Over the holidays, a couple different friends asked me if I would catsit for them while they visited their families. I was happy to agree–and as a surprise reward, they bought me a bunch of beer to try.
Well, I’m not one to let an opportunity like this pass by, so as is tradition, here are my edited notes.
Manager Bryghus/ Against the Grain; Minor Axident Double IPA. That is a metal goddamn label. And metal beers don’t need no grapefruit influence and I’m glad of it. There’s a surprising level of malt in the nose, sweet and with a hint of burnt sugar there. The bitterness though is very, very strong. Maybe even vegetal instead of more resiny and that’s intense in a way that I’m not very fond of. As the beer warms up that bitterness turns papery and I am liking it a whole lot less.
Imager; imperial stout. Very sharp, alcohol nose. It’s sharp on the finish, too: way too much bourbon flavor there and it’s not good bourbon either. Right before that, an aggressive coffee flavor steps in and that, too, feels too strong for the beer. Nothing about this is smooth or quaffable. I’m going to let it warm up a bit more to see if it improves, but I’m dubious at the moment.
10 minutes later, this really hasn’t improved. While the alcohol bite has diminished, it’s been replaced by the acrid unsweetened cocoa flavor. It just isn’t a step up.
Big Bear; black stout. It’s really playing up the roast malt. Unique in this regard: usually coffee or chocolate flavors become prominent but they went all in on the roasted malt characteristics-which are similar but not quite the same. It’s a sipper, but it’s solid. It’s also a little too thin for me to really call it a stout. The flavors are on point so far so there’s a strong sense of deception happening-but hey, if you’d like a really good porter, this is worth it.
Short’s Brew; Huma Lupa Licious IPA. The scent is more toasty than hoppy. After tasting it, I’m not sure….It’s clearly a pale ale. The toasted flavors run through the beer until the finish, which veers into bitterness in a way that has little prep time. I’m finding it difficult to evaluate: if this was an IPA, then I would expect more hop nose and less toasted flavors. But my calibration might be a little different as IPAs in the PNW are far more hope forward than the style suggests. If this was a pale ale, then a bit more balance should exist. What’s weird, is that I want to like this beer: I enjoy the toasted flavor but the overwhelming bitter quality without any groundwork makes it far less enjoyable.