Pour yourself a Frost(y) one…

Pour yourself a Frost(y) one…

Frost Beer Works, Vermont Farmhouse Ale, Hinesburg, VT

5.5% abv. 30 IBUs. A generous gift from Caroline Herr. Made with all Vermont ingredients. Pours a gorgeous iridescent straw yellow and gold color with a fluffy white head. Cloves, banana bread, peaches, and fresh ground white pepper on the nose. Sour lemon tartness with orange zest on first sip. Cloves, coriander and subtle pepper flavor follows. Ridiculously drinkable. Gets a touch drier with each sip. Fresh and fruity apricot and peach flavors linger on the tongue and sides of the gums. This is a very well-balanced beer. Really nice complexity for a low alcohol quaffer. Well done Frost Beer Works.

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.

Trick or treat…

Trick or treat…

Bissell Brothers Brewing Company, Lux Rye Ale, Portland, ME

Bissell Brothers Lux Rye Ale poured into a nonic pint glass.
Bissell Brothers Lux Rye Ale

5.1% abv. Picked up two 4 packs of this at the brewery on my way to Camden, ME. Pours a murky orangish gold with a fluffy white head. Wonderful tropical fruit aroma with mango, pineapple, apricot, and grapefruit. Dank hop notes as well. First sip is sugar coated grapefruit with great mix of tropical fruit and a mildly spicy rye bite. Dry cracker and toasted bread malt helps balance it. Thirst quenching and ridiculously drinkable. It one of those beers that you just cannot stop drinking. Touches of white pepper at finish.  This is one of the best session beers I have ever tried. I am impressed at how much flavor is packed into a beer that is only 5.1% abv. I am sad that I only have one can left!

Crash course in Cincinnati beer…

Crash course in Cincinnati beer…

 

Rhinegeist Crash, Cougar, Franz, and Truth cans in a line.
Rhinegeist Crash, Cougar, Franz, and Truth.

If you know me at all, you know that one of my favorite beers is free beer. So in full disclosure, I received a six pack of free beer from Rhinegeist Brewery in Cincinnati the other day. They are entering the Boston market and will be touring New England with some host taps at a few local spots. On September 27th they will be at Naumkeag Ordinary in Salem, MA. I am sure they will have all kinds of swag. Their logo is fun and I bet it looks good on a t-shirt. Here are the other stops in the area:

rhinegeist_launch-week_poster

The beers were all solid, but my favorite was the Crash Pale Ale.

Rhinegeist Brewery, Crash Pale Ale, Cincinnati, OH

Rheingeist Brewery Crash Pale Ale
Rheingeist Brewery Crash Pale Ale

5.4% abv. 44 IBU. About 3 weeks old. Two cans free from the brewery. Pours darkish gold with a nice white head. Good Belgian lace. Gorgeous floral, citrus, and tropical fruit notes on the nose. Damn this smells good. Wonderful mouthfeel. First sip is apricot, lemon zest, mango, and ripe peach. Aggressively hopped, but balanced by a dry cracker and subtle caramel malt profile.  Excessively drinkable session beer with tons of flavor. They sent me 4 different beers, but 6 of these would have been just fine with me. Hoppy but well-balanced and a beer I’d love to have again.

Find it, buy it, drink it…rinse, repeat…

Find it, buy it, drink it…rinse, repeat…

Nightshift Brewing Company, Whirlpool, American Pale Ale, Everett, MA

4.5% abv. Pours a murky yellow gold color with a nice white head. Good lace. Very pleasant citrus and floral hop aromas. First sip has a crisp hop bite that is quickly balanced by a sweet cracker malt flavor. Just the lightest touch of caramel malt. Some grapefruit, mango, and peach. Ridiculously smooth. This may be the ideal summer BBQ beer, of course I am reviewing it in February! Hop flavors linger on the back of the throat and gums. This is an excellent beer. Find it, buy it, drink it…rinse, repeat.

Give this one a whirl…

Give this one a whirl…

Victory Brewing Company, Whirlwind Witbier, Downington, PA

I first had this 13 years ago and it looks like the label has gotten a facelift. 5.1% abv. I really love the aroma. Belgian yeast gives it an authentic witbier smell and taste. Excellent carbonation and amazingly refreshing mouthfeel that is incredibly suited to summer backyard BBQ sessions. Subtle but complex flavors include black pepper, clove, coriander, wheat crust, and a touch of lemon and orange zest at finish. This really is an excellent American witbier. Pair it up with some savory sausages or sweet Belgian waffles, you can’t go wrong either way.

Take it easy…

Take it easy…

Easy Jack IPA, Firestone Walker Brewing Company, Paso Robles, CA

4.5% abv. About a one month old bottle. It has a light and refreshing floral, citrus, and fresh cut grass hop aroma. First sip let’s you know that this is not your average session beer. Hops are fully present in each sip. Delicate water cracker or light wheat bread malt profile. Hops tingle the gums and bouncy around the palate. I have now had this on draft and in the bottle and both are excellent. This is a certain go to beer for summer BBQs and post lawn mowing hydration. It is a session beer, but it is better than many of bigger IPAs out there. I have a few more in the fridge and I think I will save them for a pairing with some brats on 4th of July. You really cannot go wrong with this brewery.

The best session IPA I have ever tasted…

The best session IPA I have ever tasted…

Maine Beer Company, Beer II, Freeport, ME

4.7% abv. This one was bottled on 5/29/15 making it about 2 weeks old. You can smell the grapefruit as you pop the cap. Damn this smells good. First sip is fresh grapefruit juice and lemon sugar candy. It is ridiculously fresh. Wonderful tropical flavors as swell, with pineapple and a little fresh mango. This is the best session IPA I have ever had. It has a great hop aroma and flavor, but there is just enough malt sweetness to balance it a little. Don’t get me wrong, it is still a hop heads delight. Goes down crazy fast. The folks at Maine Beer Company really have a hard time doing anything wrong.