Category Archives: Beer Reviews

840. Hoof Hearted Brewing Dragnsaddle

Hoof Hearted DragonsaddleThere are a couple of interesting stories relating to this brewery and their beer. First is the name which I assume came from a race horse from the mid-2000s named Hoof Hearted, see video at the bottom of this post for a chuckle. Second Hoof Hearted beer is highly sought after in Ohio with long lines at the brewery when they release cans. Here is a link to a story about the release of Dragonsaddle. For some unknown reason the brewery signed on with a distributor in Maine and we are now getting occasional shipments of cans from Ohio. Seems odd that a brewery that has long lines to buy their beer at the brewery would choose to set aside some of those cans to send them 800+ miles to Maine. This is the first beer from Hoof Hearted that I picked up at Bier Cellar in Portland.

Dragonsaddle is described as a triple IPA and comes in at a whopping 11.5% ABV. Very few IPAs I have reviewed even come close to this in terms of ABV with Ephraim from Hill Farmstead and Can’t Dog from Marshall Wharf being the only two that come to mind. Appearance is a slightly hazy orange with a decent white head that had good retention and left a lot of lacing. Aroma is dank, tropical and citrus. Taste follows with lots of citrus and tropical fruits; mango, pineapple, tangerine. Somehow there is no alcohol burn or taste at all in this beer which is amazing at 11.5% ABV.

This beer drinks like a 7% IPA but hits much harder. Dangerously smooth and drinkable. Very impressed with the first offering from Hoof Hearted and glad they decided to send some of their dank offerings to Maine. 
Pros:
Drinkable even at 11.5%
Cons:
Alcohol Content: 11.5% ABV
IBU (Bitterness): 128
Rating: 
Brewery Website: Hoof Hearted Brewing
Brewery Social Media: FB20 twitter20 insta
Brewer’s Description: The strong “herbal” aroma sends you back to freshman year catching a ride to school in your weird burnout neighbor’s ……. (insert your fav. El Camino, IROC, Firebird) whilst being bombarded by the sounds of Van Halen (DLR era, none of that Sammy Hagar synthy love song bullshit). DANKSOME!

The flavor profile is full-on drippingly ripe tropical fruits: Mango, guava, papaya, and citrus. Juicy, refreshing, and deceptive. We would highly recommend wearing a helmet & supportive cup when mounting the Dragonsaddle.

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839. Hill Farmstead Madness & Solitude

Hill Farmstead Madness & SolitudeHill Farmstead made this beer as part of their 5th anniversary celebration. They took Ephraim, one of my all time favorite beers, and aged it in second and third use bourbon barrels. Those of you that follow me know I am not big on bourbon barrel aged beers but I had to try this one.

Madness & Solitude pours a burnt orange with a wispy white head that dissipates quickly. Aroma was quite a bit different than Ephraim with a lot of oak and vanilla coming through with muted hops and a fair amount of booze. Upon the first sip, and I do mean sip as this is a BIG beer, you get big oak flavors, vanilla and some of those citrus hops that I love so much. The finish is boozy and seemed to be full of bourbon but that may just be my over sensitive palate since I don’t drink bourbon and rarely drink bourbon barrel aged beers. The same thing often happens when I drink a coffee beer, all I can taste is coffee.

I enjoyed this beer and drank two 750s over a weekend, not in the same night, but I would have preferred straight up Ephraim without the bourbon barrel aging. Interesting and I’m glad I got to try it as we may not see it again.
Pros:
Cons:
Alcohol Content: 10.5% ABV
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewery Website: Hill Farmstead
Brewery Social Media: FB20 twitter20 insta
Brewer’s Description: In March of 2015 (our Fifth Anniversary), we brewed our Imperial IPA (Ephraim) and then aged it in second and third use bourbon barrels with the intent of an experimental anniversary release.  In the spirit of the holidays, we offer you this double dry hopped, oak aged Imperial IPA. 10.5% abv.

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838. Hill Farmstead Motueka Pale Ale

Hill Farmstead Motueka Pale AleThis is the ninth beer from the single hop pale ale series from Hill Farmstead that I have reviewed. The first were; Amarillo, Cascade, Citra, Galaxy, Mosaic, Nelson Sauvin, Riwaka, Simcoe. I think the only one I missed is Columbus.

Motueka pours a pale orange with the signature Hill Farmstead haze. Bright white head and soft carbonation. Aroma is a little more subtle than a lot of Hill’s beers but still has a nice amount of citrus and some grass. Taste is also a little lighter than their other single hop beers with a slightly sweet start followed by some citrus and floral hops. Finish is clean with virtually no bitterness.

Always surprised by the mix of aroma and flavor a talented brewer can get from a single hop variety. This beer is super easy to drink like most of their pale ales and I really enjoyed it. 
Pros:

Cons:
Alcohol Content: 5.2% ABV
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewery Website: Hill Farmstead
Brewery Social Media: FB20 twitter20 insta
Brewer’s Description: An American Pale Ale bittered, flavored, and dry hopped exclusively with Motueka hops, a New Zealand varietal.

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837. Hill Farmstead Excursions #5

Hill Farmstead Excursions #5I sometimes feel like a broken record when I am reviewing a bunch of quality IPAs. While they all have their individual characteristics many have the big citrus, tropical fruits that I love with a slightly hazy appearance. I guess some call this the New England IPA as breweries like; Hill Farmstead, The Alchemist, Trillium, Tree House, Bissell Brothers and certain beers from other breweries all seem to fit nicely into this description. So many great IPAs in the Northeast that I rarely trade for IPAs from other parts of the country as I am usually disappointed.

Excursions #5 continues Hill’s use of experimental hops including the up and coming Vic Secret hop from Australia. Appearance is typical Hill Farmstead IPA with the hazy orange and bright white head, plenty of lacing remains on the glass. Aroma is full of tangerine, lemon and a bit of herbal/floral hops. Taste follows the nose but also adds a bit of dankness. Carbonation is light giving it the soft mouthfeel of most Hill Farmstead beers and very little bitterness.

Overall this is another excellent beer but is outdone by some of the other beers available at Hill. 
Pros:

Cons:
Alcohol Content: 6.0% ABV
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewery Website: Hill Farmstead
Brewery Social Media: FB20 twitter20 insta
Brewer’s Description: The fifth installment of our experimental hop series, this IPA is brewed with German Hallertau Blanc and Australian Vic Secret.

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836. Night Shift Brewing Santilli

Night Shift SantilliI had high hopes for Santilli after enjoying Whirpool unfortunately it wasn’t quite as good as I had hoped.

Santilli is Night Shift’s single IPA and it comes in at a very reasonable 6% ABV. Appearance is a slightly hazy orange with a bright white head. Aroma is mostly earthy; grass, pine, maybe a bit of pineapple. Taste starts with a fairly aggressive bitterness that overwhelmed some of the other flavors. I got a little grapefruit, pine and a floral finish.

Overall a very good beer that I will try again in hopes that it either improves or that my palate was off that day. 
Pros:

Cons:
Alcohol Content: 6.0% ABV
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewery Website: Night Shift Brewing
Brewery Social Media: FB20 twitter20 insta
Brewer’s Description: Smooth-sipping IPA with massive hop profile. It is crisp, tropical and delicious; named after our address on Santilli Highway in Everett

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835. Trillium Brewing Galaxy Dry Hopped Fort Point

Trillium Brewing Fort Point GalaxyThis is the third variety of Fort Point Pale Ale I have reviewed. The originalMosaic Dry Hopped and now the Galaxy dry hopped version. All have been excellent and received 4.5 star reviews. You just can’t go wrong when you start with such a solid pale ale and amp it up a bit with an extra dry hopping.

Appearance is a little less hazy than the original and the Mosaic version but still far from see through. Aroma is loaded with tropical fruits; mango, pineapple, grapefruit and a bit of citrus – really excellent smelling beer. Taste is super juicy fresh hops, not as crazy as the double dry hopped varieties but still a crazy amount of hops especially for what is called a pale ale. Carbonation, mouthfeel are all right where I like them.

Just another excellent brew from Trillium. 
Pros:

Cons:
Alcohol Content: 6.6% ABV
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewery Website: Trillium Brewing
Brewery Social Media: FB20 twitter20 insta
Brewer’s Description: This version of our signature American pale ale is dry hopped with the pungent Galaxy variety. Enticingly hazy and blonde in appearance with frothy carb, the nose erupts with strong citrus, passion fruit, and pineapple aromatics. Upfront and resinous hop-derived flavors of grapefruit pith, peach, and mango are balanced with a subtle, bready malt character and mild, subdued bitterness.

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834. Trillium Brewing Artaic

Trillium Brewing ArtaicTrillium is making some fantastic beer and I have been fortunate to make several trips down to visit the brewery in Boston and most recently the new location in Canton. This one came from the Boston location and I enjoyed it a few weeks ago. Artaic is a double IPA with 100% Mosaic hops and includes raw wildflower honey. Honey seems like an odd addition to beer but Anna from Hill Farmstead is great and Hopslam from Bell’s is also excellent and both include honey. Maybe honey is the secret ingredient as Artaic is truly exceptional.

Pour is a very clear deep copper color with a thick bright white head that left a lot of lacing. Appearance is much different than so many of Trillium’s murky offerings.  Aroma is peaches, mango, melon, citrus always amazed as the depth of aroma brewers can get from a single hop variety. Taste is very similar to the nose with plenty of citrus, tropical and a slightly sweet finish. Artaic is incredibly drinkable for an 8.5% ABV beer with light carbonation, very little bitterness.

This beer is a unique take on a double IPA that works on all levels. Last time I only bought two bottles but next time I will bring home my limit. 
Pros:

Cons:
Alcohol Content: 8.5% ABV
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewery Website: Trillium Brewing
Brewery Social Media: FB20 twitter20 insta
Brewer’s Description: Artaic Double IPA is brewed with 100% Mosaic hops in all kettle, whirlpool and two massive dry hop additions. Local raw wildflower honey keeps the body light and drinkable but provides a floral, earthy backbone. Juicy, candied peach and nectarine up front backed up with a nuanced white wine on the nose that continues straight through in the flavor profile. Pillowy soft mouthfeel, with a restrained bitterness on the finish. Artaic is an innovative Fort Point business that creates dynamic mosaics only possible through robotics.

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833. Trillium Brewing Deciduous

Trillium Brewing DeciduousI am not a big fan of red ales but after how much I enjoyed Ma from Tree House I decided to open this bottle from Trillium. This beer may be my least favorite beer to date from Trillium but that’s not saying much as they have all been exceptional.

Deciduous pours a deep amber with a reasonably thick off white head. Aroma is pine, toffee and pretty sweet. Taste was too sweet for my tastes with some piney hops and a reasonably bitter finish.

Overall a well made beer that just didn’t do it for me. If you enjoy red ales than you will likely enjoy this one.
Pros:
Cons:
Alcohol Content: 8.0% ABV
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewery Website: Trillium Brewing
Brewery Social Media: FB20 twitter20 insta
Brewer’s Description: We brew Deciduous to welcome the return of Autumn and celebrate New England’s changing foliage. This imperial red ale is russet-amber and fills the nose with pleasant aromas of fresh baked bread, pine sap, and floral citrus. Deciduous embodies the seasonal transition from summer to winter with an earth, lemon and spicy pine aroma balanced on the palate with a hearty malt character and clean, refreshing bitterness. Deciduous is medium in body and dry on the finish.

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832. Rock Art Brewery Limited Access

Rock ArtRock Art decided to have a little fun naming their new DIPA. If you have visited Rock Art or Lost Nation in the past several months you know there has been a significant road construction project near their facility. The project is complete and instead of driving right by Rock Art, Route 100 now brings you behind their building. If you are not paying attention you can easily drive right past. This is why they decided to call this beer Limited Access and put a map to the brewery on it.

Limited Access is another great Vermont double IPA in a 16 ounce can that might be overlooked by those seeking Heady or Sip of Sunshine. Slightly hazy orange in color with a really nice mix of pine, grapefruit, pineapple and other tropical fruits. Taste follows with just enough of a malt presence to let the hops shine through. Very easy to drink for a DIPA with a nice amount of carbonation and reasonable bitterness.

Do not overlook this beer.
Pros:

Cons:
Alcohol Content: 7.5% ABV
IBU (Bitterness): 75
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Rock Art Brewery
Brewers Description:

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831. Gilgamesh Brewing Fresh Prince

Gilgamesh Fresh PrinceThis is another beer from Paul given to me on my 40th birthday. Gilgamesh is an entirely new brewery for me, had not even heard of them before getting this beer but apparently someone at the brewery must like the show Fresh Prince of Bel Air as they have a couple beers with names relating to the show; this one, DJ Jazzy Hef and then a few others with movie references. Always interesting to see how breweries come up with the names for their beer.

Generally I am not impressed with wet hopped beers. It seems like a great idea, pick some hops from the bine, toss them into a beer and enjoy. Unfortunately the end result is not as hoppy as you would expect. Fresh Prince is described as a triple wet hopped double IPA so my expectations were high.

Great looking beer with a clear deep orange and off white head. Aroma was caramel malts and a bit of pine, overall pretty underwhelming for a double IPA. Taste moved away from the pine with a lot of flower and lemon zest. Finish had a fair amount of alcohol considering it is only 7.8% ABV.

Overall this is one of the better fresh hopped IPAs I have tried but still not a beer I would seek out again. 
Pros:

Cons:
Alcohol Content: 7.8% ABV
IBU (Bitterness): 87
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Gilgamesh Brewing
Brewers Description: A double IPA brewed with copious amountss of Centennial hops fresh off the vines. This triple wet-hopped ale has a golden color, short-lived bitterness, and an astounding aroma.

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