Let's take a break from the series of cards that I won from Baseball Card Breakdown and check out some of the beers that we tasted and reviewed over the weekend.
This was the beer that led off the night...
Pumpkin flavored beers can go either way, with too many brands out there sprinkling in some "pumpkin flavoring" on top of their regular brew and thinking that's enough.
Shipyard's pumpkin ale sets the standard for how to do it right. Rich pumpkin pie spices join with warm alcohol flavor to deliver a great holiday beer. 9% ABV Highly recommended.
From Irvine, CA comes Bayhawk Ales' chocolate porter.
Aside - One big move we made this month was to identify beers that actually benefit from being served at a tad warmer temp. It's easy to start the party - or in this case, the poker game, with all of the beers keeping frosty in the ice chest. However, lots of winter warmer beers actually release more complex flavors when served cool as opposed to ice cold. This porter is one of those.
This beer has very rich flavors with surprising sour notes up front. The chocolate hangs around as a delicate and smooth aftertaste. 7.9 ABV
Next up is one of the favorites of the night...
Bart is aged in oak barrels to instill extra deep flavoring, and Laker Dave aged this one at home for an extra seven months before we popped it open.
This is another beer that will benefit from being served a little warmer and letting it sit a bit in your taster glass. This beer had the richest flavors of the night, and darn if it doesn't taste a bit like a finely aged bourbon, with a touch of honey. An absolutely remarkable beer, which is a perfect match with a cigar. 12% ABV Highly recommended.
By this point of the night, the November chill was kicking in, and we started a fire...
Jumping across the lake, we tried a couple of beers from Samuel Smith, a brewer over in jolly old England. This Tadcaster scores 100 on the Beer Advocate. I say - BAH! Several of us agreed this beer is strictly pedestrian. Next!
Now THIS is a good beer from England. Absolutely smoooooth on the chocolate, with winter warming alcohol notes on the end. If your old lady doesn't like beer, this just may be one she'll like. And...it's USDA organic! 5% ABV
From Alesmith we get a Halloween (?) beer, Evil Dead Red ale. This must be the evil brother of an IPA because this red ale has big hop and citrus flavors. This one is very good. Serve cold, just like a summer beer. ABV? 6.66%, of course. Highly recommended.
Next up is Dark Seas, a Russian Imperial Stout, from Mission Brewery. This was a very interesting beer. Full bodied, with lots of flavors going on that get your taste buds firing on all cylinders with every taste. I wouldn't pair this one with any foods, as it really deserves to be enjoyed all by itself. 9.8% ABV
Of course, it wasn't all beer tasting - we played poker that night as well...
Thanks for reading, and don't forget to comment.