Before we get to that stout from a PRB-debuting brewery, I bring you one from Thomas Creek Brewery. Trifecta IPA was originally created as a collaboration with Greenville-based The Community Tap bottle shop and beer curator (now getting airtime on this blog as part of The Funk Collective event) several years back. It is now part of Thomas Creek's year-round rotation. This IPA comes in at 6.9% ABV and 86 IBU. Pouring a fairly clear amber-to-gold color, I got lots of floral notes, along with a mild sweetness that is more prominent earlier in the drinking experience. There are also some straight-up citrus hints throughout, as well as some citrus rind bitterness that combines with the natural hop bitterness to create a potent bite that is most noticeable towards the back of the drinking experience and ramps up overall as you drink the beer. It has maybe a hair more hop bite than most that claim to be "American-style" IPAs, but I find this to be a really solid beer overall.
Next up is a blonde stout from Legal Remedy Brewing Company, a brewery that I had never had before but has been lauded extensively by work colleagues of mine, and they have talked about this World Court Mocha Blonde Stout as being particularly notable. I didn't quite know what to expect from a color standpoint, but it turned out to be a fairly standard clear gold color. Clocking in at 6% ABV and 24 IBU, I got a whole lot of nice coffee and white chocolate aromas, which is rare for my nose to pick up. Those aromas play directly into a straight forward flavor profile that includes the coffee and a mild roasty note as well as a well-managed sweetness level coming from the white chocolate that doesn't get in the way at all. I found perhaps a slight grainy or bready note as well that, when put with the rest of flavor profile, gave me the impression of blonde brownies. Simply, this is a terrific beer. It has amazing flavor notes that are well-balanced to truly nail a somewhat unusual style in the blonde stout.