Tag Archives: recommended beers

Beer Review: Omission India Pale Ale (IPA)


Generally, a taboo topic in the craft beer world is this notion of gluten-free beer. I mean, how could a beer brewed with barley and wheat substitutes honestly compete with counterparts using the real things?


Well, Omission Beer doesn’t sacrifice their ingredients while crafting their beers. Omission is a brewery priding itself on creating beers with “traditional ingredients that everyone of legal drinking age can enjoy.” Recently I had the pleasure of trying Omission Beer’s IPA. I was told upfront that it was a gluten-free beer, and never having had one before I didn’t know what to expect.

Omission IPA crop

I poured this beer into a pint glass and was very pleased with what I saw. The IPA poured a deep golden color with a beautiful hazy-white, two finger-head with lacing to spare down the inside of the glass. Maybe I’m being picky, but my only complaint with the appearance is that I find a more copper color more appealing than gold. [Picky! Ed.] IPA receives a 4.75/5 on looks alone.

The nose on Omission’s IPA was wonderful, to say the least. IPA fills your nose with notes of fresh citrus and crisp pines; obviously influenced by its Pacific Northwest roots. This is just everything you could ask for – an IPA on the nose. The only thing lacking, for my preference, is a more juicy presence. Even though there is a pleasant citrus quality to the aroma, it does lack that juiciness I am fond of, and because of that its aroma gets a 4.25/5.

The lack of presence this beer brought to the mouth is what really hurts it. It is so thin that the moment you take a sip it is gone. Nothing lingers or coats the roof of your mouth like you’d expect and sometimes want from an IPA. I don’t know if this is the result of it being a gluten-free beer, but it just lacks some presence. I would have loved to get a longer taste out of this one, but it abandons the palate pretty fast. It’s not like this IPA delivers an unpleasant mouthfeel; rather, it does not give any mouth feel leading to its very neutral grade of 2.5/5.

The final piece of the puzzle is the beer’s taste. Omission IPA tastes exactly how it smells: fresh, bright, piney, and citrusy. But, just like the mouthfeel, that great taste dissipates immediately. Again, this does not mean that it is unpleasant, I just would have liked more out of it! Regardless of its short-lived life, it was very tasty and I believe it earns a respectable 4/5.

I didn’t quite know what to expect out of my first gluten-free beer. I’ve usually heard mostly negative reviews, so I was shocked and pleasantly surprised by how great this beer is. The only downfall to this beer is that it dies out pretty fast, but that is easily forgiven by its classic Pacific Northwest IPA taste. With a crisp pine and robust citrus nose and taste, IPA from Omission Beer easily receives a 3.88/5!

Well recommended.

Ryan Moyer

Ryan Moyer is a graduate of Indiana University, who works and pays taxes.

Omission IPA is brewed by Widmer Brothers Brewing Company and contains 6.7% alcohol by volume. Widmer Brothers is based in Portland, Oregon.


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Beer Review: Red Trolley Ale


I recently had the pleasure of tasting Karl Strauss Brewing Company’s highly acclaimed Red Trolley Ale. This Irish Red boasts gold medals from the 2010 and 2013 Great American Beer Festival as well as the 2010 and 2012 World Beer Cup, and 14 medals from various other beer festivals and competitions. The brew’s website claims Red Trolley Ale is a “medium-bodied beer with heavyweight malts” and their description does not mislead.

This beer poured a beautiful deep copper/toffee color with a barely present tan head. The head barely lasted a minute as it dissipated into nothing. There was also an absence of lacing. Maybe I gave it a subpar pour, but I doubt that was the case. The color was very pleasing, but the lack of a head and lacing severely reduces its appearance rating down to a 2.5/5.

When smelling Red Trolley Ale, you get nothing but malts on the nose. It doesn’t boast an overpowering aroma, yet there is an obvious caramel backbone with hints of toffee. It’s pretty simple on the nose, but that does not diminish the quality. It’s smell is a solid 3.5/5.

As promised, this beer definitely prides itself on the “heavyweight malts.” It is much more complex on the palate than the nose, however. Red Trolley is predominantly caramel and toffee flavored beer, though there seem to be no bittering hops, but that’s to be expected for the style. Instead, there is a hint of some dark fruits on the back end and after taste, perhaps a bit of San Diego influence into the Irish Red style. As the beer warms you really begin to appreciate the density and the complexity of the play between the subtle fruit notes against the strong malt base. There also seemed to be some hidden spice characteristics that began to remind me of Great Lakes Brewing Company’s Christmas Ale. This brew definitely takes the palate for a ride – 4.5/5.

The mouth feel was no surprise for an Irish Red. There was low to moderate carbonation and the beer coats the back of the mouth and the throat in a velvet blanket upon first sip. It was a little much for me, but not terrible and definitely on point for the style, so I’m giving its mouth feel a 4/5.

Red Trolley

Throughout my tasting I was pleasantly surprised. I’m usually not a fan of malt driven beers and I’m not entirely familiar with Irish Reds, but compared to the ones I’ve had, this is definitely near – it not at – the top of my list. The only thing that really hurts the beer is its appearance, which – though aesthetically pleasing, isn’t entirely important in the tasting. In my opinion, this malt driven brew with its hidden spices and subtle dark fruits would make an excellent winter warmer; great for a snowy evening next to the fire.

Though the Irish Red isn’t my go to style, I highly appreciate this beer and understand the respect it has garnered in the brewing community. When averaging out the numbers, this beer comes out to a very respectable 3.63/5.

Well recommended.

Ryan Moyer

Ryan Moyer is a graduate of Indiana University. Red Trolley Ale is brewed and bottled in San Diego, California; thus making it an imported beer for most of the country.

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Picasso’s Last Words (Drink to Me)

A beer review: A look at two India Pale Ales.



Rubicon India Pale Ale from Sacramento is a High Quality Product.

India Pale Ales (IPAs) originated when English explorers had to transport hearty hops to the West Indies that could survive the journey, thus providing a flavor distinct from traditional pale ales. The West Coast of the U.S.A. has long been the forerunner in the craft beer craze, and Rubicon Brewing Company of Sacramento, CA, has brewed a fine IPA.

This reviewer’s journey through craft beers has consistently led him to settle on IPAs as far and away the favorite. Usually, the hoppier the better. However, Rubicon’s IPA is neither excessively hoppy nor overly fruity. At 6.5% alcohol-by-volume (ABV), it is instead instantly refreshing. That is the initial impression on the taste buds.

I am told that Rubicon will now be releasing this beer in six-packs. I first sampled it in the traditional 22-ounce bottle. As a Chicago customer, I am not sure if it will be available in the region, but if one can get this on draught at a bar or restaurant, it is highly recommended. I am speculating, based on the regional pricing, that the beer would go for about $9.99 to $10.99 for a six-pack if available.

The ever reliable Beer Advocate website rates Rubicon IPA as an 83 on a 100 point scale.

Sam Adams Rebel IPA

By virtue of comparison, Boston Beer Company has recently released Samuel Adams Rebel IPA, it’s version of a West Coast IPA. Rebel is also 6.5% ABV. Upon release, my local store sold it for $13.99 per 12-pack – a steal and well worth the price. Now that consumers have had a chance to taste it, the price has risen and a six-pack of bottles goes for $8.99 (a fairly typical price for decent beer in this area). Beer Advocate ranks this beer as an 82.

Given a choice between the two, Rubicon is slightly better, though Rebel is no slouch. For a slightly higher price, Rubicon’s distinctive IPA is probably worth it, assuming you can find it. If not, Sam Adams’ latest effort – which is well recommended – will easily do the trick.

Dave Moyer

Dave Moyer is an education administrator and the author of Life and Life Only: A Novel.

Note: The ugly, garish label on the Sam Adams Rebel IPA should cost it at least a few ratings points on Beer Advocate and elsewhere. (Joseph)

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