This week I have a few Midwestern brews that are perfect for the few weeks of autumn that are about to end.
Up first, Michigan’s Greenbush Brewing and their Anger.
Greenbush opened up in Sawyer, Michigan back in June of 2011. They have grown nicely over the past seven years, buying the building next to then AND across from them, allowing for them to open The Annex and the Clean Plate Club (in 2014 and 2016 respectively).
Today they can be found in Illinois, Iowa, and Michigan along with (apparently) some spots in the UK and western Europe.
I have their Anger which is an IPA but, despite the bottle not saying anything about this, Anger is a black IPA with a solid ABV of 7.6% and 81 IBU. I don’t know what hops/malts were used, but I do know it costs the typical $10 for a six pack of bottles.
This black IPA poured, as one might expect from the name, jet black with some ruby coloring when a light source was pointed directly at it. No more than a finger of head ever built up and, the tan foam, quickly dissipated.
Anger had a mixed aroma, a combination of an IPA and stout, creating a somewhat sweeter scent than most hoppy brews have. Notes of coffee and chocolate led it all off with some hoppy pine and just the tiniest dash of carbonation sitting behind the sweeter notes.
My first swig began with a solid carbonated fizz that slowly transitioned into the flavors seeping out from the effervescence.
Leading off the taste, as the smell had indicated, was a sweeter, chocolatey malt characteristic that mixed with that light citrus (mostly orange with some light lemon) to create a surprisingly balanced and nice opening to it.
Very soon after, a slightly oily grassy flavor joins the party. But, as things progress, the hops start to take over with some piney bitterness that’s amplified by some coffee undertones and really switched things up, flavor wise, for this brew.
Along with the pine and coffee, there is a roasted malt flavor and a bit of that citrus rind that pops back up as things begin to fade out.
I was surprised at how clean Anger finished though because, for all the flavors and changes this brew had, not many lingered after a few moments. What did hang around was that sticky resinous feeling and some coffee/hop bitterness, but it wasn’t anything too bad.
I’m not a huge fan of dark brews, that’s no secret at this point. And, I’ll be real with ya…when I picked this beer up, I thought it was a traditional IPA because there’s nothing on the label that says it’s a black IPA. Maybe that’s why it’s called Anger…because this new label doesn’t say anything about it being a black IPA so, when people buy it, thinking it’s a regular IPA, they get angry when they pour out this super dark beer?
However, that being said, this isn’t a bad beer at all. It has a nice balance to it and a plethora of flavors fighting for control. A nice mix for anyone that likes stouts or IPAs.
Up next, one of the original breweries from the Land of Lincoln - Two Brothers - and their wet hop IPA.
Two Brothers began in Warrenville, Illinois way back in 1996 and was one of Illinois’ first, and therefore oldest, craft breweries. Today they have expanded to four locations in Illinois and have opened another in Scottsdale, Arizona as well. You can find them in 12 states (Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, and Wisconsin).
Today I have their fall release, Heavy Handed.
Heavy Handed is a seasonal wet hop IPA brewed with copious amounts of hops…this year they chose Cascade hops to pack inside the brew. Clocking in at 6.7% ABV and having 65 IBU, this IPA doesn’t pack too much of a punch but is certainly has some solid stats. The brew does run slightly higher than average, at $11 for a six pack.
It poured a golden copper color with just over a finger of head building up. The slightly off-white foam sticks around for a little bit before finally fizzling away and lacing the glass before I even took a sip.
On the nose, this brew had a slightly peppery, slightly citrusy aroma. There was a sticky-sweet lemon candy scent that mixed with some spicy pepper notes that really controlled the smell, with nothing else really being that noticeable.
It began with a somewhat thicker mouthfeel with very little fizz from the carbonation, instead it was smoother and, as the name might imply, heavier than most IPA.
The hops start off the taste with that sugary candy flavor and feel, a sticky/resinous sensation accompanied by some lemon and orange flavors. From there a low-level bitterness kicks the back of my tongue and brings with it some light pine notes and some floral flavors as well.
As I continued to drink it down, the pepper kept me on my toes. On some swigs, the spice hit me up front with the citrus. On others, it was hidden initially before really slamming my taste buds during the second half of things, once most of the flavors had started to fade away.
I was expecting more bitterness in this brew but it was surprisingly palatable the whole time, with just a tiny bitter twinge at the very end.
Heavy Handed ended really cleanly too. Outside of that dash of bitterness the only thing left behind was the sticky feeling from the open…that resinous feeling was the only thing that stayed consistent the entire time.
This was a tasty, albeit sticky, IPA. Get it while you can because, as the fall seasonal brew, it won’t be available much longer, as it’s about to be replaced by their winter brew.