Stillwater Artisanal Cellar Door

Stillwater Artisanal Cellar Door is a 6.6 ABV Saison.  The appearance is pale orange and the nose spice and citrus.  The flavor has a bitter vegetal quality with a strong note of that sage and light touches of citrus.  Mouthfeel is smooth and clean and very pleasing to sip on, if a touch watery.  Not a homerun by any means but it’s easily recommendable.  Cellar Door is often attributed to Tolkien as being a most beautiful combination of words in the English language though this thought may have originated earlier in the 20th century.

Monkey Shoulder

Monkey Shoulder (80 proof) is a blended malt of Glenfiddich, Balvenie and Kininvie from William Grant.  The nose is malty vanilla and spice and the flavor oaky, vanilla, spice, and a hint of citrus.  Adding a drop of water softens it a bit and minimizes the harsher elements, especially as it warms.  That seems to be the best way to drink this, more ice would perhaps dull out some of the nuance.  At around $30 this is a great value and could easily have a place in any collection.

Deer, Bear & Moose

Deer, Bear & Moose 1996 (106.2 proof) is distilled by Glentauchers, Speyside, exclusively for Flaviar.    The nose is oaky, with dried fruit and spic, the flavor sweet, dominated by that oaky vanilla with notes of fruit and spice and leather.  Just a very slight touch of smokey ocean brine is detectable, peat is low to nonexistent, characteristics are well within what you’d expect from Speyside.  I was able to get one of these bottles by entering a chance to buy one from Flaviar, so who is to say how limited it really is.   Bottle #145

Stone Hail to the Hop Thief

Stone Hail to the Hop Thief is a 9.8 ABV 80 IBU ADIIPA and uses Magnum, Mosaic, Pekko and Hopsteiner Exp. 06300 hops.  Appearance is orange amber and the nose citrus, pine hop.  The flavor is the expected balance of sweet malt and pine, oily hop.  Mouthfeel, carbonation and texture are moderate and well within style.  Hop Thief is another A- ADIIPA that is indeed a pleasure to drink but does not reach an elite or memorable status.  No need to be overly critical with a good beer but Stone sets a high bar and another very good big west coast IPA is just redundant at this point.  Still recommended.

Half Acre Deep Space

Half Acre (Illinois) Deep Space is a 10 ABV ADIIPA.  Appearance is orange amber and the nose pine sap hop.  The flavor is a very sweet malt giving way to that piney, sap hop character.  Mouthfeel is moderate and a bit creamy.  Deep Space is very tasty but that alcohol shows itself in the finish just a tad too strongly, with total deference to the fact it is up at 10%.  Teeters between being an A- to B+ ADIIPA, a segment that’s clearly saturated with examples.  Wouldn’t mind the website having more info on hops, and ABV and all that, a small nitpick given there isn’t much else to say.



Dark Horse Bourbon Barrel Toonilla

Dark Horse Bourbon Barrel Toonilla is a 7.5 ABV milk / sweet stout and pours inky black.  The nose and palate are sweet vanilla malts and lactose rich with oak and notes of roasty chocolate and coffee.  Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy with a moderate carbonation.  For a barrel aged stout it’s light, not surprising given the alcohol level.  However, this does not diminish any complexity or depth of flavor.  Really nice, well worth trying.

Harviestoun Old Engine Oil

Harviestoun (Alva, Scotland) Old Engine Oil is a 6 ABV English Porter.  The appearance is virtually black with a roasty malt nose.  The flavor is deep and complex, with roasty char malts and notes of chocolate, coffee, toffee, molasses, and fruit.  Mouthfeel is smooth and drinkable and just carbonated enough with a serious depth of flavor for the relatively low alcohol level.  If you can find this it’s one that’s very much worth trying, classic.


Evil Twin Even More Jesus

Evil Twin Even More Jesus is a 12 ABV ADIS.  Appearance is inky black and the nose roasty malt and booze.  The flavor follows, roasty malts with notes of chocolate, coffee, and molasses with boozy dark fruit finishing bittersweet.  Mouthfeel is a bit viscous but remains quite drinkable with just enough carbonation.  The alcohol is warming and quite present, but shockingly hidden for being so high.  As it warms those sweet dark fruits only seem to enhance in flavor.  It’s big and delicious and one easily worth trying.  Will be aging a couple cans for future drinking.

Kings County Brewers Collective (KCBC) Hybrid Vigor

KCBC, Kings County Brewers Collective (Brooklyn, NY) Hybrid Vigor is an 8.5 ABV ADIIPA.  Appearance is bright orange amber and the nose a pine citrus. hop  The flavor is your basic but well balanced sweet malt and that citrusy pine hop.  Mouthfeel, carbonation, and texture are all moderate and pleasant.  Hybrid Vigor is solidly executed with a pleasing hop character and alcohol level, so even if it’s not particularly memorable it’s still quite enjoyable.