The Best Knight Cap: A Review of G’knight Imperial Red IPA from Oskar Blues Brewery

G’knight is a pretty special beer for me. It is responsible for fully ushering me into the world of beer. Yes, it is that damn good of a beer. It all started when we were at Sedona Taphouse a few years ago. I was having a juicy steak, and I asked the waiter what beer would go well with it. I told him I liked IPAs, and he was all like, ” you need to try the stickiest of the icky.” ( not his actual words) I took his advice and did not regret it.

 G’Knight is a deep ruby red or amber ale that pours with a relatively small lacy head. As the waiter stated, it has a very sticky, piney, and resiney, hop taste. It has a Coca-Cola malt nose with a touch of booziness. A sweet cherry back end compliments the booziness. It is pretty smooth and not too bitter. G’knight is 8.7 ABV and 60 IBU of dry hopped goodness. You are gunna feel this one!

G’ Knight goes very well with red meats, and is damn good on it’s own. It has a juicy, full mouth feel. It would be hard to drink more than one of these in one sitting because of how heavy and boozy it is, but as it’s name suggests, having one will definitely lead to a good night. This is my go to red IPA that I compare all other red IPAs to. If you can find it, enjoy it!


Dualing Hazy IPAs- Battling Brews #1 

I have been inspired by listening to the Orioles game on the radio to write about the IPAs I will be reviewing today in a face-off fashion. As I write, the O’s are 4-0 in the season, looking for a series sweep of the Yankees at Camden Yards. This reoccurring post will pin two beers that I am tasting that are of similar type and character against each other. The only rule I have is that there has to be a winner (no matter how good both beers are). The winning beer then snags a W for it’s respective brewery, and the loser recieves a shameful L….We kick off this series with a pair of dank Hazy IPAs!

The Alpha Effect Hazy IPA – Heavy Seas Brewing Company- 7% ABV 75 IBU: It has an orange juice color with sediments floating around, reminiscent of an Orangina given the carbonation. Citrusy, juicy, sweet grapefruit, and hop smell right out of the bottle. Has a half finger’s width of milky, lacy head. By now I have been getting VERY familiar with Mosaic hops, and they are definitely pronounced in this juicy IPA. Actual taste has a bitter back, but the nose flavor follows what you smell, with slight briney aftertaste. It has moderate malty and sticky mouthfeel, but is still easy drinking. It is a well done IPA showcasing primarily Mosaic hops, which they let really shine through. I give it a 4 and a half perfect storms out of 5. Additional hops included:  Columbus, Centennial, and Citra.

Free Flow IPA
– Otter Creek Brewing Co.- 6% ABV and 60 IBU. Light yellow pee color with very thin head. Has some sediments floating, but not as hazy as Alpha. Very robust citrusy hop smell that smells like orange peel, grapefruit, lemon and a slightly floral hint. Semi-clean hoppy, juicy flavor, with a bitter, grassy, bite on the nose. Falconers Flight hops comes through and makes for a very pleasurable flavor profile. Less malt backbone than Alpha, and the hops linger in the mouth a bit longer. Additional hops included: Citra and Galaxy. Gotta give this one a 4.75 chillin’ hippies out of 5.

This battle was a little difficult to sort out, but I have to say that Free Flow just edged out Alpha Effect. While I found the Alpha Effect was a much more balanced beer, Free Flow let the hops really all hang out for a fearless hoppy character. Free Flow found some great payoff with their upfront hop character and earned Ottercreek a 1-0 record. Heavy Seas falls to 0-1, but man that was a tasty loss. Please tune in for the next episode of Dualing Brews to see what brewery comes out on top!

Luck of the Irish: A Review of Tollan Rye Hopped RyePA by Three Notch’d Brewery In Charlottesville, VA

I am glad I saved this beer so that I could have it shortly after St. Patty’s Day in celebration of Irish heritage. Three Notch’d brewery makes this single hop beer, annually, using a different hop every year. Tollan Rye is brewed in dedication to the Irish immigrants that helped to build the Blue Ridge Tunnel in Crozet, VA. Tell me that job doesn’t take true grit, and I’ll show you a liar.

This year the beer was brewed with mosaic hops. It has a powerful hop aroma straight out of the can. It has a couple finger width head and is golden orange in color with moderate carbonation. As with most ryePAs this beer is packed with bitterness at 75 ibus. It has an earthy and peppery nose with a mellow citrusy back. The hops overpower the 6.5% ABV that this beer clocks in at. Perfect beer to have while overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains. I would recommend having this beer without food to really enjoy the complexity of the rye peppery profile and juicy hop punch. Not much else to say about this one, other than I look forward to seeing what they do with the 2017 series. I give this beer 4.5 tunnelers!

Mini Double Feature Tasting Review #2

In this second installment of our double feature tasting, my wife and I went for a beer type we haven’t had in a while, and a beer that we thought we would like right off the bat. We have a Czech style pils and a hopped up pale ale, respectively. We usually get tasting beers that we are not confident we would want a full 6 pack of, or simply have not tried. I am kinda wishing I had more of both, after the tasting, but such is craft beer life.

Wild Wolf Brewing Co.-” Czeched Out “-Nellysford, Va – This aptly named Chez pilsner was pretty tasty indeed. Like all/most Czech style pilsners this beer has a heep of Saaz hops. This pilsner was surprisingly very smooth and low bitterness given the pepperiness of Saaz hops. The hops are complimented well by a beautifully mellow apple-y malt backbone. It has low effervescence and no head when poured. It is 5% ABV and 28 IBU. My wife went on a trip abroad in college to the Czech Republic and got me turned on to Czech beers. She has since lost taste for them in exchange for American hoppy ales. This beer is a good bridge back to the old world if you are looking for one. New to Czech hops? Definitely give this a go. I give this beer a resounding 4 out 5 palec nahoru’s ( Czech for thumbs up!)

New Belgium Brewing Co.-” Voodoo Ranger 8 Hop Pale Ale”-Right off the bat we noticed with this beer that it was very effervescent with a small head. It carried a wonderful bouquet of grassy and citrusy hops in every sip, but they don’t pack a punch or too much power given the weak malt backbone. It is a very drinkable ale, which tastes almost like a hoppy session IPA at 5.5% ABV. It is a great porch chair rocker beer, but if you are looking to absolutely rock your taste buds with all of the hoppy flavor you smell, this beer may disappoint a little. Despite my yearning for absolutely explosive hops, I am trying to give this beer its fair due as a very easy drinking hoppy ale. In this vein, I give this beer a 3.75 out of 5 black magic women.

Our Love Child: A Review of Love Child #7 Sour Ale from Boulevard Brewing Company in Kansas City, MO

This has been in the Hopper for a few weeks: Again, this is another meaningful tasting. This is the last day before our baby girl goes to daycare and my wife goes back to work. So it was an obvious choice to pick out a beer with the name Love Child. It is luckily one of the best sours I have ever had! (Thanks Jess and Andrew!) Just like this day is, the beer has a little bitter nose but mostly sweet and tart! It has a really good sour punch that goes from the nose and lingers on the back end. The brewers rated that the funk on this beer was moderate, with low fruitiness, and low-mid sour. Apparently, the aging process kicked in because I would say that it is a mid-high sour, mild fruitiness, and low funk. Definitely some citrusy sour with a brown sugar and apple base. I would gladly trade the funk for more delicious sour. The beer pours with little head and is a golden peach color.

As I drink down this delicious beer, I am playing with my girl on her tummy time mat while throwing a toy for my corgi, Hobbes. We are really enjoying the last afternoon with our baby being just ours before we share her with the world. Here’s to our little love child, Riley. We love you and can’t believe how fast you are growing!

March Hop Madness: A Review of Hop Duster DIPA from Blue Mountain Brewery in Afton, VA

We decided to kick off the first Thursday of March with a visit to one of our local breweries for a steal the pint night. I was in the mood for something heavy hitting and hoppy (as usual) after a tiring day/week. It is also necessary to celebrate as best as you can whenever you are able to go out with a newborn. I ordered up the Hop Duster vaguely remembering it was tasty when I got it last year. The Duster pours a golden orange cleanish hue, with pine and citrus notes that hit your nose immediately. The taste replicates the powerful aroma with a very hop forward piney and citrusy jamboree and smooth finish. Per the brewery menu, they use Armillo, Simcoe, Cirta, Centennial , Falconers flight, and Cascade hops. That is basically all the hops any hop head could want in one drink. The beer is not overly carbonated and the 8.4% ABV is well hidden. If you are not careful this beer could take you under pretty quickly, though it would be a good way to go out. As you can tell from my picture, I dug a good deal into this one before I remembered I should probably get a picture. That alluring golden orange, sweet, sweet liquid candy! I found myself wishing that they had some bottled, or I had my growler on me, because I kinda wanted to bathe in those suds back home. Suffice it to say, it was a good outing and good reminder that fun can still be had as a new parent. Regrettably we couldn’t squeeze in another cold one before the timer started ticking on the next baby fit. I give this beer a 4.5 fly-by-dustings out of 5! Check out my main blog: A is for Ambivalence to see the double feature short story that goes along with this review! ( will be posted shortly)

Conception-Ale: A Double Feature Review and Story of Sisters of the Moon IPA from Mother Earth Brewing in Kinston, N.C.

First off, I have to say that this may be one of the most meaningful beer reviews that I will write, which is why I have to combine this with a beer story. Man, am I happy I saved one of these beers this long.

The Review: The beer is salty and peppery with a bitter bite. You can taste the hops a little better when it isn’t ice cold. This beer tastes like it was made with some of the salt water from the Atlantic, which is nearby the brewery. The beer is almost impossibly effervescent, which makes it impossible to pour it into any glass because you will always get 80% head no matter how good of a pour it is. I, unfortunately, couldn’t find what hops are used in this, but whatever they are there is definitely some heavy floral and slight citrus notes that you can taste on the front end. The peppery and salty spice hits you in the back of the throat on the back end. It is 7% ABV and a fairly easy drink. Definitely reminds me of the beaches in NC and really takes me back to our story to come. I give the beer 3.25 out of 5 phases of the moon. Very unique tasting IPA, which may be best enjoyed while relaxing at the beach.

Now for the story…
The Riley Prologue:

In early Spring of 2016 we went down to Surf City, NC (Topsail Island) for a couple day getaway with our dog. It was the off-season so we were able to get a really good deal on a house with beach access. It was a somewhat spontaneous decision to go down there, and it really paid off. We walked the beach, ate good food, good beer, enjoyed good weather, and “actively planned” for the baby girl, Riley, we have today. It was pretty amazing to find such a place and have such a memorable time just over 5 hours and a handful of “don’t do meth” public service signs away. It was made infinitely more special knowing that 9 months later we were gifted with a new member of the family. We are looking forward to going back with our expanded family in tow, finding some more good beers to drink and perhaps making some more life changing decisions. Also, our Corgi, Hobbes, was a class act while we were there. He loved romping around on the beach meeting everybody and anybody that would give him attention. He also got a kick out of playing with the tide, and at one point hilariously falling into a tide pool.