Current Craft Beers You Need To Consider
When coming across a new beer, an infinite array of feelings can well up inside as that sometimes-creamy-but-also-frothy full-bodied flavor flows onto your palate—it happens constantly in our case. But don’t think each and every bottle and/or can doesn’t get special care. It’s as if we’re walking in a wonderland when experimenting with all these ales. However, not every beer provides a sense of hope and happiness. Much like an internet-arranged date, there are winners and losers—only the best on our lists. With that in mind, before moving forward, ensure these bountiful brews are under your belt.
First up is Three Floyds’ annual Dark Lord Day. Many may be familiar with their Bourbon Vanilla Dark Lord (BVDL), but the Floyds decided on a bit of a French fandango as part of their 20th-anniversary festivities. French-Vanilla Militia’s a second variant equally as evil and excellent as its bourbon-vanilla buddy. The Dark Lord FVM’s aged in Armagnac barrels containing cocoa nibs and vanilla—coupled with coffee. In addition to the mouthful of flavors BVDL brings, FVM’s coffee and cocoa create dutiful dimensions with a fudgy mouthfeel on the frontend while a small kick of coffee comes up in the back. Appreciate that Armagnac barrel and vanilla, as it smothers your mouth with a s’more-like coating—the coffee and cocoa are complimentary flavors.
Collaborations often create complimentary concoctions, and it’s always good to get a jump on these regal rarities. This time, two of Florida’s craft-foam favorites have fabricated an unbelievably bad-ass brew—Rare Scoop. While 3 Sons’ Corey Artanis is known to enlist additional, stout treatments—re: Neapolitan Stout Double Scoop—he ciphered the assistance of Cycle to solidify a stout aged in bourbon barrels. (Of course it received the well-known Neapolitan treatment.) There are very-fine vanilla, baked goods and molasses marks when met with the nose. When meeting the mouth, the triple threat comes to a healthy climax—bourbon chocolate (first), vanilla (second) and strawberry standing (third). Fingers crossed it’s not a one-off occasion.
Man Bear Pig
In the spirit of South Park, and after five years of fine tuning, Voodoo unveiled ManBearPig (MBP) in 2016. Around 2013, Curt Rachocki amassed a good amount of maple and honey in a bunch of bourbon barrels only to put them away for over a year—fill and forget... During that time, he twisted together acraft-mash-defining recipe. Curt made the move on smoking applewood and hickory malts to make the flavors for MBP. There’s a wide array of ingredients within this one, but he somehow knew how to hook together all those tidbits. The smoked malts make an aroma of oak, honey, maple and a tinge of tobacco. When swishing this superb substance, your taste buds bow to the nose’s knowledge—the tongue tastes each flavor. They complement each other in a kingly fashion, as this foam finishes off in that infamous chewy-deep barrel aspect that only Voodoo’s barrel-aged beers can create.
Hill Farmstead’s Clover’s a crucial component to this list. It was too honor a member of the Hill family that Shaun Hill blended three of his best beers—Ann, Art, and Flora. Each ale can stand alone, but Clover adds an extra layer all its own. This craft’s interconnectivity of aroma and mouthfeel is why one learns to love Hill Farmstead. Floral, fruit and funk come together in Clover’s crafty play—along with a wine-like finesse. It’s easy to determine where each beer played its part in this potion.
While its name and can might come across as a contemporary-kids-lingo-and-obnoxious-art assumption of this ale, never judge a beer by its cover. On Fleek’s a 13-percent-ABV imperial stout packing a pleasant punch. It’s also a complex collaboration between gypsy-brewers Stillwater Artisanal Ales and Casita Cervecería—and it was burgeoned at Two Roads Brewing Co. This jet-black beer’s made with a rich mocha-colored head. The nose might struggle to detect scents of chocolate, coffee, vanilla and roastiness—but the taste will more than make up for that. There’s definitely a cocoa component and a lot more happening here with chocolate (hard to say). More, dark fruits, anise, espresso beans and smoke are all sealed within a sudsy sleeping bag. This beer will give the palate a real workout then exit while leaving behind a boisterous-but-velvety mouthfeel.
Bissell Brothers are happy to have their “hoppiest beer to date”—Nothing Gold. Many may know this outfit’s all about pushing boundaries with New England-style IPAs. While Nothing Gold’s a seasonal sauce (think summer), it’s also a double IPA. DIPAs and warm weather together may seem somewhat abnormal, but the aroma alludes to mangos, papayas and pineapples—an instant exit to paradise. The pour’s comparable to a citrus-heavy solution. The taste will slip your tongue into exotic-fruit heaven. All that fruitiness is seconded by spiciness, as it flows down with a piney finish. The creamy mouthfeel will almost make your forget you’re ingesting an 8.2-percent hop explosion.
[Photo: Creature Comforts]
Possibly the best DIPA to date—it’s among the top tier of infinitely many IPAs tasted—Creature Comforts’ Duende Double IPA slithers between the style lines. While it has the full-on fruit flavors indicative of an IPA, it’s an eight-percent-ABV ale, which gives it the “double” denomination—but still in the hops harbor. Mosaic, Citra and Simcoe collide in a berry, earthy, piney, flowery whirlwind, boisterously with orange, apricot and peach. But beware, this is one of Creature Comforts’ brewery-exclusive limited releases—the time frame may drive you to disappointment in the end (better be quick...)
30th Anniversary Keller Pils
All anniversaries should be amazing, and Summit surprisingly scored high with their 30th Anniversary Keller Pilsner—unfiltered. It covers every complexity expected in a complimentary-complicated beer. The maltiness isn’t matched with any unnecessary ingredients, while it’s bready and toasty to the nose. The hops hues are flowery and citrusy. Altogether, it’s a bountiful balance in a robust run. It’s backed by a nudging note of salt—comparable to the saline gusts found in American goses. You’ll find the yeast to be down-ripe fruity in a banana-esque way. It’s not really a new-beer experience; it’s more like a safety suds a Fatherland, foam factory has been perfecting over a long period of time.
Side Project seems to be a bit problematic to describe save their obvious ingredients entailing wild yeast, wine barrels and succulent fruit. But this should never be nuisance, as we must respect the secret recipes reinforced in some trinket resting around brewmaster Cory King’s neck—24/7. With that in mind, Pulling Nails is not easy to elaborate on, but the brewery itself conveys it as an “Oude du Ble that was aged in French Oak for one year [and] then aged on Apricots—plus 14-Month-Old Foedre Beer (plus two-year-old Missouri Spontaneous Blonde).” Save the Saison de Ble, it’s not known if the other components of this craft brew have been sold separately. Ultimately, this sauce is seeping with super-juicy apricot flavors that never overdo it in their aggressiveness. It’s all enriched by a tinge of tartness coupled with slight feel of funkiness. Pulling Nails is just one example of how Side Project moves modern archetypes to top-tier quality. They’ve blended three multi-faceted foams into one work of ale art.
Breakside Brewing boasts their Fitzcarraldo as a fine foam. This may seem silly amid our list of libations—it’s a cuvee—but most of it’s made from a superior, Belgian, dark ale. And that strong substance sat for 18 months in Knob Creek bourbon barrels, sopping up over-proof whiskey. (Who’d want to miss out on this mash?) But this ain’t no one-aspect-wonder brew, as many may be confounded by the complexity and intensity in this ingenious item. Additionally, there’s an array of ingestible aspects associated with Fitzcarraldo’s fruity facet—raisin, stewed plums, port wine... The Belgian yeast’s held back upon a long aging but bounces atop the boundary of notification. No matter, this boisterous brew’s popping with personality.
Delve into Avery’s dessert of an imperial-stout beer treated with cocoa, coffee and vanilla. But don’t feel guilty when indulging, as Callipygian keeps its class and structure. Chocolaty charm will nip at the nose while an almost-syrup-thick consistency coats the palate. Like the scintillated, chocolate scent, cocoa bashes the taste buds—think brownie batter. The coffee component’s there but faint as it fights the chocolate and booze, which has a less-than-overt oakiness. While this reads an overpowering experience in terms of alcohol, you’ll actually get the impressions of dark fruit (e.g., raspberry).