1. Heater Allen IsarWeizen
Background: "Sarah Billick, a friend of my [Rick Allen's] daughter's, spent a year taking classes and interning at the IsarBrau Brew Pub in Munich. She brought back the recipe for their Wheat Beer, and we made it here at the brewery." I have no idea how difficult it is to brew a traditional German weizen, but Heater Allen falls just short in this effort. It has the elements in the right place, but not the oomph. The wheat isn't pronounced, the fun phenols are subdued, and it finishes more wetly and less crisply than I'd like. If you'd never had a Weihenstephaner, say, you might find this one quite nice. But for the rest of us, it's about a B-.
2. Double Mountain Vaporizer
Double Mountain specializes in taking standard styles and putting a little mustard on them. Vaporizer, styled a "golden IPA," is a beer brewed exclusively with pilsner malt and hopped with mostly Challenger hops. A more characteristic IPA has some crystal malts to create some body and sweetness to balance the hopping. These, or similar malts, will also deepen the color. Challenger hops are a traditonal English bittering hop--generally a clean hop without a huge amount of character. Double Mountain used a domestic strain, however, and it is more citrusy and fruity. The final result is an extremely quaffable beer, hops aggressive but not savage. I would love to tell you that it's a comely, straw-colored beer, but at the release party they served the beer in opaque plastic cups. What struck me more than anything was a desire to try this beer on cask. Call it a solid B+.
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