Friday, January 23, 2009

January Snackers: Domestics

I wasn't sure I could make it, but I went four consecutive days without having a beer. Let's just say I'm rewarding myself tonight. In the meantime, here's a brief recap of some of the best domestics I've had this year.

Victory Prima Pils

Downington, Pennsylvania
5.3% ABV
3.5 stars

I guess I was too busy hammering Bell's and Surly last year to really get into Victory, but the third of their offerings I've had this year (and I'm probably tackling Old Horizontal and Storm King later tonight) was probably the best pilsner I've ever had. Apologies, of course, to Pilsner Urquell, but the flavors were unbelievably clean in the Victory, which I had on tap at Bryant Lake Bowl. Nice and grassy, with a large dollop of bitter hops. Pilsner definitely isn't one of my favorite styles of beer, but I liked this quite a bit. It's easy to see why Prima Pils ranks among the top ten pilsners at RateBeer.

Avery Old Jubilation Ale

Boulder, Colorado
8% ABV
4 stars

Via friend recommendation. Lovely winter scene on the label, for starters. This beer had a terrific round flavor--you could taste layers from the time it hit your tongue til the moment it splashed your stomach. Chewy, thick, but with a nice spicy hop kick. A beer that has a bunch of alcohol, but is disguised quite well. Plus, the Gophers were en route to a shocking overtime victory at Wisconsin at the time of consumption, so it gets an extra boost there.

Great Divide Hibernation Ale

Great Divide
Denver, Colorado
8.1% ABV
4 stars

Strong. This flavor would survive a simple rinse of the glass, I think. It's dense and rich; very malty. Not a lot of bite in it, but it's meaty enough to take up an hour of your time and not feel laborious. Would serve well as a nightcap, as it has that pleasant warming feel that we all enjoy around midnight.

Samuel Adams Imperial Pilsner

Boston Beer Company
Boston, Massachusetts
8.8% ABV
4 stars

So, if Prima Pils was the best pilsner I've sampled, how does this one get an extra half star? Check the alcohol content amigo. This is massive. I'd never even heard of an imperial pilsner when I saw this on the shelf, and I was skeptical upon purchase. Remember, I'm not a huge pilsner guy to begin with. I guess you can add me to the imperial pilsner facebook group, though, because this baby satisfied me to no end. It reminded me in flavor a lot of Surly's Bitter Brewer, heavy on the citrus, but about five times as strong. Had a buttery texture but somehow was still quite crisp. I loved the extreme bitterness up front, and fear that this could be a dangerous beer to drink in mass quantities. Good thing it's sold in four-packs, because six of these would equal one large morning headache.

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