As we head into the winter months, breweries from all over are busy releasing a ton of great beers to keep you warm through those colder months. Trying to keep up with all the new releases these days is no easy task. So, as winter begins to settle into Colorado, here’s a rundown of some of the new beers that I’m excited about.
The Bruery, Black Tuesday
Let me start by saying that this year’s Black Tuesday is on Tuesday, October 30th. As in TOMORROW! So if you’re not a member of The Bruery’s Reserve Society, tomorrow is your one and only chance to secure a bottle. The beer is a 19.2% ABV Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout that has notes of vanilla, oak, sherry, dark fruits and chocolate. Black Tuesday is truly an amazing beer and definitely something everyone should try at least once. It’s currently listed in the Top 50 Beers on the Planet at beeradvocate.com Click HERE to get all the details on tomorrow’s release.
Boston Beer Company, Samuel Adams Utopias 10th Anniversary
To say this beer is big, is an understatement. Released every other year, this guy typically clocks in at 25%-30% ABV. This batch is a special release to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the beer. It’s made with a blend of beers that were aged in Buffalo Trace Bourbon barrels, Port casks and Rum barrels. Sam Adams used a bit of their original Triple Bock in the blend, which is 19 years old!
This is a monster of a beer that drinks more like a Cognac or Sherry than a beer. Be prepared to shell out $160-$180 for a single bottle of this complex, cellarable brew. 15,000 bottles were produced and our share is hitting local store shelves right now.
Stone Brewing, 12.12.12 Vertical Epic
The very last release in the Vertical Epic (VE) series. In case you haven’t heard, Stone’s VE is a yearly release that began on 02.02.02, followed up a year, a month and a day later with 03.03.03, and so and so, all the way up to the final release on 12.12.12. The idea was for beer connoisseurs to purchase a bottle (or three) each year and save them for a monstrously big tasting and opening all of the beers to sample side-by-side on 12.12.12. Each beer has been a different recipe and brewed with cellaring in mind. While beer geeks have stashed away many, many bottles of VE releases over the years, the earlier bottles can be very tough to track down. The 02.02.02 has sold for hundreds of dollars per 220z. bottle on the secondary market.
This year’s 12.12.12 is described as a Belgian-style Abbey Ale, brewed with cinnamon, ginger, allspice, orange peel, clove and rose hips. I’ve managed to cellar away bottles going back to 03.03.03 and I’m really looking forward to opening them up for a special tasting in December. Whether or not you’ve been collecting the VE series, this sounds like a tasty brew that will hit our market just before Christmas.
Trinity Brewing / Black Fox Brewing Collaboration, Le Petite Morte Trajet aka Little Death Ride
The name of this collaboration brew is a reference to the upcoming end of the Mayan calendar in December of this year. Trinity owner Jason Yesterday and Black Fox owner John Schneider developed the recipe together using all Mayan cuisine. Corn, wild cinnamon, beans, squashes, peppers, cacao nibs and more come together in this unique, red Saison. The beer was brewed at Trinity on October 8th, bottled on October 24th and will be tapped at the brewery on December 21st, which is the last day of the Mayan calendar, also believed by some to be the end of the world. No matter what your beliefs, plan on this being a good beer. These guys without a doubt, know how to make a great Saison. Look for a few kegs to hit better beer bars and 750mL bottles to be released in December.
Upslope Brewing, Christmas Ale
This is a Belgian-style ale, that was brewed with a special mix of spices created by Upslope brewer Alex Violette. Look for coriander, brown sugar and juniper berries in this one. I was really impressed by their Pumpkin Ale and look forward to this new holiday seasonal. It was canned last week in 16oz. candy cane striped cans and will be released on November 1st.
Firestone Walker Brewing Co., XVI Anniversary
This barrel-aged blend is always a highlight of the winter months. For this year’s Anniversary Ale, Firestone Walker has blended 8 different barrel-aged brews to create the 13% ABV, XVI blend. 42% of the beer is Stout consisting of Bourbon Velvet Merkin (Oatmeal Stout), Bourbon Parabola (Russian Imperial Stout) and Tequila PNC (Buckwheat Stout). The remaining mixture comes from a variety of Barleywines, Strong Ales and IPA’s. I’ve been trading for these beers for a number of years and have always been impressed by these releases. Fortunately, Firestone Walker started distributing to Colorado last year and this should be hitting our shelves sometime in November.
New Belgium Brewing, Imperial Coffee Chocolate Stout
This upcoming addition to the Lips of Faith series is a bit of a deviation from their usual Belgian-style and Sour Ales. For winter, they’ll be releasing a 10% ABV Imperial Stout, brewed with locally roasted coffee beans and chocolate. This hit the Fort Collins market this past weekend, so keep your eyes open for it.
Odell Brewing Co., Lugene Chocolate Milk Stout
Similar to the New Belgium brew above, Odell has similar plans for the winter with their upcoming Chocolate Milk Stout. This one clocks in at 8.5% ABV and is brewed with lactose and milk chocolate. The label describes it as “rich and creamy” and is compared to “a cold glass of chocolate milk”. Sounds yummy. Odell’s planning to release it in 4-packs in early-January 2013.
Ska Brewing, Vinifera Stout
This is part of Ska’s new series of canned stouts, with a new beer getting released every quarter. The 2nd release, Vinifera Stout, is an Oak-aged, Foreign-Style Stout, brewed with Malbec grapes. These beers are released on the Solstice or Equinox, depending on the time of year. Look for Vinifera to get released on December 21st, which is the Southern Solstice, and also the last day of the Mayan calendar. Fingers crossed we’re still around to try this beer.
Keep your eyes out for some great beers hitting your local liquor store over the next few weeks. Winter is truly my favorite time of year for seasonal beers, with so many big, thick and flavorful beers to be on the lookout for. What are you excited for this winter? Good luck beer hunters!