Today is a pretty awesome day in the Buchanan household. Outside of loving America and celebrating Independence Day, our big dog Arie celebrates her birthday. She is as independent as America and basically does whatever she wants whenever she wants. She doesn’t live with us anymore due to a, emmm, disagreement with her sister Riggins, but we know the Beast is living large and in charge with her Grandmomma and Granddaddy down in Aiken. Happy birthday to our black bear!
I know what you’re thinking…..where have we been? The last couple of weeks have been very hectic and we have a lot of exciting things going on that we’ll discuss in future posts here on the blog so stay tuned. In the meantime here are a few reviews for you.
First up, we have DucClaw’s Neon Gypsy Blood Orange IPA. Just as they did with their Pale Ale where they added grapefruit to make their Morgazm (reviewed here), they added Blood Orange juice to the IPA. Now, my first experience with blood orange and booze was less than impressive. Kendall and I were at Ristorante Divino for my birthday a couple of years back and I had a blood orange Old Fashioned that was just too bitter. I avoided anything blood orange afterwards until I drank this. It pours a pretty color and has a nice head that sticks around for awhile. It’s tart and sweet at the first sip and finishes bitter. It has a good carbonation to it and was a solid choice.
Next up we have New Holland’s Tasmanian Hatter. This is the second appearance for New Holland on the blog and it seems they like their hatters. This one packs a punch at 7%ABV but it is a delicious punch. I didn’t expect as much of a fruity scent to it but is there and likes to say hello. It has a pleasant sweetness to the flavor with a hint of bitterness that balances it out nicely. The aftertaste is a bit dry but I am discovering that to be common in beers with a higher ABV. Overall this was easy drinking and tasty.
Lastly we have Lagunitas Number 13 Mondo Red Ale. Surprisingly this is the first appearance on the blog by Lagunitas. Kendall and I had a chance to tour the brewery last August while we were on vacation in Chicago and became big fans of the beer. Kendall can tell you about the tour another time but if you’re in the Windy City it is definitely worth your time. So what did we think of it? Well, like the Tasmanian Hatter it packs a strong ABV punch at 8.8% and it shows. It is malty and sweet and goes down pretty smooth. There was something about it though, and I couldn’t tell what, that holds it down a little. Maybe the high ABV takes some of the drinkability away from it, I don’t know, but as it compares to some of the other red ales we have sampled (here and here) it didn’t quite hold up.
The last mix pack is done but because of the delay, of course we’re bringing you some bonus content. I ran by Craft and Draft the other day and picked up a growler. I just happened to be on Devine Street and had my growler with me (thanks Anne and Brian!) so I popped in and picked up Alpine Beer’s Willy Vanilly Pale Wheat Ale. As you all know if you have spent five minutes or so in Columbia recently, it is hotter than hell outside right now. We have a heat index of 105 today so it’s important to have a beer that can refresh you in this temperature. This is that beer. It doesn’t look like anything special at all as you can see. But the taste? Special. The vanilla is subtle in both the scent and flavor but it is absolutely perfect for a Columbia, SC summer.
So what is coming this week? First, I’ll be hunting down Blowing Rock’s Summer Ale as I have heard that it shipped last week. It’s one of my favorites and to me tastes like a boat ride should. Second, we’re going to be cleaning out the fridge. As we have done the blog we pick up random beers sometimes as we go depending on where we are. Our primary source is the Vino Garage as you know, but we like to pop in to Green’s and Craft and Draft every so often too and that leads to us having a lot of random beers in the fridge. Here are the six we’ll clean out this week.
1. Ballast Point Pineapple Sculpin
2. Sweetwater Hash Session IPA
3. Taj Mahal Premium Lager
4. Lucky Buddah Lager
5. Lagunitas Czech Style Pilsner
6. Sierra Nevada Summerfest
Until then, Happy Independence Day!