Watermelon Double Milkshake IPA
Tired Hands Brewing Co./Omnipollo
Last week it was mandarin bergamot; this week it’s watermelon. Brewed with the juicy fruit as well as lactose, vanilla and green apple puree (added not for flavor but for pectin, which thickens the beer and gives it a creamy texture), the latest canned released in Tired Hands’ Milkshake series has an aroma like watermelon bubblegum. Sweet and smooth, it rounds quickly into mango- and passion fruit-hop notes supported by alternating layers of fresh-cut grass and sweet white cake. On the tongue, watermelon pulp settles in next to grass blades and lemon, with vanilla beans and sweet booze bringing up the rear—you taste the nearly 10% ABV more than you feel it. Citrus zest bitterness is just above medium and lingers after each sip; the finish is like a bite of vanilla ice cream scooped out of a watermelon rind. These beers continue to impress and dumbfound us.
Sneakin’ Lindsey Through The Alley
Call to Arms Brewing Co.
In our current issue, we named Call to Arms one of 25 breweries you need to keep an eye on; this Belgian dark ale fermented with funky bugs in cabernet barrels exemplifies why. The name’s based off a Robert Palmer album from the ’70s and a track often performed by Phish, but don’t hold that against it: Rich, custardy, vanilla-laden oak and dusty cocoa powder lead each whiff of the cranberry-amber liquid into musty funk, bringing up images of ancient barrels in an old Belgian dungeon. Deep breaths draw out clear red wine notes that overlay spicy cranberry, while soft cocoa and toffee round everything off. This holds true in the flavor as well—the juicy presence of the wine, and the rich Cabernet qualities that linger after each sip, make this one of the best examples of wine barrel-aged beer we’ve tasted all year. The flavors of cranberry, leather, grape and green apple—plus the Flemish-style red wine vinegar tartness—are just icing on the cake.
Peach on Earth
Burlington Beer Co.
Mercy mild, what a lovely double IPA this is. Though peaches were certainly added to the beer, they only play a supporting role; instead, Mosaic hops impart heaps of underripe pineapple, sweetened grapefruit and wheat grass to the nose, while plain saltine cracker notes provide a just-sturdy-enough malt base. The flavor, too, seems more impacted by peach skin than the fruit’s pulp or juice, but the fuzz interacts with oranges and fresh, green lawn clippings cheerfully. The bitterness is quite low and the ABV (7.5%) is hardly noticeable, but a big, viscous body lets you know you’re drinking something substantial.
Societe Brewing Co.
For their 666th batch of beer, the heathens at Societe decided to do something they hadn’t before: package their stygian imperial stout. But The Butcher acts in the bottle just as it does on draft, sucking the light out of the room like an inebriating black hole. Get too close and you too will be drawn in, either by gravity or by the rich aromas of sweet peanuts, high-percentage cacao, amaretto, graham crackers and black licorice the football-colored head gives off. Chewy as the last pour of coffee from a French press, the liquid coats the tongue with espresso and nut shells, while gentle dark cherries, black strap molasses and torched marshmallow mingle at the edges. We can’t wait to see what our second bottle does a few years from now.