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BeerAwesome Year in Review (FINALLY)

Friends, friends of friends, and people misled into reading this.  I want to thank you for joining me on a delicious journey, despite a drought of recent content.  I wanted to take this time to give you the thanks you deserve, let people know where this is headed and wrap up what I think is working.

Where do we go from here?
Well, the plan is more of the same (but better), and lot of the new.  I’m going to add video content, a new written segment, and a lot more reviews.  I’m comfortable in the process now, but I won’t let that comfort zone be a breeding ground for mediocrity.  You readers, followers, and friends I’ve harassed deserve at least goodity. I’ll add a facebook poll for the page (shoutout OUR FACEBOOK PAGE ) to see what you want more of, whether it’s thought pieces, events, interviews or videos.  You can also follow along on Twitter and Untappd to see the most up-to-date happenings.


And finally, what did I like the most this year?

That’s a tough call, so I’ll give the honors to two beers I really enjoyed.  Long Trail Brewing’s Barrel Aged Unearthed was crazy good and so was Adroit Theory’s EBK [Here We Go].  Good job, everyone.  Let’s keep drinking. To 2018!

BeerAwesome goes dark with Tenebris from Adroit Theory

Adroit Theory
Tenebris Barleywine  Ghost 541


Unintentionally, this is my second consecutive review for an Adroit Theory beer.  Definitely not a mistake though.  “Tenebris” coming from the Latin word for “Dark” makes many references to it on the bottle and in the flavor itself. It pours a nice dark and clear copper(ish) color and unlike most straight-malt barlewyines, you can smell something a little special in there.  Something fruity but also dark, as if they’ve attempted to bottle the spirit of a Crow that spent its life listening to melodic death metal and eating plums.

Hops – 0.2  I dislike giving out whole numbers, that’s a rookie mistake, so it gets something very close to 0.  It’s a barleywine.  There’s not going to be hop presence in most/all of them.
Malts – 8.3  It’s not sickly sweet, like you’re chugging straight from a liquid malt bottle, but it is a barleywine (have I mentioned that?) and they’re malty.  It’s more Malt-J than Maltley Crüe, though because they had to save room for something I’ll get into later.
Carbonation – 3.5 I’ve had some of the same style that drank like a low-viscosity syrup, but this is not like that.  There’s a pleasant amount of bubbles to break up that sweetness, like cutting your latest batch of trashcan jungle juice falldown sauce with some Sprite.
Character – 6.8 It’s not a whirlwind of flavors constantly rabbit-punching your taste buds, but aside from the deliciously sweet malts and roasted essence, you also get a sweet dark fruit flavor.
Palate – 8.4  Everything there is super nice in both quality and quantity.  Nothing overwhelms you, so I guess you’re just enjoyably “whelmed.”  Some barleywines will also hit you with noticeable alcohol either on the nose or tongue or finish (or wherever you decide to put beer inside you), but despite being 10%, the only giveaway that it has a higher amount of booze is the malty-ness.
Overall – 8.4  Before all 12 barleywine fanatics get upset, this isn’t saying this beer is only a B-grade beer.  It’s not.  This score is judging only on barleywines, and all barleywines.  If you had access to every single one on the market, and your friend asked you to put them all in order from worst to best, this would fall in the upper 80th percentile.  It won’t knock your socks off and make you say “I’M DRINKING THIS AND ONLY THIS FOREVER!”  But it does offer a lot of great stuff and a really cool label.  Not as cool as last review’s EBK but it still gives you pairings on food, cheese, and cigars as well as a little parable about crows: “During Medieval Times, ‘The Shadow of the Sun’ was hopw European Alchemists defined the Crow.  it was their symbol for the blackness of dispair and chaos.
We see the Crow as a Life Force so powerful it can actually live off Death itself.  After all, it’s not Death if you refuse it…”
And the picture of the label is a really neat artistic take on a crow.  Hence the reference in the beginning.  Good job, guys.

BeerAwesome does battle with an Evil Black Knight IIPA

Evil Black Knight

Adriot Theory
Evil Black Knight
22oz Bomber

The Evil Black Knight [Here We Go Edition] Ghost 599 was bottled 07/17/2017 and starts strong with both words and content. There are more words on the label than in the last book I read. This pours a nice, very hazy, IPA color (there’s really no better way to describe that). It smells bitter and juicy so I’m excited to go to war with this unfiltered Imperial IPA.

Hops – 7.9 It’s not going immediately decimate your taste buds, but it’s bitter and delicious if that’s your thing.

Malts – 3.4 There’s something sweet about it, but the malty backbones of DIPA/IIPAs of old have been sent to the back of the line so that the juicy, bitter hops can lead the charge.

Carbonation – 7.1 It’s not champagne, but I think the slightly higher “bubbly” quality goes hand in hand with the taste of this beer.

Character – 5.7 I’m not going to say there’s a lack of flavors or essence here. That’s not the problem. There’s just not a great diversity. You get that tropical quality with this one but you won’t spend all day trying to convince yourself that there’s extra flavors in it that you didn’t pick up after the first 1,2,7,12 tries.

Palate – 8.8 It tastes like a great juicy (okay I’ll stop using that until I explain it) IIPA. It’s smooth, bitter, sweet, slightly tropical and none of those retreat too soon to enjoy.

Label – 10.2/10  Words, pictures, recommendations, pairings, a story.  It has it all.

Overall – 9.1 A SUPREME VICTORY. And now to explain what I meant by “juicy”. It’s a term that’s becoming more popular with New England style IPA/DIPA/IIPA beers but it also doesn’t have a solid definition. You know it when you’ve got it, but trying to elaborate to someone that hasn’t tried anything like it is tough. It’s bitter but not overwhelming, and yet full of sweet flavors too. Adroit came up with a great battle plan on this one and air drops a bomb of IPA flavor into your mouth. The label has more to read than most bathrooms, and part of this bottle says it pairs well with “pickled pineapple with shaved pecorino” and that’s just obvious. If you don’t routinely have those foods in mind, you’re most likely uneducated and need a trip to the nearest whole foods/farmer’s market. Where they sell pickled whatevers and shaved stuff. But before you go scouting for esoteric foods, LOCATE AND EXTRACT THIS BEER BECAUSE IT IS DELICIOUS. Do the thing.

BeerAwesome drinks Anderson Valley Bourbon Barrel Stout

Anderson Valley
Bourbon Barrel Stout22 oz Bomber
This one pours incredibly dark. There’s a nice head to it, and when you smell it, you’re immediately welcomed with dark, roasted notes, something fruity, and for lack of better words, bourbon barrel. It’s like someone has trapped the essence of a dark barrel of bourbon and put it in a bottle for you. This particular stout was aged in Wild Turkey barrels, so I expect some crazy flavor.

Hops – 2 Sometimes a stout can be bitter (see last review), but this one is not at all.

Malts – 6.5 It’s better than the last Dominion stout, but surprisingly, not by much. So far it seems tame, unlike the wild turkey on the label (and the barrel they used).

Carbonation – 5.5 It’s bubbly, but not overly so. It’s smooth and not much carbonation when you hold it in your mouth.

Character – 5.5 I don’t ever give out a double score (I also don’t ever use absolutes, or parentheses this often) but it’s somewhat lacking. For a brand that usually has great flavor and awesome seasonals, this one so far has yet to take flight, much like the bird.

Palate – 7 I’m giving it a higher score here because there’s not much to be offended by. Much like a mediocre thanksgiving turkey, you won’t find anything to rave about or dislike.

Overall – 6.1 I’m slightly embarrassed for both Wild Turkey and Anderson Valley. The great sights and scents you get when you initially pour it just lead you on a wild goose chase tracking down whatever flavor is supposed to stand out. There’s no boozy leftovers, very little “bourbon barrel” experience. I’m left hunting for flavors, and coming back empty handed. Is it bad? No, but there should be more to it than this. There are better examples of a BB stout out there. In the end, I’m going to cry fowl on this one. If they had made a higher ABV brew this drinkable, that would at least be a feat, but there’s not enough of…well, anything. This hunt is over, and not in a good way.

You’re still here?  Feel free to email, tweet, comment, or send smoke signals on what you would like to see reviewed next!  Or if you’re really great, send in something special and I’ll do my best.

Stout vs Stout. BeerAwesome does a double feature

45 IBUS, 5.5%



I’ll start this with a direct comparison, writing a little about each, then giving them their respective marks. The Russian imperial stout has hopefully not rigged this in any way, and I have never met with Ocelot.

The Dominion stout starts off with a crazy nose. A little bitter, very malty, very roasted, slightly coffee, somewhat chocolate. Smells like someone dumped a carefully crafted espresso over some chocolate generic ice cream. But let’s cut straight to it, and put it in the most discerning mouth in the room: mine.
…And much like Ron Burgundy, I immediately regret that decision. It’s limp. Flaccid. Weak. Okay cool let’s see how the other one is because another 10 seconds spent on this is already too much.


Just as dark (maybe even darker?) as the competitor, this stout clobbers the opposition. You immediately get that (allegedly) Russian Imperial Stout nose, with the somewhat yeasty, bready notes and then dark roasted malts. I mean, so I’ve heard. I’ve never been to Russia or had a Russian beer ever. Jump below to see how it stands up in the court of maw. (like mouth. My mom would hate this beer).

Hops – 5.5 It’s bitter, yes. But not like an IPA. Not too unexpected either from the nose and the IBU label.
Malts –  6 Here’s where things get a little suspicious. It pours just as dark as its competitor, promising a fair and unbiased competition. And then it doesn’t even show up. You’re an oak barrel stout, and I’m left wanting. I’m an IPA/DIPA/crazy beer fanatic and this isn’t enough malt for me.
Carbonation – 7.2 It’s pretty bubbly, at least initially. Just like everything else, it’s there for a second.
Character – 3.4 This character is like the celebrity cameo in a shark movie. One line, and then your body parts start exploding. What’s even in this? Is this just black soda water with some liquid smoke in it?
Palate – 4 It’s getting sparklers for the 4th of July. It’s going to a concert and finding out it’s just a tribute band to the one you really wanted. It’s the turn signal that’s green for 2 seconds. Is it the worst thing that could happen? No. But you wouldn’t buy any of that for a dollar.
Overall – 4.5 Take a lap, Guys. I realize most of your offerings are dreck, but you have some decent selections too. You just really bunged it up here.
Hops – 4.2 It’s a little bitter, but less so than the D—other one. I’m afraid of Beetlejuice-ing more of their beer in my mouth if I say that name again.
Malts – 6.8 They’re a clear and present…presence. Sweet enough to counteract the bitterness, juicy and roasty enough to draw you in. They can annex my taste buds any day.
Carbonation – 4.5 I don’t know if it’s because it sat for a minute, but it didn’t pour that heady either. They don’t get in the way, and it’s not like drinking chocolate milk. Good work.
Character – 6.2 It’s pretty standard as far as an RIS goes. Is there anything there to knock your socks off? No. But are they throwing around stuff like “roasted on vanilla beans” and then deleting all traces of them? Also no.
Palate – 9.4 This supposed collaboration comes together nicely to run away with this contest. I’m also running out of really good material here so I’ll break it down like this: IT’S GOOD. VERY GOOD. It is not the best out there, but what it does, it does well. The flavors don’t run away, nothing lingers too long, the finish isn’t too strong or bitter.
Overall – 8.4 This is a very solid stout. I wouldn’t wait in line to buy it, but if my friend said he had a case or a growler full, I’d already be in my car. Or maybe an uber, since it’s 10.5%. I know there are some incredibly rare and delicious ones out there, hence the 8.4 rating, but it’s really good. I don’t have any more clever election, russia, pop culture references so that’s a review. Buy it if you can, envy me if you can’t.


BeerAwesome drinks something TERRIBLE!

22oz Bomber

It pours very dark. I’m not great with color, but it’s like a black plum sort of deal. And it smells dark, too. Not in the “roast your face with malts and alcohol,” but in a sort of “dark cherry, plum, Cab Sav” manner. And then seeing as how I know just a little bit more about wine than I do about color I immediately ran to Google to do a little research (and mostly to see if I was right). I was!  “Subtle fruit flavors are complimented by rich Madeira wine notes.”

Hops – 2 Its labeled as a quad? Maybe? And it’s especially not bitter at all. I can’t really pick anything up on the nose or by drinking it, though I did spend more time drinking it than smelling my beer.
Malts – 7 It’s More fruity than malty, but it’s definitely there.
Carbonation – 7 It’s bubbly in the mouth, but I didn’t get much pouring it into the glass. Whether that was from a bad cork, or a bad pour (probably not my fault, let’s be real) I’m not sure.
Character – 9 There’s a lot going on here. Wine and dark fruit and spices and some malt with some of the stereotypical yeast esters you get in the belgian style ales. A bunch of dark, tasty flavors are having a party in my glass right now and I’m RSVP-ing yes.
Palate – 9 I can smell everything I taste, and I can taste even more than I smell. A cavalcade of flavor, and each one is just as good as the last.
Overall – 8.5 WHOA WHAT’S WITH THE SCORE?! Well sit down, I’ll explain. Everything in this beer works really well. It won’t be for everyone, it’s pretty intense. But there’s reviews are for me because I can’t predict how each of my 12 different viewers will percieve taste. I like this a lot and I’m glad I tried it, but there’s nothing that will keep me coming back to it. With certain stouts they have that character that you don’t find, or a certain burn on the finish. With IPAs you have bitterness, fruits, malty backbones. With this Belgian, it kind of worked its way into a corner. It’s a dark quad-ish, but I know I’ve had better quads. However, if this is the best thing on the menu when you go out somewhere, absolutely get it. It’s worth a try or six and at 10.5% you’re gonna have a good time. I won’t guarantee it, because I could take a dump in a box and mark it guaranteed.

BeerAwesome drinks a S’MORE!

Saranac S’MORE Porter
Served in a…20160519_014940Jug
Initially, it pours very dark, with a small head. It immediately smells like malt, cocoa and something sweet and sugary.

Hops – 2 There’s something to barely balance out the malt, but it’s fairly on the less hoppy side of porters.

Malts – 7 It’s not a YUGE malt bomb but it’s definitely there and it’s delicious.

Carbonation – 6 It’s there but it’s not too tingly. It actually helps break it up so that you’re not chugging a chocolate milk concoction.

Character – 7.5 Malts, chocolate, sweetness and a little bitter. There’s nothing enlightening going on but it’s a little different and pretty tasty.

Palate – 8 This was a good effort to make something novel. Saranac seems to have a history of good ideas and mediocre execution so it’s a small step up from the usual seasonal/rare ones. It’s not going to change your life, but it’s worth a try.

S’MORE porter is like hanging out with that uncle you rarely see. He might be cool, but he doesn’t really work. Probably has the best of intentions, but it’s for everyone’s benefit that it’s not an all the time thing. The jug it comes in (and yes, it’s totally a jug) is pretty awesome. I might actually like the container more than the beer. There’s lots of malt and chocolate flavor to it, and a mysterious sweetness, but nothing that stands out as marshmallow or graham cracker. I’d try roasting a marshmallow and serving it with that but I’m not a Scout Leader so there’s no room in my pantry for anything that’s not meat, meat products, meat seasoning or beer. There is a slight bitterness to it, like most porters, but it helps balance this beer out so you’re not just drinking alcoholic Ovaltine. Is it delicious? Yes. Is it exactly like a s’more in your mouth? As close as you’ll get without buying marshmallows. Or chocolate. Or graham crackers.

BeerAwesome gets Spooky! With Blue Mountain.


Blue Mountain
Barrel House series20151110_232734
Ale brewed with pumpkin flavor and cocoa nibs and aged in bourbon barrels
22oz 8.2%

As I write this, I’m still recovering from a cold that probably would have killed a normal person, so take everything with a grain of salt. And a lot of mucus.
Spooky pours a neat, dark color. Definitely different from a normal pumpkin beer but we can attribute that to the bourbon barrels. What’s very scary, though, is that there aren’t many spices on the nose.

Hops – 3 Maybe it’s the cocoa, or the cold medicine I’ve been mainlining like a college kid on sunday funday, but there is something slightly bitter here.
Malts – 6.5 It is malty, but it’s not a malt bomb. You won’t find the regular roasty, caramel flavors in here. Which is a shame, I think it would lend something nice to the cocoa nibs.
Carbonation – 6 It’s there, and you can notice it if you try.
Character – 7 There is some neat stuff in here but it doesn’t last. Like your dad passing all the cool attractions and rural toy shops on the road trip to Disney, you go “OOOH! Let’s go to.. oh we’re moving on. Got it.” You get teases of stuff, which is great in certain situations, but I expect my beers to be hands on and fully nude. There’s a nice boozy taste in there, too.
Palate – 8 It all plays well, sure, but there just needs to be more… everything. Maybe that’s why it’s so spooky, you get haunted for a short taste, and when you go to investigate that mysterious flavor in the hallway, it’s disappeared right behind you.
Overall – 7.5 I know, what the hell is going on with that? Well, when you have all the winning ingredients and a cool bottle, I expect something of substance. Any lingering flavor would be great, but it’s all just a shade. Intangible. Ghost jokes.

Spooky had me frightened with anticipation. Cocoa nibs!? PUMPKIN!? BOURBON!? That’s like all I need in life! But much like life, all of those elements are quickly fleeting. Maybe they did all this on purpose as a really cool, disappointing ghost joke. But that hope is dashed when I read “we loaded up an Imperial Pumpkin ale with natural chocolate flavor from cocoa nibs”. And then my eyes catch it: “brewed with Pumpkin Flavor”. I think I just had the Taco Bell of beers. NOW WITH TONS AND TONS OF STEAK, LIKE 10x MORE STEAK!* *by the way, that’s compared to an item with 0 steak in it, chump.
I say “boo” if that’s the case. Give me pumpkin, not flavor. I won’t say it puts the poo in “Spooky” but it really needed more body.
That was another one.


BeerAwesome goes Providential with Trader Joe’s

Trader Joe’s Providential Belgian-Style Golden Ale
7.5% 750ML

Pours a great bright, fizzy, cloudy almost orange color. Immediately smells like fruits, spices, sweetness, yeast and maybe some alcohol.

Hops – 3 Sure they’re there but that’s not the point here. They provide some nice balance
Malts – 6.5 It’s a belgian style ale. Tastes just like one.
Carbonation – 8 It says “champagne-like effervesence” and they’re right. It bubbled and fizzed just like it.
Character – 7 Okay so there’s not as much wallop to it as you’d think. But at the price point (cheap) it tastes fantastic. It doesn’t have much booze to it at all, no unpleasant aftertastes. What it does have is some spice, some fruit, malty sweetness and a nice touch of carbonation.
Palate – 8. It all comes together for a nice experience. Tastes like a decent belgian ale because it is one.
Overall – 7.5 Trader Joe’s specializes in almost-there replicas and this is no different.

This beer is like La Fin Du Monde light. Which makes sense, because it’s made by Unibroue (the folks who make La Fin Du Monde) for Trader Joe’s. It’s the outlet mall version of a great beer. It’s like a loaded V6 Mustang. Sure it may not have all of the wallop of the real deal, but if it’s your first time, you’ll love it. Which makes sense. For much fewer dollars you’re getting 75% of the experience.


BeerAwesome has an Imaginary Girlfriend! And an IPA!

20150822_001214Lost Rhino
My Imaginary Girlfriend IPA
6.1 % 22OZ Bomber

MIG Pours hazy golden color, sweet smell, very pleasant hop aroma. It can, however, do a 4G negative dive.

Hops – 7 I KNOW. It has hop aroma and bitterness and character but there’s nothing special about it. However, it is decently bitter without being overwhelming.
Malts – 3 They’re kinda there to give it a little sweetness, but that’s all you get here.
Carbonation – 6 It’s a little bubbly but nothing unpleasant.
Character – 5 The hops in it are decent enough, and I like that it is btiter without blowing my tongue to bits, but there needs to be…something. Anything. More alcohol, some better fruity esters, maybe a different yeast.
Palate – 7.5 It’s not that this is bad, because it’s not. It’s a pleasant experience and everything goes together well to make an overall blase beer.
Overall – 7   It’s not bad, it’s not amazing.  It won’t get you hammered but it is expensive.  It won’t offend or amaze, but the label is fantastic. A+.

The first thing that strikes me with this beer is the label. The actual sticker label on here is really high quality. It’s more like a vinyl or plastic than the paper you usually get. You definitely can’t tear this apart and shove the little shreds back into the bottle in some sort of cannabalistic anxious ritual. And then there’s the beer. It’s really not bad, but at 6% it had better be unbelievably smooth, or very distinct and it’s not. It has the “Lost Rhino” taste to it, and I fear that it’s basically another LR recipe without as much malt in it or something. Like someone made an OOPS batch of their Pale Ale and was left with the moral quandary of “What do we do with a beer that isn’t bad enough to scrap?” Do we sell it? What do we call it? What’s the drawing point here? Fred, you have any input? Of course you don’t, you’re the IT guy. The appeal of this beer is as imaginary as your girlfriend. HOLY SHIT THAT’S IT! FRED WE LOVE YOU, YOU UNWASHED MISERABLE BASTARD! Now please pick up your dice and dust the cheetoh crumbs off your desk, we don’t need you any more. Maybe take a shower and sign up for Tinder.