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magic-hat-encore-craft beer

Style – American Wheat “I.P.A.”

ABV – 6.0%

Appearance – This brew poured hazy copper with an orange tint, topped by a dense, off-white head that lingered as long as an IPA should. A delicate lace decorated the glass on the way down.

Aroma – I almost couldn’t believe my nose. Hops are prevalent, loaded with a deep citrus aroma. Hints of mint, honey and summer grass are there as well. I kept going back to inhale more deeply, enjoying layer after layer of unique and indescribable scents.

Taste – On the first sip it’s a menagerie of flavors with almost everything I could smell affecting the flavor. The sweet earthiness of the wheat was there, with a depth of hop flavoring that wasn’t overbearing in bitterness, but didn’t fail to pack a hoppy punch. It seemed like with every sip I discovered something new. Hints of honey, edible flowers and essential citrus oils danced around my palette as well. It was as if my tongue had been transported to a wheat field full of honey bees, dotted with tangerine trees and hop vines. (Take that, Beatles.)

Overall – The balance of this beer amazed me. Many times attempts at crafting a wholly new version of an IPA end up with nothing but hop bitterness. Go into this beer with a fresh palette and an open mind, use your nose and every part of your tongue; you will not be disappointed. I’m often impressed by what America’s new craft brewers can accomplish, but I am rarely amazed. “Wheat in an IPA? Come on, man” was my original thought… Magic Hat knocked that thought out of my head and knocked this one out of the park. I can’t wait for my next one. I wish they sold it in 12 packs!

 

dogfish head palo santo

Style – American Brown Ale

ABV – 12%

Appearance – This Dogfish Head offering pours an opaque black with a small cocoa tinted head. Looking at this beer in a glass, if I did not know it was an American Brown Ale, I would certainly say it is a stout. Perhaps the darkest brown ale I have ever poured.

Smell – A hint of chocolate works with dark malts to produce a very rich slightly, sweet roasty aroma. I also catch a hint of vanilla as a result of aging the craft beer in the Palo Santo wood barrels, although it is rather subtle.

Taste – Upon first sip, your mouth is hit with chewy malt, along with roasted chocolate, a bit of molasses and coffee bitterness that is offset by a fruity currant jam flavor. A smokey wood flavor with hints of vanilla and caramel are present in the finish and continue to linger after swallowing.

Overall – This is a big beer, weighing in at 12% it is certainly a sipper. The flavors present in this beer are extremely interesting to say the least. Chewy roasted malts, hints of chocolate, currant, coffee, vanilla and caramel, all contribute to create a very well balanced flavor.

I am curious if laying a bottle of this craft beer down for a bit would enhance the vanilla and caramel profile Dogfish Head was after from the aging process in Palo Santo wood barrels. Could be an interesting experiment to revisit this beer a year from now and stick a bottle of this in the wine cellar.

 

abita-save-our-shores

Style – A “Charitable” Pilsner

ABV – 7.0%

Appearance – A bright gold with a head as pure as the first winter snow. A slight lace decorated the glass on the way down.

Aroma – Dominated by honey, with citrus and a healthy dose of hops.

Taste – The first sip is reminiscent of your standard American pilsner. That idea does not last long. A honey-like sweetness is dominant up front with a citrusy tang showing up as well. Hops are prevalent on the tail end, both floral flavors and bitterness. It is very well-balanced and I found myself drinking it much faster than intended.

Overall – With 75 cents of every bottle going to help the Louisiana fisheries recover from the British Petroleum mess, it’s both delicious and good for the soul. You’ll find little that is surprising or unique with this brew, but you’ll find less to complain about. Clean, balanced, delicious and good for NOLA’s seafood restaurants. What’s not to love?