Sierra Nevada Narwhal Imperial Stout

Happy New Year’s Eve! Val and I try to do something low-key every year. Staying off the roads and in pajamas is usually right up my alley. The first year that we were dating, we spent New Year’s in DC, which was great, but now that we have the house, it’s nice to just hang out and watch tv at home with family and friends. Anyways, stay safe tonight!

ABV: 10.2%

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “A malt-forward monster, highlighting the depths of malt flavor. Narwhal Imperial Stout is inspired by the mysterious creature that thrives in the deepest fathoms of the frigid Arctic Ocean. Featuring incredible depth of malt flavor, rich with notes of espresso, baker’s cocoa, roasted grain and a light hint of smoke, Narwhal is a massive malt-forward monster. Aggressive but refined with a velvety smooth body and decadent finish, Narwhal will age in the bottle for years to come.”

Random: I’m really digging Sierra Nevada’s rebranding.

The beer poured with a one finger, tan head. It took awhile to dissipate and left a lot of lacing on the glass. The body was black with no visible carbonation due to the color. The nose was filled with dark chocolate and roasted malts. There was a scent of alcohol as well. The taste was much of the same. I picked up some cocoa and dark chocolate. There was roasted malts and a very strong alcohol note. The body was thick and chewy with moderate carbonation. It had a lengthy finish with booze and cocoa. A twelve-ounce bottle of this was $2.38, which came to $.20 per ounce. I thought I was going to love this beer, but the booze took over everything.

Untappd Rating: 2.5/5.0

Carton 07701 – Apollo

Tonight’s beer is one that I picked up at the brewery. Let’s see how it was.

ABV: 7.8%

Style: American Double/Imperial IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Having decided they had something to contribute to the very exciting conversation going on in craft brewing, cousins Chris and Augie Carton teamed up and started Carton Brewing. In the seashore community where they were born and raised, the Carton boys found a turn-of-the-century red brick warehouse and adapted it to accommodate a state-of-the-art Newlands Systems 15 barrel brew house. 6 E. Washington Avenue was turned into an independent craft brewery and their hats were in the ring. Applying a passion for stimulating flavor to inspiration found all around them, they set about their goal: to make tasty beer in the place their tastes were formed.”

Random: I’ve been to Carton more times this year than any other, which is only 3 or 4 times, but still.

This beer poured with a two finger, white head. It took awhile to dissipate and left a lot of lacing on the glass. The body was hazy and golden orange with some carbonation visible. The nose was filled with grass and citrus notes. I specifically picked up grapefruit pith and segments. The taste was much of the same. It was very bright with lots of citrus, specifically grapefruit. It had a lot of grass along with some saltine crackers at the end. There was a touch of booze, but nothing to overwhelm the palate. The body was on the thicker side with lots of carbonation. It had a sticky finish with grassy hops. I enjoyed this beer a lot and if they put it out again, I would definitely pick up a four-pack.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Prairie Christmas Bomb!

It’s starting to get really cold, which makes it officially stout weather. Here we go…

ABV: 13%

Style: American Double/Imperial Stout

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Prairie Artisan Ales is small third wave brewery from Oklahoma. Since our founding in 2012, we have brought a unique perspective to brewing. Sometimes that means big bold barrel aged stouts and other times it means super crisp and funky farmhouse ales. Every beer we brew is wrapped in unique, expressive, and interesting art. The experience is unlike any other you can find in beer.”

Random: Whenever it rains, my right ankle starts throbbing. Thanks all those years of hockey and softball.

The beer poured with a one finger, light brown head on top of a black body. Due to the color of the beer, I couldn’t see any carbonation. The nose started with all of the expected Christmas spices. I specifically noted cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves. The roasted malts came through next with some black coffee. The taste was much of the same. The Christmas spices were the star of the show with lots of clove, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and cinnamon. Coffee, roasted malts and some smoke came through at the end of the sip. The alcohol was really well-hidden, but warmed the back of my throat. The body was thick and chewy with light carbonation. It had a lengthy and silky finish with Christmas spices. A bottle of this was $9.99, which came to $.83 per ounce. I enjoyed this beer a lot and with that high of a price tag, it’s definitely a special occasion beer.

Untappd Rating: 4.5/5.0

New Belgium Oakspire

I’m a big fan of bourbon, so when I saw this on shelves, it had to come home with me.

ABV: 9%

Style: American Strong Ale

Trivia: According to, “Knob Creek is a brand of Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey produced by Beam Suntory at the Jim Beam distillery in Clermont, Kentucky. It is one of the four Jim Beam small batch bourbon brands targeted for the high-end liquor market. Its siblings in the line are Booker’s, Baker’s, and Basil Hayden’s. The primary expression of the brand is bottled at 100 proof (higher than the typical 80 that is the minimum required by U.S. Federal labeling requirements). Knob Creek was formerly aged for nine years, but is now sold with no age statement. Knob Creek comes in a rectangular bottle with a corked or twist-on cap and wax-sealed top. The bourbon has a dark, golden-brown color. According to the company, this is due to the relatively long aging process, which allows it to absorb more sugar from the wood than is the case for the other Jim Beam Small Batch brands. The company describes the flavor as ‘rich, sweet, woody, full-bodied, almost fruity’, and the aroma as ‘toasted nuts, grain, oak’. In 2009, Beam ran a campaign to publicize their shortage of Knob Creek bourbon. Demand exceeded the 2000 forecast, when the stock began the aging process.”

Random: This is a collaboration beer between Knob Creek and New Belgium.

The beer poured with a finger of tan head that dissipated quickly, but left some lacing on the glass. The body was brown and clear with some visible carbonation. The nose had vanilla and bourbon along with some sweet molasses. The taste was sweet and had some vanilla along with caramel. There was some raisin and fig as well and only a very small amount of bourbon. There were notes of molasses and the beer was just too sweet for me. The body was on the thicker side with lighter carbonation. The booze was relatively well hidden. It had a lengthy finish with molasses and caramel. A bottle was $2.83, which came to $.24 per ounce. I thought given the collaboration, this would be amazing, but it just missed the mark for me.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

Bolero Snort Moophoric Trip

Tonight’s beer is another one from Bolero Snort. I’ve recently stopped buying their beers because I wanted to try other breweries from Jersey and I’ve been disappointed by the ones I’ve had recently.

ABV: 8.1%

Style: American Double/Imperial IPA

Trivia: According to, “Cattle were originally identified as three separate species: Bos taurus, the European or ‘taurine’ cattle (including similar types from Africa and Asia); Bos indicus, the zebu; and the extinct Bos primigenius, the aurochs. The aurochs is ancestral to both zebu and taurine cattle.These have been reclassified as one species, Bos taurus, with three subspecies: Bos taurus primigenius, Bos taurus indicus, and Bos taurus taurus. Complicating the matter is the ability of cattle to interbreed with other closely related species. Hybrid individuals and even breeds exist, not only between taurine cattle and zebu (such as the sanga cattle, Bos taurus africanus), but also between one or both of these and some other members of the genus Bos – yaks (the dzo or yattle), banteng, and gaur. Hybrids such as the beefalo breed can even occur between taurine cattle and either species of bison, leading some authors to consider them part of the genus Bos, as well. The hybrid origin of some types may not be obvious – for example, genetic testing of the Dwarf Lulu breed, the only taurine-type cattle in Nepal, found them to be a mix of taurine cattle, zebu, and yak. However, cattle cannot be successfully hybridized with more distantly related bovines such as water buffalo or African buffalo. The aurochs originally ranged throughout Europe, North Africa, and much of Asia. In historical times, its range became restricted to Europe, and the last known individual died in Mazovia, Poland, in about 1627. Breeders have attempted to recreate cattle of similar appearance to aurochs by crossing traditional types of domesticated cattle, creating the Heck cattle breed.”

Random: When my sister was in college, she went cow tipping once. I always felt badly for the cow.

The beer poured with a half a finger of pink head that dissipated almost instantly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a deep pink, almost red in color that was clear with a lot of visible carbonation. The nose was all dragonfruit and nothing else. The taste had the same notes of dragonfruit and vanilla as well. There was an herbal note as well, but this was more towards fruit than IPA. The body was on the medium side with a lot of carbonation. It had a lengthy finish with dragonfruit. A can of this was $4, which came to $.25 per ounce. I wasn’t a huge fan of this and wish it had more bitterness. I won’t be having this again.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

Carton Basic Coffee

Val and I went to Asbury Park with my sister and stopped to get brunch. When this beer came out, I was disappointed that I couldn’t get to the release, but then I saw this on their can list and had to have it.

ABV: 8%

Style: Cream Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Basic Coffee is a continuation of the Regular Coffee game. A simpler version of our golden coffee cream ale has been finished with espresso roasted blend of Sumatran, Columbian and Ethiopian beans, and a spicing of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, vanilla beans, cardamom, mace and orange zest. Much like Regular Coffee looks to evoke an amusing version of the acidic bitter coffee curbed by milk and sugar that starts a day in a paper cup, Basic Coffee plays to that twenty ouncer that tags along on a lazy autumn morning, when sweats and slip-ons really are the only clothes. Drink Basic Coffee because you make fun of #PSL even though you luuurve #PSL”

Random: I got a fancy new espresso machine and I am really into Intellegensia’s Black Cat Espresso.

The beer poured with no head on top of an orange body that was slightly cloudy. I could still see some carbonation in it. The nose was filled with holiday spices. I picked up cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg and some coffee as well. The taste was sweet up front with coffee and then transitioned into ginger, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. Cloes came through as well. The alcohol was very well-hidden. The body was on the heavier side with generous carbonation. It had a lengthy finish with coffee and cinnamon. I have a soft spot for any variations on Regular Coffee and this beer is no exception. If you can get your hands on it, grab it.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Cape Cod Breakfast Blonde

When Val and I were at the Cape Cod beer tasting in P-Town, the owner mentioned that they had just made a coffee blonde beer that she was very happy with. Although I got a taste of it at the brewery, I wanted a bottle to bring home as well.

ABV: 4.9%

Style: American Blonde Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Breakfast Blonde is an unexpected combination of flavors made in collaboration with our friends at Cape Cod Coffee. Enjoy the light toastiness of our Blonde Ale enhanced by the dark roastiness of their popular Vienna Roast Coffee. This light brew has a crisp and clean base with strong aromas and flavors derived from the single source coffee beans. Breakfast… it’s the most important beer of the day!”

Random: If you celebrate – Merry Christmas!

The beer poured with a half a finger of loose, pure white head. It dissipated quickly and left very little lacing on the glass. The body was a clear, bright amber color with a lot of visible carbonation. The nose was filled with coffee and had some grains as well. The taste was all coffee and not much else. I picked up some grain as well, but this was, as expected, very coffee forward. The body was on the lighter side with moderate carbonation. It had a quick finish with coffee. I liked this beer a lot, but I also love coffee. It was an interesting take on a blonde and I would have it again.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0