Great Divide Belgica

Beer-a-Day #349 Great Divide Belgica

Belgica—the Roman name the Low Countries—is a marriage of the best in American and Belgian brewing traditions. Belgian pilsner malt, a generous amount of American and European hops and a unique Belgian yeast strain combine to give Belgica big notes of citrus and spice, creating a lively concoction perfect for spring in the Rockies—or the Ardennes.

Pale yellow with a beefy white head. I can definitely smell the promised citrus and spice; especially cloves. Flavor is heavier than I expected, with a flavor a bit like roasted apricots in the finish. That’s not bad, but at 7.2% ABV is probably a bit bigger than I would generally have to wile away a Spring afternoon.

Great Divide Brewing

Smuttynose IPA

Beer-a-Day #327Smuttynose IPA

Ten years ago we brewed our first batch of Shoals Pale Ale, our American interpretation of the traditional British ESB (Extra Special Bitter) style. At the time, it was widely considered to be darned hoppy. However, a funny thing happened over the last decade – our Shoals Pale Ale didn’t change; beer lovers did, and we started to hear more and more: “Why don’t you guys make a really hoppy beer?”

You could say, then, that Smuttynose IPA is a physical salute to the glory of the American hop grower. The citrusy hop flavor coming from a mixture of Simcoe and Santiams is pleasantly balanced by a smooth bitterness from the Amarillo hops. The beer itself is light bodied and crisp with a golden color that will throw a slight haze, as we bottle it unfiltered. At 65 IBU’s, this is definitely not a training-wheels IPA, but is meant for hop lovers looking to satisfy their craving in a way that’s not easy to find. We think they’ll be quite pleased.

It’s the color of tea with a lacy head. The hops are pretty floral with some spiciness. The hops are way up in front; obviously dry-hopped. If you like hop bitterness you’ll like this.

Smuttynose “Finestkind” IPA

Brew Free or Die IPA

Beer-a-Day #317 beer cans waiting to be picked

I was at my favorite retailer recently and I was able to score seven craft beers in cans. I declare a “Can Week”! (But, sadly, this is the end.)

Today: Brew Free or Die IPA from 21st Amendment Brewery, a famous brewpub in San Francisco that only recently started canning some of their beer. (I couldn’t get ahold of their Hell or High Watermelon wheat beer for this week. I hope to get some soon.)Brew Free or Die IPA

Brewed with some serious west coast attitude. This aromatic golden IPA starts with a sucker punch of six different hops to the nose, quickly balanced by a solid malt back bone. Our top selling beer at the pub, this IPA starts big and finishes clean leaving you wanting more.

Amber with an orangish cast. Some fruit and resiny aroma from the hops. Has a very nice finish. Why, yes, I do want some more.

Caldera IPA

Beer-a-Day #316 beer cans at parade rest

I was at my favorite retailer recently and I was able to score seven craft beers in cans. I declare a “Can Week”!

Today: IPA from Caldera Brewing a small microbrewer in Ashland Oregon and the first in Oregon to can their beer.

An American-style India Pale Ale brewed with plenty of body and an assertive hop profile.

Caldera IPAMedium amber and clear. Lots of grapefruity hop aroma. That’s pretty good, although I’m finding it a little harsh in the finish. My wife rather likes it, though.

Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA

Beer-a-Day #289Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA

Sierra Nevada Torpedo Ale is a big American IPA; bold, assertive and full of flavor and aromas highlighting the complex citrus, pine and herbal character of whole-cone American hops.

I’d been hearing a lot about this beer, but I wasn’t seeing it at any of my local retailers. I’m glad it came into my hands at our Oktoberfest celebration.

Pretty medium amber color with an ivory-colored head. Plenty of spicy, piney hops in the aroma. Big hop taste. Truly a beer for an unapologetic hop-head like me.

Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA

Victory HopDevil

Beer-a-Day #278Victory HopDevil

Menacingly delicious, with the powerful, aromatic punch of whole flower American hops backed up by rich, German malts. HopDevil Ale offers a roller coaster ride of flavor, coasting to a smooth finish that satisfies fully.

I am an unapologetic hop-head. How could I not get something called “HopDevil”?

Deep amber with a thick head that leaves some nice lacing. Big spicy hop aroma. Toasty and just loaded with hops. Good.

Victory Brewing Company :: HopDevil

Magic Hat Lucky Kat

Beer-a-Day #257Magic Hat Lucky Kat

Lucky Kat purrs as he pours with a grin on his mangy face and a grin in his searching eye. He sits on the fence he calls home, dividing up from down. Is he an imperial beast or a pale soul from the east? Only he knows and we know only this: if you reach out to pet him he’ll bite back with a big, hoppy kiss.

Nice deep amber color, thick off-white head. Nice floral and citrusy hops. That’s better than I expected.

Magic Hat Brewing


Red Hook Long Hammer IPA

Beer-a-Day #241

The distinctive India Pale Ale style was developed by British brewers in the 1700s in order to create a sturdy beer that could survive long sea journeys to far-flung colonies where troops eagerly awaited the arrival of this sublime liquid refreshment. Long Hammer takes the traditional IPA brewing process one step further by dry hopping, or adding hops at the end of the brewing process with Cascade hops to give a wonderful hop aroma but not the overpowering hop taste. Long Hammer IPA is the beer you find yourself reaching for again and again, no matter what the occasion.

Light gold and clear; white head with lots of lacing. Some grapefruit in the aroma, piney. Pleasantly bitter, with a bit of grapefruit zest in the finish. I like it.

Red Hook Long Hammer IPA