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.
Compass, by New York’s Southern Tier Brewing Company, is an Imperial Sparkling American Pale Ale. Oh, and it’s bottle conditioned, and brewed with rose hips. So, it has a lot going on, to say the least. The nose is predominantly citrus with lemon and grapefruit, and it has a floral note that Southern Tier tells me is rose hips, but that I associate with honeysuckle, and a slight undertone of tropical fruit, specifically pineapple. The middle is creamy and buttery, with more tropical fruit and a bit of citrus. Southern Tier promises some bitterness, but I’m not tasting much at all. A tiny hint of citrus rind/pine in the finish, perhaps, which is also where the carbonation makes its presence felt. The body is medium, and the alcohol is a healthy imperial-level 9.0% ABV. I really like Southern Tier, but in honesty this one wasn’t one of my favorites. It’s good, but not great.
I give it a 3.8 out of 5.
Rosabi is an Imperial Pale Ale from Dogfish Head with, as the name suggests, wasabi as the off-centered ingredient. It starts with a big sticky head that hangs around for a bit. The nose has a bit of pine, grain, and citrus, and wasabi hits your nostrils faintly right at the end as the other scents are fading. The middle is a big chewy Imperial Pale Ale, with citrus and honey, fading to pine and rind in the finish. The coup de grâce, however, right at the tail end, is strong wasabi. It’s not particularly hot, but that unmistakably pungent flavor is in full force and it strengthens as the beer warms. The body is medium to heavy, and the alcohol is 8.0 ABV, so it lives up to the “Imperial” billing quite well. It’s a bit of a oddity, and certainly not an every day beer, but it’s worth a try, especially for those of you who love wasabi as much as I do.
I give it a 3.9 out of 5.
American Beauty is an occasionally brewed Imperial Pale Ale from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. As with virtually all Dogfish Head recipes, this one comes with an off-centered twist, and in this case the ingredient is organic granola in homage to the Grateful Dead. The head is creamy. The nose is yeasty, with some caramel and a slight hint of orange. The middle is mostly balanced, with a bit more malt than hop. The flavors in the middle are caramel and orange, with a bit of rind and honey. There is some alcohol in the finish (and there should be, at 9.0% ABV) and a lingering sugar. The sugar right at the end is all that strikes me from the granola addition. It’s quite a nice beer, but not particularly special.
I give it a 4.0 out of 5.