Buckeye Hippie IPA
Groovy, man. This dude pours a wicked amber with a pillowy cream head that maintains its cool self like a long slow stoner bender leaving some wicked lacing. Man, it smells like a dank pot of grapefruit hemp then some cool dude added some pine and a little peach then a little bit of sweetness. Wow man, the flavor is most outstanding, right on, with a bit of that grapefruity hempness bittering this spliff to a wicked stage of grooviness. Most righteous and heavy, man, heavy, but in the cool far out kinda way.
I'm a sucker for these weird beers: this one pours a dark leather brown/near-black with a nice beige head and big drapes of lacing throughout. Sweetly and light smoked roasted malt aroma, some chocolate, a near-citrus almost-port nose, nicely inviting. Porter flavor at first, but wait... what is that? Lightly smoked, yes. Pleasant light flavors of dark chocolate, yes. Something else... The Tamarillos! Like a hint of a sweet, rich Bloody Mary teasingly lingering in the taste, just a pinch, but it's there, smoky, sweet, rich and very tasty. This was a treat. I didn't know what to expect with this one but it works very well. Glad I got to try one.
Smoky Mountain Kilt-Tilter Scottish Ale
Very surprised to this this rarely-brewed local on tap @ Knoxville BrewFest! Nice deep brown amber pour with a tight creamy head that reduces to a constant ring, leaving copious amounts of lacing. Big malty aroma, sweet, doughy, nice presence of smoke and peat, with a big dose of caramel, hint of orange, cut by very earthy hops. Taste is malt-forward, caramelly, big and earthy, almost heavy, light smoke and peat, cut only slightly by earthy hops and alcohol. Pretty big Scottish ale, not sure of the ABV - should've asked. Nice effort. Very happy to finally try it as I thought it was a Sasquatch beer - seldom seen, only to be a legend, non-existent.
Highland Jack Daniel Barrel Aged Gaelic Ale
On tap @ Knoxville BrewFest 2012. Holy Shit this is good - amber pour, white head with lacing. Nice and fairly strong Jack Daniel aroma, whiskey and malty and hint of smoke and charcoal and.. then hops, more malts. Taste is a beautiful blend of Highland's Gaelic Ale and Angel's share of Jack Daniel shining through, creating drool, whiskey, malts, whiskey, malts, hops, whiskey and malts and hops and caramel and... Holy Shit this is good. Wow. Just WOW. Wish y'all coulda tried it too! (I'm gonna steal a keg of it for the Hootenanny!)
Foothills Sexual Chocolate Imperial Stout
My White Whale. The Holy Grail. Atlantis in a Bottle. It is rare that I will pay this much for ANY beer. But I did. It has been on my wishlist since I created a wishlist. Finally. 2011 version. Near thick mahogany black pour with a very tight tall tan head and massive lacing. Rich chocolatey and roasted malts aroma, all kinds of chocolates: Dark Cocoa Nibs, Hersheys Chocolate Syrup, Lindt Milk Chocolte Truffles... Bam - a lot of chocolate in the nose, then a touch of anise or licorce, slight but it's there, and a hint of brine - can't place it but it's like sea salt air, and a hint of smoke. Flavor is hugely Chocolate forward too, which one would expect from a beer with this name, all of the same flavors which the nose eminates, Rich, creamy, some semi-sweet, slight bitter, silky sweet - really a chocolate explosion that is most welcome, then again a very slight anise and brine which deminishes the taste only slightly in my opinion. Overall, a great beer, maybe the best brewed in the South. It is definitely one of the most hyped and for what it's worth, it lives up to the hype, not surpassing, not falling short, just right. It is Sexual Chocolate and now it is off of my wish list and I have sipped it from the Chalice of the Nectar of the Gods.
Three Floyds Dark Lord Imperial Stout
Upon the Winter Solstice I summon the Dark Lord (2011)... handed over to me in secrecy, cloak and dagger stuff indeed, by Code Name: kinger. From my Wish List too: I couldn't resist the pagan-ness of drinking this one on this day. Rich thick mahogany black pour, very tight tan head, spotty little devilish lacing. Scents of very ripe rich fruits - plums, molasses, dark decedent chocolates, inviting hint of black coffee and some leather, a touch of smoke and evil black licorice, a little mystical vanilla. Taste is equally evil and hedonistic: BIG rich roasted malts, dark chocolate, ripe plums and other sweet ripe fruits, sweet cherries, black licorice, a hint of smoke, vanilla and molasses; big sweet heavy stuff this one is. Super Worthy. Oh Cory the King, I give my thanks unto thee for this spiritual elixir. I submit.
Dogfish Head Miles Davis' Bitches Brew
Cool Daddio Big PfoxyJohn brought this Wish List groovy load of goodness to my bad self. Way dark-as-an-African night pour with a smooth tall head, man, and some tight lacing. Most excellent and righteous aromas of the sweetness of Tupelo Honey, like far out, and some back bass of toasted malt goodness, all serving the better good of pleasing my nose; makes me want to do a Pharaoh's Dance. Then this bad ass brew hit my tongue: yeah man, it is right on! good dose of honey sweet like a sweet Gibson guitar jazz lick, then those beautiful roasted malts and molasses with a bitter Miles himself would be proud of. This is one righteous ass brew. Smooth as early Miles Davis' albums, different as the ground the man broke in jazz, all of this whilst fully enjoying Miles Davis Bitches Brew (Legacy Edition) - Miles Runs The Voodoo Down.. and it is in this bottle and now my glass. Yes. I dig this; it is Sanctuary.
Southern Tier Imperial Choklat Stout
Bottle brought to me by local beer buddy Sam.I.Am. - WISH LIST item! Heavy black pour with an extremely tight near perfect tan head, massive lacing. Chocolate aroma. Chocolate aroma. Chocolate aroma. Taste and aroma are of Dark chocolates, Hershey's Chocolate Syrup, Belgian chocolate, Godiva chocolate liqueur, milk chocolate, cocoa nibs, semi-sweet chocolate, Lindt chocolate, Mayan chocolate. Maybe a little java, but definitely chocolate... and roasted malts. Then there is a bit of chocolate in the end. Imperial Choklat. Yes it is. Willie Wonka had something to do with this beer I'm certain. I never thought I'd hear my wife say, "That's almost too much chocolate!"
But it's not.
Dogfish Head Hellhound On My Ale
This Hellhound Blues Ale is courtesy of kinger, who sent me this knowing I coveted it. Not the first Blues inspired beer ever brewed but certainly the most ballyhooed. When I first read about DFH and Sony honoring Robert Johnson, I knew that this beer was a "must have" item for me. The Beer: Clear bright amber pour with a very tight white head and lazy lacing throughout. Decent carbonation present. Citrus hops and light lemon zest aroma with a clean almost floral scent, offset by some earthy malts and a near heavy mouthfeel. The lemon zest becomes more prevalent as it warms but still not overwhelming and nicely refreshing. Taste is citrus and lemon hops upfront, hugely so, great bitter linger only cut a bit by the malts. Hellhound did not disappoint. It was as I expected; nothing more, nothing less. Fairly simple like the earthy Delta Blues that Robert Johnson purveys. Music hauntingly playing in my background: Cross Road Blues and Hellhound On My Trail - Robert Johnson - hell, I'm listening to the entire box set of King of the Delta Blues right now! Letting this beer take me to another place and time... a dusty highway crossroads in the middle of the Mississippi Delta, just outside Clarksdale. It's near midnight and a lonely figure in the distance is walking the road carrying a guitar case, silhouetted by what little moon is present. Lighting crashes in the distance. The smell of rain and the heavy humidity is all around me lingering in the Southern night air. Dogs barking near me, chasing the soul carrying that guitar case...
Good People Snake Handler Double IPA
East Tennessee and northeastern Alabama have a history of fundamentalist Christian churches with a penchant for practicing Snake Handling. This venomous Southern Bastard comes directly from the fargingbastige himself, hand-delivered like Mason jars of Moonshine, in Dixie Growlers - Two 1/2 gallon plastic milk jugs. Curtis, I am proud of you for keeping this Southern Tradition of Clandestine yet gentlemanly observation of an age-old Tradition. This sinful elixir pours a gentle almost clear light brown from said jugs, with an ample and frothy almost white head and copious amounts of delicate lacing. Decadent aromas of ample pine and grapefruit hops - big - with a good malt presence to calm the serpent. Taste is wickedly beautiful with a huge hops presence upfront like Fire and Brimstone - cuttingly bitter at first - grapefruit, pine and Damnation, offset nicely by the calming Angel of malt sweetness. This slithering serpent is only to be handled by the most experienced Deacons and Purveyors of The Good Word. Yay and verily I say unto you, go forth and turn the water into Imperial IPAs. And it was so. Amen.
Most craft beer drinkers are great folks. Many of these beers were gifts or ones received in trades; from PfoxyJohn, kinger, slowrunner77, fargingbastige, Sam.I.Am. - all of them beer buddies from across the country. It is always good to share with your friends. Enjoy and next time... write it down if so moved.