a year in brews

New Year’s Eve 2010 found Sean and myself with one of our great friends, Geof, at a bar in Huntsville called The Nook. This bar prides itself on serving only craft brews and I must admit they do a fine job of it. As we sat there enjoying some tasty libations we pondered some of our favorite beers that we’ve had the chance to sample over the past year. Here’s a run down of our top five.

World Wide Stout
Brewery: Dogfish Head
I don’t even know where to start with this beer other than, Wow! The World Wide Stout is one of those beers that long after you’ve tasted it, the flavors still stick around for you to fondly remember. The nose makes me think of raisins and ports. The taste has roasty chocolate notes with lots of flavors of dried fruit. It’s a complex beer that’s great to share with other friends (at 18% it’s not one that’s easy to get through on your own) and sip as an after dinner drink (or really any time you want to enjoy a great beer).
ABV: 18.0

Older Viscousity
Brewery: Port Brewing Company
The nose on this reminded us of a blend between a whiskey and a port. Once you taste it, though, that’s all forgotten. There are strong coffee and dried cherry notes. The bitter and fruity notes balanced each other out well. The finish is smooth and lingering going back to the way that a good whiskey sits on the tongue. This is a good one to curl up on a cold winter’s night and sip away with.
ABV: 12.5

Cuvee of the Emperor Blue
Brewery: Brouwerij Het Anker
We had the pleasure of trying this one as part of our New Year’s Eve festivities this year. The beer has the wonderful sweet nose of a Belgian strong ale. The taste, though, we felt was lighter than the typical strong ale. There were wonderful spicy brown sugar notes that lingered on the tongue. It was a very easy beer to drink and enjoy. Sadly, this one is a hard one to get hold of, so if you find it, definitely give it a shot.
ABV: 11.0

Espresso Oak-Aged Yeti Imperial Stout
Brewery: Great Divide Brewing Company
How can anything that combines coffee and beer not be fantastic?! At least that’s how we feel. The Espresso Oak-Aged Yeti Imperial Stout (yes, it really is a bit of a mouthful) immediately hits the drinker with coffee and oak notes on the nose. As it’s consumed we got the expected imperial stout notes along with nice chocolate notes. The finish is almost like you just finished drinking a cup of coffee. It’s a pretty powerful combination, but amazingly easy to drink. Best part is a recommended food pairing for the beer is a breakfast burrito. Can’t argue with that.
ABV: 9.5

Theobroma
Brewery: Dogfish Head
This one comes with a disclaimer. We had a taste of Theobroma in previous years, but this review is for the draft version. Yes, that’s right. If you’re super lucky, you can find this one on tap. We lucked out at our local Whole Foods Market where there’s a wine and beer tasting bar. The beer has a very clear appearance with a light floral and honey nose. The taste was lighter than the bottled version but still had the wonderful honey and cocoa notes that we love about this beer. The finish isn’t long, but is definitely very refreshing and pleasant. We’re looking forward to hopefully seeing this one on tap again in the future.
ABV: 9.0

beer goodness

Sean and I like beer. This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. Yesterday, we went to a beer fest called Beat The Heat Winter Beer Fest with a couple of our friends. It was held up in Scottsdale and had many of the high end craft brewers at it. I was pretty impressed with the brewers and the selection that each brewer brought. One thing that the local brewers had over the brewers from further away was that the local brewers had people there that were knowledgeable about their beers so they were able to talk to you about them, which was great for Sean and me because we want to learn about them. The brewers from further away, like Vermont and Minnesota, only had volunteers serving their beers, so you couldn’t really get any information about them. Just means one of these days Sean and I will have to get out to their breweries. So, here’s a rundown of the beers that we sampled last night:

Deschutes Brewery
Hop In The Dark – Cascadian Dark Ale (think black ale meets an IPA)
Twilight – Summer Ale
Green Lakes (Organic) – Amber Ale

Samuel Adams Brewery
Octoberfest – Seasonal Amber Ale
Cherry Wheat – Wheat Ale with tart cherry
Coastal Wheat – Wheat Ale with lemon

Unertl Brewery
Muhldorfer – Weissbier

SanTan Brewery
Epicenter – Amber Ale

Telegraph Brewery
Stock Porter
Reserve Wheat – Wheat ale brewed with sour wild yeasts

Rock Art Brewery
Vermonster – American Barley Wine

Old World Brewery
Dark Ale

Odell Brewing Co
St Lupulin – Extra Pale Ale

Dogfish Head Brewery
World Wide Stout – Limited Release Stout
Raison d’Etre – Belgian-style Brown Ale
Indian Brown Ale
Palo Santo Marron – Aged Brown Ale

Full Sail Brewery
LTD2 – Limited Edition Lager
Double Barrel Pale Ale

Firestone Walker Brewery
Humboldt Brown Hemp Ale

Grand Teton Brewery

Bitch Creek ESB

Coronado Brewery
Mermaid’s Red Ale

Grand Canyon Brewery
Sunset Amber Ale

Widmer
Hefeweizen