Jai Alai

Holy 70s, Batman!

That’s right, Ladies and Germs!  It’s time for another installment of He Said/She Said, brought to you by the lovely folks at Hoptopia and BasicallyRed.  Tonight we have a treat for all you hopheads out there- a study of India Pale Ales.  Can ya dig it?  ‘Cause I know I can…

First, we start out with Cigar City Brewing Company’s Jai Alai India Pale Ale.  I hate to break foul on one of my fav breweries, but I just wasn’t digging on this brew when it came to aroma, despite its bitchin’ 70s style threads.  I got a musty odor, while Lee smelt salty seaside air, yellow grapefruit, and a not as spectacular as hoped hop.

Once we got to the taste, however, everything turned copasetic.  Very citrusy yellow fruit and a little fat (think Pam cooking spray, not butter) jumped out at Lee, while the brew tasted very clean and not drastically different from start to finish.  I, on the other hand, liked the IPA best at a colder temperature; first the beer is sweeter and then the hops come out as you hold it to warm it up.  Cigar City packed lots of flavor into this brew but also kept it quite refreshing none-the-less.  The hops and citrus profiles shine through, leaving not much room for anything else.  Big shout out to my buddy Phil from DosBeerigos for passing along a dang fresh supply of Jai Alai to make this all possible.

Surly Abrasive Double IPA

The only thing abrasive about this beer is me once I've run out of it...

“Beer for a glass from a can.”  You got that right, Surly Brewing Co!  My first thought, literally, when sniffing this brew was “whoa!”  With an aroma of bok choi/chow fun and old, musty, dusty pine satchel, Abrasive smells as if it was aged in pine barrels.  Lee was convinced he smelled aluminum on the beer, but I wasn’t so sure.  Jimica, red licorice and haslet (come on folks, give him a break… he’s British!) rounded out the nose for Lee.

The taste brought about one of the most malty IPAs I have ever tasted, which makes me *cough cough* hoppy!  Crazy drinkable with absolutely no semblance of alcohol, I think Abrasive is really nice when cold.  Lee’s two cents was that Abrasive Ale does succeed in tasting like a bigger version of Furious- perhaps a Furious Syrup (due to the sweet malt flavor, of course)?  Unique and complex wet hops and pink grapefruit are balanced nicely with the big maltiness, which doesn’t outshine the massive hop flavor.

Overall, I think this brew was a win.

Sink the Bismarck

"IPA for the dedicated"

“Holy Shit”- my words.

“I want to sleep in this glass”- Lee’s words.

That’s what happens when you set a pair of beer nerds loose on a 41% ABV rare Quadruple IPA (Eisbock) brewed by the mad scientists over at BrewDog.  Sink the Bismarck! is a creation of pure genius and sheer stupidity, as proven by the ever adorable Hans and Wolfgang.

First of all, the pour on this brew had absolutely no head, which at 41%, is a given.  This beer is basically on the verge of liquor-dom.  Once swirled, the beer gained a tiny yet pretty ecru head with little bubbles.

Although I’ve never had Absinthe, Lee convinced me that Bismarck! bordered on it’s aroma.  He also smelled spiced beef and creosote, as well as calling the beer “liquid Christmas tree.”  Put that in your candle and smoke it!  For me, the most prominent smell was pine sap mixed with Caribbean run cake.  As a former deli employee, I got a strong mixture of Pastrami and Londonport broil, wet leather, wood stain and polyurethane.

Taste-wise, it was licorice and really bitter syrup for Lee- definitely still an IPA with the texture and taste of both maple syrup and glycerine while also being astronomically more intense (think Absinthe, Chartreuse, Benedictine, or any other herb-based French spirit).  I totally felt the BURN and wanted a chaser with this brew, whereas, with most liquer, I don’t need such a thing.  It really is amazing how much this 41% brew really DOES still taste like an IPA.  With a bite of Anise and Sambuca, Bismarck! is very close to hoppy whiskey.

Sink the Bismarck! is definitely not a beer for everyone- a real acquired taste.  It is, however, a very well thought out and quality brew that should be slowly sipped and thoroughly enjoyed.

And so, as you can see- there are many different types of IPAs out there to try- and each with very different tastes.  I hope this piece has inspired you to get out there and try something new!


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