Bakke Hill Black Lager
Bakke Hill Black Lager is a Schwarzbier brewed by Fish Brewing Co. out of Olympia, WA. This beer is extremely smooth and rich but at the same time very mild. Subtle notes of chocolate and coffee from start to finish, this would be a great beer to introduce someone who is afraid of “dark” beers (and trust me, no light escapes this black hole of a beer!)
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Cane And Ebel
Cane and Ebel is a “hopped up red rye ale” brewed by Two Brothers Brewing in Warrenville, IL. This beer was a sweet hoppy surprise balanced with a touch of spicy rye. What type of hops you ask? Only “the wackiest new Hops we could lay our hands on” according to the bottle. Yum!
Thunderstruck Coffee Porter
This delicious porter is brewed by Highland Brewing Company in Asheville, North Carolina using roasted coffee beans by Dynamite Roasting Company. I’ve always thought that porters and coffee were made to be with each other and this beer didn’t let me down one bit. I found it to be very chocolatey with a pleasant coffee flavor on the backend.
Fun fact: As a hiker I thought it was cool to learn that this beer is named after a protected mountain top in Western North Carolina. To learn more about how the brewery works with a local non-profit to raise awareness about the importance of land and water conservation, visit their page “For the Love of Beer & Mountains.” C-ya on the trails!
Barbapapa is a Russian Imperial Stout brewed by Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project in MA. According to the brewers, “Barbapapa is ‘Barbe a Papa’ as in the French name for cotton-candy: ‘Father’s Beard’. Our ‘father’ has an appropriately thick black beard adorned with mementos of Pretty Things past (and future?).” I love a label with meaning!
Omission IPA is brewed by Widmer Brothers Brewing in Portland, Oregon and has been specially crafted to remove gluten. But what’s even more important is that this beer tastes damn good. If you know anyone who has a gluten allergy or intolerance (or simply a craving for a good IPA) I highly recommend this smooth and flavorful IPA with a surprising 6.7% ABV. Plus, it’s fun to hand them the beer and watch their expression when you tell them that it is gluten free.
Double Dose IPA
Double Dose IPA is one of the best beers I’ve ever had. Perfectly hopped, this limited edition beer was brewed by Otter Creek Brewing in collaboration with Lawson’s Finest Liquids in Vermont. That’s Lawson’s brewer Sean Lawson on the left and Otter Creek brewmaster Mike Gerhart on the right. Mmm, tasty teamwork at its best.
Hop Rising is a Double IPA brewed by Squatters Craft Beers out of Salt Lake City, Utah. It’s a malty, hoppy, and strong beer coming in at 9%. I wish hops were as large as this in real life. (Plot twist: Or maybe that is a tiny man harvesting accurately sized hops!)
Porkslap Pale Ale is brewed by Butternuts in Garrattsville, NY. I first had this beer back in 2007 at a NYC beer festival. I hadn’t heard of the brewery back then and I loved it so much that the man at the table let me sneak a couple unopened cans home with me. I’d say it still holds up to this day as an easy drinking session beer (4.3% ABV) with a tiny hint of spice to it.
This pumpkin brew comes from Blue Hills Brewery in Canton, MA and I instantly fell in love with the spooky label. The beer tastes more like pure pumpkin than other pumpkin beers out there, so don’t go looking for a Pumking type beer or you’ll be sorely disappointed. It paired perfectly with our squash soup at dinner, one of the best beer/food pairings I’ve ever tasted.
This black pumpkin wheat ale is brewed by Urban Chestnut Brewing Co. out of St. Louis. I’ve only had this one beer by the brewery but it stood its own against 27 other beers in our blind pumpkin beer taste test this year. Plus, have you ever seen the 1922 silent film, “Nosferatu” that the label is based off of? It’s a damn creepy movie that holds up remarkably well to this day.