Monthly Archives: April 2014

636. Hop Valley Brewing Citrus Mistress

Hop Valley Citrus MistressFirst beer from Hop Valley Brewing and my second beer in a short time that includes grapefruit peel.  I bought this beer in Vermont as I don’t think it is distributed in Maine.

This is a very nice looking beer with a pale orange color and a thick white head. Aroma was a little more subdued than I expected from an IPA with grapefruit peel added, certainly less than the Stone Stochasticity Project beer. Taste was better than the aroma with a well balanced mix of citrus hops, grapefruit and sweet malts.

Overall I was happy with this beer even though it was not quite as good as Stone’s beer mentioned above.
Pros: Appearance
Cons:
Alcohol Content: 6.5% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): 80
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Hop Valley Brewing
Brewers Description: This seasonal IPA features 4 different hops with the addition of grapefruit peel for a citrus, peach and tropical bouquet plus enough munich malt to give it a classic burnt orange color.

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635. Austin Street Brewery Patina Pale Ale

Austin Street Patina Pale AleAdding an update to this review as Austin Street put this in cans using Bissell Brothers canning line before Bissell moved to Thompson Point. The canned version tasted equally as good but was far less clear than the original beer I reviewed.

Patina Pale Ale is the first official beer from Austin Street Brewery. I was fortunate enough to try several of Jake’s test batches before the brewery officially opened and all were excellent.

Austin Street Brewery Petina Pale AlePatina Pale is a light crisp hop forward pale ale that pours a nice golden color. Thin white head leaves minimal lacing. Aroma is mild but what is there is pleasant. Slightly bitter but pleasant taste with a solid hop profile. Finish is clean making this a very drinkable beer.

As with many new breweries I think Jake will continue to dial this in over the coming weeks and months to make Patina Pale even better than it already is. There is also a brett version of this beer that I have sampled that will put an entirely different spin on the classic pale ale.
Pros:
Cons:
Alcohol Content: 5.3% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Austin Street Brewery
Brewers Description: “Patina Pale” ale is our hop forward American pale ale.  Brewed with copious amounts of American “C” hops with just enough of a malt base for the hops to stand on.  Citrusy, piney hop flavors are complimented by a light, yet full bodied mouth feel and dry finish.

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634. Foley Brothers Brewing Native IPA

Foley Brothers Brewing India Pale AleThis is another beer I picked up on a recent trip to Vermont. I am always on the look out for new breweries and with so many great IPAs coming out of Vermont I thought I would give this one a try. I had never heard of Foley Brothers before coming across this one, apparently they are small, relatively new brewery in Brandon Vermont which is south of Burlington.

Native IPA pours a nice orange with a minimal white head that dissipates quickly. Impressive aroma for a single IPA with plenty of pepper spicy hops and a bit of citrus. Taste follows with a nice sweet malt base followed by several different hop flavors; spice, floral, citrus and a bit of pine.

A lot going on with this beer but it works well  and makes for a very interesting beer.
Pros: Complex but balanced
Cons:
Alcohol Content: 7.0% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Foley Brothers (FB Page) 
Brewers Description:

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633. Maine Beer Company a tiny beautiful something

Maine Beer a tiny beautiful somethingI believe I have drank and reviewed every bottled offering from Maine Beer Company other than their most recent release, Barrel Program 1, which I will get to in the coming weeks. Overall I really enjoy their beer with Mo and Lunch being my two favorites but all are enjoyable.

a tiny beautiful something is a single hop pale ale using El Dorado hops. I am not familiar with El Dorado hops but from the brewers description (see below) they seem to give the beer an candied orange, citrus taste and aroma. Appearance reminds me of other MBC beers, cloudy orange with a white head. Aroma has some citrus but I also got a lot of floral hops.

Taste follows with some citrus but floral seems to dominate. Finish is clean as always with MBC but this one did seem a bit watered down. Overall a good beer but they have better options and for the price point it is not something I would seek out again.
Pros:
Cons: watered down
Alcohol Content: 5.5% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Maine Beer Company
Brewers Description: a tiny beautiful something showcases a new hop variety, El Dorado. We started playing around with this hop last year. We brewed a pilot batch with this hop exclusively and one with it blended with some of our other favorite Northwest varieties. In the end, we decided that the El Dorado had such a unique and interesting character on its own, so we decided to brew it as a “single hop” pale ale. The aroma and flavor offer intense candied orange and citrus zest. A touch of flaked oats provide a rounded, silky mouthfeel. And like our other hoppy offerings, tiny was brewed to finish dry and clean.

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632. Kelsen Brewing Battle Axe IPA

Kelsen Brewing Battle Axe IPAThis one comes from a new brewery in Derry, New Hampshire brewing on a small 3 barrel system. Bottles of their IPA and brown ale started hitting the shelves a couple months ago and I grabbed the Battle Axe IPA as I love the label art and generally enjoy IPAs.

Battle Axe pours a deep amber color, darker than most IPAs. Aroma was mild with plenty of sweet malts and some citrus, floral hops but nothing overwhelming. Taste is a nice balance of the caramel malts and some earthy hops.

This is a balanced well made IPA that will not wreck your palate. Solid beer but if you love hop bomb, palate wrecking IPAs you may be disappointed.
Pros:
Cons:
Alcohol Content: 7.2% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): 60
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Kelsen Brewing
Brewers Description: The Battle Axe was a weapon used by Vikings and other foot soldiers during the Middle Ages. Over time, the weapon evolved from a simple wood chopping axe to a lightweight and well balanced combat style axe capable of piercing a knight’s armor or dismembering an enemy’s limb with one blow.

Like the blade of a Norseman’s axe, Battle Axe IPA will slash through your taste buds and olfactory system with a wallop of hop flavor and aroma. The simple malt backbone of this IPA yields to the wonderful citrus hop profile. Rest assured that your taste buds will remain intact, so you’ll be sure to come back for more.

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631. Stone Stochasticity Project Grapefruit Slam IPA

Stone GrapefruitI picked this one up in Vermont the day it was released there which was at least a week before it hit the shelves in Maine. Apparently this is the first in a series beers from Stone that will continue to push the limits of beer.

Double IPAs are one of my favorites styles of beer and I really like the citrus/fruity hops versus the dank, piney hops so a DIPA brewed with grapefruit peel seems like a good idea. Grapefruit Slam poors a very clear orange with a single finger white head. Aroma has lots of citrus and well grapefruit.

Taste was excellent with a nice citrus hop profile and slightly bitter start. Finish is where I picked up the grapefruit pith. Mouthfeel, carbonation, etc were all where I expect them on a DIPA and made this beer really enjoyable.
Pros:
Cons:
Alcohol Content: 8.2% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): 95
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Stone Stochasticity Project
Brewers Description: India pale ales harness the inherent flavor characteristics of hops to bring forward familiar flavors of pine, resin, spice, and citrus. In some cases, those botanicals are so potent, they exactly mirror specific edibles. Such is the case with Centennial hops, which hail from the Great Northwest and come across on the palate like a mouthful of citrus fruit. That sensation is amplified with this, the first beer introduced via the Stochasticity Project–a double IPA brewed with Centennial, Chinook and Magnum hops as well as an immense dosing of fresh grapefruit peel. The result is over-the-top bittersweet grapefruit intensity that is at once refreshing and bracing in its citrusy bitterness.

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630. AleWerks Brewing Bitter Valentine

AleWerks Bitter ValentineAleWerks is a new brewery for me and I got this in a box from someone that lives in the Virginia area. Bitter Valentine is a double IPA but the name is kind of deceiving as it is really not all that bitter.

Bitter Valentine pours a deep orange with a slight off white head. Aroma is a nice mix of sweet malt and citrus hops, not a one dimensional beer. Taste follows with a sweet malt base to start and then a solid amount of citrus and floral hops with only a slightly bitter finish. Overall this is a DIPA for beer drinkers that prefer a nice balance in their beer. I enjoyed it but I actually prefer the big over the top citrus hop bombs.
Pros:
Well balanced for a DIPA
Cons:
Alcohol Content: 8.5% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: AleWerks Brewing
Brewers Description: Our Double IPA is loaded with Pacific Northwest hops blended with a light malt backbone. A bitter Valentine for you to love, how ever unrequited.

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629. The Alchemist The Crusher

 

The Alchemist Crusher 1With the new brewery open in Stowe they have brought back The Crusher on a more regular basis. Since opening it has been available each day with a limit of 2 – four packs per person. Love this beer and so glad to be able to get it on a regular basis now. Be sure to check out The Alchemist in Stowe soon.

Alchemist CrusherI didn’t discover The Alchemist until after the flood so the only beers I had tried were Heady Topper and their gluten free beer, Celia. Last December when I went to Vermont for three days with my wife I tried Ouroboros at The Reservoir which was great. Then they started their truck sales occasionally releasing beers in plain cans with stickers to identify the beer. I didn’t make it out to Vermont for the sale but I was able to score a can of each.

Crusher is an even bigger DIPA than Heady with an ABV of 9.6% versus Heady at 8.0%. This beer has the radiant orange glow that I enjoy so much, unfiltered and a great white head. Tons of hops in the aroma with tropical, citrus, grapefruit; again all the things I like in my DIPAs. Taste is excellent with loads and loads of hops; citrus, tropical, grapefruit. A fair amount of bitterness but the alcohol is non-existent which is surprising for a such a big DIPA.

It was probably a good thing I only had a single can of this beer as I certainly would have finished a second and that probably would have been too much for one night.
Pros:
HOPS and no alcohol burn
Cons:
Alcohol Content: 9.6% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 

Brewers Website: The Alchemist
Brewers Description: The Crusher is an American Double IPA that I started making years ago at the old pub. Hop heads were constantly asking for more hops. So, in the words of Frank Zappa, “Did you say you want some more? Well here’s some more.” While I enjoy hops with the rest of them, I still try to maintain some semblance of balance and drinkability. This beer is oozing with hop flavor and aroma with a very dry finish. Enjoy responsibly, this one can sneak up on you.

The Alchemist Crusher 3 The Alchemist Crusher 2

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628. Maine Beer Company Dinner

Maine Beer Company DinnerPicked up my four bottles of Dinner at Maine Beer Company the day of the release and scored two more bottles from the person I was meeting at the brewery. Ended up trading or giving away all bottles except for this one to people that could not make the mid-week trip to the brewery. Maine Beer does a nice job with their hoppy beers and after moving to their new facility in Freeport they have released a fairly steady stream of new beers; Weez, Another One, a tiny beautiful something and now Dinner.

Dinner is their first double IPA although Lunch, Weez and Another One have only a slightly lower ABV. The beer looks like many other Maine Beer brews; orange with a thick off white head. Aroma is pretty strong with plenty of floral and grapefruit. Taste was what you would expect from Maine Beer Company, hoppy and pretty smooth. Unlike many other DIPAs I have tried this one is fairly bitter up front and even though the alcohol is only 8.2% there was a fair amount of alcohol burn. I expect this from IPAs in the 10%+ ABV but didn’t expect it from Dinner.

Overall this was a very good DIPA but it really doesn’t compare to those from The Alchemist, Hill Farmstead and a few other breweries. Hopefully Maine Beer will make this again as I know a lot of people that missed out on it.
Pros:
Cons:
Alcohol Content: 8.2% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Maine Beer Company
Brewers Description: Our first Double IPA – dry, refreshing and hoppy. We really focused on hop flavor and aroma here. To maximize hop character, we dry hopped Dinner twice with over 6 lbs. of hops per barrel. For the best experience, please enjoy fresh as possible.

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627. 7th Settlement 1896 Cochecho Winter Wheat

7th Settlement WinterSecond beer from the shared brewery of 7th Settlement and One Love. This is their Winter Wheat which is actually their spring seasonal, I know that sounds confusing but see the brewery description below.

Winter Wheat pours a deep orange with a single finger off white head. Aroma is dominated by sweet malts and tastes follows with a slight fruity taste that I can’t quite place. Finish was clean, almost no bitterness and the beer was quite refreshing.

Overall not a bad beer but I still put it in the brewpub type beer, not great but certainly drinkable and if you are out enjoying some appetizers or a meal the beer will compliment the food without overpowering or ruining your experience.
Pros:
Cons:
Alcohol Content: 4.5% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: 7th Settlement
Brewers Description: We start brewing this delicate winter wheat ale in the spring, same time as the flood of the Cochecho River, to enjoy on a nice warm day after the cold of winter is behind us. From the oldest continuous settlement in New Hampshire, and the 7th non-indigenous settlement in America we present this unique ale brewed with local ingredients for all people to enjoy!

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