1. The Bruery Mischief
As a young man that grew up with a spotless record, never having come even close to any semblance of trouble, it was difficult for me to connect with the name of this beer from The Bruery, one of my favorite U.S. breweries. But I drank it anyway. I gotta say that I'm not big on the golden ale style. I find that too much carbonation is unpleasant. Although this beer was pretty bubbly, it may be the exception to that exception. I mean look at that head and you can see the bubbles in the bottle, but this beer was fantastic, great for a nice summer day. There was nothing out of the ordinary in terms of the flavor. The typical zesty grapefruit, sour notes and hoppy taste were there, but the key was that they all came through in an excellent balance. Can a beer be really crisp and really smooth at the same time? Apparently. And wow...this beer is 8.5%? Could have fooled me...
Overall Rating: A-
2. Hoppin' Frog B.O.R.I.S. The Crusher
B.O.R.I.S. = Bodacious Oatmeal Russian Imperial Stout. Every word in that acronym alone would entice me to buy a beer, but this also had a "2008 GABF (Great American Beer Festival) Gold Medal" sticker on the neck. So uhh...yea...ring it up. I've never had anything from Hoppin' Frog out of Ohio so this seemed like a good starting point. I'll preface this by saying that I hope there was something wrong with this beer (contaminated by sunlight, bad batch, etc.), because this sure as hell didn't taste like a gold medal winner to me. The mouthfeel was all wrong - as you can see, there was barely any head. I've tasted hints of soy sauce in beer before, but it seemed a little excessive in this one. Above all, however, was the extremely strong and unpleasant bitterness in this beer. I know that sounds odd because I love bitter beer and in a beer like this, the bitter chocolate taste can be great. But it wasn't in this one. It dominated the beer and lingered in the aftertaste. I'm definitely going to try another bottle of this in hopes that this was a fluke...but until then...yes, B.O.R.I.S., you indeed did crush me.
Overall Rating: C-