Over the last few years, the United States has become increasingly open to Marijuana. Between multiple polls, public debates and the sweeping legislative changes seeing states increasingly accept medicinal and/or recreational marijuana use, it's clear that the United States of America is increasingly "green" friendly.
If you've ever checked out the craft beer communities of prevalent social networks, odds are you have come across Stone Brewing before. Creating popular brews such as Ruination and Tangerine Express, Stone Brewing's reputation for quality craft beer lays on a solid foundation. The only Stone beer I had tried in the past was Arrogant Bastard, which is in a grey area as it was originally a Stone brand but went solo in 2015. As far as I can tell, it is still owned by the same people.
The Samuel Adams Beers of Summer Variety pack is an interesting group of brews. Of course, the flagship Boston Lager is included. My first "new" choice of the pack, the Summer Ale, failed to meet my expectations. It seemed confused as to what it hoped to be, and so it really didn't become anything distinguishable. It was bitter, its was sour, it was meh. After a couple weeks rest, I decided to have another crack at the 12-pack, this time selecting the Berliner Weisse. As a wheat beer fan, I was cautiously optimistic.
One of my earliest reviews was of a beer called Bombshell Blonde. I had picked it up by happenstance, building a six pack at Central Market and looking to round out after choosing five. I was initially drawn to the clever design of the can (branding counts guys!) and figured, what do I have to lose? Well, what I found that day was a wonderful brewery based out of Conroe, TX, whom I had never heard of but one that made excellent beer. Bombshell Blonde was absolutely delicious, and as I had no prior expectations, it was truly serendipitous. So when I was prowling the craft beer isle of my local Total Wine and more, and I found a can of Southern Star's Conspiracy Theory IPA, I knew I would have to try it.
This is a beer that, seemingly, needs no introduction. Pliny the Elder has captivated the craft community for quite some time. Brewed by Russian River, based of of California, Pliny has developed a reputation for punching you in the mouth with 100 IBU of hops, but doing it in a lovable, classy way. With 174,000 reviews ratings on Untappd, Pliny has managed to maintain an obscenely high 4.55/5. So when I was presented an opportunity to do a beer trade for a couple bottles, I jumped at the chance.
Keeping up with the summer theme, I decided to review Victory Brewing Company's Prima Pils! What's better on a hot summer day than a clean, crisp, refreshing pilsner beer? Would Victory's offering meet expectations? Or would this be a mediocre player in a heavily saturated market?
Having now lived in the great state of Texas for a little over six years, Real Ale Brewing has cemented itself as one of my favorite breweries. From the first time I tried their Fireman's Four, I have been pleasantly surprised by each of their beers. Devil's Backbone, a tripel, is quite possibly the best of a great cast of beers from this Blanco based brewery.
Goose Island's Summertime Kolsch is another one of the beers I picked up for inclusion in the Battle of the Beers - Summer Brews article. I picked it up as a single bottle from Trader Joe's (BTW, they will let you pick any bottle from any six pack, unlike many other stores). Having seen a lot of Goose Island's products, but having never tried one, I figured now was as good a time as any.