Beer Review: 21st Amendment Down to Earth Session IPA

It sure gets dark early these days. Personally, I hate it. But nothing can soothe the stress of a dark, rainy, trafficky commute home like enjoying a beer while I make dinner. And this one should be pretty easy-drinking, so I have high hopes for an overall nice experience.

21st Amendment Down to Earth is a pretty marigold color, going from can to pint glass in my kitchen. It looks heavily carbonated from all of the bubbly activity going on in there. There’s perhaps one finger of fluffy, off-white foam that’s fairly ephemeral. I get a big nose of fresh, green hops with hints of something fruit and citrusy like orange or pineapple. There’s lots to smell here and I hope this beer delivers on taste.

There’s some decent flavor going on in this session IPA! It’s bright and tropical with some grassy notes from the hops. It’s exceedingly refreshing and not dank at all. This really is an easy drinking beer and I could imagine a nicer, sunnier, warmer afternoon with two or three of these highly crushable 4.4% beers to enjoy while watching the sun set. This would be a great spring or summer beer, yet here we are, stuck in late fall. It’s fairly carbonate, but it suits the beer style.

I loved this and I’d buy and sip a few of these all afternoon. Five out of five frosty, relaxing mugs.

Beer Review: Peabody Heights Mr. Trash Wheel’s Lost Python Ale

I learned something today. In Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, there is a large trash-collecting water wheel vessel, featuring big cartoon eyes to give his dirty work a charming appearance. His name, it turns out, is Mr. Trash Wheel. I appreciate the directness in that. I’ve never seen him in person, but maybe I need to change that. Peabody Heights says that a portion of the proceeds from this beer go toward keeping the harbor clean, which is something I can get behind. Beer and cleaner waterways? Yes, please!

There’s still more to this tale. Because of course there is. Because Baltimore has to be a weird sort of place. The second part of the name? The Lost Python Ale? That’s a nod to a five-foot-long African ball python  that found its way onto the water wheel a few years ago.

Truth really is stranger than fiction.

This is in the style of a session ale and when I got the pint at Beers and Cheers Too, there wasn’t much of a nose going on. There’s something slightly tropical and a little bit vibrant, not really hoppy- or dank-smelling. There are also maybe some notes of orange zest in a very spring or summer fashion, making it an odd beer choice for the first day of fall. It’s a beautiful marigold color that’s bright and clear in a pint glass covered in condensation on a humid, warm September day.

Right away, there’s a nice burst of flavor – juicy and bold, but not sweet or excessively fruity. There’s plenty of bright hop flavors and just the right amount of dryness on the back end of this beer. It’s tropical, but not sweet, I am sure, thanks to the Mosaic hops. They’re a goldmine of bold flavors and a wonder of modern hop farming.

This beer is supremely easy-drinking, but never exactly mellow; it’s so flavorful! The dry sensation is mild and well-balanced with this flavor punch. Five out of five from me.

Review: Fordham Route 1 Session IPA

So what the hell is a session IPA? Generally, it’s an India Pale Ale that clocks in at no more than 3 or 4% (though some folks call beers with an ABV of up to 5% a session). The origin of this beer style and its name are murky at best, but I most like the story of it being part of a daytime drinking “session” that British workers could enjoy in the WWI-era factory jobs they held. This Fordham beer might be a little high on the ABV scale for a session, then, since it’s at 4.5%.

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Fordham Brewing Company is a Delaware brewery that partners with a local-to-me tavern, Rams Head (another review for another day). I wouldn’t call it local, but it’s not coming from too far away, so it gets some brownie points for that. I’m trying to look it up on Fordham’s website and not seeing it, so I’m concerned that this beer has been discontinued. Uncertain at this time.

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Poured from a bottle, this beer is a medium golden hue with a fluffy white head that has staying power. The nose is hoppy and maybe a touch floral. It’s sort of a mellow smell, kind of biscuity. It’s highly carbonated (which is easy to tell when it’s poured into a glass), but is smooth and relatively light-bodied in general.

It has a blanked flavor with some hops over a backdrop of lightly toasted malts. There’s orange peel at the front that mellows into a nice, piney finish.

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If I hadn’t been so tired that day from moving boxes and unpacking, this might have been my couch-assembling beer. Instead, it was my very crushable Gilmore-Girls-watching -while-sitting-on-the-floor beer.

Review: Otter Creek Over Easy

Craft beer has a bit of a reputation as being by and for snobs and, if there’s one thing that snobs like, it’s jargon. We love our slang! It makes us feel special, like we’re a part of a secret club. One of these terms that I’m guilty of using is “crushable.” As in, “this beer is so good and easy to drink and I could drink it all day.”

“Crushable” generally describes easy-drinking beers with a low-to-medium ABV and a lot of flavor. If you could see yourself drinking this beer all afternoon long, you’re enjoying a crushable beer. Is Otter Creek Over Easy a “highly crushable” beer like its printed label suggests?

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I bought this as a single bottle in one of those build-your-own-six-pack arrangements that some bottle shops like to do. This beer pours a pale yellow with a huge head. Seriously huge! It took me several minutes to finish pouring it from a can and into a pint glass, and I’m no clumsy pourer. The head isn’t messing around. It’s stable and leaves some light lacing behind. At just 4.6% ABV, it’s a session IPA for sure (beers under this classification are generally 3-5% – see? Jargon!).

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I had to wait a few minutes more for the head to subside enough for me to even attempt taking a drink. It has a lightly citrusy and biscuity nose to it and a hint of floral hops in there, too. Its body is light and its carbonation level is a little heavy. It’s very refreshing.

I’m not really detecting any malt on my palate, though there are plenty of orange peel and peppercorn notes to go around. It’s very drinkable. Perhaps, even, crushable. I’d absolutely go back for it again.