1. New Holland Envious
This beer is the first in New Holland's Cellar Series. Envious is a fruit-based beer which used pears and chardonnay yeast to ferment the beer in the secondary, and then aged with raspberries on oak. I'm on the fence about combining extreme brewing with fruit-based beers. I think most of the time, a successful fruit-based beer is simple and sessionable. Making it heavy is risky because it can turn out too syrupy and overly sweet. This beer neither confirmed nor denied my view. On one hand, I enjoyed it, but on the other, it's a little heavy. There are strong oak and dark fruit aromas and tastes coming from this beer. The thing that I liked about this beer was that it had a nice mouthfeel and amount of carbonation despite its strong flavors that could have easily turned it into fruity syrup. I'm surprised by the low ratings that this beer had on BeerAdvocate.
Overall Rating: B+
2. Uinta Crooked Line Labyrinth Black Ale
I recently first tried Uinta's 4+ Series and I was even more excited to try their Crooked Line, which includes this beer, the Labyrinth Black Ale. Following what seems to be a popular trend, Uinta had an artist design the label, which I love. This beer has common flavors but balanced them really well. Black licorice, dark, bittersweet chocolate and coffee. Though "Black Ale" suggested, at least to me, that it might have had some hoppy characteristics, this beer is mostly a sweet stout. I'd suggest sharing this bottle, considering it's 13.2% ABV, and I really wish I had paired this beer with some cheese. This is just one of those beers that you can tell is great for pairing with food. I hope Uinta expands on their Crooked Line, which currently has 3 other beers. Great stuff.
Overall Rating: A