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Possibly All The Beers I've Ever Had, Reviewed (N-Z, Aug. 2022)

Beer, beer, beer... There's so much that can be said and quoted about the stuff, ranging from the old standard, attributed to Ben Franklin, that "Beer is proof God loves us and wants us to be happy," to the new standard from Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearing: “I like beer. I don’t know if you do. Do you like beer, Senator, or not? What do you like to drink?”

I like it, too. I used to brew my own and experiment with tweaking the fermentation process. Sometimes it turned out, ehh, okay, and other times uncapping a bottle was reminiscent of one of those grade school science fair volcanos. These days, I'm more a consumer than a creator, always in search of the perfect (to me) product. I like to keep a record both as a hobby and so if the question ever arises, "Wait, have I had this?" it's not hard to find out.

As of 2022, I'm still getting used to the IBU (International Bitterness Units) scale, which ranges from 0 to a normal ceiling of 120. If you need an intro or a refresher, here's the gist:

IBUs of some common styles

​Beer style

IBU rating



Wheat beer


American lager


Irish red ale









Pale ale






India pale ale


Sure, every style isn't exactly precise, but it's helpful enough that I will probably stay away from the single and triple digits.

Now, if you happen to be looking for honest and independent reviews of anything and everything from a regular (and slightly trained via hobby brewing) sipper, this can be a good resource. And it's probably helpful to note that my preference generally (but not always) leans toward the slightly sweeter side.

Each beer is rating on a scale from 0 to 5. The higher the number, the better. I try to avoid decimals, but sometimes they feel necessary.


BREWS REVIEWED (Most have photos and some don't, but this post is a work in progress!)

​(no pic yet)

​Natakhtaki (Georgia)

It's a very basic, middle-of-the-road lager.

Rating: 3 out of 5

​(I somehow managed to not take a photo of this beer that had been around for a while. That will be remedied when we get another variety pack.)

​New Belgium (Ft. Collins, Colorado)

"Trippel" Belgian Tripel

8.5% ABV, 43 IBU, bottle

This one is enjoyable but deemed to be too sweet in this household. Thus, out of the New Belgium variety pack, this was the only style that sat in the back of the fridge for a while.

Rating: 3 out of 5

New Belgium Triple Cinnamon Citrus beer bottle - photo by KilmerMedia

New Belgium (Ft. Collins, Colorado)

"Trippel" Belgian Tripel - "cinnamon citrus" special release

8% ABV, bottle

This is sweet but dialed back from the standard version, thankfully. The "cinnamon citrus" is distinguishable and kind of nice on a cold night.

Rating: 4.2 out of 5

New Belgium 1554 beer bottle - photo by KilmerMedia

​New Belgium (Ft. Collins, Colorado)

"1554" dark ale

6% ABV, bottle

My wife's review "This tastes brown." Yes, it does. It's nutty, and a little chocolaty, and a little spicy, and it's a really good wintertime beer. It's not too sweet, and another relatable note from this is an essence of Dr. Pepper. This one is fun and, fortunately for me, "this tastes brown" means the other two bottles of 1554 in the variety pack have my name on them.

Rating: 4.7 out of 5

​New Belgium (Ft. Collins, CO)

"Accumulation" winter hazy IPA

6.2% ABV, bottle

This is another solid choice for the winter variety pack. Taking a big whiff before a sip conjures up an image for me of topical fruit at breakfast - orange juice, bananas, red papayas. It's sweet but not as those notes may make it seem. There's also a little floral essence and just a little IPA bite.

Rating: 4 out of 5

New Belgium Dominga Mimosa Sour can poured - photo by KilmerMedia

​New Belgium (Ft. Collins, Colorado)

"Dominga" mimosa sour

ABV 6%, can

Again, 2022, it feels like we’re jumping the shark with all the weird beers. This one does, in fact, taste similar to a mimosa. But why do I need that in a beer? This one is part of a sampler pack and, as vague as interpretations can be, you could actually say this one is like a Bloody Mary. But would that sell as well as a mimosa? Of course not.

Rating: 3 out of 5

New Belgium Lime Light beer bottle - photo by KilmerMedia

​New Belgium

"Lime Light"

4.4% ABV, IBU 11, bottle

This tastes like they took Blue Light Lime and added some salt. 'nuff said.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

New Belgium Summer Bliss Tropical Wheat beer bottle (2022) - photo by KilmerMedia

New Belgium

"Summer Bliss" tropical wheat

5.5% ABV, bottle

​It’s sweet and tart at the same time. This would be good during summer, after some vigorous activity, like mowing the grass…. That always seems to be my go-to thought for a beer with some sweetness... but I do also wish I could time travel and take this to football training camp in high school. I used to freeze Kool-aid and drink it as a slushy in the shadow of the football stadium during the lunch break, but illegally sipping on one of these would have been much more refreshing. Anyway, here we are… Yeah, wow, it smells a lot like pineapple juice and specifically tastes kind of like an Azorean pineapple (less acidic and sweet than the actually-not-so-great product Dole has cornered the market with). It also has somewhat of a cinnamon and kiwi essence. It's nice and definitely a tropical/summer type beer.

Rating: 4 out of 5

New Belgium Voodoo Ranger Juice Force IPA beer can (2022) - photo by KilmerMedia

​New Belgium

"Voodoo Ranger Juice Force" - hazy imperial IPA

9.5% ABV, can

Oh, boy. This one is dangerous. It sure smells juicy, similar to o.j. And it sure tastes juice, again kind of like o.j. and a tropical punch mixed into a beer. For it being an IPA, it’s not insulting. It doesn’t offer a swift kick to the tongue and make me regret buying it. This one I like and, at 9.5%, this one could creep up on you.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

​New Belgium

"Voodoo Ranger Fruit Force" - fruit punch IPA

9.5% ABV, can

This one is very intriguing. It smells just like Hawaiian Punch I had so much as a kid. Tasting though is an odd experience - it starts out sweet, then that sweetness is balanced out right when the liquid reaches the rest of your tongue. So odd! Yet so good! At 9.5%, this one is dangerous. It would be easy to drink too many of these on a summer day. Nice work, New Belgium.

Rating: 4.3 out of 5

New Belgium Voodoo Ranger Juicy Haze IPA beer can - photo by KilmerMedia

​New Belgium

“Voodoo Ranger” Juicy Haze IPA

7.5% ABV, can

There is something weird about this. At first, it’s like “Oh, yeah, it’s a tropical-fruity IPA. Then, when you start breaking it down and start dissecting it, there’s a spoiled milk essence. Seriously. What’s that all about? It’s probably a chemical compound that’s related to… In other words, yada, yada, yada…

Rating: 2 out of 5

​I did't take a photo of my red plastic cup.

​Not Your Father's Root Beer (Wauconda, Illinois)

5.9% ABV, draft

Mmmmmm, mmm, mmm. I've had this concoction just once, in Ohio, at a grocery store. I needed some supplies for Christmas dinner, so I met one of my good friends there, we shopped, and we got buzzed. The store (Jungle Jim's in Fairfield) has a bar inside. Have them serve you a drink in red plastic cup, to drink in the store, or take home a growler. Either way, Not Your Father's Root Beer was like a really good, tasty, classic root beer, but one that somehow can leave you feeling tipsy before Christmas dinner. It's a mystery what the drink even is (beer? a flavored malt beverage?), among other murkiness surrounding the operation, but hey, it was a fun thing to try.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Oishii witbier can poured - photo by KilmerMedia

​Oishii (Chicago, Illinois)

Belgian style white ale with ginger, orange peels, and coriander seeds

4.7% ABV, 15 IBU, can

At its heart, I had expected the white ale to be sweeter, like it would be closer to Blue Moon and with a fun bite of ginger to balance it out. Instead, it has a low profile, making the beer just mildly interesting and unique. More flavor, please!

Rating: 3 out of 5

Old Prague dark lager beer bottle - photo by KilmerMedia

​Old Prague (Czech Republic)

dark lager

4.6% ABV, bottle

The initial taste is like a watered down version of the Hofbrau Dunkel. Despite the bubbles and consistent head, it feels on the flat side. Looking beyond those notes, the flavor is good but could be better. This one imparts a sweet, toasted bread/malt character and, no surprise, notes of caramel. As the beer warms up, my interest in this one is waning more and more. Oddly, the warmer it is, the more a pilsner comes to mind.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Peroni Nastro Azzurro beer bottle - photo by KilmerMedia

​Peroni (Rome, Italy)

"Nature Azzurro"pale lager

5.1% ABV, bottle

This is a nice, clean beer. It's like a classic Stella Artois but without the inherent skunkiness. With a big whiff and a nice, slow and considerate gulp, corn comes to mind... and a little bit of lemon essence. It's still a light lager, so it's not patently dissimilar from an American lager that bore so many people. I'd still rather have this one, though, and it brings back great memories of splitting a pitcher or two of Peroni while traveling through Italy.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Peroni Stile Capri beer bottle - photo by KilmerMedia


“Stile Capri”

Woah! If you’ve ever had the standard Peroni beer, this particular version is really surprising and strange. Having bought this bottle in Italy, I kind of assumed the “Capri Style” would be like the standard offering with a lemon essence (you can see why here). Instead, it takes like a lager that’s been infused with popcorn. That’s not really what I want in a beer. At the same time, that’s one of the joys of travel - experiencing some of the weird stuff you won’t find at home.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Pizza Port Swami's India Pale Ale beer can - photo by KilmerMedia

Pizza Port (Carlsbad, California, USA)

"Swami's India Pale Ale"

6.8% ABV, can

For an IPA, this one is tolerable. It's has some citrus/honeysuckle bloom essence, as well as some vanilla and that common kick to the tongue. For being this particular style, it isn't that offensive. In 2023, I picked up a 19.2 oz. can on sale at Ralph's for $3.99, and those goofballs charged $1.00 for the recycling deposit, although it should have been $0.05! I wonder how many people haven't noticed that on their receipt....

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Primator Double Bock beer bottle - photo by KilmerMedia

​Primator (Czech Republic)

Double Bock

10.5% ABV, bottle

Oh dear Lord, I’m gonna have to eat some chocolate cake to get this extreme syrupy sweetness out of my mouth. In 2023, it was $3.99 for a bottle at the local international market, and I thought this splurge experiment would be fun - it’s not. Glug, glug, glug, down the sink it goes.

Rating: 0 out of 5

Primator Maibock beer bottle - photo by KilmerMedia

​Primator (Czech Republic)


7.5% ABV

Pretty good. Malty taste and feel. Caramel and floral essence. This one is good. It lacks a complexity to make it 5/5, but it’s an enjoyable beer.

Rating: 4 out of 5

​(Dang it! I didn't get a photo, and Rivertown closed in 2022. R.I.P.)

​Rivertown (Monroe, Ohio)

"Roebling Porter" vanilla espresso imperial porter

7.9% ABV

For a porter, this one feels a little on the light side and, in this case, “light” certainly means "watery". The lightness may be a plus for some people that aren’t too big on porters. This one has your typical chocolate essence characteristic for this type of beer, and what’s interesting is that, to me, it has a slight feel of creamy peanut butter on the tongue. Specifically, and I’m only putting this out there since it’s an Ohio beer, the creaminess makes me think of a “buckeye” candy (similar to a peanut butter cup but round like a buckeye tree nut). I get the vanilla. I get the espresso. This one could just be slightly more bold. It still weirds me out that the beer scene is big not only in Cincinnati, but it’s also expanded to a place I know so well: Monroe, Ohio. Cheers, Rivertown!

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Rock Wall Brewing Co. (Rochester, NY)

"White Tide" Belgian style wheat ale

5.4% ABV, bottle

It's like someone said "Blue Moon is pretty good - let's make our own" and couldn't quite replicate it... Blue Moon, White Tide... It seems they didn't even try hiding the influence. Maybe it's the coriander, but something bitter and unpleasant lingers on the palate after every sip.

Rating: 2 out 5

Sagres beer bottle - photo by KilmerMedia

​Sagres (Portugal)

5% ABV, bottle

Pronounced "sarge", like short for "sargeant", this brewer has a considerable market share here in the Azores. I think every market and every bar I’ve been in carries it, except one, which sold only Super Bock mini bottles. Otherwise, those two mainland brands have the dominant market share on Terceira Island, and the only other new-to-me type I’ve seen is Peter Francisco. Otherwise, I have only seen Heineken.

Speaking of, that’s what the Sagres reminds me of. It’s pretty neutral and standard, with a malt, corn, and light citrusy-orange type essence.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Samson Czech Dark Lager beer bottle


It smells more complex than it tastes. It’s not that the flavor seems watered down (although this is just 4.5%), it’s just doesn’t have much going on. Toasted malt…. chocolate… there you go.

Rating: 3.8 out of 5

Samuel Adams Alpine Lager beer bottle - photo by KilmerMedia

Samuel Adams (Boston Beer Company)

"Alpine Lager"

5.5% ABV, bottle

This is the sort of thing a pale lager should be. It has a light citrus (orange) flavor, and yeah, I can close my eyes and conjure up a slight piney essence from this.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Samuel Adams Beach Session IPA - photo by KilmerMedia

​Samuel Adams “Beach Session IPA”

It’s like if you took one of these Firestone Walker tropical hefeweizens I’ve been drinking and steeped some hops in it. As simple as that.

Rating: 3 out of 5

​(Somehow, I owe a photo here... but I bet you know what it looks like!)

​Samuel Adams (Boston Beer Company)

"Boston Lager"

5% ABV, bottle

It might be "the beer that started it all," but here's a special note just for you, Boston Beer Company: please stop including it with every seasonal sampler pack. Whether the other flavors are good or not, at least they're interesting... the Boston Lager isn't that, and those bottles hang out in the back of my fridge until there's nothing else left to drink.

Rating: 1 out of 5

Samuel Adams Cold Snap white ale beer bottle - photo by KilmerMedia

​Samuel Adams (Boston)

"Cold Snap" white ale

5.3% ABV, bottle

My first thought: Shock Top or Blue Moon. This one is good. I certainly get light orange/orange peel, light vanilla, and light spices, like a cinnamon essence. Cold Snap, although seasonal, would be enjoyable any time of the year. Upon a subsequent tasting, from a different case, my first thought was "Fruity Pebbles". Janine's was "cake".

Rating: 4 out of 5

Samuel Adams Golden G.O.A.T. lager beer - photo by KilmerMedia

​Samuel Adams (Boston Beer Company)

"Golden G.O.A.T." lager

5% ABV, bottle

In 2021/2022, the Winter Sampler beers have gotten less wintery. The Boston Lager always sucks, and this new one, Golden G.O.A.T., is like they stole a vat of Firestone's 805, added extra water, then put it on the market. It's light and easy drinking but nothing at all G.O.A.T. I know, I know, the name is also probably also a nod to a notorious Boston sports cheat. But which one?

Rating: 3 out of 5

Samuel Adams Jack-O Pumpkin Ale beer - photo by KilmerMedia

Samuel Adams (Boston Beer Company)

"Jack-O Pumpkin Ale"

4.4% ABV, bottle

Ick. I like pumpkin pie, but this beer tastes like some science lab chemicals and some "whipped cream extract" were infused with pumpkin pie spice and stirred into a beer. I appreciate the attempt at something fun and unique, but the Jack-O fermentation tank(s) should have been slapped with a "not fit for human consumption" label, instead of getting people to buy it by working it into a variety pack.

Rating: 0 out of 5

Samuel Adams Octoberfest beer bottle - photo by KilmerMedia

​Samuel Adams (Boston Beer Company)


5.3% ABV, bottle

Good Lord, this beer has a lot of haters - an entire Reddit thread is devoted to bashing it. I don't share the same sentiment. However, either my tastes have changed or the beer has changed, but I do still like it... I just don't LOVE it. In 2020, I didn't buy enough before the Octoberfest was swapped out for the Winter Sampler packs. Consequently, in 2021, I stocked up on two autumn variety packs (Octoberfest, Jack-o Pumpkin Ale, Festbier, and Boston Lager) and two full cases of Octoberfest. Thirty bottles seemed right, and I'm still occasionally drinking the Octoberfest in January. The only problem is that the sweet and dark, malty goodness of the Octoberfest beer just isn't the same. Even a few months ago, it's tasted kind of flat and less flavorful, like it's been watered down. Overall, I still enjoy the overall character of this one, but it's just not as good. Right now, it's early 2022, and if there wasn't what seems to be a supply chain issue with the winter variety packs, I'd be bummed about still having some 5 or 6 Octoberfest bottles still around.

Rating: 4 out of 5 (There were times, in days of yore, I would have considered giving this a perfect rating.)

​(I owe a photo here - maybe I'll get one in winter 2022, if this beer returns.)

​Samuel Adams (Boston Beer Company)

"Old Fezziwig" ale

5.9% ABV, bottle

Nice, a little sweet but not too much. Similar to a brown ale. A bit of a cinnamon note. Good for wintertime.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Samuel Adams Summer Ale beer bottle - photo by KilmerMedia

​Samuel Adams (Boston Beer Company)

"Summer Ale" - citrus wheat ale

5.3% ABV, 8 IBUs

There isn't much here. It's good yet not unique enough to note any particular character or anything enjoyable that comes from this.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Santa Monica Brew Works 310 California Blonde beer can - photo by KilmerMedia

​Santa Monica Brew Works

"310 California Blonde"

4.8% ABV, can

Mmm, this is good. If you imagine a standard lager with a stone fruit essence, specifically a nectarine, that's close to what this is. There's some note here that I can't quite put my finger on - I just know it's not a common descriptor... but it also imparts a flavor of cereal and honey and a little grassiness. Pretty tasty.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Sapporo Premium beer can - photo by KilmerMedia


Very good with a nice smoothness from rice. When I put it that way, though, it’s reminiscent of Bud Light. Yikes. However, I am enjoying the Sapporo regardless.

Rating: 4 out of 5

​(photo to come)

​Shock Top

"Belgian White"

5.2% ABV, draft

I've had this one quite a few times, on draft, which was served with an orange wedge floating on top. This is in the same vein as Blue Moon, which I enjoy a little more. The citrus juiciness is something different and refreshing during summer.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Sierra Nevada Atomic Torpedo juicy west coast IPA beer bottle - photo by KilmerMedia

Sierra Nevada (California)

"Atomic Torpedo, Juicy West Coast DIPA"

8.2% ABV, 50 IBU, bottle

A "double IPA" is one of those things that elicits the question "What the???" A standard IPA alone can often be off-putting, so potentially twice as bad? It turns out definitions vary, but a double IPA generally has more malt, more hops, and higher alcohol content.

As for the Atomic Torpedo in question, it has that same kick to the tongue like Sierra Nevada's "Dankful" offering, but with like a snow boot instead of a steel toe one. They say it's "juicy," and I get that - by no means is it tropical, but I've managed to entertain myself with a mental image of the brewers squeezing a pouch of Capri Sun into each batch. Without the hoppy bitterness, I'd probably really love this one.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Sierra Nevada Dankful IPA beer bottle - photo by KilmerMedia

​Sierra Nevada (California)

"Dankful, West Coast IPA"

7.4% ABV, 55 IBU bottle

This is the first time I've seen "resinous" as a descriptor on a bottle... but I get it... and it's pretty standard as an IPA. It has the bitter bite of a 90% cacao chocolate bar, a sweet citrusy aroma, and earthy essence of grasses, trees, and flowers of the natural world.

As I'm often not a big IPA fan, this one is in the middle of the road for me. It's not awful, nor is it great.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Sierra Nevada Hazy Little Thing IPA beer can in 2022 - photo by KilmerMedia

​Sierra Nevada (California)

"Hazy Little Thing IPA"

6.7% ABV, can

Getting kicked in the tongue isn't usually what I'm after when drinking a beer, and that's what the first sip of each can does to me. This one is just okay... It's kind of standard citrusy and floral, with that hoppy kick.

Rating: 3 out of 5

​Sierra Nevada (California)

"Big Little Thing Imperial IPA"

9% ABV, can

Ohhhh, this one is dangerous. It's not too bitter-hoppy, has a nice citrus/tropical fruit/malt profile, and 9% could spell trouble after knocking back a few on the back patio during a hot summer day. That's just what I imagine, as I'm enjoying it on a mild winter evening in Los Angeles.

Rating: 4 out of 5

​(photo to come)

​Sierra Nevada (California)

"Pale Ale, Handcrafted Ale"

5.6% ABV, 38 IBU, bottle

Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA beer bottle - photo by KilmerMedia

Sierra Nevada (California)

"Torpedo, Extra IPA"

7.2% ABV, 65 IBU, bottle

This one touts its "complex hop aromas and flavors not found in any other beer." Ehhhh, maybe I don't have enough taste buds crammed on my tongue to distinguish the nuances at an elevated level since, to me, this is a run-of-the-mill IPA. It's on the mellow side, which is nice, so there isn't a bitter, hoppy kick to it. Otherwise, it has a nice juiciness to it (not as much as in the Juicy West Coast DIPA) and is well balanced. Not bad.

Rating: 4 out of 5

​Simpler Times (Monroe, Wisconsin, USA)


6.2% ABV, can

This is just slightly too sweet. I like it otherwise, very much.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Smog City Brewing (Torrance, California, USA)

"Amarilla Gorilla" IPA

7.4% ABV

Hoppy, yes, and it smells like mango and vanilla. The can mentions mango and papaya. It’s just than kick to the tongue that I really don’t enjoy.

Rating: 2 out of 5

​(I have a photo of this somewhere, on some hard drive, in some folder, tucked far away.)

​St. Bernardus (Watou, Belgium)

"Christmas Ale"

10% ABV, bottle

It's an expensive experiment ($6 for a 11.2 oz bottle) but good for just a single glass. It’s sweet and tastes like a Leffe and Kentucky Bourbon Ale mixed 50/50.

Rating: 4 out of 5

​(photo owed, but it's gonna be a bottle on a shelf and not poured in my glass!)

​Stare Misto (Lviv, Ukraine)

pale lager

4.8% ABV, bottle

Tastes like a hoppy Budweiser. I’m finding beers from these former Soviet bloc countries to have a similar style - or at least the widely distributed selections do. This one is drinkable but, for me, just not enjoyable.

Rating: 2 out of 5

State of Brewing Barrel Aged Stout beer bottle - photo by KilmerMedia

​State of Brewing

"Barrel Aged Stout"

11% ABV, bottle

At first sip, wow, pretty good. This $3 bottle ($12 for a 4 pack at Aldi in 2023) reminds me of the $10 bottle of Warped Wing Whiskey Rebellion I recently bought. HOWEVER, after 5 minutes, I’m not feeling this particular beer anymore. I can’t figure out what’s up with State of Brewing, either. Is it an Aldi brand? Is that why I haven’t seen this brand anywhere else? It's odd for the flavor and enjoyment level to have taken a sudden turn, but I'd like to dump the rest of this out.... and this is only the first bottle.

Rating: 2 out of 5

State of Brewing Chocolate Stout beer can - photo by KilmerMedia

​State of Brewing

“Chocolate Stout”

8% ABV, can

Yep, just like what you’ve probably tried before: a standard stout with what tastes like a mix of dark and milk chocolates blended in. To a degree, the profile is bittersweet but more on the sweet side, and just enough that I could only drink one of these after dinner.

Rating: 3.8 out of 5

Stella Artois beer can - photo by KilmerMedia

​Stella Artois


5% ABV, can

As a global brand, this is pretty standard. It has a slight skunkiness and hoppy sourness that gives way to a sweet corn essence. You can also imagine notes of cereal and citrus.

As of 2022, in a brazen move, the Major League Soccer team New York Red Bulls charges $16 for a tall can of the stuff. $16! $4 would be too much. The drink is "exotic" because it's obviously an import, and part of the brand's identity is using a knife to cleanly remove any foam that rises above the rim of the glass. Weird. Owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev, this is just another brand in a massive conglomerate's portfolio, and this one isn't particularly great. The same company bought Golden Road Brewing in L.A., which was more about hype than substance. Suckers!

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Stone Brewing Delicious beer can - photo by KilmerMedia

​Stone Brewing Co. (California)


7.7% ABV, can

Not delicious. Whoever decided to name this should be slapped for having an indiscriminate taste. Apologies... What I meant to say is that the wrong person for the job named this one. Sure, you could try to turn the tables on me and say it was effective marketing because I bought it, but I bought it because the options for single cans at the grocery were between a few other beers I'm familiar with, seltzers, and this... and I'm not gonna buy a seltzer! Anyhow, this tastes like a standard IPA but with somewhat of a tart lemon essence aftertaste. It's not pleasant - it's a pretty standard IPA and, if you're read a number of my previous reviews, a unique, enjoyable IPA is hard to come by.

Rating: 2 out of 5

​Stone Brewing Co. (Escondido, California, USA)

"Downunderstruck" Double IPA with Australian Hops

9% ABV, can

I like the first sip of this and not the second or third or beyond. Initially, it seemed balanced between a little syrupy sweetness and hoppy bitterness. After that, once my tastebuds had a chance to sort it out, it's gross. It has like a rancid awfulness mixed with an essence of grass, plus the citrus and flowery notes normally expected of an IPA. Thanks for pumping up the ABV, but yuck. ($2.97 for a 12 oz. can at Trader Joes in 2023)

Rating: 1 out of 5

Stone Ruination IPA beer can - photo by KilmerMedia

​Stone Brewing Co. (California)

“Ruination” double IPA

8.2% ABV, can

If you love hops, you’ll love charred broccolini. In other words, yuck. There’s some poem on the back of this can that’s an ode to hops. I didn’t read it because I’m not obsessed with hops. There’s just something not enjoyable about really bitter stuff. I can’t think of a single thing that’s really bitter on its own and enjoyable. Remember the “bitter beer face” commercials from the 90s? Then, it seemed everyone could relate, so it was funny. Now, it’s like “Hey! Look at me! I’m anti-establishment! Watch me slap myself over and over just because it’s something no-one else does!” It’s weird, guys and gals. For as bitter as this one is, I would expect it to be more potent - that would be the one and only reason to drink it. I’ll give any brew a chance, but this one is hoppy for the sake of being hoppy. This beer is bad.

Rating: 0 out of 5

Super Bock Abadia cerveja especial beer bottle (2022) - photo by KilmerMedia

​Super Bock (Portugal)

"Abadia cerveja especial"

6.4%, bottle

Initially this one makes me think of a nut brown ale. It’s much better than the standard Super Bock I’ve seen all over the Azores. This has more depth to it and is considered a “Belgian Abbey” style. It’s much different than what I’ve had of that style.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Super Bock Seleccao 1927 beer bottle (2022) - photo by KilmerMedia

​Super Bock (Portugal)

"Selecção 1927 Bavaria Weiss" cerveja

Pretty good. Predictable. A little bit of hoppy nose and the usual sweetness you would expect from a German style wheat beer.

3.7/5, right in between "I'd order it again" and "I wouldn’t".

​Super Bock (Portugal)

stout (aka black)

Svyturys Ekstra Draught Dortmunder beer bottle - photo by KilmerMedia

​Svyturys (Lithuania)

"Ekstra Draught Dortmunder"

5.2% ABV, bottle

Pretty good. Not a whole lot of flavor. A little sweetness and maybe a step down from a standard Hefeweizen.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Svyturys Baltijos Dark Marine beer bottle - photo by KilmerMedia

​Svyturys (Lithuania)

Marzen style

5.8% ABV, bottle

The Northern European attempts at traditionally German-associated beers just never seem to quite hit the mark. First of all, I would probably appreciate at least the sweetness of this one more on a cold, autumn day. In springtime, it just doesn't feel quite right. This is the kind of thing that would be better paired with a spicy chili.

Each sip is just okay, except for the moment the beer hits the palate. It has a really nasty, but fleeting flavor, which makes me think of the smell of a portable toilet at a music festival. Nothing at all about this beer has a foul odor... In fact, I like the sweet, syrupy, malty smell of it. It's just that the moment it hits the palate, yuck.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Svturys Estra Premium Lager beer bottle - photo by KilmerMedia

​Svyturys (Lithuania)

Ekstra Premium Lager

5% ABV, bottle

The rating is due to the neutrality of this beer. I’m just not getting many notes from this one. To me, it’s not particularly bad and not particularly good. It could be good in the summer if it’s a hot day and you just want something to sip on. My wife says this one has a floral essence and a it’s kind of reminiscent of a very light IPA. I’m not getting that so much, but to each his or her own. Cheers.

Rating 2.5 out of 5

Tennent's Super strong lager beer can - photo by KilmerMedia

​Tennet’s (Milan, although I remember this being a big brand in Scotland)

Strong Lager

9% ABV, can

Nope. I don't like it. There’s too much of a conflict between the sweet essence and bitterness of hops. My tastebuds aren’t enjoy this Tenent’s, although I had the standard version in Glasgow and remember enjoying it just fine.

Rating: 2 out of 5

​The Bruery (Placentia, California)

Banana Nut Muffin imperial stout

8.1% ABV, can

Weird! It's like a banana nut muffin coated in chocolate. I loooove the Wells Banana Bread beer, which is an ale and more suitable for this sort of experiment. The Bruery's version is just too sweet on the tongue. I completely can pick up on all the notes listed on the can: banana, walnut, vanilla flavor. It's intriguing, but I would be quite okay with a 5 oz. pour instead of the 1 pint can I'm working through as of this writing.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Specula's Cookie Butter Beer can from Trader Joe's - photo by KilmerMedia

​Trader Joe’s / Hardwood Park Craft Brewery (Richmond, Virginia, USA)

“Speculoos Cookie Butter Beer”

9.5% ABV, can

Awful is how I would describe the first sip… it’s sweet, of course, but also has like a syrupy feel. Yuck… so I tried it with ice cream - an expensive, vanilla bean variety, and still, yuck. Then, I tried the beer by itself one more time and now have a slightly better understanding of where they were going with this one. Still, I won’t ever buy it again. The 16 oz. can was $3-something at Trader Joe’s in 2023.

What they say: “Imperial Golden Ale with Toasted Coconut, Vanilla Beans and Natural Flavors”

Rating: 1.5 out of 5

Trader Jose dark beer bottle - photo by KilmerMedia

​Trader José (Monrovia, California, USA)

dark lager

5.3% ABV, bottle

This Mexican-style dark lager, reminiscent of Modelo Negra, is pretty good. The flavor provides a nice, sweet, roasted maltiness. What I like about it, too, is that the profile is similar to a German dunkel, and that style is always a solid choice in my book.

4.2 out of 5

Tsingtao beer bottle poured into a glass - photo by KilmerMedia

​Tsingtao (China)

pale lager

4.7% ABV, bottle

Skunky smell like Stella Artois, but the aroma is deceiving. The beer has a smooth feel and sort of sweet, sort of citrusy flavor. The slightly skunky element is present on the aftertaste, but it’s very minimal. This beer is nice.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Two Pitchers Brewing Nordic Jam lager can - photo by KilmerMedia

​Two Pitchers

"Nordic Jam" lager with Nordic fruits

5.2% ABV, can

Fascinating. I'm not that familiar with sours, or fruity beers beyond bananas in hefeweizens, cherries in Cherry Wheat, and lime in a Corona. Thus, this one seems to have a lot going on. A big whiff brings to mind the last smoothie I made, which contained a lot of strawberries. The aroma isn't quite like that of Hawaiian Punch, but it's in that general neighborhood.

As for the taste, it has that tart punch and leaves a sweet aftertaste. It does, in fact, taste something like strawberries and blueberries and, officially, the can notes "cherries, elderberries, and strawberries". It's still a lager, so it's like a mixing a pack of Capri Sun into a Bud Light. No doubt, this concoction isn't that basic, but it's what I can relate to.

This has been a fun experiment. I likely won't buy this again ($11.99/6 pack/Aldi/5-8-2022), although I don't regret giving it a shot. The label is eye-catching, with a viking guy standing triumphantly with a foot atop a pile of fruit and holding a sword with fruit on it he has apparently stabbed. The sweet/tart mix I'm not totally crazy about, but the overall experience is neither here nor there.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Unibroue La Fin du Monde beer bottle - photo by KilmerMedia


"La Fin du Monde" tripel ale

9% ABV, bottle

It's wheaty and feels like it should be unfiltered, although the bottom of the glass is clean. The taste is sweet, of banana (very much like a hefeweizen) caramel, vanilla, and orange citrus, and a slight, spicy/hoppy/clove kind of finish counters the sweetness nicely.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Waikiki Brewing Company Hana Hou Hefe beer can - photo by KilmerMedia

​Waikiki Brewing Company

Hana Hou Hefe

5.8% ABV, can

My wife picked this one out, when we were at the grocery in Ka’anapali, and I was shopping for some other things. She knows me well and, thus, selected a beer that is Hefeweizen style. I didn’t read the description before trying the beer and first noticed the sweet aroma. To me, that was of bananas (of course), mangoes, and strawberries. It turns out the print near the top of the can says “Wheat beer brewed with strawberry and orange.” It also turns out that the scent is stronger than the flavor. It tastes sort of flat. It’s not exactly bad - it just doesn’t take like much, especially after the sweet aroma made me expect more.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Warka General Pulaski Classic beer bottle poured


"General Pulaski"

6.5% ABV, bottle

This is a fun, tasty beer. It’s not exactly packed with flavor, but it’s pleasant enough, and I like the sweetness that hits my tongue upon every sip.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Warped Wing 10 Ton S'more Stout beers can - photo by KilmerMedia

​Warped Wing (Dayton, Ohio, USA)

“10 Ton S’mores Stout”

7% ABV, can

Yeah, it’s tastes as advertised… it brings to mind a Snickers bar, as well. This can came from a trade with a friend, who loooooves this one and was curious about a 6 pack I bought, so we traded a couple beers. It was nice trying this one!

Rating: 4 out of 5

Esther's Lil Secret chocolate almond bark brown ale can - photo by KilmerMedia

Warped Wing (Dayton, Ohio)

"Esther's Li'l Secret" (2021)

chocolate almond bark brown ale

8% ABV, can

Has this beer changed, or have I changed? This is darker and sweeter than I remember. Today, and from a can this time, my mind goes to the chocolate Belikin I loved so much in Belize. I know, I know, a lot of people won't relate to that, but some will. The complexity of the Esther's Li'l Secret is that it's like an 80% cacao dark chocolate bar in beer form mixed with a lot of sugar. The brew smells sweet and tastes sweet, and you still feel the bitterness of a dark chocolate bar on your tongue. This is certainly what I would consider a dessert beer, and most people wouldn't have more than one.

Rating 3 out of 5

​Warped Wing (Dayton, Ohio)

"Esther’s Li’l Secret" winter ale (2017)

8% ABV, draft

The sample had a strong essence of chocolate. It was almost too sweet but not quite, so I ordered a glass. A full pour had an even different taste - almost like a sugar cookie with that essence of chocolate still. It was pretty enjoyable. Part of my love for winter is the different, fun flavors offered.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Warped Wing Whiskey Rebellion beer bottle - photo by KilmerMedia

​Warped Wing (Dayton, Ohio, USA)

“Whiskey Rebellion” series

Stout aged in bourbon barrels

12.2% ABV, bottle

Having this a day after the cherry version, I’ve had enough. It’s like chocolate and vanilla and syrupy sweet. Bro, dial it back a little bit. The average toddler would love this so much more than an adult. Two bottles I bought from Warped Wing were seriously $12 and $20 each, for just 375 ml! I think this was the $12 bottle. In the fridge at their brewpub in Mason, Ohio, the prices weren't listed - DON'T FALL INTO THAT TRAP!!!!!!!

Rating: 2 out of 5

Warped Wing Whiskey Rebellion cherry bourbon barrel aged stout beer bottle - photo by KilmerMedia

​Warped Wing (Dayton, Ohio, USA)

“Whiskey Rebellion” series

Cherry - stout aged in bourbon barrels

11.2% ABV, bottle

It feels thick and reminds me of chocolate cherry cake. It certainly has an essence of bourbon and vanilla, as noted on the bottle. As a dessert beer, it’s a splurge. No prices were listed in the fridge where this was pulled from, so this 375 ml bottle was either $12 or $20, as the receipt doesn’t distinguish which Whiskey Rebellion bottle this one is. By the way, if we really want to protect “we the people” from unfair business practices, we should have laws that require prices to be listed for all consumer goods being sold. I should have asked, yet it’s also weird that this is acceptable in an advanced society. Unless they explain to me that making this was so arduous that 14 employees quit, this particular type of cherry was rescued from the verge of extinction, and half of the brewing equipment melted from this experiment, it's not not worth $20... or $12. It's really good but not THAT good, unless that sequence of events above happened.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Weihenstephaner Hefe Weissbier can - photo by Kilmer Media

​Weihenstephaner (Germany)


5.4% ABV, 14 IBU, can

Mmm, mmm, mmm, love at first sip. This is very similar to Hofbrau's weizen, and they might be indistinguishable in a blind test. I love the wheat/banana/cloves essence. The aroma has the aforementioned notes, plus with a sugar-sweet smell of bubblegum. The flavor has just the right level of sweetness, slightly offset by just a hint of mild spices.

It's amazing how the mind can perceive things in different ways. I remember someone once noting a little bit of brininess on the sides of the tongue, similar to the way it feels drinking a dirty martini. Among everything else, I get that. Such a note would have never come to mind for me, but that's the beauty of analyzing these commodities.

This particular brew from this particular company has been around for hundreds of years (this brewery is the oldest in the world, having started operations in 1040). These long-established Bavarian breweries are still around for a reason.

Rating: 5 out of 5

​(photo owed!)

​Wells Banana Nut bread - I had and really loved this one before keeping detailed notes. It was really enjoyable, and it shall be revisited.

Wieden Brau dunkel beer in a glass stein - photo by KilmerMedia

​Wieden Bräu (Vienna, Austria)

"Dunkles" dunkel

draft (consumed in Vienna)

This is a house beer that's fairly standard as a dunkel, with an essence of caramel sweetness. It was refreshing in the beer garden on a hot summer day but, having just been in Munich, I was wishing this had been a Hofbrau dunkel instead.

Rating: 4 out of 5

​(photo owed!)

​Zatecky Gus Cerny (Russia)

This one is like a sweet Guinness... maybe a little less sweet than Zwyiec.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Zhiguliowskoye beer bottle - photo by KilmerMedia

​Zhiguliowskoye (Russia)


4.5% ABV, bottle

Good, easy drinking. Whereas too many lagers taste like Coors and have no presence, this one has mellow, but interesting, flavor. That flavor is a bit citrusy with some caramel aftertaste. This lager is like a mild Hefeweizen and, since I generally prefer beer with a little sweetness, this is right up my alley.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Zubr Prazubr Polish beer bottle - photo by KilmerMedia

​​Zubr (Poland)

"Prazubr" lager

5% ABV, bottle

I picked this up in Krakow, and at the end of a long day, it wasn't that satisfying. This lager was mediocre, with a malty/grain character and a bit of a dry finish.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Zywiec Baltic Porter beer bottle - photo by KilmerMedia

​Zwyiec (Poland)


9.5% ABV, bottle

I first had this brand in Krakow, at a restaurant called Moaburger. Not trusting that anything Polish is pronounced how it looks, I asked the cashier, who told me it's "zev-yets". The pale lager was just okay, but the porter was tasty. Luckily, the international market in my L.A. neighborhood carries both styles, and I've had the porter several times since the Eurotrip.

Now, after a couple years since my last one, I decided to try it again, in 2022. Either the porter has changed or I have changed, as I honestly don't like it as much as before. The 9.5% ABV is hefty, and I appreciate that for the money, but the familiar taste came with an unfamiliar taste this time: an essence of rubbing alcohol on the tongue. Maybe it was there before, since that seems to frequently happen when the ABV starts nearing 10%. Either way, that part is unpleasant. Otherwise, I love the standard porter flavor. It has a nice boldness, like a 72% chocolate bar that's neither too bitter nor too sweet. I suppose you could say it has a burnt malty essence, like burnt toast, but not in a "Dang it, I ruined the toast" kind of way.

As I sip through this one, rubbing alcohol comes to mind less and less. Maybe that's the trick - they insult you with the first sip, then the alcohol hits your bloodstream, you calm down, then reconsider your first impression.

Rating: 4 out of 5


Written by Justin Kilmer. All trade names, logo, and graphics are property of their respective owners. You know that, but it's just one of those things I'm supposed to reiterate. Otherwise, the reviews and depictions presented on this page are copyright © by Justin Kilmer.


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