“Sumptuously smooth” 44th annual Xmas Ale may lack capacious distinction of some previous versions, but rounded chameleonic subtleties (though pallid in spots) never fail to engage. Over its peaty chocolate malting, wintry cinnamon-nutmeg-allspice seasoning sedately serenades delicate orange peel sweetness, restrained prune souring, tart raisin stint, wispy banana breading, salted pine nut pinch and mentholated eucalyptus whim.
On tap at Shepherd & Knucklehead – Haledon, juicy apricot-peach confluence saddles lactic gooseberry-soured lemon yogurt tartness to its salty acidulated malt bottom. Peachy pureed apricot entry drops off as wavered mandarin orange, mango and grapefruit illusions preserve its sourly sweet fruitily understated finish.
Straight-ahead dry lager offers musky earthen leathering, desiccated orange spritz, grassy hop astringency and bready sourdough malting. Better than less decisive lagers, if not truly distinct as a sessionable moderation.
“Sublimely intense” moderate-medium body overwhelms advertised blackberry tartness with sharp orange rind, grapefruit and pineapple tang that’s embittered by herbaceous dry-hopped astringency and refreshingly coniferous earthen musk. Sweet peach, mango and tangerine illusions fill out the backdrop nicely.
Dry streamlined West Coast-styled IPA brings stylish grapefruit-orange-pineapple tang to mildly embittered piney hops and dank earthen musk above biscuit pale malting. Candy-spiced citrus continuance sweetens at the finish.
On tap at Biggie’s, velvety mocha-bound 43rd annual winter ale features cacao nibs, toffee, roasted nuts and herbal spicing. At the entry, creamy dark chocolate malts pick up casual dried-fruited baking spices to offset moderate hop-charred tarring. Recessive cocoa, coffee, roasted tobacco and berry illusions flutter below.
On tap at Grumpy Monk, terse mango salvo drops off quickly, letting grassy hop astringency, distant lemony peach snip and soapy dish-watering decrease juicy mango tang.
On tap at River Of Beer, zesty mandarin orange-derived Meyer lemon tartness lightly sweetened by sugary crystal malts. Mild citric-spiced acidity receives latent herbal astringency at brisk shandy-like lemondrop finish.