North Peak Vicious

VICIOUS: 84 Points

More calm than vicious

More calm than vicious

This American Wheat Ale is available year-round in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Beware of beer. There, we warned you. The frothy head, and pungent, piney dryhopped scent (from Cascade and Amarillo hops) should alert you to the brew’s imminent attack on your senses. Next, Cascade, Perle and Willamette hops will batter your palette with bitter ferocity. Finally, Pale, Crystal (30 and 75) and wheat malts converge in a cloudy, thick body and give you a smooth kiss of sweet death – and leave you howling for more!

My Description: The only thing vicious about this beer is its blunt approach to the flavors. It pours a decent sized, off-white colored head that lasts the whole way leaving behind spotty lacing. The aroma is overall faint but notes do come through such as tropical hops, light sweet fruit notes, and a touch of floral hops. Vicious is medium bodied with a lower carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile showcases a subtle wheat malt backbone holding up notes of citrus hops, straw, bread, grapefruit, and a touch of caramel malt sweetness. This transitions into an aftertaste that is moderately bitter, which is a somewhat sharp but nothing too bad. Overall, I feel this beer is worth trying but it isn’t as smooth as it could have been and the flavor combinations do not excite. It is best served around 40°F and pairs nicely with mushroom burgers, grilled jerk chicken, or a heavy salad.

ABV: 6.7% Color: Orange/Copper Sweetness: 2.5/10 Bitterness: 4.5/10

North Peak Burly

BURLY: 93 Points

You know you like it burly

You know you like it burly

This Belgian IPA is a seasonal release in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “The February seasonal in North Peak’s line of hand-crafted microbrews, pays tribute to the third-yeti or Abominable Snowman, the human-like creature is believed to be a direct descendent of Sasquatch, otherwise known as Bigfoot. Its story is well known around the world in different mythologies, folk tales and legends, dating back hundreds of years. Yet, its existence remains one of the big mysteries – or some may say debates – of the modern day. Considered one of the most debated creatures, its history runs as deep as its footprints in the Northern Michigan backwoods.”

My Description: I’m glad I spotted this Yeti. It begins with a weak, white colored head, that fades quick but holds on the whole way leaving behind some spotty lacing. The aroma is inviting with notes of tropical fruits, peppery spice, citrus hops, and a touch of pine hops. Burly is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is rather tasty and grows on you. Yeast phenols take center stage but don’t necessarily dominate, hop flavors come through as well. Notes of pepper spice pairs cleanly with tropical hop notes such as papaya. A hint of sweetness is apparent throughout as well as pine hop notes. The aftertaste is moderately high in bitterness with lingering tropical notes. This is nicely crafted beer that is enjoyable and refreshing. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with grilled shrimp, a spicy vegetable stew, or grilled asparagus.

ABV: 6.5% Color: Hazy Orange/Honey Sweetness: 2/10 Bitterness: 6/10

Ommegang Seven Kingdoms

SEVEN KINGDOMS: 96 Points

To Rule Them All

To Rule Them All

This Wheat Ale is released in limited quantities in 750 ml. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Seven Kingdoms is a marriage of a traditional Belgian-style wheat and a hop-forward American ale – but unlike so many of the marriages on the show, the resulting hoppy wheat is pleasant, playful and inspired. At 6.9% ABV, it possesses a nuanced complexity that pairs nicely with the hop-forward characteristics that make it surprisingly refreshing.

My Description: This beer is definitely worthy to be served to the ruler of the Seven Kingdoms. It begins with a large, white colored head that lasts forever leaving behind a wall lacing. The aroma is welcoming with an overall earthy presence and some ester notes along with herbal hops and cloves. Seven Kingdoms is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is tasty with a good balance of flavors. A clean wheat malt body is enjoyed throughout along with some spicy hop notes that blend smoothly with notes of grapefruit hops, grass, straw, and a hint of clove. The aftertaste is moderately bitter giving this beer great drinkability; this beer never seems to cross into that Belgian IPA category, which is nice to see. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with grilled asparagus, soft cheeses, or a spicy salad.

ABV: 6.9% Color: Golden/Yellow Sweetness: 2/10 Bitterness: 3.5/10

Smuttynose Rocky Road

ROCKY ROAD: 93 Points

Liquid Ice Cream

Liquid Ice Cream

This Stout is released in limited quantities in 22 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Rocky Road is Smutty’s first dessert stout. An indulgent blend of marshmallow Fluff™ and chocolately cacao nibs in a full bodied, sweet stout beer that has been aged on amaretto soaked oak chips.”

My Description: This sounds like a novelty beer, but this is a nicely brewed stout that keeps those Rocky Road flavors in check. It begins with a large, dark beige colored head with an excellent retention level that leaves behind some lacing. The aroma is welcoming with notes of coffee, cocoa, vanilla, and faint marshmallow notes; this beer smells great. Rocky Road is medium/full bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is enjoyable and nicely balanced, the sweetness from the marshmallow addition doesn’t ever set the beer to that cloying sweetness level. A dark chocolate backbone holds up notes of roasted malts, burnt sugar, and char undertones. This transitions cleanly into an aftertaste that is slightly bitter with lingering marshmallow notes. Overall, this is clean stout that is well executed. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with chocolate desserts, tiramisu, or smoked ribs.

ABV: 7.3% Color: Black Sweetness: 3/10 Bitterness: 3/10

Jolly Pumpkin Maracaibo Especial

MARACAIBO ESPECIAL: 95 Points

Subtle Flavors

Subtle Flavors

This Belgian Strong is released randomly in 750 ml. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “A rich brown ale inspired by the enigmatic monastic brews of Belgium, and the mysterious mist shrouded jungles of the tropics. Brewed with real cacao, and spiced with cinnamon and sweet orange peel for a sensual delight. A brew to be sipped, savored, and enjoyed!

My Description: This beer is surprisingly smooth and easy drinking with a flavor profile that immediately becomes addicting. It begins with a very large and dense, tan colored head that holds for some time leaving behind a nice amount of lacing. The aroma has that similar Belgian house yeast note that most Jolly Pumpkin beers have; it’s kind of barnyard funky. There are also citrus notes, cinnamon, a sweet hint, and a some mild cocoa notes in the aroma. Maracaibo Especial is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level, and a dry finish. The flavor profile showcases some tasty notes but they are subtle and need to be searched for. An underlying hint of tart floats throughout holding up notes of orange peel, green apples, and some funk. The aftertaste is refreshing with lingering hints of cinnamon. No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t pick up the cocoa notes that I smelled. Either way, the alcohol is nicely hidden and overall this is a great Belgian Strong. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with grilled asparagus, fruit tarts, or a grilled whitefish.

ABV: 7.5% Color: Murky Brown/Amber Sweetness: 1.5/10 Bitterness: 1.5/10

Epic Brewing Big Bad Baptist

BIG BAD BAPTIST: 100 Points

Potent chocolate notes

Potent chocolate notes

This Imperial Stout is available in limited quantities in 22 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “One Big Bad Imperial Stout with Cocoa nibs and Coffee beans. Each season’s release uses a different dark roasted coffee.”

My Description: What first caught my attention was just how ridiculously smooth and flavorful this beer is, it is a work of art. This beauty begins with a large, dark beige colored head with a great retention level that leaves behind a wall of lacing. The aroma is welcoming and entrancing with deep dark chocolate notes along with oak, coffee, and a touch of smoke. Big Bad Baptist is medium/full bodied with a moderately low carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is complex and highly satisfying. The big dark chocolate notes from the aroma take center stage in the taste with the wonderful addition of dark fruits. A woodsy presence throughout as well as hints of coffee add character and the whisky flavor is subtle but definitely detected. The alcohol is beautifully hidden, hardly being tasted and the aftertaste is moderately bitter bringing an overall perfect balance. This beer is rich, delicious, and excellently crafted. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with Tiramisu, grilled lamb chops, or baked duck with raspberry sauce.

ABV: 12.2% Color: Black Sweetness: 2.5/10 Bitterness: 4/10

Petoskey Brewing Hopsessed

HOPSESSED: 96 Points

I am hopsessed

I am hopsessed

This Imperial IPA is released seasonally in 16 oz. cans.

Brewer’s Description: “Hold on to your taste buds & make sure you have a designated driver! This mouth-exploding double I.P.A. starts with the unique citrus aroma provided by a 100% Simcoe dry hop. The high bitterness is slightly toned down by the caramel sweetness imparted by the large quantities of malted barley needed to achieve such a high ABV. (Limited time only!).”

My Description: This beer tastes great from start to finish. It begins with a large, light tan colored head with an excellent retention level that leaves behind a wall of lacing. The aroma, not surprising, is hop forward with strong resiny notes of citrus hops and pine hops. There is also some caramel malt as well in the aroma. Hopsessed is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile boasts a caramel malt backbone with bready notes that come through in between the potent American hop notes. Hints of melon hops can be detected and the alcohol is nicely hidden here. The transition to the finish is smooth bringing forth an aftertaste that is moderately high in bitterness. This IIPA is a true beauty that should be sought out. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with Brie cheese, smoked ribs, or spicy Thai noodles.

ABV: 9.2% Color: Dark Orange/Amber Sweetness: 2.5/10 Bitterness: 6.5/10

Stone BBA Arrogant Bastard

BOURBON BARREL-AGED ARROGANT BASTARD: 95 Points

Let it age

Let it age

This barrel aged American Strong Ale is a limited release in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: N/A

My Description: You have to pour this in a glass and let it breath for at least 10 minutes before you will begin to appreciate this offering from Stone. It pours a decent sized, beige colored head that fades to a thin film leaving behind a nice amount of lacing. The aroma is the best part of the beer, it smells amazing with complex notes. One can detect notes of bourbon, caramel malt, citrus hops, cherries, wood, with a slight hint of sweetness. This bourbon barreled beer is full bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. Initially the beer tasted off and unbalanced but that went away as this beer warmed up and breathed, then it became really enjoyable. The caramel malt notes started to blend cleanly with hints of dark fruit and citrus hops. This transitioned nicely into the aftertaste that is moderately bitter. Overall, the flavor profile has a woodsy presence with a noticeable sweetness that is nicely combated by the finish. Plus the alcohol is nicely hidden. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with grilled steak, soft cheeses, or a mild cigar.

ABV: 7.9% Color: Reddish/Brown Sweetness: 3/10 Bitterness: 5.5/10

Evil Twin Molotov Cocktail

MOLOTOV COCKTAIL: 95 Points

Huge hop notes

Huge hop notes

This Imperial IPA is released seasonally in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Did you like Before During and after Christmas? Maybe thought it pored brilliantly, the alcohol was admirable well hidden and you loved how the arrogant amount of hops numbed you. This beer will knock your tongue off, essentially due to the obscure amount of hops that went down this explosive fella – it’s a tour de force in hoppyness and by far the craziest beer ever made from Evil Twin – but not the last.

My Description: This is a big beer and it drinks like one; a strong malt body accompanies a bitter finish with tasty hop notes. This is what an Imperial IPA of this caliber should taste like. It begins with a good sized, light tan colored head that leaves behind some film and spotty lacing. The aroma has huge hop notes including tangerine, mango, and grapefruit along with an overall vegetative presence. Molotov Cocktail is medium/full bodied with a moderately low carbonation level and a dry finish. A thick caramel malt backbone holds up the flavor profile which includes ripened fruit notes, mangoes, and grapefruit. The alcohol is slightly noticed but stays in the background. The aftertaste is moderately high in bitterness and lingers forever. Overall, this beer showcases a tasty hop profile and does not shy away from being aggressive. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with potent cheeses, deep dish pizza, or spicy Thai noodles.

ABV: 13% Color: Hazy Orange/Brown Sweetness: 3/10 Bitterness: 7/10

Stone Pataskala Red X IPA

STONE PATASKALA RED X IPA: 99 Points

Highly Addicting

Highly Addicting

This Red IPA is released seasonally in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Pat-ASK-ala? Pata-SKALA? Pa-TASK-a-la? While those in the know favor the third pronunciation, no matter how you say it, this is a unique red IPA. The beer was first brewed in September 2015 to support music and arts education programs in Pataskala, Ohio, where Stone co-founder Greg Koch grew up. People there loved it, so we added the beer to our seasonal lineup. The deep crimson hue is courtesy of a fairly new special German malt variety by BESTMALZ called Red X. Dry-hopped with Mosaic, Cascade and Amarillo hops, this beer is incredibly citrus-forward, rounded out with biscuit and toffee notes. We think you’ll find this red IPA to be quite deliciously satisfying, no matter how you choose to pronounce it.”

My Description: Stone has created a wonderfully blended Red IPA with the perfect body and just the right amount of bitterness. It begins with a good sized, beige colored head with an excellent retention level that leaves behind some spotty lacing. The aroma is inviting with amazing citrus hop notes that just smell fresher and deeper than other beers. There are also notes of tropical hops like pineapples, the aroma is definitely hop forward. Pataskala is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is extremely clean allowing each individual hop to shine through presenting notes of woodsy hops, tropical hops, and citrus hops that taste bold and juicy. Biscuit malt and a touch of sweetness give this beer depth and the alcohol is completely hidden. The aftertaste is moderately bitter and lingers for a bit. This is one of the best Red IPA’s on the market. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with BBQ ribs, soft cheeses, or a margherita pizza.

ABV: 7.3% Color: Deep Amber Sweetness: 2.5/10 Bitterness: 5.5/10

Stone Americano Stout

STONE AMERICANO STOUT: 97 Points

Exquisite

Exquisite

This Imperial Stout is released seasonally in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “The coffee notes in Stone Americano Stout are bold, rich and full of American swagger. For each 120-barrel batch, we incorporated over 250 lbs. of artisanal espresso-roast beans into the mash and added in Columbus, Chinook, Amarillo and Cascade hops to invigorate the coffee taste with a slight citrus and resin hop presence. When it came time to selecting our coffee, we chose the same local roasters who contributed to our sought-after 2013 Stone ESPRESSO Imperial Russian Stout. Their fantastic beans helped us achieve this dark, hoppy and wonderfully aromatic espresso stout.”

My Description: This Imperial Stout is absolutely delicious. It begins with a large, dark beige colored head with a great retention level leaving behind some spotty lacing. The aroma is inviting and rich with bold roasted coffee notes along with some pine hops and a touch of dark malt. Americano Stout is medium/full bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is complex with a great depth. Deep espresso notes can be detected immediately along with notes of toffee, dark chocolate, citrus hops, and a touch of sweetness. Hints of smoke creep in from time to time adding character. The alcohol is beautifully hidden making this beer extremely smooth and highly drinkable. The aftertaste is moderately bitter with lingering coffee notes. Overall, this is beauty of a beer that is flawlessly executed and needs to be sought out. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with Thai curry noodles, smoked cheddar, or grilled venison.

ABV: 8.7% Color: Black Sweetness: 2/10 Bitterness: 4.5/10

Dogfish Head Romantic Chemistry

ROMANTIC CHEMISTRY: 90 Points

It's in the air

It’s in the air

This Fruit IPA is released seasonally in February in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “What you have here is a serious India Pale Ale shacking up and hunkering down with mango and apricots. At the same time! Romantic Chemistry is brewed with an intermingling of mangos, apricots and ginger, and then dry-hopped with three varieties of hops to deliver a tropical fruit aroma and a hop-forward finish. It’s fruity, it’s hoppy, it’s tasty!”

My Description: The balance of flavors and bitterness in this beer should be noted because it is executed beautifully. This ale begins with a decent sized, off-white colored head that lingers for some time leaving behind some spotty lacing. The aroma is pleasant with lots of tropical fruit notes coming through like mangoes along with a touch of ginger and some citrus hops. Romantic Chemistry is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is pleasant but not as bright as the description would indicate. The fruit notes of mangoes and apricots can be detected but are subtle. However, they do blend cleanly with the rest of the beer and become more apparent as it warms up. Caramel malts and earthy hops are also present along with some ginger undertones. The aftertaste is slightly bitter with lingering tropical notes. Overall, this is a great beer that is refreshing with a soft presence and tasty flavors. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with cheesecake, fruit tarts, or soft cheeses.

ABV: 7.2% Color: Orange/Amber Sweetness: 2.5/10 Bitterness: 3.5/10

Lagunitas Bitter Oats

BITTER OATS: 96 Points

Dank

Dank

This Imperial IPA is a limited release in 22 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “This big boozy blonde was brewed with a boatload of oats, giving it a creamy, sweet mouthfeel with a hoppy blast. It’s like a powdered sugar doughnut topped with deliciously bitter, danky resinous hops. Chow down!”

My Description: This ale is delicious with dank hop flavors that delight the senses. It begins with a very large, beige colored head with an excellent retention level that leaves behind a wall of lacing. The aroma is pleasant and inviting with notes of citrus hops, pine hops, some tropical notes, and what smells like orange marmalade. Bitter Oats is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is clean and complex with an earthy element present throughout along with notes of Citra hops, tangerines, pale malts, caramel malt, and a touch of sweetness. Pine hops can also be detected along with a touch of alcohol. This transitions smoothly into the aftertaste that is moderately bitter with lingering hop notes. This beer has a great mouthfeel that satisfies. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with roasted chicken, spicy fish tacos, or a mild beef stew.

ABV: 10.5% Color: Copper/Orange Sweetness: 2.5/10 Bitterness: 2.5/10

Oskar Blues Hotbox

HOTBOX: 91 Points

Clean and easy

Clean and easy

This Porter is available year-round in 12 oz. cans.

Brewer’s Description: “This porter (6.4% ABV, 30 IBUs) is based on malt flavors of roasted nuts, crème brulee, cocoa, and caramel, extracted from English and German roasted and caramel malts. Hotbox Roasters then crashes the party and infuses potent, cold-extracted coffee from Burundi and Ethiopian beans and deals out flavors and aromas of dark plums, chocolate, and hints of blueberry.”

My Description: This is a pleasant and enjoyable Porter that delivers both flavor and drinkability. It pours a large, dark beige colored head that lasts the whole way leaving an excellent amount of lacing. The aroma is welcoming with notes of roasted malts, milk chocolate, and hints of coffee and dark fruits. Hotbox is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is tasty and clean with light roasted coffee notes taking center stage along with notes of roast malts and a hint of sweetness. The aftertaste is slightly bitter with lingering char notes. Overall, this beer is nicely balanced and easy drinking; it’s a great porter. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with mushroom burgers, grilled steak, or chocolate desserts.

ABV: 6.5% Color: Dark Brown Sweetness: 2.5/10 Bitterness: 2.5/10

Stone Winter Harvest (2014)

WINTER HARVEST (2014): 92 Points

Complex wine notes

Complex wine notes

This Specialty Belgian Strong is released in limited quantities in 500 ml. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Stone Brewer Matt Courtright came up with the recipe for this Belgian-style ale, designing it specifically to be aged in wine barrels. We did just that for over two years, during which native wild yeasts continued fermenting the beer. The result is an off-dry ale with pleasing levels of malt and tart fruit, especially tropical fruit flavors: guava from the Merlot grapes and pineapple from the Sauvignon Blanc barrels. Oak tannins contribute mellow non-hop bitterness while the Belgian yeast lends muted notes of clove and banana. Cellared properly, the dryness and complexity will increase over time.”

My Description: Stone has created a pleasant beer that is different than their usual offerings. It begins with a good sized, off-white colored head with an excellent retention level that leaves behind some lacing. The aroma is complex and intriguing with strong yeast notes that deliver scents of unrip bananas and a hint of funk. There are also aroma notes of white wine, french oak, floralness, and a hint of sweetness. Winter Harvest is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a semi-dry finish. The flavor profile is as complex as the aroma with an overall white wine presence and notes of pears, bananas, tropical fruit, pineapples, floral hops, with a hint of tart. The alcohol comes through slightly but never becomes intrusive. The aftertaste is delicious with a hint of bitterness with lingering oak notes. Overall, this is a nicely balanced beer that makes for a great sipper for any occasion. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with grilled asparagus, soft cheeses, or chocolate truffles.

ABV: 11.3% Color: Murky Brown/Orange Sweetness: 2.5/10 Bitterness: 2/10

Ballast Point Pineapple Sculpin

PINEAPPLE SCULPIN: 98 Points

Extra Tropical

Extra Tropical

This IPA is available year-round in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Our Pineapple Sculpin IPA came from one of many small-batch cask experiments to enhance the flavor of our signature IPA. With so many tropical hop notes in Sculpin, how could we not try adding some sweet, juicy pineapple? The combination of fruity flavors and hop intensity definitely packs a punch.”

My Description: This beer is amazingly clean and easy drinking. It makes for a great choice when craving an IPA that is more on the tropical side. It begins with a large, white colored head with an excellent retention level that leaves behind a great amount of lacing. The aroma is definitely centered on tropical notes with pineapples standing out the most along with notes of citrus hops and a touch of mangoes. Pineapple Sculpin is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is satisfying with bready malt notes blending smoothly with the citrus hop notes. There are also notes of woodsy hops, melon, pineapple, and a hint of tropical fruits. The aftertaste is moderately bitter and lingers for some time. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with coconut shrimp, spicy Thai noodles, or cheesecake.

ABV: 7% Color: Gold Sweetness: 2/10 Bitterness: 5.5/10

Lagunitas Olde GnarlyWine (2015)

OLDE GNARLYWINE (2015): 100 Points

Slendid

Splendid

This Barleywine is released throughout the years in 22 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Making a Mondo Ultra Mega Super Premium Barleywine Ale is a little like having a kid. The first part is fun and messy, it takes a while to ferment, and then a whole longer to mature. It is expensive and takes up a lot of space. You worry about how it’ll grow up and whether or not you’ll still be friends. Eventually it stays out all night and comes home with it’s skirt on backwards. You know how it is. Usually we package our ales within 15 days of brewing. This one we aged in tanks for over a month. Why not buy three-? Drink one now, keep one in the ‘fridge for a month, and one for another year! Yummy. . .”

My Description: This Barleywine is clean, delicious, and leaves you thinking about it the next day. It begins with a good sized, beige colored head with an excellent retention level that leaves a wall of lacing. The aroma is inviting with warm caramel malt notes, citrus and pine hops, and a blend of dark fruits. GnarlyWine is medium/full bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The complex flavor profile is nicely balanced with all the notes blending cleanly. A caramel malt backbone is also accompanied by biscuit malt notes. Pine hops, tropical notes, and hints of light fruits are welcoming additions. The transition to the aftertaste is wonderfully done as it introduces a hint of black pepper that delights. The finish is slightly bitter and satisfying. The alcohol is nicely hidden here, if detected it only adds to overall experience. This beauty is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with pineapple cake, roasted lamb chops, or a mild cigar.

ABV: 10.6% Color: Amber/Brown Sweetness: 2.5/10 Bitterness: 3.5/10

Funky Buddha Sweet Potato Casserole

SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE: 86 Points

Like the real thing

Like the real thing

This specialty ale is released seasonally in late Summer in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Drop the dressing and ditch the pumpkin, Sweet Potato Casserole is fresh out of the oven and ready to party. This fall treat is just like moms used to make – only if moms had penchant for gooey marshmallow, fall spices, and gobs of sweet potato cavorting in one sinful glass. Bottoms up.”

My Description: This is one of those interesting beers that delights initially because of its novelty but that feeling diminishes soon after. I feel that I can only have one of these beers because of its too sweet presence, just like I can only have a few bites of an actual sweet potato casserole. It begins with a decent, light beige colored head that leaves a slight film on top with a nice amount of lacing. The aroma is spot on with notes of vanilla, spices, marshmallows, and hints of light fruits. Sweet Potato is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile transforms this Thanksgiving treat into a liquid replica with notes of vanilla, cinnamon, and clove as well as other spices. The backbone of this beer is definitely on the sweeter side, almost a bit too much. A hint of Belgian yeast notes comes through from time to time and the aftertaste shows no bitterness. It is best served around 40°F and pairs nicely with baked turkey, Salisbury steak, or pumpkin pancakes.

ABV: 7.9% Color: Golden/Orange Sweetness: 3.5/10 Bitterness: 1.5/10

Dogfish Fort

FORT: 94 Points

Raspberry Heaven

Raspberry Heaven

This fruit ale is a limited release in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “An ale brewed with a ridiculous amount of raspberry juice. Fort has a Belgian-style base, then we follow a similar fermentation process to the one we use on beers like 120 Minute IPA and World Wide Stout. Fort is an excellent candidate for cellaring. Grab a few bottles, enjoy one now and lay the others down for a few years. Want to know when the Fort you find was bottled? Check the ‘Bottled On’ date on the neck of each bottle.”

My Description: What’s nice about this beer is that it is exactly as advertised; a big fruit beer that tastes like real raspberry juice and ages beautifully. It begins with a decent, light beige colored head that fades to a ring leaving behind a nice amount of lacing. The aroma is welcoming with bright raspberry notes and a hint of cherry. Fort is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a semi-dry finish. The flavor profile is straightforward with clean raspberry notes, a hint of tart, and Belgian yeast notes such as light fruits. The alcohol is hidden better than I had anticipated given the high ABV. Overall, this ale is on the sweeter side with fruit notes dominating. This makes for a great sipper. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with roasted duck, dark chocolate, or a mild cigar.

ABV: ~17% Color: Orange/Amber Sweetness: 2.5/10 Bitterness: 1.5/10

Evil Twin CEA NY Hotel Room

CHRISTMAS EVE AT A NEW YORK CITY HOTEL ROOM: 94 Points

Word

Word

This Imperial Stout is released in late Autumn in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: N/A

My Description: This beer grows on you as it warms up, more flavors are realized and the beer as a whole is cleaner and bolder. It begins with a large, dark beige colored head with an excellent retention level that leaves behind a great amount of lacing. The aroma is interesting with notes of roasted malts, leather, chicory, dark fruits such as cherries, black pepper, and tobacco. This stout is medium/full bodied with a slightly lower carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is just as complex as the nose. Soft chocolate and coffee notes are accompanied by licorice, tobacco, dark fruits, and roasted malts. There is a hint of sweetness but it is quickly balanced by the slightly bitter aftertaste. The alcohol is beautifully hidden and the texture is smooth. Overall, this is welcoming Imperial Stout that sticks to the style while providing unique flavor notes that blend harmoniously with the rest of the beer. It is best served around 55°F and pairs nicely with grilled lamb chops, dark chocolate, or a maduro cigar.

ABV: 10% Color: Black Sweetness: 2.5/10 Bitterness: 3/10