Mark’s Christmas Present Grab Bag, a post by Mark

Surprisingly, or maybe not so much so, I received a lot of different beer at Christmas. Between 2 Yankee Swaps, a Secret Santa, a present, and an unwanted Yankee Swap gift that was given to me, I ended up with quite a bit of beer. So I figured I would take this chance to write this “guest” post on our blog about some different beers you may have tried, and some you may not have.


 Wells Banana Bread Beer

Malt Beverage Brewed with Banana’s

5.2%    1 pint 0.9 oz Bottle


A lighter beer than I was expecting, sort of like a light ale. It has a subtle banana taste with more of a banana after taste. I had this beer once 3 or 4 years ago and really liked it. I was expecting a heavier, more banana taste this time around but was easier to drink than expected.

From the bottle “Long ago ale was known as ‘Liquid Bread’. We’ve used our long history of creating the finest malt blends and added fair trade bananas to awaken the sense with a seriously fruity, rich, yet surprisingly versatile banana bread beer.”

Brewed by Well’s and Young’s Brewing Company, England

Long Trail Double Bag Ale

7.2%    12 oz Bottle


I have had this many times but figured I would include it. Has a smooth, lighter beginning. More of a hoppier taste at the end, almost a chocolaty finish. Pretty easy to drink, could be dangerous since it is 7.2%. Used to be only available for visitors to the brewery but is widely available now in 6 and 12 packs.

Brewed by Long Trail Brewing Company, VT

Stone Collaboration: R & R Coconut IPA

7.7%    1 pint 6 oz Bottle


Heavy tasting IPA though light in color. Coconut taste is subtle, don’t think I would have guessed coconut if I didn’t see it on the bottle. Does have a fruity taste as well as the subtle coconut. Heavy tasting because it is 7.7% alcohol.

Robert Masterson & Ryan Reschan teamed up and entered the American Homebrewers Association- sanctioned brewing competition. They won and got help from Rip Current Brewing Company and of course Stone Brewers to finalize the recipe. Described on the bottle as a “seamless marrying of toasted coconut and a hop bill brimming with tropical fruit notes”.

Brewed by Stone Brewing Company, San Diego County, CA

Crabbie’s Spiced Orange

Alcoholic Ginger Beer

4.8%    12 oz Bottle


Smells fruity, you can smell the orange. Megan said it tastes like ginger ale with candied apple, she didn’t see the label. It is a ginger beer with spiced orange and tastes like it. Very light; sweet and tangy, probably a good summer beer. I don’t think this is a beer I would drink a lot of at once.

From the bottle label, “For more than 200 years Crabbie’s has shipped its ginger from the far east following in the pioneering footsteps of the first Scots Merchants Adventures – hence our distinctive Elephant Trade Mark. Following a secret recipe, the steeped ginger is matured for 8 weeks. It’s then combined with real Orange Extract giving a deliciously distinctive flavor”.

Brewed by Halewood International in the UK.

Belhaven Scottish Ale

5.2%    14.8 oz Can, come in 4 pack


Has a creamy head on it. Light like an ale, pretty easy to drink. Has a creamy flavor with a slight nutty flavor at the end.

Comes with the widgit in it to aerate the the beer when you open it so it tastes nice and fresh.

Brewed by Belhaven Brewery, Scotland

Lagunitas IPA

Unlimited Release

6.2%    1 pint 6 oz Bottle


Taste like an IPA, good, not too heavy tasting, good amount of hoppiness. Has a slight fruity taste, with an almost caramel finish.

From the bottle, a “unique version of an ancient style…. made with 43 different hops and 65 various malts, this redolent ale will likely float your boat, whatever planet you are on.”

Brewed by Lagunitas Brewing Company, CA

Heather Ale

Ale Brewed with Heather Flowers

5%    1 pint 6 oz Bottle


Fairly light tasting ale. Definite fruity-like flavor, must be the Heather flowers. Created as a summer beer, seems like a good fit. Easy to drink, fruity beer

The heather flowers are handpicked from Westport, MA by the Brew Crew and friends.

Brewed by Cambridge Brewing Company, MA

Slumbrew Happy Sol

Ale brewed with honey, orange peel, coriander,and blood orange juice

5.5%    12 oz Bottle


Orange smell. Strong aftertaste, citrus and possible coriander taste. Reminds us both of a Blue Moon with and orange wedge in it.

From the bottle ‘refreshing Bavarian-style hefeweizen ‘ that is an ‘unfiltered wheat beer brewed with orange peel, coriander, honey and the juice from over one thousand fresh blood oranges.’

Brewed by Somerville Beer Company, MA

Boddingtons Pub Ale

1 pint Can, comes in 4 packs


Comes with a widget in the can. Smooth and creamy is a good way to describe it, that must be why it’s on the can. It is a medium style ale, easy to drink, smooth and creamy.

From the can, it is a “unique, pale-gold ale” that was first brewed in 1778.  “Boddingtons is served using the traditional hand pulled method which mixes air with the ale as it pours, producing a distinctive creamy head and smooth bod, with little gassiness. ” They use the widget to try and reproduce that in a can.

Brewed by Inbev UK Limited in Luton, England

p.s. – Inbev is the giant company that owns most (non-craft) breweries, including Budweiser.

Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout

10%    12 oz Bottle


Smells like toasted chocolate. Tastes like a heavy, dark stout. Subtle, toasted chocolate taste. I was expecting more of a milk chocolate taste, but it was good heavy stout with subtle flavoring.

This is brewed as a winter beer, and “achieves a chocolate aroma and flavor through the artful blending of six varieties of black, chocolate and roasted malts.”

Brewed by the Brooklyn Brewery, Utica, NY

Unibroue La Fin Du Monde

Triple Golden Ale on Lees

9%    1 pint 9.4 fl oz Bottle


Cloudy look, lighter than expected when I poured it into the glass. Has a fairly light taste, lemony, a hint of orange and some spices, possible coriander. Easy to drink, good overall.

“The excellence of triple fermentation through a blend of special yeasts gives this malt beverage La Fin Du Monde (The End of the World) an exquisitely robust flavor of exceptional refinement.”

Brewed by Unibroue in Chambly, Canada

Southern Tier Plum Noir

Imperial Porter Brewed with Italian Plums

8%    1 pint 6 oz Bottle


Fairly light taste for a porter. Has a malty taste, with only subtle fruit notes. I was expecting more of a fruity taste with “Plums” advertised so much on the front. Easy to drink, subtle taste.

From the bottle ” Moody and Evocative: Plum Noir’s mild sweetness is derived not necessarily from the plums, but from the many malts we use. A bit of plum flavor is present as well as earthy, toasted grains, & hints of caramel with mild coffee overtones.”

Brewed by Southern Tier Brewing Company, Lakewood, NY

That’s it, thanks for reading, Mark.