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The best beers we tasted this week

Every day, we here at DRAFT do the hard but necessary work of drinking our way through the world’s best beers. These are the bottles and cans we cracked this week that most impressed our palates.
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Office Sips 2016-05-20

Lawrence of Arabica
Amager Bryghus & 18th Street Brewery
Brewed with both coffee beans and orange zest, this brew’s for those who like their coffee black and their toast burnt. Oily, earthy, peppery java combines in the nose with chocolate and a base of dried peanut shells and tilled garden dirt; the citrus is so interwoven with the coffee you’d be forgiven for thinking it was part of the bean’s profile rather than an actual adjunct. Burnt wheat bread and coffee beans roasted to within an inch of their lives take the sip over a bed of cocoa nibs right into the powerfully bitter, acrid finish, though swishing the creamy brew across the tongue does bring out hints of smoked pork and swirling citrus.

Cosmik Debris
Creature Comforts Brewing Co.
Released in cans for the first time in March, Creature Comforts’ popular double IPA combines Simcoe, Idaho 7, Mosaic, Cascade and Eureka hops for an aroma that twinkles with notes of sweet cantaloupe and honeydew, aged citrus and pine needles. Heavy and humid, the nose gets funkier as it warms, introducing garlic to the mixture. A sip of the foggy, sunflower-yellow brew brings up tropical sweetness—pineapple, mango, orange marmalade—before floral-honey malts emerge. Low bitterness doesn’t quite wash the sip away (we could use a little more carbonation to enliven the evenly balanced finish), but the lingering hop tang and warmth of 8% ABV are pleasant.

Crux Pilz
Crux Fermentation Project
This Bend, Oregon-based fermentorium is probably best-known for their [BANISHED] series of barrel-aged Belgians, stouts and wild ales (we wrote about the fruit-infused oud bruin, Freakcake, last week), but recent forays into more traditional styles have been impressive. With Pilz, a cap of pure white fuzz floating atop the gently hazy, straw-hued liquid gives off a sulfury, even-keeled bouquet blooming with floral and lemony aromas (a combination of Czech Saaz and Oregon-grown Sterling hops) astride clean, crackerlike graininess—this is classic pilsner territory. Bready Pilsner malt and spicy, peppery hops arrive together at the front of the sip, while the brew finishes with strong stonelike minerality and a dry fingersnap of bitterness.

All Orange Everything
Carton Brewing Co. & Other Half Brewing Co.
It’s still a somewhat ill-defined category, but here’s what we think when we hear “triple IPA”: gooey, tongue-coating hop resins; honey-soaked malts; a body nearly chewy in its heft. And that’s what we get in this collaboration between New Jersey’s Carton and Brooklyn’s Other Half. A tangeriney twist on the latter’s beloved All Green Everything, the recipe’s tweaked with citrus-forward hops—Mosaic, Waimea and Mandarina Bavaria—as well as bucketfuls of orange zest, just to really drive the point home. In the nose, this results in dense aromas of orange marmalade and lemon curd spread over toast and Ritz crackers; a swirl brings out bright grassy notes and an oniony edge. The flavor recreates this, at least up front: toasty malts offset by marmalade, with an added orange blossom honey lift. A sweet blast of lawn clippings, mint, cannabis and tangerine sounds at the swallow, then lasts. And lasts. And lasts. The beer’s syrupy viscosity and fumes betray its booziness, but it never comes across as hot, and every sip is a little bit different.

Rum Barrel Aged White Russian
Aardwolf Brewing Co.
An aardwolf is not, as we hoped, half wolf and half aardvark—it’s actually a small, hyenalike canine that munches on insects and lives in south and east Africa. But don’t let your disappointment stop you from seeking out this imperial stout, which is brewed with lactose and conditioned with coffee and Mexican vanilla beans before it’s aged almost a year in Caribbean rum barrels. You’ll miss out on the rum-funky nose, in which Coffeemate creaminess sticks to peppery, spicy coffee before revealing dry oak, and a flavor that’s so thick with vanilla it’s like a milkshake. The sip’s blend of spicy coffee beans and dark, rummy fruits combine with sweet lactose at the finish to leave the impression of a post-Crunch Berries bowl of cereal milk, but we like the beer most about 15 seconds after the swallow, when malt roastiness finally rises and brings balance to the sugars.

One Comment

  • Dan says:

    I usually don’t like IPAs that creep up above 10% abv but it’s scary how easy the original AGE from Other Half drinks. I’m sad I didn’t get the Carton collaboration.

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