Reviews, Commentary and Opinions on Midwest Craft Beer and Microbreweries


Beer Reviews

Crooked Tree IPA

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Dark Horse Brewing Co.
Marshall, MI

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

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

I met the guys from Dark Horse once. My first impression was they were really tall. Seriously, I think the shortest of the bunch was six foot three. And they’re all a little crazy. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but there was something a little … unfiltered about those guys. Which, come to think of it, is a good quality for a craft brewer to have. Unbalanced folks tend to make balanced—and incredibly good—beer.

So it goes with Dark Horse Crooked Tree IPA, yet a another hop monster from the dark depths of Michigan. Crooked Tree pours an extremely cloudy, fairly dark amber, with large chunks of yeast and other sediment floatin’ in it. Like a lot of Dark Horse’s stuff, this is one sediment-y (sedimentary?) beer. Although judges, purists, and the squeamish might frown on such fare, I have no problem with it. Dead yeast is good for you. Cleans out the ol’ pipes, as my dad, Slick, would say. Anywho, the pour ends with a thick, fine-bubbled, creamy head that leads to a lacing that eventually sticks to the glass in large sheets—a sign of a quality brew.

That big head also gives off a huge hop aroma—citrus and pine, meaning there’s probably some Centennial in there. The sip reveals a decent body with a firm malt profile. This stands up to a crash of clean hop bitterness that threatens to—but doesn’t quite—overpower the session. The finish is smooth and sharp, thanks to those hops, with little to no astringency or harshness. And at the very end, you can almost make out a citrusy, almost orange-ish flavor floating around in the background.

Although from the sediment you’ll find in this brew (at least in some bottles—I’ve seen others that haven’t had that much yeast on the bottom) you’d think Crooked Tree would be a little rough around the edges. Maybe it ain’t perfect, but it is a damn fine IPA, one of the more notable ones in the Midwest. I dunno, maybe that scruffiness lends this beer a bit of character, but for some reason this beer—and the slightly off-kilter dudes that brew it—keeps me interested. If you’re into hops, give this one a shot.

Reviewed by Eddie Glick on September 10, 2008.
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