Tonight’s choice of beer is the culmination of a sixpack beer trade with Nick, a craft beer drinking buddy from work. The trade was my sixer of Anderson Valley Summer Solstice for his Two Brother Outlaw IPA. The prices were nearly identical and the trade was made after working hours.
(Yes. Another IPA. Now be quiet and continue reading. Thankyouverymuchhaveaniceday.)
I had told Nick my opinion of Solstice as being a bit too malty but he didn’t seem to care. His opinion of Outlaw was, “I like it.” There’s not a lot to go on there, but knowing Nick, if he likes it, it’s pretty damn good. he also rates the homebrew samples I give him in twelve words or less. Still, I value his opinion.
Outlaw is Two Brothers’ first craft brew offered in cans as stated on the label.
As bold as the name suggests but as friendly as the masked man, comes our first adventure into the world of cans. This IPA is full of citrus and pine hop character and aroma. The hop flavors play off the pleasant malt complexity like a good sidekick. Giddy-up.
Great. Another one of those hard plastic sixpack carriers. I could pull one off the carrier by hand, but the force used makes for an exercise in inertia and tends to have the chosen can jarred from the release making for a foamy bath upon opening. I still didn’t have the churchkey opener mentioned in last week’s review, so I decided to try the trusty, rusty ol’ sidecutters. Two clips in adjacent gaps made for a gentle release.
With any IPA that I try, I always look for that balance between the hops and the malts that make for a great drinking experience. Tonight we’ll see whether this beer lives up to its own personal description, or swings the scale to the side in favor of one ingredient, hops or malts. If the description is true and not just some marketing doublespeak, we’re in for a good night.
The beer poured with a matte brown-orange color and the liquid was translucent. Shining the Craftsman flashlight from behind changed everything. The illuminated liquid looked pretty close to that of Orange Crush. There was a nice population of micro-bubbles streaming off the DFH glass’ nucleation site and the head was a slight yellowish white, thick and creamy, standing up to almost 2 inches. There was just a little aroma and what I picked up was a bit of hops and some sweet fruit smells.
The first sip was delightful. This beer from initial impressions was like a song with catchy melody. There was no big blast of hops but rather a large hint that the hops were there. A real nice fruity sweetness preceded the hop party and the sweet pervaded the entire mouth cavity. The sweet was definitely citrus but no one unique flavor stood out. Perhaps a little grapefruit and some darker fruit tastes, but this beer was a nice meld of subtleties in the citrus category.
The beer rated itself as having 60 IBUs and 6.3% alcohol. There were a few sips when I thought that this beer is more along the lines of a pale ale rather than an IPA, but the hoppiness couldn’t be discounted as being as being low to moderate, and the ABV didn’t hit it right for that category. The BJCP style book came to my rescue again this week: Pale ale; India pale ale. I think I need to drink more of these two styles in order to learn more about them; what’s different and what’s the same between the two. Yes. I need to drink more beer.
As the glass got drained, the nice light lacing along the inside showed itself. Surely that’s a sign of quality craft beer. Or a clean glass. Or magic. I think the subject of lacing bears some revisiting. Here’s that lacing video again to serve as a refresher.
BA and RB have this beer rated at 6.5% alcohol, but on the can it’s printed as 6.3%. I’m not going to speculate on the difference as to whether it’s brazen or subtle or a new version of the same recipe. Whatever the reason, I’m enjoying the hell out of this beer.
I’d consider this beer to be a “moderate” IPA. One where the hops don’t overpower the tonsils, but give the malts equal billing. The balance of this beer was damn near perfect, that synergy between malts and hops was in full bloom. Ya know, if I was to introduce the IPA style of beer to a noob, this beer would be a damn near perfect intro specimen. (Thinking of that one guy who suggested DFH 90 Minute as my first one. Thanks again.)
This beer might be compared to Great Lakes Commodore Perry, Ska Modus Hoperandi or Sierra Nevada Torpedo only toned down to about a 6 or 6.5 on the rasp scale.
There was just enough of everything in this beer to make it 100% delicious. A nice medium mouthfeel, some malty goodness, citrus, moderate hops (by comparison to other IPAs) and an overall feeling of gladness after each sip. This was the perfect summer sipper or a Friday night after work beer.
Two Brothers’ first foray into the world of cans is a beer that should be sought out and bought frequently. A smile in every sip.
It was a good night.
Taste: Just enough of everything and not too much of anything.
Smoothness: Nice and easy on all mouth parts.
Drinkability: One round deserves another.
Bang for the buck: Worth every penny of a 10-dollar bill. Even if it comes in cans.
Paid price: $9.49
Get it again? Oh yeah. For sure.
Brewer’s website: Two Brothers Brewing Company, Warrenville, Illinois (a real Illinois town.)
Wife’s all-encompassing opinion: (Sniff) Citrusy smelling. (sip) Flat tasting. Kinda like an orange that’s drying out. (sip) There’s some bitterness but I’m not getting a lot of flavoring from anything. (sip) Not terrible dry, not terrible bitter. (Well. Except for the dried orange, I’d take it that it was pretty good.)
Two Brothers Beer (1:52)
Two Brothers – 15 Beers for 15 Years (2:11)