Brooklyn Brewery, Black Chocolate Stout, Winter 2018, 10%abv, is the best example of Russian Imperial Stout brewed today. Worthy of Russian Czars, this malty ale is opaque black with a dark tan head, just like a black hole, no light that enters it will escape. The heady nose is loaded with dark chocolate, black malt and heavily roasted espresso beans. The rich mouth is like a cappuccino with extra shots of espresso with creamy dark chocolate mousse folded into it. On the back of the palate there is a nice acidity that rounds out the full mouth feel. This beer is the real thing and is addictive, but the high alcohol means it is a very good beer to end the evening. Brooklyn Brewery, Black Chocolate Stout was always my go to drink to wrap up a good evening of enjoying friends sitting at the bar, maybe during Monday Night Football. The nights I wasn’t the designated driver I would have 2 Black Chocolate stouts to close out the evening with a happy finish.
Victory Brewing Co. Downingtown, PA, Winter Cheers, 6.7%abv.d is golden yellow in the glass with a snow-white head. Victory takes a different approach to their winter ale by offering a wheat beer. The nose has a pleasing yeasty, biscuit character up front with cherry highlights. The palate is very straightforward and seems more of a beer for the springtime instead of a winter ale. I picture hot dogs and burgers on the grill on a warm sunny day than a chilly weather beer.
Blue Mountain Brewery, Arrington, VA, Lights Out Holiday Ale, 7%abv, is dark amber with virtually no head. The nose is greeted with dark toasted malt with hints of fresh Spruce Christmas tree. The palate is filled with that big roasted malt. This ale is made for enjoying more than one. There is a rustic pumpernickel bread component to this ale that is really pleasing. A couple of these beers after the tree is decorated with a hearty pastrami sandwich on crusty dark bread with a good grain mustard would be an afternoon well spent.