Hitachino Nest Anbai Plum Wheat Ale, Kiuchi Brewery, Japan, 7.0% ABV - brewed with salt, a green, tart plum, and built on top of the classic Hitachino Nest White ale recipe, this is a beer for summer. It's like a gose-wit combo with a hint of sour fruit. The salt does wonders to the flavor, and the beer is nicely carbonated without being biting.
Begyle Hophazardly IPA, Chicago, 7.1% ABV - How have I never posted about this beer?! I'm sure I have somewhere, at
some point, but this is now a staple of my local drinking. I tend to think Begyle, along with a few other neighborhood/northside breweries, are all just hitting their stride, and nailing their beers left and right. Nice orange, bordering on red beer, with an almost white, eggshell head. Floral and citrus, almost candy and perfumey aroma. This beer brings all the goodness of midwestern IPAs, with a mashbill that does some of the work to compliment a nice array of American hop varieties. I have mixed feelings on bombers, but this is the perfect amount of Hophazardly. Strangely, I've been drinking this one after a good run.
Gigantic IPA, Portland (OR), 7.3% ABV - Originally, I planned to start an IPA battle, between our Chicagoland breweries and the rest of the IPA-making world. But the beer world isn't really about competition (despite GABF and other "cups" and so on), it's about choice and stylistic differences, and so on. Gigantic isn't your typical West Coast IPA though. This has a rounded, creamier body (more so than Begyle above), and though it rides a hop wave of Cascade, Centennial, Crystal and Simcoe, there's a hefty amount of sweet bready malty goodness that lasts through to the off-dry finish. There's a lot of modern IPAs coming out like this, eschewing high carbonation and bitterness for a more balanced approach to hoppy beers (stemming from the success of sessionable IPAs and highly hopped but not highly bitter pale ales).