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The best beers we tasted this week

DRAFT'S editors taste dozens of beers each week. These were our four favorites.

WEB_20170120_Beers of the WeekBlack Celebration
TRVE Brewing Co.

Black Celebration is, according to TRVE, “a dark mixed culture ale, fermented in wine barrels and aged on over 3.2 pounds of Colorado-grown (painstakingly hand-destemmed) sweet cherries per gallon of beer.” The result of that method is an onyx wild ale like the world’s smoothest, subtlest cherry cordial. The first whiff is like an amaro, as dark herbs and licorice fleck sweet almond, cocoa and luxardo cherries. A sip wraps the fruit in dark, bitter chocolate, like a cherry inside a chocolate truffle. Flavors of Black Forest cake, peppercorns, black licorice and black cherry cola rise as the beer warms. Tartness is fairly low; cocoa rises up post-swallow and subdues it. Thick and almost syrupy, the beer tastes as if cacao nibs were added. They weren’t, though, which indicates a masterful hand with chocolates malts. A good beer, trvely.

Hudson Valley Harvest – Cherry
Captain Lawrence Brewing

Fruit-flavored wild ales are usually bright, sparkling and snappy on the tongue, their champagnelike effervescence enhancing their acidic bite. This one, however, is smooth and creamy as a fleece jacket. This doesn’t take away from its subtle, earthy nose that mixes tart cherry must, soft almond and black pepper, or its flavor that adds green leaves, sweet peach, moist soil and soft angel food cake topped with whipped cream. Tartness is fairly low, about what you’d expect from the fruit itself.

24K Juice
Noble Ale Works

Critics of cloudy beer: stay far, far away from this double IPA stuffed with Citra, Amarillo, El Dorado and Chinook. You won’t care at all for its appearance, which is like orange juice blended with vanilla ice cream: thick, golden, muddy and completely opaque. You will miss out on an invigorating aroma like a picnic of pineapple chunks, orange zest, donuts and rose petals on a damp baseball field. And you won’t get to explore the flavor’s intense combo of orange zest, wheat grass and white onion, or to ply its cottony body for the notes of sweet guava, dried mango strips and vanilla that unfurl slowly and smoothly, like a memory foam mattress that’s just been removed from its packaging. But we’re cool with you avoiding it due to its turbidity; more for us.

Cloud Party
Highland Park Brewery

You know you’re in for an experience—a party, if you will—as soon as you pop the cap on this 8.3% double IPA. The aroma can be picked up from feet away: a powerful, resinous blend of mown grass, grapefruit, ripe strawberry, banana juice and flaky glazed breakfast pastries. It’s exceedingly enjoyable—I want to “accidentally” spill it on my shirt just so I can keep smelling it all day. Multiple bags full of lawn clippings lead the flavor, followed closely by grapefruit zest and strawberry, but the finish actually puts the emphasis on malts, with vanilla-laden wheat giving the impression of iced pastries. The sugary strawberry-banana blend carryies through the finish and long after. Bitterness is noticeable but never steps above what’s needed for balance; body is soft and creamy but not thick. It’s a party you really, really want to get an invite to.

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