A few more winter seasonals worth checking out
Avery Old Jubilation--winter warmer
Great Divide Hibernation--old ale
Victory Old Horizontal-barleywine
Troegs Mad Elf--not sure how to classify this one but its a big sweet sipper..
Anchor Our Special Ale (Christmas Ale)
Dark Cloud-Mother Earth Brewing
One of the locals. This is a dark lager from about a 2 year old brewery in Kinston. More malt than hops with biscuity flavors and a clean, medium brown color and a small head. I'd guess the IBU to be relatively low as with most lagers, probably 20-30 range. Likewise with the ABV, guessing about 5%. This makes a very nice session brew and would accompany most anything from lighter sandwiches (turkey, ham, roast beef) to BBQ/grilled fare like chicken, ribs or brisket. Not quite sure it would hold up to spicy dishes. Don't think I could ever rank this in any top 10 lists unless I am limited to lagers but definitely worth a taste/bottle or pint on draft if you can find it in central or eastern NC.
If you ever make it to Austin, pass by the Shiner and the Lone Star (the Texas indie hipster douchebag equivalent to PBR (which is also prevalent in Austin), but a great live music watching beer in a tall boy) and go try the following, most of which are only on tap:
1. Thirsty Planet - Buckethead IPA -- Hoppiest beer in Texas
2. Real Ale Fireman's 4 Blonde Ale
3. (512) Pecan Porter
4. Independence Austin Amber
5. Live Oak Pils
All of these breweries have other beers, too. The Stash IPA from Independence and the Devil's Backbone Tripel from Real Ale are also excellent.
And from Conroe, Texas - Pine Belt Pale Ale is damn good canned beer.
Anyway, now that we're moving into dark beer discussions as cold weather approaches, if y'all can get your hands on Robert The Bruce from Three Floyds, it's a nice Scottish ale. Lots of caramel, a decent amount of carbonation for its type. I'm not huge into heavier ales and winter beers generally, but find I could actually drink a second of these in one sitting (though I rarely do).
I also recently bought a 6er of Moretti's La Rossa, their doppelbock. It's surprisingly good and drinkable for a big label bock from somewhere other than Germany.
Lone Star actually is a decent 22 oz to carry around a crowded concert or festival. And it actually has a kick unlike the standard lite beer fare.
Back on topic though --- is there an IPA out there better than Dogfish Head 90 Minute?
Double Trouble IIPA-Founders Brewing-Wonderful brew and pretty darn close to the 90 Minute IPA in terms of my favorites for this style. It is a bit more pale than the DFH but the 1st scent is pink grapefruit and it lingers throughout the glass. Aromatic and pungent hops with a very strong malt backbone and balance. Not for the faint-palated as this clocks in at 86 IBU but doesn't over-power you. The ABV is a hefty 9.4% but it drinks so smoothly it is deceptive. This would make a fine after dinner drink from a snifter/wine glass and shared. However, after the brutal pounding my fingers and furniture took last PM during the wake game, I needed something a bit stronger/longer so I enjoyed the whole 12 ounces in the hour aftermath from the game. One of these awaits CB&B and 8-X in the next trading session.
Here's one that you can enjoy to start your (almost) summer:
Quite a refreshing change. After 3 seasons of dark and hearty ales, late spring and early summer arrive (almost) and beers like this appear. This is light and fruity kolsch that is also floral with a slightly cloudy pour (from the wheat malt) and minimal bitterness. The IBU are 20 and the ABV is 4.8% making this a delight to sip with a light appetizer (think fruit salad) or a lighter fish with some pineapple or mango salsa.
Some brewer's notes, too:
The color of sunshine, with a light fruity aroma and a hint of fruity acidity, Goose Island Summertime is the perfect summer session ale. A Kölsch beer brewed in the traditional German fashion, you’ll find yourself enjoying and savoring each sip of summertime as much as you do those hot summer days and cool summer nights.
Style: German Style Kölsch
Alcohol by Volume: 4.7%
International Bitterness Units: 20
Hops: Mt. Hood, Saaz
Malt: 2 Row, Wheat
Me, Me, Me, Me!!!!!
Recently returned from a trip to Ireland and innumerable 16 oz curls; the microbrews are fine and all, but nothing quite compares to the fresh Guinness morning, noon and night. Unless maybe a bit of the Porterhouse Oyster stout for a palate cleanser.
But, carry on and forgive the interruption.....
I've settled down to drinking mostly IPA's (India Pale Ales), but my favorite BBQ Joint (County Grill in Yorktown) has been featuring American Double/Imperial IPA's on tap. Wow! The last three weeks I've had Dubhe Imperial Black IPA (9.2% ABV), Stone Ruination IPA Double Dry Hopped (7.7% ABV), and Double Jack (9.5% ABV) - all excellent beers. The dry hopped Ruination is fresh, crisp and goes down far too easy. You could make it a session beer! - at least for a short session. The others, not so much. The Dubhe has strong roasted malt flavors, and the Double Jack has a pungent citrusy hops flavor. I would not recommend over 2 or 3 of each.
"It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others"
-- John Kirinrich
Devildeac, we'll have to hoist a few after unc gets their ruling from the NCAA in October! Ruination just seems to fit with the unpleasantness swirling out of the southern end of 15-501....
Damnation: In the great beer producing country of Belgium, some brewers have made it a tradition to give their beers an unusual name. Sometimes the name is curious, now and then it is diabolical and other times it is just plain silly. Damnation is our brewmaster's interpretation of a Belgian style Strong Golden Ale. It has extraordinary aromas of banana and pear with mouth filling flavors of sweet malt and earthy hops. The lingering finish is dry and slightly bitter but very, very smooth.
7.0%ABV / 1.068 O.G / 25 BUs
Silver Medal, 2004 GABF (Belgian Style Ale Category)
Silver Medal, 2001 GABF (Belgian Style Ale Category)
Gold Medal, 1999 GABF (Belgian Style Ale Category)
Available Year Round in the pub, for distribution, and in 750mL cork finished bottles.
For those who might like a bock beer but with a bit of a twist:
Make Mine a Smutty! (from their bottle caps)
The April 2011 release in the Smuttynose Big Beer series is Maibock, which is a twist on the typical bock beer recipe. This is lighter and a bit more fruity than the traditional style with hints of crisp, fresh apples and pears but with some classic notes of medium toasted croissants. Hops are very mild and flora and the malts are slightly buttery. I'll guess the IBU to be 20-30 and the ABV 8-8.5% as their prior 3 releases were in the strangely varied 6.2-8.7% range. Pair this with light appetizers, even fruits or with lighter grilled items. I liked this enough to buy a 6er of their Summer Weizen at 30% off from Total Wine this week during their moving sale so that will be a review this weekend most likely. Any of their Big Beers would be worth a sample/trade too as they have been very good to excellent and reasonably priced, usually from $6-8 for a bomber.
Not going to post the pictures, but if you like experimental beers, the Belga/Belgiques that Stone is putting out this year are just awesome. Both the Belg-Anise Imperial Stout, and the Cali-Belgie IPA. The collaboration for Japan relief -- the Green Tea IPA -- is really cool too just for the mix of flavors from the unique blend of hops that they added.
Also, Austin is trying to catch Portland, San Diego and Denver. Still behind, though, and the archaic and stupid distributor laws prevent too much growth (Please somebody defend the mandatory 3-tier distribution system as anything but a money grab. Please.)
Anyway, Jester King Wytchmaker Rye IPA and Black Metal Imperial Stout out of Dripping Springs are awesome. Look for them if you are in Texas. Circle Envy Amber (more of an ESB) is damn good too.
Currently enjoying Harpoon Leviathan as I type (just one though).
Harpoon Leviathan-Not to be confused with your standard Harpoon ales. This one is a monster. An IIPA with a huge hop presence. The IBU is listed at 122! It tastes it, too with a buncha different hops which explode into flavors of pine, flowers and grapefruit. Massive amounts of malts balance this brew with some caramel sweetness and an ABV of 9.3%. This beverage would match nicely with spicy/hot dishes.
Tasted this in October, 2009.