Brickstone APA

Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

Brickstone APA (Brickstone Brewery, Bourbonnais, IL) is a surprise.  A very pleasant surprise.  I’d heard rumblings of a good brewery far south of Chicago, but didn’t realize what a player they actually are until my cousin brought a bottle of Brickstone APA over.  He said it was his favorite beer, and I can see why.  This 6.25% ABV American Pale Ale won gold at the 2012 GABF and bronze at the 2012 WBC in the APA category.  It pours a dirty medium gold, a bit cloudy, sporting a good beige head.  Head retention and lacing is commendable.  Breathe in the bouquet and you are treated to a floral, piney hop sensation that ends with a ful sweetness.  Brickstone APA is dryish, with a nice alcohol tang and a finish that features a rich malty sweetness.  Spend some time considering the bitterness that remains.  I think you’ll agree with the experts, and this humble hobbyist, that Brickstone APA is a winner!

91/100 APA


Lucky U IPA

Courtesy of Louis Glunz Beer Inc.

The wheel, sliced bread and Sampler 12-packs:  The three greatest inventions of mankind.  Take the Breckenridge Brewery 12-pack for example.  Oatmeal Stout, Vanilla Porter, Avalanche Amber and Lucky U IPA, each one better than the last.  Lucky U IPA pours a pure shade of orange with a big, fluffy head, generous creamy lacing and a picturesque showing of carbonation.  The bouquet is well-balanced for an IPA, with floral hops up front and a nice malty backbone to support it.  Neither is overpowering, both are complimentary of the other, full and pleasant to the palate.  The sweetness of the malt tempers the assertiveness of the hops, which are well-represented yet not astringent as some IPAs can be.  The dry finish is refreshing, and does entice one to consider one or two more Lucky U IPAs after the first is finished.  A really nice IPA!

92/100 IPA

Arctic Panzer Wolf

Saw the name on the menu and HAD to order it.  Arctic Panzer Wolf from Three Floyds is a nice little 9% ABV Imperial IPA that’ll warm your heart and tickle your fancy.  It’s gold and hazy in the snifter, with a filmy, white head and a propensity for lacing.  The sweet, malty bouquet is full of piney and flowery hops and some burnt orange citrus.  It tastes sweet, astringent, dry and bitter, being mild on the tongue but strong in the nose.  It’s medium to light-bodied, has a good malt backbone and is not as strong in the hop department as advertised, and I’m quite alright with that.  Yes, it is good and hoppy, but I was expecting more.  There is a strong note of cane sugar in the finish as the beer warms.  Arctic Panzer Wolf is good stuff from a great brewer.

So new it’s not even on their website

I don't even know if this label gos with the beer I drank.

I don't even know if this label goes with the beer I drank.

I had a chance to sample an Upland Brewing Company (Bloomington, IN) Pilsner while in Indianapolis, and see the only mention is “coming soon”, a Preservation Pilsner.  I was surprised to find such a good beer at a Damon’s restaurant because they seem to offer Blue Moons and Amstel Lights as their premium beers.  I’ll take an MGD over either.  What I do know about Upland’s Pilsner that is offered at Damon’s in Indy is that it is tasty.  It’s hoppy and floral, crisp and finishes dry.  It’s deep gold with a slight haze.  The flavors are light and don’t overpower the taste buds, and it has a fairly light body.  It’s refreshing, and would be a good beer to accompany spicy food on a warm summer day.  I don’t know where it is available outside of central Indiana, but I hope it makes its way to Chicago.  My daughter recently said the only things she knew in Indiana were the Colts, David Letterman’s mom and our friends Al & Tonya.  Add Upland’s Pilsner to that list!

Tryin’ the Rampant Lion

Arcadia Ales’ Amber Ale is a good unfiltered ale.  Very effervescent, orange with a big fluffy head.  I poured about 1″ and got 7″ of foam.  It retains a good 2″ head after all said and done.  It has a nice, sharp, citrusy bouquet, as well as a clean, not overpowering floral note, like freshly mown hay, but not in a abad way.  Make sense?  It’s also lively on the tongue, but not as much as you might expect from the results of the initial pour.  There’s a good balance of malt and hops, but the hoppy dryness lingers longer.  Good Stuff, and a lot of good stuff seems to be coming out of Michigan recently.

Mad Hatter IPA

Ultra hoppy bouquet.  Whoa!  Still, Mad Hatter IPA has a good, smooth, buttery quality in the nose.  There’s a light floral quality to the taste, sharp and dry, and followed by a whoosh of alcohol, and just a touch of carmel.  This stuff is very good.  The hops are prominent but not astringent.  Try this great IPA, it’s true to the style and better than most.