Lots of wild ass experimental beers, tons of bourbon barrel finishes as lots of coffee flavored this and that at this year's Extreme Beer Fest. The standout beers for me were:
Smuttnose / Smuttlabs:
Granite State Destroyer American Double/Imperial Pilsner w/ Corn in Mash 8% - nothing short of fun with the corn shining through the mash and light hops topping it all off. This is a tongue in cheek malt liquor and was yummy.
The Stallion - American Double/Imperial Stout 11%. I don't know why Smuttnose doesn't consider themselves a stout company. Their Rye Stout that I tried in their Smuttlabs collection is one of the better Stouts on the market and The Stallion is absolutely delicious. Fantastic balance between sweet and bitter and that 11% drinks more like 6%. These guys need to do more stout widely, they are very talented with it.
Funky Buddha Brewery:
No Crusts - American Brown Ale 6.4%. Of all the flavored beers I had, this one is the most spot on. It's PB&J in a glass but still very much a beer. A light touch in a fun beer that shows off the better side of the experimental beer scene.
Tree House Brewing Co.
Good Morning - American Double Imperial Stout 8.4%. Very strong coffee flavors, but they do work. A little dense and a slog to get through but the nailed the coffee flavors.
Cigar City Brewing.
Da Un Beso A La Botella - Foreign/Export Stout 10%. This was a BIG beer, much bigger than I prefer, but bursting with flavor and fairly lush in character.
Dogfish Head Brewery
Beer For Breakfast - Milk/Sweet Stout - monster coffee and cream, lots of flavor a solid entry in the coffee stout space.
Kentucky Breakfast Stout - American Double/Imperial Stout 11.2%. I don't think i've ever had a beer that had so much whiskey barrel presence as this one. The must use a VERY wet barrel. Tasty, but hard to get through even a taster, it's just a lot to take in.
I also HAD to try Trophy Brewing Co's Mezcal Barrel Aged Heavyweight Champ an American Double/Imperial Stout at 14%. Interesting concept, but it didn't work. Too dark a beer for the mezcal and the flavors didn't compliment.
I also tried Heavy Seas Beer who had Holy Sheet, A Brandy Barrel Dubbel at 8% and Yule Tide a Weizenbock aged in Jamaican Rum Barrel at 9%. Both were kind of train wrecks.
But if I had to pick 1 beer of the bunch I'd actually go out and buy and drink it would, hands down be the Smuttlabs Stallion Imperial Stout.
A fantastic selection of beers this year at Annual Craft Beer Fest. Here are my notes on the beers I tasted:
Best of The Fest: Lawson's Finest Liquids - I tried their Super Session #2, Permagrin Rye Pale Ale and their Maple Nipple Ale. All three were exceptional.
Lawson's Super Session 2 had lots of crisp hops and body and was flavorful and drinkable. Perfect ABV at 4.7%
Lawson's Permagrin Rye Pale Ale (6.0%) excellent balance between hops and rye. Great character and flavor.
Lawson's Maple Nipple Ale (8%), by far the best use of an added sweet note I've experienced in a beer. The balance is impeccable and it's so damn delicious, it's hard not to keep drinking it.
More Great Beer:
Main Beer's Lunch, American IPA (7%) - Sweet, light with great interplay with hops. Really nice finesse. It really lives up to the hype.
Smuttynose 21st Birthday Hoppy Saison (7.5%) - Light hops and a pleasant sourness, come together to make a light, tasty, drinkable, and pleasing beer
Smuttynose Baltic porter (9.24%) Has depth and acidity of an imperial but maintains balance. Great Chocolate notes. Solid beer.
Main Beer Company Red - great depth with solid hops, alluring roasted finish which invites you to have more.
Long Trail Imperial Stout (8.8%) - deep roasted notes with lots of depth and flavor but without losing balance. Lovely.
Long Trail Smash Single Malt Pilsner Single Hop Galaxy American Pale Lager - (6.3%) - Good use of hops. Malt shines through. Lots of citis hops. Solid beer.
Brewmaster Jack Total Eclipse Rye Porter (6.0%) - Burnt malt is well counterpointed by the lactose, deep, dark flavor but still manages to be balanced and clean.
Left Hand Brewing Co. Milk Stout Nitro (6%) - The penultimate creamy nitro milk stout. It's an adult beer milkshake while still remembering that it's a stout.
Left Hand Brewing Co. Great Juju Imperial Ginger Pale Ale (7.2%) this fulfils the promise of Good Juju but with enough structure and stregnth to really deliver. It's still a gimicky beer, but it finally works at this ABV and style.
Aeronaut Brewing Co. Jack Daw London Porter (4.7%) - a sessionable porter that is light, crisp and eminantly drinkable. It's clear that the guys at Aeronaut think a porter can be a summer sipper, and this one is.
Victory Brewing Company Sour Monkey (9.5%) - bracingly sour, I didn't love this at first sip, but as I drank through it won me over. Uber sour, but pleasingly so and dangerously drinkable for 9.5%
Fiddlehead Brewing Co. Brett Berried Alive (5.8%) - a blueberry beer that's aged in wine casks. The sour and barely notes are good, but the wine influence is a bit much. Still an interesting and unique beer, the most thoughtful berry beer i've tried.
Fiddlehead Brewing Co. Hodad Porter (5.5%) - solid vanilla and chocolate notes, flirts with tasting flavored, but it works.
Spencer Brewery Spencer Trappist Belgain Pale Ale (6.5%) - it's the spice that's really the star here, and not the beer. Clove takes over the tast expericnce. Not poorly crafted, but lacking balance and integration.
Beer I really Didn't Like:
Brooklyn Brewery Brooklyn Porter - I am such a huge fan of their Sorachi Ace I was surprised to find their porter to be off. It has a nice roasty note to it but it comes off plasticy and off.
Two Roads Conntucky Lightnin' Bourbon Ale American Strong Ale (8.5%) - wet dog, funky cheese, bourbon, all over the place. Not a good beer.
Abandoned Building Brewery Trap Door Tripel (8.5%) - A little funk, Nutty malt, Not great.
Coastal Extreme Brewing Co - Coastal Newport Storm Sourpuss (6%) - Tart and sour, it lives up to its name. But the cherry note fights to seen above the very sour beer. It's just out of balance.
Finback Brewery - Close of The Day Saisson (7.5%) Too watery and thin at this ABV. Needs more depth and character.
Worst Beer of The Fest: Moat Mountain Sour Hipster from Kentucky, American Wild Ale (9.9%) - poorly barrel aged, flavors don't come back together. So bad I spit it back into my glass.
Here's a link to the full line up of beer: http://www.beeradvocate.com/acbf/beer/
#beer #beeradvocate #ACBF2015
I had the opportunity to play the new ascension release at Pax East. It has a new game dynamic where you have a random "character" of sorts who powers up and then goes into your deck. It's interesting but also kind of distracting from the core game.
Some good new cards, and the new ability called "Rally" which lets you acquire cards without the cost if certain conditions are met.
Only did one play through, but it didn't make me want to jump up and buy it. Hope to play it again now that I know the rules/new dynamics.
- Ithaca CollegeCinema and Photo, 1988 - 1992
- Campolindo HSHigh School, 1985 - 1988
I am the founder, and managing editor of Drink Spirits and online magazine that helps people figure out what to drink. Beyond writing reviews, I enjoy going behind the scenes of notable brands around the world.
This year I caught the Vlogging bug and began to shoot video companions to most of our key articles. All our videos can be found on the Drink Spirits YouTube Page. One of my favorite ones up there is the series I shot in Trinidad for Carnival. While there are 5 videos in that series, the one that seems to have captured it the best is Episode 5.
Because of my job I travel quite a bit and love to share my photos in the +Travel Photography community as well as via twitter and instagram and of course on G+! I love food (and often share what I'm eating to Foodies+) but have vowed never to be a food blogger. I also LOVE movies (I used to own and run DVD Talk) but I'm not a movie geek, I have to use IMDB just as much as everyone else to look stuff up. I went to school for film and photography and love to take pictures.
One of my favorite pastimes is walking. Give me an amazing city and someone cool to talk to and I'll walk and talk for hours. It's one of the reasons I love NY and great walking cities like London, Edinburgh, Amsterdam, Paris and Barcelona.
Geoffrey Kleinman is the founder, and managing editor of DrinkSpirits.com, an online magazine dedicated to help people explore the vast world of distilled spirits. He is a nationally recognized spirits columnist, and has contributed to Playboy Magazine, Black Book Magazine and Essential Homme. He is also currently on the review team of Whisky Advocate Magazine.
As a leading expert on spirits and mixology, Geoff is often cited and has appeared in the Wall St. Journal, Business Insider, Yahoo Finance and Esquire. He jas also served as a judge for many spirit and cocktail competitions throughout the country.
Prior to Drink Spirits, Geoff founded and managed DVDTalk.com, one of the top 1000 web sites on the Internet. He was one of the early podcasting pioneers with DVDTalk Radio and an early mover with RSS and email newsletters. He first connected with the net in 1988 under bitnet and has hooked ever since.
Geoff is the founder of the Society of Modern Journalists, is Bar Certified by the Beverage Alcohol Resource Group, and is a Kentucky Colonel. Read him at http://www.DrinkSpirits.com.
In 2012 I moved my family from Portland, Oregon to Marblehead, MA. It was a massive life change and one which has completely reshaped my life and my family. I grew up on the west coast but have always had a deep love for the east coast. While the move was tough, settling in has been easy and I've loved being a part of all the great local sports that Boston has to offer (#GoBruins)!
I have two daughters (one of them a teenager, thus the emergence of grey hairs on my head) and one son. My wife Heather is the co-editor of Drink Spirits and the source of great inspiration and sanity. Parker, my dog is a labradoodle and one of the goofiest and most loving dogs I've ever met.
You can contact me via G+ or email me at geoff (at) kleinman.com.
- DrinkSpirits.comEditor, presentEditor and key reviewer for Drink Spirits.
- Kleinman.comWriter, Consultant, Entrepreneur, 2014
- Whisky Advocate MagazineWriter, 2014Buying guide writer/reviewer.
- Vulcan's Forge
- One World Internetworking
- Creative Artists Agency