I got a special invitation to join MadTree in a session ale tasting and hear a special announcement. What follows part 1 of 2, with part 2 coming at a soon but as of yet undetermined time.
It’s been just over a year since Warped Wing opened their doors. It’s been less than a year since Warped Wing pumped out their first 3 cans. There has been a great variety of draft beers created since those first cans rolled off the line, including a session IPA named Self Starter. It’s been a week since Warped Wing introduced new seasonal IPA cans of Self Starter.
Here’s Warped Wing’s blurb about the beer:
Once, there lived an engineer. Innovator. And indefatigable holder of 186 patents. Who, in 1911, filed U.S. Patent No. 1,150,523. An electric starting device for automobiles. To not a single person’s disparagement, it ended the era of the hand-crank. Fitting, then, that you’ll be holding this. Named as much for the inventor. As for what he invented.
Self Starter. This session India Pale Ale is pale orange in color with copper highlights. Its citrus/fruity aroma and flavors comes from the Amarillo hops that were added during the boil and the dry hopping at the end of fermentation. The malt character is slightly bready or nutty to start. This beer finishes with a patently dry close. Carry on.
Self Starter will be available in the market from April thru August in both draught and cans. The beer will be tapped at the brewery this Thursday and draught and cans will be released to taverns, restaurants, and select retail accounts the following Monday.
Before we get to the liquid I love the wrap around artwork on these cans.
They also made this rocking video
Ok, that’s all awesome and all, but let’s get to the beer.
I was a little surprised by how little head I got, but there’s enough to get by on. The head is a light white that shrinks down to a skim and a ring pretty quickly. The beverage itself is shockingly hazy with bits floating through an orange amber ocean. Ok, yeah bits floating around is a bit bothersome. It just means they likely didn’t filter it at all, allowing the preservation of as much hop flavor as possible. There’s one other brewery that does this, and it clearly says “DRINK FROM THE CAN” around the rim of Heady Topper for this reason.
Based on the powerful aromas of fresh-cut grass, super grapefruit, and dank ass marijuana I feel it’s safe to say all those floaty bits are hops. All hop heads need to apply themselves to drinking this. This isn’t just a hop bomb though. There are notes of bready and caramel malts hanging around the back.
The flavor kicks a lot more of those malts up front but doesn’t slack off on the hops. Bitterness wise things lean heavily toward the sweet malts. That throws my expectations for a curve ball. IPAs, even session IPAs, always lean to some degree toward the bitter.
Body rocks medium to a slight heavy with low carbonation.
Ok, let’s break the fourth wall for a moment. As I’m typing this review I’m popping to another tab messaging WCPO’s Jesse Folk who is also drinking this beer right now. We didn’t plan this, it just happened. We got to talking about the atypical aspects of the beer when it hit me.
What are we doing thinking about how this beer doesn’t meet what a session IPA is supposed to be. This is a Warped Wing beer. These are the guys who brought us the Belgian Cream Ale! What the hell is a Belgian Cream Ale? That’s totally not a thing at all! Well, it wasn’t till Warped Wing made it. Now it’s an enjoyable thing.
Who am I, or who is anyone, to tell someone what they can or can’t make? This is a good beer. I enjoyed it. You should try it and enjoy it. It’s a hop bomb aroma and a malt bomb flavor. It’s got a good body and a solid sweetness. Bottom line, this is a local beer well worth your money.
FULL DISCLOSURE: My friend who works for Warped Wing surprised me with this can. To our readers, and any companies interested in sending me stuff, giving me free stuff impacts the review in only 2 ways. That I will do my best to review it in a timely fashion and that and I will write a blog post about that review. Giving me free stuff does not guarantee you a favorable review or that I will tell everyone to go buy it.
Boulevard Brewing Company beers started showing up on Ohio shelves for the first time two weeks ago. I’ve been eagerly awaiting this moment. In all my travels, I always try to bring back one or two of the 750s from their Smokestack series like Bourbon Barrel Quad or Brett-Saison. I had some of the core beers but don’t recall being too excited by them, at least not enough to make sure I smuggled them back into Ohio.
Boulevard started in Kansas City way back in 1989. They slowly grew to be one of the largest Midwest breweries. Boulevard was the 12th biggest craft brewery in 2012. Come 2013 they didn’t show up on the list anymore. That was because they were bought out by Duvel Moortgat which helped pull the combined company up to the 8th spot. Their beer has been available in 25 states, the closest being Indiana though I don’t recall seeing much there. I’m familiar with the brand thanks to travels to North Carolina and Georgia but now all we have to do is travel to the nearest grocery store!
On to the beers!
Stone’s got a new year round beer hitting the market this week to cash in on the session IPA craze. Go To IPA doesn’t just cash in on the session IPA craze but also the hop bursting craze that’s been sweeping through the nation of homebrewers. Stone has never seemed like the company to cash in on any craze, much less one driven by market analysis. Remember, this is the company through brought us Arrogant Bastard and made it live up to that name.
All these things left me in a situation of not anticipating this beer. When companies make these kinds of changes it makes me worry that the quality of their products is going to begin to suffer. Sometimes though we have to forget the marketing and just enjoy what’s in the bottle. Before we get to the quality of the contents here is Stone’s blurb on the brew:
Since Day One, we’ve been abundantly forthright and fully transparent about our lust for hops. It’s led us to craft many an IPA, most of them imperial—some intense for their time and all timeless in their intensity. For Stone Go To IPA, we are embracing our hop obsession in a new way, funneling an abundance of lupulin-borne bitterness into a “session” IPA delivering all the fruity, piney character of a much bigger IPA. To accomplish this, we employed “hop bursting,” a new technique wherein an irrational amount of hops is added during the final phase of the brewing process to coax out extreme flavors and aromas while also imparting a burst of desirably pleasant bitterness. The result is an Alpha-acid-rich beer that fans can enjoy more of without missing out on the assertive hop character you, like us, crave. So, sit back and go two with your new everyday go-to IPA and bask along with us in the glory of the almighty hop.