I 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.
Alcohol Content: 7.2% ABV
IBU (Bitterness): ??
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.
The 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.
Alcohol Content: 6.8% ABV
IBU (Bitterness): ??
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.
It 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
Alcohol Content: ??% ABV
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Brewers Website: Jack’s Abby Brewing
Brewers Description: Leisure Time aged in red wine barrels with brettanomyces, lactobacillus, and pediococcus for 12 months.