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I was overdue for a visit to Night Shift when I stopped in for a few quick beers on my home from work the other day.  They had apparently put out a lot of new stuff since my last time at the brewery, so a round of samples was obviously in order.

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The first beer of my flight was a 7.0% IPA they were calling Generator.  Brewed with Vic Secret, Azacca, and Idaho 7 hops, I had high hopes for this one considering how much I liked these in the brewery’s One Hop series.  While this beer fell slightly short of my heightened expectations, it was still pretty good.  It poured a slightly hazy pale yellow and smelled of honey and just a hint of yeast.  As for the taste, it had a moderate level of bitterness accompanied by a bit of sweetness before coming to a zesty lemon finish.  My next beer was a 5.3% dunkelweizen named Emden.  I didn’t really care for this one, mostly due to the peppery opening taste.  The banana and slightly malty, yeasty finish I liked a bit better, but ultimately this wasn’t the beer for me.  Just not my preferred flavor profile, others might like it.  At beer number three this flight got real with a fantastic 7.1% Maple Stout called Benningon.  Pouring with an expected dark black body and fluffy tan head, this brew smelled like chocolate and tasted like breakfast.  Coffee, maple, and cocoa were present throughout.  The beer finished with roasty bittersweet chocolate at cooler temperatures and took on a smoother chocolate and dark malt profile when it warmed up a bit.  Body was on the thicker side and suited the beer very well.  Closing out the flight was Marilyn, a 10.2% blonde barleywine aged in apple brandy barrels.  It poured an opaque amber/tan body with a thin but persistent foamy white head.  The smell was very assertive caramel and toffee sweetness.  Intense levels of toffee and caramel dominated the taste as well, but were mixed with a noticeable brandy heat at the start and finish.  The mouthfeel was quite thick with very minimal carbonation.  Overall it brought to my mind thoughts of a Worther’s Original candy melted down after being left to sit in brandy barrel for a few months.  I really loved this beer and would say it edged out Bennington as my favorite of the day.

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With the flight ending on such a high note, I went for one final sample to close out my night.  This was Barrel’d Trophy, a wild farmhouse ale brewed in collaboration with Trophy Brewing Company from Raleigh, NC.  The beer was actually brewed during last year’s Extreme Beer Festival and has been aging patiently in chardonnay bottles ever since.  It poured a light golden amber body topped off with a generous white head.  Smell and taste were both fruity and funky and absolutely right on for the style.  The fruit (apple maybe?) was a bit on the tart side and the moderate funk had a mature hay-like presence over the beer, perhaps amplified a bit by the barrel influence working in the background.  Light and a bit syrupy like the regulars in Night Shift’s sour lineup, it was a bit of a shock to see that this was 8.5% as it hid the alcohol quite well.  Very good beer and a great ending to my visit.

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