Beer for the God of War

Friday, May 30, 2008

Late review today. It's Friday, my boss is in another State...and I have had client meetings all morning. Stupid clients.

Anyway, I grabbed a bottle of Jolly Pumpkin's Biere De Mars. I'm really bummed that Beer Advocate redid their graphics so I can't download the bottle pics any more because this one is awesome. It's a big magnum, bottle with a picture of an angry God of War blowing a holy hell of a storm. Beautiful. I'd get a tattoo of it.

This is a Biere De Garde style, or more directly translated, a beer that you store. It's another one of those unique French-style beers farmers would brew and store to drink with dinners after a hard days work. It's got its differences from the Franch Farmhouse Ales (saison), which is a much more subtle style than a biere de garde, which is a heavier hitter a little closer, to me, to a gueuze or lambic whereby the saison is closer to a standard Belgian ale.

Love 'em both.

Anyway...Biere De Mars, aged in oak barrels like every other beer at Jolly Pumpkin.

The beer poured a deep, cloudy ruby-red-and-amber color with a thin but substantial finger-sized fluffy head. It had some nice brown highlights and even a sort of light-diffusing effect that I really liked (maybe it was my glass...).

The aroma is really hard to describe, so here it goes: candied sour cherries, brown sugar and a bouquet of flowers strained through a wool blanket. Sounds unappetizing? I assure you, it's actually not. The blankety aroma is actually an earthy pungency that underlies all of the other sweet/sour/floral aspects. It makes for an intriguing beer, but definitely not one for a beginner.

The flavors you get right off the bat are not "flavors" per se but senses. Tartness and sourness. This big cherry flavor is nice and sweet, but it sibsides to a true sourness. Not like the Sour Patch Kids sour that's simply tart, but a real sourness. The sour taste (Brettannomyces bacteria) lingers throughout the beer, but there wasn't quite enough of a malt backbone to substantiate it. It was heavy on the sour and light on the balance.

It was very nicely carbonated and left a smooth feeling on the palate despite the sour bite.

Again, this beer is not for someone you're trying to introduce to big beers. This one is even big for big beer drinkers. I really honestly regret not having cellared this beer. If I was thinking well, I'd have cellared this beer for at least 6 months if not longer to get some of these huge flavors to mellow and some of the all-but-hidden caramel character to come out a bit more. Live and learn; I went back to Oades Big 10 to find another bottle to cellar, and they had run out temporarily. I just haven't made it back yet to see if they have any more.


Better Late Than Never

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Like nearly a month ago, Mike tagged me with another meme. I blew this one off forever because he did it on beer review day and nothing but sickness or the birth of twins shall take me from my weekly review.

But now I'm at a loss for a post today, so I will finally make good on being tagged. Sorry for the delay, Mike.

1) Ten years ago I was...

Working a job in the legislature nobody else wanted. I worked for a particular Senator that eventually got himself expelled from the Senate. I left his office when I saw the beginning of the horrendously fast downwared spiral, and got a job, via the contacts I made while working in Hell, with the American Cancer Society.

I had also met, dated and did outrageous things with the woman who in less than 2 short eyars would become my wife.

I also, 10 years ago, brewed my first batch of beer. It was a hefeweizen from a kit at Michigan Brewing Company. So I guess Happy Anniversary to my more-than-a-hobby!

2) Five things on today's to-do list:

* Pick up Smitty Jr. from daycare before 5:30 though the House of Reps is in session late tonight.
* Feed Mrs. Smitty, me and Smitty Jr. in enough time for Mrs. Smitty to feed the Wonder Twins. Feedings take 2 hours at the Smitty household.
* Fight sleep so I can spend a few minutes of solitude with Mrs. Smitty.
* Maybe think about bottling that damn Doppelbock that's just sitting in a my lagering fridge at 40 degrees for the past 8 weeks.
* Clean the new floors in my basement.

3) Things I'd do if I were a billionaire:

* Buy the Detroit Lions and fire everyone. Every fucking last soul. Then sell it to Mike Illitch, proud owner of the Red Wings, for $1. He seems to have his shit together as an owner.
* Go learn how to brew Belgian beers from the monks. Just take the Hell off and go brew.
* Do super eccentric shit an entire company like Price Waterhouse Cooper and make everyone wear huge pink bowties every Wednesday.
* Start an endowment fund for the American Cancer SOciety so it can essentially fund itself and not have to struggle sometimes for local programming.

4) Three bad habits:

* Drinking too much delicious, high ABV beer (had to rip this off of Mike's blog).
* I pick my nose when I drive. Endlessly. It just helps pass the time.
* First thing in the morning, like an alarm clock, I fart. It's how I verify I'm awake.

5) Five places I've lived:

* Redford, MI.
* Dearborn, MI.
* Lansing, MI.
* Camp Pendleton, CA.
* A Ship in the middle of the Meditarranean.

6) Six jobs I've had in my life:

* Ice Cream Scooper
* Infantry
* Bookstore manager
* Graphic Designer (in the time before awesome graphics design programs)
* Legislative Aide
* Lobbyist

So there you have it. Fellow keggers, you're tagged, unless you've already been tagged.


McCain is kind of like Jesus?!?!?

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Crooks and Liars has a poorly written piece on a recent speech by Georgia Republican Party chairwoman Sue Everhart.  The content of the speech was disturbing to say the least:

Georgia Republican Party chairwoman Sue Everhart said Saturday that the party’s presumed presidential nominee has a lot in common with Jesus Christ.

“John McCain is kind of like Jesus Christ on the cross,” Everhart said as she began the second day of the state GOP convention. “He never denounced God, either.”

Everhart was praising McCain for never denouncing the United States while he was being tortured as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.

“I’m not trying to compare John McCain to Jesus Christ, I’m looking at the pain that was there,” she said.

I think Tony over at the Rambling Prophet 2 has a great analysis:

Well, like my dad said several times when I was growing up; "Son, now you've seen stupid."

I don't know whether to be offended or just sad. I hadn't thought I would vote for McCain and if party officials are saying this about him, my decision just got easier.


The Long Shot Review

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Went to part-time Around the Keg contributor Greg's house this past Monday for some dinner. Every meal we don't have to cook is one more day of dishes that doesn't pile up around here. He grilled a mean burger that includes a 3:1 ratio of ground beef to Jimmy Dean's ground sausage. Nice.

Beside for minor condiments, I brought a 6-er of the Sam Adams Long Shot winners along with me so we could try them. This year, there were two: a Grape Pale Ale and a Weizenbock. Actually, the two winners were the Weizenbock and a DIPA, but Sam Adams can't brew the DIPA until the hops it needs are back in stock (damn shortage), which is expected in 2009. The second brew is actually the winner of the Sam Adams employee homebrew competition. Thus, given that there are 2 reviews, I will shorten them a bit.

Sammy A employee Lili Hess's Grape Pale Ale was chosen at the Great American Beer Fest last Fall. It poured a lovely bright copper color, picking up some golden straw when held up to light, and yielding a moderately thick eggshell-white head. It left a slight bit of lacing down the glass as I quaffed.

The aroma was so light it was hard to detect. I got some buscuity and caramel aromas, some grassy notes and "fruit" without being able to pin it specifically to grapes. The taste was much better than the aroma connoted. Great Pale Ale maltiness was backed up by floral hops...and grapes. Really pleasant, actually. The grapes came forward as the beer warmed but never over powered the beer like that awful, nearly unspeakable AB attempt at a blueberry lager. This was simply a hint of grape in the background that blended well with a solid if not great Pale Ale.

At the end of the day, I could drink a few of these, but wasn't blown away by it by any means. It is a basic, very good pale ale with an interesting twist that didn't get out of hand. That said, I liked it better than Dogfish Head's Red and White (witbier with red wine in it). It was, however, popular with the wives.

Rodney Kibzey's winning Weizenbock was a beer for the ages. This was an outstanding weizenbock. Mr. Kibzey hails from Illinois, but for some reason, Warren, MI was claiming him as a native son.

His beer poured a solid, cloudy brown with copper highlights. Beautiful, cloudy wheat beer with a nice, thick creamy head to it. Big spicy notes on the nose, with copious clove, cinnamon and a hint of banana.

The taste was everything that the aroma held and more. Along with the big spices, there was a hint of bubblegum but most astonishingly a gingerbread taste that really sent this beer over the top. It was full-bodied without being chewey (wheat beers are like that), deep but refreshing.

A special bonus: I drank it along with Mrs. Greg's apple pie. Ask Greg: I wept openly at the combo. This beer is a real pleasure and comes highly recommended. Especially with a good, cinnamon and sugar apple pie.


Making The Band

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I checked out George's site today. It is by no means a meme, but it was cool enough that I wanted to share.

You get to make your own album cover with your own band. Big fun to wyle-away your day.

Here's how you play:

1. Click on this link. The title of the page is the name of your band.

2. Click on this link. The last four words of the final quotation on the page are the title of your album.

3. Click on this link. The third picture is your album cover.

4. Take the pic, add your band name and album title.

Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce to you: Paraphlebia!


Flag Pins: Put To Rest

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I think this guy, Roland Martin over at, has the funniest-looking head ever.

But that funny head of his finally said something I agree with: enough with the flag pin nonsense.

Since it is clear that our nation is paralyzed and so not able to close our borders, feed the homeless, develop businesses in the inner cities and save people from having their homes taken by foreclosure due to ruthless mortgage companies, all because some folks don't wear a flag lapel pin, we need to lead a national movement to demand that Congress and the states make requiring officeholders to wear a flag lapel pin the 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
That's right, folks. If Obama or McCain can't see fit to wear their patroitism on their proverbial sleeve, then we can't trust them to make the right decisions.

Martin nails it:
"That's what zealots do. They take something so simple, so personal, so voluntary, and absolutely lose their mind, trying to force someone else to do as them, and everyone else be damned...When I'm on the golf course and I slip my wedding ring into my golf bag, the Rev. Jacquie Hood Martin is still my wife...I may not be able to fit into the shirt I pledged in, but I will be a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. until the day I die...I am an unapologetic Christian, but you won't see a cross dangling from my neck or a James Avery charm bracelet on my wrist. Why? Because my love of Jesus Christ is in my heart.[emphasis mine]

Just like "patriotism" and loe of America. It's inside you, or not.

He closes well in his brief op-ed. But for God's sake, indeed, this part of the debate and all of the attention drawn to whether or not someone wears a flag pin is indeed just a distraction from members of Congress having to actually defend their shitty, partisan voting records.

I hope we have finaly hit rock-bottom. Then there's finally nowhere for our debates and priorities to go but up.


Back In The Saddle Again

Monday, May 19, 2008

Well, the twins are born, Mrs. Smitty and I are managing well and I am finally able to get some sleep, as today is my first day back to work. Long legislative committee hearings on irrelevent topics are prime nap material.

This also means I'm back off the wagon and the beer reviews will pour. I got my hands on a case of this year's Sam Adams Long Shot winners...a weizenbock and a grape pale ale. Reviews this Friday, as usual.

Bob, great post last Friday that Sopor and Infamous Roger turned into a keg sanitization discussion, which was actually totally awesome because now that our basement remodeling project is almost done, I'm taking the plunge to stop filling 50 thankless fucking bottles of beer every time I brew and will be filling 1 single keg instead. Jesus why did it take this long to fianlly get fed-up with bottling beer???



What's in your wallet fridge?

Friday, May 16, 2008

If Smitty comes up with a Friday beer review, I am glad to see this post bumped down. If he's otherwise predisposed with the Wonder twins and Smitty Jr. then maybe this will suffice for a Friday beer discussion.

For this post, please let the 1.5 million ATK reads know what’s chilling in your fridge this weekend and what you think about it.

Because I work for the state of Michigan, I tend to stick to a Michigan beer theme for work-related functions. From a BBQ I held a week ago, I still have a variety of Michigan’s finest, drinkable beers. I kept to the basics for the variety of tastes of my guests, including buying Michigan Brewing Company’s variety 12 pack (a party favorite) and some of Bell’s regulars. Nothing fancy or adventurous here, just good quality beers for all for the guests, while sticking to the Michigan theme.

Your turn – What’s in your fridge?


Motivational Poster of the Week

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Beer Industry News

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Beer Industry has obviously been changing a lot in the last decade, well actually the last couple of decades (I just wasn't old enough to enough to experience the first craft beer boom).

Obviously the Craft Beer segment has been enjoying rather lucrative and remarkable success of late. However, signs are starting to show that the growth of that success may be slowing. Specifically, craft beer sales in Supermarkets (a decent indicator of mass market beer purchasing trends) appears to be slower this year than last (disclosure: that blog is "supported" by Miller). Is the "non-beergeek" market reaching saturation? Or is this simply a sign of the declining economy? Personally, I think it's an economic indicator. There's not much indication that American hunger and thirst for higher quality foods and goods is waining, simply that we don't have the fricken cash to buy the good stuff as often! Combine this with increased prices due to rising fuel, hop, and barley prices, and you've got the all the ingredients for Market Stagnation Sour Ale all sitting in a pot, ready to brew!

It seems to me that perhaps some of the Big Boys on the block are on the same page. The big 3 (Anheuser, Miller, and Coors, just to be sure...) have been dabbling in the craft market for some time, with varying degrees of success.

Coors has had good success with Blue Moon, including double digit growth last year.

Miller is trying... something with Miller Chill, and apparently making money on it... but has always had Leinenkugel in the craft segment as well, not to mention being a part of SABMiller which makes lots of brands like... Well lots of stuff most of us probably haven't heard of...

Anheuser-Busch has never seemed to have as strong a presence in the craft segment. They've had some true craft brews, but no big movers. Their Green Valley Brewing Company Organics brews are pretty decent, if you're into the whole organic thing (I prefer local, but that's a different post...), but AB has had troubles with flagship Budweiser, whose sales have been steadily declining. Michelob has some decent craft brews, but they're not very widely recognized, as most people think Michelob makes only , ahem, Michelob (Lager) and Light and Ultra, and Amber Bock and Ultra. AB responded in different ways to the craft beer "phenomenon" in the past, leveraging it's exclusive distribution chain by obtaining the rights to distribute Inbev beer in America, which includes lots of good stuff like Bass, Beck's, Franziskaner (a personal fav!) and more. I think, a smart move on AB's part, really shows that they know how to utilize their resources to some degree rather than always resort the crass humor and sex to sell product.

It seems AB has decided that approaching this market directly is a good idea. They're going to let Michelob go more their own way, and send them off with the encouraging advice "Now remember Son, that craft beer market is new and it's growing, and it's all for you! Go get 'em tiger!" Here's what Andy Crouch of Beer Advocate Magazine had to say about that in the May 2008 issue(I couldn't find this online, so here it is verbatim):

"Michelob Wins Independence"

Anheuser-Busch is stepping up efforts to match the shifting American beer Palate and address the success of craft brewers. The saint Louis based brewer, recently announced plans to spin off its 112 year old Michelob family of brand into an autonomous division. The new unit, to be called the Michelob Brewing Co., will promote its existing brands including Michelob AmberBock and Porter, as well as the breweries line of seasonal ales and lagers including Beach Bum Blonde. The Michelob Brewing Company will also focus on producing a diverse range of more flavorful beers in the craft style. The first release will be the Michelob Dunkel Weisse a take off on a similar style beer called a cent 54 brewed exclusively for the Colorado markets. The brewery has registered label applications for several additional brands including a Brown Ale, Red Ale and a Bohemian Pilsener. Michelob Pale Ale will also be expanding into a year-round offering.

(Props to for it's sweet cellphone driven free transcription service, which even did a respectable job with Dunkel Weisse even though it was expecting me to speak English!)

I for one, and excited about this Dunkel Weisse. Ascent 54, the beer on which Michelob Dunkel Weisse is said to be based, scores well on, and I'm a big fan of the style! Also, Brown ales. If they do a decent job of distributing the Michelob brands, this could mean decent brews available in a lot more locations. Like how about a rotating Michelob tab in a bar with 3 or 4 taps? Or the local store in a community of 2-3000 carrying 3 Michelob brands, Lager, D-Weisse and Red or something. Cool enough for me! This will hopefully prevent us from having to go as far out of our way to get something decent to drink.

To be honest, I think that craft brewers need to embrace the fact that Extreme beer is not going to be able to carry a business. It seems that a lot of breweries rely on the success of one or two extreme beers, and the market conditions dictate that this is not a sustainable model right now. I think breweries need to embrace the traditions of brewing and look into less expensive but just as good alternatives to extremes such as Altbiers and Milds and Bitters. Or how about Berliner Weisse? There's a good "extreme" style (brewer w/Lactobacillus) that should be relatively inexpensive to make due to it's low malt bill, it only ends 4.5% or so, so it doesn't need much grain. This is the kind of thinking that a brewery needs get new beer drinkers and continue to grow in today's beer market (IMO). The craft brewers can't continue to market so directly to the "beergeek" market, as that is too small of a market for them to be successful in the long run.

Budweiser is also releasing a new Ale, Budweiser American Ale. Supposed to be amber colored and use Cascade hops, I'll give it a shot!

Remember the exclusive distribution deal AB has with it's Distros? AB is loosening the hold, according to Andy Crouch. AB is going to allow distributors to carry non-AB craft brands, but only in markets where there is not a competing AB/Mich brew or Inbev import. That's still pretty limiting IMHO... but as I was saying earlier, AB's exclusivity with their distros has worked to their advantage!

Mergers are one way some breweries have been dealing with all of the recent market and price crunches. Of course in 2005 there was the Molson Coors merger, and some of you may not have heard of the Redhook/Widmer merger announced in 2007. This year though, it's Pyramid, the fourth brewery to go public the same year as Redhook, Pete's, and Boston (Sam Adams), is being bought by privately held Magic Hat out of Vermont. Interestingly, R. Martin Kelly, current CEO of Magic Hat, used to be the CEO of Pyramid.

Speaking of Boston Brewing Company, I'd like to commend them on the dealings with Freetown, Massachusetts. BBC has worked with Freetown for over a year on a deal to establish a new Samuel Adams Brewery there, and has instead decided to buy the Lehigh Valley Brewery in Pennsylvania. BBC has pledged $50,000 to the city of Freetown "to purchase an item or items for the town that [they] would not normally be able to afford." Cool! They're obviously not hurting for cash either...

All-in-all, I think the brewing industry is learning how to deal with the current market constraints, and the big boys (read:AB) are taking notice of the craft market for real. The brewing industry will be fine, the economy is the biggest deterring factor. Drink beer! Drink local! (when you can...)


Indiana and North Carolina (via metaphor)

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

I'm usually not a huge fan of sports metaphors. They're too common, too tortured, and too misapplied. But they work really well to explain the last 24 hours.

Until last night, Barack Obama had the look of a boxer who was ahead on the scorecards going into the final round (think Apollo Creed at the end of Rocky II). The only way Clinton could win the nomination was to knock him out. The way the delegate math works out, she needed a really strong showing to convince the superdelegates that she was worth another look. Simply winning the round wouldn't do; she needed to knock Obama down. So, the conventional wisdom was that Obama, knowing this, would simply play defense; he might lose the round, but would do so knowing that the scorer's table would give him the overall win. And in the last couple of a weeks, Clinton landed some nice shots.

But instead of covering up and cutting his losses, Obama came out swinging.

He took a HUGE gamble by fighting back on the gas tax issue. Think about it: can you think of a time when a candidate scored points by OPPOSING a tax cut directed at low- and middle-income voters? At a time when gas is averaging $5,728.99 per gallon, it takes some GIGANTIC cojones to come out against that proposal so loudly.

I'll admit, as a politico, I wouldn't have advised that he do so. Like a good cornerman, I would have advised that he 'stick and move', stay out of the corner, and wait for the end of the round. Traditionally, most candidates would have minimized the issue, changed the subject, or just taken the small hit. But Obama took a risk and threw a haymaker. And it landed.

Last night, Obama reminded me of Matt Damon's character in "Rounders" (if you haven't seen it, I recommend it. Nice poker flick from before the World Series of Poker was on ESPN). After a rough history playing hold-'em against a Russian mobster (played hilariously by John Malkovich), Damon eventually regains his stride and declares that he'll keep playing if Malkovich for any length of time, cause he (Damon) could "keep tearing him up all night long".

I think the Obama campaign has regained their belief that he can go toe-to-toe with Clinton on any turf. He'll win the nomination because of his lead and the remaining math, but that isn't the only reason. If there were 10, or 20, or 1000 more contests, they probably feel that it wouldn't matter, because he can beat her outright. He (and his campaign, and his supporters) may be regaining the swagger they had in February when they won 13 straight primaries and grabbed the electorate by the gonads.

So, based on last night, Obama has picked up a first down, and Clinton is out of time-outs (or is it times-out? I never know). She can't stop the clock, so barring a Miracle-at-the-Meadowlands-type finish, all he has to do is take a knee and run out the clock. The big remaining question is whether she will take a couple of cheap shots at his knees on those kneel-downs. She can't change the final outcome, but she can certainly cause some damage for him in the next round.


The Power of Christ Compels You

To the casual observer, this is what Jacob and Dominic look like:However, in the dead of night, their parents see them for their true character:After their 12:30 feeding, each one was up, screaming, alternatively, every single hour until nearly 6:00 a.m. Dominic started the Festival of Screams by manning the booth of horrors from 1 to 2, then Jacob took the 2 to 3 shift, and on and on until, literally the sun came up.

Apparently, and thankfuly, demons are afraid of the sun, much like vampires. So as the sun rose, the Wondertwins wre released from their hold, and fell asleep.

Just in time for Smitty Jr. to show up at my bedside and announce, at the top of his lungs**, that it was time to get up.

This gets better, right?

**Smitty Jr. apears only to be able to speak at 1 volume (not 2, just 1): the top of his lungs. Everything from a dinner conversation about what he did at daycare that day to what shirt he's wearing becomes an announcement to a crowd of 1,500 people. Imagine if someone with a bullhorn showed up at your bedside and made such an announcement whilst you were formerly in a deep, Random Eye Movement-laden sleep. That's mornings with Smitty Jr.


Got Milk?

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Smitty Jr.,pictured here with Nestle Vanilla Ice Cream Drumstick Mustache, is adjusting to life with twins in a really interesting fashion.
Primarily, he is extremely protetive of his brothers. For instance, Wondertwin 1 started to cry. My mother in law stooped to lift him out of the pack-n-play bassinet, and Smitty Jr gets this mean look on his face and screams "NO! That's MY brother. You. Put. Him. Down." Cool. And that from a bathtime conversation about 'stick up for your brothers all the time.'

He is intensely interested in them. Wondertwin 2 was in a bouncy chair, and all Smitty Jr. did as he inhaled pizza was stare and giggle at his brother, giving each of us a mouth-full-of-pizza play-by-play of every miniscule move Wondertwin made.

He does get moody, cries a little easier now, and mopes. I think the moping, though, is bringing him attention, so he keps doing it, because Mrs. Smitty and I fall into his trap. "What's wrong?" Dote dote dote. We gotta stop falling into his irresistible traps. For instance, he was playing ouide this afternoon with Neighborboy and Neighborgirl. He suddenly dropped everything, and said "I need to go inside. Now. I need to see my brothers."

So while he does like them, he is trying, in his little kid brain, to figure out this new facet to relationships. Best we can do is try to help him through it without totally fucking him up.

Which in and of itself is daunting...


Lager for HopHeads: Third Coast Beer

Friday, May 02, 2008

Smitty is obviously a bit, um, preoccupied at the moment, so I'm jumping in with my first post in a long time, a Friday Beer Review. It won't be as good as one of Smitty's reviews, I'm sure, but it'll have to do for today!

It's starting to get warm out again, so my beer purchasing habits are changing. I've picked up a six-pack of Bell's Third Coast Beer. Depending on who you ask, this is either a Golden Lager or a Golden Ale; personally I was under the impression that this was a lager, but I'm not so sure anymore. What this beer definitely is is a wonderfully refreshing hoppy beer.

It pours pale gold, very effervescent with a bubbly coarse pure white head. Towers of bubbles rise from the bottom and sides of the glass. This is still bottle conditioned, so it's suggestable to decant it, but even so you'll end up with some chunky sediment floating around.

The smell starts out all dry c-hops, Cascade and Centennial and the like, with just the slightest hint of a dry malt backbone. A one-dimensional smell perhaps, but that's not a bad thing here. Only once this has warmed is there any sweetness to the smell, and it's a light malt note... I can only describe it as like the center of a malted milk ball, or exactly like malt extract if you've tasted some pure dry malt extract.

First thing you taste is a strong bitterness, not too strong but perhaps not what you're expecting at first. I'm guessing Cascade or Centennial hops, but I could be way off. The malt tones in this beer are dry and delicate. staying pretty toasty even after getting warmer. The aftertaste is very dry, clean, and crisp. This is like the ultimate lawn-mower beer for hopheads (Though the last thing one should do is drink this, or any hop-forward beer for that matter, from the bottle, if it can be avoided).

At only 4.8% abv, combined with the wonderful hop forward flavor profile, and a truly refreshing overall flavor and body, this is one great brew. I don't know how well it fits into any of the style guidelines, and I don't really care. Bell's has done a spectacular job with a style that is difficult to brew with consistency and accuracy, and I don't think I've been disappointed by brew yet, at least if I was disappointed it was because of the retailer, not the brewery. This beer is a great addition to a hot summer day, and I'm looking forward to a few more tonight!

On a related note, Bell's Lager of the Lakes is another masterfully created thirst-quenching brew that is in some ways similar to this. Lager of the lakes however has a much more balanced profile with a stronger malt flavor. I highly recommend them both.



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