Today marks the start of our countdown to Halloween, bringing you a review a day from here on down ’til the gremlins show up on your doorstep. Starting out the run is one of the coolest bottles we’ve seen yet, and in the trick or treat spirit, a collaborative brew that may have been designed just to mess with your head in all the right ways.

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Name: Kick – Lips of Faith Series

Place of Origin / Brewer: Colorado, USA / New Belgium Brewing & Elysian Brewing collaboration

Beer style / ABV%:  Cranberry Pumpkin Sour Ale / 8.5%

Specialty Prep / Individuality:   In an increasingly popular and frankly, quite cool trend, New Belgium’s Kim Jordan and Elysian Brewing’s Dick Cantwell have yielded this creative co-op as part of the Lips of Faith Series. It’s 75% ale brewed with pumpkin and cranberry juice, 25% ale aged in wooden barrels. It’s as interesting and different as it sounds.

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Packaging:

This is how you do it!  It seems like no one in the craft brewing world screens their label right onto the bottle.  But, Kick has it all there; gorgeous pumpkins glowing yellow and orange right from the beautiful brown bottle with an explosion of little red dots (to represent the cranberry element) all across the background. I’m confident, this is perfection…wouldn’t change a thing. – Tim

One of the cooler looking bottles so far, it boasts multiple playful jack-o-lanterns on the label.  There is nice work with the negative space as well, and the dominant red hue certainly hints at the cranberries, even if at first you don’t notice them in the background. – Rick

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Color:  6

A blonde almost wit looking ale, with a fraction of a lean towards the red spectrum, reminding us, yes, this has cranberry in it. Quite the conundrum, to the point, I’m not sure what I should be looking for. – Mike

In something of an anomaly for a pumpkin beer (or rather a Pumpkin/Cranberry mash-up), Kick shines a radiant gold with slight opacity.  Yields a 2 finger head from a moderately aggressive pour and maintains good retention with lacing that lasts for the duration of the drink. – Tim

M- 5 / T- 7.5 / B- 8 / R- 4.5

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Aroma:  7

The aroma is pretty unique on this one, considering the use of cranberry in it’s production.  It has a sour body to the nose, which paired with the fruits and pumpkin give it a veggie quality.  It’s definitely bold and stands out from the crowd, but initial tests suggest this is a different pumpkin ale. – Rick

I get a lot of hops, which follow with an almost grassiness.  Then comes the sourness of the cranberry and slight note of pumpkin. – Brittney

A light nose with some small debris, and a strong suggestion of a sour ale. There’s definitely a cider note inherent as well, or really, an almost lambic sense suggesting this could be at once clean and neat, or kind of intense. – Mike

M- 6.5 / T- 7.5 / B- 7.5 / R- 7.5

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Mouth feel:  6.5

It’s light bodied, and mouth puckering. Fizzy like ginger ale as well. In fact, cranberry ginger ale is pretty spot on for the texture, minus the soda syrupy after taste. – Mike

Right away I’m hit with the cranberry and a sourness that is well defined.  It is a bit watery feeling on the tongue and leaves behind a slight tartness. – Rick

M- 5.5 / T- 5 / B- 8 / R- 7.5

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Tasting notes:  6.5

This beer ‘kicks’ taste buds you didn’t even know you had.  It’s one of the most (if not the most) unique that we come across thus far.  A crisp sour drink that could get you in trouble if you don’t remind yourself it’s 9%. – Brittney

Yea, it’s sour but that really shouldn’t come as a shock to any beer drinker worth their malts.  New Belgium is known for their embracing of European ‘Sour Beer’ productions and even though Kick probably doesn’t quite measure up to their better offering, it’s still decidedly in the same game.  Once you move past the nearly overpowering pucker aspect, the honey and orange notes pop along with the stated cranberry and the fresh pumpkin. – Tim

M- 6.5 / T- 6.5 / B- 7 / R- 6

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Finish:  6.5

It’s got a lot of oomph and snap, and a long fruity draw that coats the throat right on down the gullet. That said, it’s got a refreshing cleanliness, not in the absence of flavor, but in the way smelling lemon in a clean bathroom might alert you that all is well. I do get an interesting hint of oak age in there as well, lingering in my saliva a few seconds after the swallow. – Mike

For the amount of flavor this beer brings to the table the finish is strangely short but strong and sour.  – Brittney

M- 5 / T- 7 / B- 7.5 / R- 6

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Flavor balance:

–         Pumpkin to Spice balance:

This is a pretty much defunct category for this brew. There’s no spice intended, and the pumpkin is more an alternative source than a staple approach. Definitely a punk rock experiment, which some will like, and some will hate.  – Mike

There is no spice in this ale, but I believe instead the use of cranberry really balances the sourness and takes some of the bite off of the fermented pumpkin / gourdy body. – Rick

M- 5 / T- 7 / B- 6 / R- 5

–         Sweet / Dry balance:

It puts me in mind of drinking a dry white wine and with the sour flavors there is not much sweetness to be found. – Brittney

This isn’t cranberry sauce sweet people, this is bone dry white wine or brut champagne levels–however once again, based on style, that seems to be by design. – Tim

M- 6 / T- 5 / B- 6 / R- 4.5

–         Multiple Drinkability?

Too fruit juice sour for my tastes, but it is definitely worth the try if not just to study it’s traditionally brewed style. – Rick

Super easy to drink if you are a sour lover like me but with the larger bottle and higher alcohol content I’d stop with just one. – Brittney

As far as multiple drinkability goes, you could do worse pounding down a bomber of this. However, for a fall beer I think this misses the mark even with the cranberry focus.  The reality is–as with most Sour Beers in my opinion–the high citric content and the Warhead level of pucker make me want to pound ice-cold glasses of this in the high summer heat by a crystal blue pool, and not so much bundled up by the fire with a pound of turkey on my plate. – Tim

M- 3.5 / T- 5 / B- 63.5 / R- 4

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Overall:  6.25

M- 5.58 / T- 6.50 / B- 7.33 / R- 6.00

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