Searching for the line between "hobby" and "obsession"

What I’ve been drankin’

I’m not sure how much I want to get into brew reviews (“breviews?”) with this blog… they’re all so subjective. I don’t spend too much time reading the endless chatter on BeerAdvocate or RateBeer, so why should I subject you to my opinions? Also, I should mention that I like beer a lot, so not many micro or craft brews taste “bad” to me, making me out to be a poor judge of beer character. This, however, doesn’t stop me from wanting to get better at being able to identify ingredients in a brew through taste, smell and appearance. I want to get to the point where I can take a sip of anything and tell you what style  or styles it most conforms to, the malt bill and even which variety of hops and yeast were used. Ambitious? Yes. A fun pursuit to attempt? You bet.

If you’re going to read any opinions I have on beer, you should probably know the following about my palate:

  • I’m not a huge fan of the flavor put off by most lager yeast strains. I’m not yet able to articulate exactly which lager-esque flavors I dislike. I’ll keep trying lagers, but I seem to always prefer ales.
  • On the other end of the spectrum, I’m currently loving the flavors Belgian yeast kick out. Again, not exactly sure why. This is most odd because I didn’t much care for Belgian beers as recently as a year ago.
  • I most enjoy a well-balanced beer, though if I have to pick between “too malty” or “too hoppy,” I’ll usually choose “too malty.”

With that said… onto the beers. Let’s take a look at a few IPAs/DIPAs I’ve had recently:

400 Pound Monkey, Left Hand (CO)  — A solid, standard IPA. There are probably too many good IPAs on the market to warrant buying this at the liquor store more than once. Give it a whirl if you haven’t already, though.

Abrasive, Surly Brewing (MN) — I think I like this better out of cans than on tap. The body seems more substantial out of the can. This 8% DIPA sneaks up on ya with a lighter body when served on tap. I’ve bought this both in cans and on tap many times and will continue to do so without hesitation because it’s a very good beer, but moreso because I want to support my local brewers.

Maximus, Lagunitas (CA) — The malt profile seems pretty close to abrasive, but the hops are dialed back in the mix a bit. I dig this almost as much as Abrasive, but probably won’t buy it often because they’re not local. This is the first of their beer’s I’ve tried. Based on this experience, I’d be open to trying others if given the opportunity.

Next time, I think I’ll take a look at a few brown ales.


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