Dia De Los Serranos

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.

Transatlantiique Kriek 2016

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.

Kirkland Signature Double Bock

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 20th Anniversary Citracado IPA

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.

Allagash Hoppy Table Beer

Allagash calls Hoppy Table Beer a “Dry hopped Belgian-style ale.” What it is not, first off, is an IPA. The head is very light foam, and long lasting. The nose is grassy and crisp. The middle is very hop heavy, but spicy, herbal and dry, not piney or citrusy. There is some prominent lemon in the finish. The body is light to medium and the alcohol is an easy drinking 4.8% ABV. A really unusual, and outstanding beer.

I give it a 4.7 out of 5.

Triple C Baby Maker

A double IPA from Triple C Brewing in Charlotte, Baby Maker is an American Imperial IPA. The head is light and fluffy and voluminous. The nose is lemon and pine. The middle is sublimely hoppy with orange, lemon, and grassy notes. The malt comes through in the finish as sweet, sticky bread dough, but still balanced by pine and citrus. The body is medium, and the alcohol is 8.5% ABV. A really nice Imperial IPA, and one I’ll definitely be drinking again.

I give it a 4.6 out of 5.

Amber Blaze Amber Ale

From Charlotte’s Blue Blaze Brewing Company, Amber Blaze is an American Amber Ale. It’s malty, as you’d expect. Some honey and toast in the nose. The middle is bready, and there’s a bit of lemon in the finish. The body is medium and the alcohol is a moderate 5.6% ABV. It’s a perfectly nice beer, but unremarkable.

I give it a 3.2 out of 5.

Dogfish Head Oak-Aged Noble Rot

I’ve long been a fan of Dogfish Head’s Saison-ish Noble Rot. Take it and age it in oak? I’m definitely down. It’s based on the saison farmhouse style, and then infused with grape must before finally being aged in oak for nearly a year. I originally compared Noble Rot to white wine, but once you age it in oak, it’s an order of magnitude closer. The nose is grape and a bit of yeast, the middle has grass and vanilla and is slightly tart, the finish is woody with vanilla and butter. The body is medium, the alcohol is big for a saison, little for a white wine at 9.0% ABV.

I give it a 4.3 out of 5.