Remembering the first beers of the year

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It’s been a great year for beer.

I have had some streaks of busy tasting and other weeks where I just took it easy.

Right now, I am unsure how the year will end, but I remember how it started.

On New Year’s Day, I took a quick ride to Union Jack’s, which is in Douglassville, Pa., the town my sister lives in and had two beers, but my were they serious beers. I had one of the grails, the Dogfish Head 120-Minute IPA. You may have heard of the 60 or 90 versions, but in this one, the hops are added to the boil for two solid hours. It has a ridiculously high Alcohol By Volume of 18 percent (think Budweiser  at less than four). But I love it, because I am big into high-alcohol beers and the whole hop thing. They pour it in a nine-ounce glass, because of the alcohol.

The first beer of that afternoon was one of my all-time favorites, the Southern Tier Imperial Pumking, my favorite pumpkin beer out of about 30 I have had. This was the oak-aged version, and I found that made it much more mellow and easier to drink. I actually had to slow myself down, because it was going down so easily.

Union Jack’s is a really neat place, because it combines the feel of a hometown bar — and serves Budweiser and other products — with a quality, high-end beer bar. Knowledgable staff, nice folks.

Live Review: Stone Brewing’s Lukcy Bastartd

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No, I am not drunk. The spelling is correct.

22-ounce bomber from RSVP Liquors in Portland, Maine.

This is a regular feature. I drink beer. I post commentary on it. I love beer-blogging.

Breweries have different reputations. I know Dogfish Head will always push the limits and try new things, Magic Hat will be funky and different, Southern Tier will go strong and hard and big, big beer.

Stone Brewing? The beer will always grab ne by the throat and scream, “What do you think of me now, fat boy?”

Such is the case with the Lukcy Bastartd, a non-standard spelling for a non-standard beer, which is a blend (50-50 they say) of the Arrogant Basatrd and the Lucky Bastard.

It’s a very aggressive beer. Hits you right away with a little malt burn, but even though it’s high malt, the hops come right through. Like many strong beers, it mellows a little as it gets warmer. And it will get warm, because you need some time to drink this.

Very pretty beer. A light mahogany with a yellow-tinged, cream-colored head.

Get it while it’s around.