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Four beers for the beginnings of spring

Although I’m not quite ready for Oberon season yet (to be released on March 23 this year), I’m glad that spring is right around the corner.

Enjoying a Burn ‘Em Brewing 3:33 black IPA while tapping my maple trees.

This past weekend I enjoyed a Burn ’Em Brewing 3:33 black IPA while I tapped my maple trees. Cans of three different brands from Burn ’Em Brewing are now available throughout Michiana.

I’d like to share a few other beers that I’ve enjoyed recently as well, but first things first.

Congratulations to Jason Lagtange, who won a copy of “Experimental Homebrewing: Mad Science in the Pursuit of Great Beer” that was given away in a free drawing last week at DIY Coffee and Ale Supply.

“Experimental Homebrewing“ was one of several books about beer that were given away during Goshen’s First Friday in celebration of Beer Book Month.

Last Saturday I stopped at Miles Lab to watch a nail-biting basketball finish with my MSU Spartans upsetting IU at the last minute.

Since I seemed to be in the minority of team choices, I kept my excitement to myself as I enjoyed a Three Floyds Munster Southern Brown (English brown ale, 7.5 percent ABV, IBUs 50).

It poured a dark brown with a foamy tan head. Aroma and flavor both consisted of roasty and biscuity malt with some subtle sweetness. Hops definitely take a back seat in this beer, with notes of nutty character.

Bell’s Jupiter (imperial brown ale, 8 percent ABV) The Bringer of Jollity, is the latest release in the brewery’s Planets Series. This beer entered the market quietly, and there wasn’t a whole lot of it.

I picked up one bottle at Chalet Party Shoppe. It was brewed with seven different varieties of malt, giving it a robust, slightly sweet, bready flavor. There is a hint of chocolate, and being an imperial brown, there is a nice warming character to it as well.

Earlier today I watched Manchester United play Arsenal with a fellow soccer and beer buddy, and we shared a couple of beers.  While visiting his son in Oregon, he picked up a Gigantic Brewing Ginormous Imperial IPA (8.8 percent ABV, IBUs 100+).  

Sometimes with imperial IPAs, the hops get muddied up under the huge malt bill, but I thought this one was pretty well balanced. There was a good amount of juicy fruit and pine along with bready malt. Beers from Gigantic Brewing are not currently available in Michiana.

We also split a beer from Perrin Brewing Company that I recently picked up in Michigan. Kill ’Em All is a Russian imperial stout (11.3 percent ABV) aged in oak Van Winkle Family Reserve Bourbon Barrels for nine months.

The somewhat violent name of this beer actually is a tongue-in-cheek reference to defining the art of craft and was released alongside a barrel aged barleywine named With Kindness.

Both beers were released as a response to the topic of quality control that was the center of discussion at the 31st Craft Brewers Conference last spring in Colorado. The message from Perrin’s head brewer, John Stewart, is basically, “Don’t sell bad beer.”

This was a delicious beer full of vanilla, bourbon and big, boozy flavor.

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