Beer of the Week: Populuxe Expansion IPA

By Iron Chef Leftovers

One of the issues that Populuxe Brewing has is one of size. They make some excellent beers that don’t stick around too long on tap because they are being brewed in small batches on their 1.5 barrel system (which is about 50 gallons at a time). At some point, there is going to be a brewery expansion, but that is still a bit away. In the meantime, the brewers at Populuxe wandered off to Stoup Brewing to brew a beer on Stoup’s much larger system and the result was a 7%, hop-laden brew which has been dubbed Expansion IPA. It was just released this weekend and for the first time ever, I can say you don’t have to worry about running down to the brewery right away to try it – they have a pretty good supply on hand.

The beer pours slightly hazy orange in color with an off-white head. Strong notes of orange and grapefruit with light notes of orange peel and tangerine show on the nose with just the faintest hint of green hops. The beer starts off with a pleasant grain note on the palate before moving into a significant hop profile with strong orange and grapefruit flavors and a building citrus peel bitterness. The beer finishes long with a pleasant balance of slightly sweet citrus and a mild bitterness of citrus peel. Easy drinking without overly bitter, there is a nice, layered balance in this beer.

Populuxe Expansion IPA finds room to grow with a strong 4 annexes out of 5.

Beer of the Week: Stoup Brewing Citra IPA

By Iron Chef Leftovers

I am back to bouncing all over my beer notes because every once in a while, I have a beer that is on tap at a local brewery and worth seeking out. I love IPA’s and I love single hop IPA’s even more because they really showcase the hop and its flavor profile. Stoup Brewing has a Citra IPA currently on tap that comes in at a reasonable 50 IBU and 5.9% ABV. Since I really do enjoy Citra hops, this one was a must-try.

From the Stoup website:

We like to call this one Sunshine In a Glass … or Sunshine In Your Belly because it won’t stay in that glass long.  Our Citra® IPA is designed to be light and bright in both color and body.  Your first sniff will elicit images of tropical fruit and citrus thanks to a healthy dose of Citra® hops.  Enjoy a pint of this and you might just find yourself gazing skyward, pondering how in the heck sunshine made its way into your glass.

untitlasedThe beer pours hazy golden in color with tinges of orange and a creamy white head. There are significant amounts of orange and orange peel on the nose with light touches of orange juice showing through. The beer starts out with a mild orange juice sweetness coupled with touches of grain before more pronounced IPA character builds in. First, you get hints of piney resin, then burnt orange peel with a bitterness that is mild and pleasant that carries through the finish of the beer without overpowering it. There is more fresh fruit on the finish, combining with the orange peel and pine notes, causing the beer to finish nicely and tricked my mind into looking for orange pulp at the bottom of the glass. This beer is easy to drink with a nice balance and complexity, showing layered flavors and showcasing Citra hops wonderfully.

Stoup Brewing’s Citra IPA goes down to the groves and picks the best 4 oranges out of 5.

Beer of the Week: Populuxe Cask Citra Pale Ale

By Iron Chef Leftovers

imagesCAAR87MMOne of the best things about Thursday nights is cask night at Populuxe Brewing. They have had a nice variety of cask options from the strange (Smoked tea bitter) to the nice and approachable (Pale Ales and IPA). Pale ales make for really fun casks – they allow you to really give a base for what individual hop varieties taste like and you get a real appreciation for what it is about certain hop varieties that you might like. A recent cask of the Populuxe Pale with Citra really illustrated what I like about citra hops. This beer clocked in at just 4.8% ABV.

The beer pours hazy yellow-orange in color with light notes of citrus and grain on the nose with very mild notes of sugar. The beer starts off slowly with a nice grain beginning accompanied by a mild sweetness, followed by a touch of very pleasant bitterness before moving to a slightly dry finish that smacks you with a burst of citrus. Very easy drinking and well balanced – there are no dominant flavors but the beer is layered and distinct and you can really appreciate the subtle flavors of both the beer and the hops. With well integrated flavors and low alcohol, this is easily a 3-4 pint beer and a good beer to introduce someone to the wonderful experience that is craft beer.

Populuxe Cask Citra Pale Ale rolls out 4 barrels out of 5.

Beer of the Week: Reuben’s Cask Imperial IPA

By Iron Chef Leftovers

untitled2Reuben’s has temporarily gotten away from its cask program, and that is not a good thing since their beers generally do well with a cask treatment, revealing an incredibly deeper flavor that you don’t get on their regular versions – it is not to put down the regular versions of the beer, but the cask seems to take the fantastic regular version to a completely new level. One of the last casks that they did was their Imperial IPA dry hopped with Citra and Amarillo. If there was ever a beer that was screaming for the cask treatment, it is this one.

The beer pours heavy orange-brown, almost the color of tea with an in your face citrus nose with notes of grain on the background and just hints of resin interspersed. The beer builds slowly at first with citrus peel and grapefruit gaining traction on the palate for quite a long while before transitioning into a somewhat tea –like profile with a slightly tannic finish that is enhanced with a mild bitterness that lingers for a few seconds before fading away. For a high alcohol cask beer, there is no alcohol burn and the beer is clean and smooth with great balance and layers of flavor that evolve as you get further into the pint. The beer goes down almost too smooth and, despite the significant hopping, isn’t a palate killer, giving you the chance to actually move on to a different beer, but honestly, if you are drinking this one, you probably aren’t going to consider anything other than ordering a second pint of the IIPA.

Reuben’s Cask Imperial IPA with Citra and Amarillo dances into the picture with a graceful 4 Texas two-steps out of 5.

Beer of the Week: Laughing Dog Pure Breed Citra American Pale Ale

By Iron Chef Leftovers

I really like the concept of a single hop beer. The great thing about them is that you really get to understand where certain hop flavors come from in the beers which use a combination of hops. When I found out that Laughing Dog Brewing out of Idaho was doing a single hop beer, well, I had to try it. I consider Laughing Dog one of the more underrated breweries in the US and I think they do particularly well with hops. The Pure Breed Citra American Pale Ale, their first entry into the single hop realm, came to me in a 22oz. bottle which ran about $5.

The description from the Laughing Dog website:

The first in our Purebred series of single hop A.P.A.s showcases the hop variety Citra. These are used for everything from bittering and flavor to aroma. The soft bitterness of the Citra hop makes this an extremely drinkable beer.
ABV 6.14%, IBU 67.8

purebredGolden yellow in color and lots of carbonation on a slightly off white head. Strong notes of citrus dance around the nose with just a hint of grain lying in wait in the background. The first sip slaps you in the face – a very brief and pleasant bitterness quickly yield to a hop monster – lots of grapefruit and citrus peel, which lingers for a good few seconds before giving way to a light grain backbone and finally transitioning to a slight bitterness with hints of green hops in a long and pleasant fade. As the beer warms slightly, notes of peach show up on the nose and palate with the citrus, giving just a tease of sweetness before fading into the hop bitterness.

This is a fine beer which showcases the citrus aspects of citra hops in the best possible way. Grab your pooch and head on over to your local bottle shop and get yourself a bottle or three of this great beer.

Laughing Dog Pure Breed Citra American Pale Ale grabs 4 Best in Shows out of 5.