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.
Brewery Ommegang is a fantastic craft beer producer out of Cooperstown, NY, which, of course, is also known for being the home of the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. I usually associate Ommegang with their myriad wonderful Belgian styles, but this beer is a straight-up Imperial IPA. The nose is doughy, with loads of orange and lemon. The middle is predominantly bitter with orange peel and pine resin with sweet and sour citrus coming back in the finish to balance out the bitterness a bit. The body is heavy, and the alcohol is an imperial but not unreasonable 8.8% ABV. The is an excellent exection of the style, and in my opinion will appeal most to those who tend towards the west-coast style IPAs with their overstated bitterness. An outstanding beer.
I give it a 4.7 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.
Brooklyn Brewery’s Sorachi Ace is a Belgian Saison (or farmhouse ale) brewed with their own strain of Belgian yeast and the very unusual Sorachi Ace hops, developed in Japan and grown in Washington, and these add a strong lemony aroma and flavor. The head on this beer is massive and persistent. It developed into a thick sticky foam that stayed with the drink until the end. The nose as mentioned before has loads of lemon, and is a bit grassy as well. The middle is surprisingly sweet. The flavor reminds me quite a lot of a shandy. (Half beer, half lemonade.) There’s a good bit more lemon flavor here, but any sour or tart notes are entirely offset by the amount of sugar. The finish is more of the same, with a bit of the Belgian yeast showing through here. This is a very well executed beer, but too sweet for my taste.
I give it a 3.8 out of 5.
Local 2 is Brooklyn Brewery’s New York twist of a Belgian Strong Dark Ale, one of my favorite styles. They’ve added local raw wildflower honey to the Belgian yeast and dark sugar to give it its signature flavor. The nose has brown sugar and dark fruits such as raisins and figs. The honey is strong in the middle with plums and a bit of grape, with hints of cocoa, caramel, banana, and spices in the finish. The body is medium and the alcohol is high at 9.0% ABV, but well hidden, only adding a slight warming right at the end. This is a well executed beer, and a very nice example of the style. Another hit from Brooklyn.
I give it a 4.5 out of 5.
An American Strong Ale, New York’s Southern Tier Brewing Company’s Gemini is a relatively unusual style. Very malt heavy, this blended concoction, derived from Southern Tier’s Hoppe and Unearthly brews is magnificent in its own right. The nose is heavy and sweet, with notes of licorice, honey, and wheat. The body is medium to heavy, and fairly balanced but tipping towards sweet with molasses, honey, vanilla and alcohol. The finish is more of the same, fading away, with a bit of orange rind coming to the fore. This is a big beer, at 9.0% ABV, and it shows. This is a high quality beer, but it is an alcohol delivery device above all.
I give it a 4.3 out of 5
2xRye by New York’s Southern Tier Brewing Company is an autumn seasonal Double Rye India Pale Ale. Decoded, that’s an Imperial IPA made with rye. Now, I love IPAs, and I love Imperial IPAs, and I love rye-based ales, so this was bound to appeal, and it doesn’t disappoint. The nose is citrusy and floral. It has a medium to heavy body that is thick on the tongue. The middle is bursting with orange and pine. The rye becomes clearly evident in the finish, along with lemon and huge amounts of pine. This is a relatively big beer at 8.1% ABV, but there’s really not any booziness to speak of. It’s just a big, rich, flavorful Double IPA with loads of rye. Very, very good, this one.
I give it a 4.5 out of 5.