Monthly Archives: October 2012

335. Hill Farmstead Abner

If you have been following my blog posts recently you know that I really enjoy a good imperial / double IPA and Hill Farmstead makes many of my favorites. Unlike most brewers Hill has a number of pale ales, IPAs and imperial / double IPAs each with a slightly different flavor profile. Abner is similar to Ephraim but not quite as big at 8.2% ABV (Ephraim is 9.8%).

As you can tell from the photo the beer is a great orange color with a nice white head. If you want to see the bigger version of this picture just click on it. The smell is everything I love in a beer; big citrus, grapefruit, tropical aromas and even a hint of pine. This is the type of beer you can smell from 5 feet away. Taste has huge amounts of hops with everything you got in the smell coming through in all its flavor. There is also just enough sweet and bitterness to real the hops in.

The finish is a bit sticky which you would expect from a beer with such a big hop profile. Overall I really enjoyed this beer and for some this may actually be better than Ephraim due to the slightly reduced ABV, for me if the beer is able to contain the alcohol I say go for it. Love this beer and looking forward to more from Hill Farmstead in the near future. 
Pros:
Huge hop aroma, taste
Cons: 
Alcohol Content: 8.2% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): 170
Rating: ★★★★
Brewers Website: Hill Farmstead
Brewers Description: Abner (1867-1953) is our great grandfather; Hill Farmstead Brewery rests upon the land that was once home to him and his fourteen children.  In his honor, this Double IPA is dutifully crafted from American malted barley, a plethora of American hops, our ale yeast and water from Abner’s well.  It is unfiltered, naturally carbonated, and double dry hopped.  Aromatic and flowery, bursting with notes of citrus and pine, this is the ale that I dream to have shared with Abner.  8.2%, 18.5º P, 170 Theoretical ibus. Ingredients: Pale and Caramel Malt; Dextrose; Centennial, Chinook, Columbus, Simcoe, and Warrior hops; Ale Yeast, and our Well Water.

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334. Throwback Brewery Spicy Bohemian

After trying the Rhubarb Wit and the Hog Happy Hefe  I knew I needed to find Throwback’s Spicy Bohemian as I love spice and beer. Ended up grabbing 3 bottles at The Drinkery in Londonderry, New Hampshire a few weeks ago. I shared one bottle with a friend and opened another on my birthday. The third bottle was saved for this review.

This is a seasonal beer from Throwback only available in Summer/Fall so if you want to try it find a bottle soon or you will have to wait until next year. Beer pours a clean yellow with a thick white head, exactly what a pilsener should look like. Jalapenos are really strong in the aroma, no surprise there, however I was surprised at the freshness of the smell. The flavor has plenty of jalapeno taste but not too heavy on the spice. There is also a mild sweetness from the malts. Finish is clean with a mild heat.

I had no idea what to expect with this one as a chile beer is something entirely new for me but its no surprise that Throwback did a great job with this beer. The jalapeno is there in the aroma and taste but it works well with the beer. Throwback took a style of beer known to be bland and literally spiced it up.
Pros: Appearance aroma and taste
Cons:
Alcohol Content: 4.8% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): 40
Rating: ★★★★☆
Brewers Website: Throwback Brewery
Description: We took our pilsener and “dry-hopped” it with roasted jalapenos.  The result is a well-balanced beer with a very intoxicating peppery-type aroma, great jalapeno flavor, and just a bit of lingering heat.

This is a seasonal beer, so watch for it from mid-Summer to early Fall.

Pairing: This beer pairs extremely well with sushi, any type of Mexican food, as well as hard cheeses.

Local ingredients include: Pilsen malt grown organically at Lake Shore Farms (St. David, ME) & malted by Valley Malt in Hadley, MA. Willamette hops grown organically at Foothill Hops Farm (Madison County, NY).

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333. Rising Tide Entrepôt

Rising Tide makes some great beer and with their recent expansion and increased capacity they have been able to experiment a bit more. Heather made a hefeweizen for the Craft Beer Comes to Boothbay festival, they recently brewed a coffee porter called Tempest and now a “warehouse ale”. This is their first Saison style beer and it is a nice addition to their line up.

The beer is quite clear with a thin white head that has very good retention. Aroma is typical of a saison with some yeast and spice – nothing special but certainly pleasant and inviting. Taste has some big malt flavors and the oats really come through. Finish is clean with a bit of lingering pepper.

Overall another quality beer from Rising Tide but if you want the best saison Maine has to offer make your way to Newcastle and pickup some Oxbow. Also Katahdin Beers – the brewery opening in Durham – should be pouring some quality saisons in the next few months. 
Pros:
Flavorful
Cons:
Alcohol Content: 7.5% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: ★★★☆
Brewers Website: Rising Tide
Brewers Description: Entrepôt [oats] is the first of our “warehouse ales”. Fermented with a blend of French and American ale yeasts, this edition of Entrepôt features pilsner and hard red wheat malts with a healthy dose of oats. Orange in color and slightly hazy, this beer has notes of citrus and pepper and a luxuriant mouthfeel from the oats.

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332. Hill Farmstead Holger Danske

This is an interesting beer from Hill Farmstead and entirely different from the other beers I have reviewed. Almost all of those were hop forward; pale ales, IPAs and Double IPAs so a smoked beer with little to no hop presence.

Appearance is a deep brown with hints of red. Aroma has lots of smokey malts and a bit of coffee. Taste is very complex with a fair amount of smoke but far from overpowering. There is also some sweetness with just a hint of a hop bite. The beer is smooth, lightly carbonated and very easy to drink. ABV says 7% but it seemed to hit a little harder than that.
Pros:
Complex flavor
Cons:
Alcohol Content: 7.0% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: ★★★☆
Brewers Website: Hill Farmstead
Brewers Description: Brewed in collaboration with our great friend and former colleague, Anders Kissmeyer. Anders personally smoked the malts over Beech wood.  A robust, malty smoked brown ale. 7% abv.

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Homebrew

I enjoy drinking beer but have never attempted to brew it myself. Several people I have met through the blog, FB and Twitter homebrew regularly and were nice enough to share some of their beer with me. This was an interesting mix of beer including an IPA, a Belgian White, a Gluten Free beer (100 Warriors), a Dubbel and an Amber Ale. I’m not going to review the individual beers but I can say they were all very good and I am excited to try more from these 3 or anyone else that would like to share some homebrew.

 

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331. Atlantic Brewing Company Real Ale

Found this one in my local country store’s cooler while picking up pizza the other night. I had sampled it at the brewery this Summer but never bought a bottle so decided to grab a single. Atlantic also owns Bar Harbor Brewing so it is interesting that each has a brown ale in the lineup.

Atlantic sells 6-packs while all of Bar Harbor’s beers are sold in bombers and it is apparent the recipes are different as well. The Bar Harbor Thunder Hole is a complex brown ale while this one is fairly simple. Color is a deep red but not quite brown with minimal head and almost no retention or lacing. Aroma is typical of a brown ale with plenty of malts. Taste is solid but nothing special and not as good as brown ales from Sebago, Smuttnose or even the option from Bar Harbor Brewing.

Overall this is a decent beer that is certainly drinkable but nothing that stands out in a crowded field of brown ales. 
Pros: 

Cons:
Alcohol Content: 5.2% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: ★★★☆
Brewers Website: Atlantic Brewing
Brewers Description: A good, clean nutbrown ale with a malty body. This is our most popular ale due to its smooth and malty flavor.

We use a mixture of pale, crystal and black malts in this one, and our primary hop is Target, though we also add some Whitbread Goldings Variation as well.

The Real Ale is best fresh, so fresh in fact, that it’s great right out of the bright tank. 

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330. Sixpoint Autumnation

If you have been following my blog you already know that I really enjoy beer from Sixpoint. Somehow I almost missed their Autumn seasonal release aptly names Autumnation. While visiting The Vault in Lewiston I saw this in the cooler and boy am I glad I did.

I almost always buy single beers or bombers but when it comes to Sixpoint I have no problem buying the 4-pack of cans. This beer is absolutely beautiful, deep orange color with a thick white head. Aroma is the only place this beer lacks as there is a bit of hop and spice but not a lot, pleasant smell but fairly mild. Taste is where this one excels with a complex mix of fruity hops, pine bitterness and just a hint of spice. This is not your typical pumpkin / fall seasonal – it is much better.

Really impressed with Sixpoint beer. If you are not drinking them then you are missing out. 
Pros: 
Appearance, Taste
Cons: Minimal aroma but the taste makes up for it
Alcohol Content: 6.7% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): 74
Rating: ★★★★☆
Brewers Website: Sixpoint
Description: Our Autumnal brew is made with subtle pumpkin and spice, but its prominent feature is the fresh harvested “wet-hops” that are added. New hop strain and selection every year. Autumnation 2012 features Citra Hops.

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329. Hill Farmstead Simcoe Single Hop Pale Ale

Another beer from Hill’s Single Hop Series. This one uses Simcoe hops which are more common than the Riwaka hops in the previous post.

Appearance is very similar to the other pale ales from Hill Farmstead with the beautiful orange color with bright white head. Tons of citrus and tropical smells coming from this one. Very inviting appearance and aroma, how can you not want to drink this beer. Taste has lots of flavor with plenty of citrus and a bit of pine. The fruits outlast the piney resin and a nice bready malt balances this one. This beer is quite refreshing, easy to drink and with an ABV just over 5% it is pretty easy to finish a 750 after work. 
Pros:
Very flavorful and appealing color and smell
Cons: 
Alcohol Content: 5.4% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: ★★★★☆
Brewers Website: Hill Farmstead
Description: An American Pale Ale bittered, flavored, and dry hopped exclusively with one of our favorite hop varieties: Simcoe! 5.4% abv

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328. Hill Farmstead Riwaka Pale Ale

This is part of Hill Farmstead’s single hop series which is an interesting experiment in beer. Take the same style of beer and instead of using a mix of different hops use only a single hop variety. Hops are used for aroma, bitterness and taste and different hops have different flavor and aroma profiles. Riwaka is a hop from New Zealand that is not as common as Centennial, Citra, Simcoe and many other American and European varieties.

Appearance is typical of a Hill beer, bright orange with two finger white head that has incredible retention and leaves a lot of lacing on the glass. Aroma was not as strong as other beer from Hill Farmstead but still there with citrus and tropical fruits. Taste has plenty of hop flavor but a bit more bitter than I expected. This beer was excellent but I enjoyed the Double IPAs( Ephraim, S&S),  Edward, What is Enlightenment and a few of the blends better than this single hop variety. 
Pros:
Appearance, Aroma
Cons: Slightly more bitter than others from HF
Alcohol Content: 5.2% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: ★★★☆
Brewers Website: Hill Farmstead
Brewers Description: An American Pale Ale bittered, flavored, and dry hopped exclusively with one of our favorite hop varieties: New Zealand’s rare and difficult to obtain Riwaka! 5.2% abv

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327. Baxter Brewing Hayride Autumn Ale

Seems like a lot of brewers are introducing rye based beers so it was no surprise when Baxter Brewing announced their Fall seasonal would be a rye ale. What was surprising was just how tasty this beer is. Baxter’s beers have been hit or miss for me with Stowaway IPA being my favorite before this release.

The Hayride Autumn Ale pours a nice deep amber almost brown color with a thick off white head. You get lots of rye and spice in the aroma, not really picking up any of the oak. Taste has a lot going on with the rye malts front and center but still plenty of spices, some hops and a bit of oak does come through.

Really nice beer from Baxter, hoping their Winter seasonal will be as good as this one was. 
Pros:  
Complex flavors
Cons: 

Alcohol Content: 6.6% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: ★★★☆
Brewers Website: Baxter Brewing
Brewers Description: As days get shorter and sleeves get longer, Baxter Brewing releases its fall seasonal, Hayride Autumn Ale. A generous portion of two rye malts give the beer a full body, bready flavor, and subtle spiciness; while toasted malts provide a touch of sweetness and a rich, almost reddish hue. New Zealand Pacifica and Pacific Jade hops balance Hayride’s maltiness and suggest notes of oranges and tropical fruit. Finally, we cold-condition the beer on oak, with light additions of ginger, black pepper, and orange peel, bringing out the spiciness of the rye and rounding out the soft sweetness of the beer. Hayride will give a touch of warmth for those cool fall nights, while remaining deliciously drinkable.

Try pairing this autumn brew with stews, beef roasts, pork chops, stuffed squash, carrot cake, and, of course, pumpkin pie!

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