1. Nøgne Ø Two Captains
Nøgne Ø, a Norwegian brewery, allowed the winner of the Norwegian homebrewing championship of 2010 to brew his champion double IPA at their brewery. This double IPA seems like it came from the West coast though because it is a hop bomb. This is an incredibly balanced beer considering it's 100 IBU. Other beers that I've had at 100 IBU are way too harsh for my taste, but this beer is actually pretty smooth and drinkable. The fact that it's not 11 or 12% but rather 8.5% ABV probably helps. I'm not sure what hops were used in this DIPA but it's definitely a winning selection along with the malts used that provide a solid backbone for this beer. If this beer is any indication of what Norwegians are homebrewing, I might need to visit.
Overall Rating: A-
2. Firestone Walker 14th Anniversary Ale
I suppose I should have warmed up to Firestone Walker Brewing Co. before diving right into their 14th anniversary ale, which is one of the most complex ales I've ever had. Having tried it, I most definitely will be looking out for their staple beers and some of the other reserve beers that were blended to make this anniversary ale. Here is the makeup of this beer: 31% Double Double Barrel Ale, 29% Sticky Monkey, 27% Parabola, 7% Velvet Merkin, 3% Good Foot and 3% Black Xantus. I think I need to backtrack and try all of these beers to better understand how they came up with the percentages. On the other hand, trying this beer blindly as a newcomer to this brewery might be an advantage. Based on the detailed sheet that was included with this bottle, their goal was to create a complex beer based around oak by blending all of these beers together. I can tell you that they definitely achieved that. However, I've had bourbon/oak beers that are not nearly as complex as the recipe for this one. I guess that the complexity of the recipe and the presentation in a box with a detailed sheet heightened my expectations of the beer. That said, I would actually love to try this beer again, preferably after trying more of what Firestone Walker makes.
Overall Rating: B+