Lovely, Dark and Deep is a winter seasonal oatmeal stout from Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, NY. The nose has coffee, toffee, and a bit of cocoa. The middle is silky smooth as you’d expect from a oatmeal stout, with chocolate, a bit of orange, and oats, of course. The finish is milky and sweet, with a bit of coffee coming back at the end. The body is medium and the alcohol is a pleasant 5.3% ABV. Oatmeal stouts are one of my favorite styles, and this is a lovely example.
I give it a 4.3 out of 5.
From The Unknown Brewing Company in Charlotte, Over The Edge is an American IPA. The nose is slightly floral and fruity. The middle has orange and caramel. The finish is pretty much the same, with a bit of lemon coming out as well. The body is medium and the alcohol is 6.9% ABV. It’s a fine American IPA, but pretty standard.
I give it a 3.5 out of 5.
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.
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.
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.
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.