Many websites post their “Top Beers to have this fall” or “Top September Beers to have” to generate interest and say “these are the beers you should be on the lookout for”. That’s great and all, but we’re not here selling you something because a distributor or marketing rep is giving us samples and telling us we should write about their beer. These are beers that “Raybeans” has experienced throughout the month that in his personal opinion, were the 5 best beers he’s had. They aren’t all “September” beers, they aren’t all fall beers. They’re just simply the best of what was available during the month.
Karbach – 5th Anniversary Quintuple IPA
The second I heard this beer was announced it was instantly on my Untappd want list. 5 different malts, 5 different yeasts, and 5 different hops brought together in a high alcohol offering from an amazingly successful brewery that I frequent quite often? Yes, please. I wasn’t quite sure what kind of scale we were talking about for this release, so as soon as I saw it at my local Spec’s I went ahead and grabbed some bottles. Luckily, my next trip to Whole Foods for Steak Night saw this on the draft list. Of course I had to get one, and it was everything I hoped it would be. Hoppy, malty goodness without a strong alcohol taste. It’s not listed as technically an IPA, and no one should expect an IPA. Yes, it’s called a “Quintuple IPA”, but it’s almost more of an extra hoppy barleywine than it is a high alcohol IPA. I think the extra malts and sugars give it more backbone than what you would normally expect from a high alcohol IPA, and there is nothing wrong with that. The hops come through strong, but not overly strong. All in all, it’s an extremely well balanced beer for the 12% range it’s in, and does a great job of showcasing everything that we’ve come to expect and love about Karbach in the short time that they’ve exploded on the scene. Now if only they could get back to making Cherries of Fire……..
Deschutes – Black Butte XXVIII
Deschutes did a tap takeover at the local Whole Foods bar on a Thursday night. I didn’t make it out until the Friday night for Steak Night and didn’t expect this beer to still be there, but luckily it was. This was the first beer of the night and one of the best I’ve had all month. The Black Butte series is Deschutes annual release to celebrate their Anniversary. Each year they do something slightly different while barrel aging this beer to give it a different taste. This year they added Cocoa, Vanilla Beans, and Sweet Orange Peel during aging. First reading through that it sounds like it’s going to be overly sweet, but it’s not at all. The barely extra sweetness balanced out amazingly with the harshness that comes from the barrels this beer was aged in. The combination of 11.5% imperial porter that’s been barrel aged and had some extra sweet items added during barreling just helped to make this another yearly success from Deschutes. I am going to be very curious two to three years from now when bottles of this are still floating around. The flavor should mature, the slight harshness be cut some, and the overall flavor profile will most likely be even more balanced than this beer already is.
Odell – The Meddler Oud Bruin
I love it when grocery stores put things on sale because they’ve gone past their “date” when its something like a barrel aged sour beer that is just getting even better with age. The description of this beer mentions the various brown ales that Odell took to create this beer. Mixing them together in some barrels, re-introducing yeast and Lactobacillus meddle (see where they got the name from) and letting it age for over 18 months. I opened this one Friday night when my wife and I were about to start a movie. She got super tired, went to sleep, and I enjoyed this bottle on my own. Man am I glad I didn’t have to share this with anyone. Just slightly sour, but the right amount. Boozy, but not too much. Seeing as it was already barrel aged, and I have no idea how long it had been in the bottle, it came out perfect and was an amazing end cap to an incredibly busy week.
Dogfish Head – 120 Minute IPA (Draft)
I finally made a trip to Delaware for last Christmas, and sadly, there was no 120 minute available. I’ve been hunting far and wide and was never able to find this mythical beast. Until this spring in Houston when suddenly the Spec’s and HEB in the area had 120 minute available. Being the always excited beer nerd I am, I rushed out to grab a couple of bottles. I immediately drank one, and I’ve been letting one age since. The first one I had was very boozy and extremely sweet. A good beer, but not quite what I had hoped for. Hence, the aging of the other bottle to try to get that boozy sweetness to cut down to a more enjoyable level. Then one night, I’m out with some buddies and Local Pour shockingly had 120 Minute IPA on draft for a very reasonable price of $8.50 a pour. Yes. Pour me one right now. Often times, you hear the debate of draft vs bottle / canned, and more often than not, I don’t care one way or the other. 120 Minute is a completely different experience. Draft was this insanely fresh hop taste with almost no booze flavor to it that created truly one of the best IPA experiences I’ve ever had. Dogfish Head just continues to chug along producing amazing beer after amazing beer as the craft beer super power we have all come to know and love.
Alesmith – Speedway Stout – Vietnamese Coffee Variant
I’m getting more and more familiar with Alesmith as their Texas distribution settles in and I know where and when to expect their beers. As I’ve already mentioned many times, again, this beer was found at Whole Foods. Now, I’ve had the regular Speedway Stout, which is an amazing imperial stout. I’ve had some porters and stouts which are made with coffee, but I think this is by far the best combination I’ve had. Doing research on this beer explains the care and attention that the people at Alesmith take to make a true Vietnamese Coffee variant of one of their flagship beers. If they’re going to take the time and effort to make an imperial stout, then if they’re going to introduce coffee to it, they’re going to take the time and effort to make sure the coffee is as good as the beer itself. Ensuring that the coffee blend is the traditional Vietnamese blend and that the brewing is done in the traditional Vietnamese method. These steps guarantee that the coffee flavor is not only well balanced, but that it’s also true to the source.