Saturday, January 25, 2014

And then there were eight...

For the longest time, there have been only 7 Trappist breweries, Westvleteren, Westmalle, Orval, La Trappe, Chimay, Rochefort, and Achel. La Trappe was the only Trappist brewery outside of Belgium and I never would have imagined that the next one would be in the United States...never mind in my home state of Massachusetts. Needless to say, this is an exciting development that enhances the already white hot craft beer production in this state.

Brewed by the monks at St. Joseph's Abbey in Spencer, MA. 6.5% abv. Pours a gorgeous, unfiltered orange color with a rich creamy head. Nice carbonation and head retention. This beer smells incredible, ripe banana, spicy clove, touches of floral and citrus hops, and fresh berries. Good Belgian lace. Great mouthfeel. First sip is cloves and dried tropical fruit, maybe mangos, papaya, and pineapple. About halfway through you pick up Belgian candy sugar and  raisin flavors. Pear skin and just the slightest white pepper finish. Crusty bread and dry cracker maltiness. Well balanced and excessively drinkable. The 6.5% abv make this a fantastic session beer. I think this an excellent first effort from the brothers of St. Joseph Abbey. I am looking forward to their next offering.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Mr. Kiwi Rising...

Jack's Abby Brewing, Kiwi Rising Double India Pale Lager
8.5% abv and 105 IBUs.

The brewery used tons of New Zealand Kiwi hops in brewing this one. Hopped 6 or 7 times during the brewing process. Pours gold with a thick cauliflower head. Great Belgian lace. Flowery and herbal hop aromas with a touch of piney resin. First sip is a hop bomb.  Alcohol is no wear to be found. Mostly grapefruit and orange, but pine and spruce flavors become more prevalent with each sip. Some caramel and malty cracker flavors try to balance this beer, but it is all hops. Another superb offering from the folks at Jack's Abby. Hey. I think that dog is eyeing my beer!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Hop on this Hoponius...

Jack's Abby Hoponius Union
Jack's Abby Hoponius Union
6.7% abv. 65 IBUs. They call it an IPL. Uniquely hoppy lager. Pours to a thick white head with great lace. Some murkiness from the sediment, but it is a rich gold color. Unmistakeable pineapple aroma. Crisp and incredibly refreshing. Fresh fruity malt flavors combine with crisp biscuit or cracker dryness and tropical fruit hops to make it a rather complex and super tasty beer. Hops are what drives it. This is a first class beer.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Might want to use google before naming your beer...

Ov-ral Imperial IPA, Mikkeller To ├śl Collaboration
Not sure of the origins of the name of this beer, but before distributing it in the US the brewers should have google searched the name. It is the name of a morning after pill! Anyway, it is a great beer.

10.5% abv. Pours a brilliant orange color with a wispy white head. Somewhat original aroma has a nice combination of caramel malt, banana, and pine. Super smooth mouthfeel with solid carbonation. Strong hops jump right out at you, followed by a sweet bready, dried fruit, caramel malt, and then a tinge of peppery alcohol esters. The wild yeast definitely give is a little bit of a funk as well. Gets a bit astringent toward the end, but not in a bad way. Some warming in the belly halfway through the glass. For some reason I find it somewhat somewhat reminiscent of Pliny the Elder, but much funkier. 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Enjoy the fall harvest...

Founders Brewing Company 2012 Harvest Ale
6.5% abv. 70 IBU. Pours clear gold with a big white head. This beer is all grapefruit on the nose. First sip is grapefruit, pine, and tropical fruits. Not overly carbonated and  a bit oily. Much lighter body than expected. Sharp hop bite that leaves you wanting another sip. Hops linger forever with a slight minty essence. Kind of one dimensional, but very good. Maybe a touch of light caramel malt and biscuits, but really all hops. Another fantastic beers from the folks at Founders. They really can't do anything wrong over there.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

I love that Headwaters...

Victory Headwaters Pale Ale
Victory Headwaters Pale Ale

5.1% abv. Pours a dark gold, copperish color with a white head. I love the smell of this beer. Citrus and pine with orange zest hop aromas. Touches of sweet caramel and papaya as well. It really has kind of pineapple or apricot taste that is refreshing. Smooth and drinkable for a hot summer day, but plenty of flavor to keep it interesting. This is as much flavor as you will find in a 5.1% abv beer. This one really defines the style and I hope I can continue to find this on the shelves as my local packie. Another fantastic offering from the folks at Victory.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

I spy with my Big Eye...

Ballast Point Big Eye IPA 
6.88% abv. Orange zest and pine resin on the nose. Huge fluffy head. Great lace. First sip brings a spicy hop bite to the tongue. Assertive hops continue with each sip. Columbus and Centennial hops used in making this one. Drank it at room temperature, so I am really getting all the flavors here. Slightest tinge of black pepper and lots of fruit, maybe dried apricots and tropical fruit. It does have a bit of a sweet, "bready-fruity-carmely finish." The caramel maltiness tries to compete, but the hops dominate. A very solid IPA. It gets better and better with each sip.