My buddy Mike brewed (and bottled conditioned!) three different beers for his wedding, and they all came out pretty delicious so I wrote up a little review (including Brewtoad links to the recipes for anyone who wants to give them a shot). We collaborated on building each recipe prior to brew day, pretty much shooting for clean, purposeful beers that stayed in-tune with style and tried to highlight some key flavors.
Out of the bottle the beer pours a light amber with very good clarity. Classic Cascade hop aroma up front, not huge but prominent. Nice hop flavor to start – fruity, grapefruit, citrus – with a little lingering bitterness but just enough to make you want another sip. The Cascade hops have so much character that I sometimes found myself picking up hints of citra and simcoe, but had to remind myself that it’s just Cascade! Overall it reminds me a lot of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. The alcohol level is definitely there (7%) and it’s a little distracting mid-sip alongside all the other flavors happening, but it’s not a huge factor. Really great pairing of the hops and malts – this is a really good IPA that demonstrates that simple recipes (1 hop, 2 malts) can create really good beer. Here’s a link to the recipe.
Straw yellow color, slightly hazy, produces a tall but fairly thin and sudsy white head that lasts a good while, supported by strong carbonation underneath. Soft bread, honey, and hint of earthy hops in the aroma. On the first sip the carbonation is a little sharp up front, but immediately followed by the malt character. Excellent light breaded malt flavor that any German would be proud of! With just a hint of a noble hop freshness in the finish. It’s a little hard to distinguish between what is hop bitterness and carbonation initially, but it achieves the same effect so it’s all good. The body is fairly thin, so about halfway through the beer I seemed to lose some of the malt flavor, but it is a very delicate beer to begin with so that’s expected. A great light beer, I could drink a lot of this on a summer day! Recipe’s here.
Ultra black. No light escapes this beer even when holding it in front of a lightbulb. Tan to light brown head with aroma mostly of dark chocolate, slight caramel and alcohol. The taste follows the nose pretty well – lots of dark chocolate and roast up front followed by a little hazelnut-ish flavor and sweetness. The body of this beer really stands out – very smooth and velvety mouthfeel that compliments the chocolate flavors well. Bitterness is low but appropriate. A few seconds after swallowing I get an even deeper roast flavor which is pretty nice. Overall this a really robustly flavored stout – I think that adding some high alpha hops (maybe Galena, Columbus, or something else that’s real earthy and resiny) would send this beer through the roof. It’s a bit high on alcohol so I couldn’t drink it all night, but it’s a great beer to enjoy a few of. Here’s the recipe for it.