Thursday, December 26, 2013

Victory's Hop Devil IPA is pretty good, but with a name like Hop Devil, I expected a bigger hop kick. This beer is malty for an IPA, with some mixed apple and citrus qualities. It pours a ginger/amber with grassy, floral hop aroma and not a lot of head. The flavor doesn’t have as much stank as I’d have liked, but it isn’t bad. A little spice, some fruit and malt mixed with that floral hop thing. Not bad.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Starr Hill's Festie is an OK, mildly spiced lager. It pours amber with average head, and the aroma is malt and a little spice. There is a combo of some slightly grassy hops and a bready malt in the flavor, but nothing big, nothing complex. This wasn’t a bad way to wash down dinner, but neither is a glass of tea.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Boulevard's Dark Truth Stout is really good. But, the thing is, this is a great time to be a beer geek ... because really good stouts are everywhere. This one pours nearly opaque with nominal head and lace, the aroma is malt and coffee and chicory, maybe some chocolate. More of that in the flavor, and the smokey malt quality was enjoyable, but the label boasted of other flavors I'd notice that I just didn't pick up on (Creme brulee? Really? OK, sure, whatever.) I think brewers are trying harder and harder to find ways to distinguish their stouts. And, this was a really tasty stout, but there are a ton of really tasty stouts out there. That can be both a good and a bad thing.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Ommegang's winter seasonal is a Belgian strong ale called Adoration. It's really something. It pours kind of an orange, or a copper, or a brown, depending on where the light is hitting it, with a heap of head. The aroma and the taste are complex and rich and really strong. All of those promised spices come through all over the malt, especially the coriander and the orange peel. I also picked up on notes of figs, cherries, gingerbread... all the usual strong Belgian ale stuff. I don’t drink this style very often, and it wouldn’t take many to make me tired of it. It’s just too rich. But one heavily spiced Belgian ale on a cold night is just about right. And Ommegang’s Adoration is just right, indeed.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

I love it when I find a regional brew I can recommend, but Harrisonburg, Virginia's 3 Brothers Hoptimization IPA does not qualify. This is a pretty bad beer. It pours a cloudy light brown with no head, and there’s not much aroma to comment on, either. The flavor is watery and weak and bad. I don't pick up on any hops. Not even a hint. It’s a little medicinal, but there isn’t much else to say about it.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Dogfish Head's Immort Ale Barley Wine is big beer. This stuff is a bright copper color with a filmy head that leaves no real lace. I wasn't in love with the aroma but liked the taste much more, and it's a little bit unusual for me with barley wine to find much distinction between the smell and the flavor. There's a muted, kinda plastic quality about the aroma that I found a little off-putting. It was like I was smelling the beer through a plastic mesh. The flavor is strong. Big malt, some smoke, some of that juniper and vanilla coming through, too. This beer is actually less sticky than many (maybe most) barley wines; I'd expected that maple syrup mentioned on the label to show up in the finish, but I never really detected it. Not the best thing I've had from DFH, but pretty good. I didn't taste the 11% ABV, but I felt it, I felt it early, and I felt it hard. At this time of year, with Mad Elf everywhere, I come to think of beers just a hair north of 10% ABV as session beer. This is not session beer.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Stone's collaboration with 10 Barrel and Bluejacket is an imperial porter called Suede. It is a dark, cola brown with a lot of creamy head. A little bit of floral quality coming through over the malt in the aroma, but there's a slightly medicinal tone in the background that didn't really sit well in my nose. The taste is rich and sweet. The honey and the malt blend together really well. Others say they pick up on the jasmine, but I really don't. By the end the sweetness on the close of each sip had become a little cloying, but it completely obscures the almost 10% ABV.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Avery's DuganA is yet another delicious imperial IPA from Avery. It compares favorably to Maharaja. It is a slightly cloudy golden peach color with a sticky, lacy head. The aroma is a combo of buttery malt and a creamsicle. The flavor surprised me with all kinds of nice notes. Popcorn, figs, bread, and strong, aggressive hops. Lots of pine and floral quality. I loved this beer.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Boulevard Single-Wide IPA is a tasty little session IPA. It pours fairly clear with a lot of head. Lots of tangy, pine and citrus hops in the aroma and flavor. A little malt in the finish. It isn’t a complex beer at all, but it tastes good, so screw complexity.