Sunday was a day for heavy beers. It was dark, cold and rainy, and my 65th birthday, so I had time to contemplate what once was a milestone.

Daughter Tandy and son-in-law Christian gave me a 22-ounce bottle of Atlantic Brewing Co.’s Special Old Bitter — maybe because they think I look like the picture on the label, maybe because the abbreviation on the label is S.O.B., or maybe because Atlantic, based in Bar Harbor, makes a lot of very good beer.

The label described this as an IPA, and the company website lists it as a nut brown ale. I think it’s closer to the nut brown than an IPA.

The Northern Brewer hops is the predominant flavor, but it wasn’t an overly bitter beer — despite the name. At 5.5 percent alcohol, it had a fairly clean flavor that went well with smoked salmon and some hot appetizers. The color was a dark amber, and the head was just a bit off-white. 

While shopping on Friday at Downeast Beverages on Commerical Street, I bought several beers I hadn’t had before, and I liked all of them.

I had a good idea of what to expect from Sebago Brewing Co.’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Lake Trout Stout. Back in March, I attended a mixing party at Sebago’s Gorham brewery at which the attendees tasted different mixes of regular Lake Trout Stout and the barrel-aged variety, all without carbonation.

Sebago Brewing owner Kai Adams said he chose a mix with 50 percent barrel-aged and 50 percent traditional Lake Trout Stout.

The carbonated version of the beer in a 22-ounce bottle had a creamier texture and a lot more coffee and chocolate in the flavor than I remember from the March tasting, and maybe a bit less charcoal and bourbon.

This was a warm, rich, malty and complex beer that Christian and I both liked, coming in at 5.8 percent alcohol.

Christian said he had tasted some earlier at the SoPo, the new name for the former Beale Street Barbecue in South Portland.

He liked it there and the keg didn’t last long, so it was popular.

Peak Organic Brewing Co.’s Hop Noir, a black IPA at 8.2 percent alcohol, was superb — although it is not Christian’s style of beer, which meant all the more of the 22-ounce bottle for me.

This is a hop-forward, in-your-face beer that was well balanced by the rich black malt.

I savored this through the last of the appetizers and dinner, and it seemed to go well with the first asparagus of the season, teriyaki chicken and rice.

To clean his palate after the Hop Noir, Christian opened a 12-ounce Andrews Summer Golden Ale and offered me a taste.

This was a slightly sweet, unfiltered ale that tasted of honey, with a nice silky mouth feel.

I had been afraid that after the Hop Noir, I wouldn’t even be able to taste this, but it was just enough different that it stood out.

This is a beer I could enjoy drinking on a warm summer evening — if we ever get to see any of those this year.

Tom Atwell can be contacted at 791-6362 or at:

[email protected]