TDY planned a great saturday to celebrate the beginning of the end to our summer! We started off with a 2 hour paddle around the Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio rivers downtown. The weather was absolutely beautiful, and the views of the city from the river are unrivaled. If you are interested, Kayak Pittsburgh rents kayaks at $15/hr and no prior experience is necessary.
After working up an appetite (and thirst), we grilled out some fajitas, complete with homemade salsa, and gathered together a large collection of New Holland and Founders selections for a tasting. New Holland is located in Holland, MI and Founders is located in Grand Rapids, MI so you can think of this as sampling the real fruits of Michigan. Here’s a list of the beer that we tried out and some quick notes on what we thought.
- Centennial IPA (F) 7.2% ABV, 65 IBU – very malty for an IPA with even a few hints of chocolate and caramel on the palate. a slight hoppy aroma but not much bitterness to speak of .
- Mad Hatter IPA (NH) 5.25% ABV – dry hopping provides more of a hop aroma (hints of something similar to Simcoe?). The Mad Hatter is nice and crisp with still a touch of malt sweetness. Better hop/malt balance than the Centennial. The dry hop causes Mad Hatter to finish with a satisfying dryness.
- Imperial Mad Hatter IPA (NH) 9.4% ABV – similar to the Mad Hatter but with the distinctive bite of a higher alcohol brew. The alcohol actually balances the malt bill and helps bring some more of the hop character to the forefront.
- Red’s Rye IPA (F) 6.6% ABV, 70 IBU – Centennial with a touch of rye to create a richness of flavor that overcomes the strong malt bill. Our favorite of all 4 of the IPAs, although nontraditional, has the most to offer in terms of flavor complexity and balance. A rich deep red color and good head retention create a visual experience to rival the taste.
- Golden Cap Saison (NH) 6.25% ABV – Very sweet candy-like aroma reminiscent of a Belgian blonde ale. The flavor is sweet at first with a carbonation that feels light on the tongue and a finish that ends in a surprising sourness reminiscent of a Belgian gueze. Golden Cap is a wonderful surprise and great on a hot summer night. We should warn that this beer is not for everyone as many people shy away from this level of sweetness in a beer.
- Cerise (F) 6.5% ABV, 15 IBU – Aroma reminiscent of a fresh baked cherry pie. Fruity with a touch of sweetness but not artificial. Finishes with a tartness that any good cherry pie should have. Pours a beautiful light red color with a nice head. Cerise is truly a gateway fruit beer : introducing the style without being overly sweet.
- Sundog Amber Ale (NH) 6% ABV – A typical amber ale that balances a bit of maltiness with just a slight touch of hops.
- Curmudgeon Old Ale (F) 9.8% ABV, 50 IBU – Curmudgeon is all about the malt and therefore retains a characteristic sweetness that is evident even in the aroma. With hints of roasted malts, caramel, and butterscotch, Curmudgeon seems like a dessert in a glass and so again is not for everyone. Those that enjoy very malty or sweet beers will likely love Curmudgeon while American IPA “hopheads” will find this one hard to swallow.
- Dirty Bastard Scotch Ale (F) 8.5% ABV, 50 IBU – A slimmed down version of Curmudgeon which is not as malty resulting in a much smoother flavor. The Scotch Ale has a bit more roasted malt flavor than the straight sweetness of Curmudgeon. Excellent head retention.
Our Favorite Beers
Tim : Founders Red’s Rye IPA – It’s really a unique beer with a great hop/malt balance and a flavor profile that is truly enhanced by the touch of rye.
Look for our continuation of the New Holland and Founders Tasting including New Holland’s Night Tripper Imperial Stout, Wheat Wine, and Poet Oatmeal Stout.