Dundee IPA

Dundee’s IPA

While the other Dundee offerings have cartoon mascots, this one’s is a model ship in a bottle, sitting on a book whose spine gives the title “S. S. Dundee”. And as usual, no info on the packaging other than a catchphrase: “Bold And Bitter”. Well, let’s just see about that.

Color is a darker shade of pale and a slowly drawn noseful picks out some hoppy characteristics in the aroma, not overpowering but not flat either. With a taste, there’s no surprise that this is $8.50 a twelve-pack. Beer body is flaccid and flabby with no exertion, not sure if this is all barley or if we have some rice let in through the back door.

There’s a bitter that’s not hops, it’s the beer body’s desperation at having to get out of bed and go to work again. The hops side of this IPA is not too bad, however. Not crazy hoppy, and there’s no fruit or floral dimensions, but it does do the job of drying out the weak ale.

Whatever that additive is, it tastes like it’s trying to give the hops a helping hand, but it’s got a somewhat leaden taste, like coal. Separate that from the true hop elements, and they’re not bad. But the complete taste profile is gritty rather than grand. As with all Dundee’s: this is a sweet beer. Good idea with the Honey Brown or the other ales, but with an India pale ale, sweetness is not a friend.

I just can’t recommend buying a lot of this, but you could probably drink two of them before the tar-like bitter taste becomes annoying. Price is good, but let’s just say that while there are some great bargains in IPA Land, the universal rule still does apply: you get what you pay for. This rates a 3.6 but then again, it would’ve been much lower if this sampler-12 had been a few dollars more dear.

Goose Island 4 Star Pils

Goose Island’s 4 Star Pils

Not a regular customer for Goose Island, since i think it may be a zombie craft brewery, eaten and digested by one of the major commercial brewers. And not a regular pilsener drinker, they just don’t have the bite nor the heft that i look for in a pricey beer. A fun side-note: their phone number is 1800-GOOSEME. But, to round out a pick-your-six this was the best non-IPA goose left, so let’s see if it turns out to be a duck instead.

Label calls it at 5.1% alk and 44 IBU’s, but the label also says it’s a lager… they must be considering the pils malts in the naming here. Very bright and clear color, spot-on golden. Blurb says it’s got “crisp hop aroma” and “clean & refreshing finish” and the first one at least is true. The smell is good hoptown, citrus with a layer of composting straw, if you know that pungent smell you’ll know what i mean, and if you don’t you’ll think that’s nasty, but it really isn’t a bad smell.

The taste bears out the rest of the blurb, i would call this crisp on the back end, but also crisp right up front as well. In fact, the attack is crisper than the finish, which is a little more wet. No mention of which variety of hops used, but they do come from their own hop farm in Idaho, which is a ways away from the three brewing locations listed: Baldwinsville NY, Chicago IL, and Fort Collins Colorado.

Not a bad beer, i’ll rate it as if it is truly a lager, in which case it’s pretty darned hoppy, and the malt body is not as punchy as one would like in a lager. Like the hoppiness but would like more weight, this beer seems more trendy than serious. Rates a 6.7 for not sucking terribly.

Sam Adams Cold Snap White Ale

Sam Adams Cold Snap White Ale

It’s chilly in here! Just kidding, it was another 85º day, but it’s the first time i tried Cold Snap white ale “brewed with spices and spices added” because, as the label reminds us, “spring is on the way”. Right, so this is not the freshest bottle on the shelf. But it was only a buck in the bargain bin at a big grocery store, so what the heck?

The spices mentioned in this 5.3% alk white ale are orange peels, plums, and coriander, which is a spice that Sam Adams just loves to slip into their beers. An orangey color, and it’s not transparent, just as the label says, it eschews filtration, so it is thus. A noseful tells the same story: fruits and maybe a hint of that spice, but coriander is not very noisome to begin with, so let’s taste and see.

Yes, that’s a fruity beer alright. White ales, to me, mean Belgium. And to me, Belgium means horrifying beer. This stuff is not so terrifying, and that bit of coriander is, as i said, much more jumpy in the mouth than in the nose. I like the taste, but would never buy this one to just drink. Fruits in beers are an abomination in my sight, and Sam should know this, after i savaged him and his kin for that craptasstic Grapefruit IPA which i ended up pouring down the kitchen drain.

This tastes OK, but the fact is, that it’s not beer. It’s a wine cooler made with weak barley wine. As such, it might be good for a weak barleywine winecooler. I wouldn’t know, don’t drink crap like that. The real problem here is that they sell it as beer, so i have to rate it as a beer.

And as a beer, this is terrible. It’s waaaaay too sweet and it’s fruity not by natural hop effects but by unnatural manipulation. Ewww. As a beer, this might rate 1.6 on my scale, but there is now a standing rule in effect in my house: all Sam Adams beers get an automatic 1 point deduction until they publicly apologize for making Grapefruit IPA.

So this rates 0.6 as a beer. Sam Adams: Brewer, Patriot, Fruity Bastard.

Founders Mosaic Promise

Founders Mosaic Promise

From the makers of the passable All Day IPA and the superb Centennial IPA, here’s another ale, this time a single-hop single-malt brew, the name a mashup betwixt the twain: Mosaic hops and Golden Promise malt. Label says they appreciate simplicity, and that’s sometimes sucky but most of the time a decent idea, as long as it can be pulled off with skill.

Cloudy with specks suspended, normally a good sign, this light colored beer clocks in at 50 IBU’s and 5.5% alk, and there’s only the one hop but it’s a doozy, the smell alone is strong enough to affirm that 50 IBU rating. And upon a sip, it’s a puckery punch to the twisted kisser, Mosaic hops are apparently the lemony ones. And the Founders people used a lot of them.

Another one like my beloved Bonobo Session IPA in one respect: if you told me this was a shandy, i might believe you. Low on the sweetness to be a real faux shandy, but it’s got the lemon essence pouring out its pores. No kidding, this is a tart and i don’t mean the easiest floozy at closing time.

As such, the hops overshadow the beer body inside this bottle. I really can’t tell you what Golden Promise malted barley is like, because my tongue has shrunk in reaction. Hey Founders, are you sure this is only 50 IBU’s? So no grapefruit, no florals or pine, it’s just lemon. A pity because i had my eye on a six of this for a while, but a stroke of luck because at another store there were 3 bottles of this in the bargain bin for a buck each. Glad i didn’t get a sixer for $11, got a half-six (otherwise known as three) for $3.

In this case, very happy to finally try this inexpensively, even if it’s not for me. It is tasty, and there are plenty of hot days left in the final two weeks of official Summer, and a couple bottles of highly lemonned beer will be welcome. As a beer, in the sight of its peers, this can only get a 5.3 rating, but when used for a certain purpose, i.e. to refresh after a sweaty day’s work, those other two bottles will be very appreciated.


OK, two years after i wrote the above review, and you can disregard about half of it. This beer is like the old-time version of the Sweet-Tarts candy, only it’s liquid and tastes like beer and it’s got alcohol.

Today is exactly 2 years and 2 months after doing my first taste of Mosaic Promise, and it has become my go-to beer. It’s just amazingly delicious and cheap enough to support the addiction. Comes in a 15-pack of cans nowadays for $17, so $19.10 with tax and deposit. I know that number by heart now, because i buy this stuff whenever i see it.

Founders doesn’t make it all year round. Last year i held onto a fifteener of this for the lean months, and scouted out a low-volume store where two sixers of this in bottles were gathering dust on the shelf. As my backup supply, you know. In March someone bought one of them, so i scooped up the last six-pack.

Was down to only a couple Mosaic Promises left, when in August, fresh fifteeners of cans started hitting the stores. Hooray! My stashed ones were a little punchy from an unrecommended ageing in my pantry, but i was glad to retire them.

Here’s how much i like this beer: earlier this week i bought the last one of a local store, then the next day i scouted out another store, and sure enough they’ve got Mosaic Promise on the shelf. And i even counted how many 15-packs they have (17) so i can keep track and save some money up, to acquire a good portion of that store’s strategic reserves of Mosaic Promise.

I’m not kidding. The only other beer i invest into as a stock-up is Genesee’s Bock, on sale from Christmas until it runs out, usually in early March, and i run out in June or July. Ooops that’s not true, i also buy a case of 3 Heads Giant Panda Dub Style IPA twice a year, and drink one a week. So Mosiac Promise is the third beer i stock up on, but still, that’s saying something.

The bright citrus of the hops, the sweet malt of an uncompleted fermentation. For the price, about $1.25 a beer, this is the perfect balance of value and quality.

Two years ago, MP’s fizzed up as soon as the bottle was opened, and that’s the incomplete fermentation continuing inside the bottle. Means that they were over 5.5% alc by that point, so lucky me.

Today’s MP has less floaty specks, and it doesn’t fizz over when it’s in a can. So they’ve refined the process here. Alas for that, but the taste is still spot-on from the original crop of 2016. Because i did not appreciate what i had, my original review pegged MP at 5.3 rating. Now, i see that’s preposterous.

I love this beer, and i seek it out, and i hoard it. A more proper rating today would be closer to 8.3