Oat is an Imperial Oatmeal Stout from the fine folks at Southern Tier Brewing Company of New York. I’m a big fan of oatmeal stouts, and this is a good one. The oatmeal scent is heavy in the nose, along with chocolate and licorice. The middle is sweet and smooth and milky with plums and molasses, and the finish is drying, with cocoa and apricot. This beer has a lot of big flavor for an oatmeal stout, and it’s a big beer too, at 10.8% ABV. It’s a fine stout, and would do well as a dessert beer.
I give it a 4.4 out of 5.
Don de Dieu is a trippel wheat ale from the Belgian masters at Unibroue in Quebec. There isn’t much of a head to this beer. You get a lot of foam early, but it disappears rapidly. The nose is mild, which is pretty standard for a wheat ale, and it has notes of apricots, pears, and orange. The middle is tangy with mandarin, honey, pears, yeast, and a hint of alcohol. The finish adds pear syrup and vanilla to the mix. This is a medium to heavy bodied beer, and relatively high alcohol at 9% ABV. With the signature Belgian fruit and yeast, this is a lot more flavorful than a traditional wheat ale, so it will probably be a bit much for a Blue Moon fan, but it’s right up the alley for those who like big traditional Belgian styles.
I give it a 4.6 out of 5.
A Belgian Quad from New Belgium Brewing’s Lips of Faith series, Cascara Quad has a number of interesting additions including dates, cherries, and Cascara tea. The nose is rich with figs, cherries, and leather. The middle is smooth and heavy, with notes of dates, plums, cherries, and brown sugar. There isn’t much new in the finish, just subtle hints of molasses and cloves. There is no bitterness in this beer at all, so fans of big Belgians should be fans. The yeast is also subdued, so there’s no particular funkiness here, as you often find in Belgians. This is a very nice, well executed American rendition of the Belgian Quad.
I give it a 4.3 out of 5.
Palo Santo Marron is a big, heavy beer more suited to a cold winter’s night that a hot summer eve, but I had one in the fridge, so reviewed in the summer it will be. It’s called as a “malt beverage” rather than a beer due to FDA labeling requirements, but in fact it’s a big huge brown ale aged in Palo Santo wood, from whence its name is derived. Given the heaviness, the aging, and its 12% ABV, it is far more similar to a oak-aged imperial stout or porter than a traditional brown ale. The nose is heavy with chocolate and musty wood…It’s rich and full and gives you a hint of what’s to come. The middle has massive amounts of flavor. There’s chocolate, caramel, brown sugar, coffee, and burnt toast. The finish has maple syrup, loads of vanilla, more coffee, a hint of cherry, and plenty of heat from the alcohol. This is a big, bold beer that’s a wonder winter warmer, and good enough to be worth grabbing regardless of the time of year.
I give it a 4.8 out of 5.
My favorite beer that the reviewers love to hate, Shiner Ruby Redbird by the Spoetzl Brewery of Shiner, Texas, while a beer of only modest acclaim by the authorities one might fine on the Internet, is also one of the few brews to make it onto my Five Best Beers for Summer list recently. To me, this beer is light, well-carbonated, and loaded with tangy citrus which makes it just about a perfect liquid refreshment for a hot summer afternoon. The scent is bready, and there is a bit of spice, and the middle is all grapefruit. There’s some ginger, which shows up a bit in the finish along with some toasty malt and a bit of bitter grapefruit rind, and just a little astringency. It may not win any awards, but it’s one that I’ll reach for without any hesitation, summer after summer.
I give it a 4 out of 5.
Why not take a beer vacation? Apparently this is a thing, and CNN has taken on the task of finding the very best options for mixing a relaxing time away from home with the most delicious juice of the grain one might desire.
Article with slideshow here.
Elm Street IPA from Natty Greene’s Brewing Co. of Greensboro, NC, is a standard English IPA, with a bit of wheat thrown in to mellow it out a little. The head is foamy and persistent. The nose is grassy with lemon and a bit of bread dough. The middle is heavy and sticky with tons of grapefruit and caramel, and the finish fades to orange and a little pine. The body is heavier than a typical IPA…More like a double IPA, and the big sugars in the middle help it to resemble a DIPA as well. It’s quite a nice English IPA, and the wheat gives it a bit of character all its own.
I give it a 3.9 out of 5.