Stone / Aleman/ Two Brothers Champion of the Sun

Champion of the Sun is an 8.6 ABV ADIIPA brewed by Stone in collab with Aleman and Two Brothers.  Appearance is amber with a huge head and the nose and palate sweet malt, citrus hop and orchard fruit.  Locally brewed Five Elephant lends a very strong coffee note throughout.  This is a big and complex beer presented in a stunning magnum bottle but you’d spend a  couple hundred bucks on all of these “groundbreaking collaborations.”  I had to try one, at least, but justifying the rest would be a bit difficult, as this was good, maybe great, but certainly not elite level.

Rinkuškiai Fuggin’ Awesome

Rinkuškiai (Lithuania) Fuggin’ Awesome is a 16 ABV Euro Strong Lager.  Appearance is orange with no head and the nose straight up booze and bit of an unfortunate garbage skunk.  The palate is very boozy sweet malt and also has a bit of that unfortunate skunk.  It’s called a Euro Lager but it really drinks like a malt liquor.  All that being said it’s actually not the worst.  Having a whole bottle might be a bit of a chore but it’s worth trying and/or sharing as I did.  Fun for a novelty.

Great Lakes Hop Madness

Great Lakes Hop Madness is an 8 ABV 80 IBU ADIIPA and features warrior hops.  The nose and palate are a sweet malt and bitter, citrus, pine hop with some spice.  Mouthfeel is moderate and creamy.  The ABV and IBU is a sweet spot and the execution is within the quality you’d expect from Great Lakes.  It falls short of being memorable or exceptional but well worth picking up a 4-pack.

Ommegang Bend the Knee

Ommegang Bend the Knee is a 9 ABV Belgian Strong Pale Ale.  Appearance is orange with a huge head and the nose Belgian yeast and orchard fruit.  The flavor follows, Belgian yeast, honey sweet malt with notes of citrus and orchard fruits finishing dry and bitter and a bit spicy.  Mouthfeel is smooth and somewhat thick.  This is well within Ommegang’s wheelhouse, a spicy, flavorful Belgian with great depth of flavor.  And welcome back Game of Thrones!

Luponic Distortion 005

Luponic Distortion 005 AIPA is 5.9 ABV and 59 IBU and uses 5 “experimental hops.”  The appearance is orange amber and the nose a myriad of citrus hop.  The palate follows, sweet malt and a hop package that includes tropical citrus notes like lemon, guava, mango and pineapple.  Mouthfeel is moderate and creamy and shows great depth of flavor while still being super drinkable.  This is a great example of a lower level ABV/IBU beer that does not need to skimp on flavor.

Millhouse Brewing Cucumber Blessings

Millhouse Brewing Cucumber Blessings is a 5.2 ABV 17 IBU Cream Ale.  The appearance is pale straw and the nose sweet cucumber.  The flavor is very light malt with that sweet cucumber flavoring strong on the palate.  Mouthfeel is moderate and creamy and quite well carbonated, a nice contrast with the creaminess.  The cucumber is pleasant and lends nicely to beer form, yet I can’t see this being anymore than a novelty.  The Millhouse Brewpub is a nice spot in Poughkeepsie, NY and well worth visiting.

Keuka Afterburner Habanero Ale

Keuka Afterburner Habanero Ale is 4.2 ABV and 22 IBU.  Appearance is orange amber with little head and the nose lightly malty and a bit soapy.  The flavor is light malt and hop with those habanero peppers coming through on the finish emanating from the back of the tongue and spreading down the throat and the rest of the mouth.  The pepper isn’t vine fresh but nor is it artificial tasting.  The heat level is considerable but nowhere near something like Ghostface Killah, making this enjoyable but still something of a novelty beer.

Tröegs Nimble Giant

Tröegs Nimble Giant is a 9 ABV 69 IBU ADIIPA and uses Azacca, Mosaic, and Simcoe hops.  The nose is grapefruit hop and pithy rind.  The flavor is a sweet malt, citrus hop balance with notes of honey, and orchard fruit.  Mouthfeel is creamy and moderate and nicely carbonated.  Overall it has a higher sugar/sweetness level but it stays very nicely balanced, especially given the high alpha acid hop package.  These flavors all work together to lend a great taste and complexity, definitely one to get on every release.

 

Stone RuinTen 2017

Stone RuinTen 2017 is a 10.8 ABV 110 IBU “Triple” IPA, hops include Magnum, Citra & Centennial.  The appearance is orange amber and the nose citrus hop.  The flavor is that sweet malt and citrus hop but utterly dominated by vanilla bean, which doesn’t come across on the nose near as much as the taste.  Mouthfeel is a bit thick and creamy.  That vanilla bean is a particularly interesting note and reaches a strength just shy of being unpalatable and somehow dwarfs the hop presence that would otherwise be the star of this one.  Really interesting.

 

Great Divide Espresso Oak Aged Yeti

Great Divide Espresso Oak Aged Yeti is a 9.5 ADIS and pours virtually black.  The nose and palate are sweet, oaky vanilla malts, cocoa nib and espresso coffee.  Mouthfeel is creamy and sweet but still quite drinkable.  I’ve actually had this aging for over a year, enhancing those coffee notes even more.  Great Divide rarely disappoints, but that being said, it never seems to reach elite status either.  The aging perhaps made this a bit more memorable than it otherwise would have been.  However, it’s still big and delicious and easily recommended.