Category Archives: Mass Beer

830. Tree House Brewing Ma

Tree House MaMy brother in law often attends events with me and gets a lot of great beer from my frequent trips to breweries. Occasionally he repays me with beer including this one from Tree House. Ma is a hoppy red ale and like many beers from Tree House now comes in 16 ounce cans with a label stuck to it. Love that they are canning their beer now and still need to find a reason to make more regular trips to Monson.

Ma pours a deep red almost brown with a thick off white head, really nice looking beer. Aroma is an interesting mix of piney hops, slightly fruity and sweet almost bubble gum. Taste starts with the sweet malts you would expect from a red but the hops really shine in the end with plenty pine and citrus. Slightly bitter finish with nice amount of carbonation.

Really well done beer and as much as I don’t like the black IPA I am really enjoying these hoppy red ales. Ma is right there with Nugget Nectar and Stoneface’s Red Rye IPA as a few of my favorite hoppy red ales. 
Pros:

Cons:
Alcohol Content: 7.3% ABV
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Tree House Brewing
Brewers Description: 

829. Night Shift Brewing Whirlpool

Night Shift WhirlpoolNow that I am making regular trips to Mass you will see more reviews of Night Shift beer. Love their tap room and it’s a pretty easy stop on my way back from Trillium. If you have recommendations on beer I should try from Night Shift or beer you would like to see reviewed comment here and I will do my best. Whirlpool is regularly available in cans that can be purchased at the brewery and occasionally at select retail locations.

This beer pours a deep hazy yellow with solid white head that left plenty of lacing. Aroma is full of fruit with some peach, mango and pineapple coming through. Flavor leans heavily towards ripe peach with an extra bit of citrus. Finish is clean with almost no bitterness. Really flavorful for a 4.5% ABV beer and one that I could drink all day long.

Everyone that I have shared this beer loved it including many non-craft beer drinkers. Overall just an excellent brew that seems to fly under the radar but that is OK with me as I expect I will be drinking a lot of it in 2016.
Pros: Flavorful, low ABV
Cons:
Alcohol Content: 4.5% ABV
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Night Shift Brewing
Brewers Description: Soft pale ale bursting with notes of ripe peach and citrus.

827. Breakside Brewery India Golden Ale

Breakside Brewing India Golen AleReceived this bottle as a gift at my 40th birthday party from Paul who travels to Oregon regularly as he works with Willamette Valley Hops. Breakside is located in Portland, Oregon and I believe this is the first beer I have tried from them.

India Golden Ale is a double IPA brewed with Eldorado. Mosaic and Chinook hops which makes for an interesting mix of aromas and flavor. Pour is a hazy deep copper color. Aroma has a solid amount of tropical fruit and is slightly sweet. The tropical fruits are all but gone from the taste which was a bit of a disappointment. They are replaced by a strong floral, piney flavor which was OK but not what I hoped for after the excellent aroma. Bitter on the frond end and the alcohol is well masked considering its 8.1% ABV.

I have no idea how old this bottle was when I got around to drinking it so it may have changed a bit from when it was brewed. If you find yourself in Oregon and see this on tap give a try as I don’t think you will be disappointed. 
Pros:

Cons:
Alcohol Content: 8.1% ABV
IBU (Bitterness): 60
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Breakside Brewery
Brewers Description: Originally crafted with Ninkasi Brewing, this double IPA is the lightest, hoppiest beer you’ll ever try. Loaded with tropical and fruity notes from Mosaic, Eldorado and Chinook.

826. Trillium Brewing Citra Dry Hopped Sunshower Super Saison

Trillium Sunshower Super SaisonI enjoy a good saison and Trillium’s saison, also called Trillium, is a very good straight up saison. On one of my recent trips to Boston they had this Citra Dry Hopped version of Sunshower which is classified as a super saison due to its higher than normal 8.5% ABV. The only other “super” saison review that I can think of is Lively Brewing’s Magic Mike which came in at a whopping 11% ABV.

Sunshower pours a nice clear orange with a very thick white head, much cleaner than other beers I have reviewed from Trillium. Aroma is an interesting mix of citrus and lemon, spice and earthy notes from the saison yeast. Taste leans more toward the saison side with some pepper, earthy, floral notes – the Citra hops seem to be lost for the most part. The alcohol was more apparent as the beer warmed a bit but that is to be expected for an 8.5% ABV beer.

Overall a solid beer but with so many exceptional beers being brewed at Trillium it is unlikely I will buy this one again. 
Pros:

Cons:
Alcohol Content: 8.5% ABV
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Trillium Brewing
Brewers Description: Sunshower is our Super Saison, a high-gravity farmhouse ale inspired by the ethereal refreshing mid-summer moments when we experience both rainfall and the heat of the sun in New England. Similar to our flagship Trillium, the mouthfeel is light and effervescent with a bright, golden hue. We allow the fermentation temperature to free-rise that favors the saison yeast strain’s in the blend to realize its full attenuation potential which results in a dry beer with strength and complexity. Layers of pepper and earthy characteristics that play nice with the crisp, smooth backbone of a pilsner and wheat malt bill.

825. Trillium Brewing Double Dry Hopped Sleeper Street

Trillium DDH Sleeper StreetI drink a lot of hoppy beers, partly because I enjoy IPAs and DIPAs but a lot has to do with the amount of beer I buy. Having a job that “forces” me to visit brewery after brewery I am constantly buying beer and since hops fade quickly I always try to drink my IPAs first. Because of this I have reviewed more hoppy beers than anything else; the first truly exceptional DIPA I reviewed was Dreadnaught from Three Floyds way back in February 2012. Since then I have tried almost all of the “best” hoppy offerings. Occasionally I come across a brewery that just knows how to use hops and Trillium is the most recent example of this.

Congress Street is one of the best single IPAs out there, Fort Point is an amazing hoppy pale ale and their DIPA offerings including Heavy Mettle and Vicinity are right up there with the best from Hill Farmstead and The Alchemist. Now add to these their dry hopped and double dry hopped offerings and you have all the hops any one person can handle. DDH Sleeper Street pours a hazy pale orange with a bright white head. Aroma is ripe orange, melons and tropical fruit. Taste follows with loads of fresh citrus and a little dank. Finish is slightly bitter but not as harsh as one might expect from a beer with this amount of hops.

Another exceptional beer from Trillium, can’t wait for their Canton location to open so it will be easier to get their beer. 
Pros:

Cons:
Alcohol Content: 7.2% ABV
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Trillium Brewing
Brewers Description: Same base grist as Sleeper Street IPA, but with a double dose of El Dorado in the dry hop. These El Dorado hops impart a powerful aroma of distinctive lime zest, along with notes of grapefruit juice, and a subtle woodsy earthiness.  The taste is bright, floral, and citrusy hop upfront and finishes with candied lime. As with all Trillium “Street” IPA’s, Double Dry Hopped Sleeper Street is dry with medium-light body and a crisp finish.

823. Enlightenment Ales Illumination

Enlightenment Ales IlluminationThe Belgian IPA or Hoppy Saison is not a style I drink a lot. I like IPAs and drink a lot of them and I like saisons but rarely do the styles mix and create something worthwhile. Hugh Malone from Allagash may be the only memorable beer within the style and this year’s Hugh Malone was even better than the one reviewed above. I got this bottle from a friend and decided to give it a shot.

Illumination pours a very bright and clean copper color with a very thick soapy white head. Aroma was an interesting mix of floral hops, saison yeast and a bit funky. The hops are there in the aroma but they really shine in the flavor with a big blast of citrus and floral hops to start. When I say big I mean big relative to the style, there is enough there to satisfy an IPA drinker but you won’t be overwhelmed by hops. Finish turns more towards that traditional saison with some spice and yeast coming through and a very mild bitterness.

Overall a very interesting and complex beer from Enlightenment Ales and one of the best of the style that I have tried.
Pros:
Cons:
Alcohol Content: 6.8% ABV
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Enlightenment Ales
Brewers Description: Illumination is a beer inspired by two of my favorite brewing traditions: the rustic farmhouse ales of Belgium and the generously hopped IPA’s of America’s West Coast. Born from a grist of barley, wheat and rye, and fermented with a blend of infamously expressive farmhouse ale yeasts, Illumination begins its life as a classic Saison, only to be transformed into something unique through robust additions of American dry hops. The result is a beer with an intensely tropical aroma, a juicy, citrus flavor, and a dry, crisp bitterness. While this beer may not provide immediate illumination to the mysteries of life, it’s sure to at least brighten the corners.

817. Newburyport Brewing Melt Away

Newburyport Brewing Melt Away Session IPAIt seems like most breweries added a session IPA or session pale to their line up during 2015. Some were excellent and some just seemed like watered down versions of other beers. Some of my favorites include Rising Tide’s Maine Island Trail, Baby Genius & Diavoletto from Bissell Brothers.

Melt Away appears to be the newest can release from Newburyport Brewing adding a session beer to an already solid line up. This beer pours a slightly hazy pale orange with a solid white head, really nice looking beer. Aroma is abundant for a session beer with plenty of citrus and tropical hops. Taste follows with plenty of hop flavor on top of a light malt base. Slightly creamy and very little bitterness making this a super crushable session IPA.

This will definitely be added to the list of beers for my golf cooler next summer. 
Pros: 

Cons:
Alcohol Content: 4.6% ABV
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Newburyport Brewing
Brewers Description: A refreshing session IPA shining with Citra and Amarillo hops uniquely balanced by malt sweetness for a crisp, easy finish. A tasty way to kick back and melt away.

793. Jack’s Abby Hoponius Union

Jacks Abby Hoponius UnionAnother beer from Jack’s Abby Brewing; Hoponius Union seems to be their most popular beer and is widely available on draft, in bottles and growlers at the brewery. I’ve tried the beer on draft multiple times so when I went to the brewery I opted for the 64 ounce growler.

Hoponius pours a nice orange color with solid white head. Aroma has a nice sweet base like many other lagers but the hops also come through with some nice spicy, citrus and tropical notes. Taste follows with the same sweet malt base and crisp clean hops add plenty of grass, citrus and pine. Finish is super clean and only slightly bitter.

This beer would satisfy most hoppy beer fans need for hops. Hopefully Jack’s Abby will start distributing in Maine soon. 
Pros:
Super clean and refreshing
Cons:
Alcohol Content: 6.7% ABV
IBU (Bitterness): 65
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Jack’s Abby Brewing
Brewers Description: 
Hoponius Union harmoniously combines lager yeast fermentation and West Coast IPA hops. Our India style Pale Lager is like a traditional IPA but with a twist – it’s fermented cold and aged for extended periods. A blend of classic American hops creates a huge tropical fruit and citrusy hop aroma. A dry finish accentuates the pleasant bitterness and hop profile.

792. Jack’s Abby Sour Barrel Project #5

Jacks Abby Barrel Project #5It has been a month since my last post, craziness of life sometimes gets in the way of blogging but my daughter’s soccer team is done, birthday parties including my 40th are done for the year and you should see more posts over the next several weeks. The long Maine winters are a great time to blog.

This one from Jack’s Abby continues a string of beers from Massachusetts that will continue as I am doing more and more business down that way. Look for more reviews of Trillium, Mystic, Night Shift and hopefully more from the guys at Jacks Abby too.

Sour Barrel Project #5 is a wine barrel aged version of Leisure Time and was available at the brewery for growler fills this summer. Appearance is a nice light golden color with minimal head which is pretty typical for a sour beer. Aroma is mild but has some earthiness along with hints of wheat and spices. Taste was light on the sour and had little to no wine barrel character but it did have some spice and a light tartness that worked well.

There was nothing about this beer that really stood out but everything about it worked making it a very enjoyable beer and something that would be a great intro to wild/sour beers for craft beer drinkers that are interested in the style but don’t want anything too crazy. 
Pros:
No flaws
Cons:
Alcohol Content: ??% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Jack’s Abby Brewing
Brewers Description:
Leisure Time aged in red wine barrels with brettanomyces, lactobacillus, and pediococcus for 12 months.