Friday, March 13, 2015

Beer for the Weekend - Renegade Brewing Co

Hammer and Sickle Russian Imperial Stout
Renegade Brewing isn't the newest beer to KC, but it's the newest beer to KC that we've had time to sample and write up here at the Beer Blog. I've come to understand that the majority of my time will now be taken by our 12 week old Overlord living at our house. But she's just so cute, so she gets a pass--for now. Also, Renegade is the only brewery that's recently been kind enough to send us over some samples to try out. So we gave them a thorough grinding through the professional Beer Blog tasting mill for all of you fine folks!

A little bit about Renegade--they're a pretty new brewery on the scene in Colorado, and very new in Kansas. They opened 2011, just south of downtown Denver. Through my 30 seconds of google research, I found that they are in the same building as a crossfit gym and an MMA training studio. I know this is the kind of hard-hitting research (haha! puns!) you depend on the KC Beer Blog for.

They started canning their beers in 2012 and picked Kansas as their first market outside Colorado (aww, shucks!) at the end of 2014. They've got their full line of year-round cans around town, and will hopefully be sending us some of their specialty beers in the future as well. On to the beers!

Consilium - Group Score: 3.6/5

Style: Pale Ale
Special Ingredients: Oats, lactose sugar, orange peel
Alcohol: 5.0% abv.
IBU: 40

True to their name, Renegade has a couple beers that go against the grain. Consilium is definitely one of those. This might be one of the most unique takes on Pale Ale that I've ever had. Instead of just being a simple pale ale, this one has oats, orange peel and lactose (milk) sugar added to it. It's got a medium body with a creamy, slightly sweet finish that's pretty well balanced by the bitterness level. The aroma and flavor have a very orange-focused citrus character. One problem some of us had with the beer is that the interaction of orange peel and bitterness led to the beer tasting like orange pith (the bitter white stuff under the peel). Overall, though, it comes together pretty nicely for such a unique take on the style. It's well worth a try if only so you can say you've had an orange oatmeal milk pale ale.

Consilium - the only known orange oatmeal milk pale ale. 

Hiatus - Group Score: 3.1/5

Style: Coffee Ale
Special Ingredients: Cold pressed coffee, oats
Alcohol: 5.5% abv.
IBU: 40

This is another pretty unique beer. Unlike you're typical dark coffee stout/porter, it's a relatively light colored and bodied beer infused with coffee and brewed with oats. They used cold-infused coffee from a Denver roastery, Novo Coffee. The aroma and flavor are heavy on the coffee and it has a relatively light body but a smooth round mouthfeel from the oats. If you really like coffee or coffee beer, this one is definitely for you. Unfortunately, it pretty much starts and ends on coffee. There isn't a lot of complexity to it beyond the coffee flavors. It's a pleasant coffee beer, though.

Redacted - Group Score: 4.0/5

Style: Rye IPA
Special Ingredients: Rye malt
Alcohol: 7.0% abv.
IBU: 60

Redacted Rye is Renegade's flagship beer. It's a pretty standard but very solid American IPA with a tiny hint of flavor from the rye malt. (Although to be fair, I don't know that I've ever tasted anything more than a tiny hint of flavor from rye malt in any beer.) The aroma is dominated by the hops with a huge American hop character--lots of floral, citrus, grapefruit, and pine aromas. Some of us got a little bit of malt and caramel aromas on the flavor, but they were definitely in the background. The same goes for the flavor--hops, hops and more hops--with a sharp but clean bitterness.

I think they nailed the style, but for my own personal tastes, I prefer a little bit more malt to back up my hoppy beers. Which brings us right up to our next beer...

Elevation Triple IPA - Group Score: 4.6/5

Style: Imperial IPA
Special Ingredients: Single hopped with Summit
Alcohol: 11.0% abv.
IBU: 100+

Now this is my kind of IPA! I pretty much judge all imperial IPAs off of my two favorites--the Maharaja and Double Jack. This beer definitely lives up to those two and has a similar character. The huge hops in the aroma and flavor are balanced by an equally huge bready and buscuity malt backbone. I was really surprised to find out that it is a single hop beer with Summit hops after I drank it because of all the varied hop aromas. We came up with all this on our scoresheets: mango, lemon, grapefruit, gooseberry, pineapple, lime zest, tropical fruit, and mint.

Renegade really knocked it out of the park for me with this one. It's hard to get a beer with that much hops and that high of alcohol to really balance well, but we all agreed that this beer had a near perfect balance between hops and malt. It was also still relatively drinkable, especially considering the 11% ABV and 100+ IBU. You wouldn't think you'd be drinking more than one of these, but I could definitely drink these all night (or at least for an hour or two before I passed out). This was definitely our favorite beer of the bunch.

Hammer and Sickle - Group Score: 3.9/5

Style: Russian Imperial Stout
Special Ingredients: Single hopped with Summit
Alcohol: 9.0% abv.
IBU: 60

This was the only seasonal beer of the bunch. Like most Impy Stouts, it's available only in the winter time (because you'd have to be a masochist to drink this after mowing in the summer). For being a non-oak aged and relatively inexpensive RIS, we were very impressed. It's got all the typical flavors and aromas of coffee, dark chocolate, roasted malts, vanilla and American-type hops. Different from most imperial stouts, though, was the relative subtlety and balance of this beer. Even at 9% ABV, the alcohol was not apparent at all except for a low warming sensation. It is robust but still very drinkable. I would compare it most to Yeti in that regard. A very solid go-to imperial stout that doesn't take a special sitting to enjoy.

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