1. Moylan's Hopsickle Imperial IPA
Moylan's is an Irish-themed brewpub out of California with award-winning brews, a lot of which I've yet to try. One of their highly-rated beers is Hopsickle, a tribute to hops. I figured trying a hop-forward beer from a California brewery is a good way to assess their talent. Being somewhat of a grammar nazi, I tried to look past the spelling errors on the label because when it comes down to it, I'll drink a great beer from an illiterate person over a subpar beer from a Spelling Bee champ any day. Not that I'm saying the brewers at Moylan's are illiterate. But I suppose they could be, how would I know? Not that there's anything wrong with that. Anyway, I digress. The chinook hops are the most noticeable because the flavor is very piney. Bit of grapefruit comes through with the Ahtanum hops too. The amount of hop flavor and the combination is great, backed by some solid malts. In a world full of hop-forward IPAs (is that redundant?), this beer stacks up pretty well.
Overall Rating: A-
2. Stillwater Artisanal Ales/Mikkeller Two Gypsies - Our Side
Some people are able to live somewhat nomadically, Kerouac style, bouncing around here and there. Stillwater and Mikkeller are kind of like that. Billed as gypsy brewers, they use facilities from different breweries to make their beer, Mikkeller from across the pond and Stillwater stateside. And wouldn't you believe it, both of their first beers were called "Stateside." Crazy. Naturally, with this coincidence, their similar brewing processes and the increasingly common instances of collaborations between breweries, they joined forces for a beer. They combined their recipes for the beer and the result is a saison/farmhouse ale. Very spicy and peppery as you would expect from the style. Fruity and earthy. Well balanced. As you can see, a lot of carbonation. Could have done with some warm weather while drinking this beer but I'll take what I can get I suppose.
Overall Rating: B+