Craft beer just continues to get better and better, and I for one won’t be stopping anytime soon. It is an ever-evolving industry, with endless options and creativity. Here are seven craft beers that I’m really digging right now.
Supplication, a Craft Beer King
Look: Pours an opaque burnt crimson color, no head, quickly dissipating lace.
Smell: Dominated by oak and white grape, tart cherries, and peach. The woodiness is an amazing afterthought that is so crucial to the balance of aromas. The yeast even gives it a slight hint of mold and grain.
Taste: So much going on here. Very tart, but with such strong notes of Pinot grapes. The subtle acidity finishes with strong oak barrel influences and a very subtle smokiness in the finish. Fruit notes of tart cherry and peach again evident in the taste.
Feel: Very dry body, seltzery and medium bodied. Although it has sweet characteristics, it is definitely a lip smacker.
Final sip: An amazing experience. I’ve never had a sour so positively influenced by its containing barrel. You get notes of all the right things, and the yeast adds just enough chaos of funky tartness to perfect this beer’s amazing profile. It’s definitely one of the best craft beers I have ever had, so get this bad boy while you can.
Stone’s Ghost Hammer IPA
Look: pours an orange-hued golden yellow, very short head of seltzery white foam. Good lace buildup.
Smell: Distinctly hoppy, but with a really pleasant tangerine sweetness that collides at the same time. A deep inhale even reveals brief tinges of vodka that quickly recedes.
Taste: A beautiful combination of citrus and pine, with those familiar tangerine notes taking over a bit more. Other tangy citrus fruit notes present, lemon and even mango in this. There’s a nice accompanying floral quality, an earth-like grassiness that compliments the hops.
Feel: crisp, fairly light-bodied beer with heavy carbonation that makes for a refreshing finish. Noticeable stickiness clings to the glass.
Final sip: I haven’t been able to review a new Stone creation in a little while, so I enjoyed this! Stone’s craft beers are in my GOAT list and this is great crisp beer. Refreshing and perfect for those who like a more slightly citrus-forward drinkable IPA.
Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout
Look: Pours jet black, dark tan head of foam. Amazing, thick, syrupy body when poured into the glass.
Smell: Admittedly a little soy sauce on the nose, bud it is followed by rich chocolate and coffee, with subtle coconut undertones.
Taste: Absolutely amazing. Met right away with bitter coffee, subtle yet rich chocolate and undeniable notes of coconut. The finishing notes bring out strong vanilla and more bitterness from a good black coffee.
Feel: Incredibly smooth from start to finish. Slight but necessary carbonation. Sticky, and with a distinct spicy finish down the back of the throat.
Final sip: What else is there to say? For me, this lived up to the hype and more. So many different components, all perfectly unified into this incredible beer. Even the peppers can be felt in the finish, and I’m just so amazed by this. Again a huge shoutout to my trade partner in Tampa for making this happen.
Look: Poured into a snifter from Delirium’s iconic 750mL ceramic bottle. Pours a cloudy gold with a foamy 1 inch head.
Smell: Great dry fruitiness, abundant with white grapes, apple, and a slight bitter wheatiness.
Taste: Wheaty, slightly herbal, strong yeastiness. Bitter and dry in the finish.
Feel: Very similar to champagne. Seltzery carbonation, light, smooth. Very pleasant.
Final sip: Overall a great Belgian blonde. Good balance of fruitiness in the smell with dry wheat and yeast in the taste. Like I said, very similar to a champagne with a great light, heavily carbonated body that finishes really well. The belgians are known for their craft beers for a reason.
Pliny the Elder
Look: Deep golden hue, small head of foam, even carbonation flow from the base of the glass.
Smell: An incredible combination of sweet breadiness, bitter citrus, and piney hops. Beautiful floral balance.
Taste: An amazing hop explosion. Loads of grapefruit give a perfect balance to piney, resinous hops. Still a subtle breadiness, but just as a noticeable afterthought to the beauty that is Pliny!
Feel: Very smooth. Sharp, seltzery carbonation that is very smooth as it goes down. Incredibly crisp, the perfect summer IPA (that for many is a one summer in a lifetime).
Final sip: Okay so as I predicted, this beer is far from overrated. Its balance is incredible, and true hopheads will be able to truly appreciate the bitter grapefruit, herbs, and piney hops all being perfectly balanced into an amazingly easy drinking DIPA. If you ever get your hands on this, don’t pass it up. The fact that you can still grab it for under $10 is beyond me, because I would easily pay more to try this again.
Leo v. Ursus: Fortem
Look: Pours a deep orange gold with a thin, half inch head of quickly dissipating foam.
Smell: Powerful notes of Pine and hops. Resinous and wonderful, with just a subtle hint of citrus in the finish. UPDATE* As it warms a bit, the citrus really begins to become more apparent.
Taste: Again, great punches of piney, pithy hops. More noticeable citrus balance in the taste, specifically tangerine.
Feel: Great seltzery carbonation. Smooth and crisp with a slight resinous stick. Very smooth and very hoppy, with a lingering spiciness that I found enjoyable.
Final sip: A great Imperial IPA. Crisp and smooth, but packs a powerful hoppy punch that will have any hophead quickly going back for more. Firestone Walker is brewing some of the best craft beers on the market.
Look: Pours jet black, surprisingly high head of light tan, bubbly foam.
Smell: Very sweet! Notes of dark fruit, hints of chocolate with a slight booziness.
Taste: Incredibly smooth! Like this is 20.3, seriously?? A warm but pleasant warmth, with a body comparable to a barleywine. Many of the tastes found here are of burnt toffee, caramel, malt, and hints of toast.
Feel: Again, so incredibly smooth. A lighter body than expected , with a good amount of carbonation and an expected amount of stickiness.
Final sip: An incredible addition to my beer repertoire, although different than what I expected. Regardless, an amazing beer worthy of the hype.