Ambitious Belgian strong ale aged on French oak (and referenced as a biere de garde) brings wintry spices to the fore as candi-sugared nutmeg, clove, cardamom, star anise and ginger seasoning embellishes ripened dried fruiting as well as glazed pecan notions. Sarsaparilla and Jagermeister illusions sneak thru latent alcohol burn. A welcome winter warmer.
Busy as its eight-word namesake, lightly barrel-aged medium body embraces Mai Tai cocktail spirit with a salt-licked Margarita kick. Lime-peeled orange tartness sinks into tangy ‘pineapple and cherry pureed’ seduction above creamily caramelized malt toasting. Latent red grape sweetness and delicate sherry, Courvoisier and mull-spiced wine illusions increase complexity.
On tap at Brass Tap, fruitful 10.6% ABV strong ale combines candied pineapple sweetness and orange-bruised cantaloupe, melon-mango conflux with ethanol-laden hop astringency.
On tap at Growler & Gill, exuberant reddish-cleared liqueur-like Manhattan cocktail aged in bourbon barrels brings massive cherry juicing to vermouth-like sweetness. Medicinal cherry coughdrop midst picks up cherry cordial, cherry pie, Maraschino cherry and brandy illusions for syrupy sticky-sweet (14.1% ABV) strong ale. Inspired by the timeless cocktail, its feisty bottled version ‘harmoniously’ spreads chewy whiskey-soaked Maraschino cherry syruping all over its orange-bruised vermouth veneer. Medicinal cherry liqueur lacquers ancillary sugarplum, pecan pie, Cognac, Courvoisier and rum undertones.
On tap at Morris Tap & Grill, mildly creamed lactose-sugared vanilla icing coats cinnamon-toasted pastry sweetness of well-designed winterized dessert treat. Cinnamon apple pie crusting nearly conceals holiday-styled gingerbread, nutmeg and mulling spice illusions.
On tap at The Oath, jubilant 21st anniversary celebrator loads ten malts and eleven hops on pervasive 13.7% ABV luster. Bittersweet dried fruiting crowds musky hop-dried cherrywood finish. Raspy sugarplum, raisin, fig, black grape and Bing cherry illusions gain redcurrant smidge above chewy caramelized mocha malting.
On tap at The Oath, silkily dry cabernet wining gains dainty cocoa nibs adjunct and tart citrus acidity above groaty barnyard acridity. Cabernet Sauvignon barrel aging leaves lightly vinous red grape tannins upon dry Scotch malting.
On tap at Taverna Rossa, veritable party-in-your-mouth lets rich Scotch-licked bourbon spicing prod brown chocolate-sweetened vanilla beaning. In the midst, rich bourbon chocolate theme receives nutty coffee refrain, sparkly blackberry brandy wining, teensy cinnamon-curried spicing and mild peat-smoked black peppering. Complex wee heavy Scotch ale for nightcap.
Profound Belgian quadrupel aged two years in Heaven Hill bourbon barrels retains creamy mocha sweetness and dried fruited intensity. Rich brown chocolate-spiced dry bourbon entry gains subtle Scotch whiskey boozing as raisin-prune-date conflux, candi-sugared caramel malting, sweetly soured red wine esters and musty cellar funk deepen bold complexity of bourbon-barreled (10.5% ABV) Belgian dark strong ale.
On tap at Ambulance, superb 9th Anniversary English-styled old ale aged in bourbon barrels (with heightened 16.1% ABV) brings luscious cherry-bruised sherry wining and caramelized crème brulee sugaring to the fore. Sweet bourbon vanilla midst allows ripe raisin, plum, raspberry and peach tones to deepen its candi-sugared vibe.
On tap at Liberty Craft House, luxurious 22nd Anniversary ale loads dark chocolate syrup upon advertised vanilla-sugared nutmeg and cinnamon spicing as well as sweet orange peel zest. Dry bourbon, sherry and Scotch undertones deepen resolve of robust 11.1% ABV dessert treat.
On tap at Poor Henry’s, stylishly light alcoholic (7% ABV) strong ale lacks spicy holiday spirit its name implies. Instead, an Imperial Red Ale-like caramel fruiting leads the way as red grape, brown apple, peach, fig and plum illusions pick up a sharp hop spicing as well as toasted nut whim, resinous pine notions and earthen grape stem phenols. In the bottle: parched dried-fruited acridity, astringent hop tannins and crisp tobacco roast desiccate ginger-spiced burgundy, raisin, prune and fig illusions and wispy black cherry pureeing.