1. Frog's Hollow Double Pumpkin Ale
Drinking a pumpkin ale the day after Halloween kind of feels like listening to Christmas music the day after Christmas to me. I guess I associate pumpkins more with Halloween than with fall, but maybe it's the fact that it freakin' snowed 8 inches this past weekend. Anyhow, I found this beer from Hoppin' Frog this past week and have read that it's a highly rated pumpkin beer with a gold medal from GABF to prove it. As I've mentioned before, my personal favorite is Southern Tier's Pumking, and it still is after drinking this one, but it's hard to compare the two because they take on different angles. Southern Tier takes on more of a sweet pumpkin pie taste, whereas this one sticks to pure pumpkin with spices. Based on that, this beer is very good. I have to give Weyerbacher's pumpkin the edge for my second favorite, but I would definitely consider this one for a bronze medal (along with Schlafly and Uinta).
Overall Rating: B+
2. North Coast Old Rasputin XII
I've hinted before at how I'll try imperial/extreme beers and that I would like to dissect the process to try the base beer before trying an extreme version of it, whether it be oak-aging, blending or any other similar process. Trying this beer fulfills that preference. North Coast's Old Rasputin is, and always will be, one of the best stouts out there, and I'm not alone in thinking that. They started with an 11th anniversary version, which was only available at their brewery. I think it turned some heads because they decided to extend the distribution of the 12th anniversary, albeit limited. The beer is aged in bourbon barrels and I'll say it again - beer and bourbon are an awesome combination. It's necessary to let this beer warm up to room temp because it has a lot of deep flavor from the bourbon aging. So, so smooth at 11.2% ABV. Amazing beer.
Overall Rating: A+