Dogfish Head Craft Brewery Releases IPA for the Holidays Variety 12-Pack

ipas-for-the-holidays-20Dogfish Head Craft Brewery (Milton, Delaware) has officially announced that it will bring “joy to world” with the early November release of its IPA for the Holidays Variety Pack.

Assembled to be the holiday-themed 12-pack that “has all of your festive beer needs covered”, IPA for the Holidays contains “4 varieties of IPA goodness in one special box . . ., including an homage to ‘reds and whites’ for the vino lovers in the bunch.” For the red wine fans out there, Sixty One is a “beer-wine mashup” that marries “two Dogfish Head innovations – beer-wine hybrids featuring Syrah grape must and continually hopped IPAs.” For those that prefer white wines, Viniferous IPA is a “beer-wine hybrid . . . fermented with Riesling & Viognier grape must and hopped with Hallertau Blanc, Huell Melon and El Dorado to match the dry, fruity complexity of a Riesling with the hoppiness of an IPA.”  Sixty One and Viniferous IPA are available exclusively in the IPA for the Holidays Variety Pack alongside two Dogfish Head Year-Round favorites, 60 Minute IPA and 90 Minute IPA.

For more information on all four beers included in the IPA for the Holidays Variety Pack, here are the descriptions that the brewery provided for each beer in its press release:

  • 60 Minute IPA – A continually hopped super-fantastic East Coast IPA brewed with a slew of great Northwest hops for a powerful, but balanced, citrusy hop character.  ABV – 6%  IBUs – 60
  • 90 Minute IPA – A continually hopped Imperial IPA whose powerful malt backbone stands up to the extreme hopping rate for a pungent, not crushing flavor.  ABV – 9%  IBUs – 90
  • Sixty One (available exclusively in the IPA for the Holidays Variety Pack) – A marriage of two Dogfish Head innovations: beer-wine hybrids and continually hopped IPAs. Dogfish took its best-selling 60 Minute and added Syrah grape must to create an IPA with equal parts fruity complexity and pungent hoppiness.  ABV – 6.5%  IBUs – 60
  • Viniferous IPA (available exclusively in the IPA for the Holidays Variety Pack) – Fermented with Riesling and Viognier grape must and hopped with Hallertau Blanc, Huell Melon and El Dorado to match the dry, fruity complexity of a Riesling with the hoppiness of an IPA.  ABV – 6%  IBUs – 50

Each IPA for the Holidays Variety 12-Pack contains three 12 oz. bottles of each of the four beers listed above.   The IPA for the Holidays Variety Pack also “features a special gift tag that can be personalized”, making it “a great gift for holiday parties.”

“We’ve been experimenting with continual hopping and inventive beer-wine hybrid concoctions since we first opened our doors twenty-three years ago at our brewpub in Rehoboth,” said Sam Calagione, founder and CEO of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. “From angling a vibrating football game over a 5-barrel kettle with a bucket of pelletized hops hanging over it – which brought us 90 Minute Imperial IPA and paved the way for 60 Minute and 120 Minute IPA – to blending grape juice and must in the brewing process with beers like Midas Touch, Noble Rot and Red & White; we take great pride in pushing the boundaries of experimentation in brewing at Dogfish and are excited to move ahead into 2019 and beyond as we continue to stoke the flames of creativity in craft beer.”

The IPA for the Holidays Variety Pack will release in early November 2018 and hang around as long as supplies last.  You can expect to find this variety 12-pack at select craft beer-focused retailers located in Alabama, Florida, Delaware and throughout the rest of Dogfish Head’s distribution footprint.  Prost!

 

 

 

 

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Hi-Wire Brewing Introduces Gimme the Brut DIPA

Hi-Wire-BrewingHi-Wire Brewing (Asheville, North Carolina) has officially announced that it will begin the Limited Release of Gimme the Brut Double IPA on Friday, November 9.

Arriving as another example of Hi-Wire Brewing’s continued efforts to “to push the boundaries of the India Pale Ale style”, Gimme the Brut is a Brut Double India Pale Ale “that pushes the limits of how dry a hoppy beer can be. Super spritzy with a champagne-like body, this experimental IPA is sweet and fruity with notes of white grape and an extremely low bitterness at 20 IBUs.”

Gimme the Brut officially enters distribution on November 9 and will hang around as long as supplies last.  You can expect to find this Limited Release available in 4-packs of 16 oz. cans at select craft beer establishments located within Hi-Wire Brewing’s distribution footprint in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee and Ohio. Prost!

Lagunitas Brewing Company Sends Sparkling Swan Out for a Limited Release

Sparkling-Swan-Bottle-195x519-v2Lagunitas Brewing Company (Petaluma, California) has announced that Sparkling Swan, a Limited Release tart and bubbly grape ale, is hitting shelves now to serve as the brewery’s holiday-ish beer.

Inspired a bit by its much bigger sister, the infrequently released Dark Swan Sour Ale, Sparkling Swan is a highly-carbonated beer-wine hybrid “brewed with red wine grapes” that offers a “super bubbly” champagne-like experience, “but with a gentle kiss of hops and a light malt backbone like a beer.”  Coming in at an easy-drinking 6.5% ABV and 28 IBUs, the purple-hued Sparkling Swan is “perfect for any celebration” headed your way this holiday season.

Sparkling Swan Ale is rolling out now and scheduled to hang around through February 2019.  You can expect to find this Limited Release available in 12-packs of 12 oz. bottles at select craft beer retailers located in Alabama, Florida, California, Illinois, Washington and throughout the rest of Lagunitas Brewing Company’s distribution area.  Prost!

Vital Information for Sparkling Swan Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company

Release – Limited, November 2018 – February 2019
Style – American Sour Ale
ABV – 6.5%
IBUs – 28
Added Ingredients – Red wine grapes
Availability – 12-packs of 12 oz. bottles
Beer Finder – https://lagunitas.com/beer-finder

Angry Chair Brewing Sets Date for 4th Anniversary Party

AngryChairlogo2Angry Chair Brewing (Tampa, Florida) has officially announced that it will close its doors to the public on Saturday, December 8 so that it can celebrate its birthday with a ticketed 4 Year Anniversary Party that will take place in two sessions.

Another year has passed, and Angry Chair Brewing has come out the other side even stronger and more powerful.  The last 52 weeks have allowed the brewery’s spell to set further, enthralling craft beer fans in Tampa – and throughout the country/world – to the extent that they eagerly endure long lines and a lack of parking just for the chance to frenzy over the brewery’s latest, decadent treat.  This power is very real, intriguingly volatile and absolutely gravitational.

Realizing that this level of influence should be celebrated, Angry Chair will lure in 200 of its most dedicated supporters on December 8 so that they can all recognize the last four years of accomplishments by entering into a pact that can only be sealed in the darkest of pastry stouts.  Gaining entrance into the 4 Year Anniversary Party at Angry Chair Brewing will not be easy, but here is all the information that we can provide you so that you at least have a chance.

The Basics

What – Angry Chair Brewing’s 4 Year Anniversary Party
When – Saturday, December 8 – 1st Session: Noon to 3 p.m. | 2nd Session: 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Where – Angry Chair Brewing | 6401 N Florida Ave | Tampa, Florida

Ticket Info

Tickets are $40 each and include a bottle of Angry Chair’s Anniversary Grand Cru and a commemorative anniversary glass.

Ticket sales are CASH ONLY.

Tickets will be available for purchase on the following two dates:

  • Saturday, November 10 at Noon (100 tickets available -50 for the AM session & 50 for the PM session)
  • Saturday, November 24 at Noon (100 tickets available -50 for the AM session & 50 for the PM session)

Tickets can only be purchased in person on one of the two dates designated for ticket sales. There will be NO ONLINE SALES.  Each person is allowed to purchase TWO tickets – One for yourself and one for a plus one.  The brewery will need the name of your plus one at the time of purchase and their name must match their ID on the day of the event. Tickets are NON-TRANSFERRABLE, and no changes will be made once the sale is final.

The Draft List

The folks at Angry Chair are still compiling the final tap list for the 4th Anniversary Party, but here is what they have come up with so far:

  • Barrel-aged Fionn | Bourbon Barrel-aged Imperial Porter with Lactose, Hazelnuts & Coffee
  • Barrel-aged No Promises | Bourbon Barrel-aged Dessert Ale with Coconut & Vanilla Beans
  • Barrel-aged Fudge Bucket | Barrel-aged Sweet Stout Loaded with Fudge
  • Barrel-aged Imperial Awakening | Barrel-aged Sweet Stout with Coffee, Vanilla Beans, Cinnamon & Lactose
  • Barrel-aged French Toast | Barrel-aged Imperial Porter with Lactose, Cinnamon, Vanilla Beans & Maple
  • Barrel-aged Rocky Road | Barrel-aged Imperial Sweet Stout with Lactose, Cacao, Vanilla Beans & Walnuts
  • Barrel-aged Imperial German Chocolate Cupcake Stout | Bourbon Barrel-aged Sweet Stout with Cacao, Vanilla Beans & Coconut
  • Imperial German Chocolate Cupcake Stout | Sweet Stout with Cacao, Vanilla Beans & Coconut
  • Burkitshi (collaboration with Horus Aged Ales)| Imperial Sweet Stout with Cacao, Japanese Sea Salt & Toasted Coconut 
  • Sloth Loves Coffee | Imperial Sweet Stout with Lactose, Cacao, Vanilla Beans, Walnuts & Coffee
  • Wilfred | Sweet Stout with Cacao, Vanilla Beans, Coconut & Maple
  • Purple Puffs | Berliner Weisse with Blackberries, Black Currants & Marshmallows
  • Rocky Road | Imperial Sweet Stout with Lactose, Cacao, Vanilla Beans & Walnuts
  • Coconut Fionn | Imperial Porter with Lactose, Hazelnuts, Coffee & Coconut
  • Unrepentant Transgression | Bourbon Barrel-aged Imperial Sweet Stout with Cacao, Cinnamon, Toasted Walnuts & Vanilla Beans

Other Useful Info

  • Mouthhole BBQ and Create Bakery & Gifts will be on-site for both sessions to cover any grubbin’ needs you may encounter during the party
  • Parking is extremely limited and Angry Chair asks that you please be mindful of the situation.  It is highly encouraged that you carpool, Uber/Lyft, grab a taxi, or have a designated driver drop you off/pick you up.
  • If you decide to drive, make sure that you follow the parking map and are respectful of the brewery’s neighbors (both business and residential).  Also, be aware of the fact that the brewery will need these parking spaces open for the second session as well, so please do not leave your car after the first session of the party.
  • Angry Chair will be closed to the public all day on Saturday, December 8.  The only way in is during one of the timed sessions and with a ticket.

Alright, that should just about cover all the information that is currently available for the 4 Year Anniversary Party at Angry Chair. We will update this post with any and all additional info as it surfaces, so make sure you check back often. Beyond that, all you have to do is get in line for tickets, hope for the best (because this thing will sell out quickly), and fully embrace the dark art of the pastry stout on December 8 as you celebrate four amazing years with Angry Chair Brewing.  Prost!

Cascade Brewing Revives Cuvée du Jongleur

CascadeCuvee
The label artwork for Cuvée du Jongleur when it was originally released in 2008.

Cascade Brewing (Portland, Oregon) has officially announced that it will release Cuvée du Jongleur (2017) for the first in a decade on November 9.

Originally released in 2008, Cuvée du Jongleur – or “Blend of the Juggler” – is a blended American Sour Ale comprised of “select red, triple and quad sour ales aged in oak barrels for up to three years.”  This latest version of Cuvée du Jongleur – the 2017 project – “pays homage to the original blend, juggling a variety of base beers that offer clean and complex flavors through the lactic fermentation process that has come to define Cascade’s Northwest sour ales.”  Cuvée du Jongleur (2017) comes in at 9.4% ABV.

“When it was originally released, Cuvée du Jongleur was only to be sold in our own brewpub, but since then, it’s become one of the biggest ‘white whales’ in Cascade Brewing’s history,” explained Tim Larrance, Cascade Brewing Vice President. “It was never meant for a national release yet has been sold and traded amongst beer collectors worldwide. We’re excited to make it available once again.”

This batch of Cuvée du Jongleur will officially debut in both of Cascade Brewing’s Portland pubs – the Cascade Brewing Barrel House and The Lodge at Cascade Brewing – on November 9 and enter distribution at or around that date.  You can expect to find this Tier One offering available in 500ml bottles and on draft at select craft beer-friendly establishments located in Alabama, Florida, Oregon and throughout the rest of Cascade Brewing’s nationwide/worldwide distribution network.  Prost!

Vital Information for Cuvée du Jongleur (2017) from Cascade Brewing

Release – Limited/Tier One; November 9, 2008
Style – American Sour Ale
ABV – 9.4%
Treatment – A blend of select red, triple & quad sour ales aged in oak barrels for up to three years
Fun Fact – On the label artwork: “The original label, which featured a whimsical juggler, has been updated but still maintains the red and black checker pattern that defined the original release.”
Availability – 500ml bottles & draft

CascadeCuvee3

Mini-Kegs of Bell’s Two Hearted Ale Return For A Limited Time

2018 Two Hearted Mini Kegs-146A9784A-10Bell’s Brewery (Comstock, Michigan) has officially announced that 5L mini-kegs of Two Hearted Ale, the brewery’s wildly popular American IPA, will return to store shelves in early November.

Back for the first time since 2012 and just in time for the holidays, mini-kegs of Two Hearted Ale are 1.32 gallons of the award-winning American India Pale Ale that was recently voted “No. 1 Beer in America” for the second year in a row by members of the American Homebrewers Association. These “eccentric” 5L mini-kegs are “perfect for sharing (or not) and make great gifts.”

If you happen to be unfamiliar with this legendary brew, here is the brewery’s official description of Two Hearted Ale:

Two Hearted Ale | American India Pale Ale – Brewed with 100% Centennial hops from the Pacific Northwest and named after the Two Hearted River in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, this IPA is bursting with hop aromas ranging from pine to grapefruit from massive hop additions in both the kettle and the fermenter. Perfectly balanced with a malt backbone and combined with the signature fruity aromas of Bell’s house yeast, this beer is remarkably drinkable and well suited for adventures everywhere.  ABV – 7%

A limited quantity of Two Hearted Ale mini-kegs will be sent out into distribution during the week of November 5 and will be available at the Bell’s General Store in Kalamazoo on November 7. These mini-kegs will be available for a limited time at select craft beer-friendly retailers located in Alabama, Florida, Michigan and throughout the rest of the brewery’s distribution area.  Two Hearted Ale is also available Year-Round in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles, 6-packs and 12-packs of 12 oz. cans, 4-packs of 16 oz. cans and on draft.  Prost!

Vital Information for Two Hearted Ale from Bell’s Brewery

Release – Year-Round; mini-kegs will see a limited run in November 2018
Style – American India Pale Ale
ABV – 7%
Featured Hops – Centennial 
Recommended Glassware – Nonic
Suggested Food Pairings – “Savory: Oysters, BBQ, brisket, cilantro, bleu cheese, coriander, cumin, balsamic, chili | Sweet: Apples, grapefruit, carrot cake, maple syrup, caramel | The Eccentric Way: Curried Vegetable Soup
Availability – Year-Round in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles, 6-packs & 12-packs of 12 oz. cans, 4-packs of 16 oz. cans & draft. Limited availability in 5L mini-kegs
Beer Finder – http://www.bellsbeer.com/beer-finder

 

Creature Comforts Brewing Co. Expands Distribution in Georgia

GA_Expansion_ComingSoon_FinalCreature Comforts Brewing Co. (Athens, Georgia) has announced that it will work with its distributor, Savannah Distributing, to expand the brewery’s distribution footprint in mid-November to now include the cities of Augusta and Columbus, Georgia.

Thanks to a recent brewery expansion that included the opening of a second production facility at Southern Mill, an “$11 million, 40,000-square-foot” facility that has increased production capacity to 70,000 barrels, Creature Comforts Brewing Co. now has the ability to extend its distribution reach in Georgia to the areas of Augusta and Columbus.  Up until this point, Creature Comforts offerings were only available in Athens, Atlanta, and nearby surrounding cities.

“We’re thrilled we now have the capacity to continue to grow our brands in our existing distribution footprint and also begin supplying additional markets in our home state,” said CEO Chris Herron. “Bringing our second production facility online has been an incredible journey, and we’re excited that more people will be able to experience our beer as a result.”

Creature Comforts Brewing Co. will launch in Augusta and Columbus with “its core portfolio of year-round, award-winning products” in mid-November.  Beer lovers in those areas can expect to find Creature Comforts offerings at the local craft beer-friendly establishments that are typically serviced by Savannah Distributing.  Prost!

 

Collective Arts Brewing Set to Launch in Florida

CollectiveArtslogoCollective Arts Brewing (Hamilton, Ontario) has announced that it has signed with Cavalier Distributing and will officially launch distribution in Florida on November 10.

Established in Hamilton, Ontario in 2013, Collective Arts Brewing is a grassroots craft brewery founded on two beliefs:

  • “The first that creativity fosters creativity.”
  • “And the second, that creativity yields delicious pints.”

By staying true to these beliefs, Collective Arts “aims to fuse the creativity of craft beer with the inspired talents of emerging artists and musicians” by featuring limited-edition works of art on [their] beer cans and labels.”  This unique approach has since yielded a strong portfolio of beers “designed to be as diverse, creative, and unwavering as the artists profiled; respecting tradition, but not constrained by it.”

“Craft beer drinkers love to experiment with new and innovative beers. We’re committed to providing them with a one-of-a-kind beer experience through the creative collision of our beers, art and music,” says Matt Johnston, co-founder and CEO of Collective Arts Brewing. “With our event at Art Basel 2018 and the progressive art community in Miami, along with the thriving craft beer scene in Florida, we think it’s an exciting spot for us to dive in and integrate our beers.” 

Beginning on November 10, ten representatives from Collective Arts Brewing will be “traveling throughout the [Sunshine State], kicking off their Florida expansion with a week’s worth of events featuring art installations, live music, and tap takeovers” (click here to see the full schedule of events).  To infuse the festivities with a little Collective Arts style and flair, the brewery has also “partnered with four Miami-based artists to produce limited-edition beer cans as a way to celebrate their official launch.”
**If you are interested in learning more about these artists, their bios are available at the bottom of the post.**

As far as the beer goes, Collective Arts will launch in Florida with “a range of core beers . . . and a selection of rotating small batch brews.” The beers that are confirmed to be available at launch are as follows (descriptions sourced from the brewery’s website):

  • Life in the Clouds | New England-style IPA – New to our core lineup, Life in the Clouds is our flagship New England style IPA. After experimenting with the Collective Project HAZY IPA we dialed in the Simcoe and Mosaic hops and malt balance to optimize this juicy IPA’s pleasantly fruit forward (think citrus and melon) taste and aroma. In keeping with the nouveau NEIPA tradition, Life in the Clouds is an unfiltered beer, neither overly-sweet nor bitter, with a pillowy mouth feel. Crack one, pour it in a glass, take a whiff, hold it up to the light and take a sip! Don’t you agree?  ABV – 6.1%  IBUs – 50
  • Stranger Than Fiction | Porter – Stranger Than Fiction is a full-bodied porter with plenty of roast flavour with hints of molasses. Ridiculous amounts of chocolate and pale ale malts make this porter a smooth and creamy brew.  ABV – 5.5%  IBUs – 25
  • Jam Up the Mash | Dry Hop Sour – To all our Collective Project Dry Hop Sour fans, we heard you. This brew is now part of our year-round lineup! After the never ending battle between the hop heads and sour lovers we decided to appease the two. Using Nelson Sauvin from New Zealand and Vic Secret from the Yakima Valley this mixed fermentation brew is juicy, sour and extremely refreshing. Sour & hops in perfect, thirst quenching, melody!  ABV – 5%  IBUs – 35

If you wish to get more familiar with this brewery and its beers but are unable to attend any of the launch events, the Collective Arts offerings listed above – and several others – will be available year-round in retail stores including Whole Foods and Total Wine, and bars and restaurants throughout Miami, Orlando, Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Jacksonville.  Prost!

Bios for the Artists Participating in the Miami Series Art Cans Series

CollectiveArtsMiamiArtists
From left to right – ILL SURGE, NATE DEE, DIDIROCK, JAY BELLICHI
  • ILL SURGE | @illsurge – SURGE, born in Los Angeles and raised in Miami, is a Postgraffisim artist, and has taken his bold, unmistakable style straight from his sketchbooks to the sun-stained streets of South Florida and beyond.  Surge has worked with Brands like NIKE, Jameson Whiskey, the NBA, the Miami Dolphins, Microsoft, and Bloomingdales to name a few. It is the ability to be daring and free with his art that is ultimately closest to Surge’s heart.
  • NATE DEE | @miaminate – Born and raised in South Florida, Nathan Delinois (Nate Dee) has numerous influences including his Haitian background and the use of color Haitian art, as well as in street art. The design quality of the Art Nouveau movement and the drama of Greek art from the Hellenistic.  These elements can be seen in his work. Additionally, he takes some influences from the pop surrealists.
  • DIDIROCK | @didirok – Diana Contreras (b. Peru, 1981) has established herself as an influential Miami artist. From painting murals in the Urban Art scene to exhibiting canvas pieces in galleries, her work has been seen in exhibitions and private collections in several parts of the world including Street Art Dubai Gallery in Dubai.
  • JAY BELLICCHI | @remoteroc – Jay Bellicchi (REMOTE) a Boston transplant, has taken his place in the Miami art scene as a dynamic artist influenced by his history in graffiti and graphic design. His father was a successful artist and graphic designer who inspired him at a young age. In the 1980’s, Jay was further influenced by hip-hop music and the elements surrounding it. It was within the hip-hop culture that he discovered the element of graffiti art and was given the name by which he is still known today, REMOTE.

 

 

 

Johnnie Walker Releases Limited-Edition 28 Year Old Midnight Blend

JohnnieWalkerLogoJohnnie Walker (London, England) has announced that it will officially complete its John Walker & Sons Private Collection with the November release of 28 Year Old Midnight Blend.

Arriving as the fifth and final edition in the John Walker & Sons Private Collection, 28 Year Old Midnight Blend is a “decadent Scotch . . . containing rare and precious whiskies aged for a minimum of 28 years.” Meant to be enjoyed “after-dinner, or approaching the ‘midnight’ moment,” this carefully selected blend “features layers of butterscotch, caramel and toffee, balanced with a fruitiness and touch of spice.”

“Whiskies aged for 28 years are rare, and very special. In our search to find the flavours and characteristics necessary for a rich, indulgent Scotch like Midnight Blend, we were very lucky to have access to some of the most mature reserves drawn from the four corners of Scotland. Each individual malt and grain used in the final whisky adds layers of flavour to the 28 Year Old Midnight Blend, leaving hints of fruit, sweet and spice and making it a wonderful final addition to the Private Collection.”

– Jim Beveridge, Johnnie Walker Master Blender

With only 3,888 limited-edition, individually numbered collectible decanters available, 28 Year Old Midnight Blend will officially hit shelves in November with a recommended retail price of $750.  You can expect to find this Limited Release offering at select retailers located throughout Johnnie Walker’s distribution network in the U.S.  Prost!

Vital Information for 28 Year Old Midnight Blend from Johnnie Walker

Release – Limited/John Walker & Sons Private Collection, November 2018
Style – Blended Scotch Whisky 
ABV – 42.8%
Blend – A blend of rare & precious whiskies aged for a minimum of 28 years
Fun Fact – On the blend selection: “Working closely alongside fellow blender Craig Wallace, [Jim Beveridge] sampled hundreds of the finest single malt and grain whiskies to eventually hand-select only a few rare whiskies with the character necessary for a Scotch this wonderfully smooth and indulgent.”
Serving Suggestions “28 Year Old Midnight Blend is best served neat, in a balloon glass, rolled in the hand to gently warm the whisky and release the distinctive aromas. For a truly decadent serve, enjoy with a square of dark chocolate.”
Locator – https://www.johnniewalker.com/en-us/shop-for-johnnie-walker/

Tasting Notes: CBS (2018) From Founders Brewing Co.

foundersCBSpourTasting Notes returns for a double dip this week as we take advantage of the very special opportunity to preview a bottle of CBS (2018) from Founders Brewing Co. (Grand Rapids, Michigan).

Back for the second year in a row and rockin’ some new label artwork this time around, CBS (a.k.a. Canadian Breakfast Stout) is an Imperial Stout brewed with coffee and chocolate – the same base beer as Kentucky Breakfast Stout (KBS) – and then aged in “bourbon barrels that had previously housed maple syrup.” Once its rest is completed, CBS emerges to offer a “transcendental drinking experience” that features notes of “rich maple syrup, roasted coffee and velvety chocolate.”

The 2018 batch of CBS will debut at Founders Brewing Co.’s Grand Rapids and Detroit taproom locations on November 1 and will begin seeing distribution on November 2.  You can expect to find this incredibly limited Barrel-Aged Series release available in 750ml bottles (suggested retail price of $24.99 per bottle) and on draft at select craft beer establishments located in Alabama, Florida, Michigan and throughout the rest of the brewery’s distribution area.

Now that all the background information has been properly handled, what do you say we get into this bottle and see how this year’s batch of CBS is tasting?

Tasting Notes for CBS (2018) from Founders Brewing Co.

Appearance:  Off the pour, CBS is a polished obsidian black in color and is adorned with nearly two fingers of rich and foamy mocha-colored head.  When held to a direct light source, the darkness holds and completely blacks out any light that attempts to find its way through.  The beer is so opaque, inky and glossy that it is actually highly reflective.  The head retention is pretty fantastic for a stout this big, but it does eventually fall – over a great deal of time – to a slight, almost complete top cap that traces thin webs of lace on the glass from start to finish.

Aroma: Dark, roasty grains billow from the glass and carry with them notes of dark chocolate, chocolate syrup, caramel, and a whisper of smoke.  The barrels then flood the experience with boozy bourbon, oak, vanilla, and sweet maple.  Coffee then works its way in to close out the profile with a character that is both bitter (pure, deeply roasted coffee beans) and sweet/rich (think sweetened café con leche).

Taste:  Rich dark chocolate, milk chocolate, hot cocoa with marshmallows, and straight up cacao nibs immediately stake their claim in the flavor department, but eventually relinquish control to those glorious maple-bourbon barrels.  They create a note that is quite similar to that of a maple doughnut – rich maple and vanilla working hand-in-hand with a sweet breadiness – served with a sidecar of smooth bourbon.  Caramel and toasty grains slip through to lend some support alongside a touch of smoke and char. Pulling up the rear again, the coffee finally surfaces in the finish to wash everything down with a deep roast quality that offers the experience a balancing touch of bitterness and earthiness.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied with a medium to mild carbonation level, this Imperial Stout is thick, viscous, and coating on the palate.  Although it is mostly sweet, it does find a remarkably subtle balance thanks to its stealthy hops and the light pops of bitterness supplied by the those notes of coffee, dark chocolate, and heavily roasted grains.  For 11.6% ABV, the alcohol presence is beautifully nuanced, has only a hint of heat, and really only surfaces in the form of bourbon flavor and aroma.  The aftertaste leaves behind traces of coffee, dark chocolate and roasty/toasty grains.

Final Thoughts:  This year’s batch of CBS has found an impressive degree of balance on all levels.  Where the 2017 release came across to us as a little overly sweet and hot/boozy, the 2018 version is – to put it simply and ruggedly – just so damn smooth.  The sweet notes – maple, chocolate, caramel and grain – are brilliantly tempered with a lovely contrast found in black coffee, bittersweet chocolate, and just the right amount of smoke/char.  This balancing act most impressively carries over into the ABV that barely has a presence even though it is pulling double digits.  This all results in one hell of an Imperial Stout that . . . yeah . . . it can be a dessert beer, but its incredibly well-managed level of sweetness also earns it a place at the brunch table or at the fire pit while just enjoying a few brews with friends.

Our final word of advice – Just go ahead and grab a bottle or two of CBS (2018) if you can and drink them fresh. No fancy bottle share required.  Simply treat yourself and someone special to a pour whenever you feel inclined.  Don’t wait for a “perfect moment” because this beer – in the state that it is in now – has the capability to conveniently make any moment memorable.  Prost!