Earlier this week I passed along the info about the Chicago debut of Brooklyn's Sixpoint Brewery. They are having a major rollout in bars and stores across the area. I was able to drop in on Standard Market in Westmont, where I had a chance to sample all of Sixpoint's regular canned offerings.
On the whole I found them quite tasty, especially since they pouring from freshly packaged cans. Some of their flagship line happily refuses to conform to a single beer style, and of course there are treats for us lupulin-addled hopheads. But let's take in the traditional order: from light to dark.
The Crisp Pilsner 5.4% abv, 42 IBU (hop bitterness)
Not much tops a really fresh pilsener, even out of a can or bottle. But the style is very delicate and demanding, which is why there are not many small brewer versions on shelves. This one has a sharp, peppery nose of Noble German hops, pale yellow, with a welcome beer fizz. taste is clean, with light malts working hand-in-hand with those hops. I thought it was a little too sharp for an original style Czech Pilsener, more like a Dortmunder. Rating: B+.
Sweet Action 5.2% abv, 34 IBU
This is a Cream Ale, sort of the ale equivalent of a pale lager. despite the style usually being similarly yellow in color--traditionally--this shows a darker gold color than the Crisp pils. Smell is much lighter, almost hard to find. But the taste more than makes up for it. Kind of citrusy, like a pale ale at first. Then a slight spicy note of wheat malts. Rating: B+.
Righteous Ale 6.3% abv, 67 IBU
An ale made with 25% rye malt, matched to floral and herbal hops. The color is of a brown leaf in autumn. Some rye in the nose that just adds to the experience of a fine beer with more aromatics from specialty malts. Rating: B.
Bengali Tiger IPA 6.4% abv, 62 IBU
This is claimed to be closer to the historic British IPAs rather than the overhopped American counterparts. While most Americaqn versions are copper or gold in color, this one is back to a lighter gold. Indeed, the malts are on an equal footing with the hops. Despite the use of English hops, I still get some nice citrusy notes. I'm also starting to notice the increased level of alcohol, however slight. Makes me want to take it in all the more. Rating: B+.
Resin 9.1% abv, 103 IBU
And… here's the hophead's delight every craft brewer needs to have handy. Classified as an Imperial IPA, this puppy zeroes in on the resiny character of every hop, bringing out notes of pine tar if you're not careful. A deceptively light hop note in the nose, al;so just the same color as the Sweet Action. But a bigger malt backbone, and it's needed, too. A lot of resin sticking on my tongue, my inside cheeks, what have you. If I spill some on me, I'd be a human Post-It Note. Rating: A-.
Each of these beers is available in a four-pack of cans, at $9.99 where I was. Interesting pricing philosophy: the Resin is in a four-pack of 12 ounce cans at the same price as the others, which are in 16 ounce cans.
Sixpoint is a great addition to local shelves and taps, just because they bring their own signature styles. Many of the tap releases around town will feature even more of their different styles, competing well against our more idiosyncratic Chicago beermakers.