About Specialty Ales

About Specialty Ales
This category is, practically speaking, a catchall for beers that don’t fit neatly in an existing category. Specialty beers may be flavored with, or affected by, unusual ingredients (ginger, chipotle peppers) or fermentation agents (Brettanomyces, Lactobacillus), or brewed with unusual fermentables (buckwheat, sweet potatoes, maple syrup). This category also features the growing number of ultra-high gravity “extreme” beers that push the limits of alcohol. In addition, the base beer may be related to almost any classic beer style. Given the variation possible in this category, there are no established standards for appearance, aroma or flavor. Instead, beers in this category are defined by a pleasing combination of the beer’s elements, and overall drinkability.

Top Picks for Specialty Ales

The Great Dane Pub & Brewing Co. Belgian Prairie Belgian-Style Tripel blended with Fumé
88 points
Hazy amber color. Attractive aromas and flavors of lemon herb muffin, caramel on raisin toast, champagne vinaigrette, and playdoh with a satiny, vibrant, finely carbonated, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a smooth, complex, long finish that shows shades of melon, grapefruit gelato, and watercress finish. A complex, vinous ale with great table appeal.
Shmaltz Brewing Company Chanukah, Hanukkah Pass the Beer
88 points
Bright deep amber color. Interesting aromas of chocolate covered peaches and nuts, herb sourdough, and grilled pepper with a satiny, tangy, fruity medium body and a tingling, interesting, medium-length chili pepper chocolate, orange, vanilla latte, and arugula finish. A fun chocolatey, peppery flavor ride.
Two Beers Brewing Co. Fresh Hop IPA
88 points
Hazy deep amber color. Green, herbal, dank aromas and flavors of freshly twisted citrus peels, pine forest floor, and caramel herb scone with a supple, vibrant, effervescent, dryish medium-to-full body and a warming, interesting, medium-long finish with notes of toasted pretzel bread, rapini, and pepper finish. A solid wet-hop beer for requisite dankness and persistent astringency.
Willimantic Brewing Co. "Willi Wonderful" Tart Red Ale
88 points
Clear golden amber color. Fruity, sourish aromas and flavors of peach vinaigrette on lettuce, lemon scone, and hint of caramelized turkey bacon with a supple, bright, spritzy, sour light-to-medium body and a tingling, interesting, medium-length finish with accents of toasted nuts, orange and melon, grass, and hint of candle wax and rubber finish. A mellow sour beer for the table.
Cervecería Kross K15 Experimental Chilean Grape Ale
87 points
Pale golden yellow color. Sulfurous, grassy, green aromas of omelet, minerals, pizzelle cookies, and cloves with a syrupy, shy, finely carbonated, moderately sweet medium-to-full body and a smooth, breezy sprouting barley, lemon cookie, ginger, and allspice finish. Complex spiced beer to share with friends who like something a little different.
Spanglish Ales Brewery Cuba Libre
86 points
Dark dark brown color. Spicy, exotic aromas and flavors of gingerbread, carrot cake, sarsaparilla, and bubblegum with a round, crisp, frothy, off-dry medium body and a tingling, delightful, medium finish with accents of Pepsi cola and panettone finish. A fun cola-like beer; try in beertails.