I’ve had several beers over the years from Strange Roots Experimental Ales (aka Drai Laag), and I’ve never had a single bad beer from them. Mostly known for their sours, saisons, and the like, this one is actually an IPA.
When I go hiking, I like to enjoy a good ‘hike’ beer, especially at the top or vista point of a beautiful hiking trail. In this case, it was Pinnacle Point in Kempton, Pennsylvania. (Just outside of Hamburg Pennsylvania.) (This beer was also covered in my travelogue about Pinnacle Overlook, Pinnacle Peak, and Pulpit Rock and the hike there, you can check that out here: Pinnacle Overlook, 1787 Brewing Company, and Schaylor Brewing.)
This is another case of beautiful can art. Also, since this was a trail beer, I didn’t have a glass, and drank it straight from the can; like a heathen, a barbarian, an outdoors man, a rogue hiker, a man’s man. …or well, just a person who didn’t feel like carrying around a glass, and hiking for four hours and eight miles carrying a glass that could break, especially while his hiking buddy is a four legged beast that best resembles a wolf on her best days….. (don’t worry Leela, I still love you).
So, this review will be forgoing the “appearance” section, though, I have seen pictures of it on Untappd, and it looks in the pictures I’ve seen, like a light straw colored IPA / saison looking beer, but I won’t go into details, since I did not see it with my own eyes.
For any people familiar with Pinnacle Overlook and the hike there; right before you get to the gorgeous vista of the Pinnacle Overlook, there is a giant cairn. Cairn works… but not really. Most people associate cairns with tombstones and what people would do to bury people in places they couldn’t dig the earth up or make a grave for, so they would dig as much as they could, and then cover them in rocks to keep prey from getting to the remains. But the true definition of cairn is: “a heap of stones set up as a landmark, a monument, a tombstone, etc.” (Dictionary.com Definition: Cairn.) (For more about graves…. you can read my beer review on Shallow Grave by Heretic Brewing …. yay for cheap plugs! I feel like Mick Foley!) Anyway, its right before you get to the overlook, its a giant stone and rock heaped pile. The very first time I went and hiked the trail, I almost thought – this was it. This giant pile, this cairn, this heap of rocks and stones, was it, and this was the “view” and the Pinnacle everyone was talking about. (Pinnacle being the height of something.) Thank goodness I walked past it and saw this gorgeous overlook….
Needless to say, this view is a lot better…. A LOT…. better than just a pile of stinking rocks (or non-stinking rocks). To get to this point, it was about a 3.5 mile hike. (Going back down, since I took a different route, and stopped at Pulpit Rocks, it was another 4.5-5 miles, making it 8-8.5 miles all told of just the mountain, plus getting to and from the car.) So, I camped out here a bit with my dog, Leela, which by now anyone reading the blog regularly has heard of quite a bit or seen in the background of pictures (she’s an 11 year old border collie that is commonly mistaken for an Australian Shepherd, named after Leela from Futurama). I didn’t bring food with, since I was going to visit 1787 Brewing Company in Hamburg afterwards, but I did enjoy my beer on the ledge with my faithful furball companion, and then did the treacherous, very rocky hike back down – which is the Appalachian Trail path.
All in all, if you are ever near Kempton or Hamburg area of Pennsylvania, and love beautiful views, where you can see and feel the turkey buzzards, hawks, and other large birds soaring right past your head, this is definitely a great hike and a beautiful view. From Hershey its roughly a 45-50 minute drive.
Beer: Mutant Temple
Brewery: Strange Roots Experimental Ales
Style: IPA – American
Untappd Description: IPA dry hopped with Citra.
Since I’m not doing an appearance segment for this beer review, let me just say, I thought this cairn was the perfect picture opportunity for this beer. It looked alien, strange, mutant like, and would be a Hollywood esque temple location; like something filmed for a Star Wars planet or something. Also, the can art for Mutant Temple is phenomenal to, here it is:
Here also, I want to bring up Strange Roots Experimental Ales. According to Untappd, they are a micro brewery out of Gibsonia Pennsylvania (near Pittsburgh). They have 394 unique beers with over 102K ratings, and a global average rating of 3.86. The Untappd description reads: “Strange Roots exists at the intersection of farmhouse brewing tradition and creative, locally-driven experimentation. We’re passionate about celebrating our environment through the use of local ingredients, varying fermentation methods and micro flora, and strive to create unique artisan ales inspired by our surroundings here in the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains.”
Ok, now lets get back to the beer review.
(Skipping the appearance… sorry folks…. moving right along to aroma…) Coming out of the can you get a very citra hoppy aroma. Not surprising since this is a Citra dry hopped IPA. Citra has probably become the most used hop in America in the past two years, primarily for New England IPAs, and primarily because of that. Its a very juicy hop, and gives off a ton of lime, citrus, grapefruit, some peach, some mango, and tropical fruit notes. Both aromatically and in taste. Due to the proliferation of New England IPAs in the past two years, its market has exploded, usually used in conjunction with mosaic. (Cue up the Hallmark Christmas movies meme of Mosaic & Citra.) This is a strong IPA, but not as potent as most New England IPAs, and its definitely not a New England IPA, but it has a very strong citrus, lime, aroma; some notes of grapefruit and peach and mango.
Tasting this, (out of the can, not from a glass, just for perspective’s sake), this is definitely not a New England IPA; but a classic American / West Coast IPA. But its not full blown hop bitter West Coast IPA. Its nothing like Perpetual IPA, or Hop Slam, or something extremely high IBU or hop heavy. This is smoother, but not New England smooth, its not pure juice, but its still a juicer IPA than most West Coast styled ones. Theres a great deal of hop flavor , and some hop bitterness, but I think its smoothed because its dry hopped, especially with it being dry hopped with such a fruity hop like Citra. You get some earthy hop notes, a bit of pine, a wee bit of grassy-ness, to it, but overall the citra elements kick it into ultra drive on this, and you get a lot of the fruitier, more notable hop tastes from the citra; like lime, citrus, grapefruit, bit of peach, bit of mango, some tropical fruits, and the like, and this rounds it out and makes it a lot more tastier, seems to give it a lot more to the beer. I wouldn’t call it an extremely fruity or floral or juicy IPA or beer, but its got a lot of fruit forward flavors, its still definitely an IPA, there’s still the bite and the hop – ness to it, still some bitterness to it; still a “beer’s beer”. There is a nice body to it, and its got a good mouthfeel, it doesn’t feel too light or weak or watery. It’s also only 5.3% ABV, so thats really not bad, almost in the low regions by most beer standards nowadays. Most IPAs clock in the 6-7.5% range; and DIPAs then going from 7-9%. (Of course, then there’s also TIPAs and QIPAs even nowadays too.) I like the low ABV on this, especially for hiking, and despite picking it up at Breski’s as part of a mix-a-six, I could definitely dig this in a four pack and crush it. Would make for a great mowing beer, or working around the house, or shower beer, something where a nice beer would fit, but you don’t need or want to get hammered or pounded or anything. The Untappd description also lists it at only 5 IBU, but it does (still) have a hop bite and some bitterness. There’s no off flavors or after taste, nothing you’ll be burping up hours later, nothing off, or cloying, just a nice drinking beer. Great for hiking up a hill / mountain with your pooch!
My Untappd Rating: ****.25
Global Untappd Rating: 3.93 (as of 12.26.20)
Untappd actually has a checkin spot for Pinnacle Overlook, you can see it here: Pinnacle Overlook on Untappd. I love how for even far to reach hiking places and spots where not even WiFi exists, or I even get internet, there’s still Untappd check-in spots. Thank. Goodness.
Thank you all for reading. 2020 is winding down, and we’re getting near to the end of the year. January 4th will be soon here too, and hopefully Governor Wolfe will be updating the mandates, and letting us get back to drinking and eating indoors at breweries, pubs, restaurants, and bars. In the meantime, get out there and help support local breweries. Support your favorite places, and tip your favorite staff, they all need it! (I know as someone furloughed / laid off / unemployed because of this recent shut down, its a tough time and a tough season, especially with it being the holidays too.) So help out wherever and however you can.
As always, make sure you are taking all the precautions everyone. Stay safe out there, mask up, wash your hands, don’t lick doorknobs, etc.
Please be sure to follow us on our social media accounts – Facebook, Facebook Group, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Influence. Please be sure to also follow, like, subscribe to the blog here itself to keep updated. We love to hear from you guys, so be sure to leave a comment and let us know what you think!
Some recent beer reviews:
- Beer Review: The Soft Glow of Electric Sex (RAR Brewing)
- Beer Review: Snow Tracks (New Trail Brewing Co.)
- Beer Review: B-52 (2017) (Cox Brewing Company)
- Beer Review: I Voted for Kodos (Second Sin Brewing Company)
- Beer Review: I Voted for Kang (Second Sin Brewing Company)
- Beer Review: Java the Stout (Jackie O’s Brewery)
- Beer Review: This is the Whey (Bolero Snort Brewery)
- Beer Review: Space Broccoli (Other Half Brewing Co.)