Beer Reviews (116)

Explore ultimate darkness with bourbon barrel-aged stouts

It's been a tremendous month of dark beer, loyal readers. We've sipped sweet, milky, and salted caramel stouts. This week, we're going to explore the platonic ideal of dark beers: barrel-aged stout. What could be darker than that? Nothing, except perhaps if a Russian Imperial Stout was fermented in a black hole and served only to people wearing sunglasses at midnight. Absurdities aside, barrel-aged stouts are aged in wooden barrels for as long as several…

What's burning? Smoked beer from Maine

  It's been a pleasure sampling super dark beers, loyal reader. But my palate needs a break from the dark side, so I'm making a momentary detour into an uncommon style: smoked beers.   Long ago, most malts were dried with burning coal, wood, or peat, each of which imparted a unique smokey aroma to the beer. These days, maltsters use kilns to dry malt, which don't impart a smoked flavor. Smokiness is a choice,…

Coffee + Stout + Milk = Happy

Welcome to the dark side, loyal reader! Rather than push our collective glasses up the bridge of our collective noses and mutter about ABV, IBU and SRM*, we're going to appreciate the lighter, more fun aspects of darker beers. Dark beer is a blast — and tasting styles with unusual adjuncts is a great way to make that point. This week, we're going to sample stouts that include coffee and milk flavors. We've tasted coffee…

Serious Fun With Marshmallow Stout

  Stout has a reputation as a “serious,” weighty beer. Perhaps it's the dark color and heavy body of this style that lends it such a somber reputation? I've long argued that many stouts are more lighthearted than they appear. Take Guinness, for example. It has fewer calories per pint than many lighter-colored beers, and clocks in under 4% alcohol by volume. In an effort to shatter the stereotypes of serious, dour stouts, I'm dedicating…

Milk Stout Does a Body Good

Think about stout, loyal reader, and the mind conjures a bitter, black draft, with roasted flavors. Now imagine adding the sweet, creamy character of milk to the roasted, bitter experience of the stout. That's the essence of a milk stout, a novel style of beer that includes lactose, a sugar derived from dairy. Lactose can't be fermented, so it doesn't get turned into alcohol. Instead, it remains in the beer, adding a sweet, rich flavor.…

Get sweet, salty and buzzed on salted caramel beers

Happy 2017, loyal readers! I've just spent a month drinking Double IPA, a challenging, high-alcohol style of beer. It's a new year, and I'm in the mood to break out of my hoppy rut. There are few factors driving my decision. First, my palate is momentarily fatigued by hops. Second, during these dark days, I crave a style of beer that I can provide simple, sweet pleasures. So, I'm dedicating January to darker beers, primarily…

A Grab-Bag of Oddball Double IPA

This December, I've been marinating my liver in delightfully hoppy double IPA (DIPA). I've sipped 8 DIPA's from Maine, 3 from California and 3 from Vermont. What did it leave me with? 1 hangover, 3 hoppy belches, 4 great beer articles, and a whole pile of DIPA that didn't fit into a convenient regional category. This week, I'm selecting the standouts from oddball bin in my fridge and putting my DIPA binge to rest. In…

Tasting an epic style of beer: the Double IPA

This month, we're slugging down epic quantities of an epic style of beer: Double IPA (DIPA). This style of beer intensifies the characteristics of IPA — an already profound style of beer. This week, we're tasting DIPAs from Vermont. Why? Well, I recently found three excellent DIPAs from that state, and many successfully argue that the “East Coast” DIPA trend started in Vermont, with the introduction of The Alchemist's “Heady Topper.” This unfiltered, highly hopped…

2016: A Year For Great Beer

It was a grand year to be a beer writer, loyal reader. My 2016 was a series of blurry, drunken reveries. Based on eyewitness accounts from trusted friends and colleagues, I am confident in saying that I'm relatively certain I had a good time. I think. This week, I'll share some of my favorite Maine beers, as well as the memories I made with each one. Here's to a happy, healthy 2017, with many more…

Embracing Paradox with California DIPA

Double IPAs are strange beers. They're doubled versions of IPA's, an already brash and “loud” style of beer. DIPA's contain larger quantities of alcohol, hops, and malts than “regular” IPA, and these create unique flavors that suggest different drinking strategies to fully experience. 1. Drink it fresh! The ephemeral essential oils and acids that make hops so delicious are fragile and degrade rapidly even sealed in a can in the fridge. It's not wine – drink…
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