April 28th, 2009 beckel
Yesterday was another lovely Battle of the Beers event at The Four Firkins hosted by Michael Agnew of A Perfect Pint. This session consisted of a variety of beers that you can not get in Minnesota due to distribution issues and the limited availability of some of these ales. I have always had a good time at the few of these events I have attended but I was particularly excited for this one as I had never sampled any of the beers that we were going to partake in that evening. The night started with something familiar to all (I hope) of us, some Surly Bitter Brewer and a bit of Cynic Ale as we waited for all 30 guests to show up.
The first round consisted of hoppy beers, Pliney the Elder from Russian River Brewing out ofÂ Santa Rosa, California and Hop 15 from Port Brewing of San Marcos, California. I was particularly excited about Pliney and I am pleased to report it did not disappoint. It is one amazingly smooth citrusy Imperial IPA that will impress any fan of well balanced beers, with an 8% ABV it was the lightest beer on the menu for the night. Hop 15 on the other hand is not really balanced in the conventional sense. Strong bitter flavors are present as is some tartness but none of this is particularly surprising as they use 15 varieties of hops to brew this beer. With only a sample I don’t think I was able to get used to all of the complexities of this beer and though it is a bit intense I would be happy to try it again. In addition to flavors this beer also kicked it up a notch in ABV with 9.7% and a bit of warmth on the mouthfeel. Upon the first round of voting there was only one soul on the side of the Hop 15 and after hearing his argument for the beer’s complexity I decided to join him. Alas I was the only one converted so obviously Pliney the Elder was the winner of round one.
Pliney the Elder Imperial IPA
Hop 15 Imperial IPA
Round two was Belgian beers starting with Damnation 23 from Russian River and Les Deux Brasseurs which is a collaborative brew from Allagash Brewing from Portland, Maine and De Proef Brouwerij from Lochristi-Hijfte, Belgium. Damnation 23 was quite tasty, dry with apricot flavors and some nice bitterness and a decent amount of wood from the oak aging, at 10.5% ABV the scale continues to rise. Les Deux Brasseurs is brewed with two strains of brettanomyces and was simply delightful. This beer has such a variety of flavors I don’t know where to start, a bit bready with wonderful grain aromas as well as some tartness due to the brettanomyces yeast. Flavors were complex and multi dimensional including many light fruits, sour wild yeast flavors, many grains and a good does of hop bitterness that was a lovely compliment to the over all flavor. With a 8.5% ABV we’re getting a little lower than the competitor but it is still no beer to be taken lightly. Though the Damnation 23 was very tasty I had to give the Les Deux Brasseurs my vote as its complex flavor profiles made me want to drink it all night long. This decision was split better than the first but Les Deux Brasseurs was the obvious winner none the less.
Damnation 23 Belgian Triple
Les Deux Brasseurs Belgian Strong Golden Ale
Last but not least we had some solid dark ales starting with Old Viscosity from Port Brewing and Serpent Stout from Port Brewing’s The Lost Abby Brewery. Old Viscosity was one interesting beer that Port declines to classify into a style category as it may look like a stout but has many characteristics of other styles such as Barleywine Old Ale and Porter so they are happy to just call it beer and hope you enjoy it, which I’m all for. It is one thick dark ale with many dark malt flavors from coffee to chocolate, a bit of wood and much more that I would be happy to pick apart if only I had a bottle to myself. Serpent Stout is also one well crafted brew that is as dark and thick as oil. Contrasting flavors of bitter coffee and sweet creme are complimented by some spiciness and a bit of dark fruit, I particularly noticed plum. Both of these beers came in at 10.5% ABV though the alcohol was a bit more noticeable in the Serpent Stout. Both of these beers were very tasty and I would enjoy revisiting both of them but I decided to vote for the Old Viscosity simply because I thought some of its flavors were more dimensional than the Serpent Stout though it was the hardest decision of the night. Again the crowd was a bit split but Serpent Stout was the clear winner.
Old Viscosity Specialty Ale
Serpent Stout Belgian Imperial Stout
So finally the time of the night came where we had to declare an over all winner. Unfortunately there was little beer left to revisit, but that is the way of limited availability imported beer. Though all three beers got a number of votes Pliney the Elder was the clear winner due to its drinkability. As the night wore on more beers were consumed and good conversations were had. Many thanks to Alvey for hosting and Michael for the insight and entertainment.
April 26th, 2009 beckel
I will start by stating this is the 3rd bottle of this beer I have purchased and consumed since I first saw it on the shelves a few months ago so you can be safely assured it is quite tasty, as Southern Tier’s brews tend to be. This brew speaks to the tradition of big English ales and the hearty labor required as well as indirectly referring to Small Beers made from further runnings of the mash. I wonder if they’ve ever considered crafting one with this brew’s leftovers or perhaps more so, sharing it. This beer pours a very dark mahogany color that is very translucent though it is a bit hard to tell because of its dark shade. Creme head was over two fingers and lasted for many minutes leaving a modest amount of lacing around the glass. Aroma is quite delicious. Sweet dark malts are complimented by subtle plum and other dark pitted fruit aromas and a refreshing hint of alcohol and carbonation. Flavor is a lovely balance of sweet and bitter. Smooth caramely sweetness from the light and dark caramel malts is contrasted with some bitter flavors of the dark caramel malt while at the same time citrus is contrasted with bitterness from the variety of hops used in this brew. Though sweeter malt flavors are at the center of this beer the brewers were not afraid to add plenty of hops and it is very apparent in the many wonderful citrus and bitter flavors throughout. The body of this beer is medium and the mouthfeel is a bit creamy but not too thick. With a 10% ABV there is no question you will notice some alcohol in this beer. Perhaps it could turn some off initially but this beer does not try to hide the fact it is quite alcoholic and instead compliments it wonderfully with its solid malt and hop profiles. Not the beer for those afraid of bitterness, but if you generally like Barleywines you will probably be glad to have tried this beer as it is an interesting American tribute to English Barleywines that are traditionally more malty yet is still sure to show you in their own American way that hops have their place as well. Give it a shot and ride your bike.
April 26th, 2009 beckel
I saw some news about this beer a week or two ago and was ever so pleased to see it on the shelves of Sorella yesterday after some tasty brews at Town Hall to wrap up a relaxing 40 mile bike ride. Lagunitas made this beer to commemorate the decline of 2008 and complications of 2009 and hopes for more wisdom in the future. The bottle insists that “This is NOT a Double IPA” and rather “It’s just a good American Ale” and perhaps they want this humbleness to persist into our future. Though I can safely say they don’t appear to be toning anything down as I can smell the wonderful hop aromas of this beer calling me from my desk. This beer pours an incredibly translucent light amber color and produces a solid two fingers of pure white head that cascades very nicely, dissipating in a few minutes leaving a small amount of lacing. Aroma is of pine, a bit of citrus and further bittering hops and only a little bit of malt sweetness and floral hop notes. The flavor of this beer is quite interesting. Tastes of rich pale malts that have much more character than you find in most Pale Ales, the sweetness is wonderfully offset by the hops used that create a myriad of flavors from more bitter pine to more subtle apricot and sweeter orange citrus. From the aroma I expected a more intensely bitter brew but what it has to offer is perhaps more intriguing. The body of this beer is relatively light and the mouthfeel is very smooth and clean. This is simply a wonderfully balanced brew and after just the first sip or two I understood what they meant; this is just one good American Ale. This is really one solid ale that helps blur the lines of our American Pale Ales and American IPAs. While I would be inclined to call it an IPA who gives a damn, with a 6.33% ABV this ale can be suitable for any good American Ale fan. Though definitely more robust and hoppy than many Pale Ales out there I think this beer is a perfect accompaniment for pretty much any situation so long as your not afraid of bitterness. Though our 401K’s may be shrinking Lagunitas continues to grow and craft us more and more wonderfully creative beers. Though unfortunately this beer only comes in 22oz bombers I will certainly be picking up a few more. Give it a shot and ride your bike.
April 24th, 2009 beckel
Today I have another beer from the Danish duo over at Amager Bryghus that I am ever so excited to try. After enjoying their Batch One Barleywine so much I thought the only logical thing to do would be to buy more of their beer. So a month or so ago I picked up a bottle of their Hr. Frederiksen an Imperial Stout named after a gentleman who was apparently a major influence and helping hand in the creation of their brewery. They suggest that this is a boisterous but charming ale and I’m inclined to agree simply based on the aroma that greeted me when I opened the bottle. The beer pours a dark mat black color that allows some red hues through when brought to light but is still completely opaque. Head is massive, chocolate brown in color and an easy three plus fingers tall that very slowly bubbles away one small bubble at a time. Leaving a solid millimeter of head on the surface of the beer even 10 minutes later and a bit of lacing around the glass. It is absolutely gorgeous how the head cascades when tilting my glass. The aroma of this beer is delightful. Strong scents of coffee, chocolate and roasted malt are most dominate. Then there is an interesting somewhat sweet fermented fruit like flavor from the grain that I suppose is a bit like blueberry. Initially I noticed a bit of alcohol on the nose, but the more I smell it the less it comes out. Holy crap. Upon drinking this beer is is immensely less sweet than it was on the nose. First I get heavy coffee flavors and dark roasted malt with a good deal of roasty bitterness. As I continue to sip this brew the sweet malt flavors are noticeable near the middle and continue through to the finish though they have a lot of bitterness to combat in the end. The fruit like note I detected in the nose is present with the sweet malt flavors but it is hard to label. The body of this beer is quite thick but not too heavy and the mouthfeel is quite smooth and clean. Though you will eventually notice that this beer is 10.5% ABV it won’t be due to the flavor. Coffee is definitely one of the major flavor profiles in this beer and I can honestly say as someone who doesn’t drink coffee this beer is fucking delicious. Often when a beer has a lot of coffee flavor it is a bit of a turn off for me but this brew is so well balanced I don’t have a thing to complain about. When I initially asked Sean of The Four Firkins about this beer the coffee aspect was my biggest hesitation, I’m ever so glad he persisted. This is one solid Imperial Stout that will likely be enjoyed by anyone who is into quality stouts and can handle the initial shock of coffee and bitterness that may come with the first few sips. The balance of dark bitterness and sweet flavors is simply delicious and I can’t wait to sample more of their beers. Give it a shot and ride your bike.
April 24th, 2009 beckel
This is the first review aside from reviews off the tap that I have written after drinking a beer instead of during. The reason for this is it was ridiculously nice in Minnesota yesterday so I had to enjoy my brew from the comfort of a lawn chair with pen and paper in hand. I know, hard life I live. It’s not quite as nice today but its over 70 so I’ve haven’t a thing to complain about maybe more backyard reviews are in the future. The beer on hand was New Holland Brewing’s Pilgrim’s Dole an interestingly styled Wheat Wine which was produced with 50%Â malted wheat. I bought this beer many weeks ago at The Four Firkins and the weather seemed perfect for a wheat beer but as usual I wanted one that packed a punch and at 10% ABV this was a solid choice. I am a big fan of Barleywines and was very excited to try my first Wheatwine. The beer pours a lovely rich red color that is very translucent and almost certainly filtered. Head was about two fingers and light creme in color. The aroma of this beer was intensely sweet with a strong creamy brown sugar base complimented by a little bit of roasted grains as well as a hint of bitterness and alcohol. The flavor of this beer is incredibly sweet with some strong sherry notes. Wheat flavors are detectable and there is no question that plenty was used in this brew, but it doesn’t produce the same flavors one would typically associate with most Weizens. Though the sweetness is almost too much, this beer has many of the same sweet characteristics I notice in our very own Surly Brewing’s Darkness. Additionally the mouthfeel is similarly smooth and creamy though a bit less thick as the body is more medium. Even with a 10% ABV this beer manages to mask the alcohol pretty well with the sweetness, though the hints of sherry will likely remind you that your drinking alcohol.Â This was one interesting brew that I think would have been better with some more contrasting flavors. It would also be interesting to see how the flavors evolve after cellaring for a few years. Not a beer I would buy again, though I did enjoy trying it. If you are really into sweet malts and red wine or sherry flavors this might just be the beer for you. Give it a shot and ride your bike.
April 22nd, 2009 beckel
Today I have infront of me my first brew from Eel River Brewing Company out of Scotia, California. Apparently they were the first brewery to become USDA Certified Organic and I am very curious to see what their brews have to offer, particularly as their tag line is a very agreeable “Be Natural, Drink Naked”. I have had a few organic beers now but upon seeing this beer on the shelves of The Four Firkins I was inclined to pick it up because of its high ABV. Though there is no reason organic breweries can’t make big beers this is the first one I have noticed and am ever so excited to try it. This is an Old Ale with an insane IBU of close to 100 that has won over a dozen medals in the past 5 years so lets see what it has to offer. This beer pours a rather dark raisin color that brightens in light but is still very opaque. Head is off white and a solid three fingers that fade after a number of minutes leaving a little bit of lacing around the glass. The aroma of this beer is delightfully rich. Strong scents of dark pitted fruits such as date and raisin accent the sweet malt profile which is complimented by a bit of bitterness and some noticeable alcohol. The flavor of this beer is quite interesting. Sweet smooth malt hits the tongue first but quickly transitions into a roasted malt flavors that are equally smooth. The dark pitted fruit flavor accents are present throughout and the bittering hops create a nice compliment for the somewhat roasted finish. Though alcohol is noticeable in the flavor of this brew I feel it is reasonably subtle for a 9.7% ABV beverage. The mouthfeel of this beer is a bit sticky but at the same time it is incredibly smooth and goes down very easy, additionally the body isn’t particularly heavy. This is a solid American inspired Old Ale and will likely be enjoyed particularly by those who appreciate a flavorful smooth malty beer that still has enough hop to contrast but not burn your palate with bitterness. Give it a shot and ride your bike.
April 21st, 2009 beckel
Yesterday while at the tasting of Summit Brewing’s new Horizon Red Ale I found a number of gems on the shelves of The Four Firkins, including another Single Hop brew from Mikkeller this time around we get to enjoy some Warrior hops. Last July our very own Town Hall brewed up an intense IPA using only Warrior hops [review] and I am curious to see how they contrast. The last numbers on the plain white cap have been smeared off but I’m pretty sure it says 10/12/08. Warrior is a relatively newer bittering hop variety bred by Yakima Chief Ranches and is probably most famously used in Dogfish Head’s delicious IPAs. I poured this beer a bit heavy handily creating over four fingers of off white head, though I’m sure a carefully poured bottle would produce much less the beer is still quite carbonated as my later, gentler pours still created a good deal of further head which eventually faded leaving a decent amount of lacing around the glass. Color is a bright but hazy and opaque apricot with a little bit of sediment present allowing no light to penetrate the brew. Aroma is less intense than I expected it to be but it still contains an assertive citrus hoppiness as well as somewhat floral scents and a solid dose of bitterness. Initially this beer is quite bitter indeed, there is no question that the Warrior hops are doing their job. As I try to get beyond the initial bitterness of this beer there is no question that though it is brewed with one hop it transitions into many different flavors. After the bitterness I get an interesting citrus characteristic similar to orange but also with hints of something like apricot all of which are wrapped in a capsule of bitterness that stays with you until the finish never letting go. The body of this beer is nearing medium but reasonably drinkable if you don’t mind serious bitterness. The mouthfeel of this beer is very interesting as it seems a bit sharp initially but quickly smooths out very nicely, though finishing with another little bite. As I get accustomed to the massive bitterness present in this beer the sweet malt flavors that smooth out the mouthfeel of this beer become more and more apparent. Additionally the bitter and citrus notes come together to produce some almost tart flavors though you will probably only notice this after drinking at least half of the brew. What I find most interesting about this beer is how with the use of just one hardcore hop variety Mikkeller has managed to make a beer that rivals most “hop bombs” in overall hoppy bitterness. Though this beer is not nearly as easy to drink as their Simcoe Single Hop IPA [review] it is still quite tasty and I would be happy to drink many more. With a 6.9% ABV it is no small beer but something that one could still consume many of in a session. Simply put this is not the beer for anyone who is not into bitter hops, as that is exactly what Warrior is. Though it will likely be appreciated by those who enjoy experimenting with different hop flavors be warned it is no joke. Give it a shot and ride your bike.
April 15th, 2009 beckel
Today we have the first review of a beer from the Samuel Adams Brewing Company to grace this website additionally the two beers I picked up are the only Samuel Adams brews I have ever purchased. Though I have been incredibly tempted by their Utopia series only time will tell if I ever get the chance to try any but as many of you know Sam Adams has come out with an Imperial Series of beers that are sure to spark the curiosity of even the most apprehensive. Though this series has been out for a while I declined purchasing any until Sean of The Four Firkins pointed out the fact that they sold single bottles and I figured I should give them the benefit of the doubt and let the beer speak for itself. In addition to the Double Bock I picked up their Imperial White which at 10.3% ABV is a feat in and of itself, if these two beers are tasty I might just have to see if I can still find any of the Imperial Stout. Though Sam Adams is definitely the Microsoft of the craft beer world I must concede a bit, first they have been pushing the craft beer boundaries since before the term was coined, crafting a vast variety of brews even if they may currently be mass produced. Most apparent to me though and what makes me continue to appreciate Sam Adams as it currently exists is what they did for the brewing community last year offering to share their bulk hops during the “hop shortage” and creating a lottery based hop sharing program that appears to have been a success. Looking out for your community is one of the most important things you can do and for a large brewery to continue that tradition earns my respect. Apparently their Double Bock dates back 20 years and appears to be a favorite of many, but this year they amped it up even more to 9.5% for their Imperial Series, lets see how it goes. This beer pours a deep red color that looks rather black when not in direct light but becomes very translucent and red in hue or mahogany as their website states. Head is just over a finger and cream in color only lasting a couple minutes. Aroma is full of caramel malt and some lighter fermented fruit scents, I particularly notice cherry as well as a little bit of alcohol. Flavor is very similar to the aroma with caramel malts defining the flavor and dark pitted fruits such as date and cherry accenting it. A bit of alcohol comes through in the flavor but considering it is 9.5% ABV it isn’t overpowering. The body of this beer is quite light considering how strong it is and the mouthfeel is a bit more watery than I would prefer. As I continue to drink this beer I can definitely notice a bit of hop bitterness in the finish but it is quite mild particularly considering how sweet the malt profile of this beer is. Over all not a bad beer that certainly has some nice flavors but frankly I would like to see more depth. This is a very drinkable beer that I would recommend to anyone who is weary of the craft beer scene but perhaps would like to slowly submerge themselves. This beer was a bit better than I expected it to be andÂ I could easily drink many of them if they weren’t so alcoholic.Â If you enjoy sweet caramel malts you will probably appreciate this beer. Give it a shot and ride your bike.
April 14th, 2009 beckel
Here we go again, so lets start off with something fun.
Dj from Fermentarium informs us that cosmic creatures don’t want to be left out of the fun as scientists have found a cloud of ethyl alcohol one thousand times the size of our solar system. Unfortunately it’s 10,000 light years away so I have the feeling were going to be late to the party.
The good man Stonch points us to a wonderful sign that reminds us to mind our manners while on our cell phones in a very appropriately blunt manner. Check it out.
In some good news for my fine city of Minneapolis the Tour de Fat which is sponsored by New Belgium Brewing Company will be coming our way on July 18thÂ 2009 for the first year. It should be a lovely bike ridden parade of happy folk in costume and of course beer will be available. Not only is this a non-profit event but further it will be benefiting MORC/MOCA as well as another to be named Minnesota organization. Go drink some beer for a good cause, not that I need an excuse to get on my bike and party.
Rick Sellers the Beer Director over at Draft Magazine has posted such a lovely write up of the 2009 Toronado Belgian Beer Dinner complete with ever so desirable pictures I can not help but link to it. Don’t dare look at this link if you are hungry. I can only hope to produce beer dinners of this quality some day.
Now for a mariad of posts from J over at The Brookston Beer Bulletin: First The Brewers Association just released their lists of top breweries in 2008 andÂ J was so kind as to annotate a comparison of breweries ranks from 2007 to 2008. Which I have pasted below. Interesting stuff.
- Anheuser-Busch InBev; #1 last year, no surprises, apart from the name change
- MillerCoors; ditto for #2, including a name change
- Pabst Brewing; Moved up 1, thanks to Miller/Coors merger
- Boston Beer Co.; Moved up 1, thanks to M/C, before that 2 years at #5
- D. G. Yuengling and Son; Moved up 1, thanks to M/C
- Sierra Nevada Brewing; Moved up 1, thanks to M/C
- Craft Brewers Alliance; Widmer moved up 4 & Redhook 5 as a combined company
- New Belgium Brewing; Same as last year
- High Falls Brewing; Same as last year
- Spoetzl Brewery; Same as last year
- Pyramid Breweries; Up 2 spots, their 2nd two spot jump in a row
- Deschutes Brewery; Up 4 from #16 last year
- Iron City Brewing (fka Pittsburgh Brewing); Up 4 from #17 last year
- Minhas Craft Brewery; Up 1 over last year
- Matt Brewing; Down 1 spot, switched places with Minhas
- Boulevard Brewing; Up 2 from #18 last year
- Full Sail Brewing; Up 2 from #19 last year
- Magic Hat Brewing; Up 4 from #22
- Alaskan Brewing; Up 2 from #21 last year
- Harpoon Brewery; Same as last year
- Bellâ€™s Brewery; Up 3 from #24 last year
- Goose Island Beer; Up 3 from #25 last year
- Kona Brewing; Shot up 14 from #37 last year, after dropping Down 14 the year before
- Anchor Brewing; Down 1 from #23, 2nd year Down 1
- August Schell Brewing; Up 1 from #26 last year
- Shipyard Brewing; Up 1 from #27 last year
- Summit Brewing; Up 1 from #28 last year
- Stone Brewing; Up 5 from 33, after moving Up 4 last year & 11 the year before
- Mendocino Brewing; Same as last year
- Abita Brewing; Same as last year
- Brooklyn Brewery; Up 1 from #32 last year
- New Glarus Brewing; Up 4 from #36, after dropping 1 last year, but jumping 10 spots the year before
- Dogfish Head Craft Brewery; Up 5 from #38, after being Up 4 the year before
- Long Trail Brewing; Up 1 #35
- Gordon Biersch Brewing; Down 4 from #31, from Down 6 the previous year
- Rogue Ales; Down 2 from #34, canceling being Up 2 the year before
- Great Lakes Brewing; Up 3 from #40
- Lagunitas Brewing; Up 3 for 2nd year, this time from #41 last year
- Firestone Walker Brewing; Same as last year
- Sweetwater Brewing; Up 3 for second time, this time from #43 last year
- Flying Dog Brewery; Up 1 from #42 last year
- BJs Restaurant & Brewery; Up 7 from #49 last year
- Rock Bottom Brewery Restaurants; Up 2 from #45 last year
- BridgePort Brewing; Same as last year
- Odell Brewing; Up 3 from #48 last year
- Victory Brewing; Up 4 from #50 last year
- Straub Brewery; Same as last year, after dropping 4 the previous year
- Cold Spring Brewery (fka Gluek Brewing); Down 2 from #46 last year
- Mac and Jackâ€™s Brewery; Redmond WA; Not in Top 50 last year
- Big Sky Brewing; Missoula MT; Not in Top 50 last year
Next J writes about and links to an interesting article about prohibition and how doctors lobbied for the right to prescribe medicinal beer, the issue was more about doctors knowing best for their patients and less about beer in particular but it was still quite a hot topic. A good read that makes me wonder what it will take for doctors to think more about what substances actually help people.
I try to stay away from too much politics with this blog as it is mainly intended to be about beer but here we go anyways. J links to a creatively illustrated simple video that talks a little bit about the credit crisis. Though it is largely just talking about one factor it is an important thing for people to know more about as the massÂ media doesn’t really help anyone. A clever short that is probably worth your time if for nothing other than humor.
Since were at it I see no reason not to continue going off topic so I have here a link from Techdirt about copyright. Simply the article talks about how people who take up litigious suits stating that copyright has been infringed should have to show that actual harm has been done because of the infringement. In our current state we have far too many stupid laws on the books, so many that our lawmakers tend not to read them, this is a problem. Copyright was created to protect inventors not to create a battering ram for corporations to stomp out competition, yet that is how it is most often used today. The Craft Beer industry has numerous examples of issues with copyright, some of which have been handled wonderfully (see Avery Brewing / Russian River Brewing’s Collaboration not Litigation Ale) and others that haven’t worked out as well for the small breweries involved (see the recent name change of Laughing Buddha). Sure we live in a big world and need some frame work of rules, but many of the ones we currently employee simply do not work and I for one say they should be laid off, or at least amended. Enough of politics, I need a beer.
April 13th, 2009 beckel
Today IÂ get to enjoy the last two bottles of a beer I got some time ago from Wisconsin and am ever so pleased to have the opportunity to write about. As any of you who have sampled their ales will know Dogfish Head produces some exceptional brews and their India Brown Ale was the first of the style I had ever had the chance to try. Dogfish Head is brewed in Milton, Delaware and is unfortunately not distributed in my fine state of Minnesota, hopefully they change this sometime soon as I crave their beers on a regular basis. This beer pours a deep black color that is not translucent at all, allowing some red hues to barely shine through when brought to light. Head is creme in color and just under two fingers that lasts for a number of minutes leaving a bit of carbonation in a ring around the surface area. Scents of roasted brown malts and caramelized brown sugar are dominate with just a bit of alcohol and bittering hops on the nose. Some of the aroma characteristics of this beer are similar to that of a milk stout but less dark and more roasted, very appealing. Upon sipping this beer you get a good amount of coffee like flavor that is quite a bit more intense than in the nose but wonderfully balanced by the caramelized brown sugar and subtle hop bitterness in the middle and finish of this brew. The mouthfeel is smooth and almost creamy and the body is reasonably light for an ale. With a 7.2% ABV this is no small beer but it is very easy to drink as the roasted malt covers almost all of the alcoholic flavor. This is one heck of a flavorful Brown Ale that still manages to be incredibly drinkable. I would happily drink this brew any day of the year and I’m sure it will bring aÂ new level of appreciation for Brown Ales to anyone who finds the style a bit uninspired. While this beer may not be the first choice for hopheads it is a wonderful example of hops and malt making perfect harmony. Give it a shot and ride your bike.