Monthly Archives: January 2013

374. White Birch Brewing Tavern Ale

White Birch Tavern AleAfter finishing (drain pouring) the remainder of my Sea Dog growler I moved on to a growler from White Birch of a similar but much better beer.

Tavern Ale has an interesting story (read brewer description below) and is brewed as an Imperial Brown with plenty of smoked flavors. The beer pours almost black with no head. Aroma is subtle but pleasant with smokey malts and maybe some dark fruits. Taste follows the nose with a mild smokey flavor and slight bitterness. Beer is easy to drink and masks the alcohol well.

Overall this beer was very enjoyable and at 8% ABV it is a little sneaky.
Pros:
Mild smokey flavor – not overpowering
Cons:
Alcohol Content: 8.0% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: White Birch Brewing
Brewers Description: Butter’s Tavern was a fixture of Concord, NH in the eighteenth century. Inspired by their loggerhead ale, we’ve created a Smoked Imperial Brown Ale. Hearty malts, with a nuanced smokiness and smooth finish create our interpretation of this historic ale. We hope you enjoy this slice of New Hampshire history.

In November of 2011 we were proud to learned that Draft Magazine recognized our Tavern Ale as one of the Top 25 beers of 2011!

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373. Sea Dog Brewing Winter Ale

Sea Dog Brewing Winter AleI had lunch at Sea Dog in South Portland and realized I did not have one of their growlers. Before leaving I was sure to ask my waitress for a growlers and ended up deciding on their Winter Ale. I was hoping it would be similar to Shipyard Prelude since they are made at the same brewery but I was wrong.

Beer pours a nice light brown with minimal head that disappeared almost instantly. Aroma had a bit of spice and caramel malts. The taste was entirely malt with some spice and a bit of alcohol warmth which is surprising as the beer is listed at 6.3% ABV.

Overall I was happy to get the growler for my collection but did not finish the 64 ounces of this beer. With so many other great beers waiting I just couldn’t do it.
Pros: Growler
Cons: 

Alcohol Content: 6.3% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Sea Dog Brewing
Brewers Description: A rich winter ale made from the finest English malts.  Its malty character is well balanced with a complex  selection of English bittering hops.

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372. Hill Farmstead Foster

Hill Farmstead FosterFoster is a black IPA brewed with a large percentage of malted wheat which makes it an entirely different beer from James their straight black IPA. Color is a very dark brown (almost black) with a nice tan head. Smell is a nice mix of roasted malts; smoky, chocolate with a fair amount of piney hops. Lots of aroma from this one along with the great color makes this a very appealing beer.

Taste leans more towards the hops as an IPA should with some grapefruit and pine however there is a lot of roasted malt character toasted chocolate. Mouthfeel is certainly that of an IPA and not what most would expect from a very dark beer.

Again a very well balanced beer but I preferred James over Foster but I may be partial to the name James. 
Pros:
Well balanced
Cons:
Alcohol Content: 6.5% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Hill Farmstead
Brewers Description: Foster is our Black Wheat IPA… brewed with a large % of malted wheat and hopped with our favorite American hops varities.

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371. Hill Farmstead Susan

Hill Farmstead SusanMost everyone knows how much I love Hill Farmstead’s beer. I feel fortunate to live “only” three hours from the brewery and can make day trips on occasion to pickup growlers and bottles. I did so a few weeks back on a Saturday and the wait was almost two hours even with a 5 container in place. If you plan on making the trip, get there early and if possible show up on a week day instead of Saturday.

Susan is a straight up American IPA, not a double or imperial like many of Hill’s most sought after beers. Clocking in at just over 6% ABV the 750 ml bottle was gone in no time. Color is a nice hazy orange with a solid white head that left a lot of lacing. Aroma has lots of citrus, grapefruit and a bit of pine. Taste is very crisp, clean and refreshing with plenty of the the fruits mentioned above. Almost no lingering bitterness and just enough malt backbone to balance things out.

This beer is incredibly well constructed and something I could drink on a daily basis. 
Pros:
Everything
Cons: 
Alcohol Content: 6.2% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: ★★★★☆
Brewers Website: Hill Farmstead
Description: Susan was our grandfather’s sister.  Our release of a beer brewed in her honor completes the ancestral series of our Grandfather’s generation… Susan is an IPA brewed with Riwaka, Citra, and Simcoe hops.

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370. Shipyard Brewing Bourbon Barrel Aged Prelude Special Ale

Shipyard Bourbon Barrel Aged PreludePrelude has long been one of my favorite winter beers. I drank Prelude in college while others were drinking the cheapest beer they could find. When I saw Shipyard was releasing a Bourbon Barrel Aged version of Prelude I knew I had to try it. Fortunately Bier Cellar in Portland was able to put a bottle aside for me and I decided to open it today. This is a 750 ml cork and cage bottle with the year and bottle number on the label. Not sure how many bottles were produced but it is a 5 digit number so I assume there were a lot of bottles.

The beer pours a very dark brown with lots of bourbon aroma. Minimal carbonation and taste has a fair amount of bourbon flavor with a nice alcohol warmth. Be sure to let the beer warm slightly as it has a much more complex and enjoyable flavor. Overall this is a powerful beer that is entirely different from the original Prelude Special Ale. I only purchased one bottle of this beer but it certainly would be a good candidate for aging with its high ABV. Overall a really nice example of barrel aging and something you should try if you get a chance.
Pros:
Complex flavor
Cons: 

Alcohol Content: 9.5% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness):
Rating: ★★★☆
Brewers Website: Shipyard Brewing
Brewers Description: We are excited to announce the release of our new Bourbon Barrel Aged Prelude Special Ale! Our winter favorite has been enhanced by a 6 month stint in Bourbon Barrels which added smoky notes and a bourbon enhanced finish. This amped-up, 9.5% ABV, winter warmer will be available in select markets and in limited supply this December.

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