Drunk in... October
It was a jam-packed month of travel for Beer Voyage so this month's round-up of the best beer we imbibed is an embarrassment of riches. Forget Halloween, the only scary thing this month was how much money we spent on beer.
Here are our favourites for the month of October.
Don't @ Me Nicolisa Husk - Imperial Stout 14% // Cloudwater Brew Co.
A third and final beer from Indy Man Beer Con and something of a rarity. Cloudwater in making a non-pale beer shocker. We all know Cloudwater make some of the best pale beers around but their dark beers had always passed me by so I jumped at the chance to give one of their imperial stouts a go.
Christ alive was this good. After a disappointingly 'too fresh' beer (Big Pump tasted like soap and burning) from them earlier in the day, they totally redeemed themselves with this absolute behemoth of a beer. My tasting notes for this beer on Untappd just say 'yes maaaaaate' which about sums it up.
This was one of the best imperial stouts I've ever had. Thick, rich and complex it ticked all the boxes for a stout of this stature. Sadly, I didn't get a picture so have a picture of JME as the beer is named after one of his songs. (I totally knew that and didn't read it somewhere because I am super hip and down with the kids.)
Cookie Dough - White Stout 7.4% // Siren Craft Brew x BrewDog
This beer was brewed for Collabfest 2017 - an event that I found a little underwhelming this year (hence the lack of review covering it). There were far too many distinctly average beers, a few absolute turds and only a handful of standouts.
This white stout was the best of the bunch. Vanilla, chocolate, nutty goodness was the order of the day. Rum barrel aged coffee was also added to the beer to give it a lovely warming finish. It did genuinely taste like cookie dough which is probably why I enjoyed it so much.
Hopefully Collabfest 2018 is a return to form and we get more beers like this mother.
Autohelm - American Amber Ale 6.4% // Rising Tide
Portland, Maine is a brilliant city located on the picturesque Casco Bay. It is also blessed with an abundance of fantastic craft breweries. We were fortunate enough to be able to check a good number of them out on our trip to the city.
On a pretty rainy October day in Portland we hiked fo to what felt like the edge of the city to eventually find the welcoming sight of the Rising Tide Brewing Company. Keen to try out as many of their brews as possible I again opted for flights, a returning theme during my trip.
One of the beers I ordered was Autohelm, an American Amber/Red ale. This came out hoppy, juicy but also kind of dry. This is a collaboration with Otto's pizza, a famous local pizza chain that we also checked out on the same night. The pizza was top quality, as was this collaboration. Perfect drinking with a slice.
Soundings #766 - American IPA 6.4% // Rising Tide
Soundings was another that I ordered as part of my flights at Rising Tide. As I'm not being particularly familiar with the output of the brewery, I was a bit stumped as to what to order. I’m really glad that I opted for this delightful IPA.
Soundings is part of an experimental IPA series brewed by Rising Tide. The brewery describes it as: “With each batch, we take new soundings and explore uncharted territories of flavor.” You can find out more about Soundings on their website. I was lucky to have batch #766, which was brewed with Huell Melon hops and packed full of lovely subtle fruity flavours. I'm a massive fan of melony flavoured beers anyway, I'll be searching out others that use the Huell hops after this.
Unfortunately you're unlikely to sample this version of Soundings if you visit the brewery but I'm sure their other experimental brews are just as satisfying.
Sip of Sunshine - Imperial IPA 8%// Lawson's Finest Liquids
This was recommended by the very knowledgeable and genrally awesome barman at Foundry On Elm. Foundry on Elm was one of my favourite bars that we discovered whilst staying in Boston, it's based on the Cambridge side of the Charles River in the buzzing neighbourhood of Somerville.
The barman recommended this as one of the best beers in the local area to try. He also said that it tends to have a very limited run and sells out quick so I was keen to get one in to see what all the hype was about. Sampling this as a part of my flights, I can see exactly why it is so popular and also why it's called Sip of Sunshine. Honestly it was like heaven in a glass. Beautifully sweet, it reminded me of drinking tropical fruit juice whilst being distinctly beery.
I can’t say I’m familiar at all with Lawson’s but I will be keeping a keen eye out for them from now on.
Hazelnut Brown Nectar - American Brown Ale 5.6% // Rogue Ales & Spirits
I love these sweet, sickly beers that taste almost like someone has crammed all the flavours of an indulgent cake into a glass.
Hazelnut Brown Nectar is exactly that, it tastes like someone has distilled chocolate cake and hazelnuts into a gorgeous brown ale. Brown ales are definitely a neglected style so it’s great to find one done so well. I’ve not had many like this, the last one I can remember that was a similar style and quality is Cake Boy Hazelnut Ale brewed by Meantime as part of their experimental Pilot Series.
Another brilliant recommendation from the barman at Foundry on Elm. Man knows his beers!
Pumking - Imperial Yam Beer 8.6% // Southern Tier
Being in America for Halloween was pretty spectacular; the over-the-top decorations, the surplus of teeth rotting candy and the overall atmosphere were all amazing.
Being pretty unaccustomed to the scale of the holiday (UK Halloween sucks, American readers), we were stumped for how to spend All Hallow's Eve to do. Fortunately we saw a flyer for a ‘Flights and Frights’ event when we went to local bar and restaurant, Christopher’s in Cambridge, Boston. We dropped them an email and the awesome manager saved us the last two tickets.
Flights and Frights was brilliant fun, involving pumpkin decorating, food and of course, beer! Our flights consisted of four pumpkin beers from various American breweries and the crème de la crème was Pumking by Southern Tier Brewing Company. We also had a brief guest talk from the brewer from Souther Tier who clearly had a lot of confidence in his product and rightly so, it was excellent.
This imperial yam beer at 8.6% is strong. It has all those classic American pumpkin pie spices of clove and cinnamon and is very indulgent. Almost rum like in quality, one to savour.