There and Back is a 5.6 ABV 40 IBU English Bitter from Sierra Nevada and New Glarus. The appearance is amber and the nose earthy and bready malt. The flavor is similar, basic caramel malt and dry bitter hop finish. The mouthfeel is moderate and crisp. It's a decent bitter, dry and refined, but nothing extraordinary.
Sierra Nevada Beer Camp 2015: Hoppy Lager is a 7 ABV 55 IBU ADI Pilsener. The appearance is golden and the nose sweet malt and floral hop. The flavor profile is similar, bready malts turning quickly to floral citrus hop. The mouthfeel remains light enough to remind you that you're still drinking a lager. Hopped up lagers are ever more popular and while they aren't going to be my favorite Sierra Nevada is a solid brewery that can absolutely nail the execution. Definitely one to try.
Thumpkeg Agave Amber Ale is 5.8 ABV and pours a rich amber. The nose is sweet caramel malt which leads into the taste, finishing bittersweet. This is brewed in collaboration with Peligroso, a Tequila distillery, and given “essence of Agave” whatever that means. The flavor is a bit sickly sweet though I’m hard pressed to identify the Agave. According to some internet digging Thumpkeg is owned by Latrobe, which is owned by AB and therefore InBev, so this seems to have macro overlords.
Fat Tire and Friends Fat (American) Wild Ale is a 6.2 ABV New Belgium and Avery collaboration. Appearance is amber and the nose faintly fruity and funky. The flavor comes across stronger, funky Brett and Belgian yeast sitting on top of sweet caramel malt with nuttiness, apple peel and pear throughout. Finish is a quick bite of grassy bitterness. Lot of flavors going on here and fortunately it lends to a very interesting palate. Good collab and solid part of the Fat Tire and Friends box.
NxS ADIIPA, 8.25 ABV and 70 IBU is a Stone / Sierra Nevada collab using gin infused and rye infused bourbon barrel batches with a third fresh IPA portion in the blend. The nose and palate are fresh and herbaceous hop and sweet malt with those layers of sticky boozy complexity underneath. The middling ABV level and the moderate mouthfeel make this ultimately drinkable. It's a wonderful collaboration and one to have for any craft beer enthusiast.
Shipyard Gingerbread Head is a 4.6 ABV herb / spiced beer. Appearance is amber brown and the nose sweet caramel toffee and spice. The flavor follows, really sweet, toffee, spice, and definitely gingerbread. Mouthfeel is fairly moderate but has a thick sweetness stopping short of cloying. It's interesting, and better once you've embraced it as a specialty type herb/spice beer novelty. It's worth trying even if I wouldn't need to have it again.
New Glarus Thumbprint Scream IIPA (ADIIPA) is 9 ABV and 85 IBU. The appearance is orange amber and the nose dominated by citrus hop. The flavor is sweet bready malt and fresh citrus hop in perfect balance. Mouthfeel is creamy but moderate and the ABV pleasant and warming. This is a delicious ADIIPA, truly memorable. I got to try a few from New Glarus driving through Wisconsin and this is absolutely one of the best, it's too bad I can't get this locally. Easily recommendable.
Roscoe Trout Town Rainbow Red is 7.5 ABV and 62 IBU. The appearance is darkish red and the nose sweet caramel malt and earthy hop. The profile is sweet caramel and toffee malts you'd expect out of a red but with a much stronger hop presence. The higher IBU and ABV give to a creamier and fuller body than your standard amber yet it remains very drinkable and smooth. Congratulations to the Roscoe Brewery on their expanded facilities and beautiful tap room.
Ninkasi Dawn of the Red is a 7 ABV 75 IBU Amber / Red, though at that IBU you could call it more of an Imperial Red. The appearance is reddish orange with a sweet malt and piney herbal nose. The flavor follows, biscuity malt with a deep caramel sweetness and strong herbal pine hop presence. Mouthfeel is moderate and drinkable. This hopped up amber / red is part and parcel of the hops arms race but it's still pretty good. Not great, a solid B to B+ and certainly worth a try.
Bell in Hand Ale is an American Amber/Red made by Sam Adams exclusively for Boston's Bell in Hand, the nation's oldest tavern. The appearance is deep amber and the nose caramel malt. The palate is your basic red and well balanced, with a good sweet malt and hop finish. The Bell in Hand is a great historic spot despite looking like it has been extensively updated although this is better than leaving it to degrade. It's a must visit spot.