[Beer Review] Kros Strain’s Fairy Nectar–A Salacious Affair for Nebraska Hop Lovers

Maybe it’s just me, but it feels like we’re in a weird place as craft beer fans where IPAs are a dime a dozen. While not necessarily a bad thing, the style has taken on a life of its own and some breweries are getting a little heavy handed with their various iterations–suffice to say I’ve got a Mango S’mores IPA review in the backlog. All that being said, being a craft beer drinker in Nebraska has been increasingly more exciting over the last few years. Not only because the distribution has taken off (to the point of being overwhelming), but breweries are popping up everywhere.

One such brewery that I reviewed once not too long ago is Kros Strain Brewing Company. One of Omaha’s youngest currently operating breweries, they’ve already made quite the splash in the metro area with their three standard releases (available pretty much where you can buy beer in the area) and some experimental variations on two of their most popular beers. One of them is the Fairy Nectar IPA. Brewed with Mosaic and Citra hops (my favorites) the beer pours golden with a slight haze and settled with a thin creamy head that, thanks to the nucleated brewery glass (featuring an etched hop at the bottom) it sticks around no matter how long you leave it sitting around–which, spoiler alert, probably won’t be long. (more…)


Beer Review: Frame the Butcher IPA by Kinkaider Brewing Company

 Growing in popularity in their home state and hailing from Broken Bow, Nebraska is Kinkaider Brewing Company. This micro brewery did something on April 1st that no other brewery in the state has attempted thus far. Bottling a beer, handing it to the distributor, in the hands of several retailers and in the glasses of fans across the state within hours of bottling- thanks in large part to House of Beers, their distributor. The bottling began at 12 a.m CST and this particular beer drinker had it in hand by 9 a.m. and in a glass to drink about an hour later. This sort of thing is common amongst some of the heavy hitters and whalez around the country, but a first here in Nebraska- particularly for a brewery several hours away from my stomping ground in Omaha.

Ok so big deal, right? Any brewery can make, distribute, and sell fresh beer- the real trick is making, distributing GREAT (even good) fresh beer. Luckily enough for anyone sipping this particular beverage, it’s quite good, maybe even quite great. The best way to describe what you’re getting when the beer is poured from their speak yet simple packaged bottles is a mild yet borderline refreshing IPA. The style itself contains a tapestry of hop bombs and bitter drain pours outside of the standbys and trade bait brands. Frame the Butcher doesn’t punch you in the face with any of its aroma or flavor, it settles you in and makes you feel right at home. As someone who tends to like an IPA’s aroma to be just slightly aggressive this beer does not hit that level, but it most definitely works for what Kinkaider is aiming for.  (more…)

Beer Review: Modern Times’ Booming Rollers

IMG_5994 Livining in the Midwest, beer lovers often stare longingly out the window dreaming of the golden suds being made out on the West Coast. Folks in California are spoiled by the likes of Pliny the Elder and many of Russian River’s other stellar beers. Now, over the last couple years a new contender for up and coming CA brewery Modern Times has been churning out an impressive lineup of solid beers. This review will focus on their recently released seasonal offering, Booming Rollers.

Billed as a Hoppy Citra IPA per the text on the front of the 16oz can, Booming Rollers is incredibly aromatic right from the opening of the can. There is a slight haze around the glass that only slightly clears up when sitting in the glass for a few minutes, but settles a bright golden color with a thin tightly packed layer of foam.  (more…)

Beer Review: Boulevard Brewing Company’s Coffee Ale


My wife always rolls her eyes at me when we are at the store and walk down the coffee aisle and remark about how amazing it always smells. She rolls her eyes because that comment is usually always followed by me telling her I want to buy some, which sets off a series of stops in the store to buy creamer of some kind and it’s never a short process since I tend to be extremely indecisive. The real problem then becomes the fact that the first few days we get up, brew the coffee I drink about a half a cup and realize that my taste for coffee just hasn’t developed even if I use more creamer than I have coffee in the glass. Hence the reason why more often than not when we go down the coffee aisle my desire to buy coffee usually goes ignored nowadays.

The other peculiar part about living with me is how picky I am about food in general. Mixing beer to the situation I am known to try almost everything at least once and sometimes the weirder it seems to be the more I seem to like it- it’s a constant mystery to my wife how I can be so choosy about the food I eat, but I will drink pretty much whatever is put in front of me even if it is brewed with something I wouldn’t normally eat on its own. So when we browse the beer aisles at the grocery store and I put Boulevard’s Coffee Ale in the cart that normal eye roll was nowhere to be perceived and instead what I got was the look that just kind of says, “I can’t wait to see how this turns out.”

When I turned 21 I had no knowledge of “craft beer,” all I knew was that there was beer and there was Dr. Pepper- my two favorite things at that age. For me it was almost a constant stream of Bud Light mostly because that’s all I really grew up seeing friends and family drink. The very first time I branched out it was Boulevard’s Wheat beer that introduced me to a whole new possibility of what beer could be and I will always credit them for at least my introduction to the world of craft beer. I’ve come a long way since that first taste of Boulevard Wheat all the way to their newest and wildly popular Smokestack Series Special Release Coffee Ale which my short and simple opinion of is, I actually kind of love it.

The majority of beers I try that have a hint of coffee or outright crank up their coffee profile are stouts or porters. The Boulevard Coffee Ale is basically a brown ale but also can simply be categorized as an herb/spiced beer and carries almost no resemblance to stout. The bottle pours nice and smooth with a decent amount of head and an impressive amount of carbonation. Given my preconceptions about it being a coffee ale and the amount of carbonation I was expecting the first taste to be able to jolt me out of a near catatonic state and instead the first sip gave me nothing but a nice clean and extremely smooth taste that screams coffee from the get go, but it is in no way off-putting or overly bitter.

The beer is dark brown in color and you will notice a large amount of sediment in your glass mostly once you get toward the bottom of the bottle, but nothing that I really noticed as I was drinking it that harmed the taste of the beer in general. The smell of the beer does not have near the overwhelming coffee odor that I would expect, but instead is really subtle in character.

Boulevard collaborated with a gourmet coffee shop known as The Roasterie for this beer using Ethiopian Sidamo blended with rye, oats and malted barley in the brew along with Perle and Styrian Golding hops and comes in at 9.3 ABV. The Coffee Ale drinks scary smooth for having such high alcohol content, but coming from a 750 ML bottle I believe that works just fine in one sitting as opposed to sitting and enjoying one after another.

Coming from someone who openly admits to a weird relationship with coffee as a drink, I believe that loving Boulevard’s Coffee Ale is quite telling about the quality of the beer- unless of course you think I’m a complete idiot in which case, to each their own. Personally, I find this to be my favorite of Boulevard’s Smokestack Series releases and easily one I’d go back out and buy again when the craving strikes.

Rating: A-

10 More Craft Beers I’m Dying To Try


Browsing the internet is the worst possible thing for me to do because I’m constantly running into awesome stuff that steals hours and hours of my time until I’ve lost all opportunities to be productive. Not even 24 hours after I posted my initial list of beers I’m dying to try did I find a ton more that started making me more than a little thirsty. Granted I already had some picks that I didn’t include on the list so the more I found the more I justified the need for another list.

Trying so many different beers tends to be quite the expensive habit/hobby/obsession/leisure activity, but discovering something truly special that knocks you on your feet becomes incredibly addictive and I’m constantly in search of those beers that make me redefine what I look for in the beers I drink. I also have to thank any number of people on Instagram/Twitter (I’m @CrummyLuke on both) for posting all these delicious looking beverages and fueling my already immensely burning fire for craft beer. I’ve taken to posting all the beers I’ve tried as well, although mg photography skills leave a little to be desired. You will notice that I tend to repeat brewerys on between my lists- the reason being I tend to try to keep a narrow vision and also try not to reach too high and aim at stuff that is a little more readily available without extraordinary measures. Also keeping a narrow vision keeps me from being overwhelmed by the ground I need to cover (well more overwhelmed than usual anyway) and when I say I look at options readily available I mean stuff that I can at least get without selling my organs on the black market.

Also a quick update on my previous list of beers I wanted to try I was able to get my hands on Stone Brewing Company’s Arrogant Bastard Ale (Along with their IPA, Levitation Ale and Pale Ale), though this was of the Oaked Arrogant Bastard Ale variety and I gotta say that it along with all the others were very impressive. There is quite a bit going on with every one of their beers and I can see why they are so popular. Unfortunately that is the only update for the list that I have. So without further ado here is ten more beers that I can hopefully get my hands on soon.

Surly Brewing Company Coffee Bender/Bender – I have a weird relationship with anything involving coffee- the smell draws me in, but the taste is what usually drives me away. If it’s in my beer I’m a little more sympathetic to an extent and reading/seeing so much love on Surly Brewing Company’s beers lately I can’t help but be curious. Given that I’m due for a road trip here soon, Minnesota is looking even more attractive to me right now. Since my reservations about the intense coffee flavors I’ve heard Coffee Bender has I’ve lumped it in with Surly’s Bender which apparently has hints of coffee, but I’m assuming will be a better introduction to the style of Surly than diving right into the Coffee Bender.

Three Floyds Brewing Company Gumballhead – At this point I could make one of these lists about everything Three Floyds has to offer, so I’m really just trying to focus on the ones I’m particularly attracted to. When I started writing these I started wondering why I should justify picks having no experience with anything Three Floyds or any brewery I’ve never tried and the simple uninteresting answer is based simply on the love I see online and reading about the popularity. Given you don’t see people flocking to the store to buy Bud Light to the point of selling out I think I’m on the right track.

Bells Brewery Inc Hopslam – I didn’t include this on my initial list, though I almost did and since then I even took a trip about an hour away across my state border to try and secure myself some of this having not called ahead of time. What I quickly learned is that I grossly underestimated the popularity of this one as I drove to secure this for myself based on a Facebook post saying the store had some about a week or two after the post and once I was there I was informed it was sold out within 20 minutes of said Facebook post. Needless to say (but I will anyway) the search continues. Update: Since initially writing this post I came into possession of a couple of bottles of this deliciously hoppy ale. While I am on board with the quality of the beer I don’t know that I can confidently say as of yet that it’s one of the best beers I’ve ever had. Don’t misunderstand though, I really believe that it got even tastier after the second time I cracked one open.

Surly Brewing Company Furious/Abrasive Ale – I just started homebrewing with a friend of mine just over a year ago and I also have been seeing a trend of people on beer trading forums/Instagram ferociously looking for anything they have to offer so I did a little more research. I really dug the history of the brewery that the site has posted and really highlights what most beer lovers and aspiring brewers hope for so Surly and their whole lineup has jumped high up on my wishlist. I grouped Furious with Abrasive as I am continuing to grow my love for IPAs and it only seemed right to include both of Surly’s offerings especially because they both are raved about online.

Three Floyd’s Brewing Company Alpha King – Aaaaand the Three Floyds love continues- Ok I promise I will try to make this the last repeat on this list so its not so boring and predictable. Truth is Three Floyds is probably my biggest obsession at this point and their Zombie Dust/Gumballhead/Alpha King are the three that I have my crosshairs on that I’m also starting to see in my dreams on a nightly basis. I don’t know if this is all setting me up for disappointment, but only getting my greedy paws on this and opening one up will end the mystery and possibly be the start of a sultry beer affair.

The Alchemist Heady Topper – Maybe this will show just how out of touch I am or removed from where all the good craft beer happenings are going on, but I had no knowledge of The Alchemist or their beer, but this one in particular is littered in conversations all over the web with.people trying to get their hands on it. I mean seeing it on the Top 50 beers on Rate Beer certainly is a thing that exists, but the Black Friday esque anarchy I’ve seen online of people looking to get some is a bit more telling. I’m predicting a pretty treacherous road in front of me to get a hold of it- especially since my travel plans don’t exactly include a trip to VT or the surrounding area.  

Dogfish Head Brewing Company Aprihop – When I first started getting into craft beers it didn’t take me long to realize just how over my head I really was. The more I discover about the burgeoning popularity of craft beer the more out of touch I discover I’ve been. The community online is a bit overwhelming and everyone has different levels of knowledge and experience with all the various breweries out there. Dogfish Head is one I first learned about on a horror movie podcast of all things (Bloody Good Horror) and once I heard of them I looked up their lineup and what people had to say about their releases and it quickly became on the many many breweries with beers I can’t wait to get my hands on. Add in the fact that I’m starting to love IPAs a little more everyday and that beers infused with fruit kind of opened my curiosity for experimental styles I could not avoid including it on the list. 

Shorts Brewing Company Key Lime Pie – This is the choice that is on here if for no other reason that to be the WTF pick or the “things that make you go hmm” pick. Through google searches of strange beers, experimental beers or general craft beer searches you’re bound to find something that makes your head tilt, but at the sametime actually sound like something you want to try (unlike a Seaweed ale I stumbled across). Said to be brewed with fresh limes, milk, marshmellow cream and graham crackers that’s enough to at least get my attention. Billed a dessert beer the color and description of a nose that has hints of graham cracker crust it immediately makes me crave a Pumking- so sure, I don’t see the harm in wanting to give it a whirl.

Stone Brewing Company Enjoy By XX/XX/XX – Over the course of my education and enjoyment of craft beer since the start of my journey a lot of things have peaked my interest. Now, if I took my research to the next level and read more about the beers I want to try I’d be able to answer the next question- what is it about the Enjoy By bceers by Stone Brewing that gives it the “Brewed not to last” moniker? As it stands, it just intrigues me more and more and sometimes I enjoy not knowing every specific detail about a beer before I try it just so I can experience it from a pure place and that’s what I look forward to doing with this specific Stone brew.

The Bruery White Chocolate – I have an intense and awkwardly inexplicable love for almost anything made with white chocolate. So it ‘should’ come as no surprise that a beer called White Chocolate would get my attention. Granted the name comes from the fact that the brew is made with cocoa nibs and vanilla beans thus promting the name. The barrel aged creation also has.the style of a barely wine which in my experience hasn’t been the kindest to me, but given my willingness to try almost everything there is absolutely nothing keeping me from being excited to give this a go.