Less than two months into 2013, the local brewers have already been hard at work. The rest of us benefit from their hard work – there are some great winter seasonals out there right now. I decided to review a few very different beers that share one similarity: their color.
DuClaw “Naked Fish” – This dark brew boasts a big, sweet raspberry aroma. It has a sweet raspberry flavor at first, but it quickly turns to tart coffee and mild roastiness. At 4.6% abv, this stout packs a ton of flavor. The dry finish left me thirsty for another, which is impressive because I rarely drink the same beer twice in a row.
Evolution “Winter Migration 2012” – This beer appears thick opaque dark brown with a creamy, thin light brown head. A mild bourbon aroma is noticeable. The first sip presents bourbon in the forefront with plenty of oak. The complexity builds with flavors of coffee, milk chocolate and vanilla. This beer goes down smoothly with a slight prickle of oak and certainly drinks very easily for over 10% abv.
Evolution “Prelude Black” – Winter Migration was crafted by aging this strong dark Belgian style beer in Jack Daniels barrels. The pre-barrel beer is dark brown but not as thick or opaque in appearance. It is well carbonated with flavors of mild coffee, spicy dark chocolate and raisins. I think Evolution has done a very cool thing here, allowing its fans to try the same beer before and after barrel-aging, providing insight into what influences barrel-aging has on the beer.
Heavy Seas “Black Cannon” – This beer is dark brown in color with a roasty and citrusy aroma. The taste up front is smooth chocolate followed by pine and bitter citrus. Tongue-tingling hops in the finish make you forget the initial roasty smoothness. This is one of my favorite black IPAs.
Union “Snow Pants” – This beer is dark to the extreme of being opaque black. It has a chocolate and coffee aroma. The mouth feel is thick immediately with the taste of chewy oatmeal followed by strong coffee notes, with crisp bitter hops in the finish. The 8% abv is well hidden. This oatmeal stout is another solid offering from the guys at Union. Who doesn’t like snow pants?
Go find these great local brews while you can – the spring seasonals are already appearing on the shelves!