3 Stars Whisker Assassins

As you can tell from the label, yes, I definitely bought it because there are cats dressed up as assassins.

ABV: 12.5%

Style: English Strong Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “3 Stars Brewing Company is a brewery delivering on the promise of bringing locally hand crafted artisanal ales to the DC beer community. The company was founded by Dave Coleman and Mike McGarvey, two longtime friends who decided to seize the opportunity to build a brewery and produce high quality beer in the District of Columbia – hoping to make this world-class city a world-class craft beer destination. Mike and Dave started out as homebrewers, developing recipes on a homebrew lab system in Mike’s basement. What began as a hobby, soon became the main focal point of their attention. The duo then realized that building a brewery in D.C. was just the type of project they had been looking for. They began writing business plans, searching for a suitable property to house the brewery, and discussing the project with local friends and business associates as a potential investment opportunity. With an unwavering dedication to crafting and brewing unique, complex, forward thinking beers the guys set out a path for the brewery with the purpose of creating highly innovative drinking experiences. To date, the brewing team at 3 Stars has released over 40 different distinctive beers and cultivated a reputation for pushing the envelope when it comes to creativity. They have been recognized for their commitment to their craft, and have received multiple awards for their achievements. They have been named DC’s Best Local Brewery two years running by Washington City Paper, and were named Rising Stars in 2014 by Star Chefs Magazine. Be on the lookout as they continue to innovate and create outstanding beers that offer unparalleled drinking experiences.”

Random: 3 Stars is my favorite brewery in the DC area.

The beer poured with absolutely no head on top of a deep, dark brown body. There was some carbonation visible. The nose was pungent. Initially, I got a lot of the barrel characteristics, specifically vanilla, tobacco, smoke and char. I also got a note of dates. The taste was simply outstanding. I picked up the barrel characteristics again, vanilla, leather, tobacco, and char. There was a raisin and date note as well. The alcohol was present, but not overwhelming. It had a thick and chewy body with light carbonation. The finish was lengthy and sticky with the smoke hanging around. I picked this up directly from the brewery, so I’m not sure how much I paid for it. Either way, this was perfection in a glass.

Untappd Rating: 4.5/5.0

The Shed Mountain Ale

This was the second beer that I had at the 1620 Brewhouse. One of the other things that I had there was a burger with peanut butter on it. The sweet and salty combination was amazing. I added some hot peppers to it as well, which gave it a bit of spice to counter the sweetness. I would definitely have a burger like that again. I wish more places would make a burger with peanut butter.

ABV: 7.4%

Style: English Strong Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “A Vermont staple. Now available in Vermont’s favorite container: The 16 ounce can. Look out for Mountain Ale 4-packs coming to a cooler near you. This unfiltered English Strong Ale is a medium to full-bodied ale, with pronounced caramel and toffee notes, followed by a roasted finish. A moderate hop bitterness is derived from generous kettle additions of Mt. Hood and Northern Brewer hops.”

Random: This beer comes in at 35 IBUs.

The beer poured with a one finger, cream-colored head. It dissipated slowly and left some lacing on the glass. The body was a dark mahogany color with some visible carbonation to it. The body was clear. The nose was really toasty with caramel and hazelnuts. There was some toffee to it as well. The taste was warm and sweet. It had a lot of caramel and hazelnuts with toffee. The alcohol was present as well, but not overwhelming. It had a thick body with moderate carbonation. The finish was lengthy with some malty sweetness.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Davidson Brothers Double ESB

Every year, my Dad throws a family reunion at his house. One of my cousins brought me some beer from a brewery by his apartment and this is one of the selections he gave me.


ABV: 7.7%

Style: English Strong Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “How a couple of guys who’d never worked in a restaurant, never brewed beer, and never owned a business started a brewpub. It was in the fall of 1993, during a visit to Baltimore, that my brothers Paul, John and I wandered into our first brewpub, Bill Oliver’s Wharf Rat. The ales were terrific and with every pint we drank we became more convinced we should start…”

Random: Apparently this beer is retired now.

This beer poured with a thick, three finger, off white head. It dissipated at a snail’s pace and left some lacing, but also left a crown as well. The body was a clear, dark brown color with light carbonation visible. The nose was very malty, which bordered on brandy-like. It also had a lot of white bread to it with sharp booze. The taste was very boozy up front. It took a few sips to get past that. It then went into sweet notes of brandy and caramel malt with a sweet, white bread. The body was way too thick with light carbonation. Luckily, the finish was quick with booze. I don’t know how much this beer was since I got this as a gift. Despite that, I wasn’t a fan of this beer. It had absolutely no balance and the flavors were really aggressive. I wouldn’t have this again.

Untappd Rating: 2.5/5.0

SingleCut Nigel Pride Of Squatney Strong Ale

This was another gem that I found when walking the aisles at Half Time. I search out SingleCut beers and I had no idea what the style was when I bought this one. This was more than a pleasant surprise.


ABV: 11%

Style: English Strong Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “A LEGEND REBORN! With its warm sunburst color, high-volume of premium English malts and hops, and extended aging including a secondary fermentation with 3 Brett strains this is one heavy-duty ale that will sustain for days.”

Random: I’ve always liked the name “Nigel.” It has a British ring to it.

This beer poured with less than half a finger of cream-colored head. It dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a hazy mahogany color with no carbonation visible because of the cloudiness. The nose was really interesting. It started with caramel and toffee sweetness, but then went into prunes and dates. There was also a light vinegar quality, which I found quite odd, until I researched the beer and found that it had Brett, and then it made total sense. Another remarkable thing was there was absolutely no booze on the nose. The taste also had some sweetness from the caramel and toffee. It quickly went into prunes and raisins and then a vinous quality with some vinegar. It had light tartness that I’ve never had in a barleywine, which just added to the complexity. It had no alcohol warming. The body was medium thickness with almost no carbonation. The finish was lengthy with light vinegar. A bottle of this was expensive at $25 ($1.14 per ounce), but I would only open this on special occasions. This beer was outstanding and possible the most unusual barleywine I’ve had. If you see it, you need to pick up a bottle.

Untappd Rating: 5.0/5.0

Innis & Gunn Limited Edition Oak Aged Highland Ale

This is only the fourth beer I’ve had from the brewery. Every time I have a beer from them, I wonder why I haven’t explored their portfolio more because their beers are ridiculously good. This one is no exception.


ABV: 7.4%

Style: English Strong Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Following the lengthy time it’s spent mellowing over oak, the beer has developed a fragrant aroma of spice and rich toffee. The wood has also imparted notes of heather-honey, raisins and marzipan, making for a beautifully-balanced, complex ale, capped with a deeply smooth finish.”

Random: I like their website too. It’s very informative and easy on the eyes.

This beer poured with a three finger, white head that dissipated slowly and left some lacing on the glass. The body was a clear, light mahogany color with light carbonation visible. The nose had notes of oak, vanilla and brandy. Peat came through as well. The taste had some sweetness and brandy notes along with peat, oak and vanilla. After a few sips, I picked up butter and caramel. The alcohol was well hidden. It had some spice and golden fruit as well. The body was on the thin side with light carbonation. It had a quick finish with oak and vanilla. This was a really solid beer, which seems to be the trend from this brewery. This was $8.99 for the bomber, which was $.41 per ounce. This wasn’t a cheap beer, but I would highly recommend this one, especially to a scotch drinker. I would definitely have this one again.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Flying Fish NJ350

It’s been almost a year since I’ve reviewed a Flying Fish beer. Flying Fish has been pretty busy, between moving their brewery and such. This beer is one that just recently came out. I haven’t read many reviews about it, but Flying Fish usually puts out exciting things in their 750 mL bottles. Let’s see if I liked it.


ABV: 7.5%

Style: English Strong Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “English Pale malts and flaked barley meld with blackstrap molasses for a hearty and complex malt flavor. For hops we used Cluster, the first hop cultivated in the US. The beer finishes with the modern Simcoe and Centennial. The latter gives a deep piney flavor and aroma, a nod to a state treasure-the Pine Barrens.”

Random: I think I may try to watch some of the World Cup games today and see if I can get into it.

This brew poured with a two finger, cream colored head that dissipated slowly and left lots of lacing on the glass. The body was a dusky orange color with moderate carbonation visible. The nose was very mild with some grain and malt and sweetness. The taste had a bit more depth to it. There was a definite sweetness to it from the molasses. There was some hop bitterness right after with pine and grass. It had a bit of rye spice to it along with some malt at the end. Given the style, the brew was relatively thin and had moderate carbonation. The finish was long with hops. This was a decent beer that went down a little too easy. With that being said, I would still have it again.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Coopers Extra Strong Vintage Ale (2009)

My first day off after end of quarter was relatively productive thus far. I finally got an oil change on my car and finished season two of “Big Love.” I also did a load of dishes and am working on a load of laundry. While I wait for that to finish, I figured I would type up some reviews. This is a brew that I picked up at my local beer store and it already had a few years of age on it, so I figured it was worth a try.


ABV: 7.5%

Style: English Strong Ale

Trivia: According to draftmag.com, “Cooper’s Extra Strong Vintage Ale is an absolute beauty of a beer, with enough alcohol and flavor to stand up to any food, or just a cool night with a good book. Its aroma is rich with honey and caramel notes, and is not aggressive, but delightful, complementing the deep golden color and slightly hazy appearance. At first taste, you’re greeted with apricot, caramel, mild pineapple, and peppery notes. Coopers’ finishes slightly dry with lingering honey sweetness and a mild astringency on the cheeks. With its creamy carbonation and medium body, you can appreciate the beer now, or give it a year to really allow all the complexity to meld together. Either way, this is a superb beer.”

Random: The Phils play the Blue Jays tonight for some interleague play. I’m pretty excited to see that.

This brew poured with a one finger, white head that dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass. There was a slight crown left on top of the cloudy copper body that had lots of visible carbonation even with the cloudiness. There was also a lot of detritus in the beer, but after a few minutes, it settled down to the bottom. The nose was really sweet. I got some dark fruits, raisins, sweet malts and some booze as well. The taste had a lot of sweetness up front with caramel and toffee, then some bitterness came out. The raisins and dark fruit were present on the beer, but not nearly as much as the sweetness or the hop bitterness. The alcohol was present on the sip, but not overwhelming. The body was on the thicker side with high carbonation. It had a long finish with bitterness and toffee. This brew was pretty good. I think the fact that it had some age on it made it a little more mellow. It’s definitely worth a try.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0