Each shipment includes two varieties each from two breweries, in this case Crown Valley Brewing and Tommyknocker Brewery, three bottles of each variety. A newsletter describes the history and other notes about the breweries, as well as tasting notes about the beers themselves.
Crown Valley Gunslinger Double IPA
Pours with a lively pale sand head, with a complex hoppy nose that is by turns citrusy, floral, and piney. The taste is not that hoppy, instead filling the mouth with a smooth honey/crystal malt sweetness, then the hops come back in, floral now. This is their hoppiest beer, but it is more balanced than many DIPA. The hops get stronger as the glass warms a little. The finish is surprisingly mild, though still delivering the blended hops.
Tommyknocker Maple Nut Brown
This poured with no head at all, brown (naturally) but with red through the heart of the glass. The nose is earthy and not obviously hoppy. On the palette it delivers a nice dark malt with just a hint of butterscotch. There’s not much going on in the finish, just some persistent pleasant dark malt.
Crown Valley Imperial Pumpkin Smash
Here’s a stout that would startle a Guinness fan, pouring with very little head and what there is dissipates quickly. The nose starts like a can of pumpkin, then the spices come in like nutmeg and allspice. There’s a hint of hops, possibly citrusy. The first sip is a revelation, rich and deep, giving heavy pumpkin pie with flashes of bubble gum and malt, and topped with medium hops. The spices flash back and forth like an echo into the finish. The nose gets more molasses as it warms even a little, and more hop bitterness comes through. You have to be in the mood both for stout and for pumpkin, and it delivers both of those.
Tommyknocker Jack Whacker Wheat
You get a moderate head for a wheat beer, pouring hazy gold with a nose of yeast and cracker with a hint of candy. The first impression is orange, almost like an orange bread, then fairly strong malt in a pleasantly fizzy body. Some hop dryness comes in on the end.