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.
A good vigorous head. A lot of orange and some floral notes in the nose. Well balanced middle with some pine, orange and grapefruit. Pepper and lemon in the finish. Medium body and very precise 6.43% ABV. A really delicious IPA.
I give it a 4.7 out of 5.
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.
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.
Grapefruit Sculpin is a variation on Ballast Point’s sublime Sculpin IPA, with the grapefruit turned up a notch or ten. The grapefruit is definitely the signature note here, and while not overpowering, is in evidence throughout. The nose has the essence of grapefruit oils, along with some lemon and floral notes. The middle has tart and sweet grapefruit, fading to bitter rind and a hint of pine in the finish. Every bit as good as the original Sculpin, and because I personally love grapefruit, I might even like this one better. The body is medium and the alcohol is a nice 7.0% ABV.
I give it a 4.9 out of 5.
Lacking in vigor. Very little head, no carbonation to speak of. Nose has some slight cocoa notes. The middle has weak cocoa. There is little else here. The finish is non-existent. My overall impression is that it is flat and flavorless. The body is medium, and the alcohol is a reasonable 5.0% ABV. It may be a bottling issue that the example I got was off, or not sealed properly, but until I know otherwise, there’s nothing here to particularly recommend.
I give it a 2.5 out of 5.
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.