Mosaic Promise

Maker: Founders, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USAwpid-2014-12-22-17.31.24.jpg.jpeg

Style: IPA

ABV: 5.5%

Purchased for $10/6 pack

Notes: Brewed with a single malt (Golden Promise) and a single hop (Mosaic). Limited distrubion (Michigan, Wisconsin and the Chicago and NYC metro areas).

Appearance: Translucent orange with a delicate lacy head.

Nose: Big spicy hops with a bit of funk of indeterminate origin.

Palate: Spicy hops and a huge grapefruit flavor.

Finish: Big dry and bitter. Like having your oral cavity stuffed full of hops.

Parting words: Brewed to support the ArtPrize art competition in Grand Rapids, the beautiful image on the label is from a stained glass piece created by Matt and Elizabeth Kolenda that won the competition in 2013.

This is a beer I’m sure most hop heads will love. It’s crisp and refreshing with hops out the wazoo. It’s a solid but one-dimensional effort. I understand that they were going for something simple but for $10 a six pack, I expect more complexity. The proceeds  go to a good cause so maybe that can be factored in when deciding if it’s worth buying. Mosaic Promise is mildly recommended.

Medley Bros.

Maker: Charles W. Medley, Owensboro, Kentucky, USAwpid-2014-12-13-10.25.47.jpg.jpeg

Distiller: Unknown.

Age: NAS

Proof: 102 (51% ABV)

Price: $24 (The Party Source)

Appearance: Pale copper.

Nose: Corn chips, tarragon, leather.

Palate: Soft mouthfeel. A delicate slight corny or maybe malty sweetness. It slowly grows hotter and hotter until it fills the mouth with cayenne pepper.

Finish: Like Mae West: hot and corny with maybe a touch of sweet malt.

Mixed: Very good in cocktails. Excellent in a Manhattan, Old Fashioned, Boulevardier, with Benedictines and even in a hot toddy.

Parting words: Medley Bros. is the cheapest, highest proof and newest product in the Medley line of bourbons. The brands are owned by Charles W. Medley (son of Wathen, 2nd from right on the label) and his son Sam. All their bourbons are custom distilled by an undisclosed Kentucky distiller and bottled by Frank-Linn of Fairfield, California. According to Chuck Cowdery, they are all made from the family mashbill, which has a high malt content relative to other bourbons.

It tastes like it. It has a mild sweetness that resembles what I imagine a high malt bourbon would taste like. The only bourbon I’ve had with a similar sweetness is 1792, which is also (maybe) a high malt bourbon.

It fares well against the competition, too. I tasted it next side by side with Wild Turkey 101, Old Forester Signature, Heaven Hill Bottled-in-Bond (white label) and Very Old Barton Bottled-in-Bond. It didn’t blow any of them away, but it held its own. For cocktails, the Bros. are hard to beat. I wish I could have tasted it alongside Charter 101 and Old Grand Dad to get a more complete picture, but I forgot to get a bottle of either of those.

The label is crisp with just enough kitsch to be fun with portraits of the five brothers and the “heart of the run” neck thingy. The price is in line with the competition. My only complaint is the nose. As it sits in the glass, the corn chip aroma becomes stronger and stronger to the point of unpleasantness. In spite of that, Medley Bros. is recommended and highly recommended for cocktails. It is currently limited in distribution so pick up a bottle or two next time you’re in Kentucky.

Lapinette

Maker: Virtue Farms, Fennville, Michigan, USAwpid-2014-12-16-16.53.00.jpg.jpeg

Style: Cidre Brut (in the style of dry Norman cider)

ABV: 6.8%

Purchased: $8/750 ml

Appearance: Pale gold. Very little effervescence.

Nose: Yeasty funk with a light sweet apple juice aroma.

Palate: Mineral water with hints of apple, yeast and lemon juice.

Finish: Clean and quick. Flint, dry citrus.

Parting words: The last cider I reviewed was a real Norman cider, so I thought it might be fun to try this hommage. It’s firmly in the style with all the yeasty dryness of its French cousin. Maybe I’m just getting used to the style but I enjoyed this one a little more. Not that I really love it but it’s more enjoyable. No criticism of Virtue here, they nailed the style, but Lapinette is only mildly recommended.

Enlighten

Maker: Chapman’s, Angola, Indiana, USAwpid-20141201_133600.jpg

Style: Kölsch style

ABV: 5.3%

Purchased for $11/4 pint cans

Appearance: Dark gold with a foamy head.

Nose: Sweet cereal, yeast.

Palate: medium bodied. Crisp, grassy and bitter with a subtle underpinning of sweetness.

Finish: Dry and bitter. Lasts quite some time.

Parting words: This is the first beer I’ve had from Chapman’s and it’s pretty good and a good example of the style. It’s a fine table beer and would be quite refreshing served ice cold in the summertime. The biggest problem is the price. For that much, I expect more than this by-the-numbers approach. Chapman’s Enlighten is mildly recommended.