Editor's note: We're very excited to be introducing a new beer contributor on the site named CJ. His extensive knowledge of (and love for) beer will bring a fresh, new voice to the site. Enjoy.
CJ Bonifati loves beer. Not just the buzz or the taste, but the culture. For him drinking beer is not just an activity but also a lifestyle. He subscribes to Beer Advocate’s motto “Respect Beer.” This serves as a reminder that when you are drinking a beer, you are drinking someone’s hard work and art. Oftentimes, men and women dedicate their lives trying to brew the perfect beer, and CJ has decided to dedicate a significant portion of his life to drinking it. CJ is a Boston College graduate, Class of 2014, and currently resides in White Plains, NY. When he is not drinking beer he is playing Ultimate Frisbee or catching up on New York Sports.
Avery Brewing Company (Boulder, CO)
Raja Double IPA 12. Oz can 8% ABV
Hop Varieties: Galaxy, Vic Secret
Malt Varieties: 2-Row
Appearance: This beer pours with a minimal head and a light golden color. The color is consistent throughout the glass
Aroma: Raja is brewed with galaxy hops, which is a close cousin to the ever popular citra hop. Galaxy hops give a similar citrus aroma, but with more dank haze. The 2-Row malt is very calm and is over powered by the dank aroma created by this very hoppy beer.
Taste: This beer starts right off with deep tropical flavors and a medium haze that adds to the dank aroma of the beer. Compared to other Double IPAs this beer does not have as much bite. The dry hopping done after the boil creates a smooth refreshing beer that will give you a lot of dank flavor for how diminished the after taste on this one is. Coming in at 8% ABV this beer goes down easy without compromising flavors.
Palate: Medium body and smooth, this beer is firm until the end. What the malt lacks in aroma and flavor it makes up for on the palate. Unlike other IPA’s this beer is a mouthful. Its flavor comes hand over fist from when it hits your nose to when it hits your stomach.
App: 7.5/10 Aroma: 7.5/10 Taste: 8.5/10 Palate: 8.5/10 Overall: 85%
Six Point Brewery (Brooklyn, NY)
Puff Unfiltered Ale 12 oz can 9.8%ABV (Limited Can Release)
Hop and Malt Varieties: Unlisted
Appearance: This beer pours with a thick and full head right to the top of the glass. At the bottom of the glass you have a thick golden beer, with the color becoming more pale and translucent towards the head.
Aroma: Puff has a thick and sappy aroma. It is definitely sweet, but not in a fruity sense. Piney malts dominate the aroma of this beer.
Taste: From the nose of this beer you would not assume that it is hoppy, but the first sip greets you with an explosion of hops. The sappy malts compliment the hop selection well, and you are left with a beer that has incredibly complex flavors. The beer is aptly named Puff. The flavor is light and airy, but not lacking in complexity. The savory pine flavors walk hand in hand with the selection of hops leaving you with an excellent beer.
Palate: This is a beer for the malt lovers. The malty after taste leaves your mouth watering. This is a mouth full of a beer and clearly lives up to its label of “unfiltered”. If you are looking for something off the beaten path, then reach for a Puff.
App: 7/10 Aroma: 8/10 Taste: 8.5/10 Palate: 7/10 Overall 81%
Evil Twin Brewing (Brooklyn, NY)
Mosaic Single Hop Imperial India Pale American Wheat Lager 8%ABV 1 pint 6 oz bottle
Appearance: This beer pours a dark amber with consistent color and a medium head. Its appearance is very similar to that of most American lagers.
Aroma: Malted chocolate is the first thing that comes to mind when I get a whiff of this beer. This is a strong aroma that doesn’t necessarily match the color of the beer. The aroma is like Christmas morning, piney, sweet and full of spice and interesting flavors.
Taste: What this beer is trying to be is incorporate the IPA style of hopping into the traditional American wheat lager. What you end up with is the Mosaic Single Hop Imperial India Pale American Wheat Lager or MSHIIPAWL for short. The toasted malts used for this beer compliment the mosaic hops very kindly. You end up with a deep, sappy beer. The mosaic hops gives you the traditional citrusy bitterness of an IPA, but for IPA lovers the hoppy bitterness is welcomed.
Palate: This beer is surprisingly light for its complexity of flavors as well as its color and aroma. This beer is easy to drink, but will leave a strong taste in your mouth. It would go great with BBQ food and some lawn games. Unfortunately, this beer is part of Evil Twin’s Limited Edition series, so pick it up while you can!
App: 8.5/10 Aroma: 7.5/10 Taste: 8.75/10 Palette: 8.00/10 Overall: 86%