Beer Reviews: Alström Bros

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Sapience
Sapience

Cellar West Artisan Ales
Saison / Farmhouse Ale / 5.70% ABV

4.21/5  rDev 0% | Avg: 4.14
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From BeerAdvocate magazine #127 (August 2017):

Light copper in color, Sapience has a fluffy white head that settles to a thin lace. A toasty aroma with a pleasing pepperiness includes soft oak, floral, and overripe stone fruit notes. The body is light-ish and the beer is nice and dry. There’s a hint of residual sweetness within the breadcrust maltiness, and some light honey. Meanwhile, the coriander lends light curry and nutty flavors that complement both the rustic yeasty character and the vinous oakiness, while a splash of lemon, a hint of tart berries, and a floral, tea-like bitterness liven things up. It’s quite phenolic, too, which adds some oldschool funky and semi-medicinal layers. I also get some browned apple. And I could go on and on. But I won’t. I’ll simply savor these last few sips.

Sapience immediately takes me back to some of the Belgian and French beers that I explored in my early beer geek years. It’s good to be back. Despite everything going on, each ingredient finds its place. This beer works as whole, and it brings some incredible drinkability and food pairing versatility to the table.

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Peril Aged
Peril Aged

Motorworks Brewing
American Porter / 10.50% ABV

3.9/5  rDev 0% | Avg: 3.9
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

22oz brown bottle, sample from the brewery.

Mild amount of carbonation leads to only a wisp of lacing on top of this pitch black color brew. Big boozy character though never hot, just warming throughout. Lot of wood character and booziness, not a whole lot of sweetness and a pretty mild roasted character but with everything meshing well together it certainly comes off as a big beer ... as it should but there is a sense of extra drinkability. Would love to see more beers like this from Motorworks, a real treat.

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Bière De Garde
Bière De Garde

Sugar Creek Brewing Company
Bière de Garde / 6.80% ABV

4.03/5  rDev +6.3% | Avg: 3.79
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

750ml brown bottle, sample from the brewery.

This is a great interpretation for the style, very impressive coming from a brewer outside of the US. Beautiful looking dark copper color. Mostly on the dry side, there is some malt sweetness and fruitiness within but it most certainly lands dry. Hits all of the bells and whistles for the style, drinkable and extremely enjoyable.

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Two-Flat
Two-Flat

Hop Butcher For The World
American Pale Ale (APA) / 5.75% ABV

3.98/5  rDev +3.1% | Avg: 3.86
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

16oz tallboy can, sample from the brewery.

Hazy with a pale golden hue, head drops a trail of lacing down the glass. Orangey, grassy, cedar, pithy, white tea, wild flowers, and faint peppercorn is what these hops bring forth. On the dry side and balanced, no shortage of hop character. Pungent citrusy hoppiness lingers. Some bready grain and a touch of fruity alcohol in the finish.

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Skrap Metal
Skrap Metal

Hop Butcher For The World
American Double / Imperial IPA / 7.50% ABV

3.96/5  rDev -9% | Avg: 4.35
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

16oz tallboy can, sample from the brewery.

Pale cloudy straw colored brew, lacing does not want to leave the glass. Estery and a whole lot of hops in the nose and on the palate. Suggestions of dragon fruit, grapefruit pith, green tea, hemp seed oil, and passion fruit. Bitterness comes in hard but the flavor takes over and blankets the palate. A real treat to have, balanced for the stlye and very drinkable.

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Entropic Theory
Entropic Theory

MadTree Brewing
American IPA / 7.50% ABV

4.13/5  rDev -1.2% | Avg: 4.18
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12oz can, sample from the brewery.

Great looking head on top of a slightly hazed out golden hue. Juicy with tones of dankness and a Juicy Fruit bubblegum character within. Juiciness gets all tropical within an orangey bubble. Ample bitterness and a big smooch of alcohol ... warming, not hot. All of the hop character of these juicy IPAs but none of the opaque cloudy look, just some chill haze. By far one of the better IPAs I've had this year.

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Hops Limon IPA
Hops Limon IPA

Evolution Craft Brewing Company
American IPA / 6.80% ABV

3.86/5  rDev +3.5% | Avg: 3.73
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12oz brown bottle, sample from the brewery.

Mildly hazed orangey amber hue, decent lacing on top. Limon character is at a perfect level in the nose and on the palate. Hoppy and bitter enough to keep my palate thinking its an IPA. Lots of zest, rind, and pith flavor. Kiss of warming alcohol and a smooth finish. Balanced with some pronounced flavors that do well together. All in all a good IPA with a slightly different character than most, refreshing and worth hunting some down.

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Lawn Mower
Lawn Mower

Austin Street Brewery
Saison / Farmhouse Ale / 4.50% ABV

3.92/5  rDev +4.3% | Avg: 3.76
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

750ml bottle at the brewery.

Hazed out beige straw hue, head does well and drops down to a think layer of lacing. Beautiful Brett character throughout, smells of lemongrass, eucalyptus, green peppercorn, and lime pith. Soft and funky, a quick kiss of lemon zest in the middle. Dry and very drinkable. If you can get past the hazy rustic character this is for you, quite enjoyable.

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Succinct
Succinct

Austin Street Brewery
Schwarzbier / 4.90% ABV

3.83/5  rDev -0.3% | Avg: 3.84
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

10oz pour at the brewery.

A couple shades from complete black, nice tight light tan lacing on top. Smells of mild roasted and toasted malt with some hop resin within. Mild cocoa and light roasted grain on the palate, an even and balancing bitterness for the hops drops a floral and slightly herbal flavor. Very much to style even with the more pronounced hoppiness, just enough. This beer is a real treat to have, glad I was able to run into it before it ran out.

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Spencer Monks' Reserve Ale
Spencer Monks' Reserve Ale

The Spencer Brewery
Quadrupel (Quad) / 10.20% ABV

3.97/5  rDev -1.2% | Avg: 4.02
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

From BeerAdvocate magazine #126 (July 2017):

Monks' Reserve Ale debuted at our Microbrew Invitational in Boston, Mass., and I heard grumblings on the fest floor that it wasn’t good. But I was committed to trying it, and sampled three 2-ounce pours.

Dark brown with a creamy, tan head and clinging lace, it's malt-forward like all Quads, with layers of dark fruits, chocolate, roast, toasted bread, and a dry, biscuity, husky, and almost astringent bite. The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy and the finish is smooth with a peppery heat toward the end that lingers. And yeah, the booze is there. At 10.2 percent ABV it does say "hello," but the alcohol doesn’t whack you in the head while you're drinking it. What I like most about Monks' Reserve Ale is that it’s definitely not your typical Quad, which would’ve been easier for them to brew. It's different. Done their way. And very American.

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Fungus Shui Mushroom Ale
Fungus Shui Mushroom Ale

Meadowlark Brewing
Herbed / Spiced Beer / 6.50% ABV

4.07/5  rDev -2.6% | Avg: 4.18
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

From BeerAdvocate magazine #125 (June 2017):

When you think “maple” you think “dark beer,” but this ale is surprisingly clear and golden with a short-lived head. The aroma is full of maple syrup with earthy and buttery notes. And, sure enough, it tastes exactly like maple syrup. Slightly crisp with a light body, both of which allow the maple flavors to dominate. Some local honey amplifies the perceived sweetness, which borders safely below cloying with a delicious fermented honey and light mead-like finish.

Except for an earthy edge, there’s really no sign of mushrooms. But as the beer warms and leaves the palate, I do start to pick up both savory and sweet notes of curry. It’s kind of crazy, and I’m finding myself lingering with the flavors just to see if more will unfold.

Brewed annually in the spring and available on draft and in bottles, Fungus Shui is truly an “aha!” beer moment that all gastronomy geeks must try.

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Straub Oktoberfest Lager
Straub Oktoberfest Lager

Straub Brewery
Märzen / Oktoberfest / 5.70% ABV

3.78/5  rDev -5.5% | Avg: 4
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12oz brown bottle, sample from the brewery.

Rich tawny hue, great looking suds. The malt profile is bready with a mild sweetness, balancing hop bitterness beneath. Drinkable and very to style. Worth checking out if you like Ofest beers.

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Castle Island Lager
Castle Island Lager

Castle Island Brewing Co.
American Pale Lager / 5.20% ABV

4.18/5  rDev 0% | Avg: 4.14
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

16oz tallboy can, sample purchased at the brewery.

Love that the lager has infiltrated the indo-brewery scene. Yup, sometimes we want out beer to be yellow and fizzy ... and for it to taste like beer. Sure, its a great looking beer ... smells and tastes like beer. This is exactly what I want to go at when I'm out drinking and need to get away from the rest of the trends or hops I can't yet pronounce. Looking forward to acquiring a whole lot more during my next visit to the brewery, most certainly I will make room for this one in my beer fridge.

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Tessallate Hibiscus Kiwi
Tessallate Hibiscus Kiwi

Garrison City Beerworks
American IPA / 6.50% ABV

3.95/5  rDev 0% | Avg: 3.95
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

16oz tallboy can, sample from the brewery.

So this is an IPA and has an addition of lactose and flavored with kiwi and hibiscus. Not going to fret too much about the IPA thing but really ... why? Perhaps enough bitterness to be an IPA, doesn't really come off as IPA. Regardless, the additions of kiwi and hibiscus work really well and play off the bitterness. Lactose drops some body on this beer, a bit of thickness and that is it. Love the extreme thinking behind this brew, looking forward to trying more releases like this from them.

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Mountain Calling
Mountain Calling

Wise Man Brewing
American IPA / 6.60% ABV

4.08/5  rDev +0.2% | Avg: 4.07
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16oz tallboy can, sample from the brewery.

Brilliant clarity in this deep golden hued brew, lacing leaves a nice trail down the glass. Smells of smashed oranges and grapefruit with a faint piney tone. Crisp and clean with a pretty assertive hop bitterness. Citrus rind, pith, and zest all drop on the palate from the Citra hops. Mild bready grain flavor leads this beer to balance, for the style of course. Quick push of tropical fruit, most likely from the hops and the warming alcohol that is noticed several sips in. So glad they picked to do a West Coast IPA and not some haze bomb, this one easily rivals the old school West Coast IPAs. Good job Wise Man Brewing!!

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Keeper - Amarillo Dry Hopped
Keeper - Amarillo Dry Hopped

Castle Island Brewing Co.
American IPA / 6.50% ABV

4.06/5  rDev +0.5% | Avg: 4.04
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16oz tallboy can, sample purchased at the brewery.

Slight haze from the dry-hopping, rich golden hue shows off the bubbles racing to the top, Great looking head on top. Smells of a bowl full of Mandarin oranges. The bitterness is there but the flavor compared to regular Keeper is completely amped up. Just enough malt to keep this beer together. Loving this version, hope to see more!!

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Gluek's Pilsener Pale Lager
Gluek's Pilsener Pale Lager

Gluek Beer
German Pilsener / 5.25% ABV

3.88/5  rDev -0.5% | Avg: 3.9
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

16oz tallboy can, sample from the brewery.

Rich golden hued brew, lacing leaves a trail down the glass. Grainy and rustic but clean enough for a lager, biscuity with a slight bready tone throughout. Spicy herbal hop character drops a balancing bitterness on the palate. Glad there was a lot of thought put into this revived brew, while the use of Saaz hops and Munich Malt is a plus the other American ingredients (I am sure they are quality ingredients) bring this beer to a point of not being at the level of its German counterparts. Very good drinking, cold be a bit cleaner but I had not problem crushing a couple of cans.

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Innertube
Innertube

Burial Beer Co.
Light Lager / 3.50% ABV

4.04/5  rDev +1.3% | Avg: 3.99
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz can, sample from the brewery.

Made sure this sample was ice cold, chill hazed pale straw yellow hue with a decent amount of white lacing on top. Light and grainy, mild cooked cereal flavor, and a relatively clean and very crisp finish. Modest hopping with a quick kiss of herbal citrus flavor. Pretty dry with some mild water-cracker maltiness, very much too style. Love that breweries are taking on this kind of beer, more light lagers please!!

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Woods & Waters
Woods & Waters

Maine Beer Company
American IPA / 6.20% ABV

4.05/5  rDev -0.5% | Avg: 4.07
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16.9oz brown bottles, sample from the brewery.

Such of beautiful looking brew, bright pale golden yellow hue with an amazing showing of lacing on the glass. While this beer is hop forward it is not as hop forward as most of their beers. Their reason is to showcase the Maine-grown barley and wheat which really comes of very clean and bread with some dried grass and crackers in the finish. Hops drop a very balancing bitterness, lot of citrus and slightly piney flavors. Rind and more grass in the finish. Great snap shot of the Maine grown grains with staying true to their hoppy way of brewing.

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Citra-Pils Keller Bier
Citra-Pils Keller Bier

Switchback Brewing Company
Kellerbier / Zwickelbier / 5.10% ABV

3.92/5  rDev -0.5% | Avg: 3.94
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz brown stubby bottle, sample from the brewery.

Mildly hazed golden hued brew, tight bubbled white lacing on top. Clean and lager-like, smooth with a mild crispness in the moderate sized body. Herbal and citrus hop character throughout, ample bitterness for the size of the beer. Maltiness is a bit rustic, some yeast perhaps deep within. Citra hops are no too aggressive, this certainly stays within its style. I could easily knock back a bunch of mugs of this brew. Well balanced and very drinkable.

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Space Dust IPA
Space Dust IPA

Elysian Brewing Company
American Double / Imperial IPA / 8.20% ABV

3.37/5  rDev -16.8% | Avg: 4.05
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

12oz brown bottle, sample purchased at local packie ... really surprised to see this in Winthrop, MA though this must be the initial push for AB Inbev to have their other brands in all areas. Bottle says that its brewed in Seattle WA and Fort Collins CO so I can only assume Fort Collins as it has a similar freshness date as seen on other AB Inbev products.

A great looking beer, smells and tastes of aggressive hopping. At least I won't question if its an IPA or not. The malt character seems a bit thin and weak for keeping some flavor / balance. Some citrus, piney, and even tropical fruit from the hops but it all seems a bit restrained especially when the hop bitterness sets in. A decent IPA but I sort of leaning to "one and done" with this one.

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Goose IPA
Goose IPA

Goose Island Beer Co.
English India Pale Ale (IPA) / 5.90% ABV

3.12/5  rDev -17.7% | Avg: 3.79
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

REVIEW FROM SUMMER OF 2017

Tried multiple tallboy cans of this beer at Fenway and once at home, glad it was iced cold as when it warmed up it was not drinkable at all. This used to be one of those classic IPAs that you could depend on at all times, now it is a hollow shell of its former self. Malt backbone is pretty weak and the forced hop oil flavor doesn't impress. This is what happens when you take a well brewed brand and run it through the ringer, more marketing with sacrificing what the beer truly intended to be. Sad to see this beer in the state it is in.

REVIEW FROM JUNE 1st 2002

4.42/5 rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 12 oz brown twist off long neck bottle with a “Best When Consumed By” date on the back label.

Appearance: Great lacing effect down the glass with a faintly hazed amber colour, the haze is most likely from the large amount of hops this brew has in it.

Smell: Big sweet hop oil aroma, very flowery with a mildly pungent rind. A touch of malt and alcohol in the nose also.

Taste: Medium body with a moderate carbonation that adds some crispness. Flat out there is a lot of hop flavour going on, lots of fresh hop to narrow it down a bit. Bitterness from the hops in not overwhelming but it makes its mark. Again lots of fresh hop flavours, flavours that would come from dryhopping or the use of a hop back. Maltiness is solid enough and leaves a modest dry malt character that gives a quick flash of lightly toasted malt in the mild. Alcohol is present with a clean estery flavour. The finish is long, dry and certainly hoppy.

Notes: Damn good IPA to be had here, clean on the tongue with lots of hop flavour rather than going overboard with bitterness which rests at a substantial 65 IBUs.

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California Line
California Line

Dust Bowl Brewing Company - Downtown Taproom
American Blonde Ale / 4.50% ABV

3.19/5  rDev -3.9% | Avg: 3.32
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

12oz bottle from the brewery.

Golden with a bit of chill haze and a creamy white lace. Soft, cereal-grainy aroma with some light vanilla notes. Very creamy, smooth and medium bodied. There's a hit of vanilla first, then a light citrus and grassy bitterness, some bread, mild grainy astringency and a dry finish. Unfortunately the flavors are very short-lived and the beer becomes duller with each sip.

I'm not sure what a Vanilla Blonde Ale has to do with "the Okies who crossed the Cali border," but overall I'm not a fan of this lackluster offering.

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Blonde IPA
Blonde IPA

pFriem Family Brewers
American IPA / 6.25% ABV

4.26/5  rDev +7.8% | Avg: 3.95
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

500mL bottle from the brewery.

Pours blonde with a tight, creamy head and awesome lacing. Aroma is bright with citrus rinds, pale malts, ripe melon, and floral notes. Mouthfeel is super smooth and creamy with a pleasing softness and lightish body. Flavors open with delicious fruitiness of ripe stone fruits, some tropical notes, some pine and resin, and a dry bite of citrus and semi-grassy bitterness. Some breadiness in the finish which is quite dry and leaves the palate with some sticky floral flavors.

Aside from its color, I'm not sure what a Blonde IPA is supposed to be. But I love this light, balanced and highly refreshing take on the American IPA style.

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Wave Wheel Wit
Wave Wheel Wit

Elevation Beer Co.
Witbier / 5.00% ABV

3.87/5  rDev +1% | Avg: 3.83
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz can from the brewery.

Pouring all of the goodness from the can yielded a slightly hazed beer with a creamy, foamy white head with some solid stick. Soft aromas of bread, wheat, pepper, coriander and orange. Very crisp and light with a sharp lemony snap upfront with some grassy bitterness, suggestions of lychee and orange peel flavors that round things out with some fruity depth. Dry, semi-astringent and grainy in the finish with lingering spice and yeast notes.

Wave Wheel Wit is a very balanced, dry and solid Witbier. Its crisp dryness, spicing restraint and use of Citra hops is refreshing.

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