When the weather starts to get cold and the leaves on the trees start to change from green to shades of orange, red and yellow, the humble pumpkin begins to take center stage. Pumpkin flavor, pumpkin spice and many other pumpkin-inspired flavors hit the market hard. Food, donuts, coffee and of course beer are all ways people get their pumpkin fix in the fall months. So if you are going to pass on the hoppy or malty offerings that fall seasonals also give you in favor of something a little more pumpkiny, look no further than Rogue Ale’s Pumpkin Patch Ale.
Rogue’s Pumpkin Patch is one of the best pumpkin beers available this year and that is saying something. The sheer volume of pumpkin offerings flooding the market right now is ridiculous. That being said, most pumpkin beer is terrible and most only have a hint of pumpkin even the most discriminating of palates can only barely detect. Rogue’s Pumpkin Patch is different. 6% ABV and about 25 IBUs, this is by no means hoppy, but it’s not overly malty as well. The beer pours well and is slightly dark orange, like a well aged pumpkin. Well carbonated, Pumpkin Patch has a nice balance of its malt character derived from its wheat malts and has a nice, but mild spiciness to it from the nutmeg, orange peel, cinnamon, cardamom and vanilla. The spices linger with you and almost tickle the back of your throat as you drink it making for a very pleasurable drinking experience. The beer also has a detectable pumpkin flavor which, when taken in combination with the maltiness and the spices, give you are subtle but enjoyable pumpkin pie flavor. Full on body but not thick, this beer is highly drinkable when you are looking for that pumpkin fix.
It’s that time of year again. The leaves are starting to change from bright greens to oranges and reds, the breeze is starting to take on a crisp edge to it and Pumpkin beer will begin to dominate the shelves. But if you’re like me, you could care less about Pumpkin-flavored anything. When the air starts getting cold, I want something with a high ABV (Alcohol By Volume) to keep me warm and a pumpkin is not going to cut it. Fall is the time for sweet and spicy. Hops can have the spring and summer but fall is the time for malt. When it comes to a roasted malty flavor, there’s nothing better than enjoying the deliciousness that is Langunitas’ Hairy Eyeball. Picture this: you’ve just finished raking the lawn and now you’re relaxing in front of crackling bonfire, family and friends gathering around you, as you see off the summer and welcome the fall. Hairy Eyeball is what you want in your hand.
If you’re looking for consistently high-quality beer, look no further than Langunitas out of Petaluma, CA. Checking in at 9.1% ABV, Langunitas describes Hairy Eyeball as being “roasty, toasty, malty” and just what you need once the temperatures start to dip. Available only in the fall months in 22oz bottles or “bombers,” if you can find this seasonal release, snatch it up while you can. Fans of hoppy beers won’t find much love here as this beer’s only 56 IBUs, but what it lacks in hoppiness, it makes up for in toasted malt sweetness.
So, while you’re sitting around that bonfire enjoying this hefty brew with your friends, you’ll want to enjoy it while it’s cold and refreshing right? Well I’ve found that the best way to keep my bombers cold is with a Bomber Jacket. Not only does this jacket keep my beers 50% colder, but it also insulates and protects it, Hairy Eyeball is 9% ABV after all. Plus, the Bomber Jacket has a convenient zipper for easy beer access. As the winter months approach you’ll need your jacket, your bomber should have one too!
There’s no doubt that the state of Colorado is brewing some of the finest beers in the country. With incredible breweries constantly popping up in Denver, Ft. Collins, Boulders, and elsewhere, it’s no surprise that this is home to powerful, mighty, 10.2%, Avery Maharaja, Imperial IPA.
If there was ever a beer that will sneak up from behind you, grab your senses and take you for an unexpected whirl, it would be this beer. While many imperial IPA’s can be incredibly difficult to balance out, usually as evidenced by the overabundance of hops, this is one of those monster beer that has found the perfect balance and kept the amazing drinkability.
With it being a hot summer day and the alcohol content being so high on this one, it is best to drop this guy into your favorite B-22 Bomber Jacket so that it will stay nice and cool while you slowly sip on this one. Upon pouring this one, you will see that it pours a very nice amber to deep bronze color, topped by a decent, white head at the top.
The aroma definitely jumps out at you immediately after pouring this one into a glass. There’s a heavy dosage of pungent pineapple that escapes right to the top and some heavy pine notes as well. Right off the bat, you can tell that this one is a whopper of a beer. It’s big and bold, already showing signs of taking no prisoners.
The taste is a bit of a surprise, in a very good way. I would expect it to be much boozier at 10.2%, but surprisingly, it barely come through. In fact, it’s almost shocking how well balanced and how easy this one is to drink. With each passing sip, you can taste a slight burning from the high alcohol, but it’s very discreet.
At the end of these glorious 22 ounces, it definitely hits you with a bit of a surprise when you finally stand up. This is one of those beers that should be consumed with slight caution…it definitely hides its powers deep in the depths of its complexity and balance. But do not fear The Maharaja. This king from Boulder, CO, is here to take you for a wonderful ride into craft beer euphoria.
Like an immediate firestorm, the summer has dropped heavily upon us, so you can gently put away the big, malty, coffee-drenched imperial stouts and porters and exchange them for something crisp, lighter, and refreshing. As warmer temperatures rise, my thirst for something that still has a nice hop profile, but provides the thirst quenching crispness increases. My choice on one of the very first days of the summer season is the Prima Pils from Victory Brewing Company. To keep this sucker nice and cold, I dropped it straight into my favorite Beer Bomber Koozie to ward off the penetrating rays and the brutal blast of the sun.
Did I say I was thirsty? Yes I did! I popped the top off of this native of Downington, PA, and didn’t even bother pouring this one into a glass. I know how it looks; kind of like many other pilsners. I’m sure it pours a nice, straw colored gold with some mild head retention and a nearly see through appearance. For this one, I’m more concerned about keeping it nice and cold and savoring the crispness of a good summer brew.
One thing is for sure…this one has the nice, mild hop presence that I really enjoy in a properly brewed pilsner. Some nice, pleasant floral and citrus aromas escaped from the top of the bottle, and snapped with some fairly decent carbonation. From the get-go, this one already had me excited to take my first sip.
The first sip was nice and cold, just as a pilsner should be consumed. The taste was very nice, with some minor sweetness, a tad of spicy bitterness, and the presence of traditional Germany yeast. Sometimes it is difficult to find a good pilsner that can match up with the masters from Europe, but the Prima Pils holds its own against some of the best. It’s light, it’s refreshing, and what do you know…it tastes like beer! It’s not watered down, it’s not flavorless…it’s lightly hopped, well balanced, and very easy to consume. Bring on the summer heat! As long as this bad-boy is wrapped up in this Beer Bomber Koozie, I might as well drink it slow and savor the taste of this one. Then after that, I just might go get me another!
There’s nothing like a monstrous 12.0% abv Imperial Stout to get you revved up and ready to go. The seasonal release of Evil Twin Brewing’s, ‘Liquid Double Fudge,’ is one of those monster beers with big, dark flavors that make this dessert in a bottle something worth remembering.
First thing you must do before consuming this sucker is to wrap it in a 22 oz bomber jacket to keep it at a good temperature. Even though it’s okay for a stout like this to warm up a bit, the thickness of this will make it a slow drinker, so be prepared. Upon cracking the top off of it and pouring it into a traditional pint glass, there was immediately some big, strong aromas of cocoa, chocolate syrup, and heavy dosages of caramel. The name itself summed up the smell of this beast perfectly. The pour on this thing was as dark as the midnight sky, like motor oil, and a nice dark brown head that rested undisturbed in the top of the glass.
After taking some deep whiffs of this brew, it was time to consume it. If it tasted as good as it smelled, I was in for a treat! Oh yes, just like the smell, I’m greeted by big and bold flavors that attack the time of the tongue with a frenzy. It’s low in carbonation but the heavy, dark and rich chocolate fudge flavors feels like a ton of bricks resting on the top of the tongue (in a very good way). There’s definitely a pretty heavy dose of alcohol, obviously from the 12%, but the darkness of the malts and richness do a solid job of not making it overbearing. That’s not to say that you won’t a fairly decent wallop of booziness that jumps out at you in the aftertaste.
Sitting back, sipping this brew slowly is the way to go. Its thickness and richness is like a huge satisfying piece of chocolate cake that makes you want to savor every single bit. This is a very solid beer from Evil Twins Brewing, so if you happen to run across this one, don’t hesitate to snatch up a bottle or two. Just look out, it could get downright evil on you, and knock you for a loop after mowing through a couple of them.
The great Northwest has some of the most pristine wilderness, raging rivers, unmatched beauty, and yes, some of the most fantastic beer in the country. Located in Eugene, Oregon is the home of Ninkasi Brewing Company; one of the breweries that seems to be popping up all over the place. I have tried several of the brews in the past, and have yet to be disappointed by any of their offerings. With that thought stirring in my head, I spotted the colorful bottle of “Maiden the Shade,” swooped it up and decided to give it a go.
This American Pale Ale is a great way to kick off a day of consumption, as it comes in at 6.8% abv, which makes it good to get the party started, but won’t knock you out flat before the party has shifted into high gear. Anyway, as beautiful as the bottle was, I knew that this would be a slower consumption, so I wrapped it in my favorite bomber jacket to keep it snug and cool and was ready to give it the almighty taste test. To get a good idea of the look of this sucker, I still poured it directly into a pint glass to get a better look at the color, clarity, and the makeup of the bubbles.
After a good solid pour, a nice two-finger head of foamy white sat atop of the medium golden color brew. It looked very nice in the bottle, and upon first whiff of this stuff, there’s definitely that strong pungent grapefruit aroma that is so prevalent in so many west coast IPA’s. It smelled nice and balanced, which was a nice change from some of the hop-bombs that come out of some of the western states.
Tasting it is where you really get a good amount of the citrusy, piney hop flavors. The earthy hops of this brew blends so well with the biscuit type of malts that leaves a nice lingering bitterness on the back of the tongue. As the foam head subsided, the lacing covered the glass, and the aromas continued escaping from the top of the glass. As I sat there on a warm, spring-day, I couldn’t help but think that this is a really fantastic beer for this type of weather. As the days get longer, the sun begins to burn a bit brighter and a bit warmer, this very consumable beer is big enough that you can tie one on after a few, but not such a beast that you’ll be done by nightfall. I say wrap this sucker in your bottle bomb to keep it cool, sip slowly and enjoy the warming of the seasons. Next time you’re out an about and see this colorful bottle staring back at you, it may be a good idea to grab a couple. A bit of “Maiden the Shade” on a warm, spring or summer day? Yes, please!
If there’s a beer that’s going to jump up, grab a hold of you and not want to let go, it’s the Nelson from Alpine Beer Company. This 7.0%abv rye IPA from Alpine, CA, is one of those beers that’s almost delicious beyond belief. For a long time, it was a mysterious beer that was tucked away into the hills outside of San Diego like some type of mystical creature. With the brewery being so small, it was difficult to get your hands on this stuff, but thanks to a recent partnership with Green Flashing Brewing, Nelson, along with a string of other Alpine beers are more widely distributed in beautiful, 22 oz bottles. Whether it’s Nelson or one of the others, be sure to pick up a couple of bottles, wrap it in your favorite bottle bomber and go to town on these delectable brews.
Let’s go ahead and begin with the aroma on this one. Immediately upon cracking the top, there’s big New Zealand, Nelson Sauvin hop aromas that immediately fly out of the top of the bottle. With a good pour into the glass, you will immediately get smacked right in the face with some up front pineapple, grapefruit and tropical fruit smells from the hops. I love the Nelson hops, and the way they are featured in this brew is tough to match. Simply delicious.
The pour is not what you would really expect in a traditional IPA. It’s got a bit of a cloudiness or a haze throughout. The color is a peach, and oh my goodness, those hops continue to attack the senses. By this time I’ve just about had it, so it’s time to dive into this beauty.
The first though I have upon consumption is that the rye comes through beautifully to blend well with the New Zealand hops. It gives it a bit of a nutty flavor with strong notes of the tropical fruits, perhaps a bit of pine, an overall just a fantastically balanced brew. The flavor is big and bold, but far from being overpowered and bitter. Alpine Beer Company just has a way of churning out some fantastically delicious brews, and this is without question no exception to that rule.
As Green Flash continues to expand their production and expand to new locations along the East Coast, the country and world will be seeing a lot more of Alpine and the Nelson. This mythical creature has spread its wings and is now taking fight throughout the county. As soon as you see this sucker on the shelves, grab at least a couple, allow it to get nice and cozy in your classiest bomber koozie and take this hazy New Zealander from San Diego for a whirl. Trust us, you will not regret this one!
Hola! Green Flash Brewing Company! You have really done it this time with your Dia De Los Serranos brew. Released in February 2016 as a year-round beer, the brewers over at the San Diego-based brewery have added a little bit of spice to the lineup of delectable beers. This American Stout that comes in at 8.8% abv has the perfect blend of roasted malts, minor chocolate notes, and a beautiful mild chile backdrop. We recommend wrapping this mildly-spicy beverage in your favorite 22oz Bomber Jacket, slapping some barbecue onto the grill and pairing them together for the perfect combination.
The day of the Serranos! The name already had me chomping at the bit to break this bad boy open to see what it’s all about. Beers containing chile peppers can be hit and miss, so I kept my excitement at the bare minimum. However, immediately upon cracking the bottle top, some strong roasted notes and mild carbonation escaped from the top. Immediately I grabbed my favorite pint glass to get a good look at what this guy was all about. A nice hard pour left dark as night brew with a mocha-colored, thick milkshake type of head to it. It poured beautifully, and the aromas were already popping out at me. I could smell the serrano peppers hiding gently behind a nice layer of roasted malt, dark chocolate and some smoky characteristics. So far, everything was muy Bueno!
The taste was much more than I was expecting, and I was pleasantly surprised that the peppers were not overwhelming. The heavier roasted malts do a nice job of balancing out the heat, but are present enough to still be noticeable on the back of the tongue. Much like the aroma, a nice dose of smokiness and roasted malts greeted the palate, and finished with a big, dry finish. Surprisingly, for this brew nearly pushing 9%abv, the alcohol is very well hidden, and is much easier to toss back than expected. What can I say? This beer had me ready to scarf down some carnitas on the side or pair it with some good, smoked meat.
Green Flash has consistently put our some very good beers for some time now, and sometimes beers like this can fall on their face, if not careful. However, they kept the peppers at a mild level, which can be difficult to do because of the varying degrees of heat and spice that is found from one batch to the next. We recommend that you snatch up a few of these bottles, fire up the charcoal or wood-burning grill, and show off your favorite beer bomber koozie that reduces warming rate by 50% so that you can enjoy this spicy beauty until the last drop, and get to drinking! Taste La Dulce Vida!
There’s a reason that Alesmith Brewing Company continues to stand near the top of the almighty beer mountain in San Diego. Their selection of beers may not be in the dozens like other breweries, but the brews that they do put out are always stellar, well executed, and without question, world class. This includes their no frills, perfectly balanced IPA. It’s so good, and so perfect that it doesn’t even require a catchy name, or some fancy packaging. It’s simply Alesmith IPA.
Cracking open a 22oz bottle of this stuff is always a major treat. Whether you are sitting in a dark, tavern-like bar, or have it wrapped up and ready to rock and roll in a beer bomber koozie, having this brew is always a treat. Immediately upon cracking it open, you will get some nice grapefruit aromas escaping from the top of the bottle. The smell hits even harder once being poured straight into a glass. There’s more grapefruit, but not a big time hop bomb like many IPA’s.
The color is a beautiful burnt orange and honey-like, and after a nice hard pour, there is a pretty decent sized white head that lasts for quite some time. Sitting in the glass, it’s truly a thing of beauty. It’s your typical West Coast IPA, and it’s been brewed to near perfection. After staring it down for a moment or two, just admiring the beauty of this masterful beverage, it was time to say hello.
The taste is everything you would expect in a traditional West Coast IPA. There’s some nice piney notes that come through, the pineapple or some other type of citrus dances on the tongue, and the light bready malt balances it all out perfectly. There’s no doubt about it, that this brew right here is a classic and a must try for anyone and everyone. Yes, you might have some other IPA’s that a big, bold, loaded with hops and pack a major punch. However, Alesmith IPA is the type of IPA that just seems to exude this incredibly sense of confidence. It’s as if the brewers took note of older brewing traditions that did not require any types of gimmicks. This is just a clean, although a little bit hazy, well-balanced beer that continues to be one of the flag ship beers by one of the very best breweries in San Diego (and the country for that matter).
At 7.25% abv, this is the perfect beer to take on a trip, to a party, or to a pre sporting event tailgate. Wrap it up nice and cozy in a hop-covered Bomber Jacket, kick back and enjoy a beer that does not have to try very hard to be world-class. Thank you, Alesmith! Your IPA might not be a monster imperial with eight different hops, but this is what makes you a classic.
Portland, Oregon continues to rise to the top of the beer geekdom world, as places like Hopworks continues to turn out one good beer after another. As we settle in on winter, the lighter beers have drifted off into old hangovers, and have been replaced by thicker, darker, more aggressive stouts like the Organic Motherland Russian Imperial Stout. This seasonal brew is quite the beast at 9.8% abv, so sit down, relax, and prepare to drink this dark, roasted monster.
Hopworks has pretty much run the gauntlet in different types of styles and tastes, and this winter they have released a solid, Russian Imperial Stout. The Motherland is part of a revolving series of imperial ales that are released throughout the year. They’re not meant for the chug and fall down type-of-a-crowd, but are better meant for the slow-sipping, sniff and smell type of connoisseurs.
A nice pour into a pint glass delivers a dark color, not quite the ‘black as a Siberian winter’ as mentioned on the brewery website, but more-so a dark, intense cola color. A one finger tan head fills the upper part of the glass, but dissipates somewhat quickly. It’s a nice looking beer, and from a foot away, it’s easy to smell the loads of cocoa, some anise, and dark chocolates. It’s a solid looking beer, and it’s now time for consumption.
The taste is a bit unexpected, after initially smelling the chocolate and cocoa. As the liquid bounces across my taste buds, I’m greeted with more of a roasted barley, some nice toffee notes, and a generous dose of alcohol, thanks to that aggressive 9.8% abv. It delivers a nice warm feeling in the gut, as the booze flows around and swishes throughout my insides. It makes me want to put on a nice warm hat, some thick winter clothing, grab another bottle of the Motherland, and wrap this bad boy up in my favorite 22oz bomber jacket and take a seat by a raging fire. This is a cold weather beer, no doubt about. You won’t be sipping this guy at your next raging pool party, or kick back barbecue with the in-laws. Nope. This beast is meant for the winter months, so seek it out because it won’t be long before this one is off the shelves and the next in the series of imperial ales shows up.
Overall, the Organic Mother Land Russian Imperial Stout was a solid beer. Does it stand up against some of the world-class stouts of the world? Probably not, but that would not stop me from grabbing a few of the 22oz’ers and knocking back a couple (slowly of course, because as mentioned, this is not a chug-a-lug-lug type of beverage). This is for those looking for something big, bold, and something that will provide a nice punch of alcohol to fire up the evening. Nostrovia!