Sunday, April 27, 2008

What Is In My Fridge

What Is In My Fridge is a segment that I have been meaning to launch. You can expect to see some pretty decent beers here that I have found at local liquor stores in the past few weeks. I enjoyed a strong bunch this session...

Founders Devil Dancer Triple IPA
Bottle -- Gordon's, Waltham
picturesque ruby amber pour with a huge sweet, citrus aroma up front. a staggering 200 international bitterness units (IBU). sweet, caramel malts and 13% abv attempt to balance this one. i found a ton of similarities to a barleywine here... and while i appreciate the complexity, devil dancer isn't something that i would buy again at $3 a bottle.
Appearance: 4/5, Aroma: 8/10, Flavor: 6/10, Palate: 3/5, Overall: 9/20, Total: 3.0
Score: 6

Founders Reds Rye
Bottle -- Gordon's, Waltham
fresh, earthy hops overwhelm nostrils. very pleasant taste when citrus, piney hops meet caramel and rye malts (this is the best use of rye i have encountered.) bitter finish... distinctive pacific northwest hops were definitely used here. a very enjoyable beer.
App: 4/5, Aro: 9/10, Flv: 9/10, Pal: 4/5, Ovr: 15/20, Tot: 4.1
Score: 9

Magic Hat Roxy Rolles
Bottle -- Cardoza's, Dartmouth
dark, hazy amber with bold, fresh, earthy hops. some malts give fuller body, and i can detect both sweet and sour flavors. there is a tempered bitterness at the end, but a very well crafted beer.
App: 3/5, Aro: 7/10, Flv: 8/10, Pal: 4/5, Ovr: 14/20, Tot: 3.6
Score: 8

Middle Ages Kilt Tilter
750 ml -- Discount Liquor's, Brockton
dark brown and opaque with huge sudsy head. malts, sweet molasses, a little smoke and a little alcohol. thin, syrupy and warm in mouth.
App: 2/5, Aro: 5/10, Flv: 4/10, Pal: 1/5, Ovr: 10/20, Tot: 2.2
Score: 4

Sam Adams Scotch Ale
Bottle -- Cardoza's, Fairhaven
sweet malts on nose. smokiness is present both here and on taste. a little too sweet for me, but pretty true to style.
App: 3/5, Aro: 6/10, Flv: 7/10, Pal: 4/5, Ovr: 12/20, Tot: 3.2
Score: 7

Wachusett Winter Ale
Bottle -- Cardoza's, Fairhaven
i was very surprised at the degree to which chocolate dominated this aroma. otherwise, a clear amber pour with big, billowy head and ample lacing. toasted caramel malts, nuts, cherries, and limited sweetness present in taste. medium-bodied and tingles toungue. very drinkable, very solid.
App: 4/5, Aro: 6/10, Flv: 3/10, Pal: 2/5, Ovr: 11/20, Total: 3.1
Score: 7

Weyerbacher Winter Ale
Bottle -- Cardoza's, Dartmouth
malts, alcohol, and a little chocolate on aroma. kind of a muddled taste: cocoa, raisins, alcohol, roasty, bready. not sure what they were driving at here.
App: 2/5, Aro: 6/10, Flv: 3/10, Pal: 2/5, Ovr: 7/20, Tot: 2.0
Score: 4

Leader of the pack:
Bear Republic Big Bear Black Stout
750 ml -- Cardoza's, Dartmouth
wow, this was one of the best beers i have ever had! jet black pour with a nice one finger tan head. you can tell right away this one was made on the west coast: expected sweet chocolate and roasted malts is easily matched by pungent hops on both aroma and taste. medium mouthfeel and so incredibly creamy and smooth that you really don't catch a glimpse of the 8% abv. absolutely perfect balance here, exactly what an imperial stout should be. the only thing that kept this from a perfect rating was a sweetness in the smell that bordered on syrupyness. but seriously, find this one.
App: 5/5, Aro: 9/10, Flv: 10/10, Pal: 5/5, Ovr: 19/20, Tot: 4.8
Score: 10

Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Gift of Beer

So my friends have caught on that I enjoy microbrewed beer. As a result I have been receiving some really excellent beers for special occasions like my birthday, anniversary, and suffering through an entire Bruins game. Thank you all, and keep them coming!

Great Divide Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout
750 ml -- Cardoza's
motor oil black with thin tan head. aroma of citrus hops and vanilla. very bitter pine/citrus hops, alcohol, burned chocolate, vanilla, oak, little spicy, roasted coffee. well balanced. acidic with lively bitterness, creamy, heavy mouthfeel. one of the most complex, interesting beers i have ever had. great pick, kelly.
App: 5/5, Aro: 10/10, Flv: 9/10, Pal: 4/5, Ovr: 15/20, Tot: 4.3
Score: 9

Dogfish Head Red and White
750 ml -- Cardoza's, Fall River hazy, reddish-orange pour with suspended yeast clearly visible. minimal, quickly dissipating head, but still fairly lively mouthfeel. aroma dominated by belgian yeast, with some background fruit and spice. taste is typical of a belgian beer: alcohol, banana, and sourness. overall i found the wine presence to be very minor; although i (finally) picked up on some oakiness. ultimately, this is belgian beer, and a fine one.
App: 5/5, Aro: 7/10, Flv: 8/10, Pal: 4/5, Ovr: 14/20, Tot: 3.8
Score: 8

Hoppin Frog BORIS The Crusher
750 ml -- Gordon's, Waltham
i had never even heard of this ohio brewer until dan picked up a couple of bottles at his excellent local store. to begin with, awesome name: Bodacious Oatmeal Russian Imperial Stout, or BORIS. intimidating pour with rich aroma of burnt oats, coffee, and chocolate. taste couldn't quite match the aroma, and i guess i expect more of a hop presence in my imperial stouts. still, a very powerful brew.
App: 5/5, Aro: 10/10, Flv: 8/10, Pal: 4/5, Ovr: 15/20, Tot: 4.2
Score: 9

Hoppin Frog Mean Manalishi
750 ml -- Gordon's, Waltham
while the imperial stout had received a perfect rating, i actually found the double ipa to be the stronger of the two. i almost wrote this one off too, after an almost insulting amount of hops on the nose. however, on the taste some sweet, caramel malts balanced this one very nicely. bitterness checked on finish, but very dry. an unusually drinkable double ipa. App: 4/5, Aro: 9/10, Flv: 10/10, Pal: 4/5, Ovr: 17/20, Tot: 4.4
Score: 10

Rogue Shakespeare Stout
750 ml -- OREGON
notes: dark black... hops up front... excellent provider... superb transporter... perfect for occasions (27th birthday!)... bitter chocolate/coffee... watery... hey, someone tampered with my notes!! seriously though, huge thanks to my provider for bringing this eagerly anticipated beer all the way from oregon! you rule, dunphee.
App: 4/5, Aro: 6/10, Flv: 7/10, Pal: 2/5, Ovr: 11/20, Tot: 3.0
Score: 7

Smuttynose Winter Ale
Bottle -- New Hampshire
thanks to sherm for leaving a case of this at my house. lots of sweetness and spice in aroma. malts, banana, and alcohol are most easily apparent to taste buds. i gave extra points for the effective use of trappist yeast, which i've never seen in a winter. i'd recommend this one.
App: 3/5, Aro: 8/10, Flv: 7/10, Pal: 3/5, Ovr: 14/20, Tot: 3.5
Score: 7

And the winner is...
Allagash Grand Cru
750 ml -- Cardoza's, North Dartmouth
picturesque golden-orange with big frothy head and big rising bubbles. aroma of yeast, sweetness, and cough syrup. taste is pretty sweet and fruity, but dialed back with some smooth malts. very lively, dry and chalky... almost chewy. a very unique, well made beer. well done once again, ms. warch.
Appearance: 5/5, Aroma: 8/10, Flavor: 9/10, Palate: 5/5, Overall: 18/20, Total: 4.5
Score: 10

Thursday, April 24, 2008

G.I.S.B.F. Part III

Berkshire Traditional Pale Ale
aroma and flavor contain a lot of sweet, caramel malts for a pale ale. not bad, but not what i expected at all.
Score: 7

Brooklyn Brown Ale
earthy, nutty, roasty. very good texture. come to think of it, this is the best offerings from brooklyn that i have had yet.
Score: 8

Brooklynator Doppelbock
i still haven't warmed up to this style and couldn't get past those distinctive belgian malts. too sweet as well.
Score: 5

Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter
the hops really jump out at you on this one... definitely overboard. lots of harsh alcohol and smokiness, almost a tar-like flavor. i can't believe it is rated at 98% on
Score: 5

Flying Dog In-Heat Wheat
typical wheat flavor and flat. poor.
Score: 2

Ipswich Summer Ale
wheat and yeasty aroma. also a few hops and some fruit in flavor. light body - no doubt by design - but still kind of weak.
Score: 4

Magic Hat Hi.P.A.
citrus hops are much more present in aroma than flavor. pretty middle of the road.
Score: 7

Mayflower Porter
a very typical, roasty porter. this is the second offering i have had from mayflower and both have been solid but played it very safe...
Score: 7

Newport Storm Henry (Cyclone Series)
okay, so i have been duly unimpressed by newport to this point, but have heard good things about their annual limited release and cyclone series. henry is the first cyclone i have tried, and i was surprised at the extent that sweet molasses were present for a strong ale. better.
Score: 6

Olde Burnside Dirty Penny
this black and tan was a mix of their scottish ale and stout. very dark pour with full aroma of roasted coffee and chocolate. very tasty with great balance of malts and bitter hops. one of my favorites of the day.
Score: 9

Olde Burnside Ten Penny Ale
you could tell on the pour that this was an unusual scottish ale; it was just too light. flavor dominated by bready malts with some accompanying bitterness. however, it's lacking the sweetness normally found in this style. still not bad though.
Score: 6

Orlio Organic Black Lager
now my notes from the show have the word citrus underlined, but i am not seeing anything about citrus hops from my fellow raters on perhaps it was a little too late in the afternoon for me to rank this one effectively...
Score: 5

Otter Creek Otter San
i was suckered in to this one after reading something in the commercial description about sake being used. in reality, all i could identify here was a general skunkiness...
Score: 3

Paper City Batch 108 / Coffee Porter
aroma of burnt coffee. hops emerge to create rich flavor. smooth yet chalky texture. a very respectable offering of one of my favorite styles.
Score: 8

Paper City Blonde Hop Monster
floral, citrus hops with sharp bitterness characterize aroma and taste. i deducted points since a little too much alcohol came through for an imperial ipa.
Score: 8

Paper City One Eared Monkey
tastes very much like peach juice, or even cheap champagne with all of that carbonation... exceptionally bad.
Score: 2

Paper City PC Blue
you know what jumped out at me about this one? pepper. not what i am looking for.
Score: 2

Pennichuck Bagpipers Scottish Ale
sweet and smoky. kind of a wierd taste.
Score: 5

Pennichuck Black Lager
this i liked much better. smoked gouda is what comes to mind, with some good complementing bitterness. very smooth body.
Score: 8

Pennichuck Engine No. 5 Firehouse Red Ale
a pretty bitter amber... i don't believe this is really a red. a little too light bodied in my opinion.
Score: 6

Pennichuck Halligan RyePA
an extreme ipa. rye is relegated to background. pretty dry. not bad at all.
Score: 7

Sherwood Forest Archers Ale
apparently this is an english pale ale... i don't think i've had one of these. fairly bland wheat and malts. eh.
Score: 5

Sherwood Forest Sheriffs IPA
strong, floral hops rule the day here. very solid, if slightly typical.
Score: 8

Stone Coast Knuckleball Bock
malty, with a bit of coffee somewhere in there... watery and weak though.
Score: 4

Stone Coast 840 IPA
a double ipa. very hoppy and high in alcohol... but overall a nice flavor.
Score: 8

Stone Coast Sunsplash Golden Ale
watery... who would have guessed it with a name like sunsplash?
Score: 2

The Tap Bock
this was the only beer from the tap that i hadn't tried. malts that should be expected in a bock along with some coffee... solid, as always.
Score: 7

Trinity Brown Ale
reddish brown with subdued aroma. nuts, chocolate, and i think they used belgian yeast in this one... good but not great.
Score: 6

Union Station (John Harvard's) Belgian Tripel
golden pour with appropriate thin white head. sickeningly sweet, like candy, cotton candy. also present is fruit, spice, and bread. kind of a simplistic tripel... not a great first impression from john harvard.
Score: 4

Woodstock Inn Pigs Ear Brown Ale
i wanted to like this one more than i did. nice malts, but very, very watery.
Score: 5

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

G.I.S.B.F. Part II (By Guest Blogger Dan Cedrone)

These types of events don't happen nearly as often as they should. For 4 hours last weekend, Josh and I wandered throughout a gigantic auditorium with notebooks, cups, and two increasingly irritated girls in tow, sampling from hundreds of brews all over the New England region, and even a few outside of it. All in all, I think it was a great event and had me walking out with a few brews in mind to search for at my local liquor stores.

So when Josh asked me if I wanted to add my own post on his blog about my thoughts from the Providence Beer Festival, I jumped at the chance. I reviewed my notes from the afternoon and, after quite some time, was finally able to whittle down a list of my top 10 brews from the event.

Before I reveal my favorites, I wanted to quickly explain what I based my rankings on. I kept my system as simple as possible especially compared to the one Josh uses to rate on this site. You should make sure to read all of his rankings if you want more detailed analysis of each beer as I'm sure he will be covering all of my top 10. For my system, I switched things around a little and focused on 4 factors.

1. Taste: A few quick notes about the flavors is obviously necessary.
2. Uniqueness: I didn't come here to sample Samuel Adams Boston Lager. Show me something different. Make me want to come back to your brewery.
3. Dedication to Style: I know everyone has their own preferences and interpretations of styles but there is a difference between being creative and straying from the whole concept. Don't hand me a citrus lightly hopped ale and tell me it's an IPA.
4. Boldness: What I mean by this is that you should take some chances. Especially at an event like this. If you tried a new twist on a Scottish Ale that didn't quite work, or put a few too many hops in your Double IPA, I'm going to be more impressed with that than if you perfected your already popular golden lager. Don't look at this festival as an advertising gimmick. It's a talent show. Let me see what you can do.

Keeping these 4 things in mind, I put together my list of favorites. So let's count them down starting with.......

10. Pennichuck Rye Pale Ale, Milford, NH: Crisp, bitter, and a very interesting pumpernickel taste. I liked this one because it was different enough to walk away remembering.

9. Stone Coast 840 IPA, Portland, ME: I had to throw Josh a bone here and include at least one brew from Maine. This one had a nice amount of hops along with some light citrus notes. The flavors did a good job of masking the 8.5% alcohol content in this one.

8. The Tap Chocolate Porter, Haverhill, MA: Rich and creamy dark chocolate tastes. Jet black color. This was a wonderfully crafted porter. Served to me by a guy I used to play hockey with in high school 10 years ago. Even though I grew up in Haverhill and my family is still there, this was actually the first taste of beer from The Tap for me.

7. Trinity Brown Lager, Providence, RI: I appreciated brewers like Trinity who showed up with different and unique brews unlike some of the cop outs who showed up with well known flagship beers *cough cough Sam Adams cough*. This beer was a bold move on the brewer's part. You often see brewers erring more on the side of caution (weak IPA's, watery stouts) but rarely do you get to try something in which the brewer decided to push the envelope a little. I thought this was pretty dark and extra bitter for a brown ale. Overall pretty unusual but that made me add a few bonus points here especially since it was really quite good. Trinity seems to take chances. I like that.

6. Paper City Coffeehouse Porter, Holyoke, MA: I had only tried a few brews from Paper City before and the ones I had tried were all lighter beers. That said, I was delighted to find such a dark and rich porter from them. Always good to see brewers who skillfully brew such a wide variety. A few complaints I overheard about this one was that the coffee taste was too burnt but I disagree. Charred roasted flavors really brought this one out.

5. Olde Burnside Dirty Penny, Hartford, CT: A Black and Tan Mixture of the Ten Penny Scottish Ale and their Stout brew. I thought this had a great texture to it with nice malt tastes. An excellent choice for them to bring along and something I'm sure the serious beer drinkers appreciated.

4. Berkshire Coffeehouse Porter, South Deerfield, MA: This brewer has really grown on me lately as I often find many of its varieties available. This is the best brew of theirs that I have had. I love coffeehouse porters and this one packs in as much roasted coffee flavor as possible. Beautiful deep brown color, thick texture and some nice complementing malts.

3. Trinity Russian Imperial Stout, Providence, RI: One of the challenges in finding a good Imperial Stout is the alcohol content. The style calls for a high ABV with a strong presence of alcohol, but brewers walk that fine line between strong and overpowering. I thought Trinity did a solid job of making a flavorful stout that mixed well with the alcohol and complemented it nicely. Chocolate notes, bitter finish, and some interesting earthy tones that win this one my "Best Cigar Brew".

2. The Tap Leatherlips IPA, Haverhill, MA: The event showcased a lot of IPA's that fell short of their advertised hop experience. I was thrilled to finally find this one. Some slight citrus notes, and a wonderfully strong bitter taste of hops. This superb brew fell just short of #1 on my list and was easily the best IPA at the show.

1. Olde Burnside Reserve, Hartford, CT: A much heavier and creamier version of their Scottish Ale. Great roasted malts, a little bit of caramel, and a faint smoky taste. This brew was unique, creative, and absolutely delicious. I have never considered Hartford to be a city that brought anything to the table. However, I now plan on visiting the good people of Connecticut very soon.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Great International Spring Beer Festival Part I

This past weekend I attended the Great International Spring Beer Festival at the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence. There were approximately 35 brewers with a couple hundred beers. $35 bought us entrance and unlimited samples. It was pretty awesome.

And as much fun as it was, I was a little surprised at how young the crowd and exhibitioners were... perhaps I shouldn't have been. But nevertheless, I was hoping for a few more people who were serious about beer to be in attendance. Which brings me to the first of what will be several posts about this momentous occasion.

Today I would like to share some overall impressions of the brewers present, looking at who impressed me and who didn't. All I was really looking for was a brewer to bring some good beers, some well-crafted beers, some adventurous beers. Some brewers did it right, others didn't. Next will be a guest post from fellow attendee, Dan Cedrone, of And our last installment will be my ranking of the 30 new beers that I sampled.

The Good

1) Olde Burnside- Black and tan. Scottish ale. Private reserve. Now those are the kind of beers that you should bring to a beer festival. Not to mention that their taps were hooked up through the wall of their purple minivan. Very cool.

2) Pennichuck- Black lager, red ale, scottish ale, rye pale ale. I was excited to finally find these guys from New Hampshire, and with good reason.

3) Paper City- Their Hop Monster and Coffee Porter were two of the best beers of the night. Well done.

4) Trinity Brewing- These were the most passionate guys in the whole place (and I liked that they had the hops and malts they used at the show.) Big points for serving their Russian Imperial Stout too.

5) Brooklyn- Their brown ale was the best one I had at the whole festival. And while I didn't like it, a Dopplebock is exactly the kind of beer that a brewer should be serving.

6) Orlio Organic- Only organic brewer at the show. And it was drinkable too.

7) Victory- I had tried all four of the beers they brought, but they were all good ones. Probably the best brewer present.

8) Woodstock Inn Brewery- One of the few exhibitors to actually strike up a conversation with us. Neat place that I had never heard of.

9) Berkshire Brewing Co.- One of my favorite local brewers.

10) The Tap- They are from Haver Hill. Need I say more?

The Bad

1) Sam Adams- I am not surprised that they topped this list. Stubbornly, arrogantly, they brought their atrocious Cherry Wheat to the show. We wanted Utopias!

2) Buzzards Bay- Not only did they only bring their two boring flagships, but they taunted us by displaying several harder to find and more interesting beers... and refusing to serve them. Not to mention that they were also poorly brewed.

3) Heineken- "Dude, the girls there are so HOT. If you don't go there you are totally gay." This conversation with a fratboy in the restroom pretty much says it all. Seriously, why were the macros even invited?

4) Sierra Nevada- Only offered their four widely available, very basic, flagship beers. You traveled from California for this? I was excited to try something different of theirs too.

5) Guinness- Guinness. Smithwicks. Smirnoff Ice Light. Smirnoff Strawberry. Smirnoff Mojito. Are you kidding me? Although those Mojitos did keep the girls quiet for a bit...

6) Flying Dog- Sub par, over-hyped beers, as always.

7) Magic Hat- Another one I was looking forward to, but they only had two offerings. Weak.

8) Shipyard- Nothing exciting here.

9) Long Trail- Ditto.

10) Cottrell- I know you only brew one beer, but why even show up here?

Saturday, April 5, 2008

New Brewers

It is always exciting to try a brewer for the first time. Obviously, when the first beer is a good one, I will search out other offerings from the brewer in the future. Of this group of east coast brewers, I will probably go back to Clipper City, HeBrew, and Cottrell, in that order.

Clipper City Heavy Seas Loose Cannon Hop3, MD
Sample-- Yesterday's, Newport, RI
clear copper with measured head. floral, piney hops found in both aroma and flavor. some spice and hides 7+% alcohol well. balancing malts are present, but hops are still a little over-the-top.
Score: 8

HeBrew Messiah Bold, NY
Bottle -- People's Liquor Warehouse, Fall River
aroma of toasted malts, cocoa, and something else i can't pick up. detect molasses and chocolate in taste, with a surprising degree of hop bitterness. very good flavor for a brown ale.
Score: 7

Hook and Ladder Golden Ale, MA
Sample -- Yesterday's, Newport
pours a hazy gold with very thin head. grass and bread on nose. bitter start overtaken by sweet corn. that said, i am really reaching on all of this. very light and boring overall.
Score: 3

Mayflower Pale Ale, MA
Tap -- Union Brewhouse, Weymouth
this pale ale is all about the hops. fruity on the nose and bitter on the taste. not bad at all, but kind of one dimensional.
Score: 7

Mendocino Red Tail Ale, NY
Bottle -- Union Brewhouse, Weymouth
a brownish-red amber ale with muted grain aroma. sort of bland but there is some saving bitterness in there. drinkable enough but a little confused...
Score: 5

St. John Brewers Virgin Islands Pale Ale, ME
Sample-- Yesterday's, Newport
so brewers from massachusetts moved to the virgin islands to open a brewpub but their beer is actually brewed in maine. strange. anyways, you can't miss the mangoes in this one. i don't really like mangoes, and i certainly don't like them in my beer.
Score: 2

Best of the bunch:
Cottrell Old Yankee Ale, CT
Tap -- Union Brewhouse, Weymouth
my first connecticut beer. dark amber pour with heavy malt aroma. toasted and sweet malts on taste, with bitter hop finish. loved the balance on this one.
Score: 8

Friday, April 4, 2008

Birthday Weekend

I had a reunion with some very good friends last weekend, which also happened to be my birthday. Drinking ensued, and over the course of our tour around Massachusetts, we visited three of my favorite local brewers. Here we go!

Northampton Pale Ale
Sampler -- Northampton Brewery
orangey color, muted aroma, sweet caramel malts and piney hops in taste. well balanced.
Score: 8

Northampton Redheaded Stepchild
Sampler -- Northampton Brewery
an irish ale that pours a reddish-amber. caramel malts and fruity hops, but this is still kind of bland.
Score: 6

Northampton Steamer
Sampler -- Northampton Brewery
a hybrid lager-ale. golden and cloudy. flavor is of sharp, citrus hops and grains. very smooth.
Score: 7

Northampton Black Cat Stout
Sampler -- Northampton Brewery
aroma dominated by roasted malts, taste by dark chocolate. silky, smooth texture. underwhelming.
Score: 6

Northampton Old Brown Dog
Sampler -- Northampton Brewery
nutty. weak.
Score: 6

Northampton Maggies Wee Heavy
Sampler -- Northampton Brewery
expected sweet malts in aroma. what i didn't expect was a note of coffee in the taste... which worked for me. overall though the taste is characterized by sweetness and alcohol. of the six beers i sampled at northampton brewpub, this was my favorite.
Score: 8

Berkshire Steel Rail Extra Pale Ale
Sampler -- Northampton Brewery
as pale as advertised. light hops and sweetness on the nose. also some fruitty overtones in the flavor and kind of watery.
Score: 4

Berkshire Draymens Porter
Bottle -- Chicopee
a standard porter. roasted coffee bordering on burnt and some chocolate/cocoa flavor. a little thin in consistency but very enjoyable overall.
Score: 8

The Tap Chocolate Porter Pint -- The Tap, Haverhill
disclaimer: i was probably already drunk by the time i arrived at the tap, so my notes are brief, i.e. nonexistent. however, i remember this as a very flavorful, enjoyable porter, if a little watery.
Score: 8

The Tap Irish Stout Pint -- The Tap, Haverhill
not as good as the porter. alcohol makes its presence known. that said, i am not entirely convinced this beer is called irish stout...
Score: 7

The Tap Hewitt Brown
Growler -- The Tap, Haverhill
good aroma of malts with hint of coffee. both found in flavor as well, although it is a little watery. it is bland, but has more character than most brown's.
Score: 6

Best of the bunch:
Berkshire Lost Sailor India Pale Ale
Growler -- Chicopee
hazy golden-orange with great lacing. the biggest flaw in this one was the nearly absent aroma... all i could pick up on is some fruitiness. the hops are also understated in the taste, with an unusually dull bitterness for an ipa. nevertheless, i really liked this one, and think its simplicity might make this a great starter beer.
Score: 8

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

LongShot v. LongShot

I generally stand up for Sam Adams as I find their beers err on the side of drinkability... not a bad thing. And while I do have my share of problems with the brewer, I also really like their American Homebrew Contest. They decided on eight winners, brewed up their winning beers, and released them in limited quantities. My friend Dan and I pitted the LongShot Grape Pale Ale against the LongShot Weizenbock. It wasn't a fair fight.

Sam Adams LongShot Grape Pale Ale
Bottle -- People's Liquor Warehouse, Fall River
fresh (but minor) aroma of raisins/grapes and some grassy hops. grape-apple taste, with kind of sour finish... much more subtle than most fruit beers. thin body and very lively on lips. i wasn't impressed.
Appearance: 3/5 Aroma: 3/10 Flavor: 4/10 Palate: 2/5 Overall: 6/20 Total: 1.8
Score: 3

Sam Adams LongShot Weizenbock
Bottle -- People's Liquor Warehouse, Fall River
pours hazy brown with two fingers of frothy off-white head. on the first whiff i was nearly knocked over by distinctive german yeast. on closer inspection spice, sweetness, and banana emerge. all of these elements are found alongside toasted wheat taste, as well as a very strong presence of alcohol. very complex, very good.
Appearance: 4/5 Aroma: 9/10 Flavor: 8/10 Palate: 5/5 Overall: 16/20 Total: 4.2
Score: 9

Winner: Sam Adams LongShot Weizenbock