Dueling reviews 5 years apart…

Dueling reviews 5 years apart…

The Alchemist, Heady Topper, Waterbury, VT

4/28/12

Poured into a nonic pint glass from a tall boy can. 8% abv. Thanks to Jeff for dropping this one off after picking it up at Redstone. Pours a beautiful murky gold yellow. Amazing hop aroma…pine resin, grapefruit, fresh cut grass and herbs. First sip is fantastic and you know immediately this is a special beer. Pine, lemon, orange rind, and sweet grapefruit flavors. A touch of white pepper, cilantro, dry crackers, and lemon ball candies. Hops mask the alcohol and make this an incredibly drinkable Double IPA. I could drink this all night.

9/21/17

Trying this a second time. Many thanks to Caroline Herr for bringing this back for me while on vacation! Pours a lighter murky gold color than I remember from last time I had it. Decent head with good retention. Grapefruit, caramel apple, and lemon on the nose. First sip is mango with slightest touch of white pepper, Juicy tropical fruit flavors with a delayed tingle on the sides of the tongue and gums. Tons of piney bitterness. Slightly dank. More alcohol esters this second time around. Still smooth and very drinkable.

Now Taza what I am talking aStout…

Now Taza what I am talking aStout…

Night Shift Brewing, Taza Stout, Everett, MA

Night Shift Taza Stout poured into a nonic pint glass.
Night Shift Taza Stout.

Canned on 7/7/17.  Throwback series of this previously retired beer. Stout brewed with chicory root and ginger and aged cacao nibs from Taza Chocolate.  6.6% abv. Pours pitch black with a thin tan head that quickly dissipates. Coffee, oatmeal, and cacao nibs on the nose with the slightest hint of candied ginger. First sip is chocolate covered espresso beans, black strap molasses, bourbon vanilla, and orange rind. Full-bodied chewiness of sweet malts, but finishes with a surprising hop snap. Coffee, espresso, and chocolate flavors come in and out with each sip. A very enjoyable stout.

Better than a Royale with Cheese…

Better than a Royale with Cheese…

Greater Good Imperial Brewing Company, Pulp, Williamsburg, MA

Greater Good Imperial Brewing Co. Pulp poured into a nonic pint glass.
Greater Good Imperial Brewing Co. Pulp

Can dated 8/15/17, so this is only 10 days old. 8% abv. Pours a dark gold color with an orangish hue with a thin white head. Good Belgian lace. Spruce tips, pine, and tropical fruit on the nose.  First sip is orange zest with touches of white pepper and pine. A quick warming in the belly and around the gums, but the alcohol is hidden quite well, making this a very dangerous beer. To put it plainly, this shit will get you drunk! Juicy tropical fruit flavors from start to finish with touches of candy sugar like sweetness. Some dry water cracker and caramel malt helps balance it. Earthy, tobacco leaf notes as well. I guess I was expecting something a little more chunky and more full-bodied with the name Pulp, but this is a solid IPA.

Lieutenant Starbuck approved…

Lieutenant Starbuck approved…

Clown Shoes Beer, Galactica Double IPA, Ipswich, MA

Clown Shoes Galactica Double IPA poured into a nonic pint glass.
Clown Shoes Galactica Double IPA.

Can dated 7/26/17 so this is about 10 days old. 8% abv. Pours a rich dark copper color with a thick white head. Awesome Belgian lace. Tropical fruit and ripe apple and pear on the nose with some herbal notes. Some white pepper spiciness from the alcohol with a subtle warming in the belly after a few sips. Chewy malt backbone with caramel, dry cracker, and maybe even a touch of spicy rye. Floral, herbal, and citrus hop bite at finish with juicy mango and papaya mixed in. Some pine and spruce notes as well. Pine resin flavors get more prominent with each sip. Certainly not a summer BBQ sipper, but a very solid example of the style that I would add to the rotation.

Argh…

Argh…

Foley Brothers Brewing, Skeleton Crew Imperial India Pale Ale, Brandon, VT

Folly Brothers Brewing Skeleton Crew Imperial IPA poured into a nonic pint glass.
Folly Brothers Brewing Skeleton Crew Imperial IPA.

A gift from my friend and colleague Bridget Devlin. 8.5% abv. A whopping 100 IBU.  Pours an unfiltered gold color with a fluffy white head that slowly dissipates. Fantastic Belgian lacing all around the glass. Lemon candy, pine, and orange rind on the nose with a touch of fresh cut grass. Papaya, mango, and pineapple juice flavors on first sip. Touches of floral and herbal spiciness as you move through it, but mostly juicy hop flavor. Dried apricot at finish with the slightest white pepper flavor from the relatively high alcohol content. Dry cracker and caramel malt flavors help balance it, but it is really all hops.  No real alcohol esters at all, medium bodied, smooth and thoroughly drinkable. A very enjoyable Imperial IPA.

Pick a winner…

Pick a winner…

Fort Hill Brewery, Fresh Pick IPA, Easthampton, MA

Fort Hill Brewery Fresh Pick IPA poured into a nonic pint glass.
Fort Hill Brewery Fresh Pick IPA.

7% abv. 50 IBUs. Pours a hazy gold yellow color with hefty white head that quickly dissipates. Sweet ripe mango aroma with a touch of lemon and orange zest and pine. Tropical fruit, including juicy mango and papaya on first sip with a touch of spicy white pepper. Hop flavors linger for a long time on the palate. A bread and honey sweetness at finish followed by a dryish hop bite. Medium bodied, but super drinkable at 7% abv. You do feel some slight warming in the belly about halfway through it. I have noticed a little bit of variation among batches, but this beer is delicious and a great value. I love that this brewery is producing high quality beer at an affordable price. Go find it now! For those locals out there, I have been picking it up pretty regularly at Rapid Liquors in Stoneham, MA.

This beer is bigger than giant…

This beer is bigger than giant…

Troegs Brewing Company, Nimble Giant Double IPA, Hershey, PA

Troegs Nimble Giant Double IPA poured into a nonic pint glass.
Troegs Nimble Giant Double IPA

9% abv. 16 oz can with freshness expiration date of 10/04/2017, so this can is pretty fresh. Troegs brews this once a year. Pours a dark orange color with a thick white head. Good head retention and  Belgian lace. Fresh squeezed grapefruit on the nose with a touch of white pepper. Alcohol is definitely present on the first sip, but it doesn’t taste as boozy as I thought it would. Orange zest, apricot, unripened mango, and grapefruit flavors. Pretty smooth and drinkable for the high abv. This is a dangerous beer. Grapefruit flavors become more prominent with each sip. Interesting mix of hop resin oils, yet dry at finish. Some caramel, honey, and candy sugar sweetness sneaks through as well, but it does not become cloying. This is clearly not your everyday go to beer, but it is certainly something to look forward to this time of the year.

Summertime and Smutty…

Summertime and Smutty…

Smuttynose Brewing Company, Summer IPA, Hampton, NH

Smuttynose Summer IPA poured into a nonic pint glass.
Smuttynose Summer IPA

5.5% abv. Sent as a sample from the brewery. Pours a murky, straw gold color with a thin white head. Flowers, orange rind, and pineapple on the nose. First sip is pine, clementine, and lemon zest. It is balanced by a whiff of French bread and water cracker maltiness. This is a summer quaffer with just the slightest hop spice bite at the finish. Super smooth and thirst quenching. You could drink these all day. A touch of melon and fresh berries as you move through it. This beer actually borders on a hoppy pale ale, but whatever you want to call it, I like it.

A Midsummer Night’s Beer…

A Midsummer Night’s Beer…

Bell’s Brewery, Oberon, American Wheat Ale, Comstock, MI

Bell's Oberon American Wheat Ale poured into nonic pint glass.
Bell’s Oberon American Wheat Ale.

5.8% abv. I first had this beer while attending the Museums and the Web conference in Indianapolis in 2009. I stopped in for a snack and a beer at Scotty’s Brewhouse and it paired nicely with some chips and guacamole.

I had it again tonight thanks to a beer swap with my friend George Schwartz . Bottled on 4/6/17 . Pours a murky copper gold color with a thick white head that slowly dissipates. Spicy aroma with a touch of funk and ripe banana. Great Belgian lace. Wonderful peach, apricot, and blood orange flavors. Orange zest and white pepper zip of hop spiciness. This is an American Wheat Ale with an extra punch of hop bitterness. This beer would pair equally well with a fresh fruit salad or a bratwurst, making it a perfect summer beer. It is medium bodied yet very thirst quenching. I literally drank this beer in about 10 minutes trying to rank it…that is generally a good sign of drinkability. Honestly, this is one of the finest American Wheat beers that you will find.

Medfah IPA…

Medfah IPA…

Medford Brewing Company, IPA, Medford, MA

Medford Brewing Company IPA poured into a nonic pint glass
Medford Brewing Company IPA.

7.2% abv. Pours dark gold with a thin white head. Good Belgian lace. Orange zest and spruce on the nose. Medium bodied and hearty. Plenty of hops, but some great caramel malt weight that helps balance it with some sweetness. Touches of tropical fruit, apple skin, and sweet lemon candy. Toasted cracker, dark bread, and perhaps some oat malt flavors. An herbal and spicy hop bite at finish.  A solid IPA with a great mouthfeel and drinkability despite the relatively high abv. Delicious.