SanTan Brewing - Sex Panther

60% of the time it works 100% of the time…..

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What? You actually thought I would start with something original for a beer called Sex Panther? Do you even know me? ;-)

^^^I left Doug’s intro in there because CLASSIC!^^^

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This beer. You guys. We asked our dear friends to pick this up for us in Arizona (shoutout to Rob and Jena!), and pick it up they did. You think to yourself, there’s no way it’s as good as it sounds, I mean, sex panther, amirite? How can the flavor actually beat the name…and symbol.

Wrong.

SanTan Brewing is out of Chandler, Arizona. Their tagline is that they make beer for the hot climate, so it’s light, crisp, and refreshing. Even this beer, at 6.9% ABV, is a ‘lighter’ dark beer. Here is what SanTan’s website has to say about its double chocolate porter: 

Sex Panther Double Chocolate Porter is a Winter Seasonal that is brewed with Colonial Rosewood Cocoa and large amounts of Chocolate malt giving this beer a huge chocolaty flavor combined with hints of truffle and molasses. White Wheat is added to give Sex Panther a smooth, creamy head that lasts all night!

A smooth, creamy head that lasts all night? Now we’re talkin’.

Wait. This is about beer, right? (Doug should not have let me write the bulk of the intro. *smirk*)

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Sadly, the above banner is inaccurate. It is not, in fact, out right now. However, you need this beer in your life, so here is the basic information:

Price point - Was a gift, but I am finding it online for $8-$12 a sixer (and worth every penny…that we didn’t pay…#friendship).

Cellar-able - It has a pretty low ABV at 6.9% and the flavors are pretty subtle already. I wouldn’t cellar it.

Availability - From January to March where ever SanTan is sold, which is Arizona, California, and Texas. So basically, if you don’t live in one of those states, you best have amazing friends, like Doug and I!

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On with the tasting, with the man himself:

Aroma - Definite malt, with a lot of chocolate and caramel as well.  It’s a very sweet, but subtle aroma.

Appearance - It is a really dark amber color.  I would say it is a 27-28 on the SRM scale.  The head is a bone color with tiny bubbles that stuck around throughout the tasting. (Head AND bone in the same sentence. Tell me you didn’t laugh. You didn’t? YOU ARE A LIAR!)

Taste - Extremely smooth and creamy. Very up-front chocolate flavor, but it’s a dark chocolate. A lot of malt flavor as well with a touch of caramel.

Palate - Medium to low carbonation. This is a pretty heavy mouthfeel and extremely creamy for a porter.  It lingers for quite a bit and sticks on the lips. (I just….I can’t.)

Overall - This is a really nice beer to drink.  It is one of the better chocolate beers that I have had.  There are a lot of subtle nuances to it that make it fun to drink…and I don’t just mean the name!

Git it, folks. This is a good one, and you will NOT regret it. We can safely say, it does not smell like a used diaper filled with Indian food.

Until next time,

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Cheers,

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Friday Quick Pick - Full Sail Session Black Lager

Man am I feeling lazy. Doug levied the idea of telling you all to “drink this, we’ll see you Monday!” Bbbuuuutttttt we decided that was a silly idea.

SO, you’ve all had Guinness, right? Yes? Awesome. Besides Guinness, there isn’t exactly a ton of options for low ABV dark beer.

(This is where Doug takes over….)

Annie and I were standing in front of the cooler at a local liquor store when we happen to spot this white and blue case of beer with 12 midget bottles in it.  I’m not gonna lie, it drew my eye because of the color blue they used.  (It’s a really cool gunship gray, blue kind of color)

Turns out this case of beer held a session dark lager with a low ABV.  WINNER! We have this week’s Quick Pick!

Welcome to Full Sail Brewing Session Black Lager.

Black Lager is Full Sail’s version of a session dark beer.  Good session beers, if you remember, are beers that offer drinkability (low ABV), light flavor profiles, and easy on the palates.  You won’t get, big, bold, have to chew it kind of beers, but that’s not to say they can’t have complex flavors.  

Full Sail’s Session Black Lager is just that: An easy to drink beer that actually has flavor!  Novel concept, I know.

From their website, here is the flavor profile of Session Black Lager:

Short, Dark, and Drinkable and nine time Gold Medal Winner including the 2009 GABF! The second addition to family, Session Black, carries the mantra of drinkability into new territory. Most beers this dark are so heavy-duty, you could eat them with a fork. Session Black, on the other hand, lets you have your dark beer and drink it, too. With just a hint of roasty chocolate character, Session Black is short, dark, and totally drinkable. At long last, a dark beer that doesn’t drink like a meal. ABV 5.4% IBU 18 

Annie and I highly recommend this one if you are looking for a beer with a roasted, dark flavor profile but want to put down a few.  

Until next time

Cheers!

Lucette Brewing - Ride Again American Pale Ale

Doug wrote this. But Annie basically trampled it with her thoughts in parentheses. Enjoy.

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You’re probably wondering what in the hell am I doing starting off a post about a beer with Paul Bunyan and Babe.  Well, it just so happens that Paul Bunyan had a girlfriend….and no, it’s not Babe. (Because that wouldn’t be weird or anything.) 

Her name is Lucette and she is the inspiration for the name of the brewery for this week’s review.

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Lucette Brewing Company is out of Menomonie, WI and is indeed named after Paul Bunyan’s girlfriend, Lucette. The founders of Lucette chose the name as a tribute to the hardworking lumber industry in the Midwest. The brewing company uses Lucette’s likeness on all of their packaging so it is easy to spot the beer in your local liquor store. And I have to say, based upon a quick search they seem to have taken liberties with the imagery in a very good way.  You be the judge:

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Well done Lucette Brewery…..well done. BTW, what’s up with the statue’s hips? (Paul Bunyan liked his women thick and rather…rhombehedral?)

Lucette offers a small variety of beers including a weissbier, golden ale, and stout along with Belgian golden ale, Imperial golden ale and pale ale.  The beer we are focusing on here is their American pale ale. (I focus on this one a lot. A LOT)

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Here is the description from the company’s website:

Ride Again has a bright, wonderful hop aroma that has scents of pine, citrus fruits, and grapefruit.  This beer has a very clean malt character with upfront hop bitterness and flavor.  Not too sweet, Ride Again is full of hop flavor and aroma while still being very drinkable and refreshing.  This beer is well balanced, with just a hint of caramel malt to support the hop bitterness.

Before we get to my notes, here is some additional info:

Price point - It’s around $8.69 for a 6 pack of 16 ounce cans AND only 150 calories a can. OH MY GOSH THIS IS MY GO TO. (Annie changed this entire statement. Doug is weird as this is not his go-to)

Cellar-able - Nope.  A pale ale at 5.2% ABV is meant to be consumed and quickly (And I do consume them quickly! SCORE!)

Availability - Not much info on the brewery site, but it appears to be available year round.  Not sure if it is geographically limited at all, but I would assume WI, maybe MN and/or IL. (And if you see it, you should do yourself a favor and follow the advice of the previous bullet-point. CONSUME QUICKLY)

On with the tasting!

Aroma - Mildly sweet and malty.  Some citrus as well; more orangy than grapefruity and a touch of pine.

Appearance - Nice golden brown.  I’d call it a 7-8 on the SRM scale.  The head is a bright white with small rocky bubbles that lingered for quite a bit. (Lololllll. The term “head” NEVER stops being funny)

Taste - A slight grapefruit taste with just a light malty flavor as well.  The flavor is rather dry too.  Not much, if any, sweet to it at all. Piney hints as well, with some mild fruity flavors. (Doug’s palate is on crack, ladies and gentlemen. And also currently on greasy and salty chips. There is actually a lovely sweet undercurrent to this beer, though it does have a bit of a dry quality. Really, the flavors complement each other well.)

Palate - Very light and crisp.  Medium carbonation, but not heavy on the palate at all.  Slight grapefruit bitter on the upper palate on the back of the throat. (all of the above = NOM)

Overall - Not a bad American Pale Ale, just not one of my favorites. Annie would disagree and gasp at that statement as this is one of her favorites, but this is one of the cool things about beer, neither of us is wrong.  Drink what you like. (I am currently in tears and planning to sac tap Doug next time I see him. *grumble*) (I’m not really in tears. I was just kidding. MOAR RIDE AGAIN FOR ME!)

Until next time

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Cheers!

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Surly/Three Floyd’s/Real Ale - Blakkr (Surly Release)

Surly: The anger fueled by the inability to find good beer.

Remember that recent post we did on a black IPA? And we were like OMG IT’S SO GOOD (but not quite as good as Surly Blakkr). Yeah, this is Blakkr. And ladies and gentlemen…it is damn good.

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Blakkr is a collaboration black ale which was created by the brewers at Surly (Minnesota), Three Floyds (Indiana), and Real Ale (Texas). They all created the recipe together, then Surly and Three Floyds brewed the beer at their respective breweries. I have heard that they taste just slightly different from each other, even though they use the same recipe. Probably because Indiana’s water is NOT as good as Minnesota’s. ;)

According to Todd Haug, Surly brewmaster, the guys put their heads together to create a beer that would celebrate their love of death metal (ew). The collab also gets the beer into more territories than their individual distribution allows.

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(These guys? Love death metal? Nnnnnooooo…)

Surly holds a very special place in my heart because, first, my go-to beer at any bar in Minneapolis is Surly Furious - a fantastic IPA. I also love it because it’s like a mile from my (Annie’s) house. No kidding. Surly pumps out their delicious brews from this little corner of Brooklyn Center, where it all began. It’s in this winding industrial area ALL the way down on the end of the road. Of course, this will all change with the 20 million dollar destination brewery/event center they’re building. If I ever get married, I know right where my reception will be…

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On to the tasting with the man himself!

Price point - $15 a four pack of 16 oz cans.  On the higher end of beer.

Cellar-able - This one would be interesting to cellar.  The ABV is 9.99% (notice that’s 666 upside-down) and the flavors are strong, so I would love to see how they change and mellow. (I actually liked it better after it sat in my fridge for like 5 months)

Availability - Each brewery puts out their own version, so if you have access to any of the beers from these breweries they may still have some, but you may have to wait until next winter when they release it again.

Aroma - Piney upfront with a strong malty nose as well.  Citrus sweet is there.  I get a touch of caramel roast too.  Complex for sure.

Appearance - Off-white head with smaller bubbles that stayed for the whole beer.  The beer itself is a really dark amber.  In fact, the amber only seems to show at certain angles.  I would call it 25-26 on the SRM scale.

Taste - First impression is malty sweet with a citrus accent.  There is roasted caramel as well.  This beer is very complex touching on a lot of different flavors with malt sweet, the hops and the roast.  Very well done.

Palate - Very full body with medium carbonation.  This one fills up the mouth well. No alcohol bite at all despite the high ABV.  

Overall - I love this beer.  It provides the best of what I like in an IPA (citrus sweet) and porters/stouts (dark roast, caramel sweet) and does it with incredible balance.  

Annie’s thoughts - The beautiful thing about this beer is that it’s got this incredible stout sweetness, while also pistol-whipping you with hop flavor and a smidge bitterness. And the balance…oh the balance… *Annie’s mind goes bye bye for awhile*

Todd Haug told us at beer class that they were gonna try dry-hopping it for the next release. YES PLEASE! (says Annie) Also, feel free to make it a year-round beer, guys.

Until next time,

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Cheers,

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Friday Quick Pick - Great Divide Claymore Scotch Ale

I know I know…not the usual summer ale or IPA (or apparently, stout, like last week). We like to change it up…particularly with the polar vortex coming next week! 

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Now, I am generally not a huge fan of scotch ales. I find them too…spicy. (Doug would have a few things to say about that, by the way…*insert shit-eating grin emoji here). However, this one is very very delicious! It’s extremely smooth, moderate in body and flavor, with a really coffee sweet finish. 

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According to the website, Claymore Scotch Ale is:

Named for a medieval Scottish sword, CLAYMORE SCOTCH ALE is our tribute to the legendary “Wee Heavy” beers of Scotland. This malty, deep-ruby beauty features lots of caramel sweetness, a reserved hop profile, and a subtle warming character. Unlike its namesake, this beer only requires one hand, but it’ll still make you feel like nobility.

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At 7.7% ABV and is available year-round, wherever Great Divide is distributed, so get it while it’s hot people! (which is basically all the time)

In the end, if you want to drink like a noble during the summer polar vortex, have at it peeps!

Cheers,

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Until next time,

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Steven’s Point Brewery - Nude Beach

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If you’ve lived your entire life in Wisconsin you’re probably a summer worshiper as I am. Like most parts of the world Wisconsin has its four seasons. We know them as early winter, mid-winter, late winter, and if we’re lucky, summer. So when summer finally does arrive we treasure each day. And one way to do that is with an ice cold beer.

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Although beer drinking is a year round activity, those of us who enjoy a wide variety tend to gravitate to a lighter more refreshing beer during the summer. So when it came time to make another contribution to the Beer Stand Blog, I decided to find something I had never tasted before that was also brewed in our great state. I chose Steven’s Point Brewery’s Nude Beach. You have to give Point’s marketing department a big high five for coming up with a name that would almost guarantee their product would fly off of the shelves.

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Nude Beach is a wheat beer that is only available in the summer months. It’s also Point Brewery’s highest selling seasonal offering. It was first brewed in 2008 and has grown in popularity ever since.

I chose a warm muggy day to do my in-depth research. I brought the chilled bottle of Nude Beach onto the patio to enjoy in the great outdoors. My wife promptly asked why I was drinking so early in the day. I responded that I wasn’t really drinking, but doing journalistic research. As this response fell short of its intended mark, I opened the Nude Beach, and looked forward to another night sleeping on the couch.

As I poured the Nude Beach I noticed that the color is a cross between gold and orange which is similar to other summer favorites such as Summer Shandy. It has a cloudy appearance which is common for unfiltered American Pale Wheat Ales.

The aroma is very subtle…slightly hoppy with hints of lemon or orange, but difficult to detect.

I have to admit the first sip was slightly disappointing. The deep color and cloudy appearance leads the brain to believe that the taste will be bold or sour. But it was none of these things. It was refreshing with a mild aftertaste that reminds me of orange zest. But other than that there was not a whole lot going on. Then I reminded myself that this beer was not designed to have complex layers of flavor. It is meant to be consumed on a warm beach. One thing I was impressed with was how the yeasty taste remained in the mouth. This gave Nude Beach at least a touch of sophistication.

The alcohol level is about 5.0% which is comparable to other summer wheat beers. It can be found at almost all liquor stores and larger grocery chains for about $7.00 to $8.00 a six pack. Despite the premium price its popularity is growing. About 50% more is expected to be produced this summer compared to last.

The more I drank the Nude Beach the more I liked it. I realized it would be very satisfying with brats or burgers or any other type of picnic food. I also thought it would complement hot spicy foods.

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Oddly enough what I really liked about Nude Beach was its provocative label which depicts naked bodies frolicking about on a sun splashed beach. What was clever was how the more interesting body parts were concealed by beach balls, coolers, and surf boards. Again, well played by the Point Brewery marketing department. After doing a little research I discovered that in Michigan Nude Beach can only be served on tap because the label was deemed inappropriate and “detrimental to the health, safety, and welfare of the general public”, according to the Michigan Liquor Control Commission. Pretty cool, right? Like Wisconsin, Michigan has its share of political shenanigans, but at least we don’t have to put up with the Lions.

If you are a lover of crisp wheat beers such as Blue Moon, or fruity beers such as Summer Shandy, I highly recommend Nude Beach by Steven’s Point Brewery. It would be perfect at a cookout, tailgate party or just relaxing on the patio on a lazy summer day.

So the next time you decide to make a run to the liquor store and your wife calls through the screen door asking where you’re going, just yell back for the entire neighborhood to hear, “I’m going to find myself a Nude Beach!”

Much love,

Guitarboyjohnny

Brau Brothers - Paradox Black IPA

Black IPAs are one of the most polarizing beers. There are some who feel that they are a bastardization of beer purity, and there are others who adore them because they are both real hoppy and real malty and generally delicious, if done right! Now this happens to be on of my (Annie) favorite beers, so you know which camp I’m in ;)

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Brau Brothers is a small-town Minnesota brewery with a big ole’ family that makes straight up good beer. Their one-off black IPA is no exception. You can’t even find this sucker on their web-site because it was such a small release. 

But first, more on the brewery. Located in Marshall, MN (a place I have very fond memories of), these guys epitomize the meaning of ‘going local’. According to their site:

You’d be surprised what you can get done locally.  We truly believe that you can and should source as much as you can locally.  That’s why we grow our own hops.  Eleven different varieties grow mere feet from our front door.  That’s why we grow and malt our own two-row barley.  We believe that when breweries take responsibility for their beer, from grain to glass, not only is the quality better, but we begin to produce unique, fun beers distinct to region. 

We constantly seek out other small producers in which to collaborate.  From small town distilleries for barrels, to nano coffee roasters for beans, we pride ourselves on finding friends in rural places. 

We believe that no town or region should be without a local brewery, regardless of size.  We also feel that it’s important to get to know your brewer.

Beer is not just a drink, it’s an experience.

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The Brau Boys brewed this beer parti-gyle style. That is an efficient way to get two beers out of one mash ton of wort. You use the first draw off the wort to make your big strong beer - in this case, the Paradox Black IPA. You then re-mash it and take the lower gravity (see: less robust/lower ABV/watery) wort to create a ‘smaller’ beer. In this case, the Imperial Alt. 

Surly does with Darkness. The second running, lower ABV, dry-hopped beer is Damien. Very smart. Rarely used.

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On to the tasting, expertly reviewed by Doug:

Price point - $9.99 a sixer (three Paradox, three Imperial Alts) which isn’t too bad. 

Cellar-able - Nope. IPA, remember? #whitegloveslapping

Availability - This one is pretty limited since it is such a small brewery here in MN. Basically, if you can find it, you’re lucky.

Aroma - One of the things I love about Black IPAs is that they give you some roasty characteristics from darker beers like stouts and porters, but blend it with the citrusy characteristics from IPAs.  This one is no exception.  The aroma has definite citrus to it, but there is a roasted malt aroma too.  It works so well!

Appearance - Extermely dark amber; 30-31 on the SRM scale.  The head is bone colored with smaller, rocky bubbles that dissipate quickly.

Taste - Black IPAs are quickly becoming one of my favorite styles.  This one blends citrus sweet really well with roasted malts.  The sweet is right there at the start, then I get the roasted flavor.  The beer finishes with a slight grapefruit bitter.  

Palate - Pretty light and crisp.  Smooth up front with medium carbonation.  I would call this a medium bodied beer.  Finishes really clean.  Very easy to drink.

Overall - Blakkr is my favorite black ale/IPA, but this is right up there with it.  It is really good. I love the flavor profile and could drink this all day.  I hope they make it a regular beer in their brewing cycle. (Annie agrees with Doug. Blakkr is incredible. Why am I talking in third person. Because you don’t know who the hell is talking right now, do you…DO YOU!)

Have a GREAT Fourth of July, everyone!!!

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Cheers,

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Until next time,

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4th of July Quick Pick - Guinness Draught

So you are sitting by the campfire on a crisp summer night. You have spent all day working your ass off, or boating, or at the game and you have had your fill of light crisp ales or lagers, but you don’t want something that’s gonna make you feel like a bloated whale.  It’s time to revisit an old friend, Guinness Draught.  

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That’s right, Guinness Draught.  Did you know that this is considered a “light” beer?  Only 125 calories a bottle and the ABV is 4.1%, making this a very drinkable beer.  Draught has a nice malty aroma and a subtle, bitter roast flavor.  The texture is nice and smooth as well.  Plus, any bartender worth a shit is gonna pour it to make it look really cool. 

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Revisit this old friend this summer and you may be surprised. 

Have a safe and happy 4th of July.  

Until next time.

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Friday Quick Pick - Lagunitas Pale Ale

Forgive us if we are all about the pale ales this summer, but they are very seriously tasty when it’s real hot out!

Actually, don’t forgive us, we don’t really care.

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The quick pick for this week is Lagunitas Pale Ale. According to the Lagunitas site, it’s a big malty pale ale with a thirst quenching hop flavor, and a crispy clean finish. Or, if you’re a visual and auditory learner…

More useful information:

ABV: 6.1%

Availability: Year-round in 6-packs

Price Point: 7-8 bucks for a six pack…aka VERY reasonable for a craft brew!

Cellarable: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA no. (takes out trusty white glove and slaps you again)

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This beer is medium-bodied, and is a little heavy on the palate for a pale ale…and real tasty! It has a piney citrus flavor with an apricot honey malty backbone. It’s a very drinkable beer, though I wouldn’t drink a ton at one time, like a typical session ale.

I think the lesson we learned today is that there are many different kinds of pale ales. One may be lighter, lower abv, an all day drinker…while others have a little bit of kick and body to it…something you’re gonna savor a bit more. Never judge a book by its cover, kids! TRY ALL THE BEER!!!

Cheers!

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Until next time,

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Victory - Dirt Wolf Double IPA

I have to admit, when I think Victory, I think motorcycles, not beer.  I knew nothing about this brewery, let alone this beer when I tried it.  Annie received it from a friend of ours as a gift. (Doug clearly thinks Annie is schizophrenic as Annie bought this from the liquor store. Annie then thanked Annie for purchasing said beer and Annie and Annie drank a beer together. It was SO good you guys) It’s a double IPA and I’m not gonna lie, the label intrigued me.

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Victory Brewing started brewing beer in 1996 and has a fairly diverse array of beers to choose from. You may remember that a couple weeks ago we featured their Prima Pils as a Friday Quick Pick. They have twelve year-round beers and sixteen seasonals.  They are out of Pennsylvania and have distribution in nearly every state and the United Kingdom.

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Dirt Wolf is Victory’s Double IPA.  What is a double you ask? A double for this, or any beer, is when the brewer doubles the amount of ingredients in the beer.  What difference does this make?  Well, when you double the hops and the malts in the same volume of beer as a regular batch, you get much stronger and complex flavors. This can be a tricky process though and sometimes the doubles and triples don’t work as well as the regular and session IPA’s.  Does this one? See below.  In the meantime, here is some other info on the beer:

ABV: 8.7%

Price point - Annie got this one. It was 10 bucks for a 6 pack. Not half bad for a craft beer! Also, Annie is clearly makin the big bucks. (Annie pats herself on the back) (Can you tell Annie is writing this part? No? Good)

Cellar-able - IPA, so, um, no. (Doug puts on white glove and slaps you for even considering it!)

Availability - Year round and pretty widely distributed, so try and find it.  There is also a locator on the Victory site in case you aren’t sure. 

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On with the tasting.

Aroma - Heavy citrus aroma that leans towards the bitter side.  You can definitely smell the grapefruit.  There is a definite floral aspect of the aroma too.

Appearance - This is a bit of a lighter color double IPA.  I am used to a bit more of an amber color.  I’d call it an 8 on the SRM scale and it appears to be a bit foggy, but that’s because I probably poured too much sediment from the bottle. (JEEZ Doug. *Puts on white glove and smacks you*)

Taste - It is pretty grapefruit heavy on the flavor.  This one is pretty bitter.  It finishes a bit piney up high on the back of the mouth as I swallow. *giggle*

—> Annie’s take on taste - Okay, now I’m gonna get REAL slappy. Yes, there is certainly a grapefruit flavor, but the malt balances it really well! I feel these guys do a really solid job of making a double IPA an actual IPA rather than just making the hops basically take over the hop flavor!!

Palate - Mild to medium feel on the palate with medium carbonation.  Finishes pretty clean though with just a touch of flavor still on the lips.  

Overall - I have to say that I like my IPAs more on the citrus, sweet side than the bitter side.  This is a very good beer, but not great for my tastes.  I am sure Annie would have a completely different take on it than me.

Until Next time.

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Time for me to make my case! Trust the Annie, people! This is a true double IPA. Not a double MaltPA. It actually manages to be pretty clean and refreshing while also carrying twice the ingredient load of a regular IPA. And trust me when I tell you - doubling the ingredients means doubling the risk for a flavor that makes me sad that I wasted the calories. YOU GO VICTORY!!! You rock that double IPA! Y’all made this beer worth the calories, and trust me when I tell you, a heavier beer BETTER be worth it for me these days. Shout out to Mike Kehn for pretty much dropping it in my hands at Premier Liquor in Osseo and telling me I would love it. He was right.

Side note: One of my favorite things is actually disagreeing with Doug on a beer. It doesn’t happen often, but getting slappy is fun, y’all.

Cheers!