Location: San Leandro, CA
Beer: Imperial American Black Ale
Alcohol Content: 11.5%(!)
What the brewery says: "This year Jolly is dark black with aggressive late and dry hop additions of Simcoe, Mosaic, and Chinook hops that give the beer a complex aroma with hints of citrus, resin, and unmistakable spiciness. "
The first thing you notice is the color. This beer is Wesley Snipes black, like a glass full of pure darkness.
As far as the taste, there were a lot of things that surprised me about this beer. It was a nice mixture of the thickness you expect from a darker beer and a persistent (though not overwhelming) hoppiness. And the brewery was right on about the spiciness - long after each swallow, there's a fizzy sensation that lingers in your mouth like a phantom. At the same time, there's a comforting, sweet aftertaste. On the whole, I found it to be interesting and complex.
Oh, and if you decide to down one of these, either at the brewery or in the bottle form, please don't drive. It packs a punch.