Beer!Large format beers are pretty great if you ask me. They're perfect for sharing with friends and often feature more unique styles that you wouldn't find in a six-pack. California's The Bruery specializes in barrel-aged and experimental beers; to say that Smoking Wood is unique is an understatement. Part of their Special Collection, the label describes it as a "smoked imperial rye porter aged in rye whiskey barrels." I know what you're thinking: barrel-aged blah, blah, blah. Just another excuse to make a beer sound special, give it a little bit of smokiness and charge an extra $5. Well I've never tasted a beer like this one. It clocks in at 13% ABV so either cancel your heavy machinery operating class or find someone awesome to split it with. The first thing you notice when you sip it is the roasted, malty taste which quickly becomes spicy and smoky, more like a nice scotch than the overwhelming rye flavor you'd expect. After a few tastes the brew becomes almost peaty and you'd swear you were drinking a dram from Islay and munching on some bacon. It's a good sipping beer that seems like it would age well, should you have the patience. For more immediate gratification though, it's the perfect beer to have on hand to welcome in the cooler post-Labor Day weather. --Brown


The Bruery's Smoking Wood


13% ABV

Look for it here.