Whew, October was an intense month. I think I learned a lot from all the different beers I tried, but I doubt I’ll do another beer-a-day month for a while. This month I decided to let the beers fall as they may, and there was a fair number, though slightly fewer than an average month. I’m always open to suggestions, so leave a comment if you’re so inclined! No pictures this month, because I’m lazy. DEAL WITH IT.
Thomas Creek Castaway Chocolate Orange IPA – 7.5% – bottle
Brownish-red with a massive cream-colored head. Smells nutty and coppery with a hint of orange peel and cocoa, just like the label says. Very bitter on the tongue right away, with a hefty alcohol bite. It’s one of the most interesting IPAs I’ve had, but the bitterness overwhelms it, particularly as it warms up. Not one I’m likely to buy again.
Lagunitas Brown Shugga American Strong Ale – 9.9% – bottle
Pours the brightest red I’ve ever seen in a beer with “brown” on the label. Aroma is full of hempy hop, brown sugar and oak. This is very high in malty sweetness. There’s some lacto acidity when it hits the back of my mouth, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, as it helps balance the intense sweetness. Another thing that sweetness does is dampen the alcohol bite almost to nonexistence. This does not drink like a 10%-er, which makes it dangerous. I picked this one up because the guy at the Total Wine told me to, and it was a good choice. I haven’t had much from Lagunitas in the past. I’ll have to change that.
Lagunitas Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale – 7.5% – bottle
Pale orange with a thin, light head, in this beer both “sumpin'”s (come at me, grammar peeps) definitely mean “hops.” Sweeter than your average IPA and just as hoppy, but with a little less malt balance than I’d expect. It’s a fabulous beer, but I can’t help but wonder if it might be improved with a touch more in the malt department. The mouthfeel is average and the finish is clean.
Grondzeiler maibock – 6.8% – draft
Smells like your average pilsner, grass and light citrus. Pale yellow color and a short head. Even through its lagery nature, it has a good hop bite. I really like this one.
Carl Won’t Stay in the Dang House Cherry Stout – 6.3% – draft
I basically just taste smoky malts, and I Do. Not. Like it.
Southern Tier 2XIPA – 8.2% – draft
Reviewed in July, but this was my first time having it on draft. I didn’t get any of the sour aftertaste I noted in my earlier review, so maybe that was an issue with that bottle. If I try this one again I’ll be sure to look for that.
Dark Horse Too Cream Stout – 7.5% – bottle
Pours thick and black with a short brown head. There was tons of sediment in the bottle. Smells malty and lightly nutty with some raisin and lactose as well. Very typical for a cream stout, and very nice. All the flavors from the nose continue through to the taste, with the addition of some chocolate and dark roasted coffee. Finish is sweet and smoky. This is a great winter stout; I’d really like to try it on tap, especially a nitro tap.
Evil Twin Yin Imperial Stout – 10% – bottle
Pours black and opaque with a tan head and heavy lacing. Smells sweet and oaky with chocolate and roasted malts. Very very sweet on the first sip. A lot of standard stout flavors very well blended. The high alcohol content lends a nice bite and warming if slightly astringent finish. Next time I’ll have to get the Yang and blend them into a black and tan, which I’ve oddly never had.
Some of my family members are friends with the brewers here, so whenever I make the drive out to Kentucky I get to try something new from them. I have definitely been seeing an upward trend in the quality, and I’m looking forward to actually seeing the brewery in the next year or so. Cliff Jumper is a nice IPA. Pale orange with little head, though that’s probably due to my pouring it from a growler that had been sitting open a while. Citrussy hops rule the day with this beer, and its simplicity makes it very drinkable. If you’re in the Lexington area, give them a try!
And the winner is…
Dark Horse Too Cream Stout! I tried some weird ones this month – notably the chocolate orange IPA and the cherry stout, but Dark Horse came through with this wintry wonder, perfect for drinking slowly as you complain yet again about how early it gets dark this time of year. Happy December everyone!