Let’s just dive right in!
It’s grassy in the nose, maybe lemongrass? But definitely evoking that cut lawn scent, and I dig it.
The lemon flavor sneaks up on me. I’m not sure what the tart or bitterness is, but I don’t pick it out as lemony until a few sips in. About a third of the way down, the beer starts to make sense. It’s doesn’t have enough sweetness to really be a lemondrop, but there is just enough to reign in the beer and keep me drinking.
This has a ‘hot day’ quality to it, as it finishes somewhere between dry and crisp. The Lemondrop doesn’t commit to one feeling or another and I think that’s an pretty apt ruling on the beer overall. It wants to hint at lemon but not demonstrate it, hint at bitterness but not flaunt it, tease a quenching feeling but not provide it.
It’s ok, but I can’t recommend it, because it doesn’t want to be something, it wants to be anything.
The cans have all been particularly foamy! But it pours into a class nicely enough.
The nose is strong and up front; I get the mosaic, I think; grassy, a little citrus there.
The flavors pick up in the drink too: fresh cut grass, a little lemon. I like it quite a bit and I want hot dogs on a picnic day with this. The finishing bitterness has a slightly drying effect, but it isn’t too strong and it doesn’t linger. I really dig on this-there’s a sweetness in the first phase of the beer that really helps brighten the rest of it up, keeping it from tasting one note and being too sharp. Well done.
Now THAT is a hop nose. Like opening a bag of Amarillo, I think: piney and pleasant. The head lasts, too, so I can pick up that nose through the entire beer.
The middle is a little odd, since it seems to be missing. This beer jumps right into a peek-a-boo from caramel malt, shouldered aside by some floral tastes before the effervescence sweeps most of this away and leaves the hop bitterness behind.
It’s a solid beer: the lack of any midrange flavor really keeps it from being great. At 8.6%, I’m genuinely surprised there isn’t something there for me to grab on to in the foreground or the middle. The density is nice but there isn’t anything to wrap my tongue around. But I am OK with drinking this and just being happy with a beer.
I’m always on the lookout for something I haven’t had before and during an uncommon trip to Trader Joe’s I found it. It looked inoffensive enough-that kind of bland TJ marketing at play-but that was also why I got it: it’s the kind of thing a not-me would probably purchase.
There is a caramel malt nose. So already, I have a problem here. Not that there shouldn’t be any malt present in the nose of an IPA-some sweetness can help balance things out.
But IPAs should have IPA scents-citrus, pine, floral kinds of things. So I was not hopeful and that hopelessness was rewarded upon tasting the ale. A halfhearted middle, thin and weightless does nothing to impede the veggie tainted bitterness. The bubbly finish doesn’t help either-though I will say that this beer does keep it’s head all the way through.
Just trying to find something positive to say and…well, it ain’t easy. It’s not very good, even for a pale. Avoid.
Today we’ve got Ordnance’s FMJ English style IPA. It’s got a nice nose, with touches of caramel, pine and a little citrus.
That nose drops away far too quickly though: three sips in and I get some faint citrus but that’s about it.
It tastes uneven, too: some but not nearly enough caramel in the midrange, with a step up in the bitterness, leading to a surprisingly dry finish. The effervescence doesn’t pop things off my tongue either so all these flavors not only overstay their welcome but don’t bring me any joy to start with.
Seems like this one is a miss for me. Though I usually like Ordnance’s stuff, the FMJ just isn’t working.
Hop Valley Citrus Mistress. That is a very bright beer, eh? The nose smells like someone expressed an orange peel over it, so I can’t claim false advertising on this beer.
The middle of the beer fades fast and it’s challenging for me to pin it down. There isn’t much malt there, to be certain. This IPA is doing the IPA thing not the malt thing though: the next flavor up is grapefruit, and then the effervescence rumbles over to try and sweep it all away.
It doesn’t quite get there: the finish on this has got that grapefruit bitter quality. I’m not really on board for that. I think I could be, if this beer had some more body, something in the middle to tie the front and back together but as it stands it’s just a little heavy on the finish.
I don’t dislike it, though. On a hotter day, I might even be grateful for it. I suppose ‘cautiously recommended’ would be a good phrase. Solid, but I’m not going to convince my Mom to try it.