Saw this at my local bottle shop, and was immediately intrigued. An IPA brewed with marshmallows? I couldn’t imagine it, so I knew I had to try it. Besides, the can design is awesome!
Shploing!! Mango S’mores is an IPA brewed with marshmallows, graham crackers, salt and lactose sugar with mangos and vanilla added. I love IPAs and I love s’mores, but I really couldn’t imagine the two meeting. It poured from the can a hazy, straw color with about a finger of off-white head. The head dissipated really quickly. The aroma was exactly what I was hoping for: strong mango scent, with a distinct vanilla marshmallow smell cutting through. The taste was prominently tropical fruit and citrusy hops. I picked up on an incredibly subtle vanilla aftertaste. The malt flavor definitely took the back seat to the hops, though I could see it being described as graham crackery (I suspect this to have a lot more to do with the actual malts used than the fact that it was brewed with graham crackers, but who knows?) There was a bit of sediment at the bottom, but not invasive or so much that bothered me. I’ll be honest, I expected a lot more marshmallow flavor than there was from this beer; but I was also worried it would be too sweet for my liking which it was not. I had fun trying this, and there were some subtle unique flavors, but overall I would categorize this as a basic, but solid, India Pale Ale. I highly recommend it for the bitter hopheads, but suggest you stay away if you’re only in it for the marshmallow. Shploing!! Mango S’mores IPA clocks in at 7% ABV.
Have you tried Shploing!! Mango S’mores? What was your opinion of it? What is the most unique combination of flavors you’ve had in a beer? I’d love to hear from you, please feel free to comment below!
If you’re like me, the holidays can be a stressful and overwhelming time. So much baking, decorating, and snow clearing to do! Not to mention, you want to look your holiday best for that special mistletoe kiss. Never fear – I am here to present 4 Beers To Get You Through The Holidays.
The Perfect Cookie-Pairing Beer:
Moloko Milk Stout from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
Skip the milk, leave this milk stout out for Santa!
Moloko Milk Stout pours a deep, dark black and is topped with a tan head. It also leaves gorgeous lacing down the glass as you drink. The aroma of this beer is subtle, hinting at sweet chocolate toffee and roasty malts. The taste starts with lightly charred marshmallow, and gives way to a sugary sweet chocolate vanilla swirl of flavor with hints of espresso at the tail. This beer is well balanced, and the alcohol does not over power at all. I love the creamy, present body. Perfect for fresh out of the oven sugar cookies!
The Perfect Decorating Beer:
Deal with the Devil Double Pale Ale from 18th Street Brewery
Because sometimes you wonder if you have to make a deal with the devil just to untangle those Christmas lights.
I was just recently fortunate enough to try this beer over Thanksgiving break, and I’m very glad I did! Deal with the Devil pours a hazy, dark amber color with a solid white head. The aromatics of this beer won me over instantly – strong juicy citrus notes, with a subtle but distinct sweet bready undertone. This beer tastes similarly to how it smells – sweet orange zest and slightly more bitter grapefruit notes, tropical mango, and delivered by a well balanced caramel malt throughout. Hoppy, citrusy, and not too much alcohol – they know the way to my heart. This was one of the best new beer I’ve had in a while!
The Perfect Post-Snow Shoveling Beer:
Dragon’s Milk Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout with Coffee & Chocolate from New Holland Brewing Co.
Some people want coffee or cocoa after being out in the cold. Let the bourbon, coffee, and chocolate of this brew knock off the edge instead!
Did you know that Dragon’s Milk was one of the early bourbon barrel-aged stouts in the US? That was way back in 2001, and now the barrel-aged scene has, obviously, EXPLODED. Not only was Dragon’s Milk one of the early BBA stouts on the scenes, it remains to be one of the most solid. Then New Holland decided to take their already delicious beer, age it with coffee & chocolate, and TA-DA! – you have one of their most sought after Reserves.
The Perfect Mistletoe Beer:
Speedway Stout from AleSmith Brewing Co.
Because in the end it doesn’t matter if you get kissed or not – this beer is so good you’ll want to give it a smooch!
There is a lot of hype surrounding this beer – and it does not disappoint. In the words of AleSmith themselves, “Speedway Stout’s ominous, pitch-black appearance has become a hallmark of this modern-day classic. Chocolate and roasted malts dominate the flavor, supported by notes of dark fruit, toffee, and caramel. A healthy dose of locally-roasted coffee from Ryan Bros. Coffee, Inc. added to each batch brings out the beer’s dark chocolate flavors and enhances its drinkability. Despite its intensity, Speedway Stout’s fine carbonation and creamy mouthfeel make it very smooth and surprisingly easy to drink.” As many people have shared, this beer absolutely improves with age. So why not pull a finely aged bottle out of your beer cellar to set the romantic tone for your special mistletoe smooch?
What beers do YOU sip to get through (or celebrate) the holidays? Which beer makes the best Christmas gift? Have you have any of these? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section!
4 Micro-Reviews of Grapefruit Brews
Labor Day weekend has come and past, and I am slowly saying farewell to summer. I am excited for autumn, but won’t truly be able to embrace fall until the weather cools off. To help with my transition, I decided to finish off the last of my Grapefruit IPAs and share some micro-reviews with you! You’ll notice these are less serious, more train-of-thought reviews than my usual. Enjoy!
from Perrin Brewing Company in Comstock Park, MI
Style: India Pale Ale | ABV: 5% | IBUs: 35
This beer has been a summer staple for me since Perrin first released it in the spring of 2013. Brewed with real grapefruit, this beer is super sessionable, and balances out the traditional grapefruit tartness with a not-so-subtle sweet malty backbone. A refreshing pool, river, or lakeside beer. Perrin’s Grapefruit IPA is not nearly as hoppy as I prefer my IPAs, so if you are also looking for something a bit more IPA-like check out Juicy, the Grapefruit IPA’s big sister. Juicy is an Imperial Grapefruit IPA, brewed with 12 different hops and twice the amount of grapefruit – an untamed yet refined citrus bomb of goodness!
from Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits in San Diego, CA
Style: India Pale Ale | ABV: 7% | IBUs: 70
This was actually my least favorite of the bunch, which really surprised me. Sculpin IPA (the base beer) is a really solid IPA of which I love, and I am also a huge fan of the Pineapple Sculpin. The thing that got to me was the aftertaste – it was just TOO grapefruity. I think the bitterness of grapefruit masked the beer’s complexity throughout the palate, and by the end it just tasted like straight grapefruit juice. Well, boozy grapefruit juice. This beer was not for me, but if you dig grapefruit juice it might be worth giving a try.
from Sun King Brewing Company in Indianapolis, IN
Style: India Pale Ale | ABV: 7.5% | IBUs: 77
Grapefruit Jungle (GFJ) is one of Sun King’s annual one-off specialty beers. I had the pleasure of attending Sun King Brewing’s 7th Anniversary Party and release of this delicious beer earlier this summer. The 2016 GFJ has a super fruity nose – aromatics of grapefruit, tangerine, and apricot. The taste on this bad boy is a well-balanced roller coaster of bitter and citrusy hops, with malt undertones that keep it from getting out of hand. This careful combination of Amarillo (ruby grapefruit), Simcoe (resiny pine), and Cascade (sweet orange zest) hops make this not only a solid Grapefruit IPA, but a solid IPA in general.
Grapefruit Dead is my favorite of the four on this list. As a Double IPA it naturally boasts a higher level of hoppy delight. This beer is brewed with grapefruit juice, grapefruit zest, and – like Sun King – utilizes the Amarillo hop to fully capitalize on the bright bitter yet citrusy flavor. The front of the palate on this beer presents a sweet, almost caramel-like malt combined with grapefruit rind, and quickly slides into a wild garden of resiny grapefruit bitterness. This has a smooth mouth feel despite the occasional bitter pucker and ends with a pleasantly warm, boozy finish. Again, this is not only a solid Grapefruit IIPA, but a solid IIPA in general.
Have you had any of these beers? Do you have a favorite grapefruit beer? Is there a beer you would like to see me review? Let me know!
BOMB! – an Imperial Stout
from Prairie Artisan Ales in Tulsa, OK
I first became a fan of Prairie Artisan Ales when my husband Luke was in Tulsa for a work trip. He brought back a variety of their beer and they instantly won my heart (and taste buds) over. Now whenever I see Prairie at my local bottle shop, I’m inclined to pick up as many bottles as I can carry.
As the end of summer grows near and my husband and I return to work, we knew we couldn’t let things get boring and bland. Backyard sparklers while drinking BOMB! Imperial Stout is one great way to make sure this summer goes out with a bang!
BOMB! is an Imperial Stout aged on espresso beans, chocolate, vanilla beans, and ancho chile peppers. It poured the color of dark espresso, topped with a quickly dissipating taupe head. The aroma was immediately led by a strong vanilla presence, which tapered off to distinct chili notes and the subtle underlying presence of coffee. My first sip was incredibly smooth with moderate carbonation. Sweet vanilla and earthy chocolate danced across my palate, the sweetness kept in check by the presence of a bitter espresso backbone. The chili spice didn’t show up until the end, which provided a pleasant, warm finish to the whole ensemble. This is definitely the best use of chili spice in beer I’ve had to date, primarily because the peppers aren’t aggressive, but are instead used to accentuate the other quality flavors. BOMB! clocks in at 13% ABV and 65 IBUs. For such a high alcohol content, this beer was far from boozy. The incredible balance of flavors mask the high-alcohol taste.
For those of you who love a good stout, I highly recommend this beer! I am a big fan of coffee beer, but tend to tread carefully when it comes to spicy beer – I have a fairly low heat tolerance. It takes a well-balanced, flavorful array that doesn’t leave my mouth and throat in pain. BOMB! did not disappoint.
Have you had BOMB! from Prairie Artisan Ales? What did you think of it? Is there a beer you would like to see me review? Let me know!
In addition to my post from last week: Hops, Coffee, and Beer – Oh my!, here is a video by The Dump Buckets about the same launch event at Scarlet Lane Brewing Company celebrating the release of two delicious beverages: Tiberius Centurion IPA and Tiberius Dry-Hopped Sumatra.
And yes, I am one of the people being interviewed. Cheers!
Yesterday my husband Luke and I attended a launch event at Scarlet Lane Brewing Company celebrating the release of two delicious beverages: Tiberius Centurion IPA and Tiberius Dry-Hopped Sumatra. Local craft beer AND local craft coffee? Yes, please.
While we both enjoy high-quality handcrafted beverages, we each have our niche. In our relationship, Luke is definitely more the coffee person. He has his own small-batch roaster, organizes cuppings, and is very specific about which of our multiple brew methods he chooses to use for each coffee. I, on the other hand, am the beer person. To discover this event that catered to both our likings was just plain exciting!
Tiberius Centurion IPA is a Double IPA by Scarlet Lane Brewing Company. It clocks in at 8% ABV and 100 IBU (hence the “centurion.”) As far as Double IPAs go this one is quite approachable, especially for IPA fans ready to take it up a notch. Despite the high bitterness, it maintains balance with a sweet malt backbone and fruity esters. The esters are especially apparent in the nose of the beer – a lot of banana notes sneak through the spicy hop bouquet. The ABV is high enough to give you a pleasant warm mouth feel, but the flavor is so well balanced you don’t get that heavy alcohol taste present in so many Doubles. If you are looking for a Northwest dank style Double IPA in the heart of Indiana, I highly recommend checking Tiberius out.
Tiberius Dry-Hopped Sumatra is a hopped, medium roast coffee by Tinker Coffee Co. I’ve never heard of dry-hopping coffee before, but as a self-proclaimed hophead and coffee addict I was excited to give it a try. The hopping process they used involved resting the green (pre-roasted) coffee beans with whole hops for about 3 weeks prior to roasting, and then resting the roasted beans with hops 3-4 days more. The most unique part of the coffee was definitely the smell. The roasted beans and (more subtly) the brewed coffee gave off a heavy aroma of hops – very floral, earthy, and green. My palate was not tuned enough to pick up flavor complexities because I made the mistake of drinking the beer first, but I definitely picked up on some citrus towards the back of my mouth. The sample of the coffee I had seemed a little watery, but we bought a pound of it to play with at home. This was such a neat idea, and it was fun seeing the beer-coffee collaboration work the other way. If you love hops and coffee, make sure you check out this Sumatra!
Tiberius Centurion IPA and Tiberius Dry-Hopped Sumatra are both brought to you by the Horizon hop. I love seeing local, cross-industry collaborations, and had a great time at this event. It was a delightful way to spend a rainy Saturday! If you are interested in trying either beer or coffee, check out Scarlet Lane Brewing Company or Tinker Coffee Co. Additionally, I believe there is another release event celebrating both beverages January 15, hosted by The Sinking Ship.
Cheers to the Indianapolis coffee and beer scenes!
Have you had either/both Tiberius Centurion IPA and Tiberius Dry-Hopped Sumatra? Do you enjoy these kind of events? Share with me your thoughts in the comments below!