Indeed Brewing Lavender, Sunflower Honey, Dates

Never take tasting notes at face value – mine included. Palates are individual. There is as much as 30-percent variation in olfactory receptors between any two individuals. I have no information on the subject, but I would also expect such variation in taste receptors. We all have particular flavor sensitivities. We all have blind spots in what we are able to perceive.

Other subjectivities come into play as well. Mood, setting, time of day, brand expectations, last food consumed, and a myriad other circumstances also affect our experience of a beer. Notes recorded on one day might not look the same as those recorded on another. The veracity of notes also depends on the taster’s ability to express the things they sense. Imprecise language will yield misleading results despite the trueness of a person’s palate.

So it was with was my sampling of this year’s Lavender, Sunflower Honey, Dates from Indeed Brewing Company. I wrote two sets of notes. On the first sampling, my overall impression ended with the words, “I’ve had [this beer] other times and loved it. Right now, not so much.” There was a disconnect. Days later I took a second set of notes to verify my perception. Voilà, the beer that I’d so often enjoyed was back again.

Looking back through both sets of notes, the words were nearly the same. My sensory vocabulary is fairly decent. I’d accurately described the objective sensations I perceived. The description of the first beer matched the second. But somehow my subjective experience of it did not.

Had I stuck with my first set of notes, readers would have been left with a negative impression. Going with my second would have the opposite effect. What follows here is a combination of the two. The objective observations of aroma, appearance, flavor, and mouthfeel are mostly from the first night. The subjective overall impression is mostly from the second, with a wink and a nod to the first.

Here’s my notes:

Lavender, Sunflower Honey and DatesLavender, Sunflower Honey, Dates
Indeed Brewing Company, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Style: Fruit and Vegetable Beer
Serving Style: 16 oz. can
7.2 ABV
20 IBU

Aroma: Flowers and toast. Lavender floats over the top, dominating early on. Dark honey character is clear and medium intensity – comes in the middle. Moderate impression of sweetness. Dates come low and late – forming a bottom to the aromatic tower. No hops. Low esters. Low alcohol that boosts the floral.

Appearance: Light to medium amber and brilliant. Full, creamy, off-white foam with excellent retention.

Flavor: Malty lead with other ingredients playing support. Sharp toast and caramel malt. Burnt caramel. Dark honey flavor and sweetness counters the sharpness. As with aroma, lavender forms a fluffy topper. Dates form a low, fruity middle. Bitterness is low. No hop flavor. Alcohol is noticeable – almost too prominent. It gives a slight burn. Low peppery notes come in late. Finish is off-dry with lingering honey, toasted malt, and alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium carbonation. Medium alcohol warming.

Overall Impression: A potential train-wreck, this. But it avoids the crash. There is a lot going on here, but it all melds together nicely. The prominent alcohol is the one big detractor. It has a role to play in the overall profile, but steps just over the bounds that I would like for it to maintain. This is a beer that I have to be in the mood for and certainly not one that I would want to drink more than one in a sitting, but it’s a good one for late night contemplation

Indeed Let It Ride IPA

I’m continuing my effort to catch up on the backlog. Moving along with the seasonal Let It Ride IPA from Indeed Brewing Company. I’m running low on pithy thoughts to belch out at the moment, healing so let’s just get right to it.

Here’s my notes:

Indeed Let It Ride IPALet It Ride
Indeed Brewing Company, sovaldi sale Minneapolis, view Minnesota
Style: American IPA
Serving Style: 12 oz. can
6.8% ABV
90 IBU

Aroma: Tropical fruit – apricot, mango, juicy. Herbal mint. Medium garlic chive. Low, floral alcohol. Low impression of sweetness. Background of neutral malt with a hint of toasted cereal.

Appearance: Full, creamy, off-white foam with good retention. Dark amber/red and brilliant.

Flavor: Medium-high bitterness with medium to medium-low malt sweetness underneath. Bitterness becomes resinous midway and lingers into finish. Overtones of citrus and tropical fruit hops – pineapple, lime, melon – with low minty/herbal compliment. A delicate quality to the fruit high notes. Low garlic. Medium-low sweetness. Malt is medium-low with caramel and toasted malt notes. Finish is dry with lingering citrus and resinous bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Medium to medium-full body. Medium carbonation. Some hop astringency.

Overall Impression: Dark for the style and with an unstylistic abundance of caramel malt character. But I actually like that. Bitterness and hop flavor still carry the day. The resinous character of the bitterness becomes harsh midway and just won’t let go. And that garlic. Some hops can throw that flavor. I understand Mosaic is one of them. I seem to be sensitive to that particular sulfur compound, and when I get it, I really get it. I just don’t like the garlic hops. That said, the fruitiness of the hops is delightful. This won’t be a go-to for me necessarily, but still a tasty IPA.

 

Indeed Mexican Honey Lager

Finally a real snowfall. 13 inches on Tuesday plus a dusting today. And the temperature is down to the normal range with lows around nine degrees Fahrenheit. Winter has come in fits and starts this year, look but now it seems it’s finally here. Time for a tall, cold Mexican lager.

(Sound of record scratching.)

It’s okay. Lager is good anytime – even in the middle of a Minnesota winter. And there really is nothing wrong with those Mexican lagers, even if so many of us want to deny their right to be called beer.

But when the Mexican lager is Imperial it’s even more winter friendly. Eight percent alcohol gives that little bit of warming to help take the edge off of winter’s bite.

But really? Imperial Mexican lager. What are you thinking, Indeed Brewing Company? It kind of reminds me of all the faddish Imperial Pilsners that are floating around out there these days. “What’s the point?” I ask of those. “Pilsner is perfect as it is.” I’ve seldom met an Imperial Pilsner that I liked. So why would I like an imperial Mexican lager? Even if it is made with orange blossom honey.

I looked back through my records and found that I had written notes on this one at some time in the past. I think it was 2013, the year this beer was first released. At least that’s what I’m going to say now. I like to do these comparisons. It gives a good perspective on the changes that can occur over time – in both beer and palate.

Here’s my notes:

Mexican Honey Imperial LagerMexican Honey Imperial Lager
Indeed Brewing Company, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Style: Imperial Mexican Lager
Serving Style: 16 oz. can
8% ABV
17 IBU

Aroma 2013: Light grainy sweetness. Citrus hops are strong – tangerine and oranges. Low notes of honey.

Aroma 2016: Grainy sweetness with overtones of honey. Very light toasted grain. Hints of spicy hops. Low sulfur.

Appearance 2013: Medium gold and hazy. Full, rocky, dense white foam with excellent retention.

Appearance 2016: Full, creamy, mixed-bubble, white foam with excellent retention. Deep gold and brilliant.

Flavor 2013: Full, grainy malt sweetness. Some bready, pils malt character. Honey comes strongly mid-palate and remains in the finish. Bitterness is low, but just almost enough to balance. Overtones of orange and tangerine from the hops. Delicate. Nuanced. Faint apple notes. Finishes with lingering honey and sweetness. Floral.

Flavor 2016: Largely follows aroma. Malt dominates – toasted grain and medium sweetness. Honey is clear. Medium-low bitterness offers some balance. Medium spicy hop flavors. Low lemony citrus. Some alcohol. Finish is off-dry with lingering honey and spice.

Mouthfeel 2013: Medium-light body. Delicate. High to medium-high carbonation.

Mouthfeel 2016: Medium-full body. Low alcohol warming. Medium carbonation.

Overall Impression 2013: Light and nuanced, yet full and filling. Imperial Mexican lager? WTF! On the long haul perhaps a bit one-note, but one glass goes down well.

Overall Impression 2016: Almost a Maibock, but with a simpler profile. The flavor is what one would expect from an oversized American lager. I expected more citrus from Amarillo hops. They really came off to me as spicy, almost Noble hop varieties. Overall I like it. A decent winter lager.

Indeed Brewing Company Dandy Lager

When I first really got into beer, I went through that phase of seeking out ever more intense flavor experiences. I craved the big hoppy ales, the oddball ingredients, the blackest of black stouts. Then one day that all changed. I just wanted a pilsner.

I remember two moments in that transition very clearly. The first came in 2007 at my first trip to the Great American Beer Festival. Midway through one of two sessions – I was almost certainly a bit buzzed by this time – I had had enough of the hops and booze. I craved something lighter to clear my palate. I searched the hall without much luck. Then I hit the Trumer Pils booth. At that moment, it was the elixir of my soul.

The second was a year later in 2008. I was doing an extended project in St. Louis and had hooked up with a local homebrew club. I was being shown around some local beer spots, again focusing on the monster brews. As we were crossing the Mississippi into Illinois I said to the others in the car, “I just want a pilsner.”

I have lived for German lagers ever since. They are my wheelhouse. Crisp, clean, and non-palate-wrecking, they are the beers I love most. As I have written and said many times in many venues, pilsner is the perfect beer. A really good one is a thing of beauty.

The current revival of sessionable beers has brought with it a revived interest in German-style lagers. If you scan the store shelves today, you’ll find that many well-respected brewers of often-extreme beers are putting out a pilsner. Hell has become one of Surly’s biggest sellers. Even American-style lagers are seeing a craft-beer comeback. I’ve died and gone to heaven.

Dandy Lager from Indeed Brewing Company is one such beer. I got some. I drank it.

Here’s my notes:

DayTripper_6packDandy Lager
Indeed Brewing Company, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Style: Pale Lager
Serving Style: 12 oz. can
5.4% ABV
40 IBU

Aroma: Medium pils-malt sweetness with moderate, corny DMS. Low floral/spicy hops with a light, tangerine overtone.

Appearance: Light gold and clear. Full, creamy, white head with excellent retention.

Flavor: Slightly malt forward. Pils-malt toast and light corn. Medium-low sweetness. Bitterness is medium. Floral and black pepper hop flavors with a hint of citrus or peach. Subtle lemony high notes. Finish is off-dry with lingering floral/citrus hops and light residual bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Medium to medium-light body. Medium carbonation.

Overall Impression: A lovely, sunny lager. A bit hoppy for a Munich helles, not quite malty enough for a Bohemian pilsner, and not quite dry and bitter enough for a German pilsner. They call it a pale lager. I can live with that. Whatever it is, it’s delicious. It can take me a while to get through a sixpack of a given beer. This one was gone in a matter of a few days.