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Hello to whomever may be reading.  Welcome to my little corner of the internet, the BeerRantsAndBooks Blog!  As the name suggests I like drinking beers and reading books and want to share my thoughts.  These two hobbies will probably be the primary focus but we’ll see what happens.  I have two reviews of some great beers to get started so let’s get this thing going:

Beer Name: Nature of the Experiment

Brewer: Night Shift and Bissell Brothers Collaboration

Style: DIPA

ABV: 6.20%

Description: Per the Night Shift website and Beer Advocate, this is a Brett fermented IPA aged in wine barrels with touches of mango and ginger.  Hop bill is Citra, Simcoe, Mosaic, Nelson Sauvin, and Topaz.

Pour Info: Poured from my trusty 32 oz. growler into my Night Shift Barrel Society teku glass.  The beer was released at the brewery on 11/4/2014, growler was filled on 11/6/2014, and the pour used for this review was consumed on 11/9/2014.  So we’re talking fresh here.

Price: $14 for a 32 oz. growler fill at the Night Shift Brewery

Appearance: Pours a yellowish orange body with a wispy thin white head that breaks up fairly quickly.

Smell: Smells of muted hops, citrus fruit, and slight bretty funk.

Taste: Slight hoppiness up front gives way to a nice juicy citrus taste midway.  The finish hints of red wine and the brett taste comes out a bit more as the beer warms.  I found the flavors blended together nicely for a great experience start to finish.

Mouth Feel: I’d call this thoroughly medium bodied and appropriate to style.  Just enough carbonation.  When allowed to sit and warm up for a bit it bordered on getting a touch syrupy at the end but was good drinking all the way through.

Hype Factor: I’m always excited to try a new Night Shift brew but I would say the hype factor is moderate on this one.  I believe it was one of four new beers they had on tap at the brewery when I swung by (aka another Thursday there) and this wasn’t even the one I was most excited to try at the time.  Of course it is the one I brought home in my growler so there’s that.

Overall: I found this beer to be very well constructed and satisfying to drink.  I hit up the growler both on its own and following a wine tasting and the beer held up nicely on both occasions (the later perhaps due to the barrels involved).  At times I felt it almost drank like a type of beer/wine hybrid.  Rated purely as an IPA this is not particularly hoppy by some standards but the hops definitely do make themselves known in harmony with the other flavors.  I’ve been a fan of Night Shift for quite awhile now but I think this is my first encounter with the Bissell Brothers.  Definitely going to keep an eye out for them.

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And without further ado, here is review number two:

Beer Name: Citronium

Brewer: Element Brewing Company

Style: DIPA

ABV: 9.5%

Description: Per the Element website, this is a double IPA “blasted” with three citrus flavors.  They added kaffir limes and Citra hops during the boil and grapefruit oil prior to bottling.  According to the label my bottle was one of only 460.

Pour Info: Poured from the bottle into my teku glass.  I picked up the corked and caged bottle on 11/8/2014 at a beer and wine tasting at a local store.  Bottled on date was 10/24/2014 (another fresh one!).  Consumed for review on 11/11/2014.

Price: $12.99 for 750 ml (not including 10% discount from tasting)

Appearance: Medium copper body with a bubbly white head that slowly dissipated.  Bottle conditioned sediment on the final pour that turned into a tasty bonus.

Smell: Strong bitter and citrusy hops.  Wow, almost a punch in the nose.

Taste: Again, another punch of bitter citrus hops (as advertised in retrospect).  Bitter taste is somewhat oily and resinous.  The grapefruit oil they added definitely comes through in the finish and I get hints of the lime sort of up front and toward the beginning of the finish.  I would say this is rather bitter but there’s enough interesting citrus tastes going on to compliment that and keep it in check.

Mouth Feel: Medium body.  Bubbly but not too bubbly

Hype Factor: I’d have to say low on this one.  I’ve never really tried much of anything from Element before prior to running across their Sake IPA at the Gulu Gulu in Salem, MA on Halloween.  I’d seen them plenty but just one of those breweries I’d never picked for whatever reason.  Between running across them in Salem and then at the local tasting it seemed like a good time to try them out.

Overall: This is a tough beer to categorize for me.  By smell and initial taste it seems like it should be too bitter but somehow it works out into a really enjoyable beer.  The lime and grapefruit combine to create a very interesting citrus profile that compliments the hops very well.  I am tempted to try and get another bottle if they are still available to see how this drinks a month or more out from bottling since this was so intense this time around.  I did really enjoy the beer overall and Element Brewing has now officially got my attention.

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