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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tuesday Tasting: Seven Lucky Beers

Tuesday Tasting is a regular feature of Lyke2Drink that explores some of the best beers, wines and spirits on the market. This week we taste seven unique brews from around the United States.

Dogfish Head Sah'tea: The folks in Delaware must have worked a few long days coming up with the ingredients for this one. Black chai tea, rye, juniper berries, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and black pepper. Wood-fired rocks caramelize the wort and a German weizen yeast is used in achieving a 9 percent alcohol by volume level. And somehow it all works. Cloudy gold color. The tea is clearly there and spice notes ring through. You should try this brew at least once.

Duschutes The Abyss 2009 Reserve: This imperial stout has a "Best After Date" on the label, but I had to open the bottle and give it a try. This is one big, black, beautiful brew. At 11 percent alcohol by volume this beer is imposing in many ways. The beer is brewed with licorice and molasses, with a third aged in ex-Bourbon barrels. The whiskey comes through in just the right amount and there is certainly sweetness from the molasses. It would be interesting to taste this beer in a couple of years.

Life & Limb: Sometimes collaboration beers don't live up to expectations. That's not the case with this 10 percent alcohol by volume beer from Sierra Nevada and Dogfish Head. A beautiful brown color and wonderful hoppy nose. Both maple and birch syrups are used, and the malt really balances out the brew overall. The yeast is a blend of house varieties from both breweries. Good dark fruit notes that mark this as a sipping beer. The brewers also released a small beer -- 5 percent abv -- from the second runnings called Limb & Life.

Nogne O/Jolly Pumpkin/Stone Special Holiday Ale: A three-way collaboration that combines Michigan chestnuts, white sage from southern California and Norwegian juniper berries. Dark colored ale that has some holiday spice scents. The malts give this a nice heft and long lasting flavor profile.

Pike Entire Wood Aged Stout: Pours black as night with a tan head. Dark chocolate, roasty notes wrapped around a brew with attractive vanilla and Bourbon flavors. The hops in this one don't take a back seat. A very big brew.

Redhook Treblehook Barleywine: This limited edition brew pours a nice reddish brown color with a thin off white head. The dry hopping of this beer comes roaring through in the aroma and flavor, balanced by a good amount of malt. It drinks smoothly, especially for a 10.1 percent alcohol by volume beer.

Widmer Brothers Reserve Cherry Oak Doppelbock: This is a new beer that is part of the new "Brothers Reserve" series. Good looking brown bock with a firm tan head. If you are looking for big fruit, this is not your beer. However, I enjoyed the subtle nature of the dark sweet and red tart cherries. More of a background note than a lead element. The oak really serves to mellow out this beer. I found it opened after a few minutes and as it warmed I detected more body than originally showed itself.

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