Bottles and cans and just clap your hands
In 2011 we welcomed great brews from Firestone Walker, Sixpoint, Breckenridge, and White Birch to the state. This year the folks at Elevated Spirits are bringing in GOOSE ISLAND, the acclaimed craft line from Chicago (which was bought by Anheuser-Busch, Inc. last year). Draught offerings (two solid session beers, the tasty 312 Urban Wheat Ale and Honkers Ale, a top-notch English Style Bitter) should hit taps next week; bottles will arrive in March. Other beers on the radar: SIERRA NEVADA’S RUTHLESS RYE IPA arrives this week; it’s received rapturous reviews at RateBeer and Beer Advocate and will be a welcome addition to the growing ranks of superb rye-based beers (Bear Republic’s Hop Rod Rye, Sixpoint’s Righteous Ale, Founders‚ Red’s Rye PA). SIXPOINT just announced RESIN, a double IPA, which will be out in slimmed-down 12-ounce tallboy cans in February. NARRAGANSETT’S NEW CREAM ALE, which bested Rye Ale in their recent online beer-off, will debut in March (or maybe earlier, if it follows Bock’s lead; see below). And OSKAR BLUES will kick it up a notch when they go wide with DEVIANT DALE'S IPA, a double/imperial 8% ABV hop assault, in 16-ounce cans in March (it was previously only available at their Grill & Brew in Lyons, Colorado). Yum.
Speaking of Sixpoint, I was glad to finally grab a four-pack of DIESEL, the latest winning creation from the Brooklyn brewery. They've worked their magic with yet another style (having aced the American IPA with Bengali Tiger, Cream Ale with Sweet Action, and the aforementioned Righteous Ale,), unleashing a hopped-up version of an American Stout, with a 6.3% ABV. The 16-ounce can pours "sooty black," as they term it, and is a wonderful mix of coffee and chocolate and vanilla and other notes wrapping around the zesty hops. Beyond tasty. Only 70 cases made it to the state, so pick up a box or three before they disappear.
SPRING HAS SPRUNG
We're getting used to the seasonal beers showing up long before the seasons they're associated with. So it's no surprise, in the midst of this wonderfully mild winter (hope I didn't jinx it), that NARRAGANSETT'S BOCK has already made it to the stores — two months earlier than last year's batch! The 16-ounce green tallboys (6.5% ABV) boast a great combo of sweet malts, prominent hops, and layers of creamy goodness. Why wait?
FIRST FEST OF '12
If you're suffering the post-holiday blahs — or, even better, just ready for a great beer festival — here's a reason to be cheerful: the BEER SUMMIT WINTER JUBILEE is at the Park Plaza Castle in Boston on January 20 (5:30-9 pm) and 21st (12:30-4 pm and 5:30-9). There will be offerings from more than 66 brewers (most of New England's finest; national powerhouses such as Heavy Seas, Lagunitas, Oskar Blues; international heavy hitters like Affligem, Corsendonk, and Weihenstephan) and 200-plus beers. I went to the Harvest Fest in November and can't wait to get back in that funky old room and sample more world-class beers. Tix are $42.50, get 'em at beersummit.com, and check their Facebook page for details on who's serving what (I recommend lining up for Watch City's Lunarshine Burleywhine and Hoponius Union from Jack's Abby).
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