95 Stone BELGO Anise Imperial Russian Stout, Stone Brewing Co. (CA). 10.5% ABV (9/11)
Opaque brown black color. Bright aromas of licorice candy and spiced nuts with a supple, rich, fruity full body and a grilled baguette, roasted root vegetable, cinnamon and pepper spice -accented finish. Lay this one down for a year.
93 Samuel Adams Utopias, The Boston Beer Co. (MA) 2009. 27.5% ABV (9/10)
Deep reddish mahogany color with no carbonation. Complex aromas of sautéed almonds, maple, sherry, figs, orange marmalade and fancy chocolate. Syrupy and satiny smooth with a fruity-yet-dry full body. Long, pepper, oak, and earth -accented finish. A great after-dinner “beer” that defies categorization. (Or try on pancakes!)
93 Ginger Beer, Buckman Village Brewery (OR). 5% ABV (8/11)
Hazy copper color. Subtle aromas of toast and candied and fresh ginger with a crisp, frothy dryish medium body and a tangy dried citrus, toasted nut, radish sprout and roasted root vegetable -accented finish. Nice vibrancy and balance makes this a pleasure to drink, not a challenge.
93 Cuvée Rogé, Marin Brewing Co. (CA). 6% ABV (8/11)
Hazy yellow gold color. Vibrant aromas of sourdough, kumquats and cider vinegar with a zesty, tart medium body and a long, tangy nut toast, kiwi and gooseberry vinaigrette -accented finish. A deliciously sour, super table friendly beer reminiscent of Gueuze lambic.
92 Jason Fields & Kevin Sheppard / Tröegs / Stone Cherry Chocolate Stout, Stone Brewing Co. (CA). 7.3% ABV (9/11)
Opaque brown black color with a saffron rim. Aromas of melted dark chocolate, dried berries, and light chipotle pepper with a supple fruity-yet-dry medium-to-full body with frosted cherry danish and peppery radicchio and rosemary honey accents on the finish. Rich and satisfying.
92 Baird /Ishii /Stone Japanese Green Tea IPA, Stone Brewing Co. (CA). 9.2% ABV (9/11)
Hazy amber color. Bold grassy, pine and citrusy hop and radicchio aromas with a hint of honeyed jasmine tea with a rich, chewy dryish full body and a long, pointed hop blast of grapefruit, straw and tea leaves on the astringent finish. This earthy IPA begs for spicy curry or strong cheeses.
92 Crank Tank Rye’d Ale, Sweetwater Brewing Co. (GA). 6.5% ABV (8/11)
Bright amber color. Bold grapefruit, spicy custard and egg bread aromas with a supple dry-yet-fruity medium body and a fruity date, melon, cream cheese and roasted root vegetable finish with snappy lettuce greens hops. A nice balance of fruity and savory notes make this a must–have for food.
92 Bittersweet Lenny’s R.I.P.A., Shmaltz Brewing Co. (NY). 10% ABV (9/11)
Deep copper color. Bright dimensional aromas of wet rye, bread dough,a and Demerara sugar with a big, chewy, dry-yet-fruity full body and a peppery, spice rye toast and grapefruit like hop flourish. Big and bold for hopheads; try with food.
90 Ginger Beer, Granville Island Brewing Co. (Canada) 2010 Limited Release. 5% ABV (9/10)
Bright golden color. Bold ginger and lemongrass aromas and flavors. Crisp and zesty with a dryish medium body. Toasted raisin bread and citrusy hops emerge on the finish. Nicely balanced and intense ginger flavor that doesn’t knock you out.
90 Morimoto Black Obi Soba Ale, Rogue Ales (OR). 5% ABV (9/11)
Dark brown color. Aromas of dark roasted nut brittle, clay and buckwheat blinisbuckwheat blini is redundant with a supple, dryish medium-to-full body and a roasted cereal, jicama, coffee bean and peppered bib lettuce like hops. A nice porterlike beer for the table.
90 Chipotle Ale, Rogue Ales (OR). 5% ABV (8/11)
Brilliant amber color. Vibrant chipotle and pepper bread aromas with a supple, frothy, dryish medium body and a crisp, grilled root vegetable and chipotle mango salsa -accented finish. Very flavorful and balanced for spicy drinking pleasure; a must try for spicy Mexican food.
90 Grand Cru, North Coast Brewing Co. (CA). 12.9% ABV (9/11)
Bright pale amber color. Robust aromas of pineapple gelato and cake and orange blossom honey with a zesty, fruity-yet-dry medium body and a long, mouthwatering pineapple, yeasty Hawaiian bread toast, spicy ketchup and peppery radish finish. Delicious and refreshing.
90 Samuel Adams Utopias, The Boston Beer Co. (MA) 2011. 27% ABV (9/11)
Deep mahogany brown color. Aromas and flavors of dark roasted chestnuts and black walnuts, Sherry, clay, marinated mushrooms and white pepper with a syrupy, dryish medium-full body and a tangy dusty, dried apricot, vanilla, onion soup, green peppercorn and cider vinegar -accented finish. A bit young, angular and unresolved. Give this time.
90 Samuel Adams Revolutionary Rye, The Boston Beer Co. (MA). 5.5% ABV (8/11)
Bright copper color. Aromas of raisin-fig rye toast, grilled citrus and roasted nuts with a crisp, velvety dryish medium body and a roasted root vegetable, frittata and grassy, peppery hop finish. Excellent style and balance.
89 Ginger My Tart, Grumpy Troll Brewery (WI). (9/09)
Hazy amber orange color. Aromas of sour yeast, bruised citrus and shaved ginger peel follow through on a round, supple entry to a tart, dry medium-to-full body with sour green apple notes and a tangy, mouthwatering fade. A nicely balanced sour beer with a refreshing hint of ginger. Pair with spicy General Tso chicken.
89 Fraoch Heather Ale, Williams Bros. Brewing Co. (Scotland). 5% ABV (3/10)
Pretty old gold color. Aromas of floral white tea, crystallized ginger and honeyed Hawaiian bread follow through on a round, soft entry to a dry-yet-fruity medium body with a nice creamy nectarine soufflé note. Finishes with a tangy, vanilla cream, spice cake and honeyed ginger -accented fade. Very tasty and exotic; Try with Vietnamese food.
89 Morocco Ale, Daleside Brewery (England). 5.5% ABV (3/10)
Beautiful reddish mahogany color. Exotic curry–spiced nuts, dried papaya, and ginger and nutmeg–seed aromas follow through on a round, silky entry to a dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body with brown sugar, lemongrass and coriander notes. Finishes with a long, umamido readers know this word?–dominated matcha green tea, soybean, and ginger fade. Exotic and tasty.
89 Chamomellow Ale, Buckman Village Brewery (OR). 6.4% ABV (8/11)
Cloudy golden amber color. Delicate aromas of honeyed chamomile tea and dried peach with a soft dry-yet-fruity medium body and a lightly crisp, toasty and grassy hop finish with perfumed dried flower notes lingering. Very pleasant and nicely balanced.
89 Estrella Damm Inedit, Damm S.A. Brewery (Spain). 4.8% ABV (9/11)
Golden color. Aromas of toasty bread pudding, coriander and dried orange peel with a supple, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a tangy, nectarine pudding, starfruit and grassy hop accent on the finish. A nicely refreshing, witlike beer.
88 Rye Bob, Grumpy Troll Brewery (WI). 5.4% ABV (3/10)
Bright copper color. Mild aromas of raisin bread toast, dried cherry and rye flour follow through on a round, satiny entry to a dryish medium body with good depth and creamy, seamless balance. Finishes with a long dried citrus and earth -accented fade. Very nice.
88 Alpentraum, Vintage Brewing Co. (WI). 7.3% ABV (9/10)
Murky copper brown color. Aromas of banana bread, spicy fruity caramel and smoked nuts. Plush and frothy with a fruity-yet-dry medium-to-full body. Cherry compote, craisin and peppery spices bubble throughout the citrus and grass -accented finish. Very nicely done.
87 Rye Bob, Grumpy Troll Brewery (WI). 5.4% ABV (3/10)
Bright copper color. Mild aromas of raisin bread toast, dried cherry, and rye flour follow through on a round, satiny entry to a dryish medium body with good depth and creamy, seamless balance. Finishes with a long dried citrus and earth -accented fade. Very nice.
87 Miss Spelt, Deschutes Brewery (OR). 5% ABV (9/10)
Lightly hazy amber orange color. Aromas of honey toasted multigrain bread, apricot jam and candied orange zest. Soft and supple with a dry-yet-fruity medium body. Apple butter, wafer and grassy earth notes dance on the finish.
87 Joulupukki Sahti, Vintage Brewing Co. (WI). 7.7% ABV (1/11)
Deep amber color. Lively aromas of anise, caramel, banana cake, and sloe gin with a thick frothy dry-yet-fruity medium body and a ginger wafer, orange pulp and spicy baked–apple finish. A clean, nicely balanced sahti that will be best with spicy Thai curries such as panang.
86 Tea Beer, Buckman Village Brewery (OR). 5% ABV (8/11)
Minutely hazy bright amber color. Interesting aromas and flavors of roasted parsnip, bagel and honeyed orange pekoe and white teas with a supple, dryish light-to-medium body and wafer, straw and white nut -accented finish.
84 Rye of the Tiger, Vintage Brewing Co. (WI). 6.5% ABV (9/10)
Brilliant deep amber color. Spicy pancake batter, maple syrup and pomegranate jam aromas. Round and finely frothy with a dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body. Sourdough toast, citrus yogurt, soap, rye flour and wheatgrass notes permeate on the finish. Different.
84 Morimoto Soba Ale, Rogue Ales (OR). 5% ABV (9/11)
Deep old gold color. Lightly smoky aromas of honeyed dried apricot, omelet and pistachio nougat with a crisp, frothy dryish medium-to-full body and a touch of stewed okra and cabbage on the grassy, peppery hop finish. Nice astringency and earthiness; needs food.
84 Kombeercha, Willimantic Brewing Co. (CT). 3.3% ABV (8/11)
Murky golden white gray color. Aromas of white wine vinegar, wet sourdough and lemon rind with a tangy dryish medium-to-full body and a piquant sour gooseberry, water chestnut, lime peel and wet stone finish. Interesting, for daredevil maltsters, foodies and marinaders.
81 Lemon Radler, Stiegl Columbus (Austria). 2.5% ABV (9/09)
Pale golden yellow color. Bright aromas of lemon grapefruit soda (Squirt) and a hint of dough follow through on a round, buoyant entry to a fruity light body with lime starfruit candy and toast notes. Finishes with a lingering, drying, bitter children’s aspirin fade.