21st Amendment Brewery – Back In Black – The picture doesn’t do justice to yet another quality beer can label that 21st Amendment uses. For some reason I chose to feature the label instead of the art. This black IPA is more than just the fancy graphics on the outside. It was brought to my attention by my lady’s sister, whose hand is also in the picture, because of her love of the style. It gets the black color from dark malts which enters the taste equation more than an regular IPA. It may have also led to a thickness that was reminiscent of a porter. The hops are still front and center though. It is noticeable with the 6.8% ABV. This beverage is out of San Francisco CA and can be found in these locations. Enjoy it if you can.
Avery Brewing Company – White Rascal – Anything other than an IPA recently has seemed out of the norm. This beer is a unfiltered wheat, aka white, beer. The difference in naming is basically a geographic change from Germany to Belgium. Because it is unfiltered, you will get some yeast at the bottom of your glass after drinking this fine beverage. The cloudy white ale has a tinge of orange because there is orange peel in this brew that comes in the flavor. Also present in it is coriander which is a go to spice for wheat beers and compliments the citrus. This beer is only 5.6% ABV so you can enjoy this one over a longer time frame. Avery emanates from Boulder, CO and can be sipped at these locations. If you like wheat beers, this one will tickle your taste buds.
Great Lakes Brewing Company – Christmas Ale – This beer fulfills my promise to cover a Christmas or Winter beer for the month. Yeah! I did drink this one a while ago though before a Bluejackets game. This beer gets a lot of play around here and has for a while. I went to a friend’s bachelor party almost four years ago and his brother-in-law had saved a six pack of it for him until June. I think that’s an extreme reaction to this beer. I enjoy it but I don’t think it needs to be saved for six months. It has a nice maltiness which I enjoy. Like some similar beers, they use honey which sweetens it too much for me and is where this beer goes wrong for me. The ginger and cinnamon make an appearance in just the right doses. Christmas Ale also provides just the right amount of ABV at 7.5% to help you forget about the terrible sweater your aunt just gave you for Christmas. If your memory doesn’t serve you, this company is out Cleveland, OH and distributes to these places. The season is almost over so if you’re one of those types that’s going to hoard this beer, I suggest going out and purchasing it with a quickness.
Harpoon Brewery – Harpoon I.P.A. – I thought I remembered this beer from when I was at Kent State. I could be correct since it got started in 1993 but I doubt it. It is still one of the earlier IPAs I remember trying and disliking. I think it may have been because I had never had a beer heavy with hops in it. Now that I’m getting into IPAs, I dislike it for a different reason. This one just seemed too tame to me in the hops department. At 5.9% ABV, that would seem to confirm my suspicions. Since there isn’t much malt, there isn’t a back up flavor to it. Harpoon doesn’t feature the yeast either. Which is unfortunately their stated goal for this New England style IPA. They wanted a well balanced triumvirate of flavors that none dominate. To me, that makes for a bland beer. You’ve got to lean to one of those three sides to highlight what else in the flavor profile. This beer comes out of Boston, MA and can be found pretty much anywhere in this fine country.
No fun links for this week but I will give everyone a heads up that I have rounded up a fine set of drinkers and their top five favorite beers of this past year. For the ladies, my woman is even throwing in her top five cider beers if you don’t like the traditional brews. Now go out and enjoy UFC 168 with a tasty #SippyTimeBeer in front of you. – Kevin