Cosmic Ristretto is a Baltic Porter brewed with espresso and Belgian candy sugar. The head is foamy rather than creamy. There’s coffee and licorice on the nose. Tons of coffee and molasses in the middle, brown sugar and star anise in the finish. The body is medium and the alcohol is a relatively high 8.2% ABV. This is an exceptional beer.
I give it a 4.9 out of 5.
A Belgian style pale ale brewed with Maine ingredients to showcase and support sustainable family farming in Maine’s sixteen counties, this latest style from Allagash reminds me of a saison. The head is massive and long lasting. The nose is grainy and grassy. The middle has zesty lemon, honeysuckle and other floral notes and there’s a quite a bit of grapefruit in the finish. The body is medium and the alcohol is a robust 7.3% ABV. An exceptionally delicious beer.
I give it a 4.8 out of 5.
Kirkland Signature is the name of Costco’s store brand, and this American IPA is brewed for them by the Bricks and Barley Brewing Company in Wisconsin. The nose has lemon and some sweet malt notes. The middle is bitter with some pine, a bit more lemon and breadiness. The lemon and sweet bread continue into the finish but the pine fades away. It’s a simple IPA, not complex, light to medium body and 6.9% ABV. It’s not bad, but also unremarkable.
I give it a 3.6 out of 5.
A sour brown ale of the Flanders Red style from New Belgium’s Lips of Faith series, the 2016 edition was aged in French oak for 1-3 years. The nose is light and musty. The middle is bright, very tart, and strongly apple flavored. There’s a bit of vanilla in the finish, presumably from the oak, but the sour apple still dominates. The body is medium to heavy and the alcohol is a pleasant 7.0% ABV. It isn’t terribly complex, but it is beautiful in its simplicity. A sour brown ale of the Flanders Red style from New Belgium’s Lips of Faith series, the 2016 edition was aged in French oak for 1-3 years. The nose is light and musty. The middle is bright, very tart, and strongly apple flavored. There’s a bit of vanilla in the finish, presumably from the oak, but the sour apple still dominates. The body is medium to heavy and the alcohol is a pleasant 7.0% ABV. It isn’t terribly complex, but it is beautiful in its simplicity.
I give it a 4.4 out of 5.
From Great Lakes Brewing Co. of Cleveland, Eliot Ness is an Amber Lager. The nose is nice and bready, and the middle has caramel and a hint of orange and molasses. This hangs around in the finish along with notes that remind me of delicious honey wheat bread dough. The body is light and the alcohol is 6.2% ABV. A really nice lager.
I give it a 4.2 out of 5.
The nose is sweet with brown sugar, banana and prunes. The middle is malty and fruity with peach, a bit of apricot and some heavy bread that sticks with you through the finish. The finish also has a hint of pepper. An OK dubbel. Light to medium body. 7% ABV.
4.0 out of 5
Day of the Serranos. A double stout from Green Flash brewed with Serrano chiles. The nose is malty and sweet. The middle starts as a deliciously sweet imperial stout with chocolate and a bit of coffee, and the coffee remains as it fades to a finish where the spicy hot chile oils creep up on you. I don’t know that “delicately spiced” as the bottle label indicates is exactly accurate…The heat is not subtle at all. It is also not, however, overdone. It’s perfectly balanced between sweetness and spice. The body is medium and the alcohol is a biggish 8.8% ABV. Fantastic beer for those of us who love spicy food and drink.
I give it a 4.8 out of 5.
From New Belgium’s Lips of Faith series, Transatlantiique Kriek is a wood-aged sour cherry ale. The result is a very bright, tart sour that is a deep ruby color in the glass. The nose is fairly mild with just a slight hint of cherry, and not much else. The middle explodes with tartness, and the cherries are subtle, or perhaps just overcome by the huge sour bite, but they are definitely there in the background, and come a bit forward in the finish. It’s fairly simple, without a lot of complexity, but a definitely a nice sour with a bit a fruit lambic flare. The body is medium and the alcohol is a moderate 7.0% ABV.
I give it a 4.3 out of 5.
Brewed by Bricks and Barley Brewing Company for Costco’s Kirkland Signature line, the Double Bock is a classic German dark beer style that makes up a quarter of the mixed case I recently bought. The nose is toasty and grassy with a bit of licorice. The middle has a good bit of caramel and a bit of nuttiness. The finish is herbal with some orange. The body is medium to heavy, and alcohol is 7.5% ABV. This is a malt-forward brew that I found very enjoyable.
I give it a 3.9 out of 5.
Stone brews a special IPA for their anniversary each year, and this year, their 20th, it’s Citracado IPA, an Imperial IPA brewed with citra hops and avocado flower honey. Like all Stone beers, the hops are important. This one is one of the hop bombs, so if you like Ruination, this might be for you. The nose is floral and citrusy, with orange and grapefruit notes. The middle has a ton of lemon and grapefruit, and sweetness from the honey over a big malty backbone that give it weight. It fades to grapefruit rind and pine bitterness in the finish, and is never subtle. The body is heavy and the alcohol is 9.0% ABV. This is a special beer, brewed for a special occasion, and it more than does it justice. This is an outstanding beer.
I give it a 4.9 out of 5.