Monday, October 31, 2011

Great Pumpkin Ale Festival 2011

Cambridge Brewing Company went ahead with their Great Pumpkin Ale Festival again this year, pouring rain and freezing temperatures and all. After an hour-and-a-half in line, we were definitely ready for some pumpkin beer!

CBC provided an especially inspired array of pumpkin beer options, highlighted by a mole infused, cask conditioned Irish Stout, El Mariachi (8), well-balanced tripel, Kraftwerk (9), and a 2008-vintage wild ale, The O.P.P. (8). Other solid new offerings included Friends with Benefits (6), Valley Ghoul (6), and Biere du Gourde (5). (The brewpub's pumpkin-inclusive food menu was solid as ever too -- I went for the hushpuppies, risoto with duck confit, and shared the whoopie pies and fried pumpkin pie.)

The beer I made a bee-line for upon entering though was New Belgium's Kick (10), a wonderfully drinkable sour. The last beer of the night, Allagash Ghoulschip (9), another sour, was almost equally impressive. The distinction as most unique beer of the night, however, goes to the dark and citrusy, Stone La Citrueille Celeste de Citricado (9).

There were traditional pumpkin's
(Nogne Pumpkin (8), Iron Hill Ichabod Imperial Pumpkin Ale (7), Martha's Exchange Pumpkinweizen (6), and Sixpoint Autumnation (6)), pumpkin's with a twist (Stewart's Mischief Night (6), Elysian Hansel & Gretel (6), and Elysian Kurbitinus Pumpkin Dunkelhefeweizenbock (4)), and the pumpkin's that just didn't work (Elysian Coche de Medianoche (3) and Silver City Punk Rauchen (3)). We didn't even get to them all; next year I will be returning for Avery Rumpkin, The Bruery Autumn Maple, Watch City Pie-Eyed Pumpkin Ale, Wormtown Pumpkin Ale, and Zero Gravity's Cornucopia. Consider it yourself.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The rich get richer

As if Cambridge/Somerville wasn't already the capital of good beer in Massachusetts, Davis Square recently opened another top notch beer bar. Five Horses Tavern is every bit the classy, polished bar you would expect, with lots of black leather, a copper bar, and stone fireplace. The menu was impressive and I absolutely loved the spicy, pork belly tacos with pickled red onion. With 36 rotating taps and another 80 bottles, Five Horses has all the credentials of a beer destination.

I started off with the Cape Ann Homeport Honey Pale (7). I am a sucker for any small batch made with local ingredients. Nice looking beer with balanced, subtle nose. Caramel malts and honey provide a sweetness that is pleasant, but not overbearing. Well done. Next up: Brewdog Zeitgeist Black Lager (5). Schwarzbier's are quickly climbing the rankings of my favorite styles, with that wonderful ability to provide the best of both worlds -- hoppy and dark. Once again, Brewdog fails to meet expectations but rather than going over the top, this one is a little watery. No regrets though.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Cyclone's brewin'

Newport Storm Cyclone Series Ryan
special thanks once again to laura and company for getting this beer to me ahead of the release date! ryan is a rye beer brewed with amarillo hops. pours a translucent red with lacing that lasts well enough. hoppy citrusy nose with a little breadiness. flavor is definitely spicy, with healthy citrus hop bite. smooth and medium bodied. well hidden 8% abv. an inspired rye and nice summer beer.
Score: 8

Friday, October 7, 2011

Providence Craft Beer Week #2

I am pleased to report that the second annual Providence Craft Beer Festival went off successfully this week! The ProJo had a good rundown of all the weeks events. While I missed out on most of the fun, I did at least make it down Thursday night -- thanks to some coaxing by friend and fellow-beer-enthusiast, Meredith.

The Avery hosted Pretty Things, brewers Dann and Martha Paquette, and gave away some pretty awesome free swag. I got a bottle of their flavorful, well-executed December 6th, 1855 EIP (8), or East India Porter. Julian's devoted several taps and a cask to Smuttynose. I started off with the always-exquisite Big A IPA, before moving to the cask-conditioned Winter Ale (8). An unusual dubbel, but refreshingly drinkable winter seasonal. The rest of my party discovered some pretty awesome beers as well: Smuttynose Really Old Brown Dog Ale (6), Smuttynose Homunculus (9), Smuttynose Imperial Stout (8), and Stone 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA (7). Now how can you beat that?