From the crazy guys from Ska Brewing, Rudie Session IPA is latest on the bandwagon of low ABV India Pale Ales. They call it "a beer you can have for breakfast", or a beer that you can drink while you're mowing the lawn. Lots of grapefruit hoppiness in the aroma and the taste but very little bitterness. Competing notes of pear and pineapple and...wow...even a little watermelon. Quite an interesting brew. I would recommend it and rate it an 8 on the IGB scale.
Yes my friends, according to the Ill-Gotten Booty calendar, it is time for stouts and porters, most especially sweet, or milk, stouts. 72 is a classic milk stout, the "imperial" indicating the higher alcohol content, appropriately 7.2%. 72 pours a deep chocolatey brown with a thick, tan, three-finger head that takes a loooong time to settle down. Lots of chocolate, very malty, with hints of dark toast and some coffee notes as well. Creamy consistency, almost like a chocolate shake. Well done, and a fine February 'fresher.
From the LaVista Lucky Bucket brewery, Jug Thumper is a crowd pleaser, a good introductory beer for those who are afraid of "the dark". It pours a dark reddish-brown with a quickly disapating two-finger head. Subtle notes of coffee, caramel and chocolate, but not so much that it would drive off the lager drinkers. Good solid beer for the remaining cold months, and probably appropriate for Spring as well.
From Weston brewing company, which I had not heretofore heard of, but it caught my eye, so I scooped up a can. Nothing outstanding, but still, not a bad representation of the style. Coffee and chocolate notes and a creamy finish. I wouldn't turn one down, but I wouldn't turn the place upside down looking for another.
Many people view New Belgium's Ranger IPAas the IPA gold standard, the India Pale Ale against which all others are measured, the IPA which breaks beer neophytes against its hoppy walls. Slow Ride Session IPA does not have the rough astringency that Ranger does, but it's plenty hoppy for a lightweight. It pours a clear golden hue with a tall white head and might be mistaken for a lager...until you get close and the hops crawl up your nostrils and announce their presence. Pine notes, balanced by a citrus haze, mostly lemon peel. Very light and refreshing; while I usually stick with the stouts and porters this time of year, this was a nice change of pace.
New Belgium has made porters and stouts before, notably the limited edition salty chocolate stout that we had on Christmas, but not to my knowledge as a standard six-pack offering. Portage poured a deep, dark brown with a thick two-finger head. Chocolate and coffee notes predominate, with the roasted malts forming a nice base. Thick and creamy in consistency, they've done a great job creating an almost perfect porter. I will certainly revisit Portage this winter.