Descender IPA – Goodlife Brewing Company

Chalk this up to “First World Problems”: Having a fridge full of beer that you are planning to review…without any in there to simply enjoy without taking notes. Well, I just shrugged that off and said “Forget this, I’m going to grab a beer and not worry about it.” Then I tasted Goodlife Brewing Company’s Descender IPA. I truly wasn’t going to do a review on this bottle, but it made such an impression on me that I simply had to. Just goes to show, you never know when inspiration is going to hit you.

Goodlife Brewing Company Descender IPA

This photo was taken about halfway through the glass, long after most of the head had died down, so while it doesn’t show in the picture, this poured with a very thick creamy head. Like I said, I had planned to simply enjoy this one and didn’t take any pictures initially.

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Midas Touch – Dogfish Head Brewery

Taking a break from our usual IPAs, Stouts, and Porters, we tried the Midas Touch Ancient Ale from Dogfish Head Brewery. A friend had recommended this awhile ago (thanks, Steve!), but we had not been able to find it until this weekend, when we found a 4-pack at our local Total Wine & More.

According to the Dogfish Head Brewery website, Midas Touch is a brew made from ingredients found in 2,700 year old drinking vessels believed to be from the tomb of King Midas. It’s somewhere between a wine, a mead, and a beer. Saffron acts as a bittering agent instead of hops.

Dogfish Head Brewery is known for its unusual beers using non-traditional ingredients and for generally being passionate and creative. Their Ancient Ale series is based on chemical analysis of ingredients from ancient pottery fragments, thousands-year old recipes (one from hieroglyphics), and an array of bittering agents such as saffron, gentian root, and Ethiopian myrrh resin.

Midas Touch Dogfish Head

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Lagunitas Sucks – Lagunitas Brewing Company

The full name of this self-deprecating brew is “Lagunitas Sucks Brown Shugga’ Substitute Ale”, and that just begs the question “What the hell is a ‘Substitute Ale’?” The short answer is “It is an IPA”. The longer answer is much more interesting. In a nutshell, back in 2011 they miscalculated their production capabilities and were unable to brew a seasonal favorite called “Brown Shugga”. In what must have been a preemptive strike, Lagunitas lashed out at themselves for this shortcoming before their loyal fans could do so. Naming this ale “Sucks” was really only the tip of the iceberg. Beer Street Journal has an archived image of the original label, and it is really worth taking the time to read. Seriously. Go read it. Then come back and make the jump to the rest of this review.

Lagunitas Sucks 201404

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Saint Florian IPA – Silver City Brewing

The Saint Florian IPA is brewed by Silver City Brewing in Bremerton, Washington. Saint Florian is the Patron Saint of Firefighters, and a portion of the Saint Florian IPA’s proceeds will go to a Washington State Council of Firefighters benevolent fund.

Saint Florian IPA Silver City BrewingSaint Florian is an IPA using Washington-grown Cascade and Columbus hops. Despite being 6.8% ABV, it seems light and crisp to me.  It’s not a big hoppy IPA, but instead is lightly citrusy with an amber coppery color. Very pleasant and drinkable.

I like that It’s not a hop-head IPA, but it still has well-balanced flavor with an IPA profile. It definitely has a place in the IPA world.

I’d recommend picking up a bottle of this. An added bonus is supporting Washington firefighters and their families.

Ray’s View:

It has been a few hours between when I tasted this and now, and I don’t have any strong memories about it that are clamoring to work their way onto this web page.  It was not overly fragrant, nor was it excessively hoppy.  For that matter, it clearly wasn’t very memorable either.  Overall, this felt like a very bland IPA.  Not bad beer, once again, just not to my taste.

Silver City Brewing is definitely on my “short list” of breweries that I want to visit to taste their offerings in person, and I know I will find something there that will impress me more than their Saint Florian IPA.

Three caps on Untappd is all I can muster here.

Whiskey Barrel Aged Imperial Cherry Chocolate Porter – Strong Arm Brewing

This isn’t the first beer we picked up from Strong Arm Brewing to review, but it cut in line in front of the Denunciation Triple IPA that we bought earlier. We were looking for sweet more than bitter tonight, and we definitely found it in this bottle of Whiskey Barrel Aged Imperial Cherry Chocolate Porter (which is probably the longest beer name I have ever typed, BTW).

Strong Arm Brewing Whiskey Barrel Aged Cherry Chocolate Imperial Porter

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Leipziger Gose – Gasthaus & Gosebrauerei Bayerischer Bahnhof

We picked up a bottle of Leipziger Gose by Bayerischer Bahnhof because it caught Ray’s eye. We were intrigued by a salt beer and hadn’t tried anything in this style before.

According to the German Beer Institute, Gose (pronounced “Gose-uh”). is a style of beer that originated in Leipzig, Germany. It’s made from more than half malted wheat and the rest malted barley, and is brewed with salted water.

Leipziger Gose
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Fire And Blood – Ommegang Brewery

Fire and Blood is the third in a limited edition series of Game of Thrones-inspired beers by Ommegang Brewery. Following the Iron Throne, a blonde ale, and Take the Black, a black stout, Fire and Blood is a red ale spiced with Ancho chilies.

Per the Ommegang website: “Named after the motto of House Targaryen, Fire & Blood was inspired by Daenerys Targaryen and her three dragons; Drogon, Rhaegal and Viserion. To celebrate the rebirth of dragons, three different labels have been created, each depicting one of Daenery’s feared dragons.”

Fire and Blood Ommegang

Not sure which dragon we got on our label

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Split Shot Espresso Milk Stout by Elysian Brewing Co.

We had a decision to make at Safeway when grabbing this beer: Do we buy the 22 ounce bomber, or should we get a 6-pack of 12 ounce bottles? We don’t always make the correct decision in those situations, but we sure as hell did this time. (Spoiler Alert: We got the 6-pack)

Elysian Split Shot Espresso Milk Stout
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He’Brew Rejewvenator (2013 Release) by Shmaltz Brewing Company

We picked up a bottle of the Rejewvenator, a Belgian Style Dubble Ale, at a local grocery outlet. We weren’t expecting much due to the purchasing location and low price, but Ray was enamored by the bottle.

Rejewvenator bottle

It has a malty aroma, and is a deep golden brown. It’s a dopple (double) bock at 8% ABV. It had a malty, pruney, almost salty taste. I really liked it, but I do like Belgian ales.

Rejewvenator glass belgian style dubble ale

I can see enjoying this brew at Oktoberfest in the beer tents sitting at a picnic table, listening to the brass bands playing. (Or, of course, drinking a glass of this while watching “The Simpsons”…either/or.)

Ray’s Views: I’ve never been a big fan of Belgian beers, so even though I was intrigued by this one, my expectations were not high. This was one of those beers that smelled great, but just did not smell like something I wanted to drink.

Reluctantly, I took my first sip. It wasn’t “bad”, but I was struck by how strong it tasted. Malty, sweet…figgy? I’m not sure what I was tasting, but it was not appealing to me at all. Again, it clearly is not a badly-made beer; it just is not a style I enjoy.

Janette and I usually have similar tastes, but this was one of those beers that was very polarizing for us. Eh, better luck next time, right?