The TesseracT guide to Craft Beers of the USA

By on 15 November 2016

james-monteith-600Progressive metallers TesseracT  have recently concluded a five week tour of the USA. Before the band left Blighty, guitarist James Monteith agreed (in the interests of science) to report back to us on the various craft beers he was to diligently seek out and try.


In recent years the US has had a craft beer explosion, with hundreds of new breweries going into business and succeeding every year. On our five week tour of the US with Gojira, I thought I’d take the opportunity to try as much beer as possible in the name of research (of course!).

Here’s what I remember enjoying…

Beer 1: Yards Brewing IPA – Philadelphia, PA

Keeping it simple with the name, this is a straight up flavoursome American IPA. Based on the traditional English IPA, this is nicely hoped but won’t blow your head off as many US IPAs do. The brewery was pretty much next door to the venue we played which was both convenient and dangerous.

Beer 2 Great Lakes Brewing Imperial Red Ale – Cleveland, OH

A medium bodied ale with a mellow flavour and bold but not heavy consistency, and overall it’s smooth and refreshing. Acle felt that it had an interesting calcium hint (which sounds gross), but that aside it’s quite delicious.

Beer 3 Wicked Weed Pernicious IPA – Asheville, NC

We fell in love with pretty much all the beers at Wicked Weed. Again, the brewery was next to the venue so we were lucky enough to try a good selection and unlucky enough to have very sore heads the next day. They had some fantastic porters and sours, but my personal favourite was the Pernicious IPA. Light, clean, flavoursome but without an over powering hop attack. Stunning!

Beer 4 Coppertail Brewing Unholy – Tampa, FL

This is a Belgian style trippel, and it is outstanding. Smooth and flavourful, yet deceptively mild on the taste buds given its strength. A fantastic imitation of a classic Belgian style beer, but be warned, at 9.5%, 2 or 3 of these could seriously affect your walking ability.

Beer 5 Eighth Wonder Brewing Rocket Fuel – Houston TX

In general I’ve not been a huge fan of the American flavoured beer craze, however this Vietnamese coffee porter is absolutely divine. It’s smooth and rich in flavour; the coffee cuts through nicely but doesn’t have that harsh aftertaste you sometime find with coffee porters. It’s also not too sweet, which is another gripe of mine with these kinds of beers.

Beer 6 – Bishop Cider Co Sour Cherry Cider – Dallas TX

Not a beer, but I was so impressed with this I felt it should have a mention. Cider’s not too common in the US, you can occasionally find Angry Orchard kicking around which is decent, and if you try really hard you might find some imported Strong Bow (vom), so finding this was a genuine surprise. It’s dry and tart and incredibly moreish, and the cherry isn’t too overbearing. It also served to be a great hair of the dog drink if the night before was a little heavy.

Beer 7 – Noble Rey Brewing Baracus. Dallas TX

The beer it’s self is a fairly tasty dark ale, one that you probably would rather save for a colder day (which aren’t that common in Texas), but what’s special about this is the can. As the name probably gives away, the beer’s logo is a picture of Mr T. For that reason alone it’s a winner.

Beer 8 –  Great Raft Brewing – Responsibly Corrupt

Responsibly Corrupt is a black larger packed full of hops, a roasty malt sweetness and has a slightly woody flavour too. It has all the characteristics of a larger, but is a little weightier and bolder… and it’s very dark in colour.

Beer 9 – Russian River –  Pliny the elder, Guerneville, CA

This Imperial / Double IPA is hop explosion in a bottle.. absolutely loads of flavour yet goes down super easy, unlike some double IPAs which can be a little taste bud destroying. . Great name too!

Beer 10 – Freewill Brewing Peach Sour – Perkasie, PA

This is a Belgian style Sour with a peach infusion; it’s intense but delicious. It’s on the more extreme end of sours as it packs a big punch, but the fruity flavour cuts through nicely. One to enjoy if you’re already a sour beer fan, although maybe not suitable for a sour first timer.

Beer 11 – Firestone Walker Hoppy Pils- Paso Robles‎, CA

After a few weeks of drinking loads of interesting beers, the super light yet tasty beer was a good reminder that light beers can be good too. It’s perfect for a hot day in the sun and has a lovely smooth after taste.

Beer 12 – 5 Rabbit Cerveceria Brewery,  Chinga Tu Pelo Chicago IL

This beer started out as Trump Golden Ale, served at Trump Towers as a house beer.  Translated as ‘Fuck Your Hair’, this Latino brewery renamed it after Trump called Mexican immigrants rapists and drug dealers. It’s bold and palatable Golden Ale that’s very refreshing.

Finally, among all the great beer are some absolute disasters. One thing I do admire about American brewers is their drive to experiment and create, which can be seen with their coffee infusions, coco beers and more. Some of the weirdest we tried included a chai tea ale, and a breakfast lager, which was infused with oats honey and milk. Both were terrible, but neither come close to Budweiser’s appalling attempt to enter this world. Bud Light Clamato is nothing short of a beer abomination (editor’s note – at the time of adding the link to the website for this beer, Google produced several security warnings, which I guess must mean something…). Bad watery light beer, tomato, salt and lemon. It shouldn’t exist. Maybe try once for a laugh, but then avoid at all costs

Anyway, this concludes my beer report and my five-week binge. Time for a detox…

About Miranda Yardley

I'm Miranda. Bite me.

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