Category: Pale Ales

Review: Bissell Brothers Brewing Co. | Lux Rye Pale Ale

photo credit: Bissell Bros, twitter

photo credit: Bissell Bros, twitter

i’ve never committed adultery

the closest i’ve ever come

is flirting across town with two cats

in animal crossing.


i’ve never dabbled in that purple music.


that violin-laden chorus

punctuated with muted, arrogant trumpets and

spoiled with perverted

ivory keys


or perhaps,

maybe I’ve slid a finger or two

into the opening of a can

but not before


its contents into an unfortunate willi becher


reminiscing to the days of

listening to “me and mrs. jones,”

on repeat,

in a market basket,


eating english muffins in the bread aisle

and drinking johnnie walker double black from

the flask

your mother got you

for christmas.

the cute grocery clerk asks you if you’re alright

passed out on the polyurethane covered tiles.


she doesn’t notice the crumbs

you don’t notice

she’s the night crew manager, Stan.


winters are magical.


the aperture captures

more than what is simply put

directly in its line of fire.


the work of art conveys

the true spirit of the artist

despite his silence.


onion beer.

stanky stanky

got that danky lanky

pepper spray

take your pants off and pray

citrus pledge wipes


yet crisp

like the junction of lips on a cold night,

before copious apologies.



as I imagined that


awkward kiss

with billy mays


to be oxy cleaned

by my oxy queen

peel the paint right off the wall.



oh shit


the beer is good.


*9.8 out of 10*


Review: Fiddlehead Brewing Co. | AmarilLo Faber (Pale Ale)

Photo credit: Fiddlehead Brewing

Photo credit: Fiddlehead Brewing Co.

I don’t fucking know.

I guess the beer is named after some jam band artist.

Like the kind of crunchy shit you see that old-time, communist, bird-loving hippie with Birkenstocks wrapped around his elbows
Eating a crappy harmonica
Dancing outside of the santanic co-op on a skateboard
Getting a tattoo of colonel Bernie Sanders on his inner thigh
The right one—
Listening to.

Like, when are we getting back to those good old days when nobody cared that there was lead paint in our pancakes, and when we we’re bad, we got the good old-fashioned two-by-four to the groin.

I can remember Momma,
standing on her ironing board,
flipping the bird

And gramma and grampa would tell us about
the war…

Hacky sack fuckin

Fuck outta here

But the beer’s ok.
It looks like peepee with a bright white head. It looks as American as Lager, with a capital fuckin’ L.

It’s not completely clear or transparent, but somewhere between transparent and translucent, whatever the fuck that means. Also, it’s sort of reminiscent of sparkling hard apple cider. It’s leaves a decent, inappropriate, sticky lacing on the glass.

Very light aroma. Floral akin to tulips, light citrus, hint of pine, mango, bright orange on the back end.

Candy orange,
bitter orange peel,
light honey,
white bready malt,
white grape, faint fennel on the back end.

Crisp, yet medium body, dry finish.

Ok beer.
Better than the average pale ale, but does lack some in aroma and taste.

*8.0 out of 10*

Review: Green Flash Brewing Co. | Cedar Plank Pale Ale (Hop Odyssey series)

Remember planking?!
You know—that lying down game— where you just lie there in a box, with a fox, eating lox, throwing rocks, wearing crocs, on the docks, sucking Juicy Juice?
Yeah, boring as fuck, right?
Yeah, that’s this beer.

It’s completely transparent and copper-colored. It has no chill haze to speak of. It’s got some decent lacing on the glass, with a slightly off-white head. It’s a good looking beer, I guess. It displays some slight, but constant carbonation. You can smell a bit of cedar, I suppose… but I wouldn’t have guessed if I wasn’t told. It has a spicy, herbal hop aroma. There’s a slight orange aroma (probably from the El Dorado hops) , with a little toasted malt, like a malt syrup of some sort. Perhaps theirs is a hint of dark agave, as well. It’s not really a proverbial “hop-bomb” by any means. At has a mostly slight, faded earthy hop flavor, with that same orange developing towards the back end. It’s malty and whatever, with an unpleasant bitterness, actually. It has some tannic qualities that are less than to be desired. It finishes with herbal and medicinal notes, similar to a dry gin. 6% ABV, or so, it’s dry, not at all boozy. I also notice it’s slightly peppery, which makes me wonder if there is any rye in this. It’s refreshing, with a medium body. It makes up in the mouthfeel with some good carbonation and a crisp finish.

Yeah, me neither.

*6.9 out of 10*

The Portland Project part 1: Review: Bissell Brothers Brewing Co. | Bucolia Amber Ale

Photo cred:

Photo cred:


In Portland, it’s not unusual to order eggs for breakfast and get a bucket of hot sauce on the side. It’s not entirely strange to walk through a café on one end of a building and galumph up on into an art gallery on the other end. You can get a beer and a haircut at the same time, and no one will ask any questions, as this is not a particularly questionable combination, anyway. While we’re at it, why not throw in blowing coke in a tattoo parlor with a game of darts thrown in there, for good measure? HUH? WHY NOT? WHY NOT?
The wise folks of the Port City of Maine had thought ahead to put most of the breweries in the city in one far-flung part of the town to keep out the riff-raff. A fantastic idea this is: one big strip of road, lined with bars, with ample parking. When everyone is done drinking half their weight in beer, there’s no concern to be had with their raucous behavior, disturbing people in the streets as they stumble back to their respective destinations. No; luckily they can just drive home.
Our first stop was at the surprisingly tiny Bissell Brothers Brewing Company, right on the corner of Industrial Way. It was surprising, mostly, because of how big the operation seemed in theory. Already, the brothers have a sophisticated canning operation in place, with which they can about 20 barrels every 3 weeks or so. Not even mentioning that this brewery has been open less than a year, this is impressive when you compare to an equally pimps system, that of the Alchemist’s out of Waterbury, VT, which is a 15 barrel system that cans 180 barrels a week.
Let’s just say, when I found that out, my brains LITERALLY blew out of my ears and all over the taproom. Gray effluence everywhere, the line began to move pretty quickly. I stumbled mindlessly to the front of the line and got myself a couple of four packs. Now, bleeding profusely, fading, I stumbled to the tables outside. The weather was beautiful—such a nice October day. Collapsing upon the table, face first, my buddy Kevin helped pour me some Bucolia, the brothers’ amber ale. Now, actually dead at this point, someone had the sense to call an ambulance.

I’m only kidding. This didn’t happen.
But what did happen next really blew my mind.
Like, completely eviscerated.
Like, rent asunder.
Like, Solomon cutting a baby in half.
Like, straight cash, homie.

Picking myself and my pieces up from the ground, I peered up at the glass. I saw a slightly hazy, rust-colored beer. It had an off-white head, not a lot of carbonation, and some slight lacing. It was a sexy little piece of cake.

But it wasn’t a cake.
It was a beer.

Pine and peach, pineapple, nectarine, it smelled like a little champion. A little champion with big ol’ muscles that stood 6 inches tall and speaks Dutch plows the field with its tiny little plow for its figurine cows that graze on the microscopic grass.

Speaking of graaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaasssssssssssssssss

It tasted of orange and a little bit of mango. There was a slight spice to the hops. There was some good toasted malt in there—like toasted sourdough bread crust.

Uh, what? Like bread crust, bruh?

Damn tootin

Light, crisp, vaguely floral and vegetal in nature, it had a straight-up refreshing taste, like lemon and cucumber.


Just ever so slightly. It probably has more to do with the fact that it’s so dry.

Dry, bitter finish

Too drinkable

Like air
Like air….
Like air……….

The Figurine Cows is kind of an OK band name.
If only they’d stop crapping in my goddamned kicks.
*9.4 out of 10*

Review: 14th Star Brewing Co. | 1493 Pale Ale

Scurvy is a disease resulting from a deficiency of vitamin C, which is required for the synthesis of collagen in humans. [It] often presents itself initially as symptoms of malaise and lethargy, followed by formation of spots on the skin, spongy gums, and bleeding from the mucous membranes. Spots are most abundant on the thighs and legs, and a person with the ailment looks pale, feels depressed, and is partially immobilized. As scurvy advances, there can be open, suppurating wounds, loss of teeth, jaundice, fever, neuropathy and death.[1]





…If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, I’m a little


and strangely

turned on,

but have I a solution:

Drink this beer.

1493 is not only a year popularized by journalist Charles Mann, but is also one of 14th Star Brewing’s original beers. It’s an American Pale Ale brewed with an annoying amount of citrus fruits. It’s got grapefruit; it’s got orange; hell, it’s got lemon. If the title of the beer weren’t cheeky enough, it’s brewed with the uniquely European component, coriander, and wait for it—Columbus hops.

                Oh God,

                Oh God,

                Oh Crap,

                Oh God,

                Is that a hernia?

                Nope, no, no—that’s just a massive eye roll.

                Ok, so it’s got a fun, quirky name, but the brilliant thing about this beer is that its creator, head brewer and army vet Steve Gagner, was literally inspired to make this beer while watching an episode of The Big Bang Theory.[2]



                I can see it now, underwear, Cheetos, late night beer craving. It’s gold, it’s magical.

                IT’S FUCKING AMERICA.

                Like the peaceable good tidings of the Europeans, this beer boasts promise a rich bouquet of pine, honey and orange zest; its aroma, luxurious. It offers, however, a small pox blanket of awkward dryness that I assume is from the coriander—it has a sort of odd spicy quality to it. Then comes a wave of grapefruit, ending with an ambiguous bitterness.

                Columbian Exchange is a bitch.

Hmm… Well,

maybe it’s not so bad.

                Maybe, like a fine display of cultural diffusion, my tastes have assimilated (?)

to the….

fantastic fantasy… of blahdeeblahdeeblah.

                OK, so, cut the pseudo-intellectual bullshit and get real.

                14th Star is a nascent brew project and this was one of their oldest recipes. Really, it’s quite good. It’s not perfect—it’s got a quirkiness that challenges convention. Their beers are quite distinct—most definitely unlike most I’ve had. There’s a uncanny salinity and subtle bitterness to each sip akin to the taste left in your mouth when one of your attractive friends wonders why you’re single, because “OH, you are such a catch!” Bah!

                So basically, this beer turns you into Duckie from Pretty In Pink, then?

                Nah, nah, fuck that.

I don’t know, the more I drink it, the more I can appreciate it. It has this strange astringency remarkably reminiscent of a good gin. While it’s not something I typically look for in a pale ale, it’s definitely not something that ruins or even defies the style, really. It’s very drinkable. It doesn’t have a sluggish, filling effect that some more carbonated pale ales can have, and I appreciate that.

Hey, it’s from a modest nano-brewery based in Vermont and, as a Vermonter, I salute this endeavor. Does it sway my opinion of the beer?



I’m willing to admit it could be a tad sweeter in a way that the coriander could balance out the flavor. I’m willing to admit it could even be hoppier. Nevertheless, It is, in fact, a thoroughly enjoyable and original beer that’s audacious enough to keep me interest in what this St. Albans based brewery is going to do next.

*7.8 out of 10*

[1] Wikipedia, a valuable and reputable source for every and all things. Fuck you.