5.0% ABV Blue Mountain Brewery (Afton, Virgina) has crafted a mostly true-to-form version of Cologne, Germany’s signature style. Pilsen and Vienna malts take center stage here, resulting in a brew whose finish is a bit reminiscent of a fresh-baked baguette.
5.8% ABV Richmond, Virginia’s Legend Brewing Co. alternates between notes of chocolate-covered caramel and fresh nuts, with just enough piney hop character peeking through to remind the drinker that it’s there. It pours somewhere between copper and mahogany.
5.5% ABV The latest in Shmaltz’s fully licensed series of Star Trek beers, Symbosis commemorates the 30th anniversary of Star Trek: The Next Generation. If there were such a thing as an IPWA—India Pale Wheat Ale—this would be the brew to “make it so.” A bit of cookie-like malt comes through on the nose, but an earthy hop bitterness is the headline player on the palate.
5.5% ABV Duckpin pale, from Baltimore’s Union Craft Brewing, is a tropical getaway in the heart of Charm City. Lots of big, boisterous grapefruit and pineapple notes characterize this hoppy pale with a juicy nose. It definitely bridges the small gap between a sessionable pale ale and a citrus-forward IPA.
5.8% ABV People’s Porter is a little taste of London by way of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Foothills Brewing drew inspiration from English porters of old, creating a brew that’s got all of the roasty goodness one would expect from the style, but with a flavor that tilts a bit more toward dark chocolate and toffee than coffee.
5.5% ABV The milk stout from Norfolk, Virginia’s Smartmouth Brewing Co., is nearly pitch-black and opaque, with a tan-to-light-brown head. The lactose adds a little bit of dark fruit character to the mocha-espresso vibe.
8.6% ABV It’s one thing for a beer’s flavor to evoke coffee. It’s an entirely different thing to actually have coffee in it. Like the ancient Roman who inspired its name, Brewtus, from Frederick, Maryland’s Monocacy Brewing Co., mounts an aggressive sneak attack—on the senses. It’s like a double shot from a fresh-brewed pot. This is definitely for those who skip the milk and cream station when they get their morning Starbucks.
11.5% ABV Evil Twin will see Monocacy’s coffee and raise it some almond and vanilla. That combo’s the idea behind the Brooklyn, New York–based brewer’s boozy imperial stout. The almond and the coffee dominate—think a shot of Amaretto in a cup of espresso. The sweet, nuttiness tempers some of the more bitter, roasted notes.