5.3% ABV

Appearance: Black with a large head that dissipates slowly.
Aroma: Chocolate with some oak and vanilla.
Taste: Lots of chocolate, coffee and rye. The chocolate stays with you after each sip.
Mouthfeel: Medium to high carbonation, with a high amount of hops for a stout.

Knowing North Peak’s brew style, I wasn’t at all surprised that the brewery chose to include hops in its first chocolate stout, Dubious. The brew contains common stout-like flavors — mainly chocolate, coffee and rye — but the amount of hops set it apart from other stouts.

I was immediately surprised by the brew’s large head, but concluded that it may be partly due to the type of bottle North Peak produces. Pouring a solid black, the brew has a medium to high carbonation level, and paired with the hops, leaves a somewhat bitter taste in your mouth.

And while Dubious might not be like other stouts, the combination works quite well as a sipping beer.

Appearance: Looks a lot like champaign; with a medium size head which dissipates relatively quickly.
Aroma: Heavy in ginger with a bit of vanilla
Taste: Overwhelmingly ginger…to the point where it can be related to ginger ale. There’s a bit of a floral and vanilla flavors present on the tongue as well.
Mouthfeel: Very watery and easy to drink. There’s a lot of carbonation present with each sip.

B. Nektar’s The Naughty Ginger certainly takes meads to a different level. This overly watery mead has several champaign-like qualities, starting with its light gold color to its heavy carbonation. Ginger is the name of the game here — it’s almost too overwhelming, to the point where it could be confused with a ginger ale.

In addition to the heavy ginger taste, there’s a bit of vanilla and floral flavors present as well. It’s definitely a sipper, but one that is rather enjoyable and light on the tongue, compared with other meads.

8% ABV

Appearance: Bright pink, light raspberry lemonade. Very low head.
Aroma: Bubblegum and grapefruit
Taste: Almost like a melted warhead / sour candy. Very fruity, bit of a wheat aftertaste. Strong raspberry flavors, with a bit of grapefruit and pomegranate
Mouthfeel: Very acidic, low carbonation. Very tart with some hops.

Unity Vibration mixes the best summer drink around (KoolAid) with beer in this Raspberry Kombucha beer. Pours a bright pink color with little to no head. Its grapefruit-like smell gives way to its sour, tart flavors of raspberry, pomegranate and grapefruit.

While I wouldn’t describe this as an easy-drinking brew, its acidic and tart mouthfeel is somewhat refreshing, and a perfect way to start the summer season.

4.5% ABV
Appearance: Small, cream-colored head with a bit of lacing. Black in color.
Aroma: Lots of chocolate with some coffee and nut.
Taste: Heavy roasted malt flavor, with some chocolate, nut, vanilla, coffee and a hint of mint. Reminds me of malted milk balls.
Mouthfeel: Extremely creamy — almost like a milkshake. Very easy to drink.
Shorts is well known for playing around with a beer’s flavors, and its Uncle Steve’s Irish Stout is no exception. Pouring a deep black with a small, cream-colored head, a smell of chocolate and coffee is immediately present. While I was expecting a heavy stout, this is actually quite light on the tongue, and reminds me more of ice cream than a typical beer.
You’ll find lots of roasted malt flavors, and otherwise some chocolate, nut, vanilla and coffee. I picked up just a slight mint taste — enough to give it a bit of freshness. It’s certainly a dessert beer, and one I’d recommend for those cold winter or spring nights. Overall this creamy beer is pretty unique — even though it holds some typical characteristics of stouts — and is one of my favorite Shorts brews.

4.5% ABV

Appearance: Small, cream-colored head with a bit of lacing. Black in color.
Aroma: Lots of chocolate with some coffee and nut.
Taste: Heavy roasted malt flavor, with some chocolate, nut, vanilla, coffee and a hint of mint. Reminds me of malted milk balls.
Mouthfeel: Extremely creamy — almost like a milkshake. Very easy to drink.

Shorts is well known for playing around with a beer’s flavors, and its Uncle Steve’s Irish Stout is no exception. Pouring a deep black with a small, cream-colored head, a smell of chocolate and coffee is immediately present. While I was expecting a heavy stout, this is actually quite light on the tongue, and reminds me more of ice cream than a typical beer.

You’ll find lots of roasted malt flavors, and otherwise some chocolate, nut, vanilla and coffee. I picked up just a slight mint taste — enough to give it a bit of freshness. It’s certainly a dessert beer, and one I’d recommend for those cold winter or spring nights. Overall this creamy beer is pretty unique — even though it holds some typical characteristics of stouts — and is one of my favorite Shorts brews.

7.5% ABV

Appearance: Light brown, with a very high head.
Aroma: Oaky, sour and cocoa
Taste: Leads with a sour oak front, then gives way to some cocoa flavors. Layered with a lasting sour impression. Includes some spices, cocoa and heavy orange flavors.
Mouthfeel: Light on the tongue; not too sour or sweet.

Jolly Pumpkin’s “Special Brown Ale” pours a light brown with a very high head that lingers. It leaves a lot of lacing around the glass. Its oak, sour and cocoa smells give way to the brew’s sour front, highlighted by spices, orange and cocoa flavors.

Light on the tongue, Maracaibo Especial holds little texture and is very easy to drink for a sour brew. It’s well balanced layers of flavors makes the brew both refreshing and satisfying to any sour beer lover.

4.5% ABV

Appearance: Clear gold color with virtually no head.
Aroma: A lot like orange and floral
Taste: There’s a lot of grain here, but it’s well-balanced with a decent amount of orange flavoring as well. A bit like a pilsner.
Mouthfeel: Pretty smooth, with little carbonation.

Dirty Blonde is a great summer ale that invokes flavors of orange, lemon and grain. The clear gold beer has an upfront floral smell to it with a bit of orange. This smooth brew is a lot like a pilsner; there’s low-to-medium carbonation present.

This light beer is refreshing and what I’d expect out of a good summer ale.

6.0% ABV

Appearance: Deep Mahogany / Reddish-brown. Low head.
Aroma: Oaky, slight fruit
Taste: Raisin, Caramel
Mouthfeel: Slight carbonation, pretty easy to drink. Low-to-medium bodied. Well-balanced hoppy finish. Slight creamy texture, but otherwise very thin.

One of Brewery Vivant’s three original canned beers, Solitude, pours a deep reddish-brown color with a low head that dissipates quickly. The pour leaves a slight lacing around the glass. Solitude’s dry, oaky and slightly fruity smell gives way to tastes of bread, raisin and caramel. There’s a bit of a spice to this as well that’s just barely evident.

Low-to-medium bodied, the brew holds a slight creamy texture but is otherwise thin. Its well-balanced finish, with a bit of carbonation, makes the brew very easy to drink.

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