Reviews, Commentary and Opinions on Midwest Craft Beer and Microbreweries


Beer Reviews

Kiss The Lips

Lake Louie Brewing
Arena, WI

Style: India Pale Ale (IPA)

Eddie’s Rating:
one beerone beerone beerone beerone beer   (Recommended)

Arena, Wisconsin sits a little less than an hour west of Madison, and is one of those tiny drive-through towns that if you blink, you will literally miss it. Lurking in the outskirts is the equally tiny brewery, Lake Louie, owned and operated by a dude named Tom Porter. The brewery resides in a shed on the other side of Tom’s driveway and the whole thing is basically a one-man operation. Beer doesn’t get much more hand-crafted than this, folks.

The first time I happened across Lake Louie’s stuff was nearly four years ago, when it was only available in growlers. I bought a batch of the Farmhouse Ale, and honestly don’t remember all that much about it. Now, four years later, Lake Louie is a hot commodity in the Madison area, and the beer that’s getting a lot of attention is the IPA, with the slightly off-kilter moniker of Kiss The Lips. So, of course, I had to grab myself a six-pack and see what the what-what was.

It pours beneath a thick white, fine-bubbled head. As everyone knows, IPA stands for India pale ale (which was, at the time and place of its introduction, only considered pale in comparison to normal beers of the day, which were mostly porters and stouts), but Tom Porter takes the pale a little too literally here. It is a very light amber, probably the lightest IPA I’ve every seen.

Right away the hoppy aroma comes up at you, like any IPA worth its salt should, although not as strongly as some IPAs, or even plain old pales ales sometimes can. Most brewers usually use harder water for IPAs and pale ales, as this strips some of the body from the beer, letting the hop profile shine on its own. But Kiss The Lips seems almost to go the opposite direction, with a very soft, almost buttery mouthfeel. It works, though. A nice balance of bitter and fruity hops doesn’t hurt the equation, either. There’s some orange peel and coriander, maybe saltine crackers lurking around on the edges.

All this comes at you from the get go, and then, when you’re expecting some maltiness to bring up the rear, there’s … nothing. There’s this weird vacuum of taste, something you wouldn’t see in even the lightest of pale ales. It’s actually kind of spooky, at first. But as the beer warms, it slowly fills out, growing in complexity and heaviness of body, until toward the final sip it’s as if that strange void had never really existed.

Overall an interesting entry with lots of surprises from start to finish. Tasty, drinkable, and without a doubt recommended.

Reviewed by Eddie Glick on June 3, 2007.
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