Usually I bring you two brews from different breweries but today I wanted to spotlight a single brewery from a nearby Chicago suburb.
Shiller Park, Illinois is a northwestern suburb of Chicago located right by O’Hare Airport. The village of 12,000 is home to Short Fuse Brewing, a 30 barrel brewhouse that is also home to two huge oak foeders that age their sour/wild beers.
The newer brewery just recently began to can and distribute brews around Chicagoland these days…with hopefully more areas coming along shortly.
Today I have two of their canned goods – Judgemint Day and Loosey Juicy.
Judgemint Day is a 9% double IPA made with American, English, and Belgian grains with mint added and a surprisingly low 65 IBU.
Loosey Juicy is a NE IPA with a modest 35 IBU and 6.4% ABV. It’s made with American and New Zealand hops, flaked wheat, and oats.
Both come in four-packs of 16-ounce cans that cost the usual $9.99.
To begin, lets face Judgemint Day…
Judgemint Day was surprisingly dark. It poured a deep amber color with about a finger of tan head flowing upwards to top the beer. The foam settled for a while creating a barrier half an inch thick and clinging to the glass.
On the nose there was a bold hoppy pine aroma mixing with nutty notes creeping right behind. Behind the hops was a bready English malt profile and just the tiniest hint of mint. It seemed to smell much more like an amber ale than a double IPA.
My first taste starts with a smooth and creamy mouthfeel with very little fizz from the carbonation – feeling more like a nitro beer.
From there the mint actually starts it all off with just a hint of spice before the hop profile takes over and imparts a strong resinous pine flavor with those nutty qualities following hand in hand.
During the middle of the sip there is actually a splash of citrus fruit flavors that break the through the other hop flavors…but just for a moment. And, as soon as that moment is gone, the pine once again attacks the taste buds.
Judgemint Day ends with a bitter bite that went hand in hand with the strong piney flavor. However, there is not real lingering aftertaste – just a dash of dryness and some stickiness from the resinous hops.
The 9% ABV was hidden almost entirely (as it warmed up, there was a dash of booze towards the end of the can) and I could hardly tell this was a double IPA. For such a strong beer it certainly drank much lighter than the color, and style, would have you think.
Overall, this was a solid DIPA and a nice start to my dive into Short Fuse beers. I wish there was more mint coming out in the flavor, as the hops and malt took over, leaving just that opening dash of minty-ness to be detected…but all-in-all it was a smooth, easy to drink double.
Since we’ve already finished with Judgemint Day, we all might as well keep it loose and have Loosey Juicy.
This NE England IPA poured a murky tan color; and looked like a glass of muddy water…but with a razor thin layer of white head and an amazing aroma.
The scent was that of pure orange juice, light hops, and finished with the rolled oats and flaked wheat providing a balance to everything.
My first sip began with a nice fizzle of carbonation that stung my tongue briefly before the hops and malts took over. From there the citrus took hold, imparting huge bursts of orange and grapefruit flavors.
The wheat and oats added some nice non-citrus sweetness and attempted to provide a balance between the hops and my taste buds and, for the most part, was successful.
But, surprisingly, some of that bitterness did get through. As an NE IPA, and at only having 35 IBU, I wasn’t expecting there to be much bitterness at all…but the hops imparted a surprisingly bitter bite that hit halfway through.
However, as the whole thing ends, there is another short gust of citrusy goodness that then faded into a light hop flavor that lingered for a moment or two at the end of the taste.
Overall, Loosey Juicy was a very good IPA. The mouthfeel reminded me a bit more of a west coast brew than a light and “pillowy” traditional NE IPA. But the flavors were all there and it was super easy to drink…like I finished in way less time than I should have (good thing I have three more waiting for me in the fridge).
Short Fuse might not be available in a lot of places right now…but I know I’ll be looking for more of their stuff! And, I’ll be sure to grab another pack of this Loosey Juicy.