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Does your brewery have a new release or new seasonal release? To have it reviewed here, please send at least two bottles, a flat label and information about the beer to our CBN offices located at: New Releases, Celebrator Beer News, 22455 Maple Court, Lower Level, Hayward, CA 94541

Unibroue, Canada

Unibroue 15 celebrates the iconoclastic Canadian brewery’s 15th anniversary. This beer’s soft, malty nose is very complex, with hints of peppermint, white pepper, flowers and grains of paradise. With a cloudy golden-orange color, it is reminiscent of a tripel. It is 10% abv, has a candied-sugar mouthfeel and is surprisingly light with great conditioning. It has very complex flavors of apple honey and peach esters, along with a hoppiness that’s very well integrated and coats your tongue as it falls off at the finish. It seems like a young, very lively beer, and age should only improve what one might describe as an imperial saison. Outstanding.

Bison Organic IPA
Bison Brewing Company, California

Bison’s newest organic beer, an IPA, is brewed with Tomahawk, Cascade and Centennial hops. It boasts a lemony-citrus hop nose, a bright gold color and a decent light tan head. At 6.8% abv, it’s an impressively big beer. It has creamy flavors with great hop character and a nice, clean finish. This is one the best organic IPAs we’ve had. Highly Recommended.

Broken Top Bock
Deschutes Brewery, Oregon

Part of the Bond Street Series from Deschutes Brewery’s downtown brewpub, this new bock is 6.5% abv. It has a light, malty, biscuity nose, deep mahogany color and a tan head. This is a complex, malty beer with a good finish. It’s a great example of the style and would be ideal to give to people who claim they don’t like lagers. Outstanding.

Brother Thelonious Belgian Style Abbey Ale
North Coast Brewing Company, California

You won’t find North Coast’s newest beer in the usual places. That’s because it has been made exclusively for jazz clubs, and proceeds will benefit the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz (monkinstitute.org). Brown in color with a tan head, the beer starts with a light nose of nutty, yeasty plum wine. At 9% abv, it packs a wallop to rival Monk’s playing, and we could easily imagine having this beer at the Church of John Coltrane. It’s very malt-forward, most likely with Special B malt, and is candy-sweet with over-roasted plum notes. It’s not so much a traditional style as a jazz riff on a style. Highly Recommended — for intention and improvisation.

Buzzsaw Brown Seasonal Ale
Deschutes Brewery, Oregon

A session brown at 4.8%, the Buzzsaw is thin-bodied and refreshing. It has a complex nose of sweet honey, fresh-toasted bread and dry powdered cocoa. It’s brown in color, of course, with a generous tan head. The flavors are creamy and chocolaty with a light, clean finish. Highly Recommended.

Chambly Noire, Dark Ale on Lees
Unibroue, Canada

Black with red streaks and a volatile, thick tan head. Holy moly, this is a fun beer — one of the best we’ve had in a long time. It is hugely complex and toasty, with chocolate-covered raisin and pumpernickel notes. Well-conditioned and an absolute treat to drink. Outstanding.

Six Rivers Brewery, California

This new raspberry beer is bright red in color with a pink head. Fruity raspberry aromas assault your nose, and there’s a hint of smokiness underneath. It’s not too sweet and not really sour, either, though it is tart. It’s not quite a lambic, but it is quite good, whatever label we put on it. Recommended.

Hot Shot ESB
Great Divide Brewing Company, Colorado

According to Great Divide’s own press release, this new ESB could have been in our session-beer tasting, at 5% abv with a light, refreshing taste that fits. Amber in color, this beer has a great noble hop aroma with tons of malt character. It’s a very drinkable beer that’s fun on the palate and nicely balanced. A quick-hit beer that finishes clean. Highly Recommended.

Imperial Russian Stout, Limited Spring 2006 Release
Stone Brewing Company, California

Roasty, toasty aromas with hints of licorice and raisins. The color is black as night, with a rich, tan head. It’s a big, viscous, chewy beer with impressive gravity. It boasts the extremes of bitter and sweet simultaneously, balancing them like a high-wire circus act. Its flavors reminded us of 100 percent dark chocolate or Turkish coffee. A very amazing beer. Outstanding.

Insanity Czech (Pilsner)
Valley Brewing Company, California

At 53 IBUs, this is no ordinary pilsner. Valley characterizes the beer as a “traditional-style Bohemian-style pilsner,” but really now, how many pilsners do you know that are that hoppy? No matter. It’s more like an Americanized version of a classic style, a shock and awe pilsner. Valley’s new brew was created using a new yeast, the HP (high-pressure) lager yeast, which allowed them to make the beer in only two and a half weeks. The nose does have nice Saaz aromas. Clear golden color with a pillowy white head. All in all, this beer works quite well despite its Frankenstein-like construction. Highly Recommended.

Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale
Lagunitas Brewing Company, California

As many readers may know, Lagunitas had some trouble last year. To commemorate that trouble, or perhaps to celebrate its end, the brewery’s newest beer is a paean to freedom. It has big, hoppy aromas, a dark brown color and a tan head. The beer is viscous, with a huge mouthful of hops, and the hop level stays on top of the malt and rides it like a wave, surfing through to a delightful bitter finish. Outstanding.

Drake’s Brewing Company, California

The Whombak is a single-hop beer, made with only Summit hops, a new variety. It has a strong, almost harsh alpha-hop aroma. It’s a big beer all around at 9.5% abv and over 100 IBUs. As an experimental beer, it’s weird science, and though there is undoubtedly malt fighting to be noticed, the Summit is king of the hill. The finish, though, is surprisingly clean. Recommended, especially if you love science experiments. On cask, this beer is amazing.


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