If you could turn a red velvet cupcake into a beer, you may come up with something similar to Vertical Drop from the Kannah Creek Brewing Company. This is a rich brew that pours deep red with a thick layer of foam rising to the top of your glass instantly. Once you get your mouth around the glass and tip it up, you'll experience a well-balanced explosion of flavor. While the malts take the lead, the hoppy bitterness isn't far behind. You'll also notice a touch of citrus inspiration when the aroma greets your nose.
If visual interest is just as important to you as the taste of your beer, buckle up for a rewarding experience. The Kannah Creek Brewing Company created this medium amber ale to present a coppery hue when poured into a glass, and they made sure that each rim was graced with a rich foam. That foam dies to delicate lacing inside your glass as you drink up the hop-drenched brew. You'll also notice mandarin orange and grapefruit in the flavor profile, so it's no wonder that this beer won the gold medal at the 2008 World Beer Cup.
Before you enjoy a glass of Oatmeal Stout, it's important to let the chill of refrigeration wear away at least a little. Give those flavors a chance to mix and simmer before you bring the intense black liquid up to your lips. As you pour, pay attention to the creamy foam because it presents a satisfying brown color that adds to the hearty quality of this brew. The flavor may remind you of ash, but it'll also make you think of a box of chocolates and a tall cup of coffee. While malts deliver a sweet touch, the hops make their presence known as well.
If you're trying to live a healthier lifestyle, you might as well count a glass of Session IPA from the Ipswich Ale Brewery as a serving of fruit. The copper liquid is drenched in the aroma and taste of fruit, including notes of passion fruit, grapefruit and pineapple. The citrus may make you think of waking up on a bright summer morning, but this is a session India Pale Ale that you could enjoy at any time of the day. While the hops are on citrus overdrive, it's the sweetness of the malts that delivers a well-balanced taste that has earned this brewery some loyal fans.
You typically have to visit the Harpoon brewery in Boston to order this draft-only Dunkel Lager, so it's a special occasion when you can get your hands on a bottle. Brewed in true Munich style, this is a dark brown beer with some attractive mahogany swirls. You can pick up on hints of chocolate and espresso in the aroma, but the caramel sweetness is what may grab your nose first. If you take the time to study the complex aroma, you'll also detect hints of flowers and fresh fruit. The taste isn't as complex with a nice balance between caramel sweet and roasted meat. If you're cooking on the grill or serving salty snacks, Harpoon Dark will complement the meal nicely.
This seasonal microbrew from Harpoon is only distributed during September and October, so grab your share while it lasts. Your reward comes instantly as the deep amber liquid fills your glass. The eye-catching color is followed by a tall head of thick foam and an intense aroma that speaks to the caramelized malts soon to greet your taste buds. You'll detect something a bit fruity and perhaps a flash of floral if you pay attention to the complexity of this brew. This is a beer that truly embraces the malts, so it will pair well with a variety of comfort foods enjoyed in the fall.
Are you looking for a brew that will sit well at the dessert table or blend naturally with lighter cuisine? Renaissance Wit will do the trick with a brew recipe that includes orange peel and spices like cumin and coriander. Add grains of paradise with a blend of well-chosen hops and malts, and you're left with a delicate beer that delivers an intense aroma. While it is a bit on the spicy side in aroma and flavor, it's also well-balanced by swirls of citrus. Like a good meal, this is a brew that leaves you feeling satisfied.
The Harlem Brewing Company defied expectations for a golden ale when they created their Sugar Hill brew. While it has the golden color that you would expect from this type of ale, it fills your mouth with a smooth medium body that beats the watery consistency of many competitors. The aroma also offers a generous whiff of malts, which is unexpected for the experienced golden ale drinker. The taste is interesting because it's on the herbal side with enough spice and floral to keep it interesting sip by sip. There's a touch of citrus in the mix as well, so enjoy this beer when you have time to relax and enjoy the experience.
Cardinal Pale Ale is the brew of champs. While stealing the show as the 2014 U.S. Beer Tasting Champion was impressive, the number of adoring fans that it has brought to the Nebraska Brewing Company is even more noteworthy. Pop the bottle open, inhaling the fresh aroma of citrus with floral undertones. Savor the layers of white froth as you pour, or lift the bottle right to your lips for that slightly-bitter taste of Cascade hops.
When passionate brewers start out with a delicate infusion of Citra hops, you know the end product is going to tickle your taste buds in the most pleasing of ways. That's exactly what happens when you pop the top on a bottle of IPA inspired by the west coast. The aroma of pine laced with citrus and floral tones hits your nose, alerting you that the good times have begun. When you notice the smooth caramel malts adding the perfect balance to a strong hoppy taste, you'll know that you're indulging in true IPA perfection.
When nothing will hit the spot but a brown ale that fills your mouth with full flavor, you reach for a bottle of Mutton Buster. This is a malt-heavy brew that hits your glass with rich, deep color, but the bitter undertone of well-brewed hops is what may linger in your mind after the first sip. You'll notice the enticing blend of nuts and chocolate right away, but savor a few more sips to pick up on the brown sugar. It's just the right sweetness to lighten up a rich, dark brew.
If you like your brew rich, dark and down to earth, you'll swoon over Pistolero Porter. It fills your glass with full-bodied darkness, but it's properly relieved by a layer of lighter foam. The scent will remind you of fresh toast on Saturday morning, but it's special toast with a hint of chocolatey goodness. Your taste buds will pick up on the chocolate right away, but it's infused with caramel highlights for a sweet touch you can't miss. It's earthy. It's malty sweet. It's Pistolero Porter.
If you can't make it to Kalamazoo, MI, to enjoy a wood-fired pizza or a plate of barbecue with the Arcadia Brewing Company, bring their best Scotch ale home and serve with salmon or roasted meat. The caramelized malt combines well with orange, garnet and a variety of dried fruits to create a sweetish flavor and satisfying aroma. This is an earthy brew that you'll enjoy with your nose as well as your mouth.
Break out your favorite mug or pint glass when this hop-sational brew arrives at your doorstep. Watch with satisfaction as the clear copper liquid pours smoothly into your glass, a cloud of lacy foam rising up to the top. Salivate as you inhale the well-balanced aroma of caramelized malt with spicy overtones. Brewed with a combination of Columbus and Cascade hops, this is one IPA that will satisfy your craving for a firm hoppy taste.
You may want to get your lawnmower out before this pale German malt arrives because it's the perfect brew for a backyard party. The Baderbräu Brewing Company crafted this IPL from a diverse combination of hops, including some experimental strains that you won't find in many other microbrews. From Flaconer's Flight to Cascade and Citra, it's enough to create a hoppy taste balanced out with light citrus undertones. Throw the burgers on the grill and enjoy a glass of golden brew layered with thick foam.
Red Tale Ale is the flagship brand for the Mendocino Brewing Company, and it's a clean American amber ale that pairs well with any food offering intense flavor. The brew combines a proprietary yeast strain with two-row malted barley to create an intense caramelized flavor with the slightest hint of sweetness. If your palate craves toasty flavors and malty aromas, Red Tail Ale is the perfect complement for a special meal.
Southern Hops’pitality is Lazy Magnolia’s copper-colored IPA, which is brewed with a liberal dose of six varieties of hops: Citra, Cascade, Centennial, Nugget, Simcoe and Summit. The hops dominate this beer, giving it a floral-citrus zing with woody and earthy notes of herbs, pine and tropical fruit. The lightly toasted malt offers a strong backbone for the hops, which allows it to be paired with both sweet and spicy foods.
Lazy Magnolia Brewing Company in Kiln, Mississippi, produces one of the most delicious and satisfying stouts in the South: Jefferson Stout. What makes this cream stout so special is that it is brewed with sweet potato, which blends with the cream and malts to deliver flavors of toast, mildly roasted coffee and chocolate covered caramel without becoming overly sweet.
Bent River Brewing Company in Rock Island, Illinois, is one of the best microbreweries in the Midwest, and Steamboat IPA is not to be missed. The beer pours a deep, coppery amber, and the citrusy, floral aromas of the hops are steadied with caramel malts. The hops provide flavors of fresh evergreen, pineapple and mango, which blend with the malts to create a well-rounded ale.
Paddle Wheel Pale Ale from Bent River Brewing is like a lighter version of the brewery’s IPA with added notes of spice and herbal hops. This relatively mild microbrew is extremely smooth, and the caramel flavor of the malts includes welcome hints of fresh bread and mild sweetness. A few fruity notes complete the balanced flavor profile of Paddle Wheel.
Alpha Male from Alphabet City Brewing is an American IPA that combines citrusy hops flavor with pungent herbal notes. The strong backbone of Alpha Male is derived from liberal doses of Vienna and pale malts, which are necessary to balance the orange, grapefruit and pine flavors of the hops. This is one IPA that goes great with spicy foods.
The founders of Alphabet City Brewing began their business in the kitchen at home, but today, the company is the premier brewer of kolsch-inspired German blonde ales in New York City, and among the company's top beers in this style is Easy Blonde. This beer is as complex in character as it is to brew, but its aromatic spiciness pairs with a wide range of dishes.
Smuttynose Brewing in Hampton, New Hampshire, brews some of the finest craft beer in the state, and its Baltic Porter is currently ranked the fifth best porter in the country. This beer is deep black in color, and it gives off aromas of dark chocolate, dried fruit, brown sugar and dark rum. It is also incredibly smooth with a wide variety of fruit notes, including berries, prunes, raisins and figs.
Vunderbar! from Smuttynose Brewing is styled after a German pilsner with aromas of lemon, pineapple and spice. On the palate, this light beer perfectly combines the flavors of the pale malt and Sterling hops, which is a descendant of Czech Saaz hops, with extra lemony zest. Vunderbar! pairs well with traditional German foods, such as bratwurst and spicy mustard.
Old Dominion Brewing in Dover, Delaware, is a favorite of the East Coast, and its Oak Barrel Stout is a selection not to be missed. This is actually a lighter stout characterized by semi-sweet chocolate and vanilla beans, which are added during fermentation. The hops flavor in this brew is subtle but nicely balances the smoky sweetness.
Old Dominion is not afraid to use hops, and this is readily apparent in the brewery’s Hop Lips IPA. This beer pours an eye-catching orange-amber with lacey white foam, and the nose is unmistakably that of citrus. The taste of Hop Lips is very close to its aroma and is loaded with notes of citrus zest, tropical fruit and pine.
D.L Geary Brewing in Portland, Maine, is one of New England’s oldest microbreweries, and one of its most popular beers is Hudson Red Ale, which pours a deep amber-red color while remaining incredibly crisp and clear. The malts in this beer provide flavors of caramel and toffee, but the floral and fruity hops creates an elaborate taste that defies comparisons.
D.L. Geary’s Hampshire Special Ale is a New England favorite that is as delicious as it is unique. It pours amber-red, has a creamy, khaki head, and perfectly combines highly malty flavors with a large dose of bittering hops. This beer is 7 percent ABV, so it is a sipping beer, and from your first sip, you will experience a smorgasbord of deliciousness that includes notes of grapes, apples, berries, figs and plums.
Weissbier is a style of hefeweizen originating from southern Germany, and Prost Brewing in Denver garnered a gold medal at the 2015 Great American Beer Festival (GABF) for it. The unfiltered haziness of the pour does nothing to cloud the scents of clove, lemon and robust wheat, and the taste includes both spicy and earthy notes.
Prost Brewing is known for its German varieties, and this style from Dusseldorf is no exception. Prost Altbier pours a deep amber, upon which it radiates aromas of bread crust, light caramel and grassy hops. The taste is that of toasted malt with moderate hoppiness, and it pairs well with sausages and roasted meats.
Sweet Baby Jesus from DuClaw Brewing in Baltimore is one of the most unique beers on record. This chocolate peanut butter porter was first brewed in 2011 and is now the company’s most popular selection. It is made with an all-natural, non-allergenic peanut extract, and the taste is a perfectly balanced combination of dark chocolate and roasted peanuts.
DuClaw Brewing’s Neon Gypsy is a stylized IPA that pours golden copper with a long-lasting head. A total of seven varieties of hops are used in the brewing process, including Columbus, Chinook, Simcoe and Amarillo. The aroma is very citrusy while the taste is balanced with notes of pine. This beer goes well with spicy and fried foods.
16 Mile Brewing in Georgetown, Delaware, creates some of the most enjoyable beers on the East Coast, and Amber Sun Ale is no exception. This dark amber ale has a floral hop aroma, but the taste is that of caramel, bread crust and red fruits. The hop level is moderate but adequate enough to provide balance to the caramelized malts.
Along with its amber ale, 16 Mile Brewing makes an exceptional brown ale. Tiller Brown Ale is highly carbonated and has a strong flavor of toasted bread and caramel with notes of milk chocolate. This light sweetness, however, is offset by a mild hop character with earthy, spicy and floral overtones.
Cape Canaveral’s Florida Beer Company offers an unusual but delectable option with its Surplus Honey Citrus Ale. This unique ale is also the microbrewery’s signature specialty, and its robust pale malt flavor includes a subtle taste of sweet honey and citrus zest. A moderate amount of hops completes this honey-citrus American pale ale.
Florida Beer Company also brews one of the sweetest stouts available today. Sweet Stout has a rich head and smells of honey-roasted nuts and coffee with a hint of bacon, and on the palate, you can add dark cacao and dried fruit. The beer’s smooth and creamy character derives from the addition of oats in the brewing process.
Olde Saratoga Brewing in Saratoga Springs, New York, brews one of the finest IPA’s in the region. Saratoga IPA is crisp and has a clear copper color with citrus and floral aromas from the Cascade hops. Even though it measures 60 IBUs, the flavor is perfectly balanced with a unique Munich malt backbone.
Another favorite from Olde Saratoga is Saratoga Oatmeal Stout. The oats used in the brewing process work to smooth the complex malts, and the moderate hops flavor balances the sweetness to provide a nice finish. Pay attention to the notes of roasted coffee, caramel, and dark chocolate.
Sprecher Brewing in Glendale, Wisconsin, is known for brewing some of the finest German-style beers in the U.S., and its Black Bavarian is certainly no exception. This is a German schwarzbier, which is a dark pilsner, but it is on the heartier side. This beer has a sweet and toasty flavor and is moderately hopped to provide balance.
Hefe Weiss from Sprecher Brewing is made in the style of a traditional Bavarian weissbier, or wheat beer. It is unfiltered and cloudy with a sweet twang of banana and bubblegum balanced with a touch of clove and spice. The Mt. Hood hops provides an herbal quality with notes of lemon zest.
Belfast, Maine, is home to one of America’s great brewers, and one of its most popular beers is McGovern’s Oatmeal Stout, which won a silver medal at the World Brewing Championships. This stout is dark, dense and robust with hints of dark chocolate, scorched caramel and smoke. On the palate, it is surprisingly balanced and finishes with a hint of coffee.
Belfast Bay Brewing’s Lobster Ale is a red ale with a deep color that creates a large, beige head on the pour. The nose carries heavy notes of caramel and toffee while the palate is expertly balanced among toasted bread, caramel, toffee, and fruit. This beer pairs well with grilled pork, roasted chicken and French onion soup.
Hop Manna from Shmaltz Brewing is a clean IPA that pours a glistening golden color. The aroma is undoubtedly one of floral, citrusy hops with notes of cantaloupe. The flavor is hoppy through and through, but the malts provide much-needed balance and a hint of spice. The hoppiness lingers for several minutes, inviting imbibers for another taste.
Shmaltz Brewing proudly presents a craft lager like no other. Slingshot pours bright and golden with a generous, bubbly head while the nose includes herbs, citrus zest, and tropical fruit. The taste is biscuity, but carries notes of caramel, rye, and citrus. The bitterness is higher than most other lagers, but it remains extremely refreshing.