The 2020 Beer Advent Calendar – Part II

In my last post, I talked about the yearly tradition my wife started of creating a custom advent calendar of beers I’d never tried before. In short, she picked twenty five new beers and ordered them by rating (in Untappd) from worst to best. In my last post, I detailed the first six that I opened and enjoyed. To recap, they were a great opening salvo that just had me excited about what was next

Today, I’d like to briefly talk about the beverages I’ve enjoyed so far. There’s quite a few to talk about this time around, so I’m just going to add them as a gallery and talk about them briefly in triplets

Let’s Get Cracking

First up is the Aquabrew Swine Dive IPA. I’ll say that in addition to a great tasting brew, I enjoy good “can artwork”. This was one of my favorites, second only to one detailed later. I enjoy piney flavors in my IPA’s, so this one was a no-brainer. I gave it a 3.75/5

Next is the Bell’s Kalamazoo Stout. I’m a tough critic on stouts compared to other styles. Though I found it plenty smooth, it didn’t have enough flavors to differentiate itself from the competition. I rated it a 3.5/5.

Last up in this trio is the Great Divide Strawberry Rhubarb Sour. Whew, that’s a mouthful. This was the first sour of the Advent that got my attention. You could smell the strawberries, and the flavor lingered for a while afterwards. Well done! I rated it a 4/5.

Onto the second trio. First up is the Dogfish Head Campfire Amplifier Milk Stout. I tend to expect great things from dogfish head and this was no different. It definitely lived up to the milk/sweet stout title. It got a solid 4/5.

After that was the Bell’s Official Hazy IPA. Dang! Bell’s is in the Advent calendar twice? That almost never happens for any brewery, but here we are. I thought this was a slightly-better-than-average hazy IPA. Competition is strong these days and while it wasn’t bad, there wasn’t enough to make it memorable. Thus, I gave it a 3.75/5.

Last is the Real Ale Katz Coffee Porter. I like coffee in my stouts and porters, but it needs to be done right. This qualifies, and I would definitely come back to seconds. It got a 4/5, which is great for a stout in my book.

I’ll say straight up that every beer in this set got a 4/5. That shouldn’t be too much a surprise though, as the average rating for these beers is approaching the “4/5” territory.

More interesting than the flavors though are the names. Serious props to the breweries. They all had me laughing in one way or another with their witty names. Fricken Hazer Beams is a throwback to Austin Powers while Walker Melon Texas Ranger should be more obvious.

Fluffy nuts just grabs you attention, because… let’s be honest, it’s called “Fluffy Nuts”. As far as flavors were concerned, I thought all of these were great contenders in their categories.

Last trio. This set is special, each for their own reasons. First up is Boulevard Crust Fall. This sour Berliner Weisse became an instant favorite, more-so for my wife, but a favorite nonetheless. It was sweet, sour, and had flavor that lasted for days. I have it a very prestigious 4.5/5.

Next up was the Lakewood B-Funk Brett. This one was special in my book. While it garnered a slightly lower (but still impressive) score of 4.25/5, I actually find myself saying that I could drink more of it than the previous. I think this is due to it being a more balanced beer with flavors that run far deeper.

Last up is the 3 Nations Sucker Punch. Now, this one definitely took me by surprise. When I saw the low abv of 4.5%, I really wondered how it were possible. Well, I’m happy to report that it is literally watermelon jolly ranchers with alchohol added. If that’s your jam, then this 4/5 beer should be on your shortlist.

That was a lot of beverages to cover in a single post. But here I am, trying to make good on my promise (to whom?) to post about our yearly tradition and my thoughts. Until next time!

Cheers!

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