The rich, creamy taste of a beer infused with nitrogen is a special experience. But typically, the experience is limited to stouts. Samuel Adams Nitro Beers include a Coffee Stout, but also add a Nitro White Ale, and a Nitro IPA to the line as well. Each can has a nitrogen filled widget that activates when you pop the top, bringing a rush of velvety smooth beer to your glass. A new way to experience beer styles from a craft innovator.
The latest installment in Upslope Brewing's Lee Hill Series could very well be the best. Upslope Barrel Aged Milk Stout is an imperial stout brewed using premium malt and lactose sugar. It's then placed in Maryland-style rye whiskey barrels for seven months. The result is a rich, complex beer with notes of cocoa, vanilla, and cinnamon — elegantly packaged in slim, 19.2oz cans.
A preferred choice during the winter months, an English style Barleywine provides warmth and flavor to help ward off freezing temperatures. Mash from The Bruery not only fits that description, but was also aged in bourbon barrels to make is even more attractive. It's sweet but not cloying with flavors like dark fruits, caramel, vanilla, toasted coconut, and toffee. Overall, it's a big beer. And at 12.5% ABV, it's a warming nightcap that's sure to thaw the iciest of palates.
The Mad Scientists at Sixpoint are at it again with their latest offering Sixpoint C.R.E.A.M. The new release is brewed with a blend of pilsner and two-row pale and crystal malts. It's then stored cool and blended with cold-brewed coffee from the good folks at Stumptown Coffee Roasters. It's a blonde ale but exudes all the aromas you'd expect from a great cup of Joe. Packaged in the signature Sixpoint slim 12 oz. cans at 7.2% ABV.
One of the first new IPAs of the new year is here, and it comes from one of the most trusted breweries around. Azacca IPA from Founders Brewing is made using one hop strand, Azacca. The new, experimental hop was created by Roy Farms in Yakima and is named for the Hatian god of agriculture. It's full of tropical fruit aromas and flavors, with a lightly bitter finish. It might be the best way to try out this new hop strand, especially when it comes from such a dependable source.
You're familiar with the Angel's Share of whiskey that evaporates into the wood during aging. The same applies to beer that spends time in barrels like Lost Abbey Angel's Share Beer. Angel's Share is a Strong Ale brewed with a truckload of caramel malt that helps emphasize the vanilla and oak flavors that make barrel aging so popular. After a year in oak, Angel's Share is bottled at 12.5% ABV and is a sweet, smooth beer with incredible balance.
California is the headquarters of the best hoppy beer on the planet. That also happens to be the state that Stone Brewing and Sierra Nevada call home. And now, the two breweries have finally collaborated for Stone + Sierra Nevada NXS IPA. Making NXS involved brewing two batches of IPA. The first batch was split in half, with 50% being aged in gin-infused bourbon barrels and the other half aged in rye whiskey barrels. Batch number two was a fresh IPA, which was blended together with the first batch to make a hopped up IPA unlike any you've tried before. Leave it to two of the pioneers in craft beer to join forces and create yet another IPA we can't get enough of.
When it's time to hunker down during a snowstorm this winter, you'd be hard pressed to find a better beer companion than Hibernation Ale from Great Divide Brewing. A tradition since 1995, Hibernation is an 8.7% ABV English Style Old Ale that will warm you from the inside out. Each batch is aged for three months before it hits shelves to balance out the intense flavors. Available in cans for the first time this winter.
When it comes to the holidays and a cold beer, many of us got our first sip from dear old Dad. Rhinegeist Dad probably doesn't resemble that first beer much, because it tastes good. It's a Holiday Red Ale with a blend of hop spice, citrus, and some caramel malts. It's a great representation of Dad during the holidays, minus the terrible jokes.
Since you're already drinking leading up to Christmas, you might as well do it in style with the Liquid Advent Calendar from Taft's Ale House in Cincinnati, Ohio. The box holds 24 16 ounce cans of Liquid Advent beer, a chocolate brown Porter brewed with cinnamon, chilies, cacao nibs, and roasted cacao husks from Maverick Chocolate Company, also from Cincinnati. It tastes as great as it looks, and if nothing else, it's a solid excuse to tip one back each and every day of the month leading up to Christmas.
While many breweries celebrate a special anniversary with a special beer, Breckenridge Twenty Five is one of the best we've come across. Breckenridge took their delicious Vanilla Porter and amped it up to to an imperial version at 9.8%. Then they let it mingle in Barbados rum barrels along rare, fresh, vanilla beans from Veracruz in Mexico. We can't think of a better way to celebrate a Silver Anniversary.
On special occasions, Samuel Adams releases Utopias, a unique concoction that pushes the limits of what you think of as beer. It's brewed in pretty traditional ways, using two-row Caramel and Munich malts and Noble hops. Then things get crazy, as the fresh beer is blended with a variety of barrel-aged beers — including old stock from every previous Utopias release — before some maple syrup is added, and then the whole blended batch is finished in a variety of barrels. Included are barrels that once held cognac, Armagnac, ruby port, sweet Madeira, White Carcavelos wine, and Buffalo Trace Bourbon. It's uncarbonated and meant to be savored like a fine cognac or whiskey, and tips the scales at 28% ABV. Easily the most complex beer you'll ever get your hands on.
For years, fans of the fantastic Ten Fidy Stout from Oskar Blues Brewing begged the brewers to can a barrel-aged version of the beloved beer. Well, Barrel-Aged Ten Fidy is finally here, and it's as good as fans dreamed it would be. Packaged in these 19.2 oz "stovepipe" cans, it takes everything you love about Ten Fidy but bigger, bolder, and even boozier at 12.9% ABV. Previously only a draft release, these cans are still tough to find, but worth every sip if you get your hands on a few.
It's amazing what happens when a beer spends time in a barrel. And Helldorado from Firestone Walker is yet another testament to that. This Blonde Barley Wine was named after an inspirational trip to Tombstone, Arizona, and keeps the line of fantastic barrel aged beers in the Firestone Walker barrel program going strong. At 13.2% ABV, it's made with just one malt and El Dorado hops before aging in the barrels. The results are rich and sweet, with honey and vanilla flavors up front, and toasted malt on the back end.
If it feels early for holiday beers, it's really not, as most are released at the start of November. The best ones, like Our Special Ale from Anchor Brewing, are picked over by the time you're in the holiday spirit, but thankfully no such feelings are necessary to enjoy this time honored brew. The 41st installment of this classic comes once again with a beautiful hand drawn label, unique for 2015. And the beer itself is always a winner. This year's recipe has fewer spices than usual — a nod to earlier recipes when the hop flavors were more pronounced, making it another unique holiday gem that's more than worthy of some of your fridge space.
When it comes to pioneering craft breweries, the conversation usually begins with Bell's Brewing. And after 30 years of delivering some of the best beers we've tasted, their 30th Anniversary Ale is ready to help kick off the party. The beer itself is a 11% ABV Imperial Stout, and not unlike its cousin Expedition Stout, it's dark, rich, boozy, and packed with flavor. It's a stout that actually lives up to the anniversary it was made to celebrate, and worth trying to track down this winter.
Beer drinkers and wine drinkers don't always get along, but Farmer's Reserve Grand Cru from Almanac Beer provides a rare chance for them to play nice. This ode to aromatic white wines was brewed using California-grown Muscat Blanc grapes along with an 10.2% ABV version of Almanac's Farmer's Reserve sour blonde. It was then aged in French oak barrels for more than one year. The result is tart, flavorful, and quite unique, but only available in the state of California.
As most beer lovers are already aware, some of the best beers on the planet are being brewed by Hill Farmstead Brewery in North Greensboro, Vermont. And while the entire line is special, Arthur is a standout Saison. Brewed using American and European hops along with their unique farmhouse yeast, Arthur is naturally carbonated and unlike any farmhouse ale you've tried before. If you aren't local, Hill Farmstead beers like Arthur are incredibly difficult to obtain, but worth every single ounce of effort should you succeed.
Just when you think you've seen every fall seasonal beer, a new one comes along to redefine the category. That's the case with Stone 24 Carrot Golden Ale, a Belgian Golden Ale that somehow manages to taste like a delicious piece of carrot cake. It's the winner of this year's American Homebrewers Association competition, which gives one homebrewer the opportunity to brew on Stone's equipment and be bottled for the masses. Made using a unique blend of carrots, cinnamon, raisins, and vanilla beans, it might change the way you think about fall seasonals.
There's nothing wrong with tipping back a few hard ciders during the fall season, but if you'd rather stick with beer, Big Leaf Maple from Anchor Brewing is as festive as it gets. Inspired by a tree native to California, Big Leaf Maple is a balanced red ale brewed using two caramel malts, pale malts, three additions of Nelson Sauvin hops, and a hint of maple syrup. Available while the leaves are changing, but typically gone by the time they hit the ground.
It's hard to believe that Dogfish Head Brewing is celebrating 20 years of brewing, but the time has come and the celebration begins with Higher Math. The anniversary beer is like a liquid birthday cake, brewed with cocoa nibs and sour cherry juice on top of the golden ale base. It's a fitting party favor from the craft trailblazer, and is sure to get you in a celebratory mood quickly at 17% ABV.
You might be surprised to hear an IPA is the latest release from St. James's Gate and Guinness, but you shouldn't be. Guinness Nitro IPA shouldn't shock you if you recall that Guinness is already one of the best known beer brands on the planet, and just happened to revolutionize the industry with their plastic nitrogen widgets in the 1980s. Nitro IPA is brewed with Irish Malt in Dublin, using the same yeast strains common through the rest of the family and five hop varieties, none of which are overly bitter but instead provide a smooth and balanced mouthfeel and refreshing taste.
Even if you're burned out on pumpkin beers, Rumpkin from Avery Brewing is worth your time and attention. Avery took a gigantic pumpkin ale, brewed with roasted pumpkins from a farm in nearby Boulder, Colorado, and then added spiced nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger. They then aged it in fresh rum barrels to add an incredibly unique, sweet, and oaky flavor that you won't find in any run of the mill pumpkin beers. It also clocks in at 15-18% ABV, making it great for sharing or for your own personal fall festival.
Plenty of winners have come out of the Brooklyn Quarterly Experiment batches at Brooklyn Brewery, but their Intensified Coffee Porter might be the best one yet. Using coffee beans harvested in El Salvador that were then roasted by the good folks at Blue Bottle Coffee, Brooklyn created a system that worked as a giant French press to produce loads of cold brew coffee porter. As if that isn't enough to make your mouth water, the beer was also aged in Kentucky bourbon barrels, adding a sweet, boozy finish that tips the scales at 11.8%.
Although it might not be part of a balanced breakfast, Hefe Wheaties is sure to bring to mind the classic cereal. Brewed by Fulton Beer out of Minneapolis, this isn't some knockoff, but is a true partnership between the brewers and General Mills. The American wheat beer will be available in four-pack, 16oz cans for a limited time in the Twin Cities, and could see a wider release if enough people drink their Wheaties.
Before you probably cared about craft beer, Three Floyds Brewing in Munster, Indiana broke the mold with Alpha Kong. The Belgian style sextuple was first released 10 years ago, and this beast of a beer was not only gigantic and delicious, but it was almost as hard to get your hands on as King Kong himself. Back from the dead in 22oz bottles, the new release is your opportunity to get a taste of a craft beer pioneer.
Every year the most anticipated beer release gets a little better, and this year is no exception with the release of Rare Bourbon County Stout. The entire Bourbon County line is being upgraded to these new, great looking bottles, but only Rare was aged in barrels from Heaven Hill Distilleries that held bourbon for more than 30 years. Those barrels were filled with Bourbon County Stout and aged for 2 additional years before being bottled. As fantastic as the whole line of Bourbon County beers are, this one is a true standout worth hunting down.
It's cause for celebration when a brewery has been around as long as Great Divide has. And Great Divide 21st Anniversary Ale is not only an attempt to cheer on the brewery that helped lay the groundwork for many others in Colorado and beyond, but it's also the first sour ale they've ever bottled. It kicks off what should be a robust sour program and was aged for 9 months in wine barrels before bottling. The result is a tart, but approachable sour from a brewery that many continue to try and emulate.
The dog days of summer call for plenty of beer drinking, and if you're smart, you'll reach for a session IPA rather than something that will weigh you down or knock you out. Citra Sunshine Slacker is a one of the latest entrants into the increasingly crowded field of low ABV IPAs, but it has a few tricks up its sleeve to help it stand out. A collaboration with 7venth Sun Brewing, Citra Slacker keeps things light and easy at 4.5%, while providing loads of taste thanks in part to one of the most aromatic hops around, Citra. Grab a 4-pack of pints and sip the suffocating temperatures away.