Red ale, 6.66%
San Diego, CA
Whether they’re just pulling our legs on the whole 6.66% thing (which, after a couple rounds, we’re pretty sure they’re not), AleSmith’s annual Halloween offering is a thing of beauty. Sure, that ABV and the deep-red hue might be gimmicky, but every note this sucker hits -- the bite, the caramel notes, the unexpected sweetness -- is spot on. Groovy.
Brown ale, 5%
In an industry that is already racked with puns, it’s hard to come across one who outdoes Against the Grain in naming and label artwork… Which is why, at first sight, this can might make you want to pass. But man oh man, is this a solid brown ale: It’s got a thicker mouthfeel thanks to oats in the malt bill, biscuity and roasted flavors, and subtle earthy British hops (as well as some American “Cascade [hops] late in the boil just to show those snooty Brits that we don’t approve of that Constitutional Monarchy crap,” according to the brewer’s notes). But seriously, if you’re squeamish, don’t look at the can art.