The rest of Indian Wells Brewing Company

To be a bit on the efficient side, I will post the remainder of the beers I have tasted from Indian Wells Brewing Company.  In all honesty, very few people reading this will ever venture into Inyokern, CA.  If you do, I will apologize ahead of time.  Damn, people who live here don’t even visit this brewery.  The ones that do seem to really enjoy the product, but at the same time I feel their palates are limited.  Bottom line, at least they are drinking craft, and that is what is most important.  A lot of these beers seem like they have potential to be impressive, but they have some work to do.  That being said, here is what I have consumed from IWBC.

Mojave Gold, which is a Czech-style Pilsener coming in at a sessionable 4.4% ABV.  This beer was disappointing from the start. The color was lackluster, with no true shine or ‘pop.’  The beer had the proper amount of carbonation for a Pilz, and was not cloudy, but rather dull in color.  The lack of haze in the beer was impressive, showing a very clean product.  There was little to no aroma on the beer, and the flavor continued along with the smell.  The beer itself was crisp and light on the tongue, which was the perfect consistency for the style, but it might as well have been crisp and light water, because there was no flavor to the beer itself.  Despite that, there was an aftertaste, which was musty and flat, making this one a difficult beer to stomach much past a pint.  Overall, I would not search out this particular beer again, no matter where I happened to be.  I do enjoy a light beer, especially during warmer seasons, but this brew would not be on my radar again.

Death Valley Pale Ale, which weighs in around the 5% ABV mark, was served to me in a pilsner glass. The beer had a cloudy and dull coloring from the glass, with a miniscule head.  The serving temperature was pretty well in range, so the haze was not due to chill.  The aroma of the beer smelled of a little bit of nothing.  I was truly hoping for some hops in the nose, but there really wasn’t anything remarkable.  The beer itself was very light in the mouth, with hints of malt.  Other than that, the flavor was overall nondescript.  Smooth as it was, the beer would be easy to drink if the flavor were more inviting.  Pale ales tend to be balanced with malt and hops flavors, but the key part of that is the flavor aspect, which this beer could use a boost of.

Raspberry Ale, a fruit beer (duh) weighing in at a whopping 5% ABV, again served in a pilsner glass (see a trend here?).  The beer was comical in its appearance; it looked like someone dumped red food coloring into a glass of champagne.  Not even exaggerating one bit.  Inch to inch-and-a-half head of thick foam…like sea foam type foam.  The smell was very strong and overpowering raspberry, to the point of smelling like a flavor-syrup additive.  The taste of the beer was very weak, which was surprising with the strong bouquet.  Not only was there little to no raspberry flavor, but the beer itself was nondescript.  It tasted as if raspberry syrup was dumped into their Death Valley Pale Ale in mid-pour.  In my mouth the beer had the feel of a Lambic, minus any of the flavor, combined with over-carbonation.  The over-carbonation actually felt sharp on the tongue and palate.  Not a pleasant experience at all.  I would recommend steering clear of this particular brew, and also suggest warning others to do the same.

Orange Blossom Amber, officially classified as an American Amber, is pulling an ABV of 5% (also a trend).  Once again served in the illustrious pilsner, the initial appearance was overtly disappointing, as the beer is listed as “Orange Blossom Amber“, yet comes out looking no darker than Indian Wells Gold or Pale.  Little to no head in the glass as it was served, however the smell was fairly impressive…things are looking up!  Scents of light and sweet orange, not overpowering, but strong and stable.  Unfortunately, the beer takes a turn for the worse, once again.  The beer, despite the strong and favorable aroma, lacks in taste to follow it up.  The orange taste is there, but no beer flavor to back it up; no foundation for what was attempting to be built.  The amount of orange flavor in the brew would do well with a darker beer as its canvas, which a true amber would accomplish.  The beer is smooth and slick in mouth, with a light and pleasant finish.  Minimal aftertaste, which is disappointing in an amber.  In the end, this beer might have the best potential of this brewery’s offering in regards of improvement.  If given the foundation of a true amber, with the current orange flavor, this could be a strong and very enjoyable brew.  Until then…

Amnesia IPA.  Okay, I am excited!  Moving to the west coast, my mind was blown by the IPA experience compared to what we call the norm on the east coast in this style.  Living in the Pac-NW, IPAs swing a big, heavy stick.  This is where it’s going to get good, I can feel it!  This beer is rocking a 7.2% ABV, not too shabby in the realm of IPAs.  Once again served in a pilsner glass (I’m willing to give a pass to the glassware…show me the hops!).  The beer had an amber color to it, with a decent thick, foamy head.  Still promising!  Minimal hops aroma in comparison to most IPAs (inside I’m dying a little bit now).  The beer had a mild hop-forward flavor, and tasted almost in between the flavors of tradition west coast fresh-hop IPAs and east coast IPAs (booooooooooo!).  The feel of it was unremarkable in mouth, with a flat, crisp edge to it.  Aftertaste was also middle of the road when compared to most IPAs.  The beer itself was easy to drink, and the flavor was moderately enjoyable, but nothing really excited the palate or the drinker.  One of the stronger productions from this brewery, but mediocre with what is available out there in the IPA genre, and that is being generous.  At this point I took some time to myself to wallow in disappointment before moving on to the next abomination…er, um, beer…

  

Marzen Madness, obviously a Marzen style (it’s not just a clever name!), also known as the Oktoberfest.  The beer once again recedes back to a 5.5% ABV…apparently the IPA was the big, heavy beer for this outing.  Served in a pint glass, proof, finally, that there was other glassware in the bar.  The beer itself had a nice, clear amber color to it with a healthy head.  The aroma was pleasantly strong of hops to the nose.  It had a good initial flavor, with hops on the tongue and a smooth, crisp finish.  In mouth, the feel of the beer was very similar to Indian Wells’ IPA, which is not unpleasant, but fairly average.  The beer was easy to drink all-around, and I would likely order it again if I was at the Brewery or some other place that had it on tap with limited other choices, but I don’t think it would hold up overall in a head-to-head with other Marzens/Oktoberfests…once again, I think this is a beer that has a lot of potential, but maybe needs to be a bit more strong and bold.  It does not pay to be timid, especially with a style like this.  I would be interested to see a reincarnation with a little more attitude.

Mojave Red, the beer that most of the locals swear by from IWBC, if one is to believe word of mouth.  This is an American Red, once again, and rocking the brutal 5.5% ABV, again.  And we are back to a pilsner glass.  This is really promising.  The beer has a good red coloring to it, with a light head.  That’s a bonus.  The smell was typical of most reds, with a light, malty tone to it.  The initial taste of the beer is good, but unfortunately the flavor is off your tongue before you swallow it.  It’s like a sneak peek at what a beer is supposed to taste like.  The beer is light and crisp, and easy on the finish.  Almost a hint of apples in the aftertaste, which at times is a sign of acetaldehyde infiltration, which can happen during the metabolic process if a beer is pushed out too early, or “green.”  Left to sit a little longer, the yeast will convert it to ethanol, AKA alcohol, and everything is “all good in the hood.”  It would be an easy beer to sit back and drink for a day, but I can honestly think of better ways to spend your time.

Blackout Stout, an Irish Dry Stout weighing in at a whopping who the hell knows ABV.  Seriously.  The waitress couldn’t tell us (that was a wasted question), and the website doesn’t have any information in-depth so far as an ABV.  What the hell!!!  How hard is it to list an ABV????  Anywho…  Back to a pint glass; had a 50/50 shot at guessing the glassware at this point.  The stout looks like a typical stout from afar; jet black with a light and airy head.  Once it is within smelling distance, all that goes out the window.  A nose full of berries and cherries is what I got anytime the glass came close to my face (BOOOOOOOO!).  Tied in with the aroma, the initial taste on the palate was that of strong fruit, with only the slightest, miniscule hint of coffee at the very end, almost into the aftertaste.  No signs of roasted tastes or other typical style characteristics in this stout.  I can appreciate if something different was the goal, but the beer is listed as a traditional Irish Dry Stout.  The beer itself felt far too light in mouth to even be considered a stout.  None of the typical characteristics that we have all come to know and love over the years.  This particular brew may do well in a second life as a brown or a porter, given the proper tweaks and modifications to meet the style requirements.

Thus concludes the one and only trip this beer drinker will be making to the Indian Wells Brewing Company.  It may seem like I was being light, glib, crass, etc, etc. with the reviews.  I actually had a very hard time brutalizing each brew the way I did.  I truly try to find the best in any beer I drink.  In all honesty, I never dump a beer if I can help it, and always strive for constructive points.  I hope a little of this came through here, because it was tough.  As I said in the above discussion, there are some positive points, and some great foundations that could become some strong ales, given the proper growth and vessels.  Here’s hoping I could be pleasantly surprised at some point in the future, possibly stumbling across a reincarnation of one of the styles listed previously.  It would have to be found by accident, because unfortunately, bu first impression, I will not be punching their address into my GPS anytime soon…

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