Almanac Farm to Barrel Vanilla Cherry Dogpatch

I have avoided sour beers, as I have put them in the category of things that hipsters are really trying to make happen, and I just don't want to befoul my mouth with a concoction like HiCu ever again. The fact is - I know sours have gained in popularity, and a sizable portion of the good beer section of my favorite beer store is starting to be taken up by them, so I need to give them a chance, right?

There's a red cast to the very clear amber beer that has absolutely no damn head at all. It's not flat - the head was like seltzer water with the way it popped up while being poured and then disappeared right back into the liquid. The aroma is stringent with the sour cherries and stems all up in my face with the smell of something that has been aged in oak and mixed with some fermented grapes.

First sip is damn sour nonsense to the point that I don't want more. It definitely has a wine backing, but those sour cherries are taking all the fun out of beer. Why must they do th…

Collective Arts Stranger Than Fiction Porter

It appears that this beer has some kind of special artwork that they put on the front of the can. It's so special that I contemplated using a picture of it in this review, but I opted for the picture that actually had the name of the beer in it. I'm not sure that it would have translated well in this format (or the size of my pictures here).

The beer is so brown I'm going to let it slide into the "black" category without any fuss. The tan head eventually becomes a tiny layer of fuzz that evenly covers the top of the beer. The aroma is chocolate and coffee malts. Fact is, this beer looks and smells just like it says porters should on the box. What box? Every box that knows what a porter should be.

First sip is a lot more mild than I expected to find, and it's a bit watery. The chocolate and coffee dance well together, and they got joined by some milk and even a bit of earth. I don't mean the watery texture to sound as bad as it does, but it isn't as me…

Founders CBS Imperial Stout

This CBS is not named after The Tiffany Network (Columbia Broadcasting System). Based entirely on the label, I'd say it was based on The Mounties, the Canadian ... err... Bouncing Stallions? I don't care. Jeremy went out of his way to save me a bottle of this and - no matter if I like it or not - I am very grateful for the opportunity to try it.

The exceedingly dark brown beer has a head that looks like it's made of some kind of whipped chocolate, and there is a LOT of that head. I swear I poured about as carefully as I could, and I still wound up with head of about 1/4 of this pint glass. The aroma is thick with oak, earth, maple, coffee, and chocolate; it's really rich smelling.

First sip is heavier with the coffee than I would like, but all those other flavors are definitely asserting themselves over it all. So, the effect of a sip is that this is an alcohol-heavy (checks label and sees that it's 11.7% ABV) hunk of thick bread with all of the ingredients in the …

Black Abbey Guy Fawkes Brown Ale

Another Nashville Brewery for the blog. At what point does my blog achieve the popularity that the local breweries start to seek me out and give me free beer? I mean, I'm certainly accessible. And goodness knows I want to try more beer and would love to save the money I routinely put down at City Sliquors to buy more. What I'm saying is - call me, Boo.

The clear brown beer has a head that is definitely not leaving any lacing. It boils down to a light dusting with the ring around the sides of the glass, but the bubbles just aren't sticky in the least. The aroma is nutty and malty with a touch of brown sugar.

First sip is... gripping. It is nutty and all, but it adds quite a bit of bitterness from coffee, earth, and even pine. It's brown ale through-and-through, but that doesn't mean it's particularly approachable. Instead, it is packed full of flavor and quite heavy with potential. Let's see what the swig brings.

Tip-in is a little unexpected smoke, coffee, …

Bearded Iris DDH Chief of Chiefs Double IPA

I'm not sure if Bearded Iris will get knocked off of my list of favorite brewers, as they have really worked hard to get there. Yes, Lagunitas has been more consistently high in my ratings, but even their large number of varieties don't match the number that Bearded Iris seems to be coming with. I don't even recall the last new beer that I saw from Lagunitas, and I'm looking. Instead, I get the very good beers from this local brewer.

The familiar juice texture and murkiness is joined by a tangerine orange color with a head that just has no staying power. Yes, there's a dusting that lingers quite a bit, but there isn't going to be any lacing, and that's a miss, in my book. The aroma is very much grapefruit with other citrus tossed in just to make things a bit more interesting, but that grapefruit is right in my face.

First sip is strong with the citrus. It's a good balance of sweetness to eliminate the bitterness, but it definitely has gone toward the ta…

Small Town Brewery Not Your Mom's Apple Pie

I'm calling this a hard soda in my labels, but I really don't know what to call it. The only other "apple pie" beverages I've had were moonshines, and a 5.5% ABV moonshine is... not a moonshine. So, as these guys brought me the Not Your Father's Root Beer, I'm assuming they use a similar method for... brewing(?) this beverage.

The clear yellow drink has almost no head to start with, and by the time I got to the camera, it lost pretty much any head that it had in the first place. I think a can of Coke would have had a head that lasted longer. Still, points of nucleation show that this is a carbonated beverage, and the aroma of apples is both sweet and tart to the nose with a bit of cinnamon spice. I'm calling it: this is a cider.

First sip is very much more cinnamon than I smelled. It is heavy with the cinnamon, but the apples are definitely there, tarting up the place like they owned it. I don't really taste any malt that would make up the crust o…

Southern Tier Unearthly Imperial IPA

When Southern Tier rolls out another IPA, I'll jump in line to try it every time. "But Tim," you may find yourselves saying, "Don't you jump in line for pretty much every new beer you find?" Well, smartypants, I will avoid Prairie Artisan and Magic Hat, but I guess you're right about most of the others.

I'm going to call the color an amber haze with a honey hue. The light head is barely there, but this thin head sticks around for a while. The aroma is resin, citrus, pine, and flowers - it seems like they have all the hops going on in here.

First sip is quite the taste sensation. The hops are citrus heavy, and they bring the others with. The bitterness is here about as heavy as the resin, and the resin is just behind the hops. The malt is very mild, but it's trying valiantly in its losing battle with the bitterness.

Tip-in is resin and citrus with pine skirting around the edges while carbonation sizzles lightly underneath. The middle opens into a…