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Beer Reviews

Crooked Tree IPA

Other reviews for this beer:
Eddie Glick one beerone beerone beerone beerone beer read it ›
Dark Horse Brewing Co.
Marshall, MI

Style: India Pale Ale (IPA)
ABV: 6.0%

Nigel’s Rating:
one beerone beerone beerone beerone beer   (Outstanding within its style.)

In light of recent national events involving a certain multi-million dollar quarterback for a certain professional football team in the state of Georgia, Nigel will handle his Dark Horse review with care (yeah, right), hoping to offend the PETA Nazis as little as possible. I must say, Nigel loves all animals (except for cats), so I find the charges against Michael Vick to be completely sickening. However, as British royalty, I see nothing wrong with the occasional fox hunt, and I like to eat my share of red meat, particularly mutton. I’m not a veggie-loving, animal rights moron who thinks that eating meat or hunting animals for the purpose of providing your family with sustenance is somehow immoral. Earth to PETA: humans are omnivorous, and our ancestors thousands of years ago survived by hunting both plant and animal, using the nutrients from both to sustain life on Earth as we know it. You’re here because great uncle Ooga left the cave and found a delicious mammoth or emu to slay, providing humankind with enough protein to continue surviving. If you choose to be a vegetarian, that’s fine with me, but don’t hate on Nigel because he likes the occasional steak or pork chop.

In reality Nigel doesn’t hunt, not for moral objections, but for the fact that it’s so incredibly boring, I think I’d rather beat my head against a concrete wall repeatedly for days than spend hours sitting in the forest looking at nothing. However, I have created an animal-friendly sport that will appeal to all groups: hippie tree-huggers, gambling-addicted pro athletes, farmers, non-hunters, Veggies, Meatheads, and French people. Inspired by nature’s most boring animal, the dairy cow, Nigel would like to present his latest enterprise: Bad Newz Cowz. In this new sport, two heifers are pitted against each other in a ring, mano y mano (or udder y udder) chewing on their cuds and staring blankly into space, until the first one blinks. Will it be Bessie, or will it be Patches? Who knows, but you can wager as much as you want on whoever you think it will be. The catch? The winner survives and can continue living its short and pointless life behind electric fencing, eating dead grass and pooping, while the loser is humanely put to sleep with a single gunshot to the head, thus becoming hamburger and ice cream (who doesn’t like hamburgers and ice cream?). Anyone who would like to become a charter member of Bad Newz Cowz can contact Nigel via e-mail, as long as they’re not a nark for the Feds.

So, what did the first two paragraphs have to do with my latest review for Dark Horse’s Crooked Tree IPA? Nothing. So I’ll start with this paragraph. Many of you may have noticed that Nigel has been reviewing some wussy beers lately, giving into the heat of summer and drinking “outside the box.” Well, I’m sick of that. I need a good, solid American IPA to review, and I was excited to see Crooked Tree sitting on the shelf while browsing the other day at a good beer retailer not far from where Nigel currently lives. Dark Horse is another quality Michigan brewer, not on the level of Founders or Bell’s, but solid nonetheless. Distribution in Nigeland is still a bit sporadic, but hopefully I can find more in four weeks, when I move to New Nigeland, which I recently purchased from the indians for $26 and Detroit Lions season tickets (Nigel is a bastard like that). The few Dark Horse Brews I’ve been able to sample have been quite pleasing, though not over-the-top, and Crooked Tree is probably the best one I’ve had to date.

Crooked Tree is an American IPA that is more along the lines of Bell’s Two Hearted, as it is more sweet than bitter. It pours a very cloudy apricot-orangish haze, with a thick foamy head that slowly dissipates, leaving a noticeable creamy trace throughout the drink, somewhat atypical of the style. Clearly this brew is unfiltered, as a fair amount of sediment floats in the glass throughout, settling at the bottom. The aroma is somewhat mild, but still pleasantly fragrant and hard to characterize. It’s a bountiful mix of very floral, but not too bitter hops, along with a mish-mash of various citrus aromas. I’d describe the aroma as a “sweet, delicate bouquet,” if that didn’t knock me down a few pegs on the manhood meter.

The taste is equally as pleasant as the aroma, though a bit more manly. Again, this is not an overly bitter IPA, but has a rather nice, citrusy, sweet flavor that’s a bit lighter than the big hop monsters, yet still maintains some of the bitterness that makes us hopheads appreciate the good things in life. Floral hops dominate, with a nice citrus flavor dominated by grapefruit. Other sweet flavors come through to a lesser extent, including a bit of honey and a sugary undertone of light caramel. This really is a flavorful, but not overpowering, IPA, one that upholds its masculinity, while perhaps appealing to those few freaks that don’t typically enjoy a ballsy IPA. Crooked Tree goes down very smooth for the style, is slightly lighter in body than a typical IPA, and has a mild aftertaste that is not too objectionable. On the lower end of the ABV spectrum at around 6%, it still has enough kick to remind you that you’re drinking a quality craft brew.

While I would consider this to be a notch below the very cream of the crop in the IPA world, it’s a worthy entry nonetheless. Major credit to Dark Horse for creating an IPA that is sweet and flavorful, but maintains the characteristics that make the IPA the greatest beer style known to man. Perhaps not good enough to make it the “official beer” of Bad Newz Cowz, but enjoyable nonetheless.


Reviewed by Nigel Tanner on August 6, 2007.
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