Sunspot

Maker: Green Bush, Sawyer, Michigan, USAwpid-20150601_140654.jpg

Style: hefeweizen

ABV: 6%

Purchased for $12/6 pack

Appearance: Hazy burnt orange with a frothy head.

Nose: Cut hay, apricot.

Palate: Full bodied but not heavy. More bitter than I expected. A slightly fruity background.

Finish: Very good. Chewy hops and stone fruit with a touch of citrus.

Parting words: I’ve long been a fan of wheat beers so when I saw this one on the shelf I grabbed it immediately. Around these parts, the big dog in summertime wheat beers is Bell’s Oberon, of course. It stands out because of its bitterness, a rare feature in wheats. Although Sunspot has an average number of IBUs (international bittering units) compared to other hefeweizen, its bitterness stood out very strongly to me. This may have been a function of my palate at the time, but I found it surprising. I prefer wheat beers with more fruit than this, but I’m not a style stickler either. The price is high for a beer billed as a refresher, but it is tasty. Sunspot is recommended.

Vanderbush

Makers: Greenbush, Sawyer, Michigan/Vandermill, Spring Lake, Michigan, USAwpid-20141110_170204.jpg

Style: Tripel brewed with cider.

ABV: 10.2%

Purchased for $13/4 pack

Appearance: Like cloudy cider with a big foamy head.

Nose: Sweet malt, hot cereal, hot cider.

Palate: Effervescent with hops, apple juice, and sourdough swimming around.

Finish: Bizarre. Big bitter hops clashing with a slightly sweet, apple flavor. Like chewing on cotton or accidently swallowing a bug.

Parting words: I have had lots of great beers from Greenbush and lots of great ciders from Vandermill. I have nothing but love and respect for both producers. That said, this is a terrible product. The nose and palate are decent, but nothing special. The finish is what kills it. It’s just gross. If a cider-beer from two great craft producers tastes this bad, I shudder to think what the corporate versions taste like. Vanderbush is not recommended.

Anger

Maker: Greenbush, Sawyer, Michigan, USAwpid-20140908_191327.jpg

Style: Black IPA

ABV: 7.6%

Purchased for $11 for a 6 pack.

Appearance: Dark coffee, lacy, light colored head.

Nose: Grapefruit, lavender, coriander, toasted brown bread.

Palate: Sweet and spicy. Black pepper, coffee, hint of chipotle.

Finish: Mildly sweet and more dry hoppy spice. Black cherry, then a bit roasty bitterness.

Parting words: I’ll admit to being a man who got sick of IPAs. The IPA madness seems to have died down about so I came out of my hiding place to buy myself a pack of Anger.

Anger makes me happy. It has lots of hoppy IPA aggression but it is perfectly balanced by toasty and subtly sweet flavors. It goes ok with food, but some of the subtlety is lost. This is an IPA I can drink (a lot) and enjoy. Anger is recommended.

Closure

Maker: Greenbush, Sawyer, Michigan, USAClosure

Style: American Pale Ale

ABV: 5.9%

Purchased for: $10/6 pack

Appearance: Dark tan with a foamy head that dissipates fairly quickly.

Nose: Creamy malt, flowery hops, hint of sweetness.

On the palate: Cream on first entry, then springs into bloom. Dried flowers, coriander seed, epazote.

Finish: Fairly dry with big, brash hops. Lingers for a long, long time getting more and more bitter.

Parting words: Greenbush is a newish brewery in Southwest Michigan in the heart of wine country, the Lake Michigan Shore AVA, specifically. It’s a big, bold American Pale Ale that reminds me a lot of Bell’s Two Hearted Ale but it lacks the finesse of Two Hearted and the hoppy finish can get unpleasant when not drinking with food. I had it with a variety of foods and it seems to drink best with rich, spicy ones like sausage or pizza. Price is normal for a quality microbrew. I look forward to trying and reviewing more from this brewery soon! Closure is recommended.