Empire Two Dragons

Empire Two Dragons is a 5.4 ABV APA brewed with Chinese black tea.  The appearance is clear orange and the nose citrus hop and vegetal from the tea.  The flavor is dominated by a sharp, just shy of sour earthy taste, with a black tea like malt on the finish.  I’ve seen it compared to kombucha.  I certainly don’t hate it, but I think it may take more than a few to really acquire a taste.  Sometimes two awesome things don’t make an even better thing.  However, I do appreciate anything that uses novel or less than typical ingredients.  Worth trying if you can find it.

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Bell’s Roundhouse

Bell’s Roundhouse is a 7.5 ABV American Amber and pours a deep rich red.  The nose and palate are a hopped up amber; sweet caramel and toffee malts finishing with a long pine bitterness, notes of spice are present throughout.  Mouthfeel, carbonation and texture are all moderate.  I actually really like this, these hopped up ambers  tend to be just alright but this one really works.  Maybe falls just short of outstanding but it’s really quite good.  I’d absolutely try this.

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Sixpoint Global Warmer

Sixpoint Global Warmer is a  7 ABV, 70 IBU Amber.  The pour is coppery and the nose sweet malt and big hop.  The palate has those caramel malts typical of the style with a strong piney hop presence on the finish.  Mouthfeel, texture and carbonation are all moderate.  It’s a hopped up red ale that Sixpoint executes well, even if this isn’t one of my favorite styles.  Very good.

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Evil Twin Ashtray Heart

Evil Twin Ashtray Heart is a 7.9 ABV Smoked beer, or rauchbier.  Appearance is virtually black with a very smoky ash and peat nose and palate.  The drinkability is quite nice with a very moderate mouthfeel, texture and carbonation.  I don’t see many of this style so even though it didn’t blow me away I was happy to have some.  Definitely recommended for anyone who wants to try something a bit different.  Would probably pair well with bacon.

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Sam Adams Fresh As Helles

Sam Adams Fresh As (Munich) Helles Lager is 5.4 ABV and pours a bubbly orange.  The nose and palate are sweet cereal malts with some earthiness and citrus.  The finish has a quick bite of bitter hop.  Mouthfeel, carbonation and texture are all moderate and drinkable.  It’s not a bad beer by any means but certainly not my favorite style, nor my favorite of the style.  It’s fine, Sam Adams sits in this place between micro and macro brewing but I’m always happy to try them.

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Long Trail Unearthed

Long Trail Unearthed is a 7.9 ABV, 58 IBU American Stout.  The appearance is not quite black and the nose sweet cocoa and vanilla malt.  The flavor follows, very sweet malt, vanilla, oak and chocolate fudge.  The body is very smooth with a lower carbonation.  It’s fine…quite drinkable, but maybe too sweet?  You really have to be in the mood for this kind of beer, maybe a dessert kind of mood.  I’m happy to try anything from Long Trail.

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Dark Horse Plead the Fifth

Dark Horse Plead the Fifth is an 11 ABV Russian IS and pours virtually black.  The nose and palate are all roasty malt, chocolate, and dark fruits with notes of spice and a bitter hop finish.  Mouthfeel is smooth and rich with no hint of raw booze or cloying sweetness.  Dark Horse has a been a great brewery and this one is very much a standout.  I only had one but wouldn’t mind finding some more to age.  Couldn’t recommend it enough, very well done.

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Smuttynose Single Digit Dubbel

Smuttynose Single Digit Dubbel is 7.1 ABV and 30 IBU and uses Crystal hops.  The appearance is mahogany and the nose caramel and toffee malt.  The flavor has those sweet malts with very mild Belgian yeast and finishes with a hop bitterness, notes of spice and dark fruits are present throughout.  Mouthfeel is moderate and smooth.  Smuttynose is a solid, workhorse of a brewery that is rarely exceptional but almost never disappoints.  This is another solid offering and easily recommended.

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Great Divide Colette

Great Divide Colette is a 7.3 ABV Saison brewed with barley, wheat and rice.  The appearance is golden and bubbly and the nose sweet malt and spice.  The palate follows, sweet malts with very spicy notes, including clove and coriander and citrus throughout.  The finish has a nice bite of bitterness and the mouthfeel and carbonation are lively.  I’m not blown away but it’s very solid and easily recommendable, Great Divide consistently delivers.

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War Horse Breakfast with Churchill

War Horse Breakfast with Churchill is a 7.2 ABV Oatmeal Stout and uses 2-row, Barley, Chocolate, and Crystal 55 malts and Brave & East Kent Golding hops.  Appearance is virtually black and the nose roasty malt.  The palate is roasty malt and fairly coffee forward, mouthfeel and carbonation moderate.  It’s fine once it warmed up some but the immediate taste had a bit too much raw alcohol, given the relatively low abv.  Better name and can art than beer but not too bad.

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