarängen · Sweden
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I’ve been excited to try this puppy out, ever since I saw the announcement on PangPang’s own facebook page. They apparently had it on tap for a limited time at Bishop’s Arms, but I didn’t have the chance to try it out then. Luckily for us, we managed to get a special delivery from the brewmaster himself Fredrik Tunedal.

After some Dick Tracy like activities, involving whispering secret passwords, we managed to get hold of a couple of samples of this much anticipated brew from PangPang. Me and my co-host Tobias, sat down a cold February night and shared a bottle.

Appearance 2/3

Pours golden orange, with a slight haze. We were debating whether it was a Hop haze or Chill haze, probably the former, but it’s hard to tell. The head is two fingers thick and bright white, it settles quickly but retains a thin foam carpet covering the beer.

Aroma 11/12

Berries, Berries, and even more Berries! Wow, what a sensational aroma. It literally oozes of different type of berries, Black current, blackberry etc. It also delivers passion fruit, mango, citrus. The aroma is slightly sour, but is balanced really with some more dank and earthy tones.

Flavor 18/20

The flavor continues, where the aroma ends, with a whole bunch of grapefruit, the berries also follow through, as does the wild fruits and citrus. It’s fairly dry, almost like champagne. Although an IPA, it has very comfortable hop flavors. Some IPA’s get carried away with the bitterness, but this one gets it just right IMHO. The flavor and aroma really comes through, good hop extraction!

Mouthfeel 3/5

A good medium body, that feels really smooth. The carbonation is there, but after a while, you long for a bit more fizz to help with the flavors. As described above, it has a really comfortable hop bitterness that lingers on after a sip.

Overall impression 8/10

What can I say? The expectations were set pretty high on this one, and yet PangPang came through and delivered! A great all around IPA, with it’s very aromatic berry-like aroma and balanced malt/hop flavors. We both noted some similarities with PangPang’s previous beer Puttin’ in Hours, but it still has its own distinct character. We also concluded that it’s probably a good introduction IPA for people not used to beers with high IBU’s. Overall a really great IPA, can’t wait to try it again!

So, where can I drink this one? Well, it’s available at the moment in very limited supplies at Marie Laveau, Oliver Twist, and Bishop’s Arms (Folkungagatan). If you happen to find it somewhere else, please share it with the rest of us in the comments. Cheers!

Total Score 42/50

Excellent – Exemplifies style well, requires minor fine-tuning.