Starr Hill Brewery to Release Box of Chocolates Stout Pack

Box of Chocolates Pack_editedStarr Hill Brewery (Charlottesville, Virginia) announced today that it will begin the limited release of Box of Chocolates Stout Pack, a variety 12-pack containing Double Bass Double Chocolate Stout and three of its variants, on November 15.

First introduced at the start of 2017 as a part of Starr Hill Brewery’s All Access Series, the original Double Bass Double Chocolate Stout quickly achieved fan favorite status thanks to its “massive additions of cocoa [that bring] forward aromas of dark chocolate, mocha and vanilla.”  Looking back at that first release, the folks at Starr Hill realized this 7.8% ABV Imperial Stout had limitless potential as a base beer that could carry a plethora of other flavors and ingredients.  Since they have experienced success with the Four Kings IPA Pack that features variants of their King of Hop Imperial IPA, why not give Double Bass a similar platform with the release of Box of Chocolates Stout Pack?

This new variety 12-pack will consist of Double Bass Double Chocolate Stout and three variants that have been “infused with all-natural ingredients including organic peppermint leaves, smoke-dried jalapeño peppers, and locally roasted whole coffee beans” (three bottles of each beer in each pack).  For a little more information on these brews, here are the official names and descriptions for all four offerings that will be included in the Box of Chocolates Stout Pack:

  • Double Bass Double Chocolate Stout – This rich imperial stout is all about malt and chocolate. Aromas of dark chocolate, mocha and vanilla arise from cocoa additions. Robust bittersweet chocolate and dark fruit lead into a smooth finish.
  • Peppermint Double Bass – Bittersweet aromas arise from cocoa additions while fresh mint and chocolate notes lead into a smooth finish.
  • Chipotle Double Bass – Bittersweet aromas arise from cocoa additions while smoked pepper and chocolate notes lead into a smooth finish.
  • Mocha Double Bass – Bittersweet and roasted aromas arise from cocoa additions while coffee and chocolate notes lead into a smooth finish.

“With the great response we received from our Four Kings IPAs, we thought our Double Bass Double Chocolate Stout would be a great complementary base beer to take this idea in a new direction,” said Starr Hill Brewmaster, Robbie O’Cain. “Box of Chocolates is arriving just in time for the holiday season and will be a perfect pairing for festive desserts and winter gatherings.”

The Box of Chocolates Stout Pack will first debut in the Starr Hill Brewery Tap Room in Crozet, Virginia on Wednesday, November 15 and then enter distribution in mid-November.  You can expect to find limited quantities of Box of Chocolates available in 12-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft at exclusive craft beer establishments located in Alabama, Virginia, and throughout the rest of Starr Hill’s distribution footprint. Prost!

Box of Chocolates Lineup

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Tasting Notes: Festie from Starr Hill Brewery

FestieStarr_editedNow that Oktoberfest season is in full swing, we shift the focus of Tasting Notes to the beers brewed to honor this great tradition.  First up, we take a look at Festie Oktoberfest Lager from Starr Hill Brewery (Crozet, Virginia).

Staying true to their belief that “a great playlist is all about what’s new and what’s next”, the music lovin’ souls at Starr Hill Brewery established the Heavy Rotation Series as a means “to keep fresh styles of beer coming your way.”  Festie Oktoberfest Lager has arrived as the current release in this series, and it is Starr Hill’s “tribute to the great German lager.” At 4.8% ABV, this “rich and malty” offering is meant to “[invoke] the German tradition of Oktoberfest, while also paying homage to the end of the summer music festival season.”  As an added bonus, the intentions behind this beer are further echoed with a specially curated Spotify Playlist “featuring tunes that combine flavors of folk, funk, jam band, and rock to pair perfectly with a bottle of Festie” (click here to listen).

Festie Oktoberfest Lager is out now and available throughout Oktoberfest season.  You can expect to find this Limited Release offering in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles, in the Fall Tour Variety 12-pack, and on draft at craft beer establishments located in Alabama, Virginia, and throughout the rest of Starr Hill’s distribution area.

With all of those necessary background details now out of the way, I do believe it is time to fill a glass and get our Oktoberfest on with some Tasting Notes!

Tasting Notes for Festie Oktoberfest Lager from Starr Hill Brewery

Appearance: Festie fills the glass as a rich amber-colored brew that has chestnut tones.  When held to direct light, the amber notes brighten and the color softens.  The beer is crystal clear and shows a steady carbonation presence that is doing its best to feed the finger of off-white foam that was built during the pour.  That head fades with a quickness, reducing down to a thin ring that leaves minimal spots of lace behind on the glass.

Aroma: The aromatics begin with a light caramel malt character that slowly opens to take on a nutty quality – almonds and hazelnuts.  Bready notes eventually work their way forward to round the aroma off with a clean grain presence and just a grace of sweetness.

Taste: In an unexpected twist, the flavor profile actually leads with a faintly herbal, lightly sweetened tea-like quality. Caramelized nuts then surface to bring some sweetness before a hearty, bready malt note settles in.  The classic grain character establishes itself firmly thanks to the complementing German lager yeast. The flavor closes just as it started . . . with a light wash of that herbal/tea note.

Mouthfeel: This lager is on the lighter side of medium in body with a crisp carbonation level.  It is lightly sweet on the palate, but well balanced by that touch of herbal character.  The 4.8% ABV shows no interest in playing a factor here, and that just further adds to the offering’s easy-drinking nature.  The aftertaste is just a breath of lingering nuttiness.

Final Thoughts: Overall, Festie is a very clean, delightfully approachable, and refreshingly light representation of the Oktoberfest/Märzen, but still has all the flavor one expects to find from a beer of the style.  The beer’s light body and low ABV just aids in its high level of drinkability, making it a perfect candidate to fill massive steins at Oktoberfest celebrations taking place throughout the Southeast.  If you are looking to get festive without getting (too) sloppy this Oktoberfest season, Starr Hill Brewery’s Festie Oktoberfest Lager is certainly a beer that should be in your sights.  Be sure to check it out before its limited run comes to an end.  Prost!

 

Tasting Notes: The Love from Starr Hill Brewery

LoveCan1000This week’s Tasting Notes brings it in for the real thing as we experience The Love Wheat Beer from Starr Hill Brewery (Charlottesville, Virginia).

The Love comes to us by way of Starr Hill’s new Summer Jam Can Variety Pack, the brewery’s first ever mixed 16-pack of 12 oz. cans (click here for more details).  This established, Year-Round offering is a German Hefeweizen that “is distinguished by its extremely light body and fruity aroma, finished with spicy notes.”  At just 5.1% ABV and 9 IBUs, The Love is an easy-drinking, approachable beer that is a fantastic go-to for any occasion or season.  You can find The Love in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles, in the Summer Jam Can Variety Pack and on draft at craft beer establishments located in Alabama, Virginia and throughout the rest of Starr Hill Brewery’s distribution area.

Alright, let’s get into some Tasting Notes and see what The Love is all about!

Tasting Notes for The Love Wheat Beer from Starr Hill Brewery

Appearance: The Love hits the glass as a hazy, golden rod-colored brew topped with nearly two fingers of pure white, pillowy foam.  Held to the light, a myriad of yellows, from light straw to deep gold, burst forth.  The body holds its haze, but a lively carbonation presence can be seen working hard within.  The head has fantastic retention, and that foam leaves behind some impressive, chunky lace patterns whenever the beer is jostled.

Aroma: Just as they should, banana and clove are the first notes to waft from the glass.  Hearty wheat provides a solid, grain-based backbone.  A grace of bubblegum develops before the profile closes with a refreshing breeze of lemon zest.

Taste:  The yeast is hard at work here as well with clove and other light phenols leading the way.  An earthy and floral character develops to work beautifully alongside the wheat malts and a light spice note.  Citrus tones brighten things up a bit before the beer settles in for a very satisfying finish filled with ripe banana.

Mouthfeel: This brew is medium in body with a bright carbonation level.  This provides an experience that is wonderfully light and crisp on the palate.  The ABV can be located if you go looking, but it has very little intention to make itself known.  Aftertaste is minimal, but a little bit of banana and bubblegum does hang around from time to time.

Final Thoughts:   Full disclosure – this is not my first experience with this beer and it certainly will not be my last.  The Love impressed me a long time ago when a first sip emphatically read as a German Hefeweizen.  I know what the label description says, but I have had a good amount of encounters with American takes on the style that left me disappointed or wanting more.  Not the case with The Love.  This beer proudly possesses that needed and showcased balance between the wheat foundation and the playful yeast character.  Then we have the citrus qualities that bring it all together to result in an approachable, refreshing offering that we all long for after a hot and humid summer day. The folks at Starr Hill did a fantastic job with this beer, and it is clear that they did their homework before placing the word “German” anywhere on the label.  That’s respect, and it shows in each and every pour of The Love.  Well done.  Prost!

Starr Hill Brewery Releases Summer Jam Can Variety Pack

starrhillSummerJamStarr Hill Brewery (Charlottesville, Virginia) has officially announced the launch of Summer Jam as the brewery’s first ever variety 16-pack of 12 oz. cans.

To give their fans a more easily accessible option so that they may enjoy Starr Hill beers at this summer’s music festivals, barbeques and pool parties, the brewery has united a selection of warm weather brews in the newly released Summer Jam Can Variety Pack.  This variety 16-pack will consist of four 12 oz. cans of each of the following summer-worthy brews:

  • Remastered Grateful Pale Ale – “A fresh spin on the American Pale Ale. This remastered recipe gives Grateful a fruitier hop aroma, more citrus hop flavor and a smoother, fuller body.”  ABV – 4.7%  IBUs – 45
  • The Hook Grapefruit Session IPA – “The tart freshness of grapefruit perfectly complements this full-flavored beer’s bright citrus hop character, while its sessionable body brings you back for more.”  ABV – 4.9%  IBUs – 38
  • The Love Wheat Beer – “The Love is an unfiltered wheat beer, also known as a Hefeweizen. It is distinguished by its extremely light body and fruity aroma, finished with spicy notes.”  ABV – 5.1%  IBUs – 9
  • Warehouse Pils – “In celebration of the Dave Matthews Band 25th Anniversary show, we’ve brewed a special beer: a German Pilsner is dry-hopped with German hops, golden in color with a mildly floral flavor and a crisp malt finish. It’s perfect for those warm spring days–this we admit tastes so good.”  ABV – 5.5%  IBUs – 20

“We’re thrilled to release this unique package as our first can variety pack just in time for summer,” says Jack Goodall, Marketing Manager at Starr Hill Brewery. “As the temperatures rise and craft beer fans hit the road for their own summer tours, these cans are the perfect companion for any outdoor adventure.”

Always proud of their musical roots, “the Starr Hill team has also curated a collaborative Spotify playlist of their favorite songs” to pair with the beers of Summer Jam and all of your endless summertime adventures.  Check out the free, two-hour playlist by clicking here.

The Summer Jam Can Variety Pack is out now and available throughout the summer months.  You can find this mixed 16-pack of 12 oz. cans at fine craft beer retailers located in Alabama, Virginia and throughout the rest of Starr Hill Brewery’s distribution footprint.  Prost!

Tasting Notes: Grateful Pale Ale from Starr Hill Brewery

GratefullabelAlways grateful for another amazing week, we show our thanks by having a look at the newly “Remastered” version of Grateful Pale Ale from Starr Hill Brewery (Charlottesville, Virginia).

Not too long ago, we hit you with the news that Starr Hill Brewery had “Remastered” a classic by updating the recipe for their Grateful Pale Ale.  The brewers decided to take Grateful back in the direction of an American Pale Ale instead of a Session IPA.  The beer was tweaked so that it would carry a fuller mouthfeel to support “a revamped hop bill [featuring] Cascade, Mosaic, Centennial and Falconer’s Flight.”  Thanks to hop-bursting techniques, Grateful Pale Ale now has enhanced aroma and flavor profiles that have been carefully balanced by the beer’s sturdier malt backbone.  Grateful Pale Ale – Remastered is available now in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles, 12 oz. cans, and on draft at craft beer establishments located in Alabama, Virginia and throughout the rest of Starr Hill’s distribution area.

Now that the particulars are out of the way, let’s really see what these changes are all about by getting into some Tasting Notes!

Tasting Notes for Grateful Pale Ale – Remastered from Starr Hill Brewery

Appearance: Grateful Pale Ale pours up a soft golden in color with a little over a finger of white foam resting on top.  Held to the light, bright yellows gain vibrancy, push forward and dominate the color.  Despite a slight chill haze, the body is clear and shows off a vivacious carbonation presence.  The head recedes quickly to a fluffy ring that successfully lays down a complete sheet of lace on one side of the glass.

Aroma:  Lemon and orange zest make themselves known first with a very fresh floral tone following closely behind.  This opens a bit further to expose a bit of grassiness and grapefruit.  This fresh and citrusy aromatic profile just screams of refreshment and clean hop goodness.

Taste: Right off the sip, citrus gets all up on the palate with big notes of grapefruit, orange and tangerine (zest and juice).  That floral and grassy earthiness turns up here as well to break things up a bit.  All of this hop character eventually gives way to a softly sweet malt layer.  The malts are nondescript in flavor, adding just enough sweetness for balance.

Mouthfeel:  This Pale Ale is medium in body with a medium carbonation level.  The beer has good weight to it, allowing it to linger just a bit on the palate.  Although this brew is hop forward in flavor and aroma, the bitterness has been nearly canceled out with a beautiful balancing sweetness.  The ABV has minimal effect, and the beer proves to be wonderfully refreshing and easy-drinking.  A little orange zest is left behind to linger in the aftertaste.

Final Thoughts: With its newly reformulated recipe, Grateful Pale Ale – Remastered certainly harkens back to the days of the classic American Pale Ale in body and feel while still staying current with its pronounced but balanced hop character.  Don’t let us mislead you because this beer absolutely highlights all the citrusy and refreshing qualities possessed by the utilized hops.  Hop fiends will surely find plenty to like in Grateful Pale Ale, but there is more at work here that must be lauded. This beer’s dedication to the Pale Ale may appear subtle on the surface, but it easily gets your attention if you happen to go looking for it. Its mouthfeel has a luxurious weight and texture to it that you just cannot find in today’s Session IPAs.  Then you have Grateful’s laser-focused balance that gives you hop flavor with very little residual bitterness.  This approach to the American Pale Ale provides us with a beer that can either be crushed without a thought after mowing the lawn or slow-sipped and contemplated over while relaxing after dinner.  Grateful Pale Ale – Remastered has depth, and it is clear that a lot of thought went into its development.  Incredibly well done and we will definitely be back for more.  Prost!

Starr Hill Brewery Remasters its Grateful Pale Ale

Remastered-Grateful-1_editedStarr Hill Brewery (Charlottesville, Virginia) has officially announced the release of a newly-updated version of their classic Grateful Pale Ale.

To keep up with the ever-evolving craft beer landscape, the brewers at Starr Hill decided to give their Grateful Pale Ale the Remastered treatment.  Their overall approach to this update was to take the beer in more of an American Pale Ale direction rather than that of a Session IPA.  The first stage of this transition was to add “Carafoam and Torrefied Wheat . . . to the malt bill for a fuller mouthfeel.”  The hop bill was then revamped to feature “Cascade, Mosaic, Centennial and Falconer’s Flight in the kettle and dry-hop, replacing Chinook, Topaz and Columbus.”  Thanks to the utilization of hop-bursting techniques, Grateful Pale Ale now exhibits enhanced hop aromas and flavors that are balanced beautifully by the beer’s new malt backbone.

“Similar to when we refreshed the recipe for Northern Lights IPA, we didn’t want to throw out the soul of Grateful,” says Robbie O’Cain, Brewmaster at Starr Hill Brewery. “For Grateful fans out there, this is an enhanced, balanced version of this beer that’s perfect for the warm summer months ahead.”

Grateful Pale Ale – Remastered is available now as a part of the brewery’s Core Lineup.  This offering can be found in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles, 6-packs of 12 oz. cans, and on draft at craft beer-friendly establishments located in Alabama, Virginia, and throughout the rest of Starr Hill Brewery’s distribution area.  Keep an eye out for Grateful Pale Ale – Remastered while on your next beer run so that you can experience this new take on an old classic.  Prost!

Vital Information for Grateful Pale Ale – Remastered from Starr Hill Brewery

Release – Year-Round/Core Lineup, Remastered version launches late May 2017
Style – American Pale Ale
ABV – 4.7%
IBUs – 45
Featured Hops – Cascade, Mosaic, Centennial & Falconer’s Flight
Featured Malts – Carafoam & Torrefied Wheat
Availability – 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles, 6-packs of 12 oz. cans & draft
Beer Finder – http://starrhill.com/Beer-Finder/

Tasting Notes: Coffee King of Hop from Starr Hill Brewery

4kingscoffeepour800To celebrate the workweek finally reaching its midpoint, we are getting into some Tasting Notes action with a little help from Coffee King of Hop Imperial IPA from Starr Hill Brewery (Crozet, Virginia).

As we recently reported, Coffee King of Hop comes to us by way of Starr Hill Brewery’s Four Kings IPA Pack, a limited release mixed 12-pack that showcases the versatility of King of Hop Imperial IPA by offering it alongside inventive variants that feature various natural ingredients.  The lineup changes each year, and the 2017 Four Kings IPA Pack contains three bottles of each of the following four offerings:

  • King of Hop Imperial IPA
  • Coffee King of Hop
  • Mango Habanero King of Hop
  • Orange King of Hop

The Four Kings IPA Pack officially released on April 1, and these mixed 12-packs are available for a limited time at select craft beer establishments located in Alabama, Virginia, and other states within Starr Hill’s distribution area.

Coffee King of Hop immediately caught our attention when we opened the box, so let’s get into some Tasting Notes and see what this beer is all about!

Tastings Notes for Coffee King of Hop Imperial IPA from Starr Hill Brewery

Appearance:  Coffee King of Hop presents itself as a deep golden in color with hues of burnt orange radiating at its core.  Held to the light, bright yellows and oranges push through.  The body is crystal clear and displays a lively carbonation presence.  The pour produced two fingers of lily white foam.  Those carbonation bubbles are quick to feed the head, so retention is fantastic.  The foam has great stick to it, and massive webs of lace are left behind on the glass after each pull.  An absolutely beautiful beer to look at.

Aroma:  One might expect the aroma of any Imperial IPA to begin with big, bursting notes of juicy hops, but this one actually leads with the coffee.  It is nothing crazy or over the top, just a lightly-roasted coffee note that is definitely motivated to quickly stake claim to this beer.  Proving to have floral and lightly fruity characteristics, the chosen coffee beans complement the hops with ease and actually accentuate their notes of fresh citrus fruits.  A touch of light caramel sweetness from the malts finishes off the experience and adds further cohesion to the profile.

Taste:  Things flip flop a bit here as the hops take the lead in flavor.  The base Imperial IPA’s hop notes of grapefruit, tangerine and passion fruit lay down a wonderfully juicy foundation.  Just as some herbal hop notes begin to reveal themselves, they are quickly overtaken by the rising coffee tones.  The coffee is easily identified by its roasted character and soft bitterness, but it then delights and surprises the palate with those floral and fruit notes found in the nose.  Translating as flavors of citrus, stone fruit and berries, these fruit notes fuse easily with the fruitiness of the hops to create a seamless and mighty tasty experience with each sip.

Mouthfeel:  This beer is medium bodied with a somewhat assertive carbonation level.  This combo keeps things refreshing and easy drinking, but the beer does retain a bit of stickiness on the palate.  The tongue is entertained by a hearty helping of hoppy bitterness and a touch of sweetness.  For an Imperial IPA, the 7.5% ABV is incredibly reasonable and further reinforces the easy-drinking nature of the beer.  Aftertaste is made up of juicy hops notes and a bit of lingering coffee roast.

Final Thoughts:  Although I have had many previous experiences with beers that combine coffee and hops, I was honestly a bit wary of Coffee King of Hop because it is an Imperial India Pale Ale.  Although uniting coffee and hops definitely makes sense on paper (and a practice I am fully on board with), it just seems that it would translate better in styles like American Pale Ales and India Pale Ales that possess a little less aggressiveness in the hop department.  In this case . . . I must say I was totally wrong because Coffee King of Hop absolutely nailed it.  The base beer’s established hop presence works beautifully with the chosen coffee beans to create aromatic and flavor notes that are simply unmatched in my experience.  Factor in the lower ABV level and the beer’s overall drinkability, and all those worries surrounding an Imperial IPA have been washed away.  In conclusion, Coffee King of Hop is certainly a standout offering in the Four Kings IPA Pack as well as in the Coffee IPA trend in general.  If distribution in your area allows it, be sure to pick up a Four Kings IPA Pack and let us know which of these tasty brews establishes itself as your favorite.  Prost!

Tasting Notes: Double Bass from Starr Hill Brewery

doublebassbottle500As the work week finally comes to an end, we settle into our Friday by indulging in some Double Bass Double Chocolate Stout from Starr Hill Brewery (Charlottesville, Virginia) for this week’s Tasting Notes.

Starr Hill Brewery introduced Double Bass Double Chocolate Stout in January as a new member of their All Access Series, a limited lineup of the brewery’s “most unique & inspired beers.”  This offering is a 7.8% ABV Imperial Stout that has been loaded with six malts (2-Row, Chocolate, Caramel, Crystal, Golden Oats and Flaked Barley), cocoa powder, cocoa nibs, vanilla beans and lactose.  Clearly all about that malt and chocolate, the decadent recipe for Double Bass produces aromatic and flavor notes of dark chocolate, mocha, vanilla, bittersweet chocolate and dark fruit. Double Bass Double Chocolate Stout is a limited release that is available in 4-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft.  If you wish to try this offering, Double Bass is still pouring in the Starr Hill Brewery Tap Room and can also be found hanging around on shelves and taps at select craft beer establishments in Alabama, Virginia, and other areas within the brewery’s distribution footprint.

Now that we are all caught up on this beer’s background information, it is finally time to put some Double Bass in this snifter and get to some Tasting Notes!

Tasting Notes for Double Bass Double Chocolate Stout from Starr Hill Brewery

Appearance:  Double Bass pours as a glossy, inky black in color.  Held to direct light, the deep and dark blacks hold but a bit of cola brown presents itself at the top of the pour.  The body is completely opaque, so the carbonation level cannot be observed visually.  The pour produced well over a finger of mocha colored foam (impressive considering the size of this snifter), and the head gradually falls to a thin top cap over time.  When swirled in the glass, the beer leaves behind a coating oil slick that makes it difficult for any lace to gain a firm hold.

Aroma:  Sweet and deeply roasted malts hit the nose first.  The malts eventually open up to expose luscious notes of chocolate.  Creamy fudge, rich dark chocolate, and satisfying milk chocolate are all present.  The roasted malts circle back around to finish things off with a black coffee character that works beautifully with all the chocolate currently filling the air.

Taste:  The flavor profile begins with a huge pop of bittersweet dark chocolate, and this note holds for quite some time.  As it fades, tones of cream, vanilla, cocoa and milk chocolate develop to create a flavor combination that is strikingly reminiscent of a gourmet, scratch-made hot chocolate.  The roasted malts supply closing notes of caramelized brown sugar and dark coffee.  Rich and intense, but still smooth and composed.

Mouthfeel:  Silky in texture, this Stout is on the lighter side of full-bodied thanks to a lifting carbonation presence. It is sweet on the palate, but still has a good amount of balancing bitterness from the heavily roasted malts, cocoa nibs and added hops.  Although gently warming, it certainly does not feel like this beer is pushing 8% ABV.  Decadence also resides in the aftertaste as it leaves behind notes of dark chocolate and fine coffee.

Final Thoughts:  To put it simply, Double Bass is a wonderfully executed, big, beautiful Chocolate Stout.  It possesses all of the roast and chocolate character you could possibly want while still somehow avoiding being overly sweet or cloying.  The hops are dialed in perfectly to stealthily provide balance while hiding behind the lightly bitter qualities supplied by the cocoa nibs and the more heavily roasted malts. Oh, and the mouthfeel on this Stout . . . a thing of beauty.  It has more than enough weight to it to firmly establish itself as a robust representation of the style, but it does so with a gliding gracefulness while on the palate.  Factor in that the ABV is so well hidden, and then you are left with a full-flavored Imperial Stout that maintains an almost unrivaled level of drinkability.  If there was a list of beers out there that makes a case for any time of year being Stout Season, Double Bass Double Chocolate Stout would certainly make our Top 5.  Prost!

 

Starr Hill Brewery’s Four Kings IPA Pack Returns with New Lineup of Variants

FourkingsposterStarr Hill Brewery (Charlottesville, Virginia) has officially announced that their Four Kings IPA Pack will return again this year to feature the brewery’s King of Hop Imperial India Pale Ale and three new variants: Coffee King of Hop, Mango Habanero King of Hop, and Orange King of Hop.

When it was first introduced in 2014, Starr Hill Brewery originally brewed King of Hop Imperial IPA to be a limited release within their All Access Series.  Brewed with “heaps of American hops from the Pacific Northwest” to create massive “flavor notes of orange peel, passion fruit, grapefruit, and gooseberry”, this Imperial India Pale Ale proved to be a huge hit with hopheads and eventually won the Gold Medal for the India Pale Ale Category at the Virginia Craft Brewers Festival.

Convinced that they had created a winner, Starr Hill Brewery decided to expand their approach to King of Hop Imperial IPA in 2016 by introducing the Four Kings IPA Pack, a limited edition mixed 12-pack that showcases the versatility of King of Hop by brewing a series of inventive variants that feature various natural ingredients.  The 2016 Four Kings IPA Pack also proved to be a success, and it is back again in 2017 with a brand-new lineup of variants.

After sourcing “all natural ingredients including hand-zested orange peel, whole coffee beans, mango puree and habaneros,” the 2017 release of the Four Kings IPA Pack will feature three bottles of each of the following four versions of King of Hop Imperial IPA:

  • King of Hop Imperial IPA
  • Coffee King of Hop
  • Mango Habanero King of Hop
  • Orange King of Hop

“King of Hop has proved to be an excellent canvas to showcase each of these additives, allowing for further exploration into the complexity of the IPA category,” said Starr Hill Brewmaster, Robbie O’Cain. “We are excited to offer three new variants this year, each creating a unique and delicious take on this style of beer.”

The 2017 Four Kings IPA Pack will officially launch at a Release Party in the Starr Hill Brewery Taproom on Thursday, March 24 (click here for more details).  The beers of the Four Kings IPA Pack will then enter limited distribution beginning on April 1.  You can expect to find the Four Kings available in mixed 12-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft at “exclusive” craft beer establishments located in Alabama, Virginia, and other states within Starr Hill’s distribution network.  The 2016 Four Kings IPA Pack was ridiculously good, and you should expect the 2017 version to be more of the same.  Do not count on these beers to last long once released, so be sure you to get your fill before they disappear from shelves and taps.  Prost!

Vital Information for King of Hop Imperial IPA from Starr Hill Brewery

Release – Limited, launching March 24 at the brewery. Enters limited distribution April 1
Style – American Imperial India Pale Ale
ABV – 7.5%
IBUs – 50
Availability – Four Kings IPA Variety Pack of 12 oz. bottles and draft
Beer Finder – http://starrhill.com/beer-finder/

Fourkingscards

Tasting Notes: Warm Up Winter Ale from Starr Hill Brewery

warmupTasting Notes closes out the week by seeking comfort in a tall glass of Warm Up Winter Ale from Starr Hill Brewery (Crozet, Virginia).

Warm Up Winter Ale has arrived as the latest release in Starr Hill’s Heavy Rotation Series, a lineup of “fresh styles . . . [that] rotates four times a year and is available in six-packs and on draft.”  For this release, the brewery crafted a smooth Winter Warmer that has been “spiced with cinnamon, cocoa, nutmeg and vanilla.” Weighing in at just 6.1% ABV, this Dark Ale proves to be a “fine pairing for fireside sipping.”  Warm Up Winter Ale is available now in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft.  This limited release offering can be found at craft beer-friendly restaurants, bars and retailers in Alabama and throughout the rest of Starr Hill Brewery’s distribution area.

Like all releases in the Heavy Rotation Series, Warm Up Winter Ale is meant to be enjoyed while listening to some great tunes.  Starr Hill Brewery has curated the perfect Spotify playlist to pair with this offering, and you can check it out by clicking here.

Alright, let’s adjust the volume to the appropriate level and get to some Tasting Notes!

Tasting Notes for Warm Up Winter Ale from Starr Hill Brewery

Appearance: Warm Up pours a striking, red-hued brown in color.  Held to direct light, the reds greatly intensify with glowing garnet tones.  Although it is on the darker side, the beer is clear and displays a dutiful carbonation presence.  The pour produced a solid finger of tan colored foam.  Retention is good, maintaining a half finger cap that lays down spotty lacing on the glass.  An absolutely beautiful beer to look upon.

Aroma: Mmmm, spiced cookie goodness resides within.  Notes of allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon and clove eagerly greet the nose first.  Brown sugar and bready grain then arrive with subtle tones of chocolate and vanilla.  Packed with aromatics, this beer promises that a comforting, warming experience lies ahead.

Taste: The flavor experience begins with a gentle burst of soothing nutmeg and cinnamon. Clove, almonds, light ginger, a touch of citrus and some floral hop notes then begin to develop.  Vanilla adds a bit of a cream-like quality and rich cocoa amps up the level of decadence.  Although this may sound busy, the holiday spices are nicely tempered to keep each sip an absolute pleasure.

Mouthfeel:  This brew falls on the lighter side of medium in body with a moderate carbonation.  It avoids being too heavy on the palate, but still has enough weight to properly carry all of its flavors.  At 6.1% ABV, there is no trace of heat to be found whatsoever.  The aftertaste leaves behind some lingering notes of holiday spice and vanilla.

Final Thoughts: As soon as I first stuck my nose in this glass, Warm Up Winter Ale instantly conjured up childhood memories of getting into a tin of Lebkuchen, a traditional German holiday treat typically given as a gift during Christmas.  Wonderfully aromatic, these confections are basically large, holiday spiced cookies that are often coated with a vanilla or chocolate shell.  They are a perfect balance of sweet and spice that is unmistakable and incredibly nostalgic.  That said, nearly every aspect of these treats can be found in this offering from Starr Hill.  The common pitfall for spiced Winter Warmers is that they can easily result in an intense, overly spiced experience.  This is not the case with Warm Up Winter Ale at all.  Like the Lebkuchen, this offering gives you just enough of these delightful spices and then washes them away with the subtly employed sweetness of vanilla and cocoa.  Every aspect of the beer works in harmony to keep you coming back for another sip.  This is exactly what I seek in a Winter Warmer of this ilk.  If you enjoy Holiday Ales, this is a lighter example that is absolutely worth seeking out.  Prost!