Stone Cali-Belgique IPA India Pale Ale (Something like $6 at Whole Foods Market) - This is about as "beery" as beer can look. Clear golden color, frothy white head, a little lacing on the glass... To be honest, I wouldn't consider myself a Stone fan - it's not that the beer is bad, it's just that I very rarely find myself reaching for one. Nose is flat citrus, a little bit of a graham cracker, a tiny hint of pine. Front is not really there, but a flavor that echoes the nose comes through quickly. Piney hops come through a bit stronger now, and the graham cracker in the nose also takes center stage.
The bottle states that Cali-Belgique is actually just regular Stone IPA made with a Belgian yeast strain, leading to what Stone considers a more "funky" taste. Standing alone, the beer doesn't strike me as funky at all - perhaps a roundtable comparing the two beers is in order. This beer isn't a standout by any means, but it's worth revisiting.
Upland Rad Red (Probably about $7.99 a six pack everywhere better beer is sold in Indiana) - Can we talk about the label? You'd think a ninja and a motorcycle and the word "Rad" would pretty much be all you needed, but somehow, something's missing. I say "Rad" more than anyone I know, so I do want to suggest that all the Indiana brewers take this "Rad" trend and run with it. Suggestion #1 (Brugge Edition):
On to the beer... well, it's dark in my driveway. It looks like a liquid. The nose is lightly bready, with a caramel hint. Not much going on in the front, a nice malty middle and then it's got a lingering (but not annoyingly so) bitter bite. Another supremely drinkable beer from Upland, but not really a style I've ever found that appealing. It's a good beer. But that's about it.
So when the Indiana Microbrewers Festival was over with, World Class Beverages had quite a bit of leftover Hopapalooza beer. We thought we'd ask them where all the beer was going, and what they planned to do with it. Their answer was "it's yours if you want it, just don't sell it". We had a better idea in mind - beer rewards.
And so, Leftoverpalooza.
Clipper City Hop3 - This beer wasn't actually from Hopapalooza - it's beer that's on at Brugge right now. A sweet nose with malt elements and a bit of funk led to a syrupy, tangy and tasty brew. Lovely, with a lingering hop bitterness that was appreciated.
Firestone Walker Double Barrel Ale - Considering that this beer came from Hopapalooza, its mild character took me by surprise. An apple-like nose led to a malty and mild--not hoppy at all, really--easy-drinking pale. Extremely sessionable, this ended up being my favorite of the night. It wasn't until Jess explained that Firestone likes to brew in more traditional English styles that this beer made complete sense.
Avery IPA - Always a big fan of Avery's beers, I prefer them big and bold. Avery IPA is a bit milder than my favorite Avery beers. A big skunky nose led to a skunky front bite but a body that faded quickly to agreeable.
21st Amendment IPA - These beers are all a bit old now (the event was two weeks ago), and I suspect that this beer is worse for the wear. A nose of vanilla icing and butterscotch starts it off, but the flavor seems to have dropped out. Oddly enough I got a sort of freezerburnt taste with a little bitterness, and then nothing.
Mead the Gueuze - A big vinegary, rosey, nail polish remover nose was the first thing noticed, but was quickly followed by a rubber flowery lemon peel and vinegar backbeat. It's gueuze, so the weirdness is expected and appreciated. Good stuff.
Hanssens Artisinaal Oude Kriek - When beer starts flowing, people get generous, and Jim took the plunge and bought a bottle of Hanssens Artisinaal Oude Kriek. Broad Ripple Brewpub's John Hill warned us to let the beer warm up a little before diving in, and his advice was gladly taken.
A nose so tart it jumps out of the glass, and a flavor that's a deeply rich sour punch are the reward for the wait. An almost dill pickle front and a rich almost ketchup-like back made this one a winner.