The Bruery 8 Maids-A-Milking

I don’t normally seek out the Christmas beers from The Bruery, but if I see one sitting on the shelf, I pick it up since they tend to be quite good. This was the 2015 selection.

8 maids

ABV: 11.3%

Style: Milk/Sweet Stout

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “8 Maids-A-Milking is the 8th beer in our ’12 Days of Christmas’ series, and we’d be udderly crazy to release anything but a milk stout. So we made an imperial milk stout to stand up to whatever Old Man Winter throws our way from now through 2019 with the final release of our series. 8 Maids-A-Milking is brewed with lactose, which is commonly referred to as milk sugar. It’s the only type of sugar that is unfermentable by yeast, which adds more perceptible creaminess and sweetness to the finished beer. This mouthfeel and sweetness is complemented by robust layers of milk chocolate, subtle spice accents from our house Belgian yeast and roasty, cafe elements indicative of our take on the style. Celebrate the seasons with the best of both worlds: enjoy some now, and lay a few down for up to 4 years to be enjoyed upon the release of 12 Drummers Drumming.”

Random: “The Twelve Days Of Christmas” is one of my least favorite Christmas songs.

This beer poured with a half a finger of tan head that dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass, but a slight crown on top of the body. The body was a dark brown with lots of carbonation visible. The nose had smoke, lactic acid, milk chocolate Hershey kisses and vanilla. I didn’t pick up any spice from the yeast. The taste had a lot of complexity. It started with milk chocolate and lactic acid, but also had a certain tanginess with raisins. Some creamy sweetness came through too with smoke and Belgian yeast. The spice at the end was light but gave it some depth. The body wasn’t as thick as I would have thought, but it did have a lot of carbonation. There was also the expected booze warming at the back of the throat. It had a lengthy finish with cocoa and creaminess. The bottle was $12.99, which came to $.52 per ounce, which isn’t bad for a beer from The Bruery. I enjoyed this beer, as did Val, although I wish it were a bit thicker.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Tieton Cider Works Smoked Pumpkin Cider

Tonight’s selection is a cider that Val picked out. I’ve never heard of them or had anything from them or even seen them in Jersey before Val brought it home. I will say that a smoked pumpkin cider is unique, if not anything else.


ABV: 6.9%

Style: Cider

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Our fresh pressed juice comes from apples grown in the Pacific Northwest. We blend American heritage, English and French cider varieties with our organically grown dessert apples to capture the best of what each variety brings to the bottle: sweetness, acidity, tannin and aroma. The results are ciders with body and a depth of finish.”

Random: This is released in July.

This cider poured with no head on top of a clear, light orange body. There was mild carbonation visible. The nose had pumpkin, spice (specifically ginger, cinnamon and allspice). then sweet baking apples and light brown sugar. The taste was awful. At first, I had issues trying to identify what the flavors were because I was so taken aback. Once I got past that, I found it to have pumpkin puree and old apples that didn’t offer much sweetness. It had a really musty taste that made it undrinkable. It also had old, spoiled apple juice. Whatever spice was in there was overwhelmed by the mustiness. The body was thin with moderate carbonation. The finish was unfortunately lengthy with the same flavors as the taste. A 16-ounce bottle of this was $8.49, which broke down to $.53 per ounce. I really tried to get through more than a few sips of this, but I lost the battle and had to drain pour it. I don’t know if it was a bad bottle, but I wouldn’t have this again if someone handed it to me.

Untappd Rating: 1.0/5.0

Free Will Blood & Guts

Tonight’s selection comes to us from Free Will in Pennsylvania. I picked this beer up at a package store in Pennsylvania. Let’s get to it.


ABV: 6.1%

Style: American Wild Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “This black ale fermented with our own sour culture, on top of second-use cherries, in the traditional style of a kriek lambic is a Free Will original. Notes of chocolate, and a mild roasty character are combined with the funk and complexity of wild yeast, and balanced by a clean sour note that follows you through the finish, where the cherry character shines through. Pair this with Korean BBQ or rich, creamy pasta dishes.”

Random: This beer is a spring release.

This beer poured with a half a finger of khaki head. It dissipated instantly and left no lacing on the glass. There was a hint of a crown left on top of the dark brown body. There was no carbonation visible. The nose was tart cherries, funk and vinegar. After a few sniffs, I picked up oak as well. The taste wasn’t nearly as tart as the nose implied, although it was still the dominant flavor. It did have cherries that were prominent as well. Vinegar was strong in the beer too. Oak was at the end of the sip and became more apparent as the beer warmed. The body was on the thicker side with high carbonation. The finish was lengthy with oak and cherries. The price on this bottle was $13.99, which came to $.87 per ounce, which was a bit expensive. I liked this beer, but the flavors didn’t transition smoothly. It was like you’d get sour, then immediately cherry, then only oak. I wouldn’t rush to have this again.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Two Roads Holiday Ale

Last year, I got two of the Two Roads holiday glasses (one of which you can see below). I wasn’t able to get the beer since they didn’t distribute to New Jersey at the time and the brewery was sold out. Val found it this year and I had an excuse to use the glass. Let’s see how it fared.


ABV: 7%

Style: Biere de Garde

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Two Roads Holiday Ale is inspired by the little known Biere de Noel style, on subset of Biere de Garde, both of which originated on small farmhouse breweries in the north of France. Biere de Noel, which translates as ‘Christmas Beer’, tends to exhibit a more malty profile than a typical Biere de Garde. In its native France this special type of ale is brewed by just a handful of small breweries and is only available for the few weeks leading up to Christmas.”

Random: I hope that Two Roads puts some more limited release beers out this year.

This beer poured with a two finger, ecru colored head that dissipated slowly, but left no lacing on the glass. The body was a clear, deep mahogany color with moderate carbonation visible. The nose had a lot of dark fruit. Specifically, I picked up plums and figs. The taste had the same plums and figs, but also had currants. There was also a lot of sweetness, specifically toffee and caramel. It had a bit too much sweetness. The body was medium thick with high carbonation. It had a long, sweet finish with plums and figs. A bomber of this was $6.99 ($.32 per ounce). The beer was pretty good, just a bit too sweet for me, although I give it a lot of credit since they went with a less than typical holiday type of beer (at least what we tend to see in Jersey).

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Transmitter T4 Orange Citrus Candy Triple Ale

One of the fun things about posting in advance is that I don’t get nearly as stressed when I have a backlog. Since I have so many posts in queue, I can just get to them when I have time, which in turn, I think makes for better posts. This beer is from a brewery that is putting out ridiculous stuff and I recommend trying anything you see from them.


ABV: 9.1%

Style: Tripel

Trivia: According to, “In electronics and telecommunications a transmitter or radio transmitter is an electronic device which, with the aid of an antenna, produces radio waves. The transmitter itself generates a radio frequency alternating current, which is applied to the antenna. When excited by this alternating current, the antenna radiates radio waves. In addition to their use in broadcasting, transmitters are necessary component parts of many electronic devices that communicate by radio, such as cell phones, wireless computer networks, Bluetooth enabled devices, garage door openers, two-way radios in aircraft, ships, spacecraft, radar sets and navigational beacons. The term transmitter is usually limited to equipment that generates radio waves for communication purposes; or radiolocation, such as radar and navigational transmitters. Generators of radio waves for heating or industrial purposes, such as microwave ovens or diathermy equipment, are not usually called transmitters even though they often have similar circuits.”

Random: “The Beerists” did a podcast on tripels that was really informative and had some great comparisons. I would highly recommend checking it out.

This beer poured with a one finger, white head that dissipated slowly and left some lacing on the glass. The body was a hazy dark orange with lots of carbonation visible. The nose, not surprisingly, had a lot of fruit. Peach and apricot came through first, then a tropical touch by way of mango. Bread was at the end of the sniff with light coriander. The taste was incredibly bright with lots of juicy peach and apricot. Some green apple came through with clementine. There was some coriander and clove that came through too, but this was primarily a fruit forward beer. At the end of the sip, there was some bread from the yeast. It had a medium thick body with moderate carbonation. The booze was hidden and made this a very dangerous beer. It ended with a long finish with stone fruit and spice. This was $18.99 for the bomber, which came to $.86 per ounce, which is definitely on the pricey side, but it’s worth every cent. Go get this one. It’s worth searching out.

Untappd Rating: 4.5/5.0

Sixpoint Sensi Harvest 2015

It’s been awhile since I’ve had a beer from Sixpoint, and what better one to have than their fresh hop beer that comes out annually. Let’s crack this can open.


ABV: 6.3%

Style: American IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “The Mad Scientists make a pilgrimage to the hop motherland during harvest time to find the ripest, juiciest cones to put into SENSI. This year, Amarillo and Cascade were calling our name. Crack open SENSI 2015 and be transported to the hop fields… it’s Mad Science.”

Random: It’s becoming harder to find fresh hop beers because they’re getting so popular.

This beer poured with a one finger, pure white head that dissipated slowly and left some lacing on the glass. The body was a clear amber with high carbonation visible. The nose had notes of fresh pine, grapefruit pith and an herbal note too. I didn’t pick up any malt on the nose. The taste had grapefruit flesh and pith and quickly went into a pine bite that had fresh mint and light juniper. At the end of the sip, there was bready malt, but only to give the beer a bit of balance. The body was relatively thick with moderate carbonation, which made it quite drinkable. It had a lengthy finish with pine needles and grapefruit pith. A can of this set me back $2.17 ($.18 per ounce), which isn’t bad for a fresh hop beer. I really enjoyed this beer. It had a lot of flavor to it and went down very easily. I will be searching this one out next year.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Wild Onion Pumpkin Ale

Whenever I go to a beer store that has a mix-a-six section, I usually see some leftover seasonal beers that are on sale. This beer is leftover from pumpkin beer season, which now seems to run from July to September, so I know this beer is not the most fresh, but I’ve never seen it before, so I decided to give it a shot. It’s available in six-packs and on draft.


ABV: 5.4%

Style: Pumpkin Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Celebrate the harvest season with our classic autumnal brew. This crisp ale brewed with spices has hints of pumpkin pie and a rich, malty aroma.”

Random: Seasonal creep is beyond irritating in beer. It’s resulted in me having less and less pumpkin beer every year.

This brew poured with half a finger of white head that dissipated instantly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a clear, amber color with moderate carbonation. The nose had a lot of nutmeg and cinnamon, almost too much. There was also ginger and clove. There was no sweetness to back up all of this spice. The taste started with a note of bitterness, which I’m not used to in pumpkin beers, and it was definitely not pleasant. It had a musty pumpkin taste next and then went into muted clove and nutmeg. Cinnamon came through next. The body was on the light side with light carbonation. The finish was thankfully quick with lots of spice. A can of this was $1.50 ($.12 per ounce). This beer was not balanced and the musty note made this difficult to drink. This isn’t worth a try.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

Wild Onion Misfit

Another day, another beer. I’ve been seeing a lot more beers from Wild Onion and they’re usually in the mix-a-six section, which tends to mean that it’s not very popular. Hopefully, I’m pleasantly surprised.


ABV: 6.5%

Style: American IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “A velvety, chewy IPA with the perfect blend of hop bitterness, aroma, and malt body. Centennial and Citra hops give Misfit a pleasantly bitter kick, along with a hint of citrus.”

Random: The can art on this is very unique and inviting. The only thing that I’m not a fan of, is the fact that there seems to be no theme from beer to beer with the brewery.

This beer poured with a half a finger of cream color head that dissipated quickly. It left no lacing on the glass. It did leave a crown on top of the body. The body was very cloudy and was a dark orange with no visible carbonation. The nose had some bright citrus zest and tangerine flesh. It quickly went into sweet, cereal malt. The taste started with a juicy citrus note, again tangerine, but also mango. Grapefruit and pine came through too with some fresh squeezed orange juice. The malt that came through next was more cereal-like than caramel, but gave the beer some balance. It had a medium thick body with high carbonation. The finish was quick with the same citrus. A can of this was $1.50, which came to $.12 per ounce. I expected this beer to be lacking in flavor, given the other beers I’ve had from the brewery, but this was a pleasant surprise.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Hollows Superior Alcoholic Ginger Beer

Since we’ve moved, Val doesn’t go to Trader Joe’s as much as she used to. When she does go, she usually brings back a beer or two. This was a selection that she purchased for herself and really enjoyed. She let me have a few sips for research purposes. I knew absolutely nothing about this beer or the brewery before having it.


ABV: 4%

Style: Herbed/Spiced Beer

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Unlike other so-called ginger beers, ours is the real thing. Using only the finest Chinese ginger root we botanically brew Hollows & Fentimans All Natural Alcoholic Ginger Beer. There’s no wine, nuts, hops, malts or any other artificial nonsense, that’s why we call it an All Natural Ginger Beer.”

Random: We used to love the breakfast burritos from Trader Joe’s. They changed the recipe and they were terrible and we haven’t bought them since.

This beer poured with a half a finger of white head that dissipated instantly and left no lacing on the pint glass. The body was a clear, golden-orange color with generous carbonation. The nose had fresh ginger and straw. Even as it warmed, I didn’t pick up much else. The taste had the same fresh ginger as well as ground ginger powder. It had straw and grain and a floral note as well. After a few sips, I picked up a note of lemon-lime soda too. The body was medium thickness with very high carbonation. The finish was lengthy with ginger powder and straw. A bottle of this was $4.99, which came to $.31 per ounce. I enjoyed this beer more than I thought I would. I’m not a huge fan of ginger beer, but this is one of the better ones that I’ve tried.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Kane Simplicity

When the other half and I were making cookies with friends, I popped a growler of this beer (thus the background of the picture). There was very little available counterspace, so I had to take a picture wherever I found a space. Let’s see how it was.


ABV: 8.7%

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Simplicity is a Belgian Golden Strong Ale. we brewed this beer using a very simple recipe of high quality European Pilsner malt, simple dextrose sugar and a single addition of Amarillo hops; all fermented with our house Belgian yeast strain. The result is a complex beer that marries esters reminscent of pears and citrus with a hint of spiciness from our house yeast and a slight sweetness from the Pilsner malt.”

Random: I used a growler that my parents got me in California for the first time. It’s aluminum and was very easy to pour and kept the beer really cold even though it wasn’t in the fridge.

This beer poured with less than a half a finger of white head that dissipated slowly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a clear, golden-yellow with moderate carbonation. The nose had a lot of golden fruit, citrus and golden raisins. There was a twinge of clove as well. The taste was bright with lots of golden raisins, apricot, peach and then transitioned into clove and allspice. At the end of the sip, there was a honey-like sweetness from the malt. It had a thick body with moderate carbonation, but no warming from the booze. This beer was quite enjoyable and I had no problem throwing it back. If you see, definitely give it a try.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0