Category Archives: Beer Reviews

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.

828. Hill Farmstead Civil Disobedience #15

Hill Farmstead Civil Disobedience 15This is actually my first review of a beer from Hill Farmstead’s Civil Disobedience series even though I have tried several and have many more in the cellar. The Civil Disobedience beers are typically a blend of various barrel aged beers and have included some of the more rare offerings from Hill including Art, Ann, Mimosa and Juicy. CD15 is a blend of barrels that was then aged on “mangos… many, many mangos”.

CD15 pours a very clear pale orange with thin white head that disappeared quickly leaving a small ring and minimal lacing. Aroma was slightly funky with some mango, citrus and wine. Taste was juicy mango, very little brett funk and not a lot of wine barrel but just enough to be noticeable.

Overall this is an excellent beer that has enough complexity to make it interesting but isn’t overwhelming. 
Pros:

Cons:
Alcohol Content: ??% ABV
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Hill Farmstead
Brewers Description: A blend composed of beers from a diversity of barrels ranging from 16 to 30 months and further aged on organic, hand peeled mangos… many, many mangos, thanks to the able assistance of some great volunteers!

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.

824. Lost Nation Brewing The Wind

Lost Nation The WindI travel to Vermont often and for the past couple of years we have made the trip out for Hill Farmstead’s Festival of Farmhouse Ales a two day trip spending the night in Montpelier on Friday and then heading to Hill on Saturday for the event. Each time we spent a significant amount of time (and money) at Three Penny Taproom eating and drinking some great beer. The highlight of this years trip to Three Penny was The Wind from Lost Nation. Before going to Three Penny I had no idea this beer even existed but after having it I knew I had to find some bottles. Fortunately a few months later Lost Nation released another batch and I made a point to visit the brewery to grab some bottles.

For those that don’t know The Wind is Lost Nation’s Gose dry hopped with Citra and grapefruit added. Their Gose is excellent by itself but add some more hops and grapefruit and it makes it even better. Appearance is a pale yellow with a thick white head that disappeared quickly leaving a small rim around the glass, pretty typical of the gose style. Aroma give you a nice mix of citrus and grapefruit, no real surprise there. The Citra hops are essentially lost in the flavor leaving a tasty gose with plenty of grapefruit. Carbonation is low but seems intentional.

This beer is every bit as refreshing as the original Gose and bit more flavorful with the grapefruit coming through nicely. Excellent beer and if someone out there happens to have the Brett version of this beer let me know as I would really like to try it.
Pros:
Cons: 
Alcohol Content: ??% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Lost Nation Brewing
Brewers Description: Introducing our latest bottled beer, The Wind. The Wind is our classic Gose dry hopped with Citra hops and grapefruit. Some of you may have had this beer in the past as a cask beer. Well we liked it so much that we figured out how to bottle it.

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.

822. Baxter Brewing The Daughters of Poseidon

Baxter Brewing The Daughters of PoseidenThis is actually a really old review that I had the notes but couldn’t find the photo and then came across it so decided I would post just in case this beer came back around. If you still have a can of this chances are it has changed a lot as it would be about 18 months old.

Daughters of Poseidon is a black IPA and if you follow my blog you know this is not my favorite style. Color is almost entirely black with a thick off white head. I find these canned shaped glasses often increase the size of the head significantly. Aroma was almost entirely roasted malts; chocolate, coffee with a bit of citrus hops and some alcohol present. Taste follows with a big roasty start and the hops come through only in a big bitter finish. Not sure where the oysters come in but this beer was brewed with oysters at some point in the process.

If you like black IPAs you would probably enjoy this one but it seems to be a style that many craft beer drinkers avoid. 
Pros:

Cons:
Alcohol Content: 8.0% ABV
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Baxter Brewing
Brewers Description: Black India Pale Ale brewed with Oysters

821. Lost Nation Brewing Vermont Pilsner

Lost Nation Vermont PilsnerPilsners are often overlooked in the craft beer world but there are a few good ones out there with my favorite being Banded Horn’s Pepperell Pilsner. Lost Nation does a great job with their beers so when I came across a 4-pack of Vermont Pilsner I grabbed one to take home.

This beer is a crystal clear yellow with a very deep white head and plenty of carbonation. Aroma is entirely earthy with some crackery malts and some nice grassy hops. Taste is very similar to the nose with those same grassy hops, lightly sweet malt base and a very crisp and clean finish.

A solid craft pilsner that will not disappoint and could be enjoyed by craft beer drinkers as well as non-craft drinkers. 
Pros:

Cons:
Alcohol Content: 4.8% ABV
IBU (Bitterness): 20
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Lost Nation Brewing
Brewers Description: Our golden lager is a crisp, clean, easy drinking beer that has a full, balanced hop finish. This Franconian style Pils is perfect for any occasion

820. Neighborhood Beer Company Alien Garden

Neighborhood Beer Co Alien GardenThis may have been my favorite of the three beers I tried from Neighborhood Beer Company. They describe it as a light brown ale which is a fair description of the appearance but it certainly does not taste like an American Brown Ale.

Appearance is a deep copper which could be considered light brown with a finger thick white head. Aroma was pretty light but what was there was bready and pleasant. Taste was also malt forward but relatively light for a brown ale style. You don’t get the big roasted malt or nutty flavors often associated with a brown ale but you do get a malt forward beer that is super smooth and easy to drink.

Really enjoyable but from a style that I don’t drink often so not something that I will seek out again. 
Pros:

Cons:
Alcohol Content: 4.9% ABV
IBU (Bitterness): 35
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Neighborhood Beer Company
Brewers Description: Alien Garden Light Brown Ale is a smooth and refreshing style featuring a nice herbal finish. This well-balanced ale is made in the style of a Westphalian country ale from western Germany. A limited release style, get your Alien Garden now because it might never return.