Tag Archives: IPAs

Dogfish Head ‘A Hop Eclipse Now:’ New IPAs, New Glass and New Randall the Enamel Animal

Dogfish Head A Hop Eclipse Now

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery today announced a new promotion it is calling “A Hop Eclipse Now”—a play on the title of the classic film “Apocalypse Now”—and it will be unveiling two new IPAs, a new beer glass and a “new” Randall the Enamel Animal fresh-hopping device during the next few months.

The idea behind A Hop Eclipse Now is to celebrate the current popularity of IPAs and other hoppy beers in America right now, as well as spotlight Dogfish’s rich history of brewing hoppy ales.

The brewery hasn’t specified which new IPAs will be unveiled, though he did say one of them will be fruit infused, not unlike its Hellhound on My Ale IPA. That beer is expected to be released on March 1, and it could be called A Hop Eclipse Now. And a few months ago Dogfish announced that it is working on another collaboration brew with Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., an imperial IPA called Rhizing Bines, so that could be one of the new hoppy brews. Dogfish also didn’t unveil its new glass design yet, but the brewery’s founder Sam Calagione says the glass will be shown off in early February. And the following image, taken from the end of the A Hop Eclipse Now video clip below, gives us an idea of what the new Dogfish glass could look like.

Dogfish Head New Glass Design?

Calagione also says Dogfish will begin selling mini Randall the Enamel Animal fresh-hopping gadgets soon, and the Dogfish website says the $20 Randall Jr.s will begin shipping in February. Dogfish also listed the next-generation, full-size Randall, called Randall 3.0, for sale last month.

Finally, as part of the A Hop Eclipse Now celebration, Dogfish will host a number of related beer dinners across the United States starting on February 7 in Philadelphia and ending March 17 in Cambridge, Maryland. (I’m kind of pissed off that none of them are close to Boston, but I guess that’s my problem. Meh.)

Find more information on Dogfish’s A Hop Eclipse Now and the related new products and beer dinner’s on the brewer’s website or watch the above video.

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Stone Announces Markets for Enjoy By 2.15.13 IPA

Stone Brewing Co. Enjoy By IPA 2.15.13
Update 2: Sooo, MA, TX and MO will NOT get Enjoy By 2.15.13 IPA. Read this post for more information. I’m sorry for the confusion.

Update 1: I just heard back from Stone, and MA, TX and MO will be getting Enjoy By 2.15.13 IPA. Thank God. (I live in Boston, and I need more Enjoy By.)

Stone Brewing Co., maker of the much-lauded—and hyped up—Enjoy By IPAs today announced the 10 markets in which its next Enjoy By IPA, 2.15.13, could be released. I say “could be” because the company’s blog post isn’t exactly clear on the subject. It states that the following markets are “in contention for Stone Enjoy By IPA 2.15.13.” But it also states that Texas, Massachusetts and Missouri showed the most social media engagement while the last version of the IPA, Enjoy By IPA 12.21.12, was still on shelves, so it’s unclear if these states will get the next batch of Enjoy By IPA or not. (Read my review of Stone Brewing Co. Enjoy By 12.21.12 IPA here.)

Anyway, here’s the list:

  • Arizona
  • Oregon
  • Idaho
  • New Mexico
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Pittsburgh, PA
  • Sacramento/Lake Tahoe, CA
  • Washington, D.C.

I’ve reached out to Stone via Twitter for clarification, but who know if they’ll actually respond. Regardless, the next batch of Enjoy By IPA is scheduled to be bottled on Friday, January 11, and that’s good news anyway that you look at it. You can learn more about Stone’s Enjoy By IPA 2.15.13 on the company’s website.

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Maine Beer Co. ‘Dinner’ Double IPA

Maine Beer Co. Dinner Double IPA

I’m back like the Terminator, motherfuckers. My holiday vacation was great, but it’s time to return to The Grind.

First order of business: Maine Beer Co.‘s upcoming “Dinner” double IPA. I have no idea how I missed this, because I’m huge Maine Beer Co. fan. But the brewery is apparently working on a new double IPA to follow up on its world-class Lunch IPA. (Read my review of Maine Beer’s Lunch here and you’ll see just how much I love it.)

I heard about this from a friendly employee of Portland, Maine’s Bier Cellar craft beer shop last week during a trip to that fine city, and though I can’t really say he’s a trustworthy source—I simply don’t know the dude—Maine Beer’s recent Twitter activity seems to confirm Dinner double IPA’s existence. Maine Beer Co. is also based in Portland.

Way back on November 7, Maine Beer Company posted a tweet in response to some other users saying it was working on a new double IPA. And then a few days later, it posted another tweet mentioning a “Dinner double IPA.” No release details are available as far as I know, but it’s possible we’ll be seeing Dinner in the coming weeks or months.

And here’s a description of the “pilot batch” of the brew, from Maine Beer brewer Daniel Kleban’s Twitter feed:

“Think lunch x2 with citra and simcoe.”

The Bier Cellar dude also said he’d heard rumors of another new beer from Maine Beer Company, called “Nothing,” which he thought would be a barleywine-style brew. But, again, I can’t confirm that information.

Anyway, I can’t wait for Dinner. And I’m not even hungry.

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New Stone ‘Enjoy by 12.21.12 IPA’ Now Shipping to 10 States

Stone Brewing Co. Enjoy By 12.21.12 IPA

Today Stone Brewing Co. announced via Facebook and Twitter that its new Enjoy By IPA is now shipping to ten states. Stone Enjoy By 12.21.12 IPA is the third Enjoy By IPA the brewery released this year, and it will be available in the following markets: Southern California, Central Coast California, Northern California, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey, New York City and Texas.

From Stone’s Facebook page:

“STONE ENJOY BY 12.21.12 IPA IS ON ITS WAY!

That’s right…a new wave of vibrant freshness and incredible hoppiness will soon be washing over the country…for purchase by those seeking the ultimate in instant beery gratification.”

And from StoneBrew.com:

“Let us present to you a new, devastatingly fresh double IPA. While freshness is a key component of many beers – especially big, citrusy, floral IPAs – we’ve taken it further, a lot further, in this IPA. You see, we specifically brewed it NOT to last. We’ve not only gone to extensive lengths to ensure that you’ll get this beer in your hands within an extraordinarily short window, we made sure that the Enjoy By date isn’t randomly etched in tiny text somewhere on the label, to be overlooked by all but the most attentive of retailers and consumers. Instead, we’re sending a clear message with the name of the beer itself that there is no better time than right now to enjoy this IPA.”

The initial Enjoy By 09.21.12 IPA was available only in Southern California, Chicago and New Jersey, and the second version, Enjoy By 11.09.12 shipped only to Colorado and Ohio, so Enjoy by 12.21.12 will be the most widely distributed version to date. And I’m extremely glad to see it will be hitting my home state of Massachusetts. She will be mine. Oh yes, she will be mine.

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I Haz Heady Topper, Motherfuckers

Heady Topper Double IPA by the Alchemist Vermot

At this moment, I’m drinking a Heady Topper from The Alchemist brewery in Waterbury, Vermont. And it’s amazing, which is why I’m dedicating a blog post to a single 16-ounce can—yes, it comes in a can—of beer.

Heady Topper is an double IPA, but it’s not just any IPA. It’s probably one of the best, and most sought-after IPAs in the United States right now. It’s the Pliny the Elder—or maybe even the Pliny the Younger—of the East Coast. And it’s made in smaller batches than Pliny, so it’s incredibly difficult to get your hands on, even in New England. (I find Heady Topper once every few months, and I go to embarrassingly great lengths to find rare beers.)

The Heady Topper can screams, in capital letters, “DRINK FROM THE CAN!” But fuck that. This beer deserves better—and I admittedly have a can complex.

From the Heady Topper can:

“Heady Topper is an American Double India Pale Ale. This beer is not intended to be the biggest or most bitter. It is meant to give you wave after wave of hoppy goodness on your palate. Tremendous amounts of American hops will creep up on you, and leave you with a dense hoppy finish in your mouth. So

“So drinkable, it’s scary.

“Sometimes I wish I could crawl right into the can. Freshness and control have always been my main concern when it comes to our beer. We are committed to providing you with an unfiltered and unpasteurized hop experience. Why do I recommend that you drink it from the can? Quite simply, to ensure a delightful, hoppy experience. The act of pouring it in a glass smells nice, but it releases the essential hop aromas that we have worked so hard to retain. If you MUST pour it into a glass you may find that some of the hop resins have settled to the bottom—leave them in the can when pouring. This beer is perishable, and at its best when it’s young, fresh and hazy. Keep it cold, but not ice cold. Drink this beer immediately, we are always making more.

–  John Kimmich, The Alchemist, Waterbury Vermont”

Heady Topper is near the top(per) of my list of IPAs every hopeless hop head should try at least once. I just finished my can, and I’m already pining for another. That’s some heady shit.

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10 Damn-Near-Perfect IPAs All Hopeless Hop Heads Should Try at Least Once

Cascade Hops IPA

I love India Pale Ales. All kinds of ’em. And I’m proud of my obsession with hops and hoppy beers. In fact, I make it a point to try just about every IPA I can get my hands on. The result of this hop quest, besides a thinner wallet and my fair share of hangovers: I know my IPAs.

I appreciate all kinds of hops, and I’ve tried to learn their specific tastes and what sets them apart from other families of Lupus Salictarius—that’s right, fool, I just dropped a Lupus Salictarius on your ass.

While perusing Reddit.com/r/beer the other day, I saw a conversation about the best IPAs. Most of the beers mentioned were solid. (Those fucking Reddit beer nerds know their shit.) But the thread got me thinking about my own personal favorite IPAs. I don’t usually like to think of individual beers as the “best,” because I don’t really think it’s that simple; there’s no “best IPA.”

But here is a list of some of my current favorites. I mostly think of all IPAs as part of the same big (hoppy) family, single, double, whatever; some just have higher ABVs. So you’ll find a wide variety of IPA types in my list. Which IPAs are your favorite and why?

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  1. The Alchemist Heady Topper IPA
  2. Russian River Pliny the Elder IPA (Read more about Pliny)
  3. Ballast Point Sculpin IPA
  4. Alpine and New Belgium Super IPA
  5. Maine Beer Co. Lunch IPA (Check out my Maine Lunch IPA review.)
  6. Dogfish Head 75 Minute IPA
  7. Pretty Things Meadowlark IPA
  8. Bear Republic Racer X IPA
  9. Drake’s Aroma Coma IPA
  10. Ithaca Flower Power IPA

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Image via TheGranarySA.com

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I Haz Pliny, Motherfuckers

Russian River Pliny the Elder bottles

If you’re a true beer nerd, you know Pliny the Elder. You may not have actually tried it, but you know Pliny.

The double IPA from Sonoma County, California’s Russian River Brewing Company is easily one of the best and most complex IPAs ever made. And it’s extremely difficult to find, especially outside of northern California.

Whenever I’m in the Bay Area, I make it a point to track down Pliny. And I usually find it in the strangest places; it’s never in the beer bars I visit, and in the bars that do normally have it, the keg was just kicked or something. I found today’s bottles in a weird little wing joint that was featured on The Travel Channel’s Man v Food, called SmokeEaters. (My Plinys—yes, I had two, I had to—were bottled less than a month ago, and they were super fresh.) When I was in San Francisco earlier this summer I found Pliny on draft at a sports bar near Union Square, the 4th Street Bar & Grill.

But it really doesn’t matter where you drink it, Pliny the Elder never disappoints.

From Russian River:

“Pliny the Elder, born in 23 AD, was a Roman naturalist, scholar, historian, traveler, officer and writer. Pliny and his contemporaries created the original botanical name for hops, ‘Lupus Salictarius,’ meaning ‘wolf among scrubs.’ Hop vines at that time grew wild among willows, likened to wolves roaming wild in the forest. Pliny the Elder died in 79 AD while saving people during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. He was immortalized by his nephew, Pliny the Younger, who continued his uncle’s legacy by documenting much of what his uncle experienced during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. This beer is an homage to the man who discovered hops and perished while being a humanitarian. “

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Maine Beer Company Lunch IPA (Review)

Maine Beer Company's Lunch IPA

“Do what’s right.”

That’s Maine Beer Company‘s motto. It is printed on all of its bottles. And the company is following its own advice, doing what’s right for the New England craft beer scene by brewing some very special beers, including its Lunch India Pale Ale.

Maine Beer Company says Lunch is “our ‘east coast’ version of a West Coast-style IPA.” And I can say without any doubt that Lunch is one of the best east coast IPAs I’ve ever had, and it can hold its own with some of the best West Coast IPAs, too.

Whenever I drink any of Maine Beer’s ales, I’m struck by just how crisp and clean they are. They’re also always extremely fresh, but that probably has to do with the fact that the company’s beers are also always in high demand in and around Boston, so they never sit on store shelves for very long.

Lunch IPA is probably Maine Beer’s most sought-after ale. It’s extremely difficult to find, and many of the liquor stores I frequent never even put it on their shelves; the shops keep Lunch behind the counter or in their storerooms for local beer nerds like myself who will appreciate it.

I slowly poured my Lunch IPA into a medium-size Maine Beer Company goblet, and it gradually formed a nice, frothy head, which didn’t dissipate much before I finished the beer. The color is orange/beige. It’s extremely flavorful, and you immediately taste citrus, mild pine and, of course, lots of fresh hops. Lunch is brewed with Warrior, Amarillo, Centennial and Simcoe hops.

Lunch IPA comes in a 1 pint, 9 FL. OZ. bottle. It has a 7.0% ABV. I paid $8 for my bottle. Maine Beer Company brews are currently available in Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, New York City, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania.

Put quite simply, I love Lunch IPA. Lunch is so good that I forgive Maine Beer Company for ditching its beautiful paper labels for cheap-looking plastic ones—though I’m still not happy about it; Maine Beer’s old labels were awesome and unique.  Maine Beer Company’s Lunch IPA gets a 9 out of 10 on the Urban Beer Nerd scale. (It has 95/100 score on BeerAdvocate.com based on 266 user ratings.)

Check out the video below for more information about Maine Beer Company.

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Brooklyn Brewery’s The Defender IPA, Official Beer of New York Comic Con

Brooklyn Brewery's The Defender IPA NY Comic Con beer

Next week, Brooklyn Brewery will release The Defender, a hoppy, amber, draft-only IPA it brewed especially for New York Comic Con. The Defender will be officially released at a launch party on Tuesday, September 25 at the Brooklyn Brewery tasting room.

Brooklyn brewmaster Garrett Oliver brewed up The Defender, and the brewery worked with DC Comics designer Milton Glaser, who came up with the beer’s logo, and cartoonist Tony Millionaire, who drew up the superhero you see above.

Unfortunately, the brew will only be available in a handful of bars in Brooklyn and Manhattan, but I guess that makes sense; it was brewed specifically for New York Comic Con after all.

In general, I’m a fan of superhero-themed brews, though I’m not sure why. I’m not really a comic-book kind of guy. I’m particularly partial to Clown Shoes’ Supa Hero IPA.

If you’ll be in Brooklyn next week and want to attend the launch party, you should send an RSVP here.

Here’s the full (super-nerdy) back-story on The Defender superhero, from The Brooklyn Brewery:

“Once, a long time ago, benevolent Beer Gods bestrode the lands of the world, bringing wonderful beer and great happiness to the People. Collaborating joyously among themselves, the Beer Gods defended the pleasures of the table and promulgated the virtues of Flavor, Variety, Deliciousness, Versatility and Honesty in beer. And the People loved them for it.

“But the Beer Gods were far too trusting – in truth, they were not without enemies. Out of the stygian depths of the Earth’s crust rose a cabal of anti-Beer Gods, the Megaliths. Taking the peaceful Beer Gods by surprise, the warlike Megaliths cast a powerful spell that drove the Beer Gods down into the shadows. Flavorful beer vanished from the land, and the People wept. Their victory complete, the Megaliths sent among us the ghostly pale, thin tasteless beers known colloquially as “foam jobs”. Blandness led to mediocrity, mediocrity led to hate, and hate led to suffering. And O, how the People suffered! They forgot the true taste of beer, the soft rustle of barley, the smell of hops.

“And then, just as it seemed that the darkness had stamped out all good things, a new dawn rose over Brooklyn. A hero came to rescue the people from the iron grip of the Megaliths – The Defender! Spawned in deepest Brooklyn and robed in a cowl of shimmering amber, the Defender wielded the rich power of caramel malts, the sharpest unbreakable blade of pure hop bitterness and an incredible focused blast of hop aroma to shatter the Megalith’s spell. The Beer Gods awoke to find themselves forever shielded within the hearts of the People, and once again the great virtues of true beer spread through the land. Even now, the Defender will be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out. Should your shadow ever grow long, your spirit sag, and your knees buckle, you need only remember these words — BRING FORTH THE DEFENDER!”

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New Dogfish/Sierra Nevada Life & Limb Collaboration ‘Rhizing Bines’ Imperial IPA Coming Feb. ’13

Dogfish Sierra Nevade Rhizing Bines imperial IPA label

In 2009, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery and Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. collaborated for the first time to create an American-style strong ale called only “Life & Limb.” Today, Dogfish announced the next Life & Limb collaboration brew from it and Sierra Nevada, “Rhizing Bines,” which will be an 8% ABV Imperial IPA. Rhizing Bines is expected to be released in February 2013.

Some details on the IPA from Dogfish:

On the hot side, Rhizing Bines will go through Dogfish’s signature continual-hopping process with floral and citrusy Bravo hops. On the cold side, it will be dry-hopped with an experimental varietal so new it doesn’t yet have a name, just a number: Hop 644. A component of Sierra Nevada’s aroma-boosting Torpedo system will make a pit-stop in Delaware for dry-hopping duty before it heads to Sierra’s new North Carolina brewery.

To celebrate Sierra Nevada planting East Coast roots, Dogfish Head tracked down a Carolina heirloom wheat grown and milled at Anson Mills. The soft red winter wheat contributes subtle sweet and nutty notes to this hop-forward ale.

The first Life & Limb strong ale was brewed at Sierra Nevada’s Chico, Calif., brewery, and Rhizing Bines will be brewed at Dogfish’s Milton, Delaware brewery.

Dogfish Head Sierra Nevada Rhizing Bines imperial IPA label

I had the first Life & Limb brew a couple of times last year, and it was decent. American strong ale is not one of my favorite beer styles, but I love me some IPAs. Dogfish makes fantastic IPAs, and Sierra makes some quality hoppy brews—namely its Northern and Southern Hemisphere Harvest Ales—so I’m anxious to get my hands on this new collaboration. February 2013 can’t get here soon enough.

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