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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

A common brew and rarity are among "the best" beers made

Due to the copious amounts of work I had this week, I took it easy on the beer, having only a few of my homebrews. So, for this review, I'm going to backtrack in time a little bit. On the Food Network, there is a show called The Best Thing I Ever Ate, where Food Network stars talk about their favorite foods from around the world. Today, I will be writing about "The Best Thing I Ever Drank." I'll take a look at Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale and Founders Breakfast Stout.Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale

I don't really have a "go-to beer" per se due to the massive variety out there, but if I had to pick one to drink for the rest of eternity, this would be it. Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale was one of the first craft beers I ever had, and it still remains my favorite. Indian Brown Ale pours dark, almost as dark as a porter or stout, and it produces a large off-white head. The beer smells delicious with a combination of sweet chocolate and floral bitter hops.

Tasting reveals an incredibly balanced brew. It's got a sweet maltiness to it, with a hint of chocolate, but nothing sings out like a stout would. The chocolate is not bitter, and it doesn't have to be because this beer is backed up by bitter hops. The hoppiness is not overpowering here, as it would be in an India Pale Ale; it's noticeable, and it really balances out the sweetness. The mouthfeel is thick and creamy but not overly heavy. It drinks really easily, especially for a beer that is 7.2 percent alcohol.

This is an incredible beer and one that's regularly available anywhere. I really mean it when I say that I would drink this beer for the rest of my life. It doesn't do anything to change the world of beer, but it's unique and incredibly balanced. I give this beer a 9.5 out of 10.

Founders Breakfast Stout

This is a rare beer made by Founders Brewing Company available during the fall months. There is a limited production run every year, so it can be hard to find. It's a stout made from coffee, chocolate and oats. The beer pours out pitch black with a thick, brown head. This is one of the darkest beers I've ever seen. Upon smelling the brew you get a mix of chocolate, coffee and alcohol-the first two packing the biggest punch. This beer really smells like breakfast; it's got that bitter coffee flavor that I find to be ubiquitous in the morning.

Drinking the beer is beyond amazing; it's sweet with chocolate but also bitter with coffee. The flavors are never toned down one bit. For a beer that's almost 8.5 percent alcohol by volume, you cannot taste any of the alcohol. Usually beer runs at around 5 percent, so this one is quite a bit stronger. It's a beautiful flavor, and the balance is absolutely perfect. The mouthfeel makes it even better; the oats make the stout velvety and thick and a drink that feels good as you swirl it around your mouth. There aren't a lot of hops, but that's not the point. This isn't your dad's lawnmower beer.

If I had to pick the best beer I've ever had, it would be either this one or its even rarer cousin Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout, a similar recipe that's aged for several months in bourbon barrels. Aging in barrels, formally used for liquor, gives off notes of the alcohol and the wood in which it was stored. The beer not only has that perfect coffee/chocolate mix but also a very sweet honey-whiskey finish to it. Both beers are pretty close to perfection in their own rights. If you find either beer, don't ask questions; just get some-it is that good. I give both Founders Breakfast Stout and Kentucky Breakfast a 10 out of 10.

I hope everyone of legal drinking age finds some time for a beer this week and that you drink something new and exciting. I'll see you next week for a review of Waltham's own brewpub, Watch City Brewery.

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