680. SoMe Brewing Crystal Persuasion

Some Brewing Crystal PersuasionHad been a while since I stopped in to see David at SoMe Brewing in York but I stopped for some samples and ended up bringing home a growler of Crystal Persuasion to enjoy. According to David this is their most popular beer and one that I have not reviewed yet. Crystal Persuasion is an imperial pale ale using Crystal hops. According to various sites Crystal hops are typically used for aroma.

The beer pours a nice copper color with a single finger white head. Aroma is very nice mix of citrus and spice. Taste follows with a nice mix of citrus and spice with only a slight bitterness. Finish is almost too clean as the flavors disappear almost immediately.

Overall a pretty good beer and certainly unique. If you have not tried SoMe Brewing you definitely should and be sure to try Crystal Persuasion. 

Alcohol Content: 8.0% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Brewers Website: SoMe Brewing
Brewers Description: Double Pale Ale showcasing Crystal Hops

679. Schilling Beer Clervaux

Schilling Beer ClervauxTook my first trip to Schilling Beer a few weeks back and really enjoyed their setup. Great space to hang out at the bar, plenty of tables inside and lots of outdoor seating overlooking the river. They had two flights of beer available which didn’t even include all of the beer they had on tap and they even have a couple of guest taps. Food was excellent and service was top notch.

Of course I couldn’t leave without a growler.  I opted for the classic glass growler although they do offer two different stainless steel versions. I opted for Clervaux which is their hoppy Belgian Pale Ale. This was my favorite beer of the 5 I tried but all were very good. Clervaux pours a deep orange with a nice white head. The aroma is light with a nice mix of hops and yeast. Taste follows with a smooth clean finish.

Overall a very impressive list of beers from Schilling and it should be a stop on any trip to northwestern New Hampshire.  
Smooth well balanced
Alcohol Content: ??% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Brewers Website: Schilling Beer
Brewers Description: 

678. Stone Brewing Go To IPA

Stone Brewing Go to IPAThe session IPA; seems lots of breweries are doing them and people either like em or hate em. Many session IPAs have a watered down mouth feel and almost no malt bill leaving the drinker with a one dimensional beer.While Stone’s Go To IPA lacks complexity and does feel a bit watered down it actually works well.

Go To IPA pours a cloudy golden color with a thin white head. Aroma is plentiful for a small beer; pine and grassy hops dominate. Taste moves away from the aroma towards tropical and citrus fruits and is quite enjoyable. While it is a bit thin that is to be expected from the style.

Overall I like my IPAs big but there are some breweries doing a good job with low ABV yet flavorful beers and Stone’s Go To IPA certainly makes this list. 
Great aroma
Cons: Watered down mouth feel
Alcohol Content: 4.5% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): 65
Brewers Website: Stone Brewing
Brewers Description: Since Day One, we’ve been abundantly forthright and fully transparent about our lust for hops. It’s led us to craft many an IPA, most of them imperial—some intense for their time and all timeless in their intensity. For Stone Go To IPA, we are embracing our hop obsession in a new way, funneling an abundance of lupulin-borne bitterness into a “session” IPA delivering all the fruity, piney character of a much bigger IPA. To accomplish this, we employed “hop bursting,” a new technique wherein an irrational amount of hops is added during the final phase of the brewing process to coax out extreme flavors and aromas while also imparting a burst of desirably pleasant bitterness. The result is an Alpha-acid-rich beer that fans can enjoy more of without missing out on the assertive hop character you, like us, crave. So, sit back and go two with your new everyday go-to IPA and bask along with us in the glory of the almighty hop.

677. Stone Brewing Collective Distortion IPA

Stone Collective DistortionIt seems like Stone is releasing a new big IPA bomber almost every week and I have stopped trying to keep up. Came across this one at a local store and decided to give it a try as the elderberries and coriander sounded like an interesting combination.

The appearance may be the best part of this beer as it pours a bright orange with a single finger white head. Aroma had some citrus, some pine but was underwhelming. Taste was OK but I didn’t get any elderberry or coriander, all tropical fruit with a sticky sweetness and a fair amount of alcohol.

Overall this was a pretty good beer but I was hoping for something different from Stone. 
Alcohol Content: 9.3% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Brewers Website: Stone Brewing
Brewers Description: In bringing together artisans from disparate aural planes, one might expect an offbeat, feedback-warped cacophony, shrill to the point of unlistenable. Yet, by inviting Kyle Hollingsworth, keyboardist for eclectic, jam-prone sextet,The String Cheese Incident, and Keri Kelli, wailing rock guitarist of Alice Cooper fame, we were able to make truly beautiful music. Turns out, these musicians have a great deal in common, both with each other and with Stone. We all enjoy turning things up to 11, and that is represented in this collaborative offering, an imperial India pale ale ably backed by Nugget, Comet and Calypso hops, and amplified care of a healthy dry-hopping with Vic’s Secret, a new Australian hop, adding citrus and tropical fruit oomph. To give this modern masterpiece some soulful, classic character, we traced the roots of brewing to the days when Old World herbs were used to spice beers, adding in coriander and, a first for us, elderberries. To stand up to that sumptuous spice and blaring bitterness, we added golden naked oats, which are lightly roasted and add body and enhanced mouthfeel to the brew like a steady, unbreakable backbeat to an incendiary jam solo. Sit back, crank the volume and get lost in this operatic incarnation of genres combined in the name of invention.

676. Trillium Brewing Cuvee De Tetreault

Trillium Cuvee de TetreaultI’ve been really impressed with what Trillium Brewing is doing in Boston and also been fortunate for have a few friends bring me back some beer. The prior beers have all been growlers of their pales and IPAs but this one was a wild ale released at the brewery only and very limited. Matt was nice enough to grab me a bottle when he was in Boston and I finally opened it after work.

This one pours a very deep brown with a nice tan head that is thicker than many high ABV wild ales. Aroma is filled with dark fruit; raisin, plums, etc along with some funky notes. Taste is similar with some a nice tartness in the beginning followed by the dark fruits you get in the nose. Very fine carbonation and only a mild alcohol flavor made this one very drinkable for an 11% ABV beer.

This reminded me a lot of Allagash beers which is certainly a complement to the brewers at Trillium. I have a few more bottles from Trillium to drink soon. 
Slightly tart and very drinkable
Alcohol Content: 11.0% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Brewers Website: Trillium Brewing
Brewers Description: Cuvee de Tetreault is a 11% wild fermented Belgian Strong Dark Ale aged on black currants and French Oak. Trillium Farmhouse Ale. We released about half of this 1.5bbl batch in celebration of Belgian Beer Fest in 2013 and are now finally putting out the rest of it in bottles.

Vermont Trip August 15-16 2014

When Hill Farmstead announced Festival of Farmhouse Ales (FoFA) was going to be held at the brewery on August 16th I started making plans. Fortunately I got tickets through the lottery and we finalized the plans for a short overnight trip to Vermont with my wife, her sister and my brother in law. The week prior to FoFA The Alchemist announced a tent sales for that Saturday morning. Every time they have had a tent sale I had other plans so this was my first chance to experience the craziness of an Alchemist tent sale.

IMG_20140815_124455We left on Friday the 15th and made our way to Vermont via Littleton, NH so we could have lunch at Schilling Beer. We sat on their deck that overlooks the Ammonoosuc River and enjoyed a couple flights of beer and some great brick oven pizza. The favorite beer was Clervaux although they were all very good and the pizzas were both excellent. My brother in law bought one of their double walled stainless steel growlers full of Clervaux for the first beer purchase of the weekend.

After lunch we finished the trip to Vermont and arrived in Montpelier just as Hunger Mountain Coop was releasing Heady Topper and bottles of Double Sunshine from Lawson’s Finest Liquids. We knew the weekend was going to involve standing in many long lines so we decided to skip the lines at the Coop and just headed to the hotel. Capitol Plaza Hotel is located right in the heart of Montpelier and is walking distance to most shops including Three Penny Taproom. Rooms were affordable, up to date and it worked well for our overnight stay.

That evening we walked the streets of Montpelier visiting the local shops and eventually made our way to Three Penny Taproom for drinks and dinner. The food there was great and my brother in law and I enjoyed several beers including; Hill Farmstead Abner and Edward, Lawson’s Finest Liquids Sip of Sunshine, Otter Creek Overgrown Pale Ale, Zero Gravity Sim City, while our wives enjoyed some cocktails. All around a great time was had by all and Three Penny should be on your list of places to visit if you ever find yourself in Montpelier.

Line 640Our initial plan was to arrive at the tent sale in Waterbury at 7:00 however we were up and ready to go earlier so we arrived around 6:40. The line was only about 35 people when we arrived, there was plenty of parking and everyone was just hanging out in the parking lot. By 7:00 the line was close to 100 and by the time they moved us to the area the sale takes place at 7:40 there were easily 200 people in line. We grabbed some crepes from the Skinny Pancake food truck and waited as the line grew. There was a band to keep people entertained and lots of talking with the others in line. Around 8:40 John Kimmich thanked everyone for coming and explained that all money from the sale of merchandise was being donated to a school in Rwanda. He also announced they would start selling beer a bit early.

CoolerFortunately we were near the front of the line and we had our beer and were heading out by 9:00. The sale was very well organized and I would recommend anyone interested in The Alchemist beers make the trip to Waterbury to experience the event and buy some great beer.

Due to the early exit from Waterbury we had some extra time between the truck load sale and leaving for FoFA so we hit the farmer’s market in Montpelier, made another trip to the Coop for some snacks and then eventually made our way to Greensboro for the start of FoFA.

Upon arrival at Hill Farmstead we found another extremely well run Fieldevent. A tent was setup to check in with your required designated driver and grab your Hill Farmstead branded tasting glass. The lines had already formed for Flora from Hill Farmstead and Paraguesia2 from Tired Hands. I opted for the Flora line and that was the last line I waited in all day. The remainder of the festival was walk up, grab a beer and drink. There were a couple of times when Hill Farmstead started pouring La Sarrasin and a couple of others that the lines swelled to 20+ people but it went quickly and plenty of great beer was consumed.

FoFAI got to talk to Shaun, Phil, Bob as well as Dan Suarez formerly of Hill Farmstead and currently working towards opening Suarez Family Brewery in New York. The weather could have been better but it did not take away from a great day for a great event.

Based on the success of both the tent sale and the new setup for events at Hill Farmstead; no camping, required designated driver, etc I hope both breweries continue to hold these events as I will certainly be back.

The final haul from the weekend included;

– 2 mixed cases from The Alchemist; four 4-packs of Focal Banger and a 4-pack of Rapture and Crusher
– four 4-packs of Heady Topper
– 8 bottles of Vera Mae and 4 bottles of Florence

Unfortunately we missed out on Lawson’s as we did not want to wait in line at the Coop on Friday but we still came home with plenty of beer.

675. Brewery Ommegang Fire and Blood Red Ale

Brewery Ommegang Fire and BloodI know I am a little late to the Game of Thrones beer thing but I bought this beer back in April and tossed it in the beer fridge. Finally got around to opening it as I was not all that excited about drinking a red ale.

They did a great job getting the color as close to the blood part of the name with a deep amber color and thick off white head. Aroma is sweet and spicy with the spice coming from both the hops and the use of Ancho Chilies.

Taste is really where this one fell apart. Red ales are not my favorite style of beer to start but this one failed to deliver the sweetness that most reds have and that I got in the aroma. The beer did have an odd mix of spice and dark fruit which didn’t work for me. Hoped that it would improve as it warmed but it didn’t.

The Game of Thrones marketing made this one move off the shelf but that really is the only reason I would buy this beer. 
Cons: Odd mix of flavors
Alcohol Content: 6.8% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Brewers Website: Brewery Ommegang
Brewers Description: Ommegang and HBO® announce the newest beer in the Game of Thrones® collaboration series. Through its first three seasons, the critically acclaimed drama has become the biggest show on HBO. Continue reading 675. Brewery Ommegang Fire and Blood Red Ale

674. Dogfish Head Rhizing Bines

Dogfish Head Rhizing BinesThis is actually a collaboration beer that Dogfish Head did with Sierra Nevada. I wasn’t even sure what style of beer this was when I opened it was pleasantly surprised to find a nice double IPA.

Color is a beautiful deep orange with a very thick white head. It looked as good in person as it does in this picture. The aroma was primarily flowery hops but there was a bit of citrus in there. Taste was very well balanced for a double IPA with plenty of citrus, flower and herbal hops. Mouthfeel had a nice creaminess to it similar to Jai Alai from Cigar City in this regard.

Overall I was very pleased with this beer and would happily buy another.
 Well balanced and creamy mouthfeel
Alcohol Content: 8.0% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): 70
Brewers Website: Dogfish Head
Brewers Description: Deepening our bond with Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., forged with the 2009 collaboration Life & Limb, we’ve brewed an East-meets-West Imperial IPA called Rhizing Bines.

“We had a lot of fun brewing the original dark and roasty Life & Limb in Chico with the Grossmans and Sierra Nevada’s extended family,” says Dogfish Head President and Founder Sam Calagione. “We are very proud of the way that beer turned out. Now it’s our turn to repay that hospitality and brew a very hop-centric IPA in Milton with our pals from Chico, incorporating innovative ingredients and techniques from both breweries.” Continue reading 674. Dogfish Head Rhizing Bines

673. Sierra Nevada Kellerweis

Sierra Nevada KellerweisGrabbed this one as part of a mixed six pack at Beer Cellar Portsmouth and had been lingering in my beer fridge for a while. Decided to open on a hot summer afternoon and I was glad I did.

Pours a bit clearer than I would like but I may have failed to swirl the bottom of the bottle to get the remnants as you should with a hefeweizen. Other than lot I love the coloring a the slight white head. Aroma is a spicy banana bread and quite nice. Taste follows and adds a bit of clove.

Overall a nice hefeweizen which is a style of beer that I really enjoy during the summer. 

Alcohol Content: 4.8% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): 15
Brewers Website: Sierra Nevada
Brewers Description: Inspired by traditional Bavarian techniques, Kellerweis is a true artisan experience. With Kellerweis, we brew in open fermentation tanks—a process rarely seen today—to let the ingredients truly shine. The result is a hazy wheat ale—untamed, raw and alive. With a full, fruity aroma and notes of spicy clove and banana bread, Kellerweis is a truly unique brew.

672. Samuel Adams Rebel IPA

Samuel Adams Rebel IPAIf you go back to the early days of my blog you will see a lot of Sam Adams beer reviews. It was easy to by a variety 12 pack and get some inexpensive and decent craft beer to review. These days I rarely buy Sam Adams beer but I will grab an extra from my brother in law on occasion to review here.

Rebel IPA is their west coast style IPA which uses Cascade, Chinook, Centennial and Amarillo hops. Appearance is typical of a Sam Adams beer, crystal clear pale orange with a nice white head. Aroma was mild but pleasant with some pine and citrus hops present. Taste was better than the nose with more fresh hops than I expected; citrus and pine dominate. Finish is clean making for a very enjoyable beer.

Don’t be afraid to buy an IPA from Samuel Adams as this is actually quite tasty. 
Nice hop profile and inexpensive
Alcohol Content: 6.5% ABV
Calories: 198
IBU (Bitterness): 45
Brewers Website: Samuel Adams
Brewers Description: Introducing Rebel IPA, the first West Coast style IPA from the same brewers that started a craft beer revolution in 1984.