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Showing posts from January, 2019

BrewDog Juggernaut Imperial IPA

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There are times when I wonder if I allow the name of the Brewer on the can or bottle to help form my opinion of the beer inside. I do not want to be that guy. I want to judge every beer based on how good or bad that beer is. The problem is that these guys have produced some darn good beer, so I expect more good beer. Is that wrong?

The slightly hazy orange beer releases an impressively large head that leaves lacing as it boils away down to a soft, thin pillow of bubbles. The aroma is citrus fruits, lemon, grapefruit, pineapple, mango, orange, and I'm sure some other things. The key to this is: we're looking at fruit.

First sip is not quite as fruit heavy as the smell was. Instead, we get loads of fruit, don't get me wrong, but the malt has taken charge of the bitterness with a biscuit warmth that coddles the fruits and makes the beverage much more interesting as a result. I could see sipping on this on the deck on a warm summer's day. But I'm not here to sip, am I?

New Heights/Urban South Hefe'n Hazy IPA

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I don't know what to make of this beer. It is ostensibly from a local brewer, but it's not brewed here - it's brewed in New Orleans. It says it's an IPA, but it alludes to being a wheat beer. It portends to be good, but it's only 12 ounces, and that is objectively too little beer.

Well, it has the look of a Hefeweizen with its straw-gold color and thick, sporadically sticky head that leaves only the occasional bubble on the glass as lacing. The aroma is strong with this one, and it spreads its slightly dank orange and grain goodness for a few cubic feet away from the glass. It's a good look and a good smell.

First sip is definitely dank, but it also has a refreshing zest of orange and lemon with a backing of grains. It's a darn good showing. I'm not sure I'm down with this much dank, but the overall impression is pretty darn good. If you like it dank, you could do worse than sipping, but we don't just sip in this blog.

Tip-in is sweet with orang…

Sierra Nevada Celebration Fresh Hop IPA

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This is the last in the set of Cincinnati-area reindeer-festooned winter ales from my brother. This is especially important to note, as this beer is brewed in two locations - one in North Carolina and one in California, this deer appears to be wounded in that it is missing an eye, and it is an IPA (not a winter ale). BUT, it IS from my brother, and that means quite a bit in itself.

The murky amber beer has an off-white head that is just as sticky as an IPA should be. It leaves lacing but not so much that you might fear having to get the dried bubbles off the sides of the glass afterward. The aroma is a bit of indiscernible malt backing a citrus and pine hop mixture that is quite inviting.

First sip is smoother than most IPAs. The malt is doing a great job tamping down the bitterness of the hops, but it's also muting the flavor behind a kind of bread crust that is not unappealing, but it's not why you crack open an IPA. Well, it's not why *I* crack open an IPA. I don't …

Rahr & Sons Mr Wiggles Double Dank IPA

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This is from the Den of Sin series. I didn't know they had this series or what it means. Are they all named after dogs? Are dog supposed to be sinful? Is it just Fort Worth dogs that are sinful? Only one of the beers I previously had from this brewer had anything to do with dogs, and that was Ugly Pug. Fact is, all the beers from them have been pretty good, so I don't really care what series it is or what it's called. I just want to drink it.

We've got lacing! The sticky white head is leaving my much loved lacing on the sides of the glass while the honey-gold beer simmers underneath and emanates dankness, bread, and orange-based citrus into the world like a boss.

First sip is super dank. Yes, they said this was a double dank IPA, and they weren't kidding around. The dank is all up inside your face (well, in the mouth part of your face) and it's taking no prisoners. I wouldn't call this smooth either; it's aggressively bitter. Sometimes a beer that lacks…

Trimtab 006 Hazy Double IPA

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I didn't bother to look up why they called this 006. I'm a go ahead and assume that it's because they couldn't get the licensing rights for 007. Also, what's the deal with the name of this brewer? It puts me in mind of jibjab, the old producer of flash animations that was big during the early Clinton years I believe. Don't hold me to that though. It's been a long time.

The orange-wheat colored beer doesn't have much of a head, but the head that is there is thin and even but for the occasional clump of thick, white bubbles. The aroma is orange, tangerine, grapefruit, and maybe some light spices.

First sip is kind of sweet, but there's a depth of citrus, malt, and even yeast that is trying to imbue it with a lot of flavor. Still, the sweetness is winning out, and that's not necessarily bad, but I'd like more hops and slightly more bitterness, if I'm honest.

Tip-in is sweet like saccharine spread across the citrus mix of hops. The middle sc…

New Heights "The" Double Imperial India Pale Ale

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Oh? Is this it? Is this THE double? Is new heights actually claiming that this is so far above every other double IPA that this should be held up as the standard? Is it possible they just mean that this is the best double Imperial India pale ale? Because honestly this is the first one I've ever seen. I'm going to assume that's it. Otherwise, we might have a problem.

She's a pretty beer - all orange and murky with a head so thick you could put a quarter on it. I mean, the quarter would fall through, because these are only bubbles after all, but it's thick. Lacing is on the schedule today, and the aroma of citrus and very doughy bread is all up in here. She's pretty, but she's also got substance.

First sip is far sweeter and juicier than I imagined from the smell. It's almost too sweet, but it has that orange and tangerine tang to it that gives it a lot more substance than just a little sweet beer. At the same time, grapefruit and peach stones are giving …

Trimtab Language of Thunder Imperial Stout

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I'm writing this review while my nieces and nephews are visiting. I point this out because the wax on the top of this bottle is so strange. See, I expect something like a Maker's Mark bottle where the wax adheres to the glass and is creating a seal to protect the contents from leaking out (or bad stuff getting in). But, the wax on this bottle (especially down toward the middle of the bottle) is completely coming separated by almost an inch. This caused all the kids to instinctively grab it and try to pull, even though there was still beer in it. I just question whether or not the wax is necessary.

So brown that it appears black, this beer boasts a clearly brown head, but it's pretty minimal. The aroma is a chocolate malt with a sweetness and a bitterness - just like dark chocolate. So, I'm saying that the presentation is good.

First sip is very bitter dark chocolate with coriander and a solid earth backing with gentle, almost imperceptible grains. It seems like it has …

Avery Vanilla Bean Stout

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So this is a stout from a brewery called Avery. How could they possibly have not used some derivation of Ebony and Ivory as the basis for the name of this beer? Instead, we have a very stilted label that doesn't inspire as much confidence in the creativity of the people behind it as you might hope. But, I've seen crappy labels with really good beer in them, so I'm just gonna look past it all.

Black from brown in the body the a beer, the head on this beer was not much to begin with, and it goes away almost entirely within a minute or so. This isn't unusual for a barrel-aged beer; I'm not sure of what the chemistry is about it, but I suspect a contributing factor is the porous nature of the wood. The aroma is heavy brown liquor, flowers, and vanilla beans.

First sip is dark roasted malt with it's oats and earth followed by a whip-crack of brown liquor. It's not a bad combo, but it seems like there's a disconnect right in between them like someone has haph…

Modern Times Hoppy Dank Amber

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This is my third beer from this brewer, and the other two have been absolutely fantastic. Are they setting themselves up for the great fall? Well, if anyone really relied on my opinions in this blog maybe that would matter. But, for now, I'm just gonna drink this beer and write down what I think of it. That's what this blog is about, and that's what I'm gonna do.

The aroma hits hard right out of the gate. It hits with the on-the-label dankness with the malt and a high note of tropical hops. The color is a very deep amber - a lot darker than I'm used to amber beers. There's very little head, and that's pretty much par for the course, but I kind of expected the hops to make the beer retain the froth a little longer. The smattering of patchy bubbles is good for an amber, though.

First sip is that very dank, heavy malt with a bit of caramel on the outsides and the hops dusting with floral and tropical samples of their wares. It's a strange world where an am…

Modern Times Booming Rollers Hoppy Citra IPA

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Wait - another one from Modern Times, and it's another somewhat hazy IPA? Is it possible that Bearded Iris simply created a subsidiary in San Diego or something? Look, I don't know what's going on, but I'm happy enough in my ignorance as long as I get good beer.

The patchy, cream-colored head sits atop the hazy golden beer and leaves lacing as it sees fit. It's not going to leave a wallpaper of bubbles on the glass, but a webwork will definitely be the result of a well-consumed beverage. The aroma of citrus is evident, but I don't get the dust or the mangoes that I got from the previous - and quite excellent - effort.

First sip is breathtakingly simple with citrus and a slight wheat malt, and the fibers of the fruit are really giving body while being a bit tart and sweet at the same time. It's a darn good sip, and there is only one thing that can follow - a gulp.

Tip-in is carbonation sizzle with floury wheat bread with a big-ol' hunk of grapefruit and …

Dogfish Head Bitches Brew Stout

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These guys are pretty solid. Every brewer's going to have beers that are a little outside the lines or don't really line up with my expectation of what a particular type of beer should taste like. At the same time, for me to go out of my way to taste something from the same brewer this many times, they have to show talent. These guys have definitely shown talent, and they deserve my dollar for their beer.

Dark brown to black, this beer has a medium head of tiny bubbles that absolutely WILL NOT go away. The aroma is strangely chocolate and vanilla with a dark roasted layer of oatmeal. I didn't expect this from a barrel aged beer made with honey, but I'm telling you that I am looking forward to this.

First sip is a strange feel of syrup with the honey fairly prominent, but it has the roasted malts and the vanilla along with the shade of a dark liquor and oak about it. It's very interesting and a little intimidating, but we'll see how the full swig goes.

Tip-in is…

Hutton & Smith Bivouac Black IPA

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Based entirely on my reviews so far, both black IPAs and black ales tend to do pretty well with my taste buds. The only other Hutton & Smith beer that I've had before was a straight IPA, and it was very good. Based on this set of data points, I'm guessing I'm really going to like this beer. So, let's see what the boys in Chattanooga brought.

Black beer with a red skew, the head on top is a medium tan. Is khaki a color or a style? I think it's a color, but I don't know for sure, and it's not like I have the internet to search here in my cabin in the mountains. This is a thick head, too! And is lots of it. The aroma is stale, woody malt with definite chocolate nibs and coffee vibes going on. There's resin and light fruit adding to it, but I have no idea what kind of fruit it is. Let's go with… star fruit!

First sip is a bit of a taste hit. If I didn't know better, I'd say this had some hard liquor in it. The coffee mixed with the pine and …

Nola Irish Channel Stout

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Hey! NASA made a beer! And it's Irish! Wait - this is Nola. Isn't that New Orleans? Ah. This reminds me in concept of the .. was it a viking company or something that was in Wisconsin? Well, it's not like I write a blog where I could find out, so I may never know.

Black is the right color for a stout, so this one meets all expectations head-on. The minimal head is a lot lighter tan than most of its brothers, and it loses almost all of the head, but it leaves a curious star pattern that might also be some kind of alien. The aroma is coffee, earth, and chocolate. I'm not a fan of coffee, but let's see how well balanced this is.

First sip is a strange sensation of carbonation carrying vanilla with a chocolate covered coffee bean in the middle. Again, I'm not a huge coffee guy (okay, I really don't like it. I tried in college, but it just was never for me. Yes, I tried to add milk and sugar to the point that it was coffee-scented sweet milk, but it was never go…

Clown Shoes Space Cake Double IPA

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You know, I went through a phase where I tried every hard cider I could get my hands on, and I overdid it to the point that I stopped looking forward to trying new ones. Well, I think I may be approaching the same point where comes to dessert beers. This is yet another double IPA that has been made into a dessert beer. I guess I shouldn't be surprised, as double IPA's tend to be sweet, but things are starting to get a little out of hand.

The beautifully bronze-gold beer has a head that really sticks around. I mean seriously, this didn't want to go away. But, it eventually does, leaving lacing all down the sides like wallpaper. To good look, but one I would typically associate more with an IPA than a double. But, these are the quirks craft beers, am I right? The aroma is light and a little sweet, but it seems a lot more grain heavy then I would ever have expected.

First sip is sweet and smooth. This is just about as sweet as I expected a dessert beer to be, and it definitel…

Clown Shoes Undead Party Crasher American Imperial Stout

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Is this a political statement? This is supposed to be American, but it's also supposed to be Imperial. America definitely went through a growing stage for a while, but I thought that was all behind us, and we now realize that being an empire is not what we want to be. Or, it's entirely possible this is just the style of Stout. Some things no one can ever know.

One thing I do know is that this beer is so brown that it's black. Not a single photon is able to penetrate this beer. The milk chocolate brown head on top just adds to the effect.The sweet and smoky aroma puts me in mind of a dying campfire where someone has taken the marshmallows and chocolate and tossed them into the burning embers. It's sweet, a little chocolatey, but it's definitely smoky.

First sip follows the nose mostly, but it's sweeter than it is smoky. That's not say there isn't any smoke, but the sweetness is just out there in front, covered with a little bit of vanilla on top of a fai…

Decadent Double Toasted Marshmallow Double IPA

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Another Decadent beer and it's another dessert beer derived from a Double IPA. I had noticed the way DIPAs were sweet, unlike their IPA counterparts, so it shouldn't have surprised me when dessert beers like this started to pop-up, but I'm not sure the market for dessert beers is as large as Decadent thinks.

The copper beer brings lots of head with it to the point that I have to wait it out. I don't have to wait long, but waiting at all is annoying. The foam leaves only a scattering of lacing behind when it goes down, and the aroma of oranges and coriander are heavy, even though I wanted to smell marshmallow or even just some smoke.

First sip is very sweet. There is sugar with some burned sugar, but the oranges haven't gone away at all. I don't know if the marshmallows are supposed to assert themselves independently, but these marshmallows are definitely dipped in some citrus glaze before being dumped into flame.

Tip-in is sugar sweet like agave - no syrup, jus…

Asgard Vestri IPA

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This is a beer from Columbia, Tennessee (far enough from Nashville that you wouldn't want to drive it every day) from a brewery named after a mythological Norse realm and it's brewed in the west coast style of a beer invented by the British for their troop stationed in India. Oh, and this is named after a specific dwarf from Norse mythology because - why wouldn't you?

A light honey gold, the head is ample, and it laces like the dickens. So far, so good. The aroma is a sweet and tangy hop and bread malt mix. This claims to be a West Coast IPA, so I'm expected a hefty amount of hops that are still pretty mellow. Let's see what I actually get.

First sip isn't good. It's too heavy in the malt, and there's a citrus tang to it without actually bringing any of the meat of the fruit or even the rind. The aftertaste is very bitter, and it feels like there's just no love in this beer. Mind you, that's just a sip. Clearly, the Asgardian on the label doesn&…

Southern Grist Orange Creamsicle

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Look who found another dessert beer. This time, it's not Decadent, it's Southern Grist! Now, it says to drink this "before it melts." That's cute, but it may hint to an underlying lack of confidence in their beer. It's been my experience that worse beers taste better cold (this is why the Rockies turn blue on Coors Light cans).

The beer looks just like a wheat beer, and I think that's what it's based on. The head is flimsy, and it goes down to a thin but respectable pillow on top. The aroma is orange and grains. I expected a little something from the creamsicle aspect of the beer, but I am getting hit in the face with the orange and grains.

First sip adds some vanilla to the mix that gives it a little bit of that creamsicle that the label claims is in here. The grains are pretty heavy, and I'm not sure that I would have gone with a wheat beer as a base for this, but I'm not making beer - they are. I'm just drinking it, and I think they sho…

Decadent Double Tropical Smoothie Double IPA

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This is the third Decadent beer that have had, and I think it's not coincidental that it is the third dessert beer that is Double IPA based. The DIPAs seem to have a lot more sweetness than a regular IPA or lager or most other beers (except may be a few porters or specialty stouts). So, this is a good style to play around with when it comes to dessert beers.

The hazy orange beer has a tight head that fizzles to a light cap across the top of the beer and leaves striations of connected lacing down the sides as it goes. The aroma is citrus and tropical fruits, and that's about it. I really expected a Double IPA to have a lot more malt right up front, but this one seems to be hiding it behind all of those hops.

First sip is, like its brethren, sweet and creamy. It has the fruits in it, but it's like a tropical mixed fruit and ice cream parfait. It's got pineapple, it's got peach, it's got mango, and then it has some kind of smoothness that's just added in. It&#…

Decadent Creamsicle Double IPA

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It looks to me like Decadent Ales is really trying to corner the market on these dessert beers. The last one I had was certainly good enough, but it's 2.5 rating puts it right in the middle of the pack. It's not outlandish like the crème brûlée beer that I had, and it needs to be special like that. Let's see what we can do with a Creamsicle.

The pale orange beer has a sticky white head that leaves lots of lacing. It's got some murky depths, but light still passes through it, despite quite a bit of visible suspended detritus inside the beer. Mostly orange citrus hops are right up front in the aroma, and the smell is sweet with a little bit of bread. So, we've got a good start.

First sip is relatively unimpressive, but I might've been expecting too much. The beer is definitely citrusy, and the bread is showing through, and there might be light spices like vanilla or even a pepper or two backing the whole thing up. It definitely has a hint of the cream from the Cr…

Chimay Dorée (Gold) Ale

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For starters, I didn't know Chimay made a gold label beer. I mean, they have a white label that looks a lot like it's gold, but this is a whole different beer. Aside from colors, I guess you pretty much have to try each one to know what style is in the bottle. I could try looking up "Dorée" like that's a real word - I mean, who are they trying to impress with the little doo-dad on the first e?

The bronze-gold beer has lots of big, imposing bubbles that filter down to nothing at all. The slight ring of bubbles around the rim are almost all that is left, and those are staying around out of embarrassment. The aroma is heavy with bread and alcohol - despite the VERY low comparable alcohol content of this beer at 4.8% ABV.

First sip is dry coriander, light oranges, and a dry grain. It's very much not the thickness and solidity of the nose. Instead, the dry, almost tasteless beer is certainly inoffensive, but it also leaves the mouth wanting more of something that …

BrewDog Jet Black Heart Oatmeal Milk Stout

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9.6 fluid ounces. This can is 9.6 fluid ounces. No, it's not 16 or 12 or even 11.2 like the Guinness bottles. When I opened this, I didn't realize it was only 9.6, and I wondered what happened to the rest of my beer. There was a LOT of gas that escaped as soon as I cracked it, and I was afraid the beer would come spilling out. Fortunately, I poured it without issue.

This is one of the prettiest beers I've ever poured. I'm very glad the wife got me these new, better glasses, as it shows off the reverse cascading and kind of frothy milk look that this beer is bringing in spades. The tan head settles to a very lovely half inch pillow of tiny little bubbles; I didn't check the can, but these look like nitrogen bubbles. The aroma is lightly charred grains and sweetness. I'm digging it.

First sip is sweet and tart. It has lots of grains and earth with a touch of coffee, but that tart is a little unexpected. It's not bad by any stretch, but it's odd, and I thi…

Revolution Galaxy-Hero IPA

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The last Revolution beer had an inscrutable logo and confusing message, but the beer was solid. This one has a better label, but the fact that it is double dry-hopped is featured a little too prominently when I have to go searching around for the style of beer (which I eventually found). They're still looking to anthropomorphize hops, though. I don't know why.

The light amber colored beer has an eggshell white head that sticks to the side pretty darn well. So, lacing is in great supply now, and the aroma of sweet malt and tropical fruits comes rising up from the top of the beverage. It easily causes the mouth to water.

First sip is very bitter and a bit tart. I smelled the tropical fruits, but I thought the sweet malt would overcome the bitterness and... no. No it is not. Instead, the malt ran away and hid as soon as the bitterness came to the party and started to throw its weight around.

Tip-in is bitter right of the bat, and that's pretty damn unusual. But, it has a mang…

3 Stars Pounding Trees Double IPA

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I hope 3 stars isn't their goal. I mean, based on my rating scale, 3 stars is actually a good beer, but it's not a great beer. I don't do this to come across good beers - I want great or excellent or tremendous or outstanding or unparalleled beers. Good beers are good, but let's not ship something in from Washington, DC just so we can say, "Yeah, it was good enough."

The excessively cloudy beer has a dull wheat color and a slightly off-white head that has quite a bit of staying power. The aroma is a bit of malt, resin, and citrus hops. Wait - citrus? Why would you call this "Pounding Trees" if it wasn't all about pine hops? Nevertheless, the malt seems to be caramel, and the hops are just citrus, as far as I can tell from smelling.

First sip is a very nice, sweet, laid back kind of beer that has enough flavor to not be forgettable, but it's not overwhelming anything with it. I taste the malt first, and it's both bready and caramel. The r…

Evil Genius Han Shot First Double IPA

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Another beer from the great white north of western PA. Well, that's where I got it. Technically, this is from Pittston, PA, which is over on the wrong side of the state next to The Office-famous Scranton. My brother-in law picked this up and was generous enough to let me take one home with me to do a review of. I have such nice family members, don't I?

The hazy yellow-gold beer has a pretty minimal head on it, and the bubbles don't really want to stay. Only those with a lot of willpower manage to stick around, and these remaining bubbles form a webwork loosely covering the top. The aroma emitted is a pretty solid resin with citrus and floral hops doing their thing to impart flavors.

First sip follows the nose, but with a bit of doughy bread malt backing up the resin and hops. It's a solid taste, but heavy resin, I have found, is not for everyone, as it tends to skew into bitter pretty quickly. In this case, it is definitely being held back by the malt, so we're goo…

Ridgeway Lump Of Coal Dark Holiday Stout

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I was driving through Ohio the other day, and I met up with one of my beloved brothers. He steered me to place just outside of Cincinnati in Kentucky (The Party Source) where he had been impressed with the beer selection, and he thought I would be impressed too. Turns out, he wasn't wrong. Although I love the rotating selection I get in City Sliquors, this store's beer selection was larger than the entire store in LaVerne, Tennessee. So, from there came this lump of coal.

The lump of coal is not nearly as black as some of the other beers I've been able to discern the color of. This one is a deep ruby brown with a head that absolutely did not want to come out to play. If I hadn't pulled some out with a sloppy pour, I wouldn't have any for this picture; what I get are big, lazy bubbles that don't hang around for long, but they leave a dusty remnant at best. The aroma is sweet, roasted almonds and spices.

First sip is nuts, sweet malt, creaminess, roasted malt, an…

Yellow Bridge Midnight Gingerbread Imperial Stout

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This is the second beer I'm reviewing from Yellow Bridge. While I was at the brewery, I had several beers that were outstanding, but they don't can them all. In fact, they don't can most of them. One of my favorites, Three Sisters Ale, was described by the brewers as having been messed up, but the end result was good - they just don't know if they can make it again. So, I'm reviewing the two beers I could bring back with me.

The black beer is only brown with the darkness turned way up. It doesn't sport much head on top, and what there is reduced to a simple ring around the glass. The aroma is sweet with chocolate, vanilla, and espresso. Yes, this is going to be a dessert beer, and I'm fine with that tonight.

First sip is more roasted than I imagined. The chocolate takes a back seat to the roasted almonds and sprinkling of wood while the vanilla and ginger assert themselves on top of that - the coffee is missing almost entirely until a bitterness comes on at…