Over the weekend, I stopped at one of my favorite breweries in Rhode Island, Long Live Beerworks. It was a fantastic start to my Saturday afternoon, and Long Live rarely misses. They had a new release, a collaboration with another popular New England brewery called Vitamin Sea. It was a Double NEIPA, brewed with Galaxy, Vic Secret, Cashmere, Citra + Azacca. Without surprise, it was fantastic, an easy 4.25 for me (which is right on par with what everyone else is saying on UnTappd).
Between the podcast, blog, and have rated over 1,000 beers on the app, I wanted to start being more thorough with my grades. Long Live usually always provides 4+ rated beers, no questions asked. Then I started playing out scenarios of what the line is between 3.75 and 4. I felt like Dave Portnoy rating these beers in my head, thinking what strikes the difference? We ran through the rating metrics pretty in detail in this week's episode of "Beers, Business, and Balls". The first 10 or so minutes go into the depths of beer.
I feel like a 4-out-of-5 rated beer is something worth the drive and 4.5 + is worth the wait. Now the wheels started to turn, when was the last time I had a 5.0 beer. Truthfully, it's been a minute. I checked the app and only .003% of the beers (1089 beers) I have rated earned the faithful 5.0 rating. Four Beers, just four beers, have earned the coveted rating. I wanted to highlight them, not only because I loved their beer, but I hope that you have the opportunity to try them yourselves!
Ice Cream Man
- Back East Brewing Company
- 6.4% ABV
My girlfriend's father gave me this beer the first time we met, so I may have some bias, but Ice Cream Man is legit. It is a juicy IPA brewed exclusively with Citra. It tastes like an orange creamsicle in a beer, and I think it's even better than that. The color is bright as orange juice, and it is very hazy. Similar to the orange juice similarities, it is led by full citrus flavors and sweet notes from the malt. It is the epitome of a creamy and soft NE IPA. Ice Cream Man has rated the fifth-best beer on Draft Magazine's list of "Top 50 IPA's in America.
Photo: Back East Brewery / BeerAdvocate
- Tree House Brewing Company
- Double IPA
- 7.8% ABV
If we are talking the best of the best, then you already know Tree House is included on this list. Bright was one of the first Tree House beers I ever had, and I knew after this one, that I would be a forever fan. It is made with Mosaic, which is one of their staples. It is a simple beer with a clean flavor profile, that showcases vibrant fresh ingredients. It has a delicious flavor profile and a nice citrus aroma. It possesses notes of grapefruit, sweet berries, and clementine with a gentle orange rind finish.
- Tree House Brewing Company
- Double IPA
- 8.3% ABV
Ah yes, another Tree House. I mean, are we surprised? Tree House is the Mecca of breweries, and they never disappoint. I love this Double IPA, a lot. I am a huge fan of the combination of American and Australian hops. It has subtle yet flavorful notes of pineapple, with sweet hints of malt intermingle. It is soft but with a slight rich bitterness to it, another deserving 5.0 for Tree House.
Photo: UnTappd / Tree House Brewing Company
Pumpkin Maple Ale
- Crooked Current Brewery
- American Ale
- 6.2% ABV
I am a sucker for fall beers, especially pumpkin. This take may be as basic as can be, but I don't care, I wear it proud. Pumpkin Maple Ale from Crooked Current in Rhode Island is hands down, the best fall beer I have ever had. This is the creme de la creme of autumn craft beers. I see this beer as the perfect combination of smooth, refreshing, warming, flavorful, and sweetness. I describe the taste as taking a spoon of your grandmother's fresh pumpkin pie with a combination of fresh Vermont maple syrup. It is not overpowering or too sugary, and it smells and tastes exceptional. It is a hot commodity in the Rhode Island craft beer market, and it is only available at their location in Pawtucket. I'll put my money where my mouth is, and if you try this beer and don't think it's good, I'll buy you a round.
We had the awesome opportunity to interview the founder and head brewer of Crooked Current last fall. Nichole brought us into the brewery and let us try all things she was working on, including my favorite Pumpkin Maple Ale.
For blog purposes, here is my list of 4.75 beers. They still only represent a small fraction of everything I have drunk, but they still deserved to be highlighted too. These beers and breweries are the real deal, and they all make fantastic stuff.