Six-Pack Project Review: Beers from CA, IL, KY, MD, NY and OH

six pack-beerAnother month, another round of beer selections for the Six-Pack Project.

June’s collection of beers added a few states away from the (direct) East Coast and even included our first Fantasy Beer Draft to represent Maryland. It’s exciting to see this effort chugging along, so don’t hesitate to drop me a line on Twitter if you’d like to get involved. Planning is underway for another set of posts this month and in August. Don’t forget to check out all the locations covered so far.

What do we have in store for the latest round of Six-Pack picks? Despite my harping on the subject of IPAs, let’s just say there’s quite a few here I’m excited to find on my beer travels…

California

Max at The Beginner’s Brew played nice and offered a diverse collection of beers to represent the Golden State, mixing in styles aside from just the IPAs the West Coast is known for. I loved his pick of Anchor Steam Beer, which should be as synonymous with California beer as Pliny the Elder, another of his picks. 21st Amendment’s Hell or High Watermelon may not be everyone’s favorite beer, but there’s no denying it now has a strong presence for craft beer drinkers.

What I’m most excited about trying: I’d be lying if I picked anything other than Pliny, the white whale that forever alludes me. “Someday,” I remind myself. Someday.

Illinois (Chicago)

Thanks to the dedication of two Illinois bloggers, our first entry for the state focuses on the Windy City alone. Grant of Hop Brained sought to nail the growing beer community in Chicago with a diverse selection that included Metropolitan Brewing’s Dynamo Copper Lager, a style sparsely found in Six-Pack Project entries. If anything, Grant’s post opened my eyes to the Chicago scene, which I didn’t know much about aside from Goose Island.

What I’m most excited about trying: Chi-Town Brewing’s Windy City Wheat. Maybe because it’s summer, maybe because my appreciation for the style is growing, but I’ve been on a real wheat beer kick lately. The malt-yeast flavor combo Grant describes sounds delicious, too.

Kentucky

Tom and Carla from Hoperatives made solid selections, all of which were new to me. Except of course, West Sixth’s IPA, thanks to all those copyright shenanigans. Either way, it probably wouldn’t be a list of Kentucky beer if they didn’t include Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale, mixing the purpose of the Six-Pack Project with the state’s other famous drink of choice. I was happy to see them give an honorable mention, showing that Kentucky’s beer culture is too good for just six options.

What I’m most excited about trying: Against the Grain’s Citra Ass Down. I love me some Citra hops, so why not? There are certainly some jokes to be made with the name, too.

Maryland

This state was tackled in a unique way by Oliver of Literature and Libation and Douglas of Baltimore Bistros and Beer. I asked them to do the Six-Pack Project’s first Fantasy Beer Draft, allowing each to take turns picking six beers each for a total of 12. Despite amazing beertography from Oliver, I feel compelled to pick the “winning” team from Douglas’ selections, if only because he chose Heavy Seas Great’er Pumpkin Ale and I am a fiend for anything pumpkin. Both of these guys picked a hell of an array of brews, with Oliver’s choice of Flying Dog’s Old Scratch Amber pulling this great quote: “Do you like Yeungling? Do you wish it was something more? Something bold and flavorful and confident in its grain bill?”

What I’m most excited about trying: Baying Hound Lord Wimsey Mild Pale Ale. “Brewed for people who don’t want a hop bomb,” reads Baying Hound’s website. Something I can get behind. The use of crystal malts and Oliver’s description make this beer seem like a well-balanced brew to seek out.

New York

As a New York State native, I knew how hard Lacey had it to pick just six beers for Once Upon a Stein. She made a solid choice with Brooklyn Brewery’s brown ale and I definitely can’t complain with Sixpoint’s 3Beans. Outside of New York City, the state may be better known for wines rather than beer until recently, but immense growth has shown beer lovers can also have an Empire State of mind.

What I’m most excited about trying: Blue Point Brewery’s Blueberry Ale. Fruit beers are tricky, especially since brewers are typically constrained to find the perfect balance of natural flavoring instead of actual fruit. Blue Point does use some of the real thing, however, and Lacey approves.

Ohio

Part of the fun of this effort is to read about all the beers I’ve never heard of. Aside from Great Lakes’ Edmund Fitzgerald, Tom from Queen City Drinks does me a big favor in that regard. In recent years, it seems Ohio is doing a good job at establishing its place in the beer world and from Tom’s selections, it looks like IPAs are a big part of that.

What I’m most excited about trying: MadTree PsycHOPathy. It comes in a can, looks stunning and if Tom’s wife likes it, then it has to be a crowd pleaser. Like many craft beer enthusiasts, it’s hard to turn down an unknown IPA.

Want to get involved in the Six-Pack Project? Contact me on Twitter.

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