Last year, around this time, I was trying bigger beers and beers that were just crazy. Each year, Newport Storm, RI’s only brewery, releases a limited edition beer in November. The beers are bottle conditioned in blue 750 ml corked bottles. I wish they had more than just the cork as the cork they use feels kind of cheap and I think it lets too much of the carbonation leak through.
The first one of these I’ve had was the Newport Storm ’06. The ’06 was a strong ale aged in Jack Daniels barrels, giving the beer a nice whiskey/oak flavor. Last year, either the beer or I was not ready. It had a huge burn of alcohol (at 11.9% ABV, that’s no surprise). I bought one for Christmas Eve this year and it had mellowed out nicely. It had a nice oak/vanilla flavor and a bit of the whiskey flavor. It was very smooth and easy to drink, and that alcohol burn was gone. This was one tasty beer and definitely worth checking out if you can find one (Nikki’s in North Providence still has some).
On Christmas, I decided to split the bottle of Newport Storm ’07 with Susan. This one is an American Stout. The beer has a nice roasted malt and chocolate character to it with just the right amount of hops to balance it out. It’s strong at 10.8% ABV, but the alcohol is hardly noticeable. The beer is dark with little to no carbonation. Because of the lack of carbonation, it had no head. That was a bit disappointing. I plan on picking up another bottle and aging it for a year and see how it ends up. I think the flavors will round out a bit and the lack of carbonation won’t be as bothersome.