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This is shaping up to be a pretty eventful weekend for me.  Not only I am on-call for work and taking on baby duties for the morning, but it also happens to be time again for the annual NES Marathon hosted by Pat the NES Punk.  The Marathon is a 24-plus hour session of playing old school NES games to raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network.  The fun starts today Saturday, November 12 at 3:00 PM EST.  To keep me hydrated for however much of it I end up being able to watch, I picked up the winter seasonal sampler from Sierra Nevada Brewing Company.  It came at a great price (just shy of $20), featured a couple of beers I was really interested in trying, and the 12 oz. bottles were a pretty convenient format for my needs.


The sampler featured three bottles each of four different beers representing a nice range of styles.  I began my journey with the two hop-forward offerings, starting out first with the brewery’s long-tenured flagship Pale Ale.  Most likely this brew needs no introduction here, as it has been around since 1980 (making it older than both myself and the NES!) and is something of a craft beer staple.  It might not be the sexiest or most hyped beer around, but it was refreshing as ever with subtle notes of piney bitterness, grapefruit/citrus, and grainy malt.  The other beer in this category was Single Hop Cascade IPA.  Coming in at 6.3%, it poured a cloudy yet transparent golden body with a foamy white head.  For the taste, it featured bready pilsner malts upfront and a burst of floral hops at the end.  Didn’t love this, but don’t mind having a couple more around either.

It was the two other beers that had me excited.  The first of the was a scotch ale called Maple Scotch.  I’m always eager to try more examples of this style and this one did not disappoint.  It started out promising with a nice tannish brown body beneath an off-white head of foam.  The thick, creamy mouthfeel was perfect for presenting the prevalent toffee and caramel malts.  The malt mixed together nicely to give the beer a subtle sweetness before it came to a slightly toasty finish.  I do wish the sweetness stood out just a little bit more, but I was quite happy with this beer and it gave no indication at all that it was 7.3%.  Last up was the Coffee Stout, which also happened to be my favorite beer from the box.  It had some great notes of creamy, lightly roasted French Vanilla coffee and looked great in the glass with a solid finger-plus tan head topping off a deep brownish/black body.  Delightfully smooth and easy drinking at 6.2%, it wasn’t as thick as some of the bigger stouts out there, but it was delicious.  Great beer to have around and an excellent coffee stout.

And that rounds out the box.  Time for me to get to work, have fun weekend everyone!