Beers on Tap

This section will be dedicated to reviews of beers that I get on tap. Usually, owing to the nature of which beers are available on tap, these reviews will cover the myriad of micro and craft brewed beer that is available in Albuquerque. However, some beers that I review will also be available bottled in a liquor store, so don’t be surprised to see a commercially available beer in the on tap section!

If I’m able to get the beer on tap that review will always take precedent. Beers on tap are usually just better right? Well, it seems that the jury is still out on that question, but who really cares. Beer is beer, regardless of the method it’s dispensed into the glass. Pontificating about on tap beers versus bottled beers just comes off as snobby, so I won’t do it.

With that long-winded intro I present my review section for beer I get on tap!

Earthy Extrovert

left hand extrovert ipa

Left Hand Brewing Company
Extrovert IPA
IBUs: 75
ABV: 7.1%
Malts: 2-row, Rye, Wheat, Caramunich III, Acidulated, Carafoam
Hops: Jarrylo, Cascade, Comet

Aroma – Immediate hop aroma balanced with slight sweet, almost floral notes. There is a hint of spiciness in there but I can’t really place what it is. After a few good whiffs there’s an earthy, soil-y, almost grasslike smell to it that cuts through the floral notes. I can definitely smell the alcohol as well. This is the exact aroma I’d expect from cracking open an IPA after cutting a lawn on a hot summer’s day.

Flavor – The spicy, earthy tastes are present right up front on the tongue initially which gives way to a green grassy flavor. There’s almost no sweetness to balance the hop bitterness so the overall impression is a very bitter IPA. There’s almost no floral flavors coming through for me which makes me think the floral aromas came from mostly from finishing hops. As the earthy hop bitterness fades there’s a pleasant warming from the alcohol. Not overpowering but expected from a 7.0% ABV

Overall – A pretty good, to the point IPA. The flavors hit the tongue and stay there. There’s a good spiciness in the aroma that’s matched in the taste. The aroma is a good preview of things to come in the first, cool sip. The more I drink the beer the more it grows on me. But that happens to me a lot.

Aroma: 12 – This beer had a great aroma to it. It’s a different smell for and IPA but it worked. It was complex and mysterious and really built anticipation for what it could possibly taste like. 

Appearance: 3 – the beer was crystal clear with a great head and the perfect amount of carbonation for an on tap beer. 

Flavor: 16 – The flavor certainly matched the spicy earthy notes and the hops added a good amount of bitterness. My only qualm was that the earth notes might have been slightly overpowering, and as the beer finished a grassy flavor appeared. Overall though, the flavor was good.

Mouthfeel: 4.5 – For an IPA this had a great mouthfeel to it but the spiciness kept it from getting the full 5. I can definitely see how these would get harsh for a full pour of this beer.

Overall: 9 – Overall this beer was good. I would easily get a 6 pack of these and share them with my friends. The aroma was excellent, the flavor matched what I expected based on the aroma, and it had a great earthy spice to it.

Total score: 89

 Great Scott!

bosque scotch ale

Bosque Brewing Company
Scotia Scotch Ale
IBUs: 30
ABV: 8.4%
Malts: N/A
Hops: N/A

Aroma: The beer was served pretty cold so I think it may have affected the initial aroma. That being said, the initial aroma I got was a vague sweet malty smell with a hint of cherries. There was no noticeable hop aroma, and the nose was a mostly sweet cherry, raisin-y smell. I didn’t get much caramel smell right out of the gate either.

Flavor: Wow. The first sip revealed an incredibly complex, caramel, malty body with a tail end of bitterness. The flavor is super balanced throughout, with the initial malty sweetness balanced by the hop bitterness at the end. There are slight vague dark fruit tastes as it warms that are almost raisin like. The alcohol burn is almost non-existent for a 8.4% beer. This is a solid scotch ale.

Overall: This is a great beer. I’m definitely a Bosque Brewing fanboy so I may have a bias here but damn, this really is a good scotch ale! Great lacing as the beer finishes, and the head retention was unreal. It’s a big bodied, big flavored scotch ale worthy of the phrase “If it’s not Scottish it’s crap!

Aroma: 10 – As I said earlier I think the beer was too cold to really unlock the aroma potential, that being said though the aroma was pretty faint, and certainly didn’t prepare me for the great flavor and body this beer had!

Appearance: 3 – Seriously one of the best looking beers I’ve had on tap. The lacing was utterly gorgeous and would have ran the whole length of the glass by the end of this beer had I not kept swirling it to try and coax out some aroma. The head stuck around until the very end as well. It had a beautiful deep coppery-brown, that turned into a brilliant red against the light.

Flavor: 19 – This was seriously an amazing tasting scotch ale. I think it might be a little too hop forward for old world purists, but I’m a hop head at heart so it’s getting a 19 from me for flavor. The malts were complex, the body was big and rich, and the flavor was dynamic, and the hops were balancing. A great, great tasting scotch ale.

Mouthfeel: 4 – I didn’t notice this at first, but as the beer was in its last few sips the mouthfeel got a little harsh, especially on the exhale, but that may be due to the 8.4% ABV taking its toll. Ultimately a decent mouthfeel for most of the beer.

Overall: 10 – I’m gonna give this a 10 overall and give the aroma the benefit of the doubt. I really should have waited for this beer to warm up and get the full aroma profile but it was so freaking good it was gone before I could do that! 

Total Score: 92

Alryet With Me

quarter celtic rye ale

Quarter Celtic Brewpub
Rye’t Side of Dublin Rye IPA
IBUs: 65
ABV: 6.5%
Malts: Malted rye, Pale Malts
Hops: El Dorado, Cascade

Aroma: So… This brewpub is set up so that the brewery is literally just right inside the pub! (Which is very cool by the way.) I’m like 7 feet from a brew in progress, so the malty aroma from that is dominating right now. However, after digging my nose into this one I’m getting some serious hoppy, almost floral aroma balanced by a bread-y smell. Again though, the brew going on right next to me is rather pungent and may be masking any subtle aromas of this beer.

Flavor: The initial taste is an intense hop bitterness but it is balanced beautifully with a rich, complex malt body. There is a vague caramel sweetness somewhere in there as well. As the beer warms the spicy hop character shines, which I think comes from the Cascade hops. The great body of the malted rye provides a great backdrop for an intense hop profile.

Overall: This is a good, spicy rye ale that really utilized the malted rye to let the hops shine. The spicy bitterness is a little intense at times though, so if you don’t like your beers bitter, this one may not be for you. However, I’m not sure if that’s expected of a rye ale. The 65 IBUs certainly don’t lead on as to how bitter this beer actually is. Overall a good rye ale.

Aroma: 10 – I wasn’t sure what to score this beer at first in terms of aroma, but one thing I noticed as the beer got warmer and I got used to the brew day smell, was the intense alcohol smell it had. It smelled like it was an imperial red, but sat at a cool 6.5%. Either way the smell profile left something to be desired.

Appearance: 3 – Though the head retention was minimal, I wouldn’t really expect insane head retention from a rye ale. It was a coppery color that seemed to match the taste. A good looking beer in general.

Flavor: 18 – This beer had a great medium malt body, that hid a vague caramel-y sweetness that just got better as the beer got warmer. The spiciness was a little intense though, and the alcohol seemed weirdly present for a 6.5% beer. In general though it had a great flavor, and is what I would expect from a RyePA.

Mouthfeel: 3 – This beer left a chewy, filmy feel in my mouth which lent to what I thought was a somewhat low drinkability. The bitterness was intense was well, though it was balanced out by the malty backbone.

Overall: 9 – Overall it was a good rye ale, and the smell of the brewery may have lent to my sense of smell and thus my sense of taste to be skewed. This beer, like with most all new beers I have, really grew on me as I drank it though, so I thought it should get a solid 9.

Total Score: 86

May Day in June

kaktus maibock

Kaktus Brewing Co.
IBUs: 25
ABV: 4.9%
Malts: N/A
Hops: N/A

Aroma: The initial aroma is a slightly bread-y aroma that is dominated by fruits. I’m getting a little bit of pear, banana and apple. It smells almost the way I’d expect a hefeweissen to smell. There’s a little bit of caramel-y sweetness in there as well. Overall a sweet smelling beer with just a hint of citrus hop aroma. As the beer warms there’s a slight spiciness that shows itself

Flavor: A sweet yet surprisingly refreshing spring beer. This beer is perfect to sip on a warm afternoon like today. The flavors match the nose and there is a bread-y sweetness supported by a medium malt body. There are very clear fruit flavors initially, with a hint of bitterness as the beer goes down. I’ve never had a Maibock before, but I can see why these beers are the choice for big festival beers. It is drinkable and delicious.

Overall: This beer is definitely on the sweeter side, but still has enough dryness to not be overpoweringly sweet. It is a great, spring time beer to enjoy with friends, or just sip on after a hard days work. My only complaint is that I don’t have another one!

Aroma: 11 – The aroma was a fantastic mostly sweet one, that almost smelled like a bowl of over-ripe fruit. I really did not get tired of smelling this beer. The spiciness that developed as the beer warmed was a welcomed balance to the sweetness as well.

Appearance: 3 – It had a great golden color with a little bit of haze, and I’m not sure if that’s characteristic of the style but it sure was pretty. Weak head retention and almost no lacing.

Flavor: 18 – Great flavor in this beer. Every sips makes you want another, and I really did not get tired of this beer. The fruit is complemented by the bread-y malt and it had just the right amount of dryness to it. Solid flavor in this beer, if a little on the sweeter side.

Mouthfeel: 3 – I’ve gotta give this one a 3 for mouthfeel because it did leave a filmy feel after about half glass, but that may be characteristic of the style, I’m not entirely sure.

Overall: 9 – Overall this is a great beer, and I see why it is the choice beer of large gatherings in Germany. It is drinkable and tasty, and Kaktus Brewing really does this style justice.

Total Score: 88