Food, Health & Fitness

Short Reviews: IPAs and a Valentine’s Beer, Supposedly


Modern Times Mega Fortunate Islands and Bikedog Double IPA

Both California IPAs feature the classic, easily-recognizable India Pale Ale grass and pine aromas.

I’ve had Mega before, and it’s dangerously drinkable. This Modern Times brew is a gentler, more accessible double IPA for these modern times (ack, I’m truly despicable because of my pathetic compositional attempt to reference the beer’s name). You experience dialed down bitterness and  played up fruitiness from the Citra and Amarillo hops, and that’s not a bad thing at all.

Bike Dog gave me more IPA – livelier carbonation,  sturdier malt backbone, and a more persistent bitterness that camps longer on the tongue. Its hop qualities border on the palate-numbing at times. Better than Mega Fortunate Islands, only because the Modern Times brew came short of its advertised fruitiness, and Bike Dog gave a better account of its more traditional hop-bitter approach. Both Double IPAs, by the way, were enjoyed that particular evening with homemade tokwa’t baboy seasoned with soy sauce, vinegar and cayenne pepper powder.

Alpine Duet

Another repeat beer. Ripe melons and honeydew on the nose. Semi-dry mouthfeel, light malt, with smooth bitterness that gently lathers rather than attacks the tongue. Very crushable, as they say in beer circles.

Excellent. Like the first time I had this brew, though, I find it inferior to Ballast Point’s Sculpin.

Rogue Hazelutely Choctabulous

This year’s necessary Valentine’s brew.

A beer with such a fantabulous name should be stupendous. It isn’t. This combination of Rogue’s own Chocolate Stout and the excellent Hazelnut Brown Nectar is good, but it ain’t great. No candy bar in a bottle, for sure. The bouquet was a promising combination of moist chocolate icing and sweetened cocoa dust. The beer’s shortcomings are exposed once you actually start sipping – thin mouthfeel, over-eager carbonation, not too generous with the promised hazelnuts and chocolates. Was expecting more from this brew.

Rogue, a pioneer and pillar in the craft beer world, still doesn’t have a barrel-aging program as far as I’m aware. Its beers, while generally inoffensive, default into the “merely good” instead of being awesome. Hazelutely Choctabulous is a prime example.


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