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The other day I came home to a most welcome surprise.  In addition to picking up all the ingredients for an amazing dinner, my amazing and thoughtful wife also came home with beer from Trader Joe’s.  The novelty of that alone was enough to get me interested, and the amazing price point certainly got my attention as well.  But how would they taste?  Let’s find out.

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Beer Name: Boatswain Twin Screw Screamer

Brewer: Minhas Craft Brewery

Style: DIPA

ABV: 8.4%

Description: Part of the Minhas Boatswain small batch series.  The label describes a pleasant bitterness from the hops and calls it “one big, bold beer.”  We shall see.

Pour Info: Poured cold into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass.

Price: $2.29 per 22 oz. bottle.

Appearance: Pours a reddish/caramel brown body.  There’s a thin lacing at the top but not much of a head can be coaxed out.

Smell: Very little to report here.  There is a faint sweetness and not much else.

Taste: Sweet and malty up front with some hoppy bitterness at the end.  The transition between the two tastes is rather abrupt and they didn’t quite blend together as well as they should have.  As the beer warms the sweetness increases and the bitterness starts to build up on your palette but even then the tastes don’t quite come together.  The taste actually brings to mind a hoppy red ale home brew I experimented with and sampled while it was still a bit too green for bottling.

Mouth Feel: Thicker side of medium but with moderate carbonation.  On style for the most part.

Hype Factor: For the price, I was hoping to like this.  I didn’t expect it to be world class or exceptional, but something in the good to very good range would have been awesome.

Overall: This wasn’t a bad beer, but I wouldn’t call it a good beer.  Factoring in the price, and yeah, I’d say at least give this a try if you’re looking for an economical beer and aren’t looking to commit to drinking a 40 ouncer.  Otherwise, you can find better.

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Beer Name: Botswain American IPA

Brewer: Minhas Craft Brewery

Style: IPA

ABV: 6.7%

Description: Another entry in the Boatswain small batch series.  The IPA purports both its maltiness and high hop level.  Best by date on the bottle is illegible.

Pour Info: Poured from a refrigerated bottle into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass.

Price: $2.29 for a 22 oz. bomber.

Appearance: Pours out a coppery caramel body.  There is some lacing up top but again, not much of a head.

Smell: Sweetly malty and slightly bitter.

Taste: Again, malty and sweet.  Very malty and sweet.  In the right circumstances that is not necessary a bad thing, but this is labeled as an IPA and these tastes pretty much dominate the beer.  There isn’t much in the way of a hop presence or bitterness to speak of.  I suppose it could have been a past its prime bottle but if that is the case, this beer really fell off a cliff.  Not good.

Mouth Feel: Medium-plus thickness and a touch syrupy.  Felt it could use a little bit more carbonation for the style.

Hype Factor: Same as the DIPA.  For the price, something even not bad would have been a nice pickup.

Overall:  The beer wasn’t undrinkable, but it I certainly wouldn’t go so far as to call it good.  In general it is mediocre at best.  As an IPA though, I would say this doesn’t quite make the grade as it lacked the bitterness and mouth feel characteristic of the style.  Even for the price, I wouldn’t purchase it again and advise even bargain hunters to steer clear.

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