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#30 Kona Brewing Company Big Wave Golden Ale

Kona Big Wave

#30 Kona Brewing Company Big Wave Golden Ale

Type: Blonde Ale
Container: Bottle
ABV: 4.4%
Sticker Price: $8.99/6-pack of bottles

Probably knowing this is brewed by a Hawaiian company colors the tasting notes on this very mellow and refreshing ale. Regardless, this beer does go great with the summer heat and sun.

  • Rating (5=best): 3.5
  • Nose: Mango, passion fruit. Tiny bit of wheaty nuttiness.
  • Flavor: Fruity and crisp with just a hint of hop bitterness. Grapefruit, apricot.
  • Finish: Clean and thirst quenching. Very refreshing.
  • Notes: While not very distinct on its own, this is an easy drinking beer perfect for relaxing or with food. I’ll definitely keep it in my summer cooler.
  • Shilpi: “I find it refreshing and tropical.”

#29 Shock Top Belgian White

Shock Top Belgian White

#29 Shock Top Belgian White

Type: Witbier
Container: Bottle
ABV: 5.2%
Sticker Price: $6.99/6-pack of bottles

Belgians are among my (and Shilpi’s) favorite beers. I should have known from the marketing that this is the dressed-up-yet-empty-at-the-core version. I wouldn’t even pound it just to get a buzz as the cloying flavors made me nauseous halfway through one bottle.

  • Rating (5=best): 1
  • Nose: Bread dough, bit of coriander.
  • Flavor: Fruity sweetness, grapefruit, citrus rind, white pepper. Alcohol flavor comes through.
  • Finish: Quite dry, tiny bit of orange zest. Slight corn syrupy feel that reminds me of Fruit Loops residue.
  • Notes: I like Belgians but this is like the artificial candy version. No thanks.
  • Shilpi: “It’s bitter but enjoyable.”

#27 New Belgium Abbey


#27 New Belgium Abbey

Type: Dubbel
Container: Bottle
ABV: 7%
Sticker Price: $8.99/6-pack of bottles

We are big Belgian fans in this house. This one delivers everything we like and expect from this style without some of the cloying sweet flavors that hang a round too long. The Abbey is very interesting and yet refreshing at the same time.

  • Rating (5=best): 4.5
  • Nose: Rye grains, medicinal, yeast. Definitely Belgian.
  • Flavor: Sweet roasty malt, toffee, overripe banana, raisins, cinnamon, cloves, bubblegum.
  • Finish: Flavors darken, more roasted grain with a slightest bitterness on very end.
  • Notes: While the sweetness in the flavor might get cloying, it’s clean finish with a hint of bitterness wipes that away and keeps me coming back for more.
  • Shilpi: “It dark and rich but not heavy, which is a nice surprise.”

#26 New Belgium Ranger IPA


#26 New Belgium Ranger IPA

Type: India Pale Ale
Container: Bottle
ABV: 6.5%
Sticker Price: $8.99/6-pack of bottles

We are not big IPA fans in this house. However, I occasionally want something bitter and this does not disappoint. Delivering a train car of hops with a touch of sweetness makes this a refreshing kick in the caboose.

  • Rating (5=best): 4
  • Nose: Huge on citrusy hops. Pine, lemon and corriander notes. Over time, damp pine wood with a tiny bit of dank litterbox…
  • Flavor: Nice clean bitterness that isn’t too strong. Menthol-like tingle with subtle lemony sweetness. Burnt orange.
  • Finish: Bitterness lingers with grapefruit rind flavors. Quite dry.
  • Notes: While the nose got a bit funky over time, the flavor persisted and the finish lasts a while. Great example of an IPA.
  • Shilpi: “It smells good. It tastes bitter. I don’t like the IPAs!”

#17 Negra Modelo

Negra Modelo

#17 Negra Modelo

Type: Vienna Lager
Container: Bottle
ABV: 6%
Sticker Price: $8.99/6-pack of bottles

While not a fan of Mexican beers in general, this cerveza is one of the simple and thirst quenching brews. Its inoffensiveness and sweet flavor leave a clean palate ready for food. Definitely not complex or too interesting, it gives the suggestion of something darker without demanding all my attention.

  • Rating (5=best): 3
  • Nose: Roasted corn, toasty malt. Not too much to pick out. Bit of a metallic tang.
  • Flavor: Super sweet, caramel malts. Tiny note of grassy hops. A little too watery but sometimes that’s good.
  • Finish: That strange medicinal aftertaste that reminds me of Belgian ales. Vanishes quickly.
  • Notes: The simplicity of the flavor leaves much to be desired. For a one-note beer, it’s a sweet one.
  • Shilpi: “It’s too bitter for a cerveza.”

#16 Angel City Eureka! Wit

Angel City Eureka

#16 Angel City Eureka! Wit

Type: Witbier
Container: Bottle
ABV: 5.5%
Sticker Price: $8.99/6-pack of bottles

I’m definitely in favor of drinking local. Angel City is brewed less than 5 miles from where we live. However, my first taste of their wares leaves something to be desired. They label this witbier “California Style,” and while I’m not sure what that means, it doesn’t impress. I’m sure there’s wheat in here but the carbonation and bitterness washes away most of that Belgian flavor I love. If you’re hot, thirsty and not looking for anything complex, it might just hit the spot.

  • Rating (5=best): 2.5
  • Nose: Minerals, coriander and clove. Yeast gas, like over-proofed bread dough.
  • Flavor: Quite bitter. Lots of lemon rind but not peel. Very bubbly: the carbonation whisks away a lot of flavor.
  • Finish: The carbonation takes a lot away with it but left be hind is grapefruit without the sweetness. Bitter, hoppy and crisply cleansing.
  • Notes: Thirst quenching yet too bitter for a witbier. I prefer mine more yeasty sweet and less pale ale bitter.
  • Shilpi: “I wasn’t too impressed. I felt like it was more bitter than I wanted it to be.”

#3 New Belgium Giddy Up!


#3 New Belgium Giddy Up!

Type: Ale
Container: Bottle
ABV: 6%
Sticker Price: $12.99/12-pack of assorted flavors

I find I like a lot of what New Belgium puts out and I especially like darker beers in general. This one is for the coffee lovers. There’s so much coffee in here it’s almost not a beer! I love coffee and the lemon that shows up in the finish here keeps this one interesting. While I’d usually prefer a heavier body to the coffee-flavored beers, the lemon works well with the light body of this brew. Surprisingly crisp.

  • Rating (5=best): 4
  • Nose: Coffee, cream, roasted, sweet malt
  • Flavor: Strong espresso, roasted grains, malt, smooth, creamy, butter, lemon cake. No trace of hops: all the bitterness comes from the coffee.
  • Finish: Gives way to light bitterness, hint of the lemon at the end. If you wait for it, almost a lemon cookie flavor.
  • Notes: Good if you like coffee. Wonderfully fresh and crisp for a coffee beer.
  • Shilpi: Surprised she liked it! (She doesn’t care for the darker beers and really doesn’t like coffee.) “I had two!”