Every week, our esteemed panel of BJCP judges commences to blind-taste beers for our reviews. The top scorers of this season are all new releases that simply blew us away. Here’s why.
Winter brews are lining the shelves, but we finally have a beer for one of the season’s most auspicious occasions: He’Brew’s newest addition, Hanukkah Chanukah Pass the Beer, is a new dark ale with eight malts, eight hops and 8% ABV. We loved the way this brew’s chewy body carried rich chocolate, graham cracker and marshmallow sweetness across the whole tongue, with just a little cinnamon spice to keep it festive. Also festive is the elevated ABV, but be careful: It’s barely detectable.
Score: 95 (full review)
This fall, Kentucky’s West Sixth brewery launched the County Series, a line-up of bottle-conditioned beers that toast the Bluegrass state. Washington County was the first county in the state, and Washington County wild ale is the inaugural beer of the series. All we can say is, what a fantastic start. Fruit, funk, earth and vinous notes are the calling card of this style, and this gorgeous beer had them in spades (the raspberry is particularly juicy); however, the finish was astoundingly clean. One of our panelists exclaimed, “I’d drink a gallon of this!” Sadly, it’s a super-limited release, so tracking down even 750 mL of the stuff will be a challenge.
Score: 98 (full review)
We awarded the highest score this season to Jolly Rodger Imperial Coffee Stout, a new collaboration between Drake’s and Oakland’s Blue Bottle Coffee. Deeply complex but wonderfully cohesive, it’s the best coffee stout we’ve tasted. While we agreed that the expertly orchestrated espresso and cream flavors are the star, we couldn’t get over the finish: sturdy malt bitterness and ashy roast clear the back of the palate, but still leave sweet chocolate on the tongue.
Score: 99 (full review)