Krogstad Festlig Aquavit

Krogstad Festlig Aquavit is an 80 proof grain alcohol with caraway seed and star anise flavor brewed by House Spirits, Portland, Oregon.  The nose and palate are all caraway and star anise with some sweet and spicy licorice.  There is some alcohol burn but the taste is fairly clean with a chewy mouthfeel.  Aquavit is a traditional Scandinavian drink and not as well known elsewhere.  I was lucky to find this for sale at PDX of all places.  It takes some acquiring but it’s absolutely delicious and very lovely to sip on just neat or with some whiskey stones.   Keep it in the freezer.

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The Dubliner Bourbon Cask Aged Irish Whiskey

The Dubliner Irish Cask Aged (grain) Whiskey is 80 Proof and distilled by First Ireland Spirits, part of the Quintessential Brands.  This is a blend of a single and blended malts aged in Bourbon barrels.  The nose is mostly raw booze with spice and smoke.  The palate leans to sweet, spice and wood but its dominated by raw boozy grain.  It’s not too bad, but not great, adding some ice may mellow out some of the harsher notes.  My review is based on a sample with whiskey stones only.  Not one to seek out, that being said, I’ll finish out the (gifted) bottle just fine.

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Jameson Irish Whiskey

Jameson (blended) Irish Whiskey is 70 proof and triple distilled in Cork, Ireland by the Irish Distillers.  This is a grain whiskey.  The nose is all fruit and booze, the palate includes apples, pears, some vanilla, grass and wood.  It finishes with a honey sweetness and a bit of a burn.  Jameson can be enjoyed in cocktails, with a drop of water, on the rocks or just neat and paired with a beer.  It’s the best-selling whiskey in the world and for good reason, Jameson has a place at every bar, home or professional.

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Clown Shoes Space Cake

Clown Shoes Space Cake ADIIPA is 9 ABV and an uncofirmed 70 IBU, but tastes higher.  The appearance is a darkish amber and the nose sweet malt and piney hop.  The flavor follows, sweet candi malt finishing with a dank, citrus and pine hop.  Mouthfeel is big and creamy.  Space Cake comes off as a big and tasty malt/hop bomb.  This is a solid A- ADIIPA and well worth trying.  It’s too bad the site doesn’t provide IBU and hop profile.

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Anderson Valley Summer Solstice

Anderson Valley Summer Solstice is a 5 ABV Cream Ale.  The appearance is bubbly amber and the nose caramel malt and some spice.  The flavor follows, sweet caramel malt and spice, some fruity notes are present throughout, like apple, and banana.  The finish is long and bittersweet.  Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy but has a fairly active carbonation.  It’s all around decent but has a bit of a back of the throat stickiness I could live without.  But it’s a cream ale so you can’t exactly knock it for being creamy.  Not bad but no need to revisit.

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Evil Twin I Love You With My Stout

Evil Twin I Love You With My Stout is a 12 ABV ADIS.  The appearance is jet black and the nose sweet boozy, roasty malt.  The palate is roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, all those big stout flavors.  There is also some layers of oak and vanilla.  The mouthfeel, carbonation and texture are all soft and smooth and while it is boozy the 12% is kept fairly restrained.  A big, delicious stout and well recommended, found at World of Beer Syracuse.

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Cigar City Maduro

Cigar City Maduro is a 5.5 ABV English Brown Ale.  the appearance is deep mahogany brown and the nose nutty sweet.  The palate is caramel malt and hazelnut finishing with a nice dry bitterness and notes of roastiness throughout.  Mouthfeel is crisp and clean with a fair amount of complexity.  So maybe a brown ale isn’t the most exciting variety of beer nowadays but it’s perfectly executed.  I was glad to be able to try this and I definitely lament not being in Cigar City’s distribution area.  Quite good.

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The Alchemist Crusher

The Alchemist Crusher is a 9.6 ABV ADIIPA.  The appearance is hazy orange amber and the nose boozy malt and fresh dank citrus hop.  The flavor follows, you get that wonderful sweet malt and Vermont farmhouse brewery juicy hop you would expect out of the Alchemist.  What separates this from Heady or Focal Banger is the amped up alcohol presence.  Mouthfeel, carbonation and texture all creamy and moderate still.  It’s absolutely elite level and whether you prefer this or the lighter offerings is just a matter of preference.

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The Alchemist Focal Banger

The Alchemist Focal Banger is a 7 ABV AIPA.  Appearance is bright hazy orange and the nose all dank citrus hop.  The flavor is a nice balance of that sweet malt and fresh, juicy, tropical fruit hop.  Mouthfeel is moderate and creamy.  Is it better than Heady…that’s debatable.  This is also sometimes referred to as a light Heady which I also don’t think is quite accurate.  It’s very hard to compare here, but Focal Banger is absolutely elite level.  Thanks again to Brew Cheese and the utter embarrassment of riches I found there.

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Tree House Alter Ego

Tree House Alter Ego is a 6.8 ABV AIPA and only differs from Julius in the dry hop.  The appearance is hazy orange and the nose sweet malt and tropical citrus hop.  The malt and hop balance is certainly similar to Julius with the addition of even more of those tropical papaya, and pineapple hops.  Mouthfeel, carbonation and texture are all moderate and creamy.  It’s hard to rank this with Julius but both are amazing, and definitive North East farmhouse brewery AIPA’s.  Thanks again to Brew Cheese in Stony Brook, Long Island.  Amazing.

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