Stone Brewing Company's newest beer has hints of chocolate and mint is just one item in a list of exciting beer news that awaited The Beer Nut when he returned from a few days off.
I returned from a week away from the office recently and came back to find my email in box was overflowing with beer news.
It's time to take a look at some of the more interesting items in the inbox, taking a look at upcoming beer releases, good news for a local brewery and an upcoming beer event.
Let's first take a look at some new beers that will be hitting liquor store shelves in the near future.
First up is the Stone Brewing Company collaboration beer, the Ken Schmidt/Iron Fist/Stone Mint Imperial Stout. Schmidt is a homebrewer who won a homebrewing competition held at the Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens in California, while Iron Fist is a brewery from Vista, Calif.
The beer is surprisingly good. I did not have huge expectations for a mint-flavored drink, but this beer, brewed with fresh mint leaves and chocolate made in southern California, is fantastic.
The best part is that chocolate is the dominant flavor, and the mint just adds to it. This is a big beer, at 9.6 percent alcohol by volume, but it is worth seeking out. This should be available in Massachusetts in a week or two.
Another new beer to seek out is the Gulden Draak 9000 Quad by Brouwerij Van Steenberge. I have been a big fan of the Gulden Draak dark tripel for years, and the 9000 Quad is just as good, although a much different beer.
The beer is wonderful - a little boozy, but still easy to drink. It comes in two different bottle sizes - 11.2 to drink by yourself or a 750 ml to share with friends. At 10.7 percent ABV, sharing the big bottle is a smart idea
Henry Weinhard's, a brewery that originated in Oregon but is now owned by SAB-Miller, for the first time has sent its beers to Massachusetts. Now available are Woodland Pass India Pale Ale, Redwood Flats Amber Ale and Private Reserve lager. I've had the lager and the amber ale, and they're both decent for the style, and hard to beat for less than $7 a six-pack.
Also from Oregon, Full Sail is releasing four winter beers. They include the Wassail, Wreck the Halls, Session Fest and the all new LTD 06.
The LTD 06 is described as a black bock (apparently a new style of beer). It is described by the brewery as having hints of roast coffee and chocolate on the aroma and the taste of "caramel and figs with a long creamy smooth finish." The beer will be available this month through December.
Locally, Jack's Abby Brewing of Framingham has just released two new beers, Fire in the Ham, a German-style smoked lager, and the Pumpkin Crop Lager, brewed with pumpkins from the family farm.
Page 2 of 2 - I've had both. The Fire in the Ham is one of the best smoked beers I've had in a long time. I really wish I bought more than two bottles. The Pumpkin Crop Lager is a fabulous pumpkin beer and tastes like the pumpkins were just picked. Both are available in bottles at local stores.
Talking about Jack's Abby Brewing, the Smoke and Dagger (smokey black lager) recently won a bronze medal in the smoked beer category at the Great American Beer Fest in Colorado - one of only three Massachusetts breweries to win a medal at the huge competition.
If you want to try some of Jack's Abby beers, or beers from numerous other New England breweries, head to Juilio's Liquors on Rte. 9 on Westborough on Nov. 4 from 1 to 4 p.m.
The store is hosting its annual New England Beer Fest. Breweries taking part include Allagash, Cisco, Cape Ann, Clown Shoes, Element, Maine Beer, Notch, Rising Tide and Wormtown. I will also be signing copies of "Beer Lover's New England" during the event.
OK, I'm all caught up. Time to gather more beer news.
Norman Miller is a MetroWest (Mass.) Daily News staff writer. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 508-626-3823. Check out the Beer Nut blog at blogs.wickedlocal.com/beernut. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/realbeernut or on Pinterest at www.pinterest.com/beernutnorman.