This year’s National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) event had an impressive list of craft breweries. While I did not get the chance to sample every beer at the annual event (if anyone did, I am highly impressed), I got to as many as I could. However, I did try to gauge from each of the brewery’s which was their most popular or most unique offering. Here I highlight several that stood out for their unique qualities.
“Brainless on Peaches” by Epic Brewing: While normally, I am not fan of peaches, this particular beer had just enough fruitiness without being overwhelming. While feeling light and summery, this beer packs a secret kick at a whopping 10.2-11.8% ABV. The brewery uses their Brainless Belgian Golden Ale in French Oak white wine casks, then using an organic peach puree for a secondary fermentation and maturation. Maybe it’s my equal love for wine and beer, but this one certainly pleased my taste buds. I’m not alone as this was a Silver Medal winner at 2011 Great American Beer Festival.
“Beerhive Honey Ginger Tripel Ale” by New Holland Brewing: An intriguing combination of honey and ginger, New Holland uses natural honey from Michigan. They had been long awaiting a use for ginger and thought this was the beer to infuse it with. It’s a very unique twist on a tripel with a more earthy and sweet complexity. This beer requires an open mind for those traditional beer drinkers, and should be enjoyed with fresh veggies, soft-ripened cheese, fruit, custards or biscuits.
“Sky High Rye” by Arcadia Ales: Categorized in their “classic beers” portfolio, Sky High Rye, is a west coast style pale ale that boasts not only a fun name but great flavor. Brewed with 80% barley malt and 20% rye malt it has a combination of floral aromas with hints of lemons, peaches, pine needles, toffee, and pumpernickel bread-which one could say is certainly a unique combination of flavors and scents. This beer is a must-try, with an overall rating of 91 on ratebeer.com and very drinkable at 6.00%ABV.
“Great’ER Pumpkin” by Heavy Seas: This is a pumpkin beer packed with a PUNCH of flavor! With strong aromas of bourbon, cinnamon, ginger, allspice and clove, this beer certainly does not fall flat. The aromas and flavors are full-bodied and linger with a kick. According to their website it’s “love at first sip,” and I couldn’t agree more. Bourbon barrel aging rounds out the flavors of pumpkin and brown sugar, with a hint of oak, vanilla and bourbon. Available in limited supply and seasonally, try it while you can!
For anyone in attendance, please comment below and let us know your favorites from the event. We’d love to hear your opinions.