Monthly Archives: January 2014

590. Bear Republic Brewing Racer X

Bear Republic Racer XGot this beer as part of a trade with a craft beer attorney from the DC area. Yes that really is a thing just like a craft beer insurance agent is a real thing. He sent me several single and double IPAs that we cannot get in the northeast and Racer X was the first one I opened.

The brewery description says this is balance in a bottle and I couldn’t agree more. Racer X pours a very deep orange with a thin off white head that left tons of lacing on the glass. Aroma had loads of orange and was very inviting. Taste starts with a solid dose of sweet malts then the citrus hops take over. Finishes with a mild bitterness.

Really excited to have the chance to try Racer X, thanks Dan.
Pros:
very well balanced
Cons:
Alcohol Content: 8.3% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): 100
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Bear Republic
Brewers Description: Racer X is an uncommon Double India Pale Ale which puts a California twist on English brewing traditions by adding an assertive hop aroma and bitterness that compliments the firm malt backbone. Like its little brother Racer 5, Racer X is balance in a bottle.

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589. Newburyport Brewing Pale Ale

Newburyport Pale AleMy third and final beer from Newburyport Brewing Company and I saved the best for last. As you all know I love my double IPAs but a good hoppy pale works well for an after work or with dinner beer.

Appearance is a super clear orange with a very thick off white head. Plenty of fresh citrus hops in the aroma, really appealing beer when poured into their can style glass. Taste is similar to the aroma with those citrus hops coming through but it is well balanced and only a slight bitterness.

This would be a great option for the golf course or the beach all summer long. 
Pros:
Well balanced and nicely hopped
Cons:
Alcohol Content: 5.5% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Newburyport Brewing
Brewers Description: A well-balanced beer for smooth sailing. Refreshing, lightly carbonated and slightly citrus-y with a light toasted sweet malt finish. If you’re looking for a drinkable, flavorful ale, rope up to the bollards and enjoy.

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588. Magic Hat Brewing Steven Sour

Magic Hat Steven SourPicked this beer up at the Hunger Mountain Coop in Montpelier VT on one of my trips to Vermont. I usually wouldn’t buy a Magic Hat beer but this was a collaboration with Vermont Pub & Brewery and it was cheap. I believe the bomber was $3.89. Also the thought of a sour IPA was intriguing.

When I think sour beer I think acidic beer with a mouth puckering tartness but this beer was actually brewed using passion fruit juice to give it a lemonhead sour candy taste. Appearance is pretty typical for an IPA with a nice orange color and thin off white head. Aroma has plenty of sour fruit, usually the fruit smells would come from the hops but in this case it actually comes from the passion fruit juice.

Taste is interesting but dominated by the tart passion fruit juice and only a slight bitterness. Overall this was not a bad beer but not something I will purchase again. 
Pros:
Interesting
Cons:
Alcohol Content: 5.6% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): 85
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Magic Hat
Brewers Description: This sour, bitter, tantalizingly tart ale is brewed with Apollo, Bravo and Cascade hops along with a healthy addition of passion fruit juice. The result is 85 IBUs of Sour IPA, beautifully balanced with a big hop bite battling for supremacy against a tart passion fruit tingle.

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587. Penobscot Bay Brewery Mountain Man DIPA

Penobscot Bay Mountain ManThis beer was first brewed for Nocturnem Drafthaus’ second anniversary and eventually made its way to some brewfests and into bottles. I had a sample of the beer at the brewery prior to its release and really enjoyed it. When I saw it at The Vault in Lewiston I decided to grab a bottle.

Mountain Man DIPA comes in a cork and cage 750 ml bottle which is unusual for a double IPA. Appearance is a nice deep orange with a thick off white head. Aroma is almost entirely malt with only a very small amount of flowery hops. Taste is certainly malt forward but the same flowery hops are present. I prefer my DIPAs to be full of citrus, pine or dank hops not flowery.

When I posted this on my Facebook page originally I had a few comments from people that had it both on ta[ and from the bottle  and liked it more on draft. Overall I like the beer from Penobscot Bay Brewery but this one missed the mark.  
Pros:
Cons:
Alcohol Content: 9.5% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Penobscot Bay Brewery
Brewers Description: Mountain Man, first brewed to celebrate the second anniversary of Nocturnem Drafthaus in Bangor, is an American Double India Pale Ale that an experienced beer drinker will love. Intensely hoppy at 100+ IBUs. Made with Warrior, Centennial and local Cascade hops. Drinks clean with notes of citrus, pine and earth yet nicely balanced with a smooth, rich malt backbone. Best to drink this one cold and young. In 750ml cork and cage bottle. Photo – Hunter at Shin Pond – courtesy of Patten Lumberman’s Museum.

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586. Notch Brewing Left of the Dial IPA

Notch Left of the DialThis is my first beer from Notch Brewing. Notch is a contract brewery in Mass that focuses on session beers. It appears every beer they make is 4.5% ABV or less which I think is a segment of the market often overlooked by craft brewers. Notch is on draft in Maine but I have not seen any bottles yet  so I had to buy this one when I saw in the store in Mass.

This IPA has a very low 4.3% ABV but it does not sacrifice flavor. Color is a nice pale orange with a solid white head. Aroma was fairly mild citrus and grass. Taste is what really made this beer great, lots of citrus and pine hops with a nice mouth feel. Usually these low ABV beers feel watered down but this one does not.

Great first impression from Notch Brewing and really looking forward to more beer from them. Get some bottles to Maine in the next few months as these would be great summer drinking beers.
Pros: Low ABV but still very flavorful
Cons:
Alcohol Content: 4.3% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Notch Brewing
Brewers Description:British malt, hard water and low gravity meets a new wave hop profile. The base malt is Fawcett Golden Promise, and that really sets this beer apart, along with a touch of Fawcett caramalt and oat malt. The hops are decidedly fruity and slightly citrusy, and include Citra, Galaxy, Simcoe and Centennial.

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585. Prairie Artisan Ales The Beer That Saved Christmas

Prairie ChristmasThis is my least favorite Prairie beer so far and it may have been the style more than the beer itself. I took this out of the beer fridge knowing that it was a dark beer but thinking it was a dark saison not an old ale with a 10% ABV. I really should look at the label before I open beers so I know what I am getting into.

Beer pours an almost black color with a thick tan head. Aroma of dark fruit and malt, nothing too exciting. Taste is very similar to the nose with a slight brett funk added to it. If you want to try some Prairie beer I would recommend you start with their Prairie ale, Merica or Puncheon unless you really like old ales and then you can give this one a shot.
Pros:
Cons:
Alcohol Content: 10% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Prairie Artisan Ales
Brewers Description:

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584. Newburyport Brewing Plum Island Belgian White

Newburyport Plum Island Belgian WhiteInteresting the three beers canned by Newburyport Brewing are a Pale Ale, an IPA and a Belgian White. Plum Island is the Belgian White and while it is a nice beer I judge all Belgian Whites against Allagash White which is hard to beat.

Nice looking beer with a slightly cloudy pale orange color and two finger white head. Aroma is what you would expect with some coriander, spice and Belgian yeast. Taste is solid with some nice peppery spice, a bit of clove and banana.

No question this is a solid second offering from Newburyport Brewing but it does not stand up to Allagash White which is the standard I compare all witbiers to. 
Pros:
Flavorful
Cons:
Alcohol Content: 5.4% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Newburyport Brewing
Brewers Description: An unfiltered witbier with hints of citrus & coriander. This “partly cloudy” ale features slight citrus and spicy aromas complemented by mild sweet pilsner and wheat malt tastes. Our friends in Belgium would be proud of us.

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583. Victory Brewing DirtWolf Double IPA

Victory Dirt WolfA couple months ago I asked if the collaboration between Otter Creek and Lawson’s Double Dose IPA was the best IPA available in a 12 ounce bottle. At the time most agreed and while I am not sure DirtWolf from Victory tops Double Dose it is close. This is a truly excellent double IPA and certainly the best beer I have tried from Victory Brewing.

DirtWolf pours a deep orange color with a bright white head. One place where DirtWolf lacks is in the aroma. Double Dose had a huge fruity nose while DirtWolf  has more of a piney dank smell to it. Not unpleasant but I would buy an air freshener with Double Dose’s aroma and certainly would not with DirtWolf.

Taste adds some nice citrus flavors to the pine but also is fairly bitter. This is an excellent DIPA but I think Double Dose still takes the title of best IPA in a 12 ounce bottle.
Pros:
Dank hops
Cons:
Alcohol Content: 8.7% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Victory Brewing
Brewers Description: Darkly heroic, Humulus Lupulus (hops) have empowered brews with bite and character since the 11th century.  DirtWolf is a tribute to these untamed vines which rise from the earth with the voracity of a “wolf among sheep.” Hops have made an assertive comeback in American craft brewing.  Revel in the best U.S. varieties of hops, in their natural, whole flower form, as they bring a vital, pungent reality to the soul of a wild element in our dangerously satisfying DirtWolf Double IPA.

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582. 603 Brewery Cogway IPA

603 Cogway603 Brewery started selling one liter growlers at their new facility in Londonderry and I picked this one up before they actually started selling to the public. Unfortunately I stuck in the beer fridge and kind of forgot about it for a while. The good part is I tested the quality of their growlers. This was in the fridge for a month+ and when I did open it the beer poured as it was fresh that morning.

Appearance is a deep orange with a thick off white head. Aroma is light with a little pine and citrus but nothing to exciting in the nose. Taste was solid for a single IPA with a nice amount of piney and floral hops. The finish is pretty sweet but pleasant with little to no bitterness.

Overall this was a pretty solid IPA and may have been even better if I didn’t forget about the growler for several weeks.
Pros:
Cons:
Alcohol Content: ??% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: 603 Brewery
Brewers Description: Medium bodies IPA that combines a malty sweetness with distinctive hops presence and pleasing floral aroma.

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581. SoMe Brewing Box the Compass

Some Brewing Box the CompassIf you check SoMe’s website you will see this one described as a 6.6% ABV single IPA however when Dave brewed it the first time on his new system it came out bigger than expected, MUCH BIGGER. The 6.6% became at least 9.9% (possibly more) and the beer quickly left the single IPA classification and moved to the DIPA category. I opted for a 32 ounce howler instead of bringing home a full 64 ounces of a beer this big.

The beer itself is quite good  with a deep orange color and like the other beer from SoMe Brewing a minimal head. Aroma was very sweet with loads of malts but very little in the way of hops. Taste follows with a huge malt base and a solid amount of hops but the malts are really in the forefront on this one. This is not the palate wrecking double IPA you might expect with a nearly 10% ABV.

I am pleased with the beers I have tried from SoMe Brewing and I think things will only get better as Dave spends some time with his new brew system. Keep an eye on their Facebook page and make regular visits to SoMe as I expect good things coming out of York. 
Pros:
Cons:
Alcohol Content: 9.9% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): 99
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Some Brewing
Brewers Description:

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