Two from stateside which arrived courtesy of Richard (looking contemplative on the left of the photo). First up, Yellow Wolf, an imperial IPA from Alameda Brewing in that there Portland, Oregon. It's a stern 8.2% ABV but refreshingly pale. Yes, there's a certain toffee sweetness -- the Achilles heel of strong hoppy American beer -- both in the aroma and flavour, but not too much. Certainly not enough to spoil the deliciously piercing lemon rind flavour from the hops. Despite the strength and bitter intensity it remains nicely drinkable and I think we have the pale malt to thank for that.
Rockaway Brewing on Long Island in Queens don't normally bottle their beers but Richard managed to wangle an unlabelled one of High Plains Drifter out of them. Another 8.2%-er, this is a Bourbon-barrel-aged scotch ale. The bourboning isn't overdone and imparts a pleasant sourness from the whisky to counterbalance a fairly intense caramel sweetness. It would be spot-on except for a minor cardboardy whiff which may have something to do with the bespoke bottling process. Still a decent effort, if not hugely exciting given the effort that presumably went in to making it.