Westbrook Brewing – Citrus Ninja Exchange Review

Citrus NinjaAll You Need to Know

Brewery: Westbrook Brewing
Style: Imperial IPA
ABV: 9.5%
Cost: ???? (12oz)
Glassware: Snifter, Tulip
Temp: 50°F
Availability: Limited
Purchased@: Beer Trade
Brew Date: Mid August
Drink Date: Mid October

Quick Take: This is one of the bigger disappointments I’ve come across after a pretty stellar run of beers. That isn’t to say it’s bad, it isn’t, but the heavy malt and lack of hops (and grapefruit actually) makes this simply a good beer. The lack of hop bite makes me a sad panda, but those that are only IPA curious may actually find a lot to like with the malt being the star of the show.

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Avery Brewing – 5 Monks (Bourbon-Aged Quad) Review

5 MonksAll You Need to Know

Brewery: Avery Brewing
Style: Quad
ABV: 19.4% (boom!)
Cost: $15 (12oz) (also boom)
Glassware: Snifter, Teku
Temp: 55°F
Availability: Limited (Once)
Purchased@: Friendly Greek

Quick Take: 5 Monks, while on the sweeter side, stops just short of cloying to be a sipping warmer with some malt depth that’s made just a touch deeper by the bourbon-aging. Avery is world class when it comes to big beers, so the fact that 5 Monks kills it shouldn’t come as a surprise. Awesome beer and one the dark malted Belgian and bourbon lovers should hunt down immediately.

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The Brew Kettle – White Rajah Review

White RajahAll You Need to Know

Brewery: The Brew Kettle
Style: IPA
ABV: 6.8%
Cost: ???? (12oz)
Glassware: Pint, Tulip
Temp: 50°F
Availability: Various Times
Purchased@: Beer Trade Extra

Quick Take: I view White Rajah as Hopslam’s less tropical cousin, but with ramped up bitterness and a stronger grain finish. It isn’t built to wow, but it has a lot of flavor for a non-imperial IPA. Good beer I’d get again if I saw it regularly, but I’m not loading up the car for a brewery trip just yet.

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Bell’s – Black Note Review (with comparisons to KBS)

Black NoteAll You Need to Know

Brewery: Bell’s Brewery
Style: Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout
ABV: 11.4%
Cost: ???? (12oz)
Glassware: Teku, Snifter
Temp: 55°F
Availability: Nanosecond in Jan, Feb or March
Purchased@: Beer Trade

Quick Take: You certainly don’t need me to tell you that Black Note is a fantastic beer (it is btw). It has a reputation that existed long before this blog and will for as long as Bell’s brews it. I love the combination of the typical dark, malty flavors with the tang of dark fruits that still gives you the mouth feel you want without being too sweet. It’s a top stout for me and one of the most well-balanced, layered bourbon beers I’ve had.

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Lititz Craft Beer Fest 2014

bannerYou may have heard of Lititz because of its coolest small town in America designation, earned in 2013 for its long running 4th of July celebration (197th annual), the oldest commercial pretzel bakery and the Wilbur chocolate factory among other things. I heard of it because I grew up here. I traveled and lived all over Pennsylvania, but found my way back.

I came to learn that the safe, boring small town of my youth was actually a charming place boasting an excellent BBQ and brewery in JoBoys, another brewery just blocks away in Appalachian and one of the top bars in the northeast in the Bulls Head Pub. Lititz has evolved into a city that celebrates the rustic and artisanal; a beer friendly town that appreciates craft beer as well as the people that brew, drink and serve it. Craft beer appreciators can now add another reason to toast this little town as Main Street became the backdrop for the first annual Lititz Craft Beer Fest.

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