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New Year Beers – BrewScoops 1-4-18

New Year Beers – BrewScoops 1-4-18

By Gail Kearney

New Belgium’s not saying much about jumping on the haze train, except – New year, new beer. “When we think about 2018, the future can seem a bit unclear…just like Voodoo Ranger’s all-new hazy IPA. Packed with bright tropical aromas and brilliant citrusy flavors, this unfiltered IPA wraps up with a pleasantly smooth finish. The can help you find it however

Brewery Ommegang is excited to introduce a new evolution in the brewery’s mission to blend the artistry of Belgian brewing traditions with a typically non-Belgian beer style. Candi Stout fuses rich roasted malts with Belgian candi sugar, bittersweet cocoa nibs, and a special strain of Belgian ale yeast. The result is a delightfully drinkable blend of a Belgian-style dark ale and a traditional stout. Candi Stout is brewed with two-row, flaked barley, Pale Chocolate, Special B, aromatic, Midnight Wheat, and roasted barley malts. Candi syrup and cocoa nibs are added to create a smoothness and lightness of body not typically associated with stouts. Hopped with Styrian Golding and Saaz hops, and fermented with a Belgian abbey ale yeast. The 6.7% beer pours a deep, dark black with a thick tan head. Dark chocolate and cocoa lead a complex aroma with subtle hints of dark fruit and spicy yeast. The flavor opens with mild sweetness, giving way to rich chocolate, and mild roast. The use of Belgian yeast and the extra dose of fermentables from candi syrup contribute a smooth body and finish, resulting in impressive drinkability, despite the beer’s complexity. Candi Stout on draft will be available in The Pub by Wegmans locations in February and nationwide in March, for a limited time.

A popular hop is the all-star in the latest release from the Genesee Brew House Pilot Batch series. SIMCOE S.M.A.S.H Pale Ale, a single-malt, single-hop brew, features the Simcoe hop, best known for its ability to deliver outstanding flavor and aroma, as well as bitterness. Juicy and hop-forward with aromas of pine and citrus, the Simcoe hop combined with the SMaSH brewing process is the ideal addition to Genesee Brew House’s annual S.M.A.S.H. series. The 5.5% pale ale captures the dual-purpose Simcoe hop, bringing out its best features with aromas of citrusy passion fruit and piney earthiness that shine through a subtle pale malt base. The limited-time-only Simcoe S.M.A.S.H. Pale Ale will be available through winter 2018 in 6-pack bottles, as well as on draft in select bars and restaurants. Beer drinkers can purchase Simcoe S.M.A.S.H. at select locations throughout the East, Mid-Atlantic and Great Lakes.

Nine Pin Cider Works, has announced the return of its innovative 26er program, a year-long cider appreciation challenge. In 2018, a portion of 26er cider sales will support the Adirondack Wilderness Club (ADK)’s Summit Steward program. Nine Pin has worked with Kinderhook, N.Y.-based Samascott Orchards to develop 26 new and unique ciders that will be part of the 2018 program. Starting on Jan. 9 and every two weeks thereafter, a new cider will be released. 26er ciders will only be available at Nine Pin’s tasting room in Albany. “All of us at ADK are excited to partner with Nine Pin Cider as they launch the 2018 26er Challenge,” said Sunday Conine, annual fund manager with ADK. “Nine Pin chose to partner with ADK to donate a portion of the challenge proceeds to the Summit Steward program, which protects fragile alpine plants on some of the Adirondack’s highest peaks. Nine Pin Cider’s unique challenge and proactive efforts to support the Summit Stewards is exactly the type of partnership we wish to be a part of.”

Cascade Brewing has released its newest project, Midnight Bramble. Midnight Bramble is a 6.6% blend of wheat and blond ales aged in oak wine barrels for up to 18 months with black and red raspberries, fresh ginger and thyme. This unique project offers carefully layered flavors of ripe bramble fruit with a refreshing ginger lift and soft notes of lavender and pine. The Northwest sour ale is now available in 750ml bottles and on draft through Cascade Brewing’s worldwide distribution channels, as well as at its two Portland, OR pubs.

Louisiana’s original craft brewery, Abita Brewing Co. is raising a toast to New Orleans’ Tricentennial celebration with the launch of its latest release, Maison Blanc. Brewed with malted barley, wheat and Sauvignon blanc grapes, Abita describes Maison Blanc as the best of both worlds, combining everything sought after by wine and beer drinkers alike into one delicious recipe. Like New Orleans, Abita’s many beers provide an excellent setting to celebrate anything and everything, and Maison Blanc is no different. New Orleans’ French heritage can be found right in the name of the beer, and its taste will remind visitors and residents of the city’s light yet festive atmosphere. “Maison Blanc has the mild, dry flavor you seek in your favorite house white wine, with the delicious crisp characteristics of Sauvignon blanc grapes,” said Abita Brewmaster Mark Wilson. “Whether you are celebrating New Orleans’ Tricentennial, or any other occasion, you will want to raise a glass of Maison Blanc.”

Alaskan Baltic Porter is a fan favorite from previous years, and it’s back as the latest addition to Alaskan Brewing’s limited Pilot Series. Baltic Porter is an expression of the inky darkness of the winter season in Alaska, a deep, dense beer with an intricate array of aromas and flavors. “We get asked about this beer all the time, and it’s a great one for the winter and holiday season, with a lot of specialty malts, dark black cherries, and gourmet vanilla beans,” said Alaskan Head Brewer Rob Day. “We’ve always brewed it to be something that people can drink right away, or if you’re patient, it can be aged for several years.” Aging allows it to develop rich, new flavors, highlighting some notes while others mellow. Smooth, deep maltiness abounds in every sip, with a rich mouthfeel and vanilla intensity, and an undeniable warming from this 9.8% porter. The jet-black color comes from the deeply roasted malts, with hints of cherry and dried fruit, and notes of bourbon and toffee present from start to finish.

In 2018, Alaskan Brewing will be changing up its rotating seasonal offerings, launching a new focus on three products that will not be strictly tied to seasons. The new packages and beers will concentrate on beer style and the Alaskan brew crew’s dedication to local ingredients and brews that are long-standing fan favorites. Slightly bitter and bracing, Alaskan Spruce IPA is eminently drinkable, with aromas of pine and tart berries. The taste maintains a berry-like, fruity, slightly floral and tart quality, but the bitterness brings out the similarities to the hops. A change coming later this year will be in name only – Alaskan Summer, a Kölsch-Style Ale that has been a fan favorite for over 15 years, will be renamed to Alaskan Kölsch. The beer’s recipe, iconic Orca and vibrant orange label, all stay the same. In the fall of 2018, fans can look for a brand new seasonal offering – Alaskan Cranberry Tart Ale, which was inspired by Alaskan high bush cranberries and features Sitka spruce tips in a refreshing wheat-based beer. Spruce IPA is available January through April 2018 where Alaskan beer is sold.

Upslope Brewing Co.’s tried-and-true Limited Release Oatmeal Stout is available throughout the winter season, distributed throughout CO, WY, MT, AZ, and NM and is available in Upslope’s Mix Box variety 12-pack or 12-ounce six-packs. The 5% Oatmeal Stout, brewed with oats, roasted malts and East Kent Golding hops, delivers notes of cocoa, dried fruit and caramel in a smooth, full-bodied, yet sessionable beer. In addition, Upslope is proud to introduce a new offering as part of its rotating Tap Room Series of brews – a small-batch Mexican Chocolate Milk Stout. Capping off the 2017 lineup for the series, this beer mimics the savory, warming flavors of traditional Mexican chocolate with additions of cinnamon, black onyx cocoa powder and almond extract. Created with roasted barley, chocolate malt and lactose sugar, this silky stout is a tasty treat for colder weather. Offered in 19.2-oz cans, distributed throughout their footprint.