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

Dogfish Head Immort Ale

This was one of the brews that I picked up today at the beer store. I had a bunch in the fridge, ready to drink, but I can remember when I first started the blog how much I wanted to try this one. I guess when I started the blog, this was a brew on hiatus and I really haven’t seen it since. I saw this one mixed with a bunch of other singles. I picked it up and hightailed it home to try.

ABV: 11%

Style: English Strong Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Pour this over pancakes. Vast in character, luscious and complex, Immort Ale was born at our brewpub in 1995 and made its way into bottles in 1997. For this beer, we use maple syrup from Red Brook Farm — Sam’s family farm in Western Massachusetts, peat-smoked barley, juniper berries and vanilla. Immort is fermented with a blend of English and Belgian yeasts, then aged in the big oak tanks at the brewery. The sweet and earthy flavors meld magnificently in the Immort Ale. But be warned, the ABV is 11%, so after one or two you may start feeling immortal (even though we promise you won’t be).”

Random: I am so not ready for Christmas. Kate and I are going Christmas shopping tomorrow.

I poured this brew into my Cigar City snifter since my DFH glass was at Kate’s house. This one poured with a hint of white head on a cloudy, cognac colored body. The nose was as advertised. I got a lot of oak, vanilla, maple and also a touch of smoke. The taste started with oak, vanilla and a bit of maple. The booze was crazy hidden. The mouthfeel was really velvety and soft for a beer this big in ABV. As I sipped it, I was really enjoying it. All the flavors worked really well together. But, this is definitely a beer to savor. The maple also came out more as it warmed. The finish was warm and oaky. This brew was definitely worth the wait. If you haven’t tried it, seek it out.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Yards Thomas Jefferson’s Tavern Ale

One of my most favorite subjects is history. That was actually one of the reasons that I started this blog. Specifically, I really enjoyed the history of beer and learning about. So, this line of Yards brews was really in my wheelhouse. This brew specifically took a recipe from Thomas Jefferson and tried to recreate it. So, let’s see how this goes.

ABV: 8%

Style: English Strong Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “While Jefferson vehemently opposed a strong central federal government, he apparently had nothing against strong ales like this one. Thomas Jefferson’s Tavern Ale is a golden ale with dried fruits and toffee aromas inspired by Jefferson’s original recipe that called for wheat, honey, and rye from his Virginia estate.”

Random: I can’t wait until the new season of Criminal Minds. It could be my favorite show on tv.

This brew poured with a thick two finger white head that dissipated slowly and left some lacing on the glass. The body was a clear mahogany color with light carbonation visible throughout. The nose was really fragrant. I got some toffee and honey and a herbal quality to it as well. It was definitely unique, if nothing else. The taste had more herbal qualities to it than the nose. The toffee and honey were present, but took backseat to the herbal notes. Some burnt malt also came out at the end. The body was medium thickness with very low carbonation. The booze was apparent on the long finish that had a mineral quality to it as well. Although I found the concept of this brew very interesting and enjoyed the one that I had, I don’t think I could have more than one or two, especially considering the alcohol content of it. It was definitely worth a try.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0