It's not as sweet as you might expect from the dark color, and it's lightly hopped -- a flush of carbonation stands in for hops as the counterpoint to the sweetness. The effect is remarkably solid and balanced. In short, this is a great beer for cooler weather, but it's more than that. It obviously goes with grilled meats, but it would also be good with many other foods, starting with mild cheeses.
-- Charles Perry
Style: A dark beer of roasty flavors, moderate sweetness/bitterness and a solid, centered profile
Price: $5.99 to $8.99 for a 22-ounce bottle
Where to find it: Red Carpet Wine in Glendale, (800) 339-0609, www.redcarpetwine.com; Wally's Wine & Spirits in Los Angeles, (310) 475-0606, www.wallywine.com; Hi-Time Wines in Costa Mesa, (949) 650-8463, www.hitimewine.net; Beverage Warehouse in Mar Vista, (310) 306-2822, www.beveragewarehouse.com; and Beverages & More branches (for locations, visit www.bevmo.com)