Based in Auburn California, Knee Deep Brewing has been around since mid-2010. Like many others they started off contract brewing out of another facility and only sold their beers in kegs. 7 years later they now operate out of a 28,000 square foot facility and produce 16 year round offerings in cans and bottles, along seasonal releases and small batches that are only available in their tasting room.
Breaking Bud IPA is a West Coast IPA brewed with 3 different hop varieties and won a Bronze Medal for American IPA’s at the 2016 Great American Beer Festival.
ABV: 6.5% IBU’s: 50
Head: A small off white forms and leaves some lacing as it fades away.
Pour: A golden honey color, slightly hazy with light carbonation.
Nose: A big hop presence. Hints of fruit but mostly notes of lemon and a little tangerine.
Palate: Very mild considering the amount of pine on the nose. Medium bodied with a sharp but quick hop flavor before a smooth finish. There’s almost no acidity on the finish giving it a very airy feel.
Overall: Really enjoyable, I was expecting a very hop forward IPA from the nose but this was surprisingly mellow. A solid IPA that was very easy to drink, fans of super hoppy IPA’s may want a little more but the combination of a hoppy start and airy finish make a great combination.
Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 4 Out Of 5 Pints
San Diego’s craft beer scene is one of the best in the country, so standing out is no easy task, but Alesmith has managed to do just that for over 20 years.
They made a name for themselves in late 1990’s and have been awarded Small Brewing Company of the Year, Brewer of the Year as well as #1 Best Brewery in the World by RateBeer.com. In recent years they’ve moved to a new state of the art facility, boasting the largest tasting room in San Diego.
SD Pale Ale .394 is a golden pale with American hop flavor, brewed to commemorate Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn and his career high batting average of .394.
ABV: 6.0% IBU’s: 13
Pour: Hazy with a slight golden color, plenty of carbonation in the bottom of the glass.
Head: Thick off and off white, really frothy.
Nose: Floral with hints of hops and little bit of wheat.
Palate: Light bodied and slightly creamy with a malt background. Little bit of hops without being bitter. Finish is clean with almost no bitterness.
Overall: It’s been a while since I had a Pale Ale that really stood out. The creaminess mixed with the subtle hop aromas really plays off each other and the finish was quick and to the point, almost like a malty session IPA. A great pairing with a classic cheeseburger or some pumpkin pie.
Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 3.5 Out Of 5 Pints
Terrapin has been making world class craft beers in Athens, Georgia since 2002. With a portfolio that boasts over three dozen labels, it is safe to say that Terrapin offers something for everyone! Anyone who has tried one a Terrapin knows they make great craft beer. Their Rye Pale created a huge buzz, winning a Gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival, and put them on the map.
ABV: 5.5 IBU:22
Pour: Nice amber color with plenty of carbonation swirling from the bottom.
Head: Creek colored and frothy. 2 finger head forms and slows fades away
Nose: Malty with hints of spice. Some peaches sneaks in the back to bring this together.
Palate: Pretty light, the peaches are low key but come out mid-sip and stay through the finish. Hints of malt and almost no spice on the clean finish.
Overall: A clean farmhouse ale, the peaches give it a nice summer twist and add crushability. I really enjoyed this one, Terrapin is known for making great beers and this one fits right in. This would pair well with sushi, grilled meats and hard cheeses.
Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 3.5 Out Of 5 Pints
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
Chris and John Trogner have been working hard to get Central Pennsylvania on the brewing map. Since 1997, these two Mechanicsburg natives have been handcrafting world-class beers that combine traditional English brewing techniques with eclectic American brewing style. Best known for their Mad Elf, the Sunshine Pils is a classic German style Pilsner and 3 time medal winner at the Great American Beer Festival, including a Gold medal in 2012.
ABV: 4.5% IBU’s: 45
Pour: A golden hue, very clear and clean looking with lots of carbonation.
Head: A thin white head forms and disappears quickly, leaving lacing around the glass.
Nose: Notes of wheat and malt with very light fruit notes. Green apples and maybe a little lemon too.
Plate: Light bodied and airy. Very easy drink with just hints of wheat and a clean crisp finish.
Overall: A solid Pilsner, light and easy to drink while still having flavor behind it. Try it for yourself and see why this has been a flagship in Troegs line up for years. This would play nice with bratwurst, cheddar cheese or lemon short bread with fresh fruit.
Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 3.5 Out Of 5 Pints
Terrapin has been making world class craft beers in Athens, Georgia since 2002. With a portfolio that boasts over three dozen beers, it is safe to say that Terrapin offers something for everyone!
Some of the biggest “twists” can be seen in their side project series, whose latest release #26 was the third annual employee homebrew challenge (peppercorn was named a required ingredient). The winning beer is intriguingly named Poivre Potion and is described as a Dry Hopped Imperial Pink Peppercorn Saison. Oui, oui – intriguing indeed!
The beer pours a clear golden straw color with orange highlights. The two finger fluffy white head settles rather quickly to a streaky and sporadic lacing. The lively carbonation of the beer is notable.
On the nose you get aromas of sweet stone fruits along with notes of citrus hops. Floral aromas can be found on the heels of the fruit notes and the citrus hop aromas build and become bigger aromas of grassy, earthy and piney hops. The peppercorn is also noticeable from the first whiff.
On the palate the sweet fruit notes hit first. The citrus from the nose is transformed on the palate into sweet tangerine and orange flavors. Earthy and funky Belgian notes are noticeable as the sweetness fades into the dryness of the beer. The finish is bone dry with a lingering pepper spice that adds complexity and really rounds out the beer nicely.
A great brew from the Terrapin employees who developed it, and a great choice from the four judges who picked Poivre Potion as the winner. The beer is well balanced and easy to drink but be careful, the 9.3 ABV is really well hidden. Try pairing this one with Parmesan, Angel Hair Pasta with Scallops and Arugula or black pepper pound cake with apricot sauce.
The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 4.0 Out of 5 Pints
Ballast Point was founded in 1996 by Jack White, who was a home brewer. Almost 30 years later, staying true to its roots, Ballast Point launched a new line of beers dubbed “Homework Series.” These beers are selected recipes entered by home brewers. The most recent winner and the 6th installment of the series is a robust porter.
The beer pours a deep dark brown color with ruby highlights when viewed against the light. The one finger mocha colored head dissipates somewhat quickly. Once the head has completely dissipated a light lacing remains atop the beer.
Aromas of roasted coffee and cocoa nibs highlighted by roasted malt notes. Sweet caramel and toffee notes intertwine seamlessly with a creamy marshmallow note. A smoky char aroma is also discernable. Some dark fruit notes can also be detected.
On the palate you’ll find charred malts, roasted coffee and chocolate notes. Sweet caramel and toffee are melded with a creamy lactose character. The dark fruit notes from the bouquet are also present on the palate. The deep roastiness of the malts and the coffee add a slight bitterness that aids in balancing the beer’s sweetness. The mouthfeel is smooth and full-bodied.
This robust porter was rightfully chosen for batch 6 of the Homework Series line. It is well balanced and well brewed! This homebrewer should be proud! Try pairing this one with Colby, smoked brisket or brownie a la mode.
The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 4.0 Pints out of 5