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I recently had the surprise pleasure of enjoying a bottle of Lagunitas Brewery’s A Little Sumpin’ Wild Ale.  This beer was one in a small selection of leftover bottles from a party that took place at my house which I, unfortunately, was unable to attend.  Presumably, these random beers belong to my father, since he hosted the party, but I have piratically commandeered them.  For posterity.  I’m happy to share my bounty with you, dear readers, by reviewing this delicious ale.

Lagunitas A Little Sumpin Wild Ale

The July seasonal ale from the Petaluma, CA brewery poured a hazy light orange color with a large, but stunning head of creamy doughy fluffiness.  This head was gorgeous, and it’s lacing doubly so.  Each sip left a perfect ring of tight off-white bubbles creating what seemed to be a ladder leading down the inside of my glass; a ladder which I was currently descending into the depths of beer heaven.

Beauuuutiful...

However, before I took my first sip and discovered the glorious retention of this ale’s suds, I made sure to waft in the aromas.  The hoppiness came through clearly, which is not surprising for a beer with 72.51 IBU’s (International Bitterness Unit; 100 is the highest, and 72.51 is very high).  Forefront on the nose were strong fruit and citrus notes, very fresh and juicy.  Time to drink…

Amazing lace, how sweet the foam...

The high alcohol content of this beer (8.85%) must have been hiding back inside the bottle, because this brew was smooth and fruity with a pleasant medium mouthfeel.  The hoppiness wasn’t at all over-powering, and blended perfectly with the fruity maltiness.  The Belgian Westamalle yeast used in this beer bestows a fantastic lasting flavor that lingers on the palate long after a lucky drinker swallows.  This was a truly enjoyable beer, and enjoy it i did!  Were I to rate this beer, it would receive an A+.  I will definitely be scouring the fridge at hi-time wine for this wild ale come July…

Allow me to set the scene: My girlfriend has travelled down to visit me in my hometown and place of residence, Newport Beach, CA, and it just so happens to be the starting weekend of Newport Beach Restaurant Week.  This means all the nice places that, under normal circumstances, are bloatedly overpriced and worth neither my hassle nor my dime, are currently offering very attractive prix-fixe menus which, for some restaurants, include 3-course lunches for only $15.  Fantastic.  I decide to try the Summer House for lunch, and I order myself a Kona Brewing Co. Fire Rock Pale Ale to wash down my 1/2 lb avocado bacon burger (which was quite average, but more on that later).

The Fire Rock poured a smooth, translucent amber color with a creamy one-finger head of small, tight bubbles which quickly dissipated and left mild lacing on the glass.  There were very refreshing forward citrus and fruit notes on the nose and I could pick out a strong distinct scent of apple which played delightfully nicely with the malty caramel flavors when I took my first sip.  Considering how hoppy the nose was, there was surprisingly little bite on the palate; it was a very smooth, cool drink and by the end I wasn’t at all fatigued.  In fact, I promptly ordered a second round!

Unfortunately, the burger was not as satisfying as the beverage that accompanied it.  The patty was under-seasoned and obtrusively thick and round.  The sandwich was not circular, but sub shaped, which doesn’t affect the taste, but I found it to be an unnecessarily silly choice.  The vegetable toppings were average, the bacon was too thick and crispy, and the avocado slipped right off of the burger when I took my first bite.  The burger just didn’t impress.  It was a delightful lunch, but all the credit goes to the brew, my dining companion, and the perfectly gorgeous Orange County weather (sorry, rest of the country…).  If you are a fan of pale ales and you see this Kona on a shelf or menu, definitely give it a try!

Greetings Mavericks, Eric here, back on the blog to bring to you the first of many (elegantly written and insightfully reviewed) beer posts. The King Maverick himself asked me to take on the daunting task of “blog beer guy” but to be honest, this is my first formal beer review, so feel very welcome to comment on this post to give feedback to me on writing, beer infos, or even your impressions of the beverage being reviewed if you’ve tried it. I’m looking to become a better writer and a better drinker, so help me out, why dontcha?! I’ve intro’d enough, here’s the review:

Last night I had the pleasure of enjoying a bottle of Deschutes Brewery: Red Chair Northwest Pale Ale. (A Northwest Pale Ale is just an IPA made with hops that are exclusively grown in the Northwest region of the USA.) I picked up a six pack of this variety at a corner liquor store in Palms, CA about 100 paces from my girlfriend’s apartment. I chose the Red Chair because it was one of the only beers on the shelves I’d never seen before (I go to this liquor store to get beer OFTEN).

Deschutes is a well known and well loved craft brewer based in Bend, OR, a west coast haven of quality beer, and I’ve tried and enjoyed many of their varieties, but this one had escaped me previously because it’s seasonal and is only available January through April. I am generally a fan of darker, more full flavored beers, and I LOVE good IPA’s, so I was immediately very excited for this IPA and my expectations became very high.

The Red Chair poured a beautiful amber color with mild carbonation and a creamy half-inch head of fine, but persistent bubbles. It smelled incredible with heavy citrus on the nose and a good strong hoppy bite in the aroma. I proceeded to dig right in.

My first impression was that of a simple hop-fest and felt the bitterness push to the front of my palate, but a few sips later, the 7 different malts started to shine and the complexity of this beer unfolded. There were hints of caramel and pine from the malts and the citrus I smelled on the nose from the hops was also present in the mouth of this ale. I was very impressed with the Red Chair, it’s extremely drinkable, in fact it may be one of the most balanced and enjoyable IPA’s I’ve had that didn’t accomplish this goal by backing off on the hoppiness.

The head of this beer had excellent retention and there was beautiful lacing down the entire length of the glass; I enjoyed the smell, taste, and sight of this beer down to the last sip. I quickly cracked open a second bottle, and then a third…

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