Good things may come in small packages, but when it comes to beer, bigger is usually better. That's why most special releases are packaged in the 22-ounce bomber format. And while these new brews are no exception, it's about the only thing they have in common since one goes the flavored-beer route, one opts to emphasize the hops, and one pays homage to the Belgian Tripel style. A word of caution: All three will tempt you to finish the bottle, but sharing is good. Two of these brews are particularly potent, with the Deschutes and the Redhook weighing in at over 10 percent alcohol.
Looking for a breakfast beer? This one pours darker than espresso and is dry hopped with 100 pounds of Bellatazza coffee, so it's a definite contender. Add Theo's chocolate to the mix, and you have a dangerously rich brew that could almost make a meal. Although I'm not usually a fan of flavoring, this porter is irresistibly good. You can definitely taste both the coffee and the chocolate, but it still feels like beer with a nice hop bite on the finish. Released to mark Deschutes' 21st anniversary, it should age nicely.
Each year, Full Sail releases a hopped-up brew as a celebration of the season. Weighing in at 100 International Bitterness Units, this one is definitely all about the hops. There's a resiny bitterness up front that gives way to a citrus-hued bitterness in the middle, then closes with a mouth-drying bitterness on the finish. A nice bit of malt that you feel more than taste helps to balance things out. Attention all hop heads--you will love the Gransun of Spot.
Sweet malt rules here with nice aromas of spicy banana bread backed by clove, cinnamon and just a touch of pine-laced hops. Ripe fruit flavors come through on the palate with creamy, clove-hued malt providing good body. A light hit of hops adds balance though the finish is on the warm side. It lacks a bit of the weight you might expect from a Tripel, but overall it's a very nice package from this reliable brewery.