Pink ale and other brews I’ve enjoyed recently


This past weekend, our glorious nation was awash in green beer. I meanwhile found myself tasting a pink ale. Before you judge—hear me out.

I was making my way through the grocery store, cart overflowing with jugs of milk, Goldfish crackers, string cheese, and all the fine eats a father of four could be expected to purchase. My three-year old was relentlessly pleading for me to get him a doughnut from the bakery. So. Much. Winning.

And there she was: a brunette rep for Old Ox Brewery of Virginia. Pouring samples. 

Admittedly, the bright pink color gave me pause, but I was desperate.

What a pleasant surprise. This saison ale (5% alcohol by volume) is dry and pleasant, and the cherry juice they used adds only a gentle fruity aroma. A treacly beer Old Ox Festivale Cherry Saison is not. I bought a four-pack of the 16-ounce cans.

Pink beer is not the only interesting beer I have stumbled on to recently. Bell’s Oarsman Ale was a pleasant surprise. I have enjoyed their stouts and hearty ales, and this “tart wheat beer” (4% ABV) is a peach that will be especially enjoyable once the mercury gets above 70 degree.

After reading so many doom and gloom predictions about Sam Adams’ future, it was nice to see the folks at Boston Beer Company bring out a new brew that is receiving acclaim. Sam ‘76 (4.7% ABV) is billed as a cross between lager and ale. I bought a 12-pack for $16, and enjoyed it so much that I nabbed another.

Speaking of well-known brands doing something different, Guinness offers a Rye Pale Ale. As best I can tell, folks either love it or hate it. This light-bodied beer (5% ABV) is a touch sour, herbal, and definitely shows the rye. Most peculiar!

Last among my recent beer-ventures is Grand Teton Brewing Company’s Double Vision Dopplebock. I’ve previously raved about other Grand Teton beers, but I tried not to set my hopes high before I took a sip of this brew. Which proved needless, because… Oh. My. Goodness. This potent, dark lager (8% ABV) from Montana floods the mouth with chocolate and coffee notes. The more Double Vision warms, the richer the flavors become.

Kevin R. Kosar is the author of Whiskey: A Global History and Moonshine: A Global History. He is the editor and founder of This column also was published by the American Spectator.


New Holland Brewing Company The Poet Oatmeal Stout

New Holland Brewing Company The Poet Oatmeal StoutWow. Just wow.

We are not the only ones impressed with this big beer. After 880+ ratings, beer fiends have rated it 95 out of 100.

It is 5.2% alcohol, and like so many other stouts, it tastes all the better as it warms and breathes. It shows oatmeal, chocolate, and coffee notes, and has a dry close. This is one of those delicious brews that is so tasty that you probably cannot drink more than one or two at a  sitting. (Rating Very Good)

Read more about the Poet at


Bell’s Brewery, Inc. Expedition Stout

We enjoyed Bell’s Two Hearted Ale, and we loved Bell’s Kalamazoo Stout and Special Double Cream Stout. And now it can be said—we also love Bell’s Expedition Stout.  Some weeks back a neighbor who was brewing handed over a couple bottles of it, along with all sorts of othr items that he did not want to lug to his new home.  Lucky us—Bell’s Expedition Stout is 10.5% alcohol, roasty, and delicious. One bottle is more than enough in a night. (Rating ****1/2)


Bell’s Brewery, Inc. Two Hearted Ale

When’s the last time you heard something good about Michigan? The Wolverines football team is dreadful, the auto industry has cratered, and yet another one of its politicians is going to jail.

But, we are pleased to report something is going right in the state — Bell’s Brewery of Kalamazoo. We tried this IPA not too long back at the suggestion of a friend.

Wow, what a hop bomb. Beer geeks can find the specs on this beer here. The hops are more floral than bitter, so we did not get the unhappy grimace on our face that we have so often gotten from MAGIC HAT brews of late.

Yum, TWO HEARTED ALE is a beer that seems to be designed to pair with a burger and fries. (Rating ****)

Surf to to learn more, or bug to see if they can sell you a six pack or two.


J.K Scrumpy Farmhouse Organic Hard Cider

This was a fun find — a hard cider that is not treacly sweet. This USDA certified organic hard cider produced by Alamar Orchards of Flushing, Michigan.

It was not cheap — Whole Foods charged over $5 for a 22 ounce bottle. But, it was very pleasant — mild apple flavor, a slightly creamy texture, and low on fizz. The name is also rather cute — “scrumpy,” as you may know, was a name given to cider a couple hundred years ago. And the J.K.? That stands for “Jim Koan,” the head of Alamar Orchards, or as Koan jokes, “Jim and Karen, if you ask my wife.” (Rating ****)

To learn more about J.K. Scrumpy Farmhouse Organic Hard Cider, surf to Distributors of J.K. Scrumpy are listed at