Neighborhood Beer Company recently opened their brewery and tasting room in Exeter, NH. Their focus is on authentic German style beers often made with a slight American twist. These are types of beers that are not brewed often in the US so don’t expect any American IPAs or DIPAs when you visit, at least to start.
This blonde ale is based on the traditional Kölsch style. It pours a clear yellow with minimal head that dissipates quickly. Aroma is sightly sweet with a bit of yeast and bready malts. Taste follows with a nice light body and low carbonation.
Overall an enjoyable first beer from NHBeerCo that won’t disappoint but also won’t get a lot of attention when so many are looking for the next big hoppy beer.
Pros: Cons: Alcohol Content: 4.9% ABV IBU (Bitterness): 24 Rating: Brewers Website: Neighborhood Beer Company Brewers Description: Hallowed Hammock Blonde Ale is a smooth, easy-going pale ale based on the acclaimed Kölsch beers of Cologne, Germany. Clean tasting with subtle hints of caramel, vanilla and apricot as well as lingering notes of white wine from a scarce German hop variety, this beer is as easy drinking and relaxing as it gets. For the beer geeks amongst you, this full-flavored, hand-crafted ale has 4.9% ABV, 24 IBU, and 4 SRM.
Works of Love is a new series of beer from Hill Farmstead. These beers were brewed at Hill with the help of a guest brewer. The first in the series is a blonde ale brewed with Earl Grey Tea that clocks in at 3.6% ABV. This is one of many great beers available with an ABV below 4%.
This beer is very light in color with a slight haze to it. Aroma was light and mostly citrus but also a bit of lemon grass. Flavor follows with a nice hoppy start and the tea really does not come through until the finish. Very mild bitterness and with the low ABV you could drink this all day long.
I have not had many beers made with tea but this is a very well done beer as the tea is just an added layer not something that takes over the beer. Looking forward to more from the Works of Love series.
Pros: Flavorful, low ABV Cons: Alcohol Content: 3.7% ABV Calories: ??? IBU (Bitterness): ?? Rating: Brewers Website: Hill Farmstead Brewers Description: A new series showcasing collaborations at Hill Farmstead with friends, this one brewed with Ryan Witter-Merithew of Siren Brewing. Low abv, hoppy blonde ale (3.7%) with Earl Grey tea; dry hopped with Amarillo, Citra and Centennial.
This is a great beer! I have been drinking it every chance I get this summer, mostly at Salvage BBQ in Portland and Marche in Lewiston. Unfortunately Bissell Brothers only did a single canning run before changing over to their fall seasonal so I only had the chance to purchase a couple 4-packs. I ended up sharing a couple cans with others and all that got the chance to try it raved about the robust flavor with low ABV.
Baby Genius pours an extremely murky pale orange with a thick white head. This is exactly what I want my beer to look like. Aroma is mild when compared to many of the big double IPAs I enjoy but when you consider this is a “blonde” and has a very low 4% ABV the aroma is huge. I put “blonde” in quotation marks as this is certainly not what you think of when you hear blonde ale. Lots of citrus and tropical fruits with just a hint of sweet malts in the aroma. Flavor follows with grapefruit, citrus and a bitterness that leaves you wanting more. How they pack so much flavor into such a low ABV beer I don’t know. Baby Genius is almost certainly not brewed to style as the hop profile is much bigger than a blonde should be and also has more bitterness but you will not hear me complaining.
This is one of the most flavorful low ABV beers that I have reviewed. This combined with the cloudy appearance and excellent aroma make this a beer you must try. I really hope they can this all summer long in 2015 as I will enjoy many cans of this and Rising Tide’s MITA while golfing.
Pros: Loads of flavor and low ABV Cons: Not available year round 🙁 Alcohol Content: 4.0% ABV Calories: ??? IBU (Bitterness): ?? Rating: Brewers Website:Bissell Brothers Brewers Description:
Sorry for the crappy cell phone pic on this review but I forgot my camera at my parents house for a few days and didn’t want to let the growler sit too long.
Freestyle #24 is described by Oxbow as an “American Blonde IPA”. Like Bandolier this one had very little carbonation and almost no head. Aroma was different with what I can only describe as onion, sounds odd but hops can do some strange and wonderful things. The taste was different with a very earthy cut grass and pepper taste.
Very interesting beer with an odd combination of aroma and taste. It worked but not really my choice of IPA flavors.
Pros: Interesting and unique Cons: Alcohol Content: 6.5% ABV Calories: ??? IBU (Bitterness): ?? Rating: Brewers Website: Oxbow Brewers Description: American Blonde IPA
Well I finally made the trip to Tree House Brewing in Monson, Mass. I will have a post dedicated to the trip and the brewery in the near future as I took tons of pictures and had a great time talking to Nate, Johnny and the others at the brewery. In the meantime here are a few beers I took home from my visit.
Eureka with Citra is described as a blonde ale but like many other beers today it pushes the limits of what a blonde ale can be. Appearance is a very hazy yellow with a single finger white head. Great retention and lacing on the glass show this is a well crafted beer. Aroma has plenty of citrus, very aromatic for a low ABV beer. Taste follows with plenty of fruity hops and only a very slight bitterness as you would expect from a blonde ale.
Eureka is an excellent session beer; very flavorful and refreshing. This one would be right up with their with Walden from Hill Farmstead.
Pros: Flavorful and low ABV Cons: Alcohol Content:4.1% ABV Calories: ??? IBU (Bitterness): ?? Rating: Brewers Website: Tree House Brewing Brewers Description:A Blonde Ale brewed entirely with Nelson Sauvin hops, a New Zealand varietal that melds beautifully with a simple bill of pale malts. This is a true “session beer” and one that does not make any compromises. It has a delicate bouquet of passionfruit and a slight lemon flavor that will surely quench your thirst.
On one of my last trips to Vermont with two other beer guys we stopped for lunch at Blackback Pub in Waterbury and Ted and I both ordered this beer. Unfortunately the keg kicked while the bartender was pouring Ted’s so I only got to have a small sample from his glass. Fortunately on my follow up visit (6 days later) this beer was available for growler fills so I came home with 2 liters of this beer.
This beer is classified as a blonde ale but this is not your typical blonde ale. Almost every blonde ale I have reviewed has been pale yellow and fairly bland. The only one that stood out before this beer was Knockout Blonde from Lawson’s.
Life Without Principles #3 certainly doesn’t look blonde, this one pours a merky orange with the nice white head. Aroma has some lemon, citrus and a nice earthy balance. Taste is wonderful with the citrus, lemon and grapefruit from the nose but also a nice tart finish that simply makes this beer.
Easily the best blonde ale I have ever had if it truly can be classified as a blonde. Pros: Amazing color and slightly tart Cons: Alcohol Content: 5.5% ABV Calories: ??? IBU (Bitterness): ?? Rating: Brewers Website: Hill Farmstead Brewers Description: Life Without Principle #3 is the next entry in our series of citrus and citrus-inspired beers. This chapter in the story was brewed with Citra and Motueka hops, as well as an abundance of hibiscus for tartness and citrusy aromas. 5.5% abv.
I love that my job takes me to some of the best breweries in the area on a regular basis including Hill Farmstead. On my last visit I picked up a couple of session beers including this blonde ale which clock in under 4% ABV. Blonde ales are usually pretty boring but I should have known Shaun would make a hoppy blonde that would be anything but boring.
Walden has the typical unfiltered bright orange coloring and single finger white head. Aroma has plenty of pine and citrus but is dialed back from the huge aromas that come from Hill Farmstead’s IPA and DIPAs. Taste is similar to other Hill Farmstead beers but certainly scaled back a bit for it to be a blonde. This is simply a sessionable version of the great beer made by Hill Farmstead, plenty of hop aroma and flavor.
This is another one that I could drink every day and be happy.
Pros: Flavorful and hoppy for a blonde Cons: Alcohol Content: <4.0% ABV Calories: ??? IBU (Bitterness): 40 Rating: Brewers Website: Hill Farmstead Brewers Description: A sessionable blonde ale—originally brewed with our good friend John Kimmich from The Alchemist. <4% abv. 40 IBUs. Hopped with Motueka, Amarillo and Simcoe.
Loretta is one of five beers in Oxbow’s perennials series. I originally had this beer at the brewery last year but opted not to buy a growler. This year Oxbow introduced the growlette, a 32 ounce growler, which allowed me to take home many different styles of their beer without committing myself to drinking 64 ounces of each. My typical trip to Oxbow now includes a full growler of Farmhouse Pale Ale and a growlette of each of the others.
Loretta is a sessionable blonde ale at a very reasonable 4% ABV. Appearance is fairly typical for an Oxbow beer with a nice pale yellow and almost no head. Aroma has some light lemon, some wheat and just a bit of funk.
Taste is mild with the same lemon zest, wheat and a bit of earthiness. Overall I really enjoy Oxbow beer and this would be near the top of my list of session beers for the summer. Pros: low ABV and tasty Cons: Alcohol Content: 4.0% ABV Calories: ??? IBU (Bitterness): ?? Rating: Brewers Website: Oxbow Brewers Description: Our grisette, a rustic blonde ale brewed with spelt grown at a draft horse farm in Pittston, Maine.
I acquired this one a trade, honestly not sure where but I had high expectations after drinking Hopslam and Two Hearted. This one is a blonde ale so I guess I should not have expected much.
Appearance is probably the best part of this beer with a nice light orange color and bright white head. Smell is slightly sweet but not very pleasant. Taste is simple with only a bit of earthy grass and bread. Not a lot happening with this one and not something I would seek out.
No question Bell’s is a quality brewery but this is a style that does not lend itself to big aroma or taste. Completely average blonde ale that looks much better than it actually was.
Pros: Appearance Cons: Bland Alcohol Content: 4.8% ABV Calories: ??? IBU (Bitterness): ?? Rating: Brewers Website: Bell’s Brewery Brewers Description: Assertively hopped, Third Coast Beer offers a crisp, dry bitterness with a mixture of floral & herbal aromas.
This beer got a lot of press when it was announced as Ommegang partnered with HBO to offer a beer based on the hit series Game of Thrones. I am big fan of the series and have listed to all 5 audio books so a beer that taps into that marketing seems like a great idea.
The beer is a Belgian blonde ale which is not terribly exciting but I saw someone post that being a “gimmick” beer you might get some cross over from not craft beer drinkers and it makes sense to do a blonde and not something bigger. That way you don’t turn off those that are not used to craft beer. I thought this was a good explanation of why Ommegang chose a blonde ale and I wish I could remember who said it so I could give them credit.
Overall this beer is what you would expect from a Belgian blonde, nice light color with thick white head. Belgian yeast and spice dominate the aroma. Taste was average nothing spectacular but certainly worth trying with some lemon, floral and peppery spice. Overall a solid beer with some smart marketing.
Pros: Cons: Alcohol Content: 6.5% ABV Calories: ??? IBU (Bitterness): ?? Rating: Brewers Website: Ommegang Brewers Description: Brewery Ommegang and HBO are partnering on a series of beers in support of the critically-acclaimed drama Game of Thrones. Launching in tandem with the season three debut, Iron Throne is the inaugural beer in the series.
Iron Throne is a blonde ale at 6.5% ABV and brewed with a robust amount of pils, honey malt, aroma malts and red wheat. Gentle hopping includes Styrian Golding and Hallertau Spalter Select, appropriately noble hops. Spiced with grains of paradise and lemon peel. Hue is a slightly hazy golden amber. Head is full and fluffy. Finish is crisp, backed by a touch of spice and hops. Aroma is a bit grassy with a hint of lemon fruitiness from the lemon peel. Taste is lightly malty, rounded out by honey malt sweetness.
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