Ah, time again for my monthly beer report. This time we have some spicy holiday goodness...kinda. One astounding and creative brew that nearly transcends the word 'beer', and some others that turn in respectable tastes. Again, the scale goes a little like this: 5 = masterful, 4 = exceptional, 3 = average, 2 = borderline waste of money, 1 = abomination.
DOGFISH HEAD - Theobroma (Delaware, USA) - 5
Unusual scent - like something almost medieval. And alas! This is based on a recipe found at ruins in Honduras, and reputedly the earliest use of cocoa in an alcoholic beverage - used to celebrate those ancient 'good times', perhaps? Anyhow, history aside, 'Theobroma' has a very strong, hearty, smooth, and up-front sweet taste (the cocoa and honey come through), with a tinge of spice (annatto?). Then the lingering flavor is kind of spicy (chilies are used here, too). There's a prominent alcoholic suggestion (this one is strong at 9%). One of the most unusual and delightful brews I've had in some time.
REDHOOK - ESB Original Ale (New Hampshire, USA) - 3
Strong and hearty, and a light golden ale - kinda sweet and malty but not overbearingly so. Easygoing and simple, with nothing flashy or unusual. Enjoyable enough, but not something all that unique or notable.
GOOSE ISLAND- Mild Winter (Chicago, USA) - 3
A nice amber ale with a mild amount of spice and hoppiness, nicely balancing the two in harmony/tandem. A well-done brew.
ATLANTIC BREWING CO. - Mount Desert Island Ginger (Bar Harbor/Portland ME, USA) - 2
The first striking feature is the cloudy golden appearance and spicy/fruity scent. Initial taste heralds an instant snap of ginger, but it's not overpowering. In fact, this is more like a ginger ale (hahah!), easy on the palate and stomach. However, maybe a little too sweet for my taste.