Weyerbacher Brewing Begins its Season of Insanity

insanity-4packWeyerbacher Brewing (Easton, Pennsylvania) has announced that it will officially begin the Seasonal Release of Insanity Oak-aged Barleywine on Friday, December 7.

Regarded as a “perennial fan favorite”, Insanity enters the world as Blithering Idiot, Weyerbacher’s Year-Round English-style Barleywine, and is then given its own identity after it spends some time aging on oak.  This aging process “imparts an additional level of complexity to the already intense malt profile of Blithering Idiot by adding a combination of vanilla and oak notes.”  Insanity weighs in at a mind-bending 13.3% ABV.

The 2018 release of Insanity will debut in The Tap Room at Weyerbacher Brewing on December 7 and is expected to enter distribution on or around that date.  Once fully released, you will be able to find this Seasonal Release available for a limited time in 4-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft at select craft beer-friendly retailers, bars and restaurants located in Florida, Georgia, Pennsylvania and throughout the rest of Weyerbacher’s distribution area.  Prost!

Vital Information for Insanity from Weyerbacher Brewing

Release – Seasonal; December 7, 2018
Style – English-style Barleywine
ABV – 13.3%
IBUs – 34
Featured Hops – Northern Brewer & Hallertau
Treatment – Aged on oak

Recommended Glassware – Snifter
Availability – 4-packs of 12 oz. bottles & draft




Lagunitas Willettized Coffee Stout Returns for a Limited Time

Willetized-Stout_22oz_Photo-195x725Lagunitas Brewing Company (Petaluma, California) has officially announced that it is putting the finishing touches on 2018 with the “hiiiiighly limited” release of Willettized Coffee Stout.

Back to tackle the peak season of “fireside-swigging and sweater-sipping”, Willettized Coffee Stout is a “big and burly stout” brewed with coffee beans from Metropolis Coffee Company and then aged for “up to 24 months” in Rye Whiskey casks sourced from Willett Distillery.  100% barrel aged and blended, Willettized (12% ABV) is a “chocolatey, coffee-y, smoky, oak-y, rye-y beast” that is “meant to be shared and/or aged . . . or not . . . whatever.”

The 2018 batch of Willettized Coffee Stout officially started rolling out in late November/early December 2018 and will hang around as long as supplies last.  You can expect to find this OneHitter Release available in 22 oz. bottles and on draft at select craft beer-focused establishments located in Alabama, Florida, California, Illinois, Washington and throughout the rest of Lagunitas Brewing Company’s nationwide distribution territory.  Prost!

Vital Information for Willettized Coffee Stout from Lagunitas Brewing Company

Release – Limited/OneHitter Series, late November/early December 2018
Style – Imperial Stout
ABV – 12%
IBUs – 32
Added Ingredients – Coffee beans from Metropolis Coffee Company
Treatment – Aged for up to 24 months in Rye Whiskey casks sourced from Willett Distillery
Availability – 22 oz. bottles & draft
Beer Finder – https://lagunitas.com/beer-finder


Hi-Wire Brewing Establishes Rotating Gose Series

Hi-Wire-BrewingHi-Wire Brewing (Asheville, North Carolina) has officially announced that it will be reinventing its popular Hi-Wire Gose offering by launching a rotating year-round Gose Series with the release of Citra Gose on Thursday, December 6.

Here to serve as a creative playground that will allow Hi-Wire’s brewers to “experiment with different flavor combinations to better reflect each season of this typically ‘summery’ style”, the brewery’s newly established Gose Series will introduce itself this month with the release of Citra Gose (4.2% ABV).  This hop-centric riff on the style takes a “tart, balanced, and refreshing” Gose base and blends it “perfectly with the citrus and tropical fruit notes of Citra hops creating an extremely aromatic and floral sour wheat beer with no bitterness.”

Citra Gose officially releases on December 6 and will be available for a limited time.  You can expect to find this Rotating Release available in 6-packs of 12 oz. cans and on draft at select craft beer establishments located within Hi-Wire Brewing’s distribution footprint in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee and Ohio. Prost!

Vital Information for Citra Gose from Hi-Wire Brewing

Release – Rotating/Gose Series, launching December 6, 2018
Style – Gose
ABV – 4.2%
Featured Hops – Citra
Availability – 6-packs of 12 oz. cans & draft
Distribution – North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee & Ohio

New Belgium Brewing Launches Up Next Series with Release of Brut IPA

NBB Bike Text logo 4-colorNew Belgium Brewing (Fort Collins, Colorado) has officially announced that it is kicking off its brand new Up Next Series with the December release of Brut IPA.

Developed to be a new twist on New Belgium’s “tradition of innovation by offering easy-drinking, unique and flavor-bending beers”, the Up Next Series will feature new offerings that “push the boundaries of traditional beer style definitions while giving micro and often regionalized beer trends national exposure.”  With new releases coming every quarter, Up Next Series offerings are intended to “blend trending flavors with a hint of seasonality.”

The first release in the Up Next Series will be Brut IPA, an incredibly crisp India Pale Ale that is “inspired by sparkling wine and partner Dick Cantwell’s foray into brewing Brut IPAs at sister brewery Magnolia Brewing in San Francisco.”  New Belgium’s take on the Brut IPA “pours a bright and bubbly platinum blonde with white grape and tropical aromas that give way to a refreshingly dry finish.”

“The IPA drinker is constantly on the lookout for fresh new flavors and that’s really inspiring for a brewer,” said Ross Koenigs, New Belgium Research & Development Brewer. “San Francisco has been ground zero for development of Brut beers so it’s been a lot of fun bouncing ideas off the team out there. Our Brut IPA mashes wine notes with a beer backbone that delivers the best of both traditions. This beer will take you through the holidays and beyond – it makes a great beer-mosa as well.”

Brut IPA is rolling out now and will be available as long as supplies last.  You can expect to find this Up Next Series offering available in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft at select craft beer-friendly retailers, bars and restaurants located in Alabama, Florida, Colorado, North Carolina and throughout the rest of New Belgium’s nationwide distribution network.  Prost!

Vital Information for Brut IPA from New Belgium Brewing

Release – Limited/Up Next Series, launching December 2018
Style – American India Pale Ale/Brut India Pale Ale
ABV – 6.7%
IBUs – 40
Malts – Pale & Pilsner
Hops – Nelson Sauvin, Citra, Hull Melon & Azacca
Availability – 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles & draft
Beer Finder – https://www.newbelgium.com/beer/finder/


Wild Leap Brew Co. Closes Out 2018 with Three Limited Releases

WildLeapAmericanBlackberryWild Leap Brew Co. (LaGrange, Georgia) has officially announced that will introduce three new Limited Releases this holiday season: American Blackberry Ale, Alpha Abstraction Double IPA – Volume 4, and Solid Ground Cold Brew Coffee Stout.

Released in late November to kick off Wild Leap’s end-of-the-year barrage, American Blackberry is a Fruit Beer/Blackberry Ale “designed to taste like a piece of homemade blackberry pie.”  The brewery pulled this off by fermenting the beer with “1,400 pounds of blackberries” to create “a distinct freshness paired with rich cinnamon.” (ABV – 6.5%, IBUs – 20)

“The crisp weather and holiday spirit that surrounds this season influenced us to brew a beer that has a familiar and cozy feel,” explains Rob Goldstein, co-founder of Wild Leap. “It reminds you of the flavors of home, while helping you survive it.”

Next up, we have the latest release in Wild Leap’s wildly-popular Alpha Abstraction Series of juicy, double dry-hopped India Pale Ales.  Alpha Abstraction- Vol. 4 is the first of the series to feature Denali hops and comes in at 8% ABV and 35 IBUs.

“For the Alpha series, we search for hop varieties that are fruity and juicy,” explains Head Brewer, Chris Elliott. “Denali has citrus, pineapple, and pine characteristics that work well with this beer, and the hop is high in essential oils so you can expect a bigger and bolder aroma compared to other hop varieties.”

The final Wild Leap release of 2018 will be Solid Ground, a Cold Brew Coffee Stout “fermented with fresh Colombian coffee brewed right in the Wild Leap brewhouse, and roasted malts.”  Weighing in at a big and toasty 8.8% ABV, Solid Ground is “smooth and balanced and is an ideal refreshment beside a big roaring fire on a cold winter day.”

American Blackberry is available now and Alpha Abstraction – Vol. 4 and Solid Ground will both debut on December 7 at a Double Release Party hosted by Wild Leap Brew Co.  All three offerings will be available as long as supplies last in 6-packs of 12 oz. cans and on draft at select craft beer-focused establishments located in and around the Atlanta, LaGrange, Newnan, Peachtree City, Columbus, Athens, Gainesville and Augusta areas of Georgia. Prost!





Dogfish Head Craft Brewery & the Grateful Dead Reunite for 2019 American Beauty

american-beauty-press-photos-11Dogfish Head Craft Brewery (Milton, Delaware) has once again teamed up with the iconic Grateful Dead band to revive American Beauty, a fan-favorite collaboration beer, for the entirety of 2019.

First released back in 2013, American Beauty is an American Pale Ale brewed with “granola and succulent wildflower honey which adds toasty, sweet notes to this hoppy ale.”  The decision to use granola came after Dogfish Head and the Grateful Dead “jointly reached out to their fan base with a call out for ingredient suggestions to incorporate into the recipe of the beer. Loyal dead heads and off-centered ale enthusiasts submitted more than 1500 ingredient suggestions, and after careful thought (and chuckles at some of the entries,) it was granola for the win.”  American Beauty clocks in at 6.5% ABV “to commemorate the year the Grateful Dead was formed (1965).”

“After more than 50 years of performing in front of fans all over the world, folks remain fiercely loyal to the Grateful Dead due to the organically imaginative, creative and accessible culture they nurture across all artistic platforms,” said Sam Calagione, CEO and founder of Dogfish Head. “We, at Dogfish, are inspired by their music, along with their unprecedented ability to bridge long-lasting, meaningful connections with fans for decades on end. We’re thrilled to collaborate with the Dead for a second iteration of American Beauty and hope fans of free-spirited music and independent beer will join in welcoming back this classic pale ale.”

American Beauty is rolling out this month and has plans to hang around through 2019.  You can expect to find this “Occasional” Release available in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles at select craft beer-friendly establishments located in Alabama, Florida, Delaware and throughout the rest of Dogfish Head’s distribution area.  Prost!

Vital Information for American Beauty (2019) from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

Release – Limited/Occasional, December 2018 – December 2019
Style – American Pale Ale
ABV – 6.5%
Added Ingredients – Granola & wildflower honey
Fun Fact #1 – “In addition to the beer release, Dogfish Head will be working with the official Grateful Dead archivist, David Lemieux, who curates and produces a series of rare and highly sought-after live Grateful Dead shows, known as “Dave’s Picks.” Dogfish Head will partner with Lemieux on a number of projects, including an immersive storytelling experience at their Rehoboth and Milton properties in early February.”
Fun Fact #2 – On the name of the beer: “This synergetic union brings fans a pale ale that shares a name with the popular 1970 Grateful Dead album, American Beauty, featuring hits like ‘Friend of the Devil,’ ‘Sugar Magnolia,’ and ‘Truckin.’” 

Availability – 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles
Beer Finder – https://www.dogfish.com/brewery/fishfinder


Founders Brewing Co. Provides a Peek at its 2019 Brand Calendar

blushing_monk_bottle_carrier_3-4Brewery release calendar season is upon us once again, and Founders Brewing Co. (Grand Rapids, Michigan) has stepped forward this week to reveal a 2019 Availability Calendar that is sure to get quite a few of its loyal fans rather excited.

Just as we have done in previous years with release calendars, we have posted Founders Brewing Co.’s full 2019 Availability Calendar below for you to go over at your own speed. It is pretty self-explanatory, but there are a few pieces of news that we need to pass along before we set you loose on that calendar:

  • The Barrel-Aged Series will return in 2019 with five releases.  Backwoods Bastard (Year-Round), KBS (late March/April 2019) and CBS (November 2019) have all been confirmed and two other releases will be named later in the year.
  • Founders will begin offering All Day IPA in 12-packs of 12 oz. bottles in late January/early February 2019.  All Day IPA will continue to be available in 6-packs of 12 oz. cans, 19.2 oz. cans, 15-packs of 12 oz. cans, 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft. All these formats will be available across the brewery’s entire distribution footprint.
  • The brewery will also begin offering Solid Gold Premium Lager in 12-packs of 12 oz. cans in late January/early February 2019. This new packaging format will replace 15-packs of Solid Gold.  This Year-Round offering will also be available in 24-packs of 12 oz. cans, 12-packs of 12 oz. bottles and 19.2 oz. cans.
  • Blushing Monk, a Belgian-style Ale fermented with pure raspberries, will make a triumphant comeback in January 2019 as a part of Founders Brewing Co.’s Limited Series.  This time around it will be available in 4-packs of 12 oz. bottles.
  • The voice of the people has been heard and Founders Brewing Co. will bring its fan-favorite Imperial Stout out of retirement for a limited time in December 2019. Imperial Stout will be a Limited Series release available in 4-packs of 12 oz. bottles.

Ok . . . that should pretty much cover everything we needed to go over, but there are still a few things left for you to discover on the calendar below.  Check it out and start getting yourself prepared for another great year of beer with Founders Brewing Co. in 2019.  Prost!


Schlafly Beer Schedules Limited Release for The Variant II Barrel-aged Imperial Stout


Photo credit for the featured image and image above: Lee Wallace of @the_outdoorsy_guy

Schlafly Beer (St. Louis, Missouri) has officially announced that it will begin the extremely limited release of The Variant II, a blended Barrel-aged Imperial Stout, on Saturday, December 8.


Arriving as the successor to the wildly popular and incredibly exclusive Ibex Rare: The Variant that was released in Spring 2017, The Variant II is a blended Imperial Stout “that is both aged in brandy barrels as well as aged with sour cherries.” An “ideal blend” of the two treatments yields “rich notes of sour cherries . . . followed by luxurious dark malts and candy-like booze notes from the brandy barrels.”  The Variant II weighs in at 9.4% ABV.

“We were blown away with the response to The Variant so we wanted to be sure that the next variation was something special. The conversations started amongst our brewing team, and we are getting really inspired by cocktails at Schlafly with a lot of our beers (such as our Cellar Series Kentucky Mule and Paloma Gose) so we started kicking around ideas about flavors inspired by classic cocktails like an Old Fashioned or Manhattan. The combination of the brandy barrels and cherries was the perfect blend to evoke those flavor profiles with our base Imperial Stout.”

– Jared Williamson, Lead Brewer and overseer of Schlafly’s Ibex Rare program 

The Variant II will debut in the Schlafly Tap Room on Saturday, December 8 at 11 a.m.  This Limited Release offering will be available in “unique” 750 ml bottles for the cost of $30 each (limit of 3 bottles per customer).  If you cannot make it out to Schlafly for the release, a limited number of bottles of The Variant II will also be available in the market as long as supplies last.  Prost!

Vital Information for The Variant II from Schlafly Beer

Release – Limited; December 8, 2018
Style – Imperial Stout
ABV – 9.4%
Treatment – “The Variant II is a blended stout that is both aged in brandy barrels as well as aged with sour cherries. The brewers aged a portion of the stout with the sour cherries for four weeks and another in the brandy barrels for six months.”
Fun Fact – On the Ibex Rare program: “The Variant II continues the values of the Ibex Rare series: to showcase the Schlafly brewers’ commitment to the artistry, ingenuity and passion for craft beer. The series showcases what happens when the brewers take a no-holds-barred approach to brewing beer. The series predecessors include: Lazy Ballerina, The Eleventh Labor as well as Devil’s Farmhouse.”
Availability – 750ml bottles

Scofflaw Brewing Co. Expands Distribution to Alabama

ScofflawScofflaw Brewing Co. (Atlanta, Georgia) has announced that it has partnered with United–Johnson Brothers and will begin distribution in the state of Alabama on Monday, December 3.

Originated in 2015 by Founder Matt Shirah and Brewmaster Travis Herman in what can only be described as a “nothing short than amateur . . . project in Shirah’s mother-in-law’s basement”, Scofflaw Brewing Co. has since “exploded into the Georgia craft beer scene” and rapidly grown into an 18,000 square foot brewery that has more than doubled its original annual capacity.  This incredible success can be greatly attributed to the popularity of Basement IPA, the brewery’s signature beer, and the fact that Scofflaw has been recognized by BeerAdvocate, RateBeer, USA Today and Craft Beer Brewing as one of the “Best New Breweries in America.”  Finally comfortable with their level of growth and acclaim, the folks at Scofflaw feel that now is the perfect time to expand distribution to the great state of Alabama.

“When we go into a market, I want to be sure that we have a real connection to that market. We scraped up the money to start this brewery with funds from just a few friends and my family, and some of them are from Alabama,” said Shirah. “We really wanted to share the Scofflaw experience with Bama – I knew the state had a great potential beer market, and is in close proximity to the brewery. It all just made sense.”

Scofflaw Brewing Co. plans to launch distribution in Alabama with the following offerings:

  • Basement IPA – Scofflaw’s signature citrus-y India Pale Ale, created in the original brewery down in Matt’s Mother-in-law’s basement, hence the name. ABV – 7.5%
  • POG Basement IPA – Basement’s lil’ brother with passion fruit, orange and guava.  ABV – 7.5%
  • Dirty Beaches – An easy drinking tropical wheat with waves of fruit aromas and flavors.  ABV – 6.3%

Beginning on December 3, representatives from Scofflaw Brewing and United–Johnson Brothers will journey to Birmingham and Mobile so that they can properly introduce Alabama’s craft beer community to the beers above with a series of launch events.  The current launch schedule is as follows:

If you cannot make it out to any of the events above, worry not because Scofflaw Brewing Co.’s offerings will also be available in their respective packaging formats and on draft at select craft beer-focused establishments located in Birmingham and Mobile, Alabama.  Prost!


Tasting Notes: Counter Currant from Rogue Ales

RogueCounterCurrantPour_editedTasting Notes is back to close out yet another week and this time around we are focusing our attention on Counter Currant from Rogue Ales (Newport, Oregon).

Born out of inspiration sourced from the black currants grown at Rogue FarmsCounter Currant is a “ground to glass” Fruit Beer that features “rich flavors of black currant and a dry, tart finish.” Light in body and a “deep purple in color”, Counter Currant (6.4% ABV) is an eye-catching, “food-friendly” brew that will be at home on just about any table during the holiday season.

Counter Currant launched earlier this month and will be available through February 2019.  You can expect to find this Seasonal Release available in 4-packs of 16 oz. cans and on draft at select craft beer establishments located in Alabama, Florida, Oregon and throughout the rest of Rogue’s nationwide distribution area.

Now that we are all a bit more familiar with this beer’s background, let’s dive into these Tasting Notes and see where the Counter Currant takes us!

Tasting Notes for Counter Currant from Rogue Ales

Appearance:  A gentle pour produces a beer that is an incredibly rich purple in color and wearing over two fingers of dense, dark pink foam that rises well above the brim of the glass.  When held to direct light, garnet tones push through to add a pop of vibrancy.  The beer is far too dark to provide any visual indication of the carbonation level.  Head retention is fantastic, falling ever so slowly to a creamy 1/4 finger top cap that leaves some seriously chunky lace patterns on the glass after each sip.

Aroma:  The first thing to hit the nose is an aroma that is strikingly similar to straight up cranberry juice.  This opens further to offer a bright note of black currant and a slightly sweeter presence of blackberry and blueberry.  An earthy and slightly spicy hop character comes in near the end of the profile to attempt some balance, but this beer is all about a sublime level of fruitiness here.

Taste:  Black currant is quick to grab the palate with a sharp level of tartness and a slightly tannic presence.  This sharpness is rapidly tempered with a rush of sweetness that takes the form of blackberry jam and cranberry cocktail.  Earthy hops mingle with those tannic notes to offer equal parts balance and support.  A bit of biscuity malt slides in near the finish but is quickly lost in all this tart and tangy fruitiness.

Mouthfeel:  On the lighter side of medium in body with a middling carbonation level, Counter Currant has a nice weight to it and a silken texture on the palate.  The beer’s tart, tangy and sweet notes all work together to find a sense of balance and achieve a pretty dry finish.  The ABV is nicely masked by the tartness and does not feel anywhere near 6.4%.  The aftertaste is all berry goodness.

Final Thoughts: After finishing off this glass, one thing has become quite clear: Counter Currant pulls zero punches and does all that it can to let every characteristic of the black currant shine.  This beer is considerably tart/sour – almost aggressively – and it does not appear that Rogue wanted to avoid that for the sake of accessibility.  Instead, they put themselves out there, focused on the main ingredient, and just allowed those black currants to do their thing.  This was a risk for Rogue and we could not be happier that they took it.  It shows that a brewery of their size is still willing to take a chance by embracing an assertive ingredient/flavor profile to produce a beautiful and memorable beer.  We may have already used this word in the description above, but “sublime” is truly the best way to describe Counter Currant.  Be sure to give it a shot before its Seasonal run comes to an end in February.  Prost!