Category Archives: Reviews

Dogfish Head Beer for Breakfast Stout

Breakfast is the best meal of the day. All of the most delicious foods are served for breakfast, so why not make a beer with them? What could go wrong? In this case, nothing. Dogfish Head’s Beer for Breakfast Stout is not only filled with the flavors of breakfast, and the result is delicious. Coffee, toast, and milk are all in the nose. The middle is rich with cocoa and a dense breadiness that reminds one of pancakes. Speaking of pancakes, the finish is dripping with maple syrup sweetness and a bit of the coffee comes back right at the end, as it should. The body is medium to heavy and the alcohol is a bit hefty for early in the morning at 7.4% ABV. Dogfish Head has an entire stable of very good beers, but in my opinion, this is one of their best.

I give it a 4.7 out of 5.

Stone 5th Anniversary IPA – Encore Series

For their 20th anniversary, Stone has produced a special beer, and packaged it with encores of their 5th, 10th, and 15th Anniversary IPAs. Today I’m reviewing the encore series version of the 5th Anniversary brew. In Stone Tradition, this is a hop-bomb of a west coast style IPA. Orange, mango and apricot on the nose, massive amounts of lemon and grapefruit in the middle and tons of raw pine in the finish. The body is medium to heavy, and the alcohol is not unreasonably stiff at 8.5% ABV. I’m sad I didn’t get a chance to try the original, but the encore is still an amazingly well executed, wild example of a big west coast IPA.

I give it a 4.8 out of 5.

Triple C Golden Girl

A summer release I’m just getting around to reviewing is Triple C Brewing’s Golden Girl Blonde Ale, brewed with a local roaster’s coffee blend and tart cherries. The result is light, refreshing, and utterly delicious. The nose is light and malty, and has an unexpected hint of sour yeast and a bit of cherry. The middle is malty blonde ale base with strong but not overpowering tart cherries, and just a hint of coffee for balance that builds just a bit in the finish. Ultimately this is a cherry blonde ale, but the coffee is wonderful addition that gives it extra complexity in the finish, but not enough to give it any bitterness. I honestly didn’t know what to expect with this beer, but even had I had high expectations, this might have exceeded them. A wonderful new brew that’ll I’ll definitely be looking for again next summer. The body is medium to heavy, and the alcohol is a light, summery 4.5% ABV.

I give it a 4.7 out of 5.

Blue Blaze Double Blaze Black IPA

Double Blaze is a Black IPA from Charlotte’s Blue Blaze Brewing, and as you can see from the picture, my local beer store stocks Blue Blaze’s wares in 64oz growlers. The head is heavy foam, and though there isn’t a lot of it, it sticks around for quite a few minutes. The strongest note in the nose is cocoa, with a bit of pine too. The middle is bitter with green pine, fading to a finish of coffee and brown sugar. The body is medium and the alcohol is a reasonable 6.1% ABV. It’s a nice base to grow from for a good bitter IPA, but still a little raw and unfinished, in my opinion.

I give it a 3.8 out of 5.

Sierra Nevada Dunkelweizen Bock

A member of Sierra Nevada’s High Altitude series, Dunkelweizen Bock is a traditional dunkelweizen, a dark wheat German beer style. A classic style that you don’t see that often these days. The head is heavy and sticky and hangs around. The nose is malty and bready with some banana. The middle is sweet with molasses and has oodles of the characteristic cloves, and the finish is sweet banana bread. The body is medium to heavy, and the alcohol is a reasonable 7.2% ABV. This is a really nice heavy winter beer for those inclined to indulge in sweeter styles.

I give it a 4.4 out of 5.

Marooned on Hog Island

From 21st Amendment Brewery, Marooned on Hog Island is an oyster stout brewed with Hog Island Sweetwater oyster shells. The thick sticky head hangs around for awhile, and the nose has coffee and light caramel and chocolate notes. The middle is balanced between sweet and salty with milk and chocolate and the salty ocean notes of the oyster shells. Then finish moves back towards the sweet with more chocolate and a bit of caramel returning. A lovely stout with a oceanic touch. The body is medium and the alcohol is a strong-ish 7.9% ABV.

I give it a 4.6 out of 5.

Sycamore Peak Farm Double Pale Ale

Peak Farm is an Imperial Pale Ale from Sycamore Brewing in Charlotte, NC. The nose is predominantly floral with some light fruity notes of apricot and mango. The middle has some citrus in the form of orange and lemon. The finish is citrusy and bitter, tempering as it warms. The body is heavy and the alcohol is a moderate 7.2% ABV. A nice double pale ale with nothing against it, but not particularly special.

I give it a 3.9 out of 5.

Dogfish Head Flesh & Blood IPA

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Flesh & Blood IPA is a heavily citrus focused IPA brewed with orange peel, lemon flesh, and the juice of blood oranges. If you’re a fan of citrus beers, this is probably their king. Big orange notes in the nose, bitter and sour orange and lemon in the middle, and the sweet, sugary orange juice coming forward in the finish. It’s unique, as all of Dogfish Head Ales are, and delicious. The body is medium, and the alcohol is a reasonable 7.5% ABV.

I give it a 4.4 out of 5.

Stone Xocoveza

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We’ve had a bit of a cold snap here, with lows dipping into the high 20s for the first time this fall. That makes for a lovely excuse to break out a bottle of Xocoveza, a winter-spiced mocha stout from Stone. Being based in San Diego, I’m not sure what Stone actually knows about winter, but they sure do know their way around a winter brew. This particularly recipe includes cocoa, coffee, peppers, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix all that up in a beer, and what comes out is liquid deliciousness. The cinnamon, nutmeg, and cocoa are strongly present in the nose. The head is creamy and hangs around for quite awhile. The middle is pure mocha, milky with notes of chocolate and coffee throughout. The peppers are very understated and there is just a tiny hint of a spicy bit in the finish, muted by vanilla. The body is medium and the alcohol is a relatively strong 8.1% ABV. A fabulously flavorful and wonderfully executed beer that might be my new point of reference for a winter stout.

I give it a 4.8 out of 5.

Dogfish Head Bière de Provence Saison

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So it’s November, and Bière de Provence is a summer saison. Sue me. I try every Dogfish Head beer I can find, and this is when I happened to find this one, and I won’t pass up the opportunity to try it, whatever the season. This is a Belgian Saison, and the tagline is that it is brewed with lavender, marjoram, and bay leaves. The lavender is immediately apparent in the nose, which is predominately floral with a bit of fruity Belgian yeast adding some banana esters. The middle explodes with pepper, herbal notes and sweet malty undertones. The finish is yeasty, fruity and mellow. The body is medium and the for a summer saison the alcohol is a beastly 8.3% ABV, A delicious beer and a fine saison that I wish I’d discovered earlier.

I give it a 4.4 out of 5.