Renowned electronica DJ producer turned craft brewer Brian Strumke started Stillwater Artisanal in 2004. Brewing in his backyard for years, he took a different approach using non-traditional ingredients and unconventional methods to create new interpretations of existing beer styles. This quickly earned him the title of “Best New Brewer” in 2011 by Ratebeer.com. One of the original “gypsy brewers,” in one year he was able to brew 50 Stillwater beers in over 12 countries. Calling Baltimore home, Stillwater HQ serves as a gallery, restaurant, full service bar and even a bottle shop.
Nu-Tropic is an IPA brewed with mango and passion fruit.
Pour: Hazy with a light golden hue and lots of carbonation.
Head: A think frothy head forms at the top of the glass and hangs around. A web of laces forms as the head fades away.
Nose: Light fruit notes with a mild hop aromas. Some wheat as well but mostly hops and fruit notes.
Palate: Light bodied, the passion fruit shows over the mango. The fruit gives way to a mild hoppiness but not as much as I thought. Finish is clean with a slight minerality.
Overall: Yum! It sounds like brewers will be sending more fruit IPA this year and this has me excited for more. A summer IPA with hops that some session ales come up a little short on with mango and passion fruit to make it refreshing and adding some crush-ability. Pair with spicy ribs or burgers and hot dogs, just in time for grill season!
Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 4.5 Out Of 5 Pints
Evil Twin Brewing has rapidly grown in popularity, with its one-off style and limited releases offerings since 2006. Operated as a “gypsy” brewery, meaning they set up shop temporarily in other breweries like Westbrook Brewing Company in South Carolina or Two Roads Brewing Company in Connecticut. Leasing out space is no small endeavor, as last year Evil Twin brewed more than 7,000 barrels!
The Molotov Lite pours a hazy golden color, with a light carbonation and some sediment floating around. The thin off white head hangs around for a while before leaving some lacing behind.
The nose offer some subtle aromatics but not as intense as you might expect for an Imperial IPA. Upfront there is a lot of tropical fruit notes: pineapples and mangos seem to jump out of the glass. This is followed by a rich pine notes and earthy almost grassy character.
The palate offers much more flavors then expected. Leading with a strong hoppy bitterness, no too overpowering, into the smooth tropical fruit flavors. The finish has some minor spice notes with balanced acidity.
One of the better Imperial IPA’s we’ve tasted recently. Has the big flavor to satisfy hopheads without being too over the top. This would be a great pairing with a sharp cheddar, fish tacos or grilled peaches.
The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 4.0 Pints out of 5
New Belgium Brewing Company is a craft brewery located in Fort Collins, Colorado. It opened in 1991 after Jeff Lebesch, the brewery’s founder, took his home-brewing passion commercially. By 2012 New Belgium was the third largest craft brewery in the United States. Available for the first time in New Jersey, New Belgium has a portfolio that boasts over a dozen brews. One of their hoppier offerings is an Imperial India Pale Ale named Rampant.
The beer pours a rich golden yellow color with light amber hues. The two finger soapy white head shows great retention. Once the head dissipates a light lacing is remains, primarily on the sides of the glass.
The nose offers up a plethora of hop notes, as one might expect from an Imperial IPA. Citrus notes of lemon and grapefruit are followed immediately by notes of pine. Light floral and grassy hop notes are also discernible. All the hop notes are balanced by aromas of sweet malts.
The palate is strikingly similar to the bouquet. Citrus notes of grapefruit and lemon zest are met by slightly bitter pine notes. Floral and grassy hop notes follow right on the heels of the citrus and pine notes. Again, the hops are very balanced by a malt sweetness that cuts some the hoppiness. This is surprisingly smooth and balanced for an Imperial IPA.
A great beer from New Belgium. Quite possibly the easiest drinking IPA we’ve had. Be sure to check your local Bottle King for great prices on this new release. While current Club members save even more, no need to worry if you aren’t a club member it’s easy to sign up and best of all it’s free! Try pairing this bad boy with an extra sharp cheddar, pulled pork with Hickory BBQ sauce or spice cake with cream cheese icing.
Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 4.0 Out Of 5 Pints
In operation since late 2002, Southern Tier Brewing Company of Lakewood, New York is a fan favorite for craft beer lovers. Boasting an impressive portfolio of year round and seasonal brews, owners Phin and Sara DeMink keep expanding and pushing the boundaries of their vision.
In 2014 they made a decision to re-release Gemini, an imperial blended ale. Named after twins Castor and Pollux of Greek Mythology, Gemini is a blend of an Imperial Pale Ale and an Imperial IPA.
The beer pours a clear light orange with a one finger soapy white head. The head lacks retention but does leave a bit of lacing. The beer is nicely carbonated and displays a plethora of tiny bubbles rising in the glass.
On the nose citrus notes of grapefruit pith, lemon zest and tangerine hit first. White floral and grassy hop notes make an appearance and then give way to aromas of tropical fruits. Piney hop notes are also notable. Sweet caramel malt and toast grain notes balance the hops and add complexity.
The same citrus notes of tangerine, lemon zest and grapefruit from the nose flood the palate. Tropical notes, dominated by pineapple intermingle with the citrus notes. Floral and earthy hop notes give way to resinous pine notes that bring a certain dryness and bitterness to the profile. Balancing all the hops are sweet caramel malts and bready notes. The finish, while well balanced, shows a lingering pine note.
Gemini is the perfect example of two being better than one. Blending two Imperial beer together makes for one amazing brew! Try pairing this one with Blue Veined Cheddar, Szechuan dishes or Flan.
The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 4.0 Pints out of 5
Please check with your local Bottle King store for current inventory
Great news for Hopheads and beer lovers from Troegs Brewery. After moving to a new, state of the art brewery in Hershey, PA Troegs Perpetual IPA is now available year round!! This once occasional brew is an IPA but not an India Pale Ale.
Troegs considers it an Imperial Pale Ale. The brewers use a hopback of Mt. Hood and Nugget hops. Then the brew is dry hopped with Citra, Cascade, and Nugget hops to make this beer a hop lovers dream.
Perpetual IPA pours a rich straw color with an orange hue when held up to the light. I enjoyed this in a pint glass and let it warm to about 50 degrees which really exposed its complex flavors. The aroma was a wonderful bouquet of the different hops used to brew this beer. On the palate, the smooth beginning is followed by a wallop of grapefruit and resin bitterness that leaves you wanting more. Good thing Troegs Perpetual IPA is now available in six packs.
I would rank this beer up there with the best IPAs on the market. It’s no surprise Ratebeer has rated it a 99 overall and a 94 on style. With an abv of 7.5%, this beer drinks almost like a session beer. Definitely a summer favorite for those of us who refuse to drink light fizzy lagers. So pick up some of this delicious brew today at your local Bottle King and enjoy the dedication that the Troegs brewers put into all their beers. Cheers to Craft Beer!!
The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 3.5 Pints out of 5
Please check with your local Bottle King store for current inventory.