Tag Archives: ABV

Indeed Brewing Company Day Tripper Pale Ale

One of the best things about my brother coming down to visit about every two months is that contained within his family’s minivan is a box or two with lots of Minneapolis beers unavailable to us in the great state of Iowa.

Indeed Brewing Company is a Minneapolis based brewery located in a hot spot of the fermentation arts with Dangerous Man Brewing Company being located just to the west and 612Brew a chip shot toward the University of Minnesota’s East Bank campus. Not too far away as well is Surly’s new flagship brewery, taproom, and event center. Founded in 2011, Indeed has a good local following for a series of different beers. Today we are going to talk about their Day Tripper Pale Ale.

Depending upon who you talk to Day Tripper is one of the brewery’s mainstay offerings and accounts for a great portion of the company’s sales. This is understandable since people want beers they can drink with their friends after work or in the fading light of a glorious Minnesota summer evening without getting blotto. Trust me, it’s easy to spend an hour or two on a patio in Minneapolis in July and forget that you have a thrown down three or four beers that would equal a half dozen or more Bud Lights.

At 5.4% ABV and only 45 IBU this is not a beer that is going to bowl over any hop heads or pale ale purists. Day Tripper is representative of two trends: session beers and American pale ales. I am a fan of more drinkable beers that have elements of a pale ale without hewing to the stylistic mannerisms of the IPA crowd.

It pours fairly light and also drinks fairly light. Like some other attempts at session IPAs Day Tripper Pale Ale does not really have a lot of interest in the body of the beer. In this case it reminds me a lot of New Belgium’s Slow Ride IPA. As a matter of fact, the two beers could almost be interchanged with little risk of offending the person being served:

Two Mug Purchase

See what others are saying about Indeed Brewing Company Day Tripper Pale Ale at Beeradvocate.

Note: Sorry for the lack of a picture, but I somehow managed to drink all of the Day Tripper Pale Ale without saving a single photo.  My bad.

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Backpocket Brewing Jackknife APA

The Iowa beer trail stops in Coralville, about a half hour south of my domicile in Cedar Rapids, where Backpocket Brewing makes it home in the rapidly developing Iowa River Landing. Today’s offering is Jackknife APA:

BackPocket JackKnife

Clocking in at a modest 5.8% ABV and definitely non-intrusive 40 IBU—using Centennial and Cascade hops as the backbone for that bitterness—Jackknife is the kind of pale ale, American or otherwise, that would be quite welcome at a fall tailgate.

This is the kind of beer that you hope your favorite bar keeps on tap all the time because it hits a number of notes in an unassuming fashion that makes it an everyday beer:

Purchase 3 Mug Rating

The term “American pale ale” is at the same time foreign and familiar to me. If someone offers an IPA, I have a conception of what that beer should be in my head. Light of body, high in hop character, and enough alcohol to cut through the flavor. Offer me an American pale ale and I will hesitate. What does that mean exactly?

As I see the term get used to describe more and more beers—much in the same way that session is getting applied to beer types of all kinds—my mind coalesces around these salient adjectives or characteristics:

  • Heavier in body compared to a mainstream IPA; Uses toasted or roasted malts to impart a deeper reservoir of flavor to offset hoppy bitterness
  • Fairly mainstream and one-note hop profile; These are not beers that incorporate a half dozen novel hop varieties because that would create a flavor traffic jam with the increase in body
  • Middle of the road alcohol; You may call it session-able because the beer is clocking in below 7% or so in alcohol, but most people would just call it drinkable
  • It should not be gimmicky in any way; These beers are the spiritual ancestors to such crowd pleasers as Budweiser in the red can or Coors banquet just better in every conceivable way

Maybe I am making too much a marketing ploy to get me to pay attention to a beer when the shelves are full of IPAs to the point of confusion. Sometimes the paradox of choice comes into play when I wander the craft beer case.

Too bad this beer is not in cans. It’s the kind of beer you would find in a cooler being passed around after a hike or a bike ride or the aforementioned tailgate. Trust me, tailgating in Iowa City needs a serious upgrade from the generally insipid swill that inhabits the hands of the Hawkeye faithful in the fall.

See what others are saying about Backpocket Brewing Jackknife APA at Beeradvocate.

If you get a chance Backpocket Brewing has a nice taproom and restaurant in the Iowa River Landing area that can be quite lively when the weather turns pleasant and Iowans stream to outdoor drinking venues. By May 1st most of us have thrown off the shackles of winter and early spring in order to enjoy the great outdoors, usually on our bicycles, before the cold creep of winter threatens. This is also known as Big Ten football season.

Lagunitas Day Time IPA

“Session” beers are the rage. After spending what seemed like an eternity in the wilderness searching for flavorful, low alcohol craft beers I now have a plethora of choices. From the excellent Founder’s All Day IPA to New Belgium’s Slow Ride and on down the list there seems to be a new “session” IPA that comes out every week.

The trend seems to be to make lower alcohol IPAs, which is good because these recipes could stand to take it down a notch from eleven. Seriously, how many double and triple IPAs does the world really need? And how many of those double and triple IPAs can a person drink? It is tiresome to listen to beer snobs—like myself, mind you—prattle on about how they will not consider drinking a beer unless it is above a certain ABV threshold. It’s bro behavior in a hipster mask.

Lagunitas Brewing Company out of Petaluma, California brings Day Time IPA to the fray:

DayTime IPA

At 4.65% ABV and ~54 IBU this beer seems to have the bones for a good session beer. You will notice from the picture that it pours light and the beer drinks light. Described as a “fractional IPA” Day Time comes across lacking in any serious notable flavor. You drink one and there is little memory of the drink on your palate or in your brain. Could it be that Lagunitas created the “Coors Light of session IPAs?”

There is a little notable bitterness, but there is almost no malt body to give that bitterness some spine. It actually reminds me a lot of what New Belgium did with Slow Ride. In aiming for a broad appeal flavor profile the beer comes across as being bland. It’s not bad, just boring.

It’s surprising coming from Lagunitas because I am a fan of their more traditional IPAs.

Two Mug Purchase

Here is what others are saying about Day Time IPA on Beeradvocate.

Confluence Brewing Company Des Moines IPA

The Iowa beer trail has stopped in Des Moines for an offering from that city’s Confluence Brewing Company.  On tap is the Des Moines IPA:

Des Moines IPA

At a rated ABV of 6.9% and an IBU of 75 you will be instantly hit with how drinkable this beer is given those decently lofty figures. Do you remember when a time when a beer at 75 IBUs would have been considered on the extreme end of things? I do. It was called the 1990s.

The trick with making Des Moines IPA so drinkable is that it has the perfect complement in a strong malty backbone. Unlike a lot of beers that sock you in the palate with a hop blast, this beer allows the body to mellow out the hop profile so that you can enjoy it rather than looking for a snack to cleanse out the bong water aftertaste. Note to brewmasters everywhere: Just as there is more than umami to a dish’s overall flavor excellence there is more than hops to a beers overall flavor excellence. Balance, dig it.

Purchase 3 Mug Rating

See what other people are saying about Des Moines IPA at Beeradvocate.

Confluence has only been in business since 2012 the brewery is putting out three year round beers with a selection of seasonal and limited runs. In addition to the glass growlettes Confluence is putting its beer in cans, which is good for all of us out there who want to enjoy a beer in a place where glass is forbidden and do not like the environmental impact of glass bottles. If Oskar Blues can figure out a way to make a “crowler” then every brewery should be on board with the canning movement.  I totally want a local brewery to get one of these.

If you get a chance when you are in Des Moines—cut the Iowa jokes because this state is a great place to live and Des Moines has a lot of good things going on without a hipster quotient that will make you want to cry—visit the taproom near downtown. The area is pretty sweet with minor league ballpark nearby and some other decent bars—El Bait Shop anyone?—nearby if what is on tap at Confluence does not do it for you.

By the way, I am complete sucker for these little growlettes or apothecary bottles. Seriously, these are like the fuzzy bunny rabbits of packaging. Who does not like these little guys?

Steel Toe Brewing Provider Ale

The first beer I drank from Steel Tow Brewing was big and brassy—Size 7 IPA—but Provider Ale was a totally different experience:

steel toe provider

At only 5% ABV and 15 IBU there is little “big” about this beer. It is also hard to categorize. It’s not a wheat beer, even though it pours with a golden straw color and is unfiltered. It has some sweetness and the hop notes are floral as opposed to resinous.

If you were looking for an analog I would suggest a cream ale like New Glarus’ Spotted Cow or Galena Brewing Company’s Farmer’s Cream Ale. These are both light beers that pour like a wheat beer but have a very different flavor that is hard to categorize.

These beers are actually quite hard to pull off from a technical standpoint because there is little hop flavor and aroma to “hide” behind when off flavors present themselves in the malt body of the beer. I have also found these beers to be heavily influenced by the temperature at which they are fermented. It might be the exact same recipe, but the fermentation spent a few days at a temperature higher or lower than ideal which leads to a totally different beer. Trust me, I have brewed Northern Brewer’s Speckled Heifer partial mash kit a few times and each batch tastes noticeably different. Not bad, but definitely different.

If Provider Ale and Size 7 IPA were poured side by side a person would be hard pressed to know that these beers were from the same brewery. It is a very different approach to beer in each glass:

Two Mug Purchase

Dry Dock Brewing Co. Amber Ale

Amber ale is one of the founding styles of the craft beer movement in America—think about Fat Tire Amber Ale or Samuel Adams Boston Lager which shares a lot of traits with amber ales while being a lager—but it has gotten overshadowed in recent years with the explosion of IPAs and derivative pale ale styles.

Dry Dock cans an Amber Ale:

Dry Dock Amber Ale

The beer may carry the title Amber Ale, but the brewers describe it as an extra special bitter (ESB). This may be a stylistic choice as most consumers see the word bitter in a beer and run the other way. While that is an unfair critique, this beer does have a muddled character.

Overall, the beer lacks life. The malt body comes across flat, the hops are indistinguishable, and there is an unpleasant sour taste. Not tart like a true sour beer. More like something was spoiled. Not pleasant.

I find it fascinating that I really liked the beers I had in Dry Dock’s Aurora taproom, but I have so far found the beers from its production brewery to be lacking or stylistically something I find offensive. Yes, I am looking at you hefeweizens.

Whatever it was Dry Dock’s Amber Ale failed:

Zero Mug Purchase

Upslope Brewing Company Pale Ale

What is a pale ale anymore? Is it an IPA or an ale or something different? What is an American ale? I do not know, but I see the term pale ale get put on a lot of different beers.

Upslope Brewing’s Pale Ale definitely pours like you would expect:

Upslope Pale Ale

Is apple pie a weird vibe to get from a beer’s aroma? The first few whiffs of this particular ale and I was thinking about fall baked goods. I get strange aromas from beer and it definitely puts me in a mood when drinking. Apple pie is not bad, per se, but odd.

The malt body of the beer is really light, so it does not support a ton of hoppiness which is not present. I would contrast this with a Dale’s Pale Ale that was much hoppier, maltier, and darker all while retaining the name pale ale. Interesting.

It makes you think how far craft beer has come in the U.S. in a few short years when a fairly well made pale ale in a can, like Upslope’s example today, is not catching the industry on fire because so many other breweries are putting out well made beers. It also helps that stylistically this ground has been trod pretty well by late-2014.

This was a real solid play on the pale ale field:

Two Mug Purchase