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BeerAwesome gets locked in the Federal Reserve! by Chaos Mtn

Chaos Mountain   
Federal Reserve
Wee Heavy


The Federal Reserve is a special edition of the Squatch from Chaos Mountain. While it’s their flagship, they also have better and more well received options so I was hesitant at first. The story goes, Fifth and Federal needed a beer, and turned to the great guys at Chaos Mountain to get it done. So they aged their Squatch Ale in Bowman bourbon barrels, and this mythical beast came out. It pours a beautiful muddy brown color (not sarcasm) and smells like a proper wee heavy with awesome woody notes.

Disclaimer: I have had this particular one sitting in the batcave since January. At some point, you just gotta drink the beer.  It was, however, fantastic on tap at the source.

Hops – 2 It’s a wee heavy.

Malts – 5.5 I’m surprised but then I remember that the squatch wasn’t huge on traditional malt flavors (as best as I can recall).

Carbonation – 7.3 It’s unusually bubbly for a barrel aged wee heavy but that’s not such a bad thing. Breaks up the monotony.

Character – 6.5 There’s malts and some of the usual barrel aged notes in it but there’s nothing here to separate it from anything in the class. I’m fuzzy on how it remained so sweet without picking up major boozy notes to back it up.

Palate – 8.5 The high score here is just because there’s nothing wrong. If you like Squatch, this adds a little extra to it.

Overall – 7.1 Squatch might be A yeti, but it is not THE Yeti.

There’s nothing wrong here, but there’s nothing that would make you need to seek this out. I am excited, however, for another Chaos beer that’s in the lineup. I won’t spoil anything but it’s a huge one.

Take a Chili Biscotti Hazelnut Break with BeerAwesome

Evil Twin
Imperial Biscotti Chili Hazelnut Break
Imperial Stout
11.5% 16oz Can


The …break from Evil Twin starts by pouring a crazy dark color with a great, dark head. But before you even get to that point, you’ll smell some interesting stuff right from the can. I could immediately tell it was going to have a little spice to it, along with strong imperial stout alcohol and malt. I can’t wait to take a break myself so let’s get right to it.

Hops – 1.1 Of the hodgepodge of flavors, this one is not there.
Malts – 7.9 Yes, this made the cut. They are there and you’ll know it.
Carbonation – 6.6 A little surprising but I think the bubbles add a little punch to the spice and break up the festival of taste happening.
Character – 9.2 The name of this beer might be longer than the review, and it shows. There’s a good chili spice that plays well with the chocolate and hazelnut notes, and then you get slammed with delicious malt, vanilla, some alcohol and a roasted…something.
Palate – 9.0 It blends just enough spicy kick with everything else. Well done.
Overall – 9.0 It’s smooth, it has bite, it’s sweet and roasty but you also get a great (not overpowering) booze finish with it.

I had held on to this one and it survived many alcohol induced fridge raids because I thought it was going to be worth writing about, and at the price point I didn’t want it to be just another beer I had. You might think that chocolate, vanilla, hazelnut, chili spice, malt, coffee and alcohol sounds like an alcoholic Peruvian librarian’s fever dream but it comes together so well. There’s a small lingering heat (which I like), everything that’s sweet isn’t SO sweet that it seems to choke you, and the booze finish helps with the heat and is a delightful touch at the end.

BeerAwesome is visited by the ghost of beers past. Blue Mountain Spooky, take 2.

Normally this doesn’t happen, but the conditions were just right (I haven’t written in a long time and I just got over the flu) to try Spooky for a second time.


Initially, it looks like the only thing that’s changed is that I’m slightly older — err, more distinguished — and that the label has transitioned to a nice thick vinyl feeling label.  Pours the same color, same ABV, same nose.


Let’s put this disappointing ghost to rest. I don’t get anything too chocolaty from the nibs, I get a small amount of bitter, a decent bourbon barrel taste, very few spices and a lack of pumpkin. A quick scouring of the internet (and less entertaining beer reviews) reveals scores essentially in line with ours and the words “disappointing” and “lack of” often accompanying the oddly inflated marks. There are more pumpkins on the label than they used to make the beer itself. I think with a marketing twist, it could be a really fun fall/winter beer.  Maybe throw a heavier malt backbone at it or up the booze to warm the innards, but as it stands, the only thing spooky is the ghost of any real meaning.


BeerAwesome has Biscuits and Marmalade

Biscuits and Marmalade
3 Stars Brewing
4.7% Kolsch

I have no idea what to expect with this, but I’m a sucker for a pretty label and had to have it. It pours a great, hazy yellow color which is expected with a kolsch. It’s hot again, which makes sense seeing as we’re still in August. Perfect time for a crisp, tasty beer like a kolsch. It smells like that light, sharp wheat/yeast smell and I’m ready for a decent experience.

Hops – 4.1 There’s not a ton of bitterness, but it’s still enjoyable. It might be able to please regular IPA drinkers and newbies alike with its smooth yet flavorful taste.

Malts – 5.0 I don’t like giving round numbers, but I do like this beer. It’s not a malt bomb but you still get a great wheat profile from it.

Carbonation – 7.2 It is bubbly but not totally unpleasant to hold in your mouth. However, this might make it a challenge to drink all 4 tallboys in a row.

Character – 3.5 There’s nothing extraordinary here. It’s a little sweet but it tastes just like a kolsch.

Palate – 7.1 There’s nothing to make it stand out, so it really doesn’t have any detractors. Then again, there’s nothing incredible going on, so it can’t exactly amaze, either.

Overall – 7.7 I’m going to grade this as a kolsch and not as an overall experience. It’s good, I like it, but I would not pay the premium for it again unless there’s a scavenger hunt and I need to find a DC-made kolsch with a cool label. Then it shoots right to the top of the list.

Kolsch are not exactly the most popular on the microbrew scene and I can see why. It starts like an ale, but then is additionally fermented cold like a lager. That makes it labor intensive for a product that could easily get overlooked. Is it good? Absolutely. Has it blown me away? No. Did I even remotely think about biscuits or marmalade when I was drinking it? Not at all. I’d give it to friends who just “want any beer” or someone looking for a brew they haven’t tried yet, but that’s the only use I can think of for it. OH WAIT. A shower beer. This smacks of a great shower beer. You don’t need to pay attention to subtle flavors, you just enjoy your perfectly fine very cold beer while you wash your bod.

BeerAwesome grounds out with Earned Run Ale

Earned Run Ale

Devil’s Backbone
4.2% Session Pale

I’ll try about as hard in this summary as the Nats did this season. It pours a decent pale ale color and smells exactly like beer.

Hops – 6.1 They’re not going to blow your socks off and it’s not particularly delicious, either.

Malts – 4.20 There’s some there.

Carbonation – 7.5 Yes. Very.

Character – 2.5 It’s exactly an overpriced, under-delivering baseball beer.

Palate – 5.4 Are these arbitrary? Maybe.

Overall – When is hockey back on? I can’t wait. I guess the Redskins are about to start their regular season too. But hockey is soon, that’s the most important part. The good news is that it’s available for under $3 off the shelves, probably about $12 at the park.

It’s petals to the metal for Crimson Pistil IPA

Crimson Pistil IPA
Ale brewed with Hibiscus Flowers
6.2% 52IBU

It starts with the bottle. Red, flowers, and some great art. The beer itself pours a great red color. Minimal head and a light floral
bouquet. I’ve had this before and really enjoy it so let’s pull the trigger on this offering from Troegs.

Hops – 6.6 at 52 IBU it’s not the most bitter but it is nicely bitter. Crisp but not overwhelming and without any unwanted flavors
lingering around after you’ve swallowed it.

Malts – 2.3 This is not one of those malt-balanced IPAs. It’s all about being crisp, floral, slightly bitter and just a little sweet.
There’s no malty backbone to it but that wouldn’t work well here anyway.

Carbonation – 7.0 It’s bubbly but that plays well with the light, aromatic flavors.

Character – 6.5 There’s some neat stuff going on but not a lot of it. Hibiscus with the slightly juicy, bitter and tropical hops.

Palate – 7.9 Everything here plays well together and it makes for a great clean, crisp, refreshing IPA. It’s like the rosé of IPAs if
you’re into that sort of thing, with most of the flavor stemming from the hibiscus and the great hops they’ve used in Crimson Pistil
(Azacca, Nugget, Vic Secret).

With summer here, you’re going to need something more substantial than your regular IPAs and Bud Light Limes to get you through the hot
months. I would recommend picking up some of the Crimson Pistil to not only quench your own thirst but to turn some friends on to a
slightly new flavor that’ll please most every IPA fan. And at 6.2% you won’t need to have a whole bundle of them to get where you’re

CAPS WIN! BeerAwesome joins the Bourbon Cru

Bourbon Barrel Cru
Abbey-Style Quad
12% 22oz Bomber

Let me get this out of the way: HOT DAMN. This one is on the Wild Side. I didn’t mean to do yet another fantastic VA beer, but this one was lurking in the fridge and the Caps just won, so
let’s do it. You get a hefty malt, yeast, roast smell and then bourbon comes in like Hell on High Heels. But enough about the puns, let’s kickstart this review.

Hops – 2.2 It’s a quad. The label says 18 IBU and I believe them.

Malts – 7.4 Yeah, its sweet and roasty.

Carbonation – 4.3 It’s not that bubbly. Pretty pleasant, really.

Character – 8.9 There’s so much going on that someone that wasn’t me probably couldn’t describe it. But I will. There’s the sweet maltyness and yeast profiles you get from a Quad-style
beer and then there’s an entire box truck full of savory, driven by a big punch of bourbon character. If you had an Uncle Daryl that won the lottery, it’s like he is this beer and he used
his winnings to go on a sophisticated tour of Europe, and then came home and spent the rest on Old Crow and cigarettes. Just wild.

Palate – 9.4 It’s a rollercoaster of awesome that’ll guarantee you won’t Go Away Mad.

Overall – 9.2 That’s not to say you could drink 12 of these in a row (go ahead, prove it) but just the one is great. It’s a really big beer.

I didn’t know what to expect with this one. Hardywood usually puts out great stuff, but I have had some terrible luck with bourbon barrel beers. They either forget to imbue it with the
bourbon flavors, or they get the bourbon and booze in there and forget to make a good beer around it. It’s a veritable Rodeo of flavor, and If I Die Tomorrow, I’ll be glad I had it.

Because Cru. You’ll get it.

BeerAwesome goes ALLCAPS with CAPSIZED

Ocelot Brewing


Barrel Aged Imperial Milk Stout


It pours dark, but not as…viscous(?) as some imperial stouts. You can immediately smell the bourbon barrel aging and the tasty notes it left, as if it were christmas. And this beer has
been a very, very good boy. It looks like I’m keeping the Virginia beer review streak alive, so let’s just get into it.

Hops – 2.7 Not much to say here, moving along.

Malts – 7.4 Not overwhelming. There’s a sweetness, like the smell of grandma’s house after she had been baking cookies. Looks like I’m going to keep with the holiday theme even though
it’s a beautiful day in April.

Carbonation – 3.4 It pours milky, rather than bubbly. Which is nice because there’s no carbonation to cut through all the delicious flavor. Go ahead and pour yourself a glass and drink
it real quick, like a thirsy Santa and this is your milk and cookies.

Character – 7.2 There aren’t any crazy flavors here to ambush you or knock you off course like a patch of black ice. You have the sweetness from the lactose (hence milk stout) which
compliments the malts, bourbon characteristics, and other dark aromatic flavors.

Palate – 9.1 It’s a caroling chorus of delicious. Everyone is doing their part, except for Joan. She’s a little flat.

Overall – 8.6 It’s pourable, drinkable, it smells great, and it hides its alcohol wallop better than your parents with christmas gifts.

To be fair I’m only drinking this early to ease the battered and bruised ego from a small motorcycle wreck. I’ve been meaning to get to this beer in particular as it was gifted to me, and
I finally have a great excuse. Not that you’d need one, this thing is richer and sweeter than a Capitals playoff win. Which are starting today, btw. THE LOFFS! It’s that time of year
where I drink a lot because I’m happy, and then I drink a lot because I’m sad again. But not this year. This year is different. This year is special. Like CAPSized from Ocelot Brewing.  And now I’m ready to get all settled in for a Caps sized victory. LGC!

BeerAwesome has a late night review just for you! Orange is the New Stout

Orange is the New Stout
Center Of The Universe / O’Connor
Imperial Choc. Stout
22oz Bomber


I’m excited to get more Virginia beers in the reviews, and Center of The Universe has yet to disappoint me. This one is supposed to be like a salty, orange chocolate truffle, and if the color/smell is any indication, it’ll be delightful. There’s essentially no head to it, it’s straight to business with these two. Here’s your beer, it’ll be great, citr’ass (citrus jokes?) down and enjoy.

Hops – 1.1 Moving along it’s late, lettuce (produce jokes!) get to the point

Malts – 5.4 This one actually doesn’t hit you with a lot of the caramel, malty taste you’d get from a big stout which is surprising. It’s not a bad thing here though because malt flavor is the undercard in this prizefight.

Carbonation – 3.14 Because it was Pi Day recently and there’s not much else to say about that.

Character – 7.1 I can definitely taste a lot of the orange, and maybe some of the salt. You have a great beer behind it, and you don’t get a lot of the booze with it which is nice for such a robust stout. More chocolate would be appreciated, however.

Overall – 8.3 It delivers on its promise. Both breweries could have chosen the Safe Way (I admit that’s a reach but stick with me) but they threw caution and whatever else was on hand to the wind. First word, ORANGE. It’s right there and you get it. I would recommend at least a small sample, maybe a large sample, or guzzle it at someone else’s expense.  I would like to deduct a few points since it’s not as bold and roasty as I would like, but I have to consider what they were going for and remove my own bias and I think they got it. It’s nice to have some new flavors kicking around, too.


The beer starts with ORANGE, and you can tell it’s there in droves. Sea salt, maybe. I’m not too familiar with salt in my beer. But when you call it “IMPERIAL CHOCOLATE STOUT” on the label, you can be certain I am expecting exactly that, too. Good overall beer, but for the weakness of both the Imperial stout portion and the lack of chocolate, I have to peel (a-ha!) off a few personal points.  Great idea, pretty good execution.  It’s tasty.  I know they probably nailed what they were going for, I was just left a little wanting with the promise of imperial, chocolate, and orange.

As always: Like, share, follow and enjoy!


BeerAwesome reaches into its goody bag for a Gingerbread Stout

Gingerbread Stout
9.2% 22OZ Bomber

GBS hardywood

I’m excited to finally get to this one. I’ve had it in my fridge ALL YEAR (great and timely joke, way to start 2018) and now it’s finally getting its turn in the spotlight. This is a great Virginia beer and is one of the few beers I’ll order whenever I see it on tap, but that’s enough about my own preferences. Time to take the “i” out of review and bring you another entertaining revew.

This pours dark, like the ending of The Mist or a basement without any working lights. Pretty decent head on it as well, and when you smell it you get a sleigh-full of roasted malts, and some sweet notes with spices in there as well.

Hops – 2.2 Some, maybe, sure, but they aren’t the point here.

Malts – 7.1 Yes, it’s malty but it’s also mild and smooth. You’re in for a real treat with this.

Carbonation – 6.7 It’s pretty bubbly for a stout, but it’s not harsh in the mouth.

Character – 6.9 Nice. Being a milk stout it’s pretty subdued on that front, letting some of the ginger, honey, spice and sweetness cut through.

Palate – 8.5 Everything comes together nicely here, like family members that show up on time with food that wasn’t bought from whatever was leftover at Shopper’s on Christmas Eve. You get the full tour, front to back, of everything without a single element dominating the experience.

Overall – 9.1 Look, it’s awesome. There’s another “BA” beer website featured on the label and it’s hard to not subtract points for that fact alone. But what’s even more bananas (you never type the correct number of “na”s the first time) is that those wrong, uninformed cavemen gave it a 100. Perfect score. That means no beer, no variation of GBS itself, could possibly be better. That’s just a total newbie thing to do and I’m not surprised. I rated this really high, because it’s so damn tasty, but I won’t pretend that it’s the best beer in the world (which is what a perfect score would mean). Is it fantastic and did I have to fight the urge to open it every time I saw it in the fridge? YUP. But I did, so that you could have this. Also, I do wish it was just a little more boozy. The alcohol content itself is plenty, but I like that little bite where you can tell it’s more potent than usual beers. Bottom line: RUN RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN, TO BUY MORE OF THIS BEER.