By Matt Abbatacola–

(CBS) Hello beer buddies. I hope you have time this weekend to sample some new beers. Here are four beers for your consideration. As always, I want and appreciate your feedback. Look me up the Untappd App. Cheers.

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Last Saturday, I took a home brewing class at Perfect Brewing Supply in Libertyville. If that sounds interesting to you, I would highly recommend it. Andy, the owner, and Ryan taught the class. Their knowledge and friendliness was well worth the $20 for the three-hour class. Plus, they make some damn good beer to sample throughout.

As a reminder, here are the criteria that go into the review.

Surly’s Todd the Axe Man — $$$


This West Coast-style IPA is brewed in collaboration with Amager Brewery in Denmark. This brew scored a 99 (world-class) on and has a 7.2% ABV.

As I journey through the ever-growing world of IPAs, I’m learning which hops I love. This IPA from Surly is brewed with citra and mosiac hops. As I have discovered, they’re two of my favorite hops used in brewing.

I normally save my overall score for the end of each review, but I’m going to tell you now, you must try this beer. Find it, drive to get it and pay the high price for this beer. It’s easily my favorite IPA that I’m drinking. It scores a perfect 10 in my beer-soaked world.

The body is a hazy amber color. The aroma of citrus and hops are strong but well balanced. In a world full of hoppy IPAs, this one stands out. It drinks smooth with delicious grapefruit and malty flavor but finishes very nice on the tongue. The taste is amazing. There’s a hint of bitterness, but it’s so pleasant and finishes very clean.

I love this beer and even at the price of $18.99 that I paid for the four-pack of 16-ounce cans, I will buy it again and again.

Don’t let the price keep you away — I promise, you will love Todd the Axe Man. The can itself is worth an extra buck or two.

Overall score: 10

New Belgium’s Citradelic Tangerine IPA — $$


This IPA is brewed with citra hops and tangerine peel and has a 6% ABV.

It has a hazy golden color with a bright white head. It’s a good looking brew in a glass. The tangerine note was present in the aroma along with a mild malty fragrance.

This is an easy-drinking and tasty IPA. It’s not overly hoppy or fruity. They achieved a nice balance. For those “real men” who don’t drink “fruity” beers, it’s time to open your world a bit and start with New Belgium’s Citradelic. It’s strong enough to let you know you’re drinking a real beer but it finishes smooth — you’ll go back for another and maybe a third …

It also has a cool label.

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Overall: 8

Ballast Point’s Pineapple Sculpin — $$$


Pineapple Sculpin is Ballast Point’s gold-medal winning IPA flavored with pineapple and has a 7% ABV.

To call this a fruit beer would be a definite mistake. This is a real-deal IPA with strong fruity notes. The juicy pineapple comes through in the taste, but at 70 IBUs, Pineapple Sculpin packs a punch of bitterness that stays on the tongue and invades your mouth. I like that in a beer — you may not.

It has a deep amber color with a big head. Please pour this (and all your beers) in a glass. The aroma of this beer is such a part of the total experience of this wonderful IPA. The pineapple flavor comes through along many other fruity notes. The hops are strong and intense, as expected. BP adds hops at five separate stages in the brewing process.

The label is cool, as all BP labels are — Sculpin IPA tastes much better than sculpin the fish looks IMO.

Overall: 9

Crystal Lake Brewing’s Wake Maker — $$


Last Friday at Garfield’s Beverage Warehouse in Crystal Lake, I was told I had to try this session IPA. I’m glad that I did.

This session IPA has a 4.8% ABV and rates at 53 IBUs.

It has a deep orange color with a significant foamy head. The aroma has a mild caramel malt and even more mild fruit fragrance.

CLB’s Wake Maker has a nice taste — not very bitter and finishes clean and slightly spicy. It’s easy to drink, straightforward as a session IPA. I’m looking forward to trying more offerings from Crystal Lake Brewing.

It’s also a cool can, making me want to sit dockside and rifle through a six-pack.

Overall: 7.5

Let me know what you think — have a great weekend and good beer hunting.

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Matt Abbatacola is a producer, host and update anchor at 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MattAbbatacola and email him at