1. Coronado Brewing Company - Mermaid Red - 5.7%
Good malt with a nice sweet offset to the bittering hops. Ideally I would prefer a bit more sweet malt and a touch of flavoring, herbal hop. As reds go this is a good one. A red is one of my favorite styles so it is hard to find one that I don't like. That also may make me a little more judgmental of reds. This one gets a B for flavor but a C for style. it lacks a dimension that could push it over the edge.
I love the name of this beer because I love the song with the same name...
You may know that I am not generally a fan of a porter but this one has some nice characteristics. I think it is the intense sweet flavor of a porter that I don't like. This one offsets it nicely with a dimension of smoke and coffee that pull down the emphasis on the sweet. I still don't think I would choose this one but that is my own personal bias. If you like sweet then you probably like a porter and you should give this one a shot.
3. Hitachino Nest Classic Ale
I got a chance to head back out to the Common Market with my Mom this evening for their Wednesday night beer tasting. This Japanese ale was on the list and it may be the best Japanese ale I have had to date. It is aged in cedar like sake which gives it a nice sweet wood flavor that I thought was going to be a little much in the nose at first but it was actually very nice. It is not a heavy beer in the classic Japanese ale style of Sapporo and Kirin. It's a premium import so it is a bit pricy but well worth it if you are looking to splurge on something different. You won't be disappointed.