Our friends at Indiana-based Sun King are back with a huge load of new beers, this round heavy on IPAs and, oddly, beers built around caramel of some sort. You’ll see what we mean as we dip into the specifics. Let’s crack open some cans.
Sun King Surf Lessons IPA – Sweet, almost syrupy at times, this heavy IPA is brewed with tangerine, coconut, and pineapple, and two out of three of those work here. The coconut gets heavy — right away — dominating the experience and making for a beer that drinks closer to a dessert you’d get at an Indian restaurant than anything I’d like to crush at the beach. Drop the coconut and this could be an in-your-face winner. 7.8% abv. C / $8 per six-pack
Sun King Turtle Thunder Hazy IPA – A curious hazy made with Southern hemisphere hops. Results: interesting, if undeveloped in full. A somewhat gummy attack sees notes of guava paired with Mexican candy — oversweet, vaguely fruit-related — before finishing on a chewy, malty note. Despite a solid body and some lemon-orange notes on the finish, it never quite comes across like any hazy I’ve had to date… but I haven’t been drinking them south of the equator, so what do I know? 6.4% abv. B / $9 per six-pack
Sun King All Them Llamas Hazy IPA – Brewed with “experimental hops,” with no llamas harmed in the production of the beer. Sunny and fruity — very peach-forward up front, with some lemon notes giving the creamy affair a custard-like quality. Good balance of bitterness with the vibrant fruit elements, that strong peach character offering a unique composition. 7.4% abv. A- / $NA (12 oz cans)
Sun King Keller Haze IPA – Boldly tropical but otherwise straightforward in design (inspired by the German kellerbier style), this refreshing and juicy beer features impressive notes of pineapple on a chewy (albeit not overly “hazy” backbone). The fruit eventually recedes to showcase more classic IPA bitterness, with notes of heather and fresh wheat, the finish seeing just a hint of piney, mushroom-infused funk. It’s beautifully balanced and was the most effusive crowd-pleaser in this sextet… the crowd being me, that is. 6.3% abv. A / $10 per six-pack
Sun King Caramel Corn – Well, this appropriately named red ale is made with caramel corn, and that’s exactly what it tastes like: Impossibly sweet, liquified caramel giving the malty underbelly a massive dose of sweetness. Downright diabetic in flavor, it is difficult to consume in more than small doses, the finish offering a toothache-inducing level of syrupy sweetness. I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t some perverse charm to this beer, but it’s not an experience I feel compelled to enjoy more than once. 5.4% abv. C+ / $NA (12 oz cans)
Sun King Caramel Apple Tripel – “Malt beverage” aged in rum barrels with natural flavors. The name says it all: This monstrosity tastes like what might happen if you left an apple pie out to ferment for a few weeks, then blended it up and put it in a bottle. The bruising 13.2% abv beer would punch you in the face were it not for the incredible sweetness here. If this is intended to be “Belgian style,” that didn’t wholly pan out: It’s Belgian waffle style, or IHOP style, maybe. Apples, pie crust, caramel sauce, brown sugar. But beer. You get the idea. 13.2% abv. 2022 release. B / $NA (16 oz plastic bottle)