Summer '16 Best Beer Releases

Prince Gary Goes Bananas is an amped up version of their milk stout Gary treated with Banana Fosters Coffee. (Victoria Price/WPEC)

It is summer in South Florida. And it's a hot one.

And that means you need a cold beer in your hand.

But a real beer. A craft beer. Layered with flavor, carefully and strategically brewed to perfection.

Some of the best craft beer releases are happening now.

So here are some of the tastiest brews released this summer, we had to share with you!


Prince Gary Goes Bananas

Milk Stout

ABV: 7.5%

IBU: ?

Civil Society Brewing Company is a fairly new brewery to South Florida. Karl Volstad, Evan Miller, and former Florida Marlins pitcher Chris Volstad-- opened their 5,600 sq. brewery in 2015. Located in Jupiter, Florida-- these guys know what they're doing with their brews!

Just tapped on September 1st, C.S. brewed a Banana's Foster version of their milk stout. We were able to get our hands on the "Prince Gary Goes Bananas," The Milk Stout is the "amped up version" of their milk stout Gary treated with Banana Fosters Coffee. The limited release was just tapped on September 1st and crowlers were available.

This beer is the perfect ending to the Summer before all the Fall Seasonal beers start hitting taps.

Smells of sweet milk chocolate, bananas and coffee. I had it warm up a tad to around 55 degrees F, poured into a snifter. Tastes of chocolate, lactose and sweet roasted coffee. Creamy mouthful comes from the lactose, with a medium body. Definitely get the sweetness and tasting some caramel, cinnamon notes but not getting a whole lot of the bananas taste but I get the concept of the Bananas Foster-play. The coffee and chocolate marry well together. Coffee in sweet milk stouts like this definitely balance everything out so the sweetness isn't overpowered. All together, one of my favorite local breweries 'milk stout.'

Hurry up and head over to Civil Society to get your hands on a crowler or two of this before they run out! They also have a coconut coffee version of it as well.


Good Nightmare Mekong

Imperial Stout

ABV: 10.1%

IBUs: 25

This was a very limited bottle release from Cigar City brewed in collaboration with The Answer from Richmond, Virginia. Only sold at the breweries in 22 oz bottles: Imperial Stout with Viet coffee and vanilla base, treated with coconut and cinnamon. They also used their new RVA coffee roaster (Iron Clad Coffee Roasters) hand selected and roasted by master roaster Mike Jarrett.

Chocolate, Coconut and Coffee never married so well in this beer. I am a big fan of coconut-flavored beers. But this beer by far, is my new favorite.

Smells of toasted coconut and roasted chocolate on the nose. Poured into snifter-- very low carbonation, poured moderately thick, very dark brown, black in color. The body is chewy. Roasted chocolate is up front and creamy sweet coconut drops in. I like that coffee isn't the big player in this stout. Coffee and roasted malts come out while you sip.... The brewers did an awesome job putting in just enough to balance the bitterness to prevent this from becoming a sweet bomb. The after taste is boozy, warm as expected, with slight bitterness from coffee. First glass was around 40 degrees. Second glass was warmed up to 50-60 degrees F. More flavors came out when warmed up.

If you were lucky enough to get one of these in Tampa when it was released last month or in Richmond, Virginia this week, you are blessed!

I am going to have to figure out how to get another bottle of this... because it is that good and by far one of my new favorites.



Saugatuck Neapolitan Milk Stout

Milk Stout

ABV: 6.0%

IBUs: 37

Don't let the 'Milk stout' name fool you. This beer is perfect for the summer. It is not too thick, and not too light. The perfect blend of all the flavors in a Neapolitan. The chocolate, vanilla and strawberry are very prominent. Like Saugatuck Brewing says, "because sometimes ice cream just isn’t enough." It really isn't in this 12 ounce bottle. Best served around 50-55 degrees F.

We poured this in a snifter. This beer pours deep black. It is medium bodied. Smells of chocolate, and strawberry on the nose. The carbonation is slightly higher than expected on this. Tastes of lightly roasted chocolate notes, then a creamy vanilla drifts in and just enough strawberry tart, sweetness to end. What I liked most about this beer is one is not enough, and it is a very drinkable enjoyable beer on a hot summer day for a 'milk stout.' Each sip you get more flavor. It is not too sweet as you would think.

There is also a barrel-aged version of the Neapolitan-- and trust me, we are trying to get our hands on that! Stay tuned!

Be on the look out for Saugatuck beers in Florida. They are beginning to hit the taps here in Florida -- and soon, you will find these bad boys in four 12 oz packs in stores.



Funky Buddha Brewery Sticky Treats

Blonde Ale

ABV: 5.1%

IBUs: 20

This is something special. Funky Buddha decided to bottle their gooey, marshmallow packed blonde ale into 22 oz bottles. Another good summer sweet treat.

Pours a very light, golden, semi-high carbonation. Smells of vanilla and marshmallows very prominent. Creamy sweetness, very light rice grain taste, and marshmallows play well off one another. Vanilla is prominent too. Almost get a creamy mouthful which is interesting for a Blonde Ale. It is sweet but not overly cloying. I get more of a vanilla cupcake, or cookie --- over the 'rice krispy treat' like taste. 12 oz snifter full is enough. Good dessert beer and good enough for a hot summer treat!


Saturday Morning Cartoons Breakfast Cereal

Milk Stout

ABV: 5.7%

IBU: Unknown

The guys at Brew Rebellion put out an eclectic mix of great beers from their nano-brewery based in California.

We wanted to review and feature their unique 'Saturday Morning Cartoons' milk stout. First off, everything in this beer represents waking up in the morning in the 80's to cartoons. Smells of chocolate, a little sweet fruit as well. The beer is not heavy, it is quite light for a milk stout. Very drinkable. It's like the adult version of drinking the left over milk from your cereal you've mixed. Tastes of chocolate lactose milk sugar for the base... with hints of grainy cereal tastes. A lot of flavors in this beer. Think Fruity Pebbles, Cocoa Pebbles, made in to a milk stout craft beer!


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