Bob’s Beer Bits and Sips
Sam Adams Old Fezziwig
As our weather turns frosty, the spotlight shines on Sam Adams Old Fezziwig Ale (5.9% ABV), a spiced brown ale made for winter. Packed with spices including cinnamon, ginger and orange peel, it will go well with any cookies and sweets left over from the holidays. The name is taken from the festive Dickens character in A Christmas Carol, and festive it is, with roasted caramel and chocolate malts giving it a full body. Brewed since 1995, its part of the brewery’s Winter Sampler Pack and also is available in six-packs.
Ninkasi Ground Control Style Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout
The name alludes to the fact that this beer is out of this world. This rich, complex imperial stout is brewed with Oregon hazelnuts, star anise and cocoa nibs, and is fermented with an ale yeast that survived a trip in a rocket to space and back. This third-edition release was also aged in Woodford Reserve Bourbon barrels, and at 10% ABV it is ready to enjoy now or suitable to cellar for later.
Firestone Walker XXI Anniversary Ale
Firestone Walker is celebrating its 21st anniversary with its XXI Anniversary Ale, a blend of five barrel-aged beers created with help from friendly local winemakers. The Anniversary Ale blending session has become an annual late-summer rite at the brewery, and the 2017 session took place on August 22 with 27 winemakers in attendance. This year’s version is an 8.5% ABV mix of five of the California Central Coast brewery’s beers aged in spirits barrels: 42% Velvet Merkin oatmeal stout, 18% Parabola Russian imperial oatmeal stout, 17% Stickee Monkee Central Coast quad, 14% Bravo imperial brown ale and 9% Helldorado blonde barleywine. This marks the first inclusion of Helldorado aged in premium Jamaican rum barrels, which imparts notes of island spice and molasses.
Garage Brewing Company
Garage Brewing Company asserted itself as a brewery not afraid to experiment with flavors not normally found in beer, and past creations have included the use of marshmallow, mango, lemon, lime, ginger and chile peppers, just to name a few. Four of its latest releases are proof positive that the Temecula, California-based brewery has no intention of changing its reputation. Hitting the shelves are Peppermint Stout (5.9% ABV) aged with real vanilla beans and balanced by a minty finish; Belgian Style Strong Ale (9.4% ABV) with addition of nutmeg and cinnamon; Apple Pie Pale Ale (5.4% ABV) with apple juice and spice; and Chocolate Orange Milk Stout (7.1% ABV), a confectionary doppelganger merging sweetness with the roastiness of a stout.