InglesBräu – Column 1

Old Familiars, Orange Crack and Some Mexican Shit.

Well, here we go. Week 1. We embark on a great endeavor.

So far, I’m feeling pretty good. Liver’s feeling right and I’m ready to do this. We got the first sixer today – and, for the most part, it looks doable.

Going forward, we’re going to judge on 4 criteria – taste, whether or not we’d buy a whole sixer, overall drinkability and packaging. We also decided that we might branch out and try a few of the cheap and store-brand beers in Asheville – Trader Joe’s and Aldi, we’re looking at you…

Anyhow – it’s hot as balls outside, and I’m sitting in bed with a bag of peas on my testicles (don’t ask – it’s a long and ultimately boring story.) Let’s drink some beer and shoot some shit.

#1 – Oatmeal Porter, Highland Brewing Company, Asheville NC.

#2 – Castaway IPA, Kona Brewing Company, Kona HI

#3 – Fat Tire Amber Ale, New Belgium Brewery, Asheville via Fort Collins CO

#4 – Henry’s Hard Orange Soda – Blitz-Weinhard Brewing Company, Milwaukee WI

#5 – Corona – Constellation Brands, Coahuila, Mexico

#6 – IPA, Highland Brewing Company, Asheville NC.

Scroll down to get the low-down on the low-brow selection at Ingles. Alternately, you can click on the flashing thingies on the photo of the beer cooler – it’ll scroll you right to that beer. Have fun, be safe, drink responsibly. Please do comment and let us know how much you disagree. Keep in mind that we’re always right. We’re Certified Beer Experts™ on a black belt level. Your understanding is puny compared to ours, and our palettes are beyond question. So suck it.

Cheers!

Asheville North Carolina Beer Reviews
1

Oatmeal Porter
Highland Brewing
Asheville, NC

2

Castaway Indian Pale Ale
Kona Brewing Company
Kona, HI

3

Fat Tire Amber Ale
New Belgium Brewery
Asheville via Fort Collins, CO

4

Henry’s Hard Orange Soda
Blitz-Weinhard Brewing Company
Milwaukee WI

5

Corona
Constellation Brands
Coahuila, Mexico

6

IPA
Highland Brewing Company
Asheville NC.

#1 – Oatmeal Porter • Highland Brewing Co • Asheville, NC

James Says

There’s something a little on the strange side here. There’s a plasticness to it. Not Yoko strong, but just a little hint. Like the smell of warm leatherette, maybe. Got better as I drank it and it warmed up a little. Chocolate and coffee, but I can’t quite put my finger on what’s putting me off from giving it my full endorsement. The packaging is pretty lame, but – I guess it’s on brand. 5.9% ABV. I drank a fair bit of this stuff in my younger days before there were a million porters out there. I dig it – just not the best of the best. I have mad love for Highland, being that they’re from Asheville. Good, solid porter.

How Tasty is the Stuff? - 85
Would I Buy a Six Pack? - 85
Overall Drinkability - 90
Packaging Appeal - 30
Overall Score - 72

Cade Says

This is a completely unoffensive beer. It’s also not a particularly interesting one. It’s a rich beer with a definite malty oat taste, with tinges of coffee and chocolate. It’s good, but that’s about all it is. There’s a bit of a bizarre smell, almost like a fruity sweaty plastic – but that makes it sound a lot worse than it really is. It’s not gross, just strange. I’d drink it again, but I can’t really see myself picking up a sixer. I’m hoping I’ll be a little more amazed by some of Highland’s other offerings.

How Tasty is the Stuff? - 78
Would I Buy a Six Pack? - 70
Overall Drinkability - 80
Packaging Appeal - 20
Overall Score - 62
67

Combined Score

#2 – Castaway IPA • Kona Brewing Company • Kona, HI

James Says

Damn. I wasn’t expecting much from this 6% ABV India pale, but it caught me off guard. I drink IPA’s from the bottle, usually – I find that the skunkiness inherent in a lot of IPA’s is only magnified in a glass. On first sniff, it was a little stinky – but this is easily one of the smoothest India pales I’ve tried. Oddly, it smells like weed – or, at least what I’ve been told weed smells like… I’d drink this stuff any time, any where. Love the debossed Hawaii on the bottle. The label is pretty meh, but the glass is nice. Check this beer out. Smooth and super-drinkable. Would go great with a little Black Flag and a pack of firecrackers. Excellent summer beer.

How Tasty is the Stuff? - 92
Would I Buy a Six Pack? - 100
Overall Drinkability - 95
Packaging Appeal - 60
Overall Score - 87

Cade Says

I had real low expectations going into this one. The label is bland, the company’s name is bland – everything about the bottle screams “generic beach-bum IPA”. The scent is oddly skunky, which once again dropped my expectations.

But after the first sip, I was sold. Incredibly smooth while keeping that hoppy kick, this is one of the most refreshing drinks I’ve had. Super slight floral and citrus notes round the bitterness out nicely, creating a complex yet very drinkable beer. The aforementioned skunky scent had no bearing on the flavor. A fantastic summer drink and one of the better India pales I’ve had. Will definitely be picking this one up again.

How Tasty is the Stuff? - 95
Would I Buy a Six Pack? - 100
Overall Drinkability - 100
Packaging Appeal - 30
Overall Score - 81
84

Combined Score

#3 – Fat Tire Amber Ale • New Belgium Brewing • Asheville NC via Fort Collins CO

James Says

This 5.2% ABV amber ale is beyond comparison in the “meh” department. Smooth and drinkable – but in this case, “smooth and drinkable” equates to “beer for people who want to drink beer, but who don’t really like beer.” There is nothing at all remarkable or memorable about this beer – it’s just a beer. You COULD pound 7-8 of these without noticing, as there’s not much weight to it – but it’s just so unremarkable that you’d have drinker’s remorse for not going for something with a little more balls. The packaging is just as boring as the contents of the bottle. Pass.

How Tasty is the Stuff? - 50
Would I Buy a Six Pack? - 30
Overall Drinkability - 75
Packaging Appeal - 30
Overall Score - 46

Cade Says

I’m at a complete loss for this one. It’s not bad by any stretch of the word, but there’s absolutely nothing remarkable about it. It’s beer. It’s a fine beer at that, but I don’t think there’s much that can be said about it. It smells like beer, it tastes like beer, it looks like beer. If you like beer, you’ll probably enjoy this. If you don’t like beer, you probably won’t enjoy this.

If you want alcohol in your bloodstream, this probably isn’t the worst way to do it? Whatever.

How Tasty is the Stuff? - 70
Would I Buy a Six Pack? - 30
Overall Drinkability - 80
Packaging Appeal - 70
Overall Score - 63
54.5

Combined Score

#4 – Henry’s Hard Orange Soda • Blitz-Weinhard Brewing Company • Milwaukee WI

James Says

I got my spine, I got my Orange Crush. 4.2% ABV malt beverage. Frankly, it’s just a damned orange soda with touch of hooch. This is NOT beer – but it’s really damned tasty. I can see this being really good when I’m done mowing the grass – cold, sweet, tasty. I could easily drink a gallon of the stuff, but then I’d be yakking up sugar and orange. Good as a novelty, and I’d have it again, but I wouldn’t buy a six unless I wanted to get diabeetus. Meh packaging, clear bottle. Good beverage, but I’d rather have a beer – in most circumstances.

How Tasty is the Stuff? - 85
Would I Buy a Six Pack? - 20
Overall Drinkability - 90
Packaging Appeal - 40
Overall Score - 59

Cade Says

This really feels like cheating. It’s not a beer by any stretch of the definition – I guess this is kind of the polar opposite of the Fat Tire.

If you’ve had Orange Crush, you’ve had this. There’s a very, very slight booziness to it, but I really don’t think you’d pick up on it if you didn’t know it was hard soda. It’s tasty, but it doesn’t really scratch that beer itch. It’d be mad easy to drink an entire six of this stuff.. at least until the sugar in your stomach turns into a brick. Good stuff, but more of a novelty than anything. ABV’s pretty damn low, too, so you’d have to chug a fair amount of ’em to get any sort of buzz.

How Tasty is the Stuff? - 100
Would I Buy a Six Pack? - 70
Overall Drinkability - 90
Packaging Appeal - 30
Overall Score - 76
63.5

Combined Score

#5 – Corona • Constellation Brands • Coahuila, Mexico

James Says

I’ve never drunk the bilge water from a cruise liner lost at sea for six months with broken plumbing, filled with – and manned by – pubescent cats with urinary tract infections, but I’m guessing it has the same flavor profile of this 4.6% ABV beverage. I won’t call it a beer, as it would be an insult to beer. At least I finally learned why people shove limes down into a Corona – it’s to make it remotely tolerable. If you like limes in your Corona, I have a better plan – cut a slightly larger chunk of lime, and jam it down into the neck so tight that you can’t drink from the bottle. Then, throw the bottle away, eat the remainder of the lime and go get a beer you can enjoy. Pass. I did give a couple extra points for the screen printed bottle and long-standing brand.

How Tasty is the Stuff? - 1
Would I Buy a Six Pack? - 1
Overall Drinkability - 1
Packaging Appeal - 55
Overall Score - 14

I gave Corona a 1 in most categories, as I’m kind of holding out hope that there’s a beer out there that’s actually worse. I want to be able to say that I’ve actually had something WORSE than Corona. It might not happen, but I wanted to leave a little wiggle room, just in case. I’m praying that there’s something SO awful out there that it explains why the hell anyone, given ANY other choice, would drink this “beer.”

How Tasty is the Stuff? - 0
Would I Buy a Six Pack? - 0
Overall Drinkability - 0
Packaging Appeal - 40
Overall Score - 10
12 (ouch)

Combined Score

#6 – IPA • Highland Brewing Co • Asheville, NC

James Says

I don’t know if it is just the stale cat piss of the Corona talking, but this stuff is pretty good. SUPER fruity, not real dry IPA. 7% ABV. It’s not terribly remarkable, with the exception of the fruitiness – but I guess that counts for something. Shit – at least it has some balls. I hate to hijack this part of the review – but, really – Corona? Really. I think we can do better. I’ve had this IPA on several occasions, and it’s a solid player. I wouldn’t go specifically looking for this one, but if there wasn’t a huge selection, I can see myself buying a sixer of this stuff. Good, not great. Solid, not spectacular. Please, Highland – get some better packaging. Zack Morris called – he wants his beer label back.

How Tasty is the Stuff? - 70
Would I Buy a Six Pack? - 65
Overall Drinkability - 70
Packaging Appeal - 30
Overall Score - 59

Cade Says

This stuff’s good. With a name like “IPA”, I didn’t go into it expecting much. I was a little disappointed by the Oatmeal Porter, but this was a nice surprise. It’s incredibly hoppy, but not too dry that it hurts to drink. It’s almost definitely the fruitiest IPA I’ve had, with pineapple and grapefruit being the stars of the show. It’s refreshing, it’s smooth, it’s good – but not amazing. I think I’d sooner grab a bottle of Kona Brewing’s Castaway, but I’m glad Highland impressed me after the painfully mediocre stout. Reppin’ the 828..

but seriously, fix the packaging. The green is marginally more attractive than the Oatmeal’s dark blue, but, God.. Step it up.

How Tasty is the Stuff? - 75
Would I Buy a Six Pack? - 80
Overall Drinkability - 85
Packaging Appeal - 30
Overall Score - 68
63.5

Combined Score

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