New Cheerry-O

5.4% ABV  •  18 IBU •  “Light, clean, and crisp brewed with real MI cherries”
Before me sits a clear brew that is burnt orange to reddish amber in color with a full and resistant light pink head. Quite pretty in fact!
A whiff of tart cherries hits me initially, but the overall scent is that of cherry scones because of the mild malt character. It almost has a rye grain like spiciness to it, though I don’t believe rye was used in any portion of the grain bill.
The flavor follows the nose lending a bread forward tasting beer, with again that tart but very much balanced cherry character. As was described by the brewer, this beverage is a pleasant balance of basic light bodied malt forward beer with a defining but not cloying tart cherry essence.
I think the New Cheerry-O would be exceptional for many occasions. It can work as a mild palate cleanser, as a session beer to throw back with friends or even as a light bodied dessert for the summer.

Munich Helles Lager

4.7% ABV  •  24 IBU  •  “Clean, crisp summer session brew”
Indeed this is a clean and crisp summer session brew. The beer has no frills and no excuses to be less than expected because it is a lager.
So, what do we know about lagers? They don’t like to hide anything. Lagers are brewed to display the four core ingredients of a beer in all its glory, and they can be oh so delightful in their simple nature. Therefore, we must be generous when drinking them because while they may not be as robust as some of our ales, they should be appreciated for their simplicity. Let’s keep in mind, too, that because of this simplicity, they will also enhance off flavors if any are present.
That being said, this particular beer has a distinct but not necessarily abrasive musty note in both the flavor and aroma. My guess is that this was not intentional and that it has been subjected to the normal stresses of oxidation, but is also deemed as being an “off-flavor” in beer. Oxidation happens with every beer and is a natural part of the aging process. Should you ever notice this, just let your friendly server or bartender know just so they can be aware of the state of their product. It shouldn’t deter you from ever drinking that beer again, but just understand what is happening. Knowledge is key.
Now, I’ll move on from there. The Helles is clear and burnished gold in color with a pillowy white head. In the aroma it displays subtle notes of dried hay and a hint of bread dough. Earthy hops, in this case of the German noble hop variety, linger in the background. As the beer warms up I pick up on an aroma of cracker as well.
Flavor-wise this beer has very similar notes to the aroma but with more sweet hay and this time with bread crust notes and a touch more spice forward hops. The finish is crisp and has only a twinge of hop bitterness to create an overall balance.
This is a friendly and delicate beer to enhance and cut through fried foods, white fish and delicate pasta dishes.

Big In Japan Session IPA

4.7% ABV  •  70 IBU  •  “Citrus notes and aromatics with a clean, crisp hoppy finish”
What a refreshing beer! The crystal clear and light amber beverage that sits in front of me has a pungent nose of sweet orange, tangerine and grapefruit skin with a touch of flowers. Sucking it down, I taste all of these same notes and enjoy a light acidity as well that only ramps up the refreshing nature.
The mouthfeel is silky and smooth. It just glides across my tongue but it also has a crack of balancing bitterness from the hops that lends a prickly feeling. The beer finishes with a juicy punch and then with a lingering dryness.
This is a balanced and beautiful beverage that is begging for some tacos, a cold cucumber soup or a fruit tart for dessert. I’m also thankful that it’s a session brew because, man, it gets drained from my glass pretty quick.

Gravel Bottom Craft Brewery