1. Atwater Block Brewery - Cherry Stout - 6.5%
Nice sour cherry finish. Not too heavy. Might benefit from a stronger stout flavor but it is very "drinkable." This is probably a good stout for those who aren't generally into heavy beers and tend to steer clear of stouts. You may notice that the percent alcohol by volume is higher than a standard beer. In my experience brewing a cherry stout this may be in part due to the fermentation of the natural sugars in the cherries. In my case I bottled too soon and the extra fermentation made for some explosive bottles, literally. Give this one a shot. 3 stars.
2. Coronado Brewing Company - Islander IPA - 7%
You can tell from the sweet character of this beer that it is going to be higher in alcohol content. This brew does a really nice job of balancing the sweet and the hop without being too heavy. I can't deal with a beer that is too sweet. I think that is why a porter is generally not my thing. One of the best ways to impress me is with a beer that is nicely balanced between hop and malt but also carries a nice herbal hoppy flavor. I love a good hop but I am not a fan of bitter for the save of being bitter. The balance is key. This beer does a nice job and isn't too heavy to keep me from throwing a few back. This is another drinkable choice if you like the bitter of an IPA.
3. Duck Rabbit Imperial Stout - around 10%
On my mission to pick up some good beer at The Common Market on Commonwealth here in Charlotte I got a chance to task the imperial stout on tap. This one had me wondering how much of it I could throw back because it was so thick and sweet. It wasn't sickeningly sweet though and I had not yet made up my mind how much I could drink when I finished my sample. Considering that it is 10% perhaps I wouldn't make up my mind by the end of the first serving. You don't want a pint of this. It is more suited for a sniffer. It was sweet but not overly so and made me want to come back for a full serving. Perhaps I will soon. Let me know if you want to try it and need some company.