Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Mid-Winter Craft Beer Rundown

It's time once more for my semi-monthly beer review rundown. Keep in mind that the ratings system goes from 1-5, with 1 being absolute piss to 5 being ambrosia. Any beer rating around a 3 or so is worth a taste. Give these craft beers a try, and you may be surprised to find a new favorite. Support your local breweries, and drink good beer, not corporate swill! On we go...

Goose Island - Mild Winter (Chicago, IL) - 3.5

This rich rye ale pours with a rush of bubbles and impressive lacing on the glass. I get aromas of fruit and yeast, which certainly isn't bad. The flavor is strong, with hints of dark, candied fruits and, again, yeastiness. Goose Island seldom disappoints, and their Mild Winter is a winner, indeed.

Barley Island - Brass Knuckles Oatmeal Stout (Noblesville, IN) - 4.0

A semi-local brew here, and a righteously fine one it is, too. This deep, impenetrably black stout pours with a nice head and solid lace on the glass. Aroma and taste summon notes of coffee and cocoa. Well-done! It's a smooth, even creamy drink, with a nicely burnt malt finish. Very enjoyable, and a brew perfectly exemplary of the style. Bravo, Barley Island!

Anheiser-Busch - Wild Blue Blueberry Lager (St.Louis, MO) - 1.0

First, if you're looking for an alcoholic grape soda, search no longer. this funky purple-blue brew smells of berries and little else, which isn't bad in itself. I get grape soda with an alcohol bite underneath, but nothing complex at all and certainly not enjoyable. Professing "all natural ingredients" still doesn't convince me, as this tastes really metallic, 'off', and just all wrong. Just no.

Stone 11.11.11 Vertical Epic Ale (Escondido, CA) - 4.5

This exquisite and limited ale dares to combine Anaheim chilies, cinnamon, and Belgian yeast strains, and it works very well. Aroma and taste are both strong and heavy, with hints of chilies swirled up with some bittersweet cocoa vibes. The cinnamon is somewhat muted. What an interesting collision of flavors here. Quite unusual and very impressive.

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