Another wonderful offering from Ballast Point, this amber ale is an ESB inspired ale. The calico pours a dark amber color with an off-white head, leaving a wonderful lacing. Caramel maltiness dominates the nose, with just the right balance of pine and citrus to accompany it. The mouth is smooth, with a touch of chewiness, starting off bitter in the front, but balancing out with a slight dry-sweetness in the finish. The carbonation was a little higher than a typical ESB, but I thought it matched the mouthfeel well. This is a great everyday drinker.
Notes: 5.5% ABV | 35 IBUs | ESB/Amber Ale
Darkhorse Brewing Co. is fast becoming one of my new favorite breweries. This milk stout is loaded with robust malt flavor. Smoke, coffee, chocolate, vanilla, and caramel all come pouring out of this complex nose. There were moments I really had to sit back and dissect the individual notes. The Too Cream Stout pours a midnight black color, with a copper head that fizzles away after a moment. The carbonation is higher than a typical milk stout, just enough to tingle in your mouth, but doesn’t ruin the velvety mouth feel.
Notes: 7.5% ABV | Milk Stout
With an overwhelming number of breweries offering IPAs, it can be difficult to weed out the truly outstanding from the mediocre. However, if you cross paths with Ballast Point’s Sculpin IPA, don’t leave it behind. This orange hued IPA pours beautifully, with a crisp white head and the inviting aromas of tropical fruit and pine. The hops and malt are paired so well, it seems as if they share equal space inside the glass. This wonderfully blended symbiosis is topped off with just the right amount of light carbonation, adding to its drinkability.
Notes: 7% ABV | 70 IBUs | American IPA
I’m ringing in the new year with a special section I call Guid Forder, or Good Luck. This is reserved for those wonderful occasions when I get to visit a craft brewery. Recently I was able to visit the esteemed Brooklyn Brewery and got to try some of their winter offerings. The visiting portion of the brewery contains a large open room with barrels for setting drinks down and large wooden tables for groups to sit. For $5 you can purchase a ticket that will buy you your choice of 6-8 draft offerings. The brewery can get packed, so get there early, take the tour and claim a spot.
First off was the Brooklyn Blast!, an Imperial IPA that lived up to its name. The crisp golden body and light carbonation masks the bold hop flavors. Pungent grapefruit and herbal notes emanate from the Blast’s nose. The finish is long, piney and full of citrus. Just try to keep in mind its ABV stands at 8.4%.
Next up was the Brooklyn Winter Ale, a refreshing and lightly spicy Scotch ale. The Winter Ale pours a deep amber color with a foamy white head. Lots of malt, carmel, and dark fruit waft from the nose. Biscuit and roasted malt linger on the tongue with a hint of spice that keeps on giving.
Overall, the Brooklyn Brewery was a wonderful treat. This flagship of craft breweries doesn’t disappoint. If you have a chance, especially on a weekday, drop by and enjoy some fresh Brooklyn beer.
This easy drinking Four in Hands IPA isn’t going to blow you away with intense hop aroma or bold malty character, but rather serves as a tasty session IPA. I haven’t had much experience with the Four in Hands brewery but the artwork, on this crafty can, piqued my interest. The beer pours a light copper color with slightly off-white foamy head. The nose smells faintly of pine and flora and finished with a subtle malty sweetness.
Notes: 6.3% ABV | American IPA
If you are looking for an every day drinking or weekend session beer, I highly recommend trying Uinta Brewing‘s Bristlecone Brown Ale. This English ale breaks away from the plethora of overly hopped and high gravity beers that are available on the market today. Both the nose and mouth provide a highly malted experience; toasted malt, caramel, yeast, bread, and toffee permeate this flavorful ale. Extremely drinkable, pour this into a pint glass, gather your friends around and enjoy the last days of fall.
Notes: 4% ABV | English Brown Ale
Wet Hop Lager, from Jack’s Abby, pours a pale gold color with a pillowy white head. The nose offers fresh baked bread, toffee, citrus and grass notes, while providing nice carbonation and a very clean finish in the mouth. Jack’s Abby ‘s Wet Hop Lager is wonderful take and unique approach to wet hopping Notes:
5.2% ABV | American Pale Lager | 65 IBU
He Said (Baltic Porter), provides a refreshing take on the average pumpkin beer. This jet black beer pours with a thick tan head and heavy lacing. Pumpkin and pumpkin spice (clove, nutmeg, allspice and cinnamon) permeate from the glass (think of liquid pumpkin pie port). The mouth is full bodied and slightly dry.
8.2% ABV | Pumpkin Baltic Porter
He Said (Tripel), combines just the right amount of spices together with the richness and yeasty flavors of a Belgian tripel. This beer is the exact opposite of its cousin (the Baltic Porter) that comes in the same box. Pouring a hazy gold, the He Said Tripel, provides cloves and nutmeg in its nose and finishes with a slight carmel aftertaste.
8.20% ABV | Pumpkin Belgian Tripel
If your image of the holiday season is conjured up by the aromas of spice, ginger, ripe cherries, plums and cocoa; sit down and enjoy a Fireside Chat. This aptly named winter ale, pours out a dark amber/light brown brew and will get you primed for the season. A smooth mouthfeel, with just a touch of bitterness, finishes off this spiced ale.
7.9%ABV | Spiced Ale
I am always on the lookout for something new, so when I ran into this lager, brewed in Kenya, I knew I had to try it. I wasn’t expecting much, something modeled after Budweiser perhaps, but I was pleasantly surprised with this beer’s drinkability. It pours an extravagantly bright golden color with a foamy white head. Notes of cereal, grain and a touch of honey can be found in its nose. The mouthfeel is light and carbonated. This is a fine example of a beer to drink on a warm summer day.
4.2% ABV | American Adjunct Lager
In the spirit of all things Autumn, I picked up this imperial pumpkin ale from Souther Tier. It pours nicely, with a golden orange and a wonderful transparency. It smells of nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla, perhaps a touch of brown sugar, clove, and of course pumpkin. (Think pumpkin pie in a bottle.) The mouth is incredibly smooth and creamy, for an ale, and the notes of spice and pumpkin carry over without the sweetness. A real treat for the Autumn months, but you won’t be sessioning this pumpkin beer with it’s complex character and high ABV.
8.6% ABV | 2-row & caramel malt | pureed pumpkin | magnum & sterling hops