First brewed at least 5,000 years ago, beer is one of the oldest and most universally consumed alcoholic drinks. It is usually made from cereals, most frequently malted barley, but other ingredients can be used, such as wheat, corn, or rice. In the majority of cases, hops are added to the process (originally as a preservative), although in centuries past other flavorings were used. Today, a whole host of flavored beers exist, ranging from conventional ingredients such as fruit to crazier additions including bacon, donuts, and rocky mountain oysters (aka bull testicles). The most popular beer style, however, is the easy-drinking pale lager style. It used to be thought that beer in cans was inferior quality to beer in bottles, and that there was a safety worry over the use of aluminum, but that is no longer the case. Cans are perfectly safe and sales of canned beers are growing while bottles are on the decline.

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Review: Firestone Walker Propagator Series Vic Secret

By Christopher Null | December 30, 2021 |

Here’s a steady selection from Firestone Walker’s Propagator Series, an R&D location known for producing semi-experimental beers. There’s nothing particularly earth-shattering about this beer — available only through Firestone’s Crafted Through Hops IPA mixed pack — but if you’re hankering for a (nearly) classic west coast style IPA, you’ve come to the right place. Well-hopped with…

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Review: Harpoon Imperial IPA: Big & Limited Edition and Green Mountain Ryed

By Christopher Null | December 29, 2021 |

Harpoon is set for winter with these two frosty-weather releases. Harpoon Imperial IPA: Big & Limited Edition – This may be a limited edition released only for the winter season — it’s made with Harpoon’s standard recipe, but with an upsized abv — but this monster IPA comes across largely as a classic imperial, sweet…

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Review: Stone Hazy IPA and 25th Anniversary Triple IPA

By Christopher Null | December 27, 2021 |

Is every craft brewery having a 25th anniversary this year? Let’s catch up with California’s Stone, which recently dropped as new hazy that does not have tangerines and such in it — plus a monster triple IPA brewed special for the anniversary. We tried them both. Stone Hazy IPA – Yep, just Hazy IPA. It’s a…

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Review: SLO Brew Holidaze IPA

By Christopher Null | December 22, 2021 |

SLO — for California’s San Luis Obispo — Brew offers this appropriately named beer as a seasonal release, a west coast IPA brewed with spruce tips and orange peel, making it extra festive. The combo works, providing a touch of sweetness and fruit to temper what can otherwise be an aggressively bitter style. It’s the…

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Review: Ballast Point Victory at Sea Imperial Porter

By Christopher Null | December 20, 2021 |

Ballast Point recently launched the availability of one of its flagship beers in 16 oz cans — Victory at Sea Imperial Porter, which was first brewed in 2007. (Ballast Point is in the process of shifting its entire portfolio from glass to cans at present.) Brewed with coffee and vanilla, it’s a powerhouse at 10%…

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Review: Lawson’s Finest Liquids Triple Sunshine

By Christopher Null | December 16, 2021 |

Vermont’s Lawson’s Finest Liquids goes big with Triple Sunshine — available for a limited time — a whopper of a triple IPA that pushes into double-digit abv territory — as well it should. It’s unctuous with notes of flamed pineapple, vanilla custard, mango lassi, and a torched marshmallow note, touched with just a hint of…

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Review: Sierra Nevada Celebration Fresh Hop IPA (2021)

By Christopher Null | December 13, 2021 |

Christmastime is when the red cans of Sierra Nevada Celebration IPA start showing up on shelves, a beer the company has brewed yearly since it was established 40 years ago. Launched to celebrate not just the holidays but the arrival of fresh hops, the classic IPA is made with a mix of Cascade, Centennial, and…

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Review: Firestone Walker Cinnamon Dolce Nitro Stout

By Christopher Null | December 11, 2021 |

Firestone Walker makes plenty of beers for cold weather sipping, but their latest seasonal release seems tailor-made specifically for the holidays. Let’s be honest. Cinnamon Dolce Nitro Stout sounds more like a Starbuck’s beverage than a beer, but apparently the discovery of a local vanilla bean supplier inspired them to go in that direction for…

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Review: East Brother Double IPA

By Christopher Null | November 24, 2021 |

East Brother’s latest is a big fat double IPA, clocking in at 8% alcohol and loaded with Simcoe and Azaaca hops. It’s hugely creamy but surprisingly a little bit sour, a mango-laced body countered by notes of grapefruit peel, piney hops, and a touch of white wine vinegar. Some baking spice  gives the finish a…

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Review: Deschutes Brewery The Dissident Peach 2021

By Christopher Null | November 20, 2021 |

Deschutes has made a number of special edition versions of its popular Dissident sour, including this one, fermented with Oregon peaches. The finished ale is aged in oak barrels much like the standard bottling. Rather tougher and hoarier than I was expecting, the peach character doesn’t really show up until late in the game, leaving…

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