Quick Take: If you are expecting KBS with maple syrup, don’t. This is a boozy hot beer with a singular purpose of hitting the tongue with earthy sweet, syrupy malt and sugar. Although too decadent and young for me to really enjoy, I think some age would do wonders for it, it’s a beer rarely seen and one you should have if you get the chance. Just be sure to keep your expectations in check and you’ll probably find an enjoyable, but not mythically fantastic, beer that belongs next to the slew of other great Founders classics.
Quick Take: While initially disappointing, Abyss ultimately won me over as a subtle but layered exposé on the stout. It’s a beer that seemingly requires a high level of contemplation and analysis, which means the non-beer obsessed will likely admire it (or outright dismiss it) more than truly enjoy it. While I am thoroughly impressed by what Deschutes has crafted, I can’t say I would choose to drink this over other highly-rated stouts.
Brewery: Neshaminy Creek Brewing
Style: Imperial IPA
Cost: $4 (16oz)
Glassware: Tulip, Snifter, Teku
Availability: July – Dec. (July 2015)
Purchased@: Sabatini’s Pizza
Released: Late (Mid-October)
Quick Take: I love the toasty grain, the sweet resin pine and dry, bitter finish that Shape offers, but find the very mild but present skunky cannabis aspect a turn off. Regardless, PA/NJ drinkers have every right to be excited for what Neshimany Creek brewed, which has the toasted grain and orange juice qualities of higher profile New England style IPAs that are woefully underrepresented in the Keystone State. While this beer wasn’t a punch in the face awakening, it did take a swing at me and make me take notice of Neshaminy Creek as a brewer. A solid DIPA and one I think most bitter-is-better IPA drinkers will dig.
Quick Take: Nugget Nectar has always been a solid beer over the years and one that I’ve enjoyed whether from frequent growler fills or bottles. A great drinker that is a highlight of the Amber style, but not a hugely complex beer for featuring hops. Nugget Nectar is the beer to bridge the gap between a malty Amber ale and a citrusy IPA, making it an option for the IPA curious to start their journey to full hop head. Balanced and highly drinkable.
Brewery: Element Brewing
Style: Alt Oktoberfest
Cost: $11.49 (24oz)
Glassware: Pint or Mug
Temp: 45°F (280.35 Kelvin)
Purchased@: Westbrook Maine Bottle Shop
Quick Take: I’m not the biggest Alt fan, but do like a quality Oktoberfest, and this beer pulls in both directions (as you’d imagine). This is one for Alt fans close to the brewery or that have easy access to Element beers. For me, it’s not worth going out of my way to score one, but if I happen to be in Element’s neighborhood with a hankering for beer, I might pick it up.