Brewmaster Jack Near & Dear Stout

Time to crack open another beer from Massachusetts.

ABV: 8%

Style: American Stout

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “There is nothing better than a pint of hearty stout on a cold winter night. This beer was tinkered with for over two years before we arrived at a final recipe. The base stout is layered with mountains of cocoa to provide a luscious chocolate flavor. A blend of espresso roasted by Esselon Coffee Roasting in Hadley, Massachusetts is added to enhance the flavors of roasted Carafa malt from Germany. The final product is a full-bodied brew with chocolate and coffee flavors percolating to the brim. 8% Alcohol by volume.”

Random: This beer is available in November.

The beer poured with a large, three finger, light brown 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 roasted coffee and roasted malt with a hint of smoke. Bitter dark chocolate came through as well. The taste started with the same bitter dark chocolate up front. It transitioned into espresso and then some charred wood and smoke. There was a pleasant hint of burnt marshmallow with some booze at the end. The body was thick and chewy with moderate carbonation. It had a lengthy finish with chocolate and charred marshmallow. Since this was another beer gift, there’s no commentary on the price. I enjoyed this beer a lot and wish I had a few more to cellar.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0


Empire Sweet Fire

Val and I are watching the new season of “American Ninja Warrior” and it seems like every year, the obstacles get more ridiculous, and this year is no exception. I can definitely use a beer to drink while watching this one.

ABV: 8.5%

Style: American Stout

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “At a Brooklyn beer event in October of 2014, 5 friends decided to join forces in a unique beer collaboration by beer industry women. The brew was so successful that the tradition has continued each year since! This imperial stout is brewed and fermented with cocoa nibs and a special chili blend, giving it a tantalizing chocolate aroma, and flavor with a heat that creeps onto the palate and builds into a beautiful balance of sweetness and spice.”

Random: I believe this brewery recently got distribution to New Jersey.

The beer poured with a quarter of a finger of tan head that dissipated slowly. It left some lacing on the glass. The body was dark brown in color with no visible carbonation. The nose had a lot of smoke and ashy chocolate. There was some chili pepper to it, but it needed more. Cocoa powder also made an appearance. The taste had a pleasant heat that hit in the back of the throat, along with shaved milk chocolate. Cocoa powder came through next with cherries. There was a marked booze note as well, which took away from the flavor. It had a thick body with light carbonation. The finish was quick with chili and cocoa. A bottle of this was $1.67, which came to $.14 per ounce. I wish this beer had more intense chili to it and less alcohol presence.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Carton Unjunct

From my understanding, Carton has been using Two Roads space to contract brew. I don’t see much difference between the beers from Jersey or Connecticut, but some people do. Let’s see how this beer stands up.

ABV: 8.5%

Style: American Stout

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: It’s been awhile since I’ve smoked any meat. I think I need to rectify that soon.

The beer poured with a huge, three finger, brown head. It dissipated slowly and left a lot of lacing on the glass. The body was black with no visible carbonation. On the nose, I picked up burnt espresso and cocoa notes with smoky malts. I couldn’t pick up specific chocolate notes. The taste was smoky with freshly poured espresso. It had burnt malts as well with some chopped chocolate. The bitterness was strong, but not overwhelming. The booze was hidden. The body had a nice thickness to it with moderate carbonation. The finish was quick and smoky. A can of this beer was $3.75, which broke down to $.23 per ounce. I enjoyed this beer a lot, which isn’t a shock since it’s a Carton beer. If you see it on the shelves, pick one up.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Departed Soles Modcup Of Sole

On the way home from the city, Val and I stopped at Departed Soles in Jersey. I’ve reviewed a few of their beers before, but never went to the brewery. The brewery is on a side street and has a gelato shop attached. They had a few flavors that also had some alcohol in it. We didn’t try any, but if we go back, we’re definitely going to sample some.


ABV: 4.8%

Style: American Stout

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Brewed in conjunction with ModCup Coffee in Jersey City Heights, our first local collaboration beer utilizes a cold brew coffee in a wort reminiscent of a light, dry stout. The end result is a coffee forward craft beer with minimal bitterness and a light coffee kiln and chocolate malt backbone, along with some lactose.”

Random: We get coffee from a place that has a huge sale every black Friday and it usually lasts us all year.

The beer poured with a quarter of a finger of tan head. It went away quickly, but left some lacing on the glass. The body was a clear, dark brown color with high carbonation. The nose was filled with black coffee, espresso and milk chocolate notes. It had a touch of lactose too, but coffee was definitely the start. The taste was milk chocolate and strong black coffee with some vanilla. Lactose came through at the end of the sip. It had a thin body with high carbonation. The finish was lengthy and filled with black coffee. I thought this beer was outstanding. It was even better because it was sessionable. This beer is worth searching out if you like coffee.

Untappd Rating: 4.5/5.0

Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Across America – Stout Of The Union

Despite the mixed pack getting less than stellar reviews on both content and price, I picked one up. I also was not a huge fan of the price and if I knew what the price was before I got to the checkout, I would have reconsidered my purchase.


ABV: 7.3%

Style: American Stout

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “This stout hails from the land of sun, sand, and surf and proves that beach beer doesn’t have to be light colored and delicate. Stout of the Union is rich, roasty and full of deep malt flavor, creating a union of like-minded brewers together through beer.”

Random: My local beer store doesn’t have the best selection of mixed twelve-packs. They seem to generally be less popular than they were a few years ago.

This beer poured with a one finger, light brown head. It dissipated quickly and left some lacing on the glass. The body was dark brown with some carbonation visible, despite the dark color of the body. The nose started with smoke and ash notes and quickly went into dark chocolate. The taste was even more ashy, like licking the bottom of a cigar ashtray. It also had wood smoke and then dark, bitter malt. The booze was apparent in the taste along with shaved dark chocolate. The body was shockingly light for the style with moderate carbonation. It had a lengthy finish with the same wood ash and dark malts. A bottle of this was expensive at $3.08 ($.26 per ounce), and although I had no issue drinking the beer, I think it was a bit off-balance and wasn’t worth the price.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Flying Dog Tropical Stout (Brewhouse Rarities)

Although I respect Flying Dog a lot, I find the description of this beer misleading. If you’re into a fruity drink with an umbrella, this beer is not going to be for you. I can come up with a bunch of fruit beers that are much more appropriate for that comparison. Despite that, I enjoy a beer that pushes the limits. Let’s see how it was.


ABV: 6%

Style: American Stout

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Rich, roasted malt meets juicy pineapple and toasted coconut, making this beer the perfect replacement for anything that comes with a tiny umbrella.”

Random: I am craving coconut now.

The beer poured with a thick, two finger, light brown head. It dissipated quickly and left some lacing on the glass. The nose had coconut, like the type of coconut you buy in a bag at the supermarket to make macaroons. It had some roasted malt and cocoa as well. I didn’t pick up any pineapple. The taste started like the typical stout with roasted malts, light smoke, and coffee. After the beer warmed a bit, I picked up some toasted coconut. At the end of the sip, I picked up canned pineapple, but it didn’t offer a huge amount of sweetness, which I appreciated. The body was thick with light carbonation. It had a quick, milk chocolate finish. A single bottle of the beer set me back $1.92 a bottle ($.16 per ounce). This beer was alright, but if you’re going to call it a tropical stout, I want more coconut and pineapple.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Brew Rebellion John Paul Jones Stout With Peanut Butter And Raspberry Jelly

I’ve seen beers from this brewery on a California beer shipping service and been intrigued. I figured that these flavors could either be dynamite or go terribly wrong. Luckily, this beer was stellar…


ABV: 10.2%

Style: American Stout

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Brew Rebellion is an unusual place. We brew beer in quantities of thirty to fifty gallons at a time. The great thing about this is that we have a tap list that features a revolving, rotating list of six or so beers that are the result of the thought process that Andy, our master brewer, dreams up in collaboration with Brad, our brewery manager and Andy’s partner in crime.”

Random: I still love a good peanut butter and jelly sandwich, although my jelly preference is strawberry.

The beer poured with a one finger, thick tan head. It dissipated slowly, but left no lacing on the glass. It did leave a small crown on top of the dark brown body. There was no carbonation visible due to the color. As soon as I popped the bottle, the room filled with peanut butter and jelly. What shocked me was the fact that it didn’t smell artificial. It had roasted peanuts and raspberry jelly. The taste started with lots of raspberry notes. It had a significant jam sweetness. The peanut note was more muted, but gave the beer some balance. The body was on the lighter side of stout, with very subtle alcohol. There was a lot of carbonation on the beer, which made it quite easy to drink. The finish was lengthy with lots of red fruit. A single bottle of this was expensive at $9.99 ($.83 per ounce), but was worth every penny for the quality of this liquid. I thought this beer was outstanding and had both peanut butter notes and jelly. I wish this beer was distributed to Jersey.

Untappd Rating: 4.5/5.0