September 1, 2014

Destihl Hoperation Overload Double IPA

Brewed By: Destihl Restaurant and Brew Works in Normal/Bloomington, Illinois   
Purchased: 12oz CAN from a 4-pack bought at Schnucks in Urbana, IL; 2014
Style/ABV: Imperial IPA, 9.6%
Reported IBUs: 85

I'm happy that Destihl is canning their beer, but I'm not completely sold on this one. About Destihl
Destihl is a brewery (Bloomington) and brewpub (Normal, IL & Champaign, IL) based out of the Midwest. Specifically, the middle of Illinois in the middle of the United States. Daaaa midwest. The brewery was founded by CEO & Brewmaster, Matt Potts, in 2007. Like many brewery founders, Potts started out as a homebrewer, and would eventually trade his law school education and law practice for those sweet barley suds. Destihl currently brews a myriad of regular and barrel-aged beers, including an increasing portfolio of tasty sour brews. For more info, check out their website
The Hoperation Overload is an Imperial IPA that is overloaded with hops and malts. This won a bronze medal in the World Beer Championships Award 2011, and was first brewed on 06-19-2009.
Destihl Hoperation Overload Double IPA

This pours into a dark orange body, kicking up three fingers of caramel/orange-tinted head. As the head drops off, the beer deposits massive webs of lacing. The body itself is hazy, and this looks the part of a hop-fueled, American beer.

I'm really not sure when this was canned...but this still has a pungent, if not slightly fading, hop aroma. This leans towards those big pine and iced tea notes, with some citrus and marmalade thrown in. I'm getting pine, pine sap, wet leaves, a little maple syrup and pine nuts, iced tea, pithy lemon, and some orange and tangerine marmalade. Caramel malts also emerge on the aroma, and this has hints of boozy on the nose.

This is a beer where you the aroma pretty much matches the taste to a tee...I'm not gonna lie, this beer doesn't do much for me. The hops veer into the land of honey, thick pine sap, resin, orange, astringent/pithy lemon, guava, agave, and dank sap. The malts are huge and sweet, with caramel, brown sugar, and marmalade sweetness. It's a huge beer too, and you pick up some of that boozy 9.6%. 

This is full-bodied and boozy. Imperial IPAs can push that 9+ ABV, but I prefer when they go the sugary-sweet route like Lagunitas. Or...go super hoppy and dry like Palate Wrecker or Mikkeller's 1000 IBUs. That's okay though, that's just my opinion. This is full-bodied, has good palate depth, and has average complexity. At 9.6%, this is truly a sipper. Up front: pine, orange, pine sap, resinous hops, hints of tangerine and faint pineapple/tropical fruit, resin, iced tea; the mids roll into honey, thick caramel malts hinting at brown sugar, marmalade, lemon, guava, agave; the back end trails off with lingering hop sugars and malt sweetness. This eventually dries out on the finish.

Rating: Average (3.0/5.0 Untappd)

I'm feeling a Light Average on this beer. This isn't bad, but it's not really my cup of tea. It's not my bag, baby. I doubt I'd pick this up again in the can format! But having said that, this is a nice beer to sip on, and would pair well
with strong spices...throw some wings at this, the spicier the better. 

Random Thought: This beer should not be in cans. Or maybe it should...but I grabbed this beer for mobility, and drank it on the go. And while I was fully aware of what I was getting myself into (the whole 9.6% thing), I still question the whole can thing! With these strong beers, throw them in makes a statement about the intention of the beer. Cans = portability, drinkability, etc. Then again, maybe I'm just being an old curmudgeon. After all, this is a hoppy beer so the can should theoretically preserve the hops better. I dunno.

Against the Grain Brett The Hipman Hop

Brewed By: Against the Grain Brewery (and Smokehouse) in Louisville, Kentucky   
Purchased: 22oz bomber bought at West Lakeview Liquors in Chicago, IL; 2014 
Style/ABV: American Wild Ale, 8.0%
Reported IBUs: 64.5

I've been meaning to tackle some stuff from Against the Grain Brewing. These guys have a lineup of fun and oddly names beers. That can only mean good things, right? About Against the Grain Brewing
The Against the Grain Brewery and Smokehouse is a brewery (and smokehouse) that was founded back in October 2011. The brewery is located in the southeast corner of Louisville Slugger Field at the corner of Jackson and Main Street, in Kentucky, and is run by four dudes who are cooler than you. For more information, check them out on Facebook or check out their website
Tonight's beer, Brett The Hipman Hop, is an American Wild Ale brewed with Pilsner and German-style malts, and Apollo and Vanguard hops. This beer was fermented with ale yeast, and then the brewery added three strains of Brettanomyces to do their thing in a secondary fermentation. After four and a half months, the brewery then dry-hopped this beer with Amarillo hops. Punching in at 8.0% and 64.5 IBUs, this is all funked up.
 Brett The Hipman Hop

The beer pours into a hazy, lightly orange body, kicking up three fingers of head that is tinted by the orange, and has some caramel tones. The head retains nicely, leaving some pretty mean streaks of lacing. It's hard to tell what type of beer is suggested from the appearance, but yeah. This is also carbonated nicely. 

On the aroma: an explosion of hops and Brett. This is obviously in the same realm as Orval, or the Green Flash Rayon Vert, or Jolly Pumpkin's Bam Bière. This has big notes of grapefruit, orange, crushed aspirin, huge citrus juiciness that is unparalleled, and layers of musty and earthy Brett funk. The Brett notes in here drop some earthy and rotting notes...almost like rotting meat or a butcher shop. I personally love the aroma, and love the amount of funk that is dialed up here. This also rolls out some pineapple and peach, but it is hard to say if that is from the Brett or the hops. The aroma is pungent and huge...I am excited.

This isn't quite as substantial as any of the aforementioned beers...but it's unique in its own way, bringing in some candy sweetness and unique hop profile from the Apollo and Vanguard hops. I'm getting a lot of pineapple here, with some crushed aspirin, sweet-tart candies, massive waves of Brett funk, and lots of earthy dryness. Actually, this is super dry....probably thanks to the Brett. This has some funky leather in the mix, with that characteristic Brett leather note. The front end has a sweet candy note that I think is from the's almost like grape, or grape candy...really interesting. This also has some earthy notes that veer into green pepper or green beans. Honestly, I know I'm all over the board here, but this is a complex beer that really pushes the hop and Brett envelope. This also has some peppery spice.

This is medium-light bodied, thanks in part to the hops and the dry finish. This is super easy to drink at 8.0%, and is attenuated and dry. If you have no objections to lots of hops and Brett funk, you'll have no objections to this beer. The palate depth is fantastic and this has good duration. This has good complexity as well. Up front: citrus, pineapple, funky Brett, crush aspirin, candy sweetness; the mids take the candy sweetness and turn it into intense crushed aspirin, then the earthy notes grab hold with leather, super dry butcher shop funk, and tons of Brett punch, you also get some peppery spice; the back end continues with black pepper, white pepper, and citrus spice, and then fades into super dry nothingness. The finish is perfect, and you're left belching up citrus and pineapple. Mmmm. 

Rating: Above-Average (4.0/5.0 Untappd)

I'm feeling a Strong Above-Average on this. This is fucking fantastic, if not better than the score I'm giving it. It's maybe not as good as Green Flash's Rayon Vert...and it can't quite dial up the funk to Orval levels...but this is a great beer if you're a fan of these dry-hopped Brett beers. Food pairings here include funky and dry cheeses, rustic dishes, and maybe a leafy burger. I'd recommend this, no regrets buying this.

Random Thought: Hell yeah for 3-day weekends.

Off Color Fierce

Breewed By: Off Color Brewing in Chicago, IL
Purchased: 12oz bottle from a 4-pack bought at West Lakeview Liquors in Chicago, IL; 2014
Style/ABV: Berliner Weiss, 3.8% 
Reported IBUs: 3

Tonight's beer makes a strong case for why session beers rock. About Off Color Brewing:

Off Color Brewing is a brewery founded in 2008 according to their Facebook, or 2014 according to their website, or 2013 if you follow their release party and the logical timeline. It really doesn't matter, I suppose. What you need to know is that this brewery is the brainchild of former Goose Island barrel guru, John Laffler, and former Two Brothers brewer, Dave Bleitner. The duo are both graduates of Siebel, and share a passion for brewing exotic, off-color beer. For more info, check out the brewery's ABOUT page.
The Fierce is a low-ABV Berliner Weiss-style beer. This beer is brewed with Pils, Wheat, and Flaked Wheat malts; features "a little" hops; and uses some kettle souring for that slightly tart and sour note. More specifically, this features an "overnight kettle souring with our house lactobacillus culture, the wort emerges furious at what we did to it." This one is fermented with saison yeast. 
Off Color Fierce

This pours into a hazy, melon-yellow color, almost like a murky Reisling. It's hazy and well-carbonated, yielding a finger of white, fluffy head that hangs around after the pour, leaving lacing like my loser kids leave their loser friends around my house. If this mash got the clinic, it looks it. Except that it is a Berliner...the kid gloves wheat beer of soured beers.

On the aroma: big lemon, wheat, big straw, funk/barnyard, faint malts in the form of cracker/biscuit, and some nice pineapple. There's a wet rain note, and you get some of that lactic funk, with some definite sour mash coming through on the nose. 

This is fantastic, with lemon-pineapple and wet rain crashing against that lightly funky lactic mash. It's like drinking Greek Yogurt spiked with lemon. The lemon dives into notes of citrus, pineapple, maybe a dash of orange and's all rounded out with some wheat and straw notes. 

The wheat malts really build as you work through this...they provide just enough density to substantiate the body, but it's light citrusy and incredibly drinkable at 3.8%.'s almost a shame this comes in a 4-pack, but I know that this takes work to brew. This has great palate depth and duration for the style, and it's complex too. Up front is a nice blast of sour mash, sour lemon, lactic punch, wet rain, and big pineapple/lemon; that rolls into wet rain, wheat, straw, some more orange/grapefruit, nice attenuated citrus notes ala a white wine; the back end lays on some nice bread/cracker notes, with malts, and then finishes dry and pleasant. This is really quite nice, and super drinkable and refreshing.

Rating: Divine Brew (4.5/5.0 Untappd)

I'm feeling a Light 
Divine Brew on this...I love this style and this is a fun, tasty brew. Would buy again. I mean really, at $9 a can't go wrong with this. And the 4-pack format means you can take this to a party or barbecue and drink the whole damn thing! And you won't even get that drunk. Nice. Food pairings here include fruit salads, maybe white fish...lighter foods. Good.

Random Thought: Dat glass defect, right?