Licorice, Molasses, Imperial Stout
The wax-topped "Reserve Series" of beers by the Deschutes Brewery in Oregon tend to be really good, and the latest release of "The Abyss" is unsurprisingly delicious. Though it sounds overly fancified—brewed with molasses and licorice, barrel-aged, high alcohol content at 11 percent—the beer is surprisingly restrained and balanced. There's no black licorice slapping you in the face. The finish is dry and, unlike other "imperial" versions of beers that can be way over the top in booziness, this one is scarily easy to drink for a high-ABV beer. It's best sipped solo, but it does taste pretty good paired with chocolate coins.
Deschutes' The Abyss, $12.99