- Published in Beer Reviews
Last week, we reviewed four low-alcohol beers that won’t give you a four-alarm hangover. This week, in honor of breaking New Year's resolutions and taking advantage of the tolerance you've built through the long holiday season, we're swinging the opposite direction to taste some big beers, with big flavor and big alcohol-by-volume to match.
In a 2006 Washington Post story, writer David Fahrenthold dubbed coffee brandy the “champagne of Maine," while comparing its flavor to “equal parts alcohol, sugar and coffee-pot slag.” Coffee brandy does have a coarse reputation in Maine, and a particular mix of cloying sweetness and fire when drank straight. Worse, the traditional means of consuming coffee brandy, either mixed half and half with milk, or chugged directly from a paper bag at a pit party, does this spirit few favors. But there’s no denying that this is Maine’s liquor of choice, and deep within this murky liquid there is a hidden elegance, an interplay of sweet and bitter, stimulant and depressant, that make it an ideal base for a decidedly grown-up cocktail. Here are a few of our favorites.
Christmas, Hanukkah and New Years Eve are a challenge to the dedicated beer drinker, because foods are bolder, richer and more unusual than any other time of the year. At any random holiday gathering, you’ll encounter gingerbread cookies, latkes redolent of onion and garlic, a clove-studded ham, turkey, and elderly relatives, blitzed on a combination of blood-pressure medication and eggnog, blurry inquiring if your job has something to do with “FacePlace.” These challenges are too profound for an ordinary summer-session lager.