Three beers to start the New Year

So what’s in the house as we start the new year? I’m finishing up a range of mostly seasonal offerings from some of my preferred breweries.

083The least satisfying was the last couple of bottles of the Winter Ale from Brooklyn Brewery. I like several of the beers from Brooklyn Brewery, but this one is probably going onto my “don’t buy it again” list. It was better with something sweet (like chocolate after dinner), but I found it lacking something in the finish.

085A perennial favorite (for at least the last three years that I can remember) is the Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada. This is billed as a “fresh hop ale” with a distinctly piney note that is characteristic of what I think people call the West Coast style of IPA. I’ve liked almost everything I’ve tried from Sierra Nevada, and I have actually reached the point where I look forward to Celebration arriving in stores around Christmastime and frequently bring it to parties to share with my friends. Dinner this night (as you can partially see in the photo) was pan-fried salmon, risotto, and French green beans, but I like this beer with almost any meal or just by itself.

084I’m also working on the Winter Mix Pack from Ipswich. I first tried beers from Ipswich when the beer festival came to town a few years ago and I feel like they are less widely appreciated than they deserve, as they are another brewery from which I have liked almost everything I’ve tried. The one I got to this week was the Rye Porter which I hadn’t seen before. I have tried a couple of other rye beers, and though among dark beers I usually go for stout over porter, I liked this quite a bit. It had an intense dark color and a lot of body and I would probably concur with their description of the beer having a “lush, dark chocolate aroma.” I’m not sure I know what the rye is supposed to do for the flavor, but I’ll try to pay attention as I finish these.

The mix pack has a couple of other beers that I’ll probably get to this week, and there are still a few bottles of Celebration to finish as I think about what to pick up on my next beer shopping expedition. No meals away from home this week (have to atone for all those extra holiday calories) so there may not be a lot of novelty next week.

Tally for the first week of 2014: 3 different beers. Maybe 100 is a reasonable goal for the year? Maybe that can be my beer analog of a century bike ride? Maybe a century ride or an average of 100 miles a month should be a goal for this year, too!  But that can be the topic for another post.  Cheers!

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