[twitter]I must say, I’m a little disappointed.

The 2013 Craft Beer Advent Calendar has stuck to a promise of 24 unique craft beers behind each door in December, but they’re starting to double back on the breweries. This week brought second offerings from Nickel Brook, Back Forty, Lake of Bays, and Newport Storm.

Yes, building an offering such as the Craft Beer Advent Calendar takes a lot of work and co-ordinating, but this thing wasn’t cheap to buy. We paid about $7 a bottle for this beauty, so I was expecting 24 different producers.

I’m also wondering how the beers were selected for each day. A number of stouts were in a row, then a hoppy selection, back-to-back days with HUGE alcohol content. I’d like to know more of how the beers were ordered. Is this a tasting flight or random?

With the repeating of brewers, I’m stopping a daily rundowns of each beer, and going with a weekly summary of the latest from the Craft Beer Advent Calendar.

Back Forty Truck Stop Honey Brown Ale

December 10: Back Forty Truck Stop Honey Brown Ale

TASTING NOTES: via 2013 Craft Beer Advent Calendar
Not all beer is created equal, and neither is all honey. Truck Stop Honey Brown is made with wildflower honey which has a ton of flavour. In a lot of honey beers, the honey is fermented, leaving no flavour of its own behind, but in this beer, the flavour of wildflower honey shines beautifully and compliments the gentle malt character of the underlying brown ale.

MY REVIEW: 3.5/5 on Untappd
Nice bite and sweet balance. Simple and effective.

Newport Storm India Point Ale

December 11: Newport Storm India Point Ale

TASTING NOTES: via 2013 Craft Beer Advent Calendar
One sip will tell you this is a big beer. In fact, the beer is brewed with five different hops (including one from New Zealand!) added seven different times during brewing. The beer will coat your mouth with hop oils. This will help the piny hop flavours to linger for a very long time. This is a sipping beer, so put your feet up and enjoy this beer for all its got.

Compared to the tap it IPA, this is straight hops. Not my bag, too bitter with no sweet. 3/5.

Cameron's Auburn Ale

December 12: Cameron’s Auburn Ale

TASTING NOTES: via Craft Beer Advent Calendar
With a gentle malt presence and a touch of toast and tea and a light hop fruitiness tastes sort of like a dry, Vienna-style lager, but with better hop presence.

MY REVIEW: 4.5/5 on Untappd
My kind a beer. Rich and dark and mellow. Could do a case.

Peak Organic Brewing Co. esperesso amber ale

December 13: Peak Organic Brewing Co. esperesso amber ale

TASTING NOTES: via Craft Beer Advent Calendar
We hope you like espresso. Peak Organic Brewing Co. is from Portland, ME. While Portland, OR gets a lot of the glory for having 52 breweries, Portland, ME quietly brews some of the best beers in America. Take this beer, for example. Full of espresso goodness in both its aroma and flavour, it’ll keep you up all night thinking about how awesome it is.

MY REVIEW: 3.5/5 on Untappd
Stouty. A nice thickness coffee to the beer. I don’t get the organic thing. It’s all marketing, right? 3.5

Nickel Brook Bolshevik Bastard

December 14: Nickel Brook Bolshevik Bastard

TASTING NOTES: via Craft Beer Advent Calendar
Historically, imperial stout was brewed in Britain and exported to Russia, where it was favoured by the Czar. Hence the “imperial” moniker. The first thing you’ll notice about Nickel Brook’s version is the pitch black colour and slightly oily appearance. Then you’ll notice the aroma of molasses. Finally, as you sip the beer (and it’s 8.5% ABV, so sip it, don’t gulp it), you’ll notice how the thick beer coats your mouth with caramel and molasses flavours with a touch of smoke.

MY REVIEW: 2.5/5 on Untappd
Stoutly and strong. Nice beer but too much alcohol.

The Perfect Crime Hollow Point

December 15: The Perfect Crime Hollow Point

TASTING NOTES: via Craft Beer Advent Calendar
Are you sitting down? This beer kicks up 10% ABV and is packed full of flavour, so we wouldn’t want you to fall over when you taste it. The Perfect Crime may be the sleuthiest brewery in America. They don’t even have a website. No matter. That just lets us focus on the beer. Malty with a light sourness, this beer is a wonderful tapestry of complex flavours. We don’t know about the “crime” part, but we do agree with the “perfect” part. Wow. Just WOW!

MY REVIEW: 2/5 on Untappd
Sweet rich caramel and ooooh the alcohol. 10% is a little fort for me. I didnt even finish it.

Lake of Bays Crosswind Pale Ale

December 16: Lake of Bays Crosswind Pale Ale 

TASTING NOTES: via Craft Beer Advent Calendar
While many brewers have focussed on making ludicrously over-hopped IPAs and double IPAs, Crosswind is a nice, golden, gently hoppy, highly-quaffable beer. We realize we just used a lot of adjectives, but in fact, the only reason we stopped was because we thought you wouldn’t believe us if we kept going. Quite simply, this is a fantastic beer.

MY REVIEW: 3.5/5 on Untappd
Lighter hop flavour. Not bitter and in your face more crisp and fruity.

Click here to see all the beers in the 2013 Craft Beer Advent Calendar.
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  1. Phil December 19, 2013 at 11:09 am

    Hey Buzz,
    Great reading. I too am enjoying the adventure of this years calendar. I did not have last years. I ad very dissapointed to see they didnt find us 24 seperate breweries, and today we make our 3rd trip to Hurricane Storm. Good beer yes, but c’mon man!

  2. Pingback: Craft Beer Advent Calendar 2014 - Tasting Notes - The Blog

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