Draught Diversions: Sierra Nevada Beer Camp 2017 Six from the States

Draught Diversions is the catchall label for mini-rants, think-pieces, and non-review posts here at The Tap Takeover. We hope you don’t grow too weary of the alcohol alliterative names we use…

This is the first of two posts focusing on Sierra Nevada’s annual collaboration beer project, Beer Camp. I had couple from last year’s mix pack, but this is the first year I picked up the whole 12 pack. For 2017, the fine brewers at Sierra Nevada invited breweries from around the world to collaborate and as such, this year’s variety pack features 12 different brews, six collaborations with US breweries, 6 collaborations with oversees breweries, three of which (all from the US) are 16oz cans.

Today, I’m going to give my thoughts about the six collaboration beers between Sierra Nevada and breweries from the United States. I’ll go from the one I enjoyed the least and finish it off with the one I enjoyed the most.

West Coast DIPA – A collaboration with Boneyard Beer (Bend, OR)

As I’ve said a few times, IPAs are not my preferred style of beer. On occasion, I will find one that is to my liking but as a style IPAs are unavoidable since they are so popular. If I don’t enjoy a “single” IPA, chances are I won’t enjoy a Double IPA and that is the case with this beer. Everything I don’t like about IPAs, especially Double IPAs are highlighted in this beer. The hop presences is funky, piney and extremely overpowering. The bitterness exemplified by IPA/DIPA is on full display in this pint. I like there to be a little more of a malt profile, but this one had none of that, or at best, was overpowered out by the drowning hop presence. This was a rare case of me actually pouring out a beer I paid for, I couldn’t finish this one as it hit every wrong button in my palate. That said, if you love DIPA as a style, chances are you’ll love this one. This one was in a 16 oz can.

Barleywine style Ale – A collaboration with Avery Brewing (Boulder, CO)

I haven’t had too many Barleywines, not out of dislike, more out of just not gravitating towards them. If I’m going to be honest, they are often at a price tag of $15 for a four pack and I’m hesitant to spend that much on four beers I may not like, which is why I’ll order them if I’m at a bar with a good beer menu. This one was pretty good.

Most Barleywines have a big hop hit and this one was no exception at 90 IBU. The IBU was a bit much for my palate. I think I prefer the “English” style of Barleywines, which tend to have a lower hop presence and are usually a bit sweeter with the malt overtaking the hop presence. This one tasted like a variant on Sierra’s popular Bigfoot Barleywine, which is essentially what this brew is. In other words, if you like Bigfoot, you’ll probably like this one.

Ginger Lager – A collaboration with Surly Brewing (Minneapolis, MN)

This was an interesting beer and not like many I’ve had before. This one, as I said on untappd, has “all the ginger,” which given the title, is no surprise. The description indicates there’s cayenne pepper added, too, but all I tasted was ginger. I was surprised how much I enjoyed this one since ginger is a flavor I only really enjoy in Asian food. This is the kind of beer one would expect in a variety of experimental beers, not exactly to my taste, but an interesting beer altogether. This was one of the other 16 oz cans.

Dry-Hopped Berliner-Style Weisse – A collaboration with Saint Arnold Brewing Company (Houston, TX)

Berliner Weisse is a style I’ve really come to enjoy over the past couple of years and this sour-wheat beer is a really good example of the style. It isn’t too overpowering on the sour end of things and is a little more tart than sour. This beer hit all the right notes associated with the style, though I would have like to taste a bit more fruit in the beer. I could see myself going back to this one again.

Now, for my two favorites of the Stateside Collaborations

Raspberry Sundae – A collaboration with The Bruery (Placentia, CA)

Again, the name implies it all – Raspberry Sundae. This is a perfect dessert beer or one for the middle of a warm day. The raspberry flavor isn’t overpowering, for me at least, and blends well with the chocolate for an extremely pleasant and tasty beer. Per the description linked above, lactose is also added which enhances the flavor even more. I think I enjoy sweeter beers more than most, so this beer worked really well for my palate.

The beer pours golden-red and the aroma, coupled with the taste, give a nice evocation of what you get at your ice cream parlor when you order a raspberry sundae while still retaining the flavor profile of a delicious beer. I’ve had a couple of the Christmas offerings in The Bruery’s ongoing/annual 12 Beers of Christmas and they were both delicious. I was looking forward to this beer because of that and I was not disappointed in the least. I’d definitely buy this one if it became available in 4 packs, 22oz bombs, or somehow on its own.

East Meets West IPA – A collaboration with Treehouse Brewing Company (Charlton & Monson, MA)

This beer surprised me the most. First and foremost I never thought I’d enjoy an IPA more than four other styles, especially when one of those styles is a wheat-based beer. Second, I was so disappointed by the other Stateside IPA I was even more hesitant to give this beer from a 16oz can a full pour.

After thoroughly enjoying this beer, I think I came to the conclusion that I prefer East Coast / New England style IPAs over their West Coast cousins. The hop profile of many West Coast beers, especially the IPAs, just don’t register positively in my palate.

But this beer, with its citrusy and sweet profile complementing the hops was delightful. It poured a bright and inviting orange-yellow almost like orange juice, as I’ve seen quite a few of the New England IPAs on untappd. The aroma is fairly hop-forward, but that first sip just sets the taste buds crazy begging for another sip. And another.

This is, what I believe many craft beer, especially those who favor IPAs. would call a juice bomb. I’m glad this one came in a 16oz can and would buy this one over and over again, it was a delicious surprise that stands out as my favorite of the Stateside Beer Camp collaborations.

I’m going to have to hunt down some IPAs from the fine folks at Treehouse.

Beer Review: Rogue Farms Honey Kölsch

Name: Rogue Farms Honey Kölsch
Brewing Company: Rogue Ales & Spirits
Location: Newport, OR
Style: Kölsch
ABV: 5.0%

An inviting golden ale

From the beer’s description on Rogue’s Web site:

We grow bees. Taste the difference.

10 Ingredients: Rogue Farms Dare™ and Risk™ Malts; Wheat, DextraPils & Aciduated Malts; Rogue Hopyard Honey & Wild Flower Honey; Alluvial Hops; Free Range Coastal Water and Kölsch #2 Yeast.

Situated just across from 40 acres of Rogue hops, 7,140,289 Rogue Farms bees are carefully kept and fed and the honey is uncapped, extracted, filtered and finally infused into a refreshing Honey Kölsch Ale.

Based in the western craft brew mecca of the Portland, Oregon Area, Rogue is one of the larger and more respected craft brewers in America, . Perhaps their most popular and well known beer is their Dead Guy Maibock, arguably one of the foundational craft beers of the last couple of decades. They brew tasty stouts, well-received IPAs and some peculiar experimental brews like a “Beard Beer” and “Srirachia beer.”

Their Honey Kölsch takes European style and infuses with American farming for something quite tasty. This brew looks to have been released for the first time in 2013 and from what I see on Beer Advocate, it looks like this was originally a 22oz release, but was released in 6 packs for the first time in 2016. This makes sense because it is a great summer time / warm weather beer to keep in your cooler, although it doesn’t explicitly state that in the name.

Kölsch is, like many beers, a German style whose name is derived from where it was originally brewed in Cologne (Köln), Germany. The beer is crisp in profile and often bright yellow in color. The color and flavor profile is typically similar to that of a German Pilsner, but often with a slightly lower hop/IBU profile.

As craft beers grow in popularity, more varied styles are gaining popularity and Kölsch seems to be one of those styles. I’ve had only about ten different Kölsch ales over the past couple of years, this one is probably my favorite. The crispness is such a refreshing hit and the honey perfectly balances out that crisp-profile before the crisp crosses the line to bitter. Those two flavor profiles make Rogue Farms Honey Kölsch a beer you want to crack open while grilling, after mowing the lawn, or sitting by the pool or yard as the warm summer day becomes a pleasant summer night.

Although I didn’t mention this brew in my Summer Beer Draught Diversion, two years now I’ve had a couple of these while sitting by my pool and I’m going to make sure this is in the regular rotation as long as Rogue puts it on shelves in the warm-weather/summer months throughout the long summer days.

Maybe the perfect spot to drink this beer: poolside.

The beer pairs well with just about any kind of meat you want to throw on the grill from burgers to hot dogs to chicken. The comforting taste makes it a good pair with pizza or any food, really. A very tasty beer that doesn’t overpower with any of its ingredient components, but simply gives a nice, balanced profile of taste.

Recommended, link to Untappd 4-star rating.

Draught Diversions: Brewery Ommegang’s Game of Thrones Beers

Draught Diversions is the catchall label for mini-rants, think-pieces, and non-review posts here at The Tap Takeover. We hope you don’t grow too weary of the alcohol alliterative names we use…

This Sunday, the biggest show in the history of HBO returns, Game of Thrones so what better time to feature the  officially “licensed” beers made by the fine folks of Brewery Ommegang inspired by the show. I’ve been a fan of the books for years having read the series when the first book published. I was lucky enough to attend a couple of George R.R. Martin’s signing events over the past couple of years, too.

At the Staten Island Yankees, who became the Staten Island Direwolves for the day. There’s an actual wolf sitting next to Mr. Martin

When HBO decided to make what even author George R.R. Martin considered an unfilmable project, the craft brewers of Ommegang knew they could complement the show. The show was an immediate success when it debuted in 2011, two years later in March 2013, the first Game of Thrones beer from Brewery Ommegang was released – Iron Throne Blonde Ale, a refreshing, relatively light beer at 6.5% ABV.

This was a smart move and a very approachable beer,  with hints of citrus. I recall having a sample at the second Garden State Brewfest in May 2013, when the event was held walking within distance from where my  in-laws live. I also remember the box/case of bottles Brewery Ommegang had at the event went very quickly so I was fortunate that a local favorite bar had it on tap a couple of months after that. As of this writing, Iron Throne is the only one of the Game of Thrones beers I haven’t checked into Untappd as I didn’t sign up until about a year later.

Later that year, the second Game of Thrones beer was released, a rich earthy stout clocking in at 7% ABV: Take The Black, which is named as an homage to the Night’s Watch. These men, often bastards or criminals who “commute their sentence” by taking the black of the Night’s Watch and live at the Wall. They are humanity’s defense against what may emerge from beyond the Northern borders. I recall enjoying the beer, but there was a bitterness to the finish that didn’t complement the chocolate profile so well. Not a bad beer, but I thought the Iron Throne was a better beer. (untappd check-in)

The third beer, Fire and Blood is a 6.8% Red Ale with chili peppers launched March 2014 about a month before Season 4 began airing. This beer is as an homage to the fire breathing dragons of House Targaryen and their matriarch Daenerys. The series Martin gave the books is A Song of Ice and Fire so there’s a thematic parallel there, too. I only recently began appreciating beers made with spiciness so when I had this one a few years ago, I wasn’t too keen on it. There seemed to be a fruitness to counter the spice at the end, but it is still a well-made beer. (untappd check-in)

October 2014 brought the fourth Game of Thrones beer and up to that point, the Game of Thrones beer I enjoyed the most. An 8% Belgian Dubbel, Valar Morghulis takes its name from one of the key phrases from the series which translated from the ancient language of Valyrian, means “All Men Must Die.” It should be no surprise that this is a well-made, delicious beer considering how very Belgian it is in nature. Ommegang’s year-round Dubbel, Abbey Ale, is incredible beer, earning a perfect 100 from Beer Advocate. Valar Morghulis doesn’t have as much of a fruit hint as does Ommegang’s Abbey, but it is still a delicious beer. I’d especially love to find another bottle of this in the next couple of days to enjoy while watching the season premiere on Sunday. (untappd check-in)

Season Five and beer number 5 in the Game of Thrones series synced up and released at the same time in April 2015. Beer #5 is a 7.2% AB Dark Saison named Three-Eyed Raven after a creature of prophecy and supernatural power whose visions have profound effect on the characters and their actions. This is a pretty unique beer, blending elements of a farm house Saison with a dark ale/stout. The IBU on this one is high at 80, but it is balanced by a mellow fruitiness on the finish. I would love to give this one another try, too. (untappd check-in)

Two things changed with beer 6. Rather than a fall release, it was released closer to the premiere of Season Six of the show in March 2016. The beer bottle’s shape/style changed slightly, too. This installment of the beer series takes its name from the collective realms where the story takes place, Seven Kingdoms, which is a Hoppy Wheat Ale at 6.9%. This is probably my least favorite of the Game of Thrones beers. I really like wheat beers, but there’s too much of a hop presence in this one for my liking. I know, the name/style says it right on the label, but it just didn’t work for me as well as all the others. (untappd check-in)

That’s a signed first edition of A Game of Thrones

Season Seven begins this weekend (July 2017), three months later than usual, but returning to the dual year release, Ommegang released beer number 7 in September 2016. This is currently my favorite of the eight beers they’ve released, a big 9% Belgian Tripel, Valar Dohaeris. The name is a companion saying to Valar Morghulis and means “All Men Must Serve,” (in this case beer) and a companion or “sister beer” to that earlier Belgian Style Dubbel. Oh boy is this a delicious beer and has the yeast, spice, banana, and bready profile you would expect from a Tripel. Since this a 9% beer, it might be a good idea to slowly enjoy this one over the course of an episode or two. (untappd check-in)

The most recent brew is timed slightly ahead of the premiere of Season Seven, Bend The Knee a Belgian Golden Ale that does not feel like the 9% the label indicates. It is more malty than I’d expect a golden ale to be, but the Belgian yeasts, along with the honey added during the fermentation seems to cut the bitterness some Golden Ales can exhibit. (untappd check-in)

So, those are the Game of Thrones beers. 8 beers, seven seasons and 5 books as of this writing.

All the books in the series, and all the bottles except the most recent, “Bend the Knee”

 

Beer Review: Flying Fish Exit 3 Blueberry Braggot

Name: Exit 3: Blueberry Braggot
Brewing Company: Flying Fish Brewing Co.
Location: Somerdale, NJ
Style: Mead/Braggot
ABV: 15.0%

This is one of my favorite beer glasses, which is why it has made so many appearances here on the Tap Takeover.

From the beer’s description on Flying Fish’s Web site:

Exit 3 is the gateway to a lot of farmland, so we’re using one the state’s favorite crops– blueberries. Braggot is an ancient style– written about since the 12th century. This Braggot features local blueberries and honey, a very limited amount of hops and is fermented with Belgian-style yeast. The result is a straw colored beer with blueberry highlights. On the first sip you will note a light sweetness along with citrus notes followed by a well rounded malt character. The beer has a medium full body.

Flying Fish is one of New Jersey’s first breweries, founded in 1995. As a flagship NJ Craft brewery, they started something very much in the vernacular of New Jersey, the Exit Series. Many NJ people, upon first meeting each other, may ask, “What Exit are you from?” referencing either the NJ Turnpike or the Garden State Parkway. At least when I attended Rutgers (The State University of New Jersey) this was a frequent question. Admittedly, the question can wear thin. The Exit series from Flying Fish references the NJ Turnpike.

Enough about the series as a whole, let’s focus on this special brew.

One of the first things that to know before drinking this brew is that it is not exactly a beer. People expecting a “sweet” or “fruity” beer might be a little disappointed.  As the description above implies, this brew is more of a mead and the 15% ABV is a good first indication that this is a mead or honey wine and not an ordinary beer.

A thick golden liquid pours out of the glass, not nearly as thick as the honey which is so prominent in the brew, but the character is definitely similar. The brew is very sweet, the honey prominent. The blueberries are subtle,  I would have liked their presence to be a little more noticeable throughout than the hints at their presence. But that’s just a minor complaint because Exit 3 is a tasty brew.

I haven’t had too many meads, although I usually get either a cup of mead or a blend of mead and beer at the NY Renaissance Festival on my annual visit. This brew from Flying Fish is one of the more unique adult beverages I’ve had as it really blends qualities that both mead and beer possess. The maltiness is slight and barely noticeable, but it is there. The 15% ABV catches up towards the end.

My father gave me one of his 12oz bottles with the warning that I should have this with as clear a palate as possible. I heeded his advice and waited until well after dinner to pour this one and boy howdy was I pleased. This is a fantastic sipping brew that is perfect for after-dinner and one you should sip over the course of an hour or so. I’m going to have to pick up a four pack of this for myself in the near future.

Exit 3 was originally released in bomber size at about 25 ounces and in very limited quantities. I missed out during that first go round, so it was nice to see Flying Fish re-release this brew in 12oz bottles in 4-packs because it is a very, very tasty brew.

Exit 3 Blueberry Braggot is an exceptional, tasty brew that is definitely off the beaten path of what you’ll find on shelves in your liquor store or at your favorite beer bar. The “Braggot” greatly highlights the brewing ingenuity of one of NJ’s most respected and long-standing breweries. With Hammonton, NJ as the “Blueberry Capital of the World,” this brew does a fine job of playing to that moniker.

Highly recommended.

Original Label. Notice the Garden State is red here, whilst outlined in solid red on the 12oz

Recommended, link to Untappd 4.25-star rating.

Beer Review: Founders Backwoods Bastard (2016)

Name: Backwoods Bastard
Brewing Company: Founders Brewing
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Style: Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy
ABV: 11.2% (2016, but it ranges from year to year)

From the beer’s description on Founders’ Web site:

Expect lovely, warm smells of single malt scotch, oaky bourbon barrels, smoke, sweet caramel and roasted malts, a bit of earthy spice and a scintilla of dark fruit. It’s a kick-back sipper made to excite the palate.

Scotch Ales are one of the beer styles less consumed than say, an IPA or a Stout. The style has been around since the 19th Century and is known for being malty, dark brownish in color, with a sweet almost caramel-like flavor profile. It is also a style that I’ve come to really enjoy over the past year or so as I’ve had a small handful of well-made beers in this style.

One of Founders’ year-round styles is their Dirty Bastard Scotch Ale. The style has proven popular enough that Founders puts the beer out in 12-packs of cans. What they’ve done here with Backwoods Bastard is, in a word, sublime. Taking that already malty beer and aging in bourbon barrels weaves a magical spell over a beer that has an existing taste profile that is quite tasty and well regarded. As much as stouts benefit from the barrel aging (see Founders Kentucky Breakfast stout), the Scotch style ale may benefit even more as the profile of a Scotch ale may be more complementary to the refinement in bourbon barrels.

This was, I think, the second major Barrel Aged release from Founders when it was first released in 2007. They have since implemented a year-long “Barrel Series” of 6 beers which began in early 2017 with Frootwood (a Cherry/Fruit beer aged in barrels that at one time held both maple syrup and bourbon). When it releases in November 2017, the four packs of Backwood Bastard will be joined by a 22oz bomb.

Beer connoisseurs talk about the “nose” of the beer, which is basically the aroma. I can’t recall having a beer with such a wonderful nose to the point where I’d almost want to bask in the aroma and not drink the beer. That may be a bit of a stretch, but breathing in the complex aroma, a blend of caramel and bourbon, produced by Backwoods Bastard is a sensual experience that hints at the deliciousness of the beer itself. For as much attention as Founders receives for Kentucky Breakfast Stout (and it is well-deserved attention), Backwoods Bastard is a beer equal in complexity and taste.

I split a four pack with a friend/co-worker as we were both unsure what to expect from the beer. After consuming both bottles (a few months apart), this beer is quite firmly in my top 10 of all time. I had one in November shortly after getting the beer and I let the other one sit until April of this past year, which I think made the beer even better. When I get the four pack in November, I think I’ll let one of the beers age for at least a year to see how that changes the taste. In November, I’ll be getting at least a four-pack of my own.

Highly Recommended, link to Untappd 5-star rating.

 

Draught Diversions: June 2017 Beer Pours

Draught Diversions is the catchall label for mini-rants, think-pieces, and other non-review posts here at the Tap Takeover. We hope you don’t grow too weary of the alcohol alliterative names we use…

In addition to the beers I highlighted and enjoyed in my regular Tuesday reviews, I drank and enjoyed quite a few other beers. Some of the beers I’ll be featuring in the Tuesday reviews were enjoyed weeks and months ago, but here I’ll touch on a few of the best beers I had over the past month. In most, if not all cases, these are beers I had for the first time.  Yes, I know one day still remains in June as of this writing.

I started off the month really well with Dogfish Head’s Namaste White, which is the Delaware craft beer stalwart’s take on the classic Belgian Witbier. I haven’t had too many beers from Dogfish in the recent past, although I’ve always enjoyed their offerings, including Raison d’Etre to their Beer for Breakfast to the Festina Peche. This might be my favorite, at least as I compare it to those beers in my memory. I may have to pick up a six pack of this in the near future.

This was a delicious beer that has all the characterstics a Belgian wheat should, a nice hit of citrus and coriander that says warm weather beer.  Incredibly refreshing.

Another beer I had for the first time was from another Northeastern beer stalwart,  Golden Monkey from the great Victory Brewing Company of Pennsylvania, one of my favorite breweries in the country. I will be writing about them more extensively in the future as I’ve visited them a few times. Out of the two dozen beers I’ve had from Victory, only one really disappointed. But back to Golden Monkey. This is Victory’s take on a the classic Belgian Tripel and it is a very good one, a nice banana, spicy, clovey profile that masks the 9.5% ABV.

I enjoyed Ommegang’s latest Game of Thrones inspired beer “Bend the Knee,” a Golden Ale with honey that was very, very tasty. The 9% ABV was barely noticeable and the honey infusion countered the bitterness/tinge that some golden ales can exhibit. I’ve had all of the Game of Thrones releases from Brewery Ommegang and this offering is on the top half of what they’ve produced so far. To be perfectly fair, all of the Game of Thrones beers have been good,  I’ll likely do a post about all of them.

I picked up Sierra Nevada’s Beer Camp Across the World Variety pack. The last few years, Sierra Nevada has paired up with other brewers to make unique, one-time only beers under the Beer Camp banner. For this year’s installment, half of the beers were made with international brewers and I’ve so far sampled two, the Raspberry Sundae (collaboration with the Bruery) and the Dunkle Weisse (my untappd check in), a collaboration with the great German Brewery Ayinger. I would love for this to become a regular release in bottles as it is one of the best Dunkelweizens I’ve ever had. I may do a post on the whole 12-pack once I make my way through all of them.

One of the highlights of the month, the most recent “new to me beer,” and soon to be reviewed on the blog, was one of Flying Fish’s Exit Series brews: Exit 3: Blueberry Braggot. What a unique brew, more of a mead than a beer, but I’ll go into more detail in the full review.

I’m not sure what I’ll be drinking later today for my “New Brew Thursday,” but maybe I’ll talk about it in my potential July round-up or even dedicate a review to it.

I may be skipping the standard Thursday post next week with the July 4th holiday on Tuesday and post my beer review either Wednesday or Thursday. Frankly, who is going to be reading about beer on Independence Day? People will be drinking the beer – responsibly, I hope.

Ein Prosit!

Beer Review: Carton Brewing Sundae

Name: Sundae
Brewing Company: Carton Brewing
Location: Atlantic Highlands, NJ
Style: “Neapolitan” Russian Imperial Stout
ABV: 10%

From the beer’s description on Carton Brewing’s Web site:

Neapolitan Russian Imperial Stout Aged in Cognac Barrels with Walnuts and Maraschino cherries

The first stride along this path was enough Super Galena in the middle of the boil leading a strawberry hop tone in vanilla and chocolate malt notes creating a Russian Imperial Stout with a different gait. The move to “let’s throw some Neapolitan ice cream in there and see what happens” isn’t a giant leap. Going from a big bold stout with chocolate vanilla and strawberry freeze dried ice cream to “brandied walnuts and a cherry on top right?” is actually a small step. Sundae is Cosmonaut put down in cognac barrels with maraschino cherries and walnuts for a year. Drink Sundae because this one’s for you, Mr. Gorsky.

Carton Brewing has been at the forefront of NJ Craft Brewing since they’ve been brewing and selling beer in 2011 for many reasons. Carton’s range of experimental styles (adding prickly pear cactus to one beer or white truffles to another, for two examples) are akin to an artisanal chef.  The wonderful taste of their beers drive people keep seeking out those beers and making the trip to the Atlantic Highlands to get cans of their beer. They brew one of the most sought-after limited-release beers in the region,  Regular Coffee. Long story short, they are doing things smart, artistically, and with a passion and chances are I’ll be writing about more about Carton here in the future.

One of their regularly brewed beers is Cosmonaut, a Russian Imperial Stout and Sundae is a variation on that beer. I haven’t tried Cosmonaut so I can’t compare this variation to the original. Pouring Sundae from the can, what I initially took to be a black beer was actually a deep burgundy/crimson. You know, that dark tone of red that can be indistinguishable from black until the light hits it the right way and then all you see is that deep red. The aroma is a sweet rich smell that lingers nicely before drinking the beer.

From that initial pour and inhale, I kept thinking, “What a surprise this beer is.” It looks like a stout, has some of the dark rich flavor profiles of a stout, but feels a slight bit thinner than most stouts I’ve had. The combination of these characteristics makes Sundae one of the more unique beers I’ve ever consumed.

I was concerned about the addition of walnuts. I don’t mind nuts of any kind on their own so much, but I am not a fan of when they are added to brownies or ice cream. I shouldn’t have worried, the presence of the walnuts is subtle and really complemented by the beer being aged in the cognac barrels with the cherries.

Russian Imperial Stouts tend to have more of a bitter aftertaste and are sometimes slightly higher in hop presence than most stouts. Again, the cognac and cherry presence buried that bitterness and the aftertaste of the beer is more akin to a sweet aftertaste than bitter aftertaste, which makes this a perfect dessert beer, as if the name of the beer didn’t already imply that. What was also impressive is how well-hidden the relatively high ABV of 10% is. Perhaps because I sipped the beer over the course of an hour it didn’t hit me as much as I expected it would have.

What this beer reminded me of most was when you are at the end of your ice cream sundae or bowl of ice cream. You’ve got your favorite toppings, the ice cream is melted enough that when you swirl all the ingredients together you’ve got what amounts to ice cream soup. That was always the most fun part of ice cream to me and that’s what this beer evokes – sweet, tasty fun.

Recommended, link to Untappd 4.75-star rating.