No, they did *not* all walk into a bar.
Actually, I suppose they did.
We start with an opaque black glassful with a brief brown head. From a foot away the aroma reminds me of chocolate milk. Moving closer it delivers massive malt and a roasty earthiness with a hint of brandy. The flavor leads with roasty malt and hints of charred oak, but this needs to warm up about 10 degrees . . . okay, now it’s richer and deeper with more balanced malt, and that touch of chocolate is back, lingering into a very smooth finish with just a hint of spicy hops. 10.5% ABV
In honor of April snow, a winter creature visits. Almost opaque dark brown with a brief brown head ringing the glass. The aroma is of spicy hops, cake malt, roast grain and a vanilla hint. Medium to full in body, the flavor reminds me of bitter Mexican chocolate with roastiness like lightly scorched grain. There is substantial bitterness on the finish, along with hops and very dark malt. 12% ABV, 65 IBU
Once reserved for the royal family, “Royal Bavarian Hefe-Weizen,” this pours a cloudy golden straw with a moderate bubbly white head. This German style features a yeasty aroma of stone fruit rather than the banana of the Belgian equivalent. That aroma concludes with a little burst of noble hops. The fruit gets stronger on the palate, moving into biscuit malt with a touch of caramel. The finish is very crisp with a clear hop note to tie it all together. 5.5% ABV.
The only American Trappist ale–the only one brewed outside Western Europe–the label says “Pair with Family and Friends.” It is apricot gold with a generous buttermilk-colored head and lots of effervescence. The nose gives biscuit and cake malt with slight stone fruit and light earthy hops. The flavor leads with crisp apple and good malt, continuing into a malt and stone fruit finish. This seems like the Trappist single that only the monks get in Europe, rather than the Trappist dubbels and triples (and occasional quads) that are exported to the U.S. 6.5% ABV
No, these are old notes, not an old bottle! An unfiltered IPA, it’s effervescent, hazy gold with a generous yellowish head. Very distinct hop aroma–showing I don’t know my hops–all hop, pine & citrus. Ah, from the website I see that there are twelve different varieties of hops! No wonder I couldn’t identify them! It then gives a creamy mouthfeel with leading sweetness, then the hops come in with great flavor. The malt emerges and carries the flavor into a balanced hoppy finish. 9.4% ABV 90 IBU
Deep amber in the glass with a moderate orangey head. The nose is super malty with quiet stone fruit and a little hop zing. This is followed by a delicious caramel or toffee mouthful, wine-like with an undertone of peach or apricot. It has a very smooth finish of hops and malt and fruit. Outstanding! 9.7% ABV