beermelodies

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TWO OF THE BEST BEER PUBS IN THE NEW YORK VICINITY POURED SOME OF THE MOST OUTSTANDING SUDS FOR JANUARY 2015

CHEERS

JOHN FORTUNATO – EDITOR AND BEER GEEK

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Rating: 5

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On tap at Ambulance Brew House, determinedly “challenging” Imperial Stout drops roasted ancho chili peppers onto intensely rich and creamy dark-roasted mocha malting while advertised cacao nibs, vanilla bean and cinnamon sticks prove just as provocatively influential upon Abraxas’ thick ‘n chewy nature. Brown chocolate spicing, fudgy vanilla sugaring and milked coffee rasping pick up distinct cinnamon-sticked chocolate mint overtones along the way. Anise, cappuccino, chocolate liqueur, bourbon, black cherry, toasted almond and marshmallow undertones deepen its incredible complexity.

Rating: 5

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On tap at Shepherd & Knucklehead, devastatingly fine dessert treat is perfect nightcap. Like a chocolate raspberry layer cake, chocolate raspberry truffle or Black Forest cake, its sweet-toothed goodness cannot be denied. Black and brown chocolate blend perfectly with pureed raspberry tartness, receiving a thickly syrupy molasses sugaring. In the distance, burnt coffee grounds lightly embitter dark-roasted mocha malting. Beneath, vanilla, hazelnut and cocoa subtleties spread across tertiary blackberry, black cherry and blueberry fruiting. Arguably the best raspberry chocolate stout …

Rating: 4

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On tap at Ambulance Brew House, creamy mocha-bound full body raids dry dark-roasted coffee salvo with brazen black chocolate, fudge brownie, cacao nibs and cocoa powder scrum. Serene vanilla bean influence mildly embitters chocolate-malted espresso coffee finish.

Rating: 3.5

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On tap at Shepherd & Knucklehead, chewy chocolate cherry cordial alternative makes fine dessert treat. Dark-roasted mocha malts create cocoa-powdered black chocolate, milk chocolate and fudge brownie illusions. Just a tad more dried fruited sweetness needed to overcome minor astringency.

Rating: 4

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On tap at Shepherd & Knucklehead, intriguing smoked porter offshoot adds dried orange peel tartness to heady full-bodied elixir. Expectant black chocolate payload picks up peat-smoked beechwood influence above black cherry-pureed orange peel subsidy. Coffee-stained Baker’s chocolate, dark cocoa, cacao nibs and chocolate cake illusions reinforce sturdy mocha theme.

Rating: 3.5

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On tap at Shepherd & Knucklehead, sweet bourbon-honeyed brown ale expands stylish horizons. Made in oak bourbon barrels, its brown chocolate continuance picks up dark cocoa, molasses, vanilla, toasted coconut and toffee illusions. Nutty tobacco roast found at recess, but advertised ginger influence seems nebulous.

Rating: 4

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On tap at Ambulance Brew House, exemplary limited edition (January ’15) ‘black’ tripel makes fine use of brown-sugared dried fruiting. Pureed raisin, sugared fig, prune and plum overtones ride above creamy caramel-chocolate malting. Tingly sugar-spiced sweetness contrasts dry bourbon tinge, heightening the relaxedly noir-ish mood.  

Rating: 3

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On tap at Shepherd & Knucklehead, hybridized 2015 tripel shows off Carton’s passionate open-minded exploitation. Bringing earthen white truffle leathering and Belgian candi-sugaring to tart orange marmalade midst, this unique medium-bodied change-up suits expandable palates. Vermouth, vodka and white wine undertones detected.

Rating: 4

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On tap at Shepherd & Knucklehead and aged in French oak barrels, fruity wheat-malted moderation brings sour saison-like yellow fruiting to sweeter tropical fruiting, leaving peripheral champagne-fizzed Sauvignon Blanc wining at pepper-spiced sweet ‘n sour finish. Lemon and orange rot ensure sour end while pineapple, pear, apple and peach illusions pick up sugary crystal malt creaming. Well disguised 9.5% ABV allows vermouth and vodka hints to emerge.

Rating: 3

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On tap at Ambulance Brew House, soft Mosaic hop tropicalia traipses thru leathery brettanomyces-soured wild ale for truly sessionable light-bodied experience. Tart lemon and herbal lemongrass illusions pace the front end, picking up cologne-perfumed mango, guava, pineapple and papaya snips. Misty lemon zest freshness caresses the citric finish. Compost-wafted hay, straw and afalfa seep into the wispy mix.

Rating: 3

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On tap at Shepherd & Knucklehead, rye-toasted red ale offshoot spreads its welcoming piney hop bitterness across tangy citrus zest and light sugared spicing, comparing favorably to mid-range IPA’s. Evergreen freshness enlightens navel orange, grapefruit, pineapple and apricot fruiting.

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