2009 De Proef Van Twee Belgian Ale The Belgian brewery collaborated with Bells on this hybrid ale, which expertly blends a porter’s roast and cocoa with the dried fruit notes of a dubbel. Over time, pleasant sherry taste coated the dark, sour cherry juice supplied by the Kalamazoo, Mich., brewery. Milk chocolate and lightly ashy roast balance the cherries’ tartness for a layered finish.
2014 Stiegl Ferdinand Barrel-Aged Imperial Alt
The latest in a series of annual Vintage releases from the long-running Austrian brewery looks to the Americas for inspiration: A Caribbean rum cask that previously held cognac imparts big, boozy vanilla flavor to the malty imperial alt, which, at 10% ABV, already brims with alcohol heat. In time, that should quiet down, allowing caramel and leather notes to cushion Ferdinand’s honeylike sweetness. Resist cracking this now; cellaring is practically mandatory.