Monthly Archives: July 2017

Death, Heathens and Mole

Stone Give Me IPAStone Give Me IPA or Give Me Death

Patrick Henry was a Virginian and might have decried “the tyrannical oppression of industrial beer,” to quote Stone. In opening their new Richmond brewery, they collaborated with Ardent Craft Ales and Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, both of Richmond, and with “His Excellency, Terry McAuliffe, Virginia Governor.”

Opening the cap releases a high hop aroma of resin, pine and dried grapefruit rind. Beneath this is medium bready malt, mostly masked. A toasted caramel note emerges. The beer is hazy amber with a generous creamy off white head, heavily lacing the glass, with good persistence. On the palate comes a high earthy, resiny hop flavor with citrus peel and notes of overripe orange. The bitterness is very high. Bready, cakey malt provides backbone and prevents a total hop rampage, but there’s nothing balanced about it! Slight melon esters come underneath, then it finishes dry, with a long, bitter, earthy aftertaste. The body comes in above medium fullness with a heaviness more like oiliness than creaminess. The carbonation is medium, and the bitterness is strong enough to manifest as astringency puffing up the lips.

Overall? In game terms, “Hoppy Boots of Overkill.” This is a heavy earthy resin&pine hop bomb with no attempt at nuance. “Here I am; deal with it.” So, if you love hops with attitude, and aren’t looking for a citrusy sort, go for it.

To Ol Fuck ArtTo Øl Fuck Art, the Heathens Are Coming

Fredericksburg, Virginia is just north of Richmond, but this cry for freedom comes from Frederiksberg, Denmark.

The aroma of this Grisette Ale is complex, sweet and sour and funky with a crackery malt base, medum citrusy hops, and Belgian yeast character with stone fruit & banana. It pours cloudy golden straw with a medium bubbly white head, quite persistent. The flavor starts citrusy followed immediately by Brett-like funk over cracker & bread malt, then peach & melon esters. Low but distinct bitterness. Finishes quite dry with lingering yeast & funk.

Grisette Ale is an interesting style like a drier, grittier cousin of saison. The brewery seems to claim that this one is an ancient “collaboration” of Viking raiders and French monks who were too slow to get away. Viking raiders: “Here WE are, deal with it.” Not a favorite of mine–other than the great name–but could be quite refreshing.

Jacks Abby Faminghammer MoleJacks Abby Barrel-Aged Framinghammer Mole

Mexican from Massachusetts, this starts with medium high chocolate aroma with vegetal/pepper notes over bread and cake malt and low earthy hops. Toffee emerges as it warms. This is opaque brown even when held to direct sunlight and has an off-tan head. On the palate, caramel and cake malts lead immediately through chocolate into spicy pepper flavor. There is no apparent hop flavor and only medium low bitterness. The balance comes from spicy pepper, not hot, just warming. It finishes on the sweet side but nicely offset by spice so it’s not remotely cloying. It’s a bourbon sweetness with light oakiness in the aftertaste including vanilla…ah, there are vanilla beans in the brew! Also cinnamon. The body is medium full, silky, accented by a little spicy heat.

This has all the elements of a mole, however, I’m not pouring it over enchiladas! It’s a very nice warming beer, to my taste more for winter than for summer, but very much a beer to sip and savor. Pretty amazing that this is a lager!

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From the Hills of Woburn


Lord Hobo



Without modesty, false or otherwise: “Lord Hobo Brewing Company Proudly Presents . . .”

Lord Hobo Boom Sauce GlassBoom Sauce

This is an IPA shop, and this—along with Steal This Can—is the flagship. Hazy gold in the glass with a medium ragged white foamy head and quite a few dark floaters. The foam stand is very persistent and heavily laces the glass.
The aroma is of tropical fruit, orange pith and resin over biscuit & cracker malt with a hint of peach esters.
The flavor starts with citrus and melon hops, then a wave of malty sweet biscuit, overtaken by a wave of medium high bitterness. It finishes almost dry with the malt more than offset by hop flavor and bitterness. The mouthfeel has just above medium fullness, no creaminess, medium high carbonation and slightly lip puckering astringency.

Lord Hobo Boom Sauce FloatersThis is a full bore IPA of New England cloudiness and west coast bitterness, even perhaps a little harsh. It might be best drunk from the can like Heady Topper. The floaters detract somewhat, at least for me. 7.8% ABV




Lord Hobo Glorious GlassGlorious Galaxy Pale Ale

“From the hills of Woburn, Ma” – or so it says on the can.

This pours cloudy golden straw with a medium off-white fine-bubble head, not persistent. There is a high aroma of orange peel and orange pith with notes both both resiny & floral. The low bready malt is mostly masked by the hops, and there is faint stone fruit and a hint of spice. The notes of citrus peel grow as it warms. The flavor starts with orange pith & peel immediately followed by high bitterness. Low bread and cracker malt is there, but the beer flavor leans strongly to the bitter side. It finishes quite dry with an aftertaste of citrus & bitterness. It has a medium body, not creamy, with medium carbonation and moderate astringency mostly from bitterness. All in all, a slightly fierce IPA not at all balanced, both hoppy bitter and dry. There is a small offsetting maltiness which is outgunned by the hops. I would have guessed somewhat higher alcohol. This would be hard to pair with food, maybe something like French fries or nachos. 6.5% ABV

Lord Hobo Consolation PrizeConsolation Prize Double India Pale Ale

Golden straw in the glass with peach highlights. The aroma of malty sweet biscuit is overtaken by lemon/orange/grapefruit citrus. There is a faint herbal, grassy note. The first sip is momentarily malty sweet, immediately replaced by citrus peel & pith, just above medium bitterness, then finishes slightly sweet with a lingering blend of hops and malt. The balance is only somewhat hoppy. On the palate is medium body, lightly creamy with a tiny hint of citrus. Not astringent. 9.2% ABV and doesn’t taste like it. The hoppiness shows restraint where Glorious does not. No consolation prize at all, this is a rewarding DIPA.

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A Norman Conquest


La MiN

la bière “Made in Normandie”

La MinMedium high pear greets the nose, with medium bread and cake malt, low spicy hops, low stone fruit and crisp apple. Warm spicy phenolics develop, sort of like cinnamon. There is a bit of light oxidation. The pour is hazy gold with a medium high bright white foam stand, with long persistence. There are many small dark floaters going up and down, quite flavorless and not noticeable unless you hold it to the light. The flavor starts with light pepper, with medium malt, slightly sweet bread and cake, followed by low earthy hops and medium bitterness. The beer finishes dry with pear and stone fruitiness coming in. The balance is malty. The body is medium light, crisp, with high carbonation and a light carbonic bite. The mouthfeel is neither creamy nor astringent. Overall, this is a very refreshing medium-light brew with flavorful malt and fruitiness with interesting spiciness. A very rewarding beer. 6.5% ABV

RateBeer calls this a Bière de Garde, the brewery does not. The beer is paler than even the blond form of bière de garde. The aroma is appropriate for the paler versions of the style. The head is spot on. The flavor does not include the toast or toffee characteristic of the style, but the paler versions normally have less of those elements. What I did not find is the aroma, taste or heat of alcohol, however 6.5% puts this near the low end of the typical range.

My cousins took a river cruise from Paris to Normandy, and knowing that I’m a beer geek, they brought this set as a most welcome Christmas gift. The first bottle gave me the notes above, the second I shared with the brewers at my favorite local brewery. I was certain they never had this, and they found it an excellent beer, one you can savor. Now about those floaters . . . they were more apparent in the first bottle than the second, and had no effect on any other aspect of the beer. My cousins probably bought the bottle in the fall, gave it to me at Christmas, and then I was slow to open it. In other words, through no fault of its own, the bottle was less than fresh. The light oxidation also suggests this. So my apologies to the brewers, and I thank them for a fine beer.

And my warm thanks to my cousins for making it possible to try this beer!

A coincidence that I find amusing: you saw that I had the beer unopened for several months. Finally I drank it, and went to check it in on Untappd. At first I didn’t find it, which didn’t surprise me, it’s understandably rare. But then I found it. There was precisely one check-in, and it was dated the day before my check-in. So after all that time, I was second by less than 24 hours!

If you would like to know more about the beer and the brewers, this is their website: La MiN

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