Big, bold, beautiful beer. Sometimes the strongest ones are mysteriously dark with hints if rubies. Other times they're deceptively light and effervescent. If you like your beer with a bit of a kick, let's discover together some strong beers and styles that will never disappoint.
Strong is obviously subjective, so for argument's sake we're talking about beers that are 7.0% and above. Often, when one thinks of a strong beer, visions of rich, swirling darkness come to mind. And that's commonly true. Yet, there are many a golden beauties out there that pack just as big o' punch (we're looking at you, Belgians!) Let's look at some of our favourite strong beers that we love to enjoy on a cold, autumn evening--or any time, really!
Stone Arrogant Bastard
This smug American strong ale packs an aggressive punch at 7.2%, that's for sure. While its assertive bitterness is most obvious it maximises on its chewy maltiness with flavours of caramel, dried fruit and whiskey. It's not for the light-hearted.
Weighing in at 9.5%, this Trappist-style tripel is, well, strong. The great/dangerous thing about Belgian tripels, however, is that they're deceptively strong. There's a certain light dryness which is accompanied by notes of spice, vanilla and stone fruits that mask its heft. Be careful standing up if you've been enjoying it sitting down!
This imperial stout is one that comes to mind when we daydream about those dark, decadent strong beers. Aged in Kentucky Bourbon barrels for a year, this 11.8% (!!!) bohemoth is gloriously teeming with notes of milk chocolate, caramel, coffee and vanilla. Ohhh yeahhh...
This collaboration between Brooklyn Brewery and Thornbridge blurs all the lines between styles. This 9.5% beer is based off a Belgian golden strong ale but has been aged in barrels with the yeasts that turn apples into cider. Its funky, tart, wine-like character is wondrously complex and it finishes light and lively on the palate. Be careful of this sneaky brew!
You didn't think we'd forget this favourite-among-many, did you? The DIPA is generally a more malt, more hops, more alcohol, more everything version of the American IPA and an intense demonstration of American hops. While "double" does not mean "double the strength" these are definitely not session beers but rather a creamy, hoppy, and rich American-style IPA. Expect some of these to appear upwards of 13% ABV!
Must try: Siren Hop Candy
Coming in either pale or dark varieties, the Doppelbock is a rich, malty and strong--about 7-10%--German lager. Maltier and fuller-bodied the darker they get, this style is a Bavarian speciality with names that usually end in "ator". Expect a toasty and roasty malt character which comes across as liquid bread.
Must try: Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock
Finding its roots in strong ales from the 1700s, the Wee Heavy is the very strongest, about 6.5-10%, of all Scottish ales with a ruby-brown hue, profound maltiness and high alcohol content. The Wee Heavy showcases complex toffee and vinous notes and a restrained hop character. This style is perfect for aging.
Must try: Founders Dirty Bastard
Believe it or not, these effervescent, funky, spritzy sour Belgian ales do come in ABVs upwards of 8%. The most famed of Belgian sour ales, the Gueuze is traditionally made by blending one, two and three-year-old lambics. While noticeably sour due to its spontaneous fermentation, a fine Gueuze should not taste like vinegar rather still have a lovely bouquet, silky mouthfeel and effervescent carbonation.
Must try: Boon Gueuze Mariage Parfait
Father’s Day, 19th June 2022, is the special date in the calendar when we celebrate and give a nod to the Dads in our lives. It’s an excuse to spoil them with a little something to say thank you for being awesome. If you’re looking for inspiration for a craft beer-loving Dad, then check out our top 7 Father’s Day beer gifts.
Every year, Beer Hawk releases a lineup of limited edition craft beer mixed cases for the holiday season. This year's lineup of festive Christmas beer gifts is guaranteed to put a smile on everyone’s face.
Remember the childhood excitement of opening a new door on your advent calendar every day in the run up to Christmas? It gave each day a little sparkle of festive magic, even though those tiny chocolates behind the doors were always a bit rubbish. How would you like to recapture that childhood magic, but with bottles of delicious beer instead of powdery chocolate? Sounds amazing, right? In that case, you need to get your hands on our Craft Beer Advent Calendar.
Pairing beer and food together isn’t all rules and science. That would make for a terribly boring dinner party! Instead, it’s the art of taking a good beer, some good food and partnering them together to make something even better. It’s the adventure of discovering what works, what doesn’t and what you like. It’s you taking a bite, taking a sip and then declaring your undying love for that imperial stout and chocolate cake.
Barrel-ageing beers is not a new thing, but it is getting more and more popular, and has probably never been as inventive. Adrian Tierney-Jones explores the new wave of ageing beer in wood
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