Tasting Notes: The Waldos’ Special Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company

aviary-image-15241871400464/20 is officially upon us and we are joining the party by getting into some Tasting Notes on The Waldos’ Special Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company (Petaluma, California).

Inspired by the Waldos and the “unbelievably-heady-but-totally-true story of” their daily, 4:20 search for a “Secret Garden” (click here to read more about those shenanigans), The Waldo’s Special Ale is brewed with the help of the Waldos and is Lagunitas’ only official Triple IPA.  Tipping the scales at 11.3% ABV and 100+ IBUs, The Waldos’ Special Ale is a 4/20 – or 4:20 . . . whatever works for you, man – appropriate beverage that is meant to be all things “Herbaceous. Botanical. Dank. [and] Resinous.”

The Waldos’ Special Ale is available during the month of April in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft.  You can expect this One-Hitter Release to be on shelves and taps “in HIIIIIIIGHly limited areas” located within Lagunitas Brewing Company’s distribution footprint.

Now that we are all caught up on this beer’s backstory, let’s pass thing around and start working on these Tasting Notes!

Tasting Notes for The Waldos’ Special Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company

Appearance: Waldos’ is a hazy, dark orange in color and is wearing well over a finger of tight white foam.  Held to direct light, those orange tones burst with vibrancy as some sunshiny yellows push through.  Although the haze makes this beer almost opaque, a slow and steady carbonation presence can be seen ambling about in there.  Head retention is pretty fantastic, and the only reason the foam cap reduces in size is because of the mind-blowing amount of sticky lace it leaves behind on the glass.

Aroma: The first thing to come to mind here is a huge amount of . . . let’s just be blunt . . . skunky, dank-ass weed.  It so blatant and abundant that is just beautiful.  That herbaceous, earthy note eventually shifts into more of a resiny pine quality.  Citrus and tropical fruit notes do attempt to push their way through the dankness, but they are pretty much sequestered in the background with a little caramel maltiness.

Taste:  The script flips a bit here as pineapple, mango, apricot and orange peel find their way to the palate first.  A grassy quality then slides through and brings that raucous, dank character with it.  This builds to become a pure danknesss that is filled with straight weed, pepper, oregano, various herbal and floral tones, and sticky pine resin.  A sweet honey and caramel sweetness sits underneath all of this, but it simply cannot compete with these hops.

Mouthfeel: Medium in body with a soft carbonation, this beer has an almost creamy texture that possesses a good amount of coating stickiness.  Bitter hoppiness is the name of the game here, but the malts do what they can to loosen the hops’ hold on the tastebuds.  The ABV is nearly unnoticeable and that is absolutely shocking considering this beer sits at 11.3%.  The aftertaste is all honey-laced bud.

Final Thoughts:  Well . . . it is incredibly easy to confirm that The Waldos’ Special Ale lives up to its billing as a 4/20 tribute beer.  The hops are just off-the-charts dank, and they certainly grab a hold of the palate with authority.  That said, this beer is definitely more than a one trick pony.  For instance, the malts are dialed in nicely to impart just enough flavor and balance to keep this lip-smacking, jaw-numbing, enamel-stripping experience manageable.  Also, we still cannot wrap our heads around how the brewers were able to completely hide an ABV of this height. It is simply mind-boggling.  Once you get beyond those pungent hop notes that may conjure up some memories of your college apartment, the level of craftsmanship in this beer becomes so clear that you could literally spend hours contemplating its beauty.  Considering the date, I think many of us have the time to do just that today.  If you can, get yourself some of The Waldos’ Special Ale and settle in for one hell of a ride.  Prost!

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Dogfish Head Craft Brewery Introduces Mixed Media Vino-esque Ale

mixed-media-packaging-liquid-3web[1]Dogfish Head Craft Brewery (Milton, Delaware) has officially announced the late April debut of Mixed Media Vino-esque Ale, a beer-wine hybrid.

Arriving as Dogfish Head’s latest experimental attempt to unite the worlds of beer and wine, Mixed Media is a hybrid ale that has “51% of [its] fermentables coming from grain and 49% coming from grapes.”  Brewed with a “distinct” Belgian yeast strain, this “complex saison-esque ale” offers its drinker “a spicy white wine body, and notes of sweet melon and white grape.” Clocking in at 7.5% ABV and 15 IBUS, Mixed Media comes together to be “quite literally the closest to a wine a beer can legally be.”

“We have been brewing and releasing beer-wine hybrids every single year since 1996 when we released our Raison D’Etre,” said Sam Calagione, founder and CEO of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. “By blending the two seemingly opposite worlds of beer and wine together we’ve discovered that they collide quite nicely, and the combination of the two adds an additional thread of flavor and a layer of complexity to the mix. Our newest spin, Mixed Media, is perfect for wine drinkers who are at beer drinking occasions or folks that enjoy a crisp, light Pinot Gris.”

Mixed Media officially launches in late April and has plans to hang around through September 2018.  You can expect to find this new Limited Occasional Release available in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft at craft beer establishments located in Alabama, Florida, Delaware and throughout the rest of Dogfish Head’s distribution footprint.  Prost!

Vital Information for Mixed Media Vino-esque Ale from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

Release – Limited Occasional Release, April – September 2018
Style – Fruit Beer/Beer-Wine Hybrid
ABV – 7.5%
IBUs – 15
Added Ingredients – Late-harvest Viognier grape must from Alexandria Nicole Cellars in Washington
Availability – 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles & draft
Beer Finder – https://www.dogfish.com/brewery/fishfinder

New Realm Brewing Company Acquires Equipment from Former Green Flash Facility

radegastNew Realm Brewing Company (Atlanta, Georgia) sent out a press release today to confirm that it won a bid to purchase the brewing equipment located at the former Green Flash Brewing Co. facility in Virginia Beach.

After just opening its doors in January of this year, New Realm Brewing Company is set to substantially increase its brewing capacity now that it has acquired the brewing equipment housed within Green Flash Brewing Co.’s abruptly shuttered Virginia Beach location.  New Realm is actively “exploring options for the location of the equipment and a potential new taproom.”

For more information on this acquisition, here are the official statements from New Realm’s founders – Carey Falcone, Bob Powers and Mitch Steele:

“This equipment presents an incredible opportunity to expand our capacity in a meaningful way while staying committed to our roots,” said Carey Falcone, CEO and co-founder of New Realm Brewing. “New Realm is proud to be part of the Atlanta community and we are enthusiastic about the opportunity to serve more New Realm fans.”

 

“We continue to invest in our Beltline brewery and restaurant with additional team members and new 60-bbl expansion tanks. But the reality is that, thanks to the incredible support of New Realm’s patrons and fans in Atlanta, we are capacity and space constrained in our current location,” said Mitch Steele, Brewmaster and co-founder of New Realm Brewing. “We are excited about the ways this new equipment and capacity will enable us to deliver the same high-quality beers while increasing our ability to innovate and create new beers for local fans.”

 

“This equipment acquisition is a unique opportunity to meet growing demand, while continuing to focus on quality and consistency. This new equipment will allow our team to brew even more of the beer that we feel passionate about,” said Chief Commercial Officer and co-founder, Bob Powers.

New Realm Brewing Company has not yet officially named a destination for this new equipment or a location for that “potential new taproom.”  This story is still developing, and we will be sure to provide you with any and all updates just as soon as they surface.  Stay tuned.  Prost!

Highland Brewing to Release Stargazer White Ale as First Canned Seasonal

stargazer-can_180320_083533_2f738ceffacd75bb03d92ae127419836Highland Brewing (Asheville, North Carolina) has announced that Highland Stargazer White Ale will officially release on April 27 as the brewery’s first Seasonal to be packaged in cans.

Named after the Stargazer Lily, Highland Stargazer is a fresh, new take on the Witbier style that employs the use of grapefruit peel, candied ginger, and coriander in its recipe.  The stylistic tweaks continue from there as Highland’s brewers reinforce the “spicy character of the Belgian ale yeast” with added spice notes from Saphir hops and locally sourced rye malt.  Clocking in at a sessionable 4.8% ABV, the summer-appropriate Highland Stargazer is here to supply craft beer fans with “a bright and balanced white ale in a stellar can.”

“In addition to the non-traditional fruit peel, we integrated the spicy characteristics of Saphir hops and rye with the Belgian yeast,” said Trace Redmond, R&D Brewer at Highland Brewing. “I love the balance in the traditional approach, so we have that and some fun complexity.”

Highland Stargazer White Ale will officially debut at a brewery launch party on April 27 (click here for more details) and will enter distribution shortly after that release event.  You can expect to find this new Seasonal offering available in 6-packs of 12 oz. cans and on draft at craft beer establishments located in Alabama, Florida, North Carolina and throughout the rest of Highland Brewing’s distribution footprint.  Prost!

Vital Information for Highland Stargazer White Ale from Highland Brewing

Release – Seasonal, launching late April 2018
Style – Witbier
ABV – 4.8%
IBUs – 22
Malts – 2-Row, Riverbend Flaked Wheat, Riverbend Malted Wheat, Flaked Oats & Riverbend Flaked Rye
Hops – Perle, Saphir & Hallertau Blanc 
Added Ingredients – Grapefruit peel, candied ginger, & coriander 
Availability – 6-packs of 12 oz. cans & draft
Beer Finder – https://highlandbrewing.com/beer

Humboldt Distillery Celebrates 4/20 with Legal Cannabis-Infused Vodka

humboldt-distillery-humboldts-finestHumboldt Distillery (Humboldt County, California) has announced that it will be getting in on this year’s 4/20 festivities by mixing up a new cocktail with Humboldt’s Finest, a cannabis-infused vodka.

Fresh off a 2017 Double-Gold Medal win at the prestigious San Francisco World Spirits Competition, Humboldt’s Finest is a specialty Vodka infused with locally grown Cannabis Sativa, a strain of hemp “whose domestic cultivation was only recently authorized with the passage of the 2014 United States Farm Bill.”  Typically “grown for food, fiber and other industrial purposes”, the food-grade hemp infuses this THC-free vodka with “a unique botanical aromatic character.”  Humboldt’s Finest weighs in at 40% ABV/80 Proof.

“Humboldt’s Finest is infused with a legal food-grade hemp, without any detectable THC, so it’s legal in all 50 states,” says Abe Stevens, founder of Humboldt Distillery. “It does, however, retain a botanical aromatic quality reminiscent of fresh cannabis that gives it a pleasant herbal character, which makes some very tasty cocktails. One of my personal cocktail favorites is the Hemp Highball.”

Speaking of the Hemp Highball, here’s the recipe for Humboldt’s official cocktail of 4/20:

Hemp Highball

  • 1.5 oz. Humboldt’s Finest
  • 1.0 oz. jasmine simple syrup
  • .5 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 slices of cucumber
  • Soda water

To prepare jasmine syrup, brew a strong jasmine green tea and dissolve 1 part sugar in 1 part hot tea, allow to cool. Add Humboldt’s Finest®, a slice of cucumber, lemon juice and syrup to shaker. Shake and strain into a highball glass filled with ice. Top with soda water, and garnish with slice of cucumber.

If you are interested in making the cocktail above or just want to experience this cannabis-infused vodka on its own, you can find Humboldt’s Finest available in 750ml bottles (suggested retail price of $29.99) at fine liquor stores located “in a growing number of markets across the country including Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, Texas, and Wisconsin.”  Prost!

Tasting Notes: Aloha! Berlin from Stone Brewing & Maui Brewing Co.

StoneMauiBottleThis week’s installment of Tasting Notes has us fending off the midweek malaise with a very special bottle of Aloha! Berlin Imperial Coconut Porter from Stone Brewing (Escondido, California) and Maui Brewing Co. (Kihei, Hawaii).

Originally released back in late 2016 as the first of fourteen Stone Groundbreaking Collaborations brewed to commemorate the opening of Stone Berlin, Aloha! Berlin is an Imperial Coconut Porter that carries on a long history of collaboration between Stone Brewing and Maui Brewing Co.  Filled with “the welcoming spirit of the Aloha State”, Aloha! Berlin echoes past collaborations between the two breweries as it showcases “ingredients familiar to the islands – rich coffee and pounds of hand-toasted coconut – and introduces hazelnuts into the mix.”  Clocking in at 9.3% ABV, Aloha! Berlin boasts an experience “deeply rooted in Hawaii, San Diego, Europe and friendship, capturing the true essence of the word ‘aloha,’ which also means on a deeper level ‘joyfully sharing life.'”

Although Aloha! Berlin was originally released in 2016 via a special-order campaign, a limited amount of it and six other Stone Groundbreaking Collaborations were re-released back in December of 2017.  It may be a bit more difficult to track them down these days, but a few of these 750ml and 1.5L bottles might still be tucked away on shelves at select craft beer establishments located in Alabama, Florida, California, Virginia and throughout the rest of Stone Brewing’s distribution footprint.

That should just about wrap up this beer’s background info, so let’s properly introduce Aloha! Berlin to a glass and get into these Tasting Notes!

Tasting Notes for Aloha! Berlin Imperial Coconut Porter from Stone Brewing & Maui Brewing Co.

Appearance: Aloha! Berlin pours a seemingly black in color and wears right at a finger of almond colored foam.  When held to direct light, the color opens – especially at the edges – to reveal that this Imperial Porter is actually a rich, dark brown.  The beer is opaque, but a pulse of carbonation can be seen near the edges of the glass.  Head retention is decent, but it does eventually fall to a lasting ring that leaves behind chunky lace patterns after each pull.

Aroma: Toasted coconut leads the aromatics with a supporting cast of mixed nuts – mostly hazelnuts and cashews.  Coffee rises up to establish a bit of earthiness and a whole lot of roasty goodness.  That roast then draws your attention to the underlying malts that also offer notes of indulgent caramel and bittersweet chocolate.

Taste: A firm Porter base establishes itself first with really nice layers of dark chocolate, caramel and toffee.  A toasted coconut presence that is both sweet and booze soaked then emerges alongside a dollop of cream.  Just before the entire experience becomes awash with a closing flood of roasted coffee, a European influence settles in as hazelnuts ride in on another layer of rich chocolate.  There is a lot at work here, but it is all nuanced and ridiculously tasty.

Mouthfeel:  Sitting on the fuller side of medium in body with a moderate carbonation level, this beer has a great weight that maintains a smooth, easy sippin’ experience. Although it is mostly sweet on the palate, the roast from the coffee brings out a nice bitterness that assists with balance and keeps this thing from getting cloying.  The ABV does bring a touch of heat to the throat and further promotes this beer’s intention to be a sipper.  The aftertaste leaves behind some dark chocolate and coffee.

Final Thoughts:  Aloha! Berlin comes together as a wonderful mashup of a solid but larger representation of Maui Brewing’s respected Coconut Hiwa Porter and Stone Brewing’s love of everything that is unapologetically big and bold.  That combo on its own is more than enough to result in an amazing beer, but they took this experience to the next level by recognizing the establishment of Stone Berlin with the addition of hazelnuts – an ingredient that is often used in German treats and chocolates.  All of these layers result in a sip that simultaneously possesses plenty of tropical goodness, a European quality that has a comforting familiarity, a robust coffee character that serves as some middle ground, and a careful mix of the three that translates as a slightly scaled back, not-so-sweet German chocolate cake note.  It is everything you could possible want when you see a beer label that reads “Aloha! Berlin Imperial Coconut Porter“.  It is all things Maui Brewing Co. . . . It is all things Stone Brewing . . . and it is abundantly clear why this offering served as the first of the fourteen beers in this series.  If you are lucky enough to run across this beer out in the wild, you owe it to yourself to try it.  Prost!

Catawba Brewing Co. Embraces Cinco de Mayo with Release of Carolina Del Norte

Sticker-whitebgCVB-CDNorteCatawba Brewing Co. (Morganton, North Carolina) has officially announced that Carolina Del Norte Mexican-style Lager will arrive on May 4 to serve as the brewery’s latest Limited Release offering.

Inspired by the “rich brewing history of our Southern Neighbor”, the brewers at Catawba Brewing Co. have crafted Carolina Del Norte to mimic the refreshing nature of the Vienna-style Lagers that are so popular in Mexico. They pulled this off by brewing a deep golden Mexican-style Lager that “has big Vienna malt character and noble hop aroma from Hallertau Mittelfrüh German hops.” Clocking in a just 5.5% ABV and 25 IBUs, Carolina Del Norte is an “easy-drinking cerveza [that celebrates] the intersection of North Carolina and Mexico – ‘a place of questionable geography, but undeniably inspired beer.'”

Carolina Del Norte will officially release on May 4 (a.k.a. the eve of Cinco de Mayo) with availability in 6-packs of 12 oz. cans and on draft.  You can expect to find this Limited Release at select craft beer establishments located in Alabama, North Carolina and throughout the rest of Catawba Brewing Co.’s five state distribution footprint. Prost!

Vital Information for Carolina Del Norte from Catawba Brewing Co.

Release – Limited; May 4, 2018
Style – Vienna-style Lager
ABV – 5.5%
IBUs – 25
Malts – 2-Row Pale, Vienna & Crystal
Hops – Magnum & Hallertau Mittelfrüh
Availability – 6-packs of 12 oz. cans & draft
Distribution – North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama & Georgia
Beer Finder – http://catawbabrewing.com/beer-finder

New Holland Brewing Releases Dragon’s Milk Reserve – Cherry Chocolate

DragonsMilkCC2New Holland Brewing Co. (Holland, Michigan) has officially introduced Dragon’s Milk Reserve – Cherry Chocolate as the latest limited release variant of its fan-favorite Dragon’s Milk Bourbon Barrel-Aged Stout.

Arriving as another example of just how versatile New Holland’s flagship beer truly is, the latest Dragon’s Milk Reserve introduces the classic combination of cherry and chocolate to “Dragon’s Milk’s bourbon barrel stout canvas.” The resulting Dragon’s Milk Reserve – Cherry Chocolate (11% ABV) treats “consumers . . . to a rich stout that balances creamy chocolate flavors with a delightful cherry tartness.”

“Chocolate is a flavor that is already present in Dragon’s Milk when it comes out of the barrel, but we’re able to play that up and really bring out the wonderful chocolate smoothness. Obviously, that just couples extremely well with the cherry flavor,” said New Holland Vice President of Sales Joel Petersen. “That combination plays nicely against the backbone of this beer.”

Dragon’s Milk Reserve – Cherry Chocolate officially debuted at New Holland’s pubs on April 13 and entered distribution on April 16.  This Limited Release offering is available in 4-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft at select craft beer establishments located in Alabama, Florida, Michigan and throughout the rest of New Holland Brewing’s distribution footprint.  Prost!

Vital Information for Dragon’s Milk Reserve – Cherry Chocolate from New Holland Brewing Co. 

Release – Limited/Dragon’s Milk Reserve, mid-April 2018
Style – Imperial Stout
ABV – 11%
Malts – 2 Row, Munich, Caramel, Crystal, Black, Chocolate Malt & Flaked Barley
Hops – Nugget & Brewer’s Gold
Added Ingredients – Chocolate & cherries
Availability – 4-packs of 12 oz. bottles 
Beer Finder – http://newhollandbrew.com/beer-finder/

Brewery Ommegang Set for Limited Release of Double Barrel Dubbel

DBDbottleBrewery Ommegang (Cooperstown, New York) has officially announced that Double Barrel Dubbel will arrive at the end of April as the brewery’s latest Limited Release offering.

Brewed as a nod to Brewery Ommegang’s first beer, Double Barrel Dubbel starts with a base of Ommegang Abbey Ale that is similarly spiced with orange peel, coriander, cumin, star anise, and licorice root.  Once the brewing process is completed, the beer then “gracefully ages for six months in a mix of bourbon and brandy casks in the brewery’s cellar.” This treatment results in a final blend that boasts a flavor profile of “caramel, raisin, and plums [mixing] nicely with underlying flavors of oak, bourbon, and subtle hints of dried fruit and vanilla.”  Double Barrel Dubbel weighs in at 9.9% ABV.

“As we’ve expanded our barrel-aging program, we’ve experimented with some of our favorite core beers, trying different barrels, and combinations of barrels, to create something new with beers we already enjoy. We thought the combination of bourbon and brandy for Abbey Ale was a great one and we’re pleased to share Double Barrel Dubbel with fans.”

 

– Phil Leinhart, Brewmaster at Brewery Ommegang

Double Barrel Dubbel will be available for a limited time beginning in late April 2018.  You can expect to find this Limited Release brew available in 4-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft at select craft beer establishments located in Florida, New York and other select states located within Ommegang’s distribution area.  Prost!

Vital Information for Double Barrel Dubbel from Brewery Ommegang

Release – Limited, late April 2018
Style – Dubbel
ABV – 9.9%
Malts – Pils, Amber, Munich & Aromatic
Hops – Styrian Golding & Spalter Select
Added Ingredients – Orange peel, coriander, cumin, star anise & licorice root
Treatment – A blend of beer aged for six months in a mix of bourbon & brandy casks
Suggested Food Pairings – “Pairs well with bold flavors like beef carbonade over mashed potatoes, robust cheeses like sharp cheddar and bleu cheese, and for dessert, a brandy-soaked fruitcake.”
Availability – 4-packs of 12 oz. bottles & draft
Distribution – FL, AK, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, GA, IL, IN, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, NC, ND, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OR, PA ,SC, SD, TX, VA, VT, WI, WV, and Washington D.C

Rodenbach Alexander Now Available Year-Round

RodenbachAlexanderbottleBrouwerij RODENBACH (Roeselare, Belgium) has announced that it is officially reclassifying RODENBACH Alexander as a Year-Round offering that will have availability on draft and in new-look 4-packs of 11.2 oz. bottles.

First brewed in 1986 to commemorate Alexander Rodenbach’s 200th birthday, RODENBACH Alexander is a Flanders-style Red Ale comprised of “a blend of 2/3rd aged RODENBACH (2-year matured beer from oak standing Foeders) and 1/3rd young ale, then macerated with sour cherries.” After production of Alexander was ceased in 1999, constant consumer demand forced RODENBACH to resurrect this iconic brew in 2016 as an annually released, limited edition beer packaged in large format bottles.  Alexander has since firmly established itself as one the brewery’s most sought after beers, and now RODENBACH has decided to give their fans the option to enjoy this beautiful beer as a full-time, Year-Round offering.

“The consumer demand and interest for this beer has been outstanding since we re-launched it two years ago, with many stories of consumers traveling far distances to get their hands on a single bottle,” said David van Wees, founder of Latis Imports, U.S. Importer for RODENBACH Brewery. “It’s an exceptional beer that deserves to be enjoyed year-round and we’re excited that more consumers will have the opportunity to enjoy a beer that pays homage to one of the brewery’s original founding members.”

RODENBACH Alexander will officially begin its Year-Round status in June 2018.  Once this happens, you can expect to find this world-class offering available in 4-packs of 11.2 oz. bottles (suggested retail price of $14.99) and on draft at fine beer establishments located in Alabama, Florida and all other areas of the United States that normally see RODENBACH beers on shelves and taps.  Prost!

Vital Information for RODENBACH Alexander from Brouwerij RODENBACH

Release – Year-Round beginning June 2018
Style – Flanders-style Red Ale
ABV – 5.6%
Treatment – “Blend of 2/3rd aged RODENBACH (2-year matured beer from oak standing Foeders) and 1/3rd young ale, then macerated with sour cherries”
Fun Fact – On the beer’s history: “Originally brewed in 1986 to commemorate the 200th birthday of one of the brewery’s founding members – Alexander Rodenbach. Despite being blind at the age of eleven, Alexander Rodenbach ran the brewery starting in 1821 and went on to become a member of parliament, which he served for 36 years. Following the 1999 release, the brewery stopped production of RODENBACH Alexander. It became highly celebrated and in demand since being released annually in limited edition large format bottles beginning in 2016.”
Availability – 4-packs of 11.2 oz. bottles & draft