Golden Nugget IPA

Image courtesy of France 44 Liquors, Inc.

Hazy and dark yellow/light orange in color, Golden Nugget IPA from Toppling Goliath, Deborah, IA, is a fragrant and tasty addition to the ever-expanding and probably overpopulated roster of American made IPAs.  This is one of the good ones.  Once the sticky head evens out into a persistent 1/8″ thick splotchy film you can get a good does of the bouquet, which is super malty with some grassy notes, and no alcohol whiffs despite being 6.8% ABV.  This firm-bodied, substantial IPA is assertive but not overbearing.  Malty for sure, but the happiness quickly eclipses any sweetness with pine essence and dryness.  Kind of like a 105 degree day at the base of Devil’s Tower, but refreshing.  The mildly bitter finish is a long-lasting souvenir of a trip down IPA lane.  Not as memorable as Pseudo Sue, as far as Toppling Goliath beers are concerned, but worth a try for the IPA lover.

90/100 IPA


I Want My HTV

Image courtesy of Odd Side Ales

I want my HTV from Odd Sides Ales, Grand Haven, MI, is honey gold with a rich beige head that leaves super-sticky lacing.  The clean bouquet carries toffee and caramel whiffs to your nose and the sweet, full body gives you a quick shot of Citra hops bitterness that lasts a long, long time.  This gut-warming Imperial Pale Ale (9% ABV, 61 IBUs) will put a smile on your face halfway through your glass, and you’ll keep smiling for the duration!

I like strong beer!


Also my nickname in high school, Thunderlips (Experimental Pale Ale) is another winner from Columbus Brewing Company.  Light yellow with a slight haze, Thunderlips‘ super frothy head collapses into a splotchy, lacey wonder.  (also a high school nickname)  The sweet, piney nose has a hint of citrus and a little sweet bread dough way in back.  (also said about me in high school)  Dry and bitter up front, Thunder Lips gives way to mild sweetness quickly.  (ditto)  More body than the light color suggests.  (never said about me in high school)  Thunder Lips reminds me of a Belgian IPA but less fizzy, but is classified as an APA.  I could go for a touch more sweetness but all in all a fine brew.  (and again)

Stroh’s Bohemian-Style Pilsner

Image by Gordon O'Keefe

Image by Gordon O’Keefe

I may have a reputation as beer snob, but that is not the case.  I’m just a regular guy from the crummy south suburbs and I am proud to present to you:  Stroh’s Bohemian-style Pilsner – the review.  The re-introduced Stroh’s, brewed by The Stroh Brewing Company (a.k.a. Brew Detroit), Detroit, MI.  It’s got that typical sweet bouquet of an American adjunct lager.  Light to medium gold, Stroh’s has a thin white head and some OK lacing.  It tastes sweet initially, but it doesn’t take long for the bitterness makes its presence known.  Not overpowering, but definitely there.  The bouquet has a touch of rust.  I don’t remember exactly how the original, or more accurately, the 1980s version of Stroh’s tasted, but I’d say this is probably richer and more flavorful than the original.  It’s reminds me of the reformulated Schlitz.  Tastier than Old Style or Miller High Life.  I like it.


Image courtesy of Hop Butcher for the World

Image courtesy of Hop Butcher for the World

Hop Butcher (Chicago, IL) makes some pretty wonderful beers, and the Dan Grzeca label art makes each one that much better.  Milkstachio (6.0% ABV) is a milk stout brewed with cacao nibs and supplemented with natural pistachio flavor.  It’s deep, deep brown but it pours like its just deep brown.  Milkstachio sports a luscious chocolate milk-colored head.  Whiffs of chocolate and vanilla in equal amounts greet the nose, with just a hint of earthiness.  Smooth-bodied with a full mouthfeel, not heavy and not thick, Milkstachio is an absolute pleasure.  Cocoa flavor, mild sweetness and a touch of hop dryness are all present, but not overly assertive.  Well-balanced and well-crafted, Milkstacho makes a nice dessert beer, but hell, have one for breakfast, it’ll be just as tasty.

Barrel-Aged Shipwreck Porter

Image courtesy of beer

Image courtesy of beer

Barrel-aged Shipwreck Porter from Arcadia Aless, Battle Creek, MI is a black beauty that smells and tastes as lovely as it looks.  It’s not as thick as you would think based on color, but by not being too heavy and substantial it becomes more drinker-friendly.  The head is fleeting and the lacing is slight, but don’t let it get you down, the best is yet to come.  There are some nice, tangy sherry notes and a prominent alcohol bite in the nose (12% ABV, 50 IBUs).  Barrel-aged Shipwreck Porter is tart, sweet and has notes of chocolate, cherry and dried plum in the flavor profile, with some coffee as well.  The alcohol does warm the mouth and stomach a bit, and it’s satisfying.  Although it has been aged in bourbon barrels, it’s not as bourbony as some others iI’ve tried, but that allows for a good appreciation of the other tastes and smells that barrel-aged Shipwreck Porter presents.

Good stuff, Zum Voll!

Dark Lord 2016

Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

I’m special to someone.  He shared his bourbon-barrel aged variant of 2016 Dark Lord Russian-style Imperial Stout with me.  We are now truly brothers.  Dark Lord (Three Floyds Brewing Company, Munster, IN) is black motor oil that’s got a few thousand miles too many on it, with a nice bouquet of licorice, smoke and peppery Brazilian hard woods with a boozy sweetness throughout.  The texture is super-smooth and the body full and inviting.  Dark Lord is a real gut warmer at 15% ABV.  It’s a sipper, and I think a 22 oz. bomber is good split between four people.  Drink it at basement temperature so that you don’t miss any of the subtle scents and flavors.  When you are finished, save the glass and take an occasional whiff.  It’s still good.  Excellent stuff, very rare, and chances are you’ll never get a chance to try it.

As I said, I’m special, and so is Dark Lord.

95/100 Imperial Stout