1. Mikkeller Chipotle Porter
I'm not the guy that orders the atomic wings at the bar, not necessarily because I can't handle the heat, but I just find that it kills the taste. Knowing that subtlety isn't exactly in Mikkeller's vocabulary, and having my tongue set on fire by other beers that use peppers, I figured this beer would burn my taste buds and kill the flavor. Fortunately, I was wrong. The balance of this beer is fantastic, with the chipotle lending a smokiness without overpowering the beer. This would be a great beer to have with some chili, but could be paired with plenty of other food. If you've ever had one of those chocolate bars with chili spice, this beer is like a more delicious liquid form of that. If you're a bigger fan of the spice, I definitely recommend letting this beer come to room temp.
Overall Rating: A
2. Stone Belgo Anise Russian Imperial Stout
Stone's Imperial Russian Stout is amazing. Deep, dark, bitter chocolate with a smooth, silky mouthfeel. Stone basically got a little bored of pushing out this staple beer along with their barleywine and decided to start an experimental "Odd Year" series, making a variation of these beers for every odd year starting in 2011. Thus, the anise. If unfamiliar with anise, it has a strong licorice flavor. Think of sambuca or absinthe, which is what I thought of when drinking this beer. It tasted like the Russian Imperial Stout with a shot of absinthe in it. I admit that using anise in a beer, especially a very dark beer, is unique and I admire the effort. However, it was a tad too strong for me in this beer. Whether the combination would work with a more subtle anise flavor...I'm not sure. Perhaps the beer will balance out after aging it for a few years. That said, it still has a lot of the characteristics of the original Imperial Russian Stout, so it's definitely still drinkable.
Overall Rating: B-