Beer Review: Berkshire Brewing Co - Drayman's Porter

Brew Style: Porter
Brewer: http://www.berkshirebrewingcompany.com
ABV: 6.2%
BrewNewb Opinion: Good Beer

Perhaps I'm a little bit biased, being from MA, and loving the Berkshire mountains and all, but then again - maybe the beer they make is just plain awesome! 

Bought a pint of this, poured, as always, into my Sam Adams perfect pint glass. Poured very dark, nearly black, which piqued my interests. The foam was thick, didn't stick around very long. 

Smelled of sweet vanilla. It was a mild understated scent, I was surprised at how thin the scent was. 

Coffee is the front end of this beer, it's the taste that hits the hardest in the beginning, finishs with the chocolate. The hops are light, a perfect balance to the sweetness. Carbonation is very slight, does not interfere with the complex flavors.

Very nice beer, great selection if you like a nice porter.

Beer Review: Berkshire Brewing Company: Dean's Beans Coffeehouse Porter

Brew Style: Porter
Brewer: http://www.berkshirebrewingcompany.com
ABV: 6.2%
BrewNewb Opinion: Great Beer!

I love a nice thick porter. I love the brown sweet scent, the way it pours like a flat soda, the thick creamy froth of the head, and this brew does NOT disappoint. 

I bought a pint of this, brought it home and poured it into my Sam Adams perfect pint glass. It smelled like a iced coffee, with a mild grain scent, hints of cocoa.

The head is truly impressive, thick and fluffy, and dark like that of a root beer float. 

The taste was smooth and crisp. Coffee and caramel, vanilla and chocolate, with a smooth finish. Very well balanced beer, and a good choice if you're itching for a coffee porter. 

Price was nice too, a pint was less than $5.

Beer Review: Shipyard XXXX IPA

Brew Style: American Double / Imperial IPA
Brewer: http://www.shipyard.com
ABV: 9.25%
BrewNewb Opinion: Decent beer

I love a good presentation, and I thought the foil wrapping around the cap was a nice touch. I was rather surprised to notice, after cracking the cap, that it was actually a twist off. I don't know why this struck me as odd, and frankly I never really thought much about the fact that I apparently associate twist off caps with crappy beer, much like wine that comes in screw-cap bottles. 

It isn't an association I established consciously, and perhaps it's not a fair one. However, I can't seem to help it. There is no good rational reason for it, except that all the crappy beers use twist offs. Maybe in my head, the good beers decided not to, to further distance themselves from their crappy counter parts... Who knows. 

Anyway, this beer poured from the pint bottle into my Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass, a nice amber peachy color. This frothy head with a good lacing. 

The smell was a little surprising. It was a bit too complex, with too many hoppy smells coupled with the smell of the alcohol. (Which is hard to avoid at 9.25%!)

The taste, like the smell was a little bit of a disappointment to me. I love a solid IPA, but I feel like they tried to do too much with this one. Too many flavors, and too much ABV. I tasted mostly caramel malt and alcohol that completely dwarfed the various hops. I would have liked to see them use either fewer hops, for a strong hops flavor in one direction or another, or less alcohol. 

All in all, not a bad beer, though it's not what I expected out of an IPA. Perhaps a barleywine?  


Be Hoppy IPA by Wormtown Brewing - @WormtownBrewery FANTASTIC beer!

Brew Style: IPA
Brewer: http://www.wormtownbrewery.com
ABV: 6.5%
BrewNewb Opinion: Excellent beer!

My now #1 favorite beer of all time, and another great beer from my home state of MA! This beer recently dethroned Jack's Abby's Hoponiuos Union (which I still love, by the way!) as my very favorite brew. 

I cracked open this bottle, and sniffed. LOTS of charcter coming through that bottle neck! Hints of floral and citrus hops got my mouth watering. 

I poured into my Sam Adams pint glass, it poured a hazy orange, nice head that stuck around a good long while. As the bubbles in the body settled, I noticed flakes... Now, I'm no stranger to craft beer, but I've never seen the like. 

It's tough to see in the pic there, but those flakes on the bottom where pure white. Now, I'm not afraid of lees, it's actually quite good for you, but I was little unnerved by this. 

However! I'll drink just about anything. Secure in the knowledge that it's likely some yeast... thing... funny kinda fermenting side effect... And hell, it's stewed in alcohol, so it's likely not going to be toxic. I drank it. It was fine. 

The taste of this ambrosial nectar is sweet floral and citrus hops at first, backed by a caramel bready backbone. Great balance, excellent piney hoppy finish. Went down nice, wasn't heavy... GREAT beer. 

Hoponius Union - Excellent beer!

Brew Style: IPL 
Brewer: http://jacksabbybrewing.com
ABV: 6.7%
BrewNewb Opinion: Excellent beer!

It's a well known fact that the dark IPA has been my favorite brew for a long time, until I was introduced to the IPL. 

This beer is a lager with the hoppyness of an IPA, and quickly become my #2 beer of all time! 

The beer pours a nice golden yellow and has a thick frothy head giving great lacing on the glass.

It smells like an IPA with a citrus flavor, and yet like a malty lager. 

It's bready like a lager where the IPA would ordinarily be dry. Excellent flavor, great hops, and as we all know is important to me, burps like an IPA!

The bad news, it only comes in a four-pack. The good news, they're all pints! Interesting bottle too. 


#BeerSummit Boston!

So in the midst of the A to Z challenge, I was unable to get in a post about the Beer Summit! http://www.beersummit.com/

The beer summit in Boston was April 13th, and 14th. I went with my friend Mike Johnson from http://www.FestPics.com who was taking pictures of the event.

There were 78 Brewers at the event, each with several brews to share. We got there a bit early so that Mike could set up. We walked around and got some pics of the folks setting up, got to talk with them for a while, and got the lay of the land.

The fest picked up quick, and within no time was packed. I very quickly lost track of Mike, which was OK, because he was busy anyway, and I really have no issues with being on my own. This was my first fest every, but he's been to a billion of em.

By the time the general public was let in, I'd already had a good buzz going. There's a lot I don't really remember, and not because I was wrecked or anything, but simply because a lot of it didn't stick out. All in all everything was "Good", with a few greats,  and a handful of disgusting.

I stopped and talked a while with the guys from Geary's, because during the A to Z challenge, I'd really been kinda blown away by their Winter ale. It was the only beer in the whole challenge that really surprised me. You can read my review of it here.

The Geary's guys were cool. I don't recall what the beers they had there were, except for an IPA... Which of course if you have read this blog much, or know me, is my favorite brew, so it's no surprise that that's what I remember...

The best brew of the night though, was a black IPA from the Garner Ale House brewpub out in Gardner MA. This beer was fantastic! If you are anywhere in the area, stop in and have some "Nightcrawler". You won't be sorry.

I was crushed though, to find that they do not make enough to ship to liquor stores, and it can only be had at the brew pub which is a 2 hour ride for me, one way... I will make it out there at some point though... This I swear.

I took this picture at the Saranac stand, cause I have two daughters, and thought this chair would be an excellent Barbie doll prop. He wasn't prepared to part with it though, and rightly so I suppose. I took this picture because I thought it was a great shot. This was before the doors opened. I had no intention of taking pictures. 

However, at some point, I guess I did. And I don't remember this because at this point, I WAS wrecked.

As you can see, I am not much of a photographer when I'm drunk. Don't judge, I don't even remember these. Not sure what I was taking a picture of. 


I don't have the slightest idea who these guys are, but aren't they photogenic? And friendly?

I don't know these two either, but this is actually a fairly decent pic. 

This guy I did talk to a fair amount, he's a friend of Mike's and is at most of the beer fests, from what I'm told. Very nice guy, though I can't remember his name... 

From this point on, things got worse as far as the pics I was taking... I got a few shots of the backs of some folks, and then a shot of some of them turning around like "Dude, what?" They were all pretty blurry, so I won't bother posting them. I'll leave you with this last one though, that sort of encapsulates ALL the rest of the pics I took that night. 

A beauty, ain't it? This is kinda what I remember the rest of the fest as. 

For anyone worrying, I am aware what my limit is, and I did stop drinking shortly here after, and got some hot dogs and water. I sober up pretty fast, the last half hour of the fest is pretty clear in my head, though it consisted of me just kinda standing around. 

Having just checked out the Beer Summit website, as I recommend you all do, I realized that their next fest is September 21st... That also, just so happens to be my birthday. Coincidence?? I think not. 


Magic Hat Black IPA

Brew Style: Black IPA
Brewer:  http://www.magichat.net/ipa_on_tour/blind_faith
ABV: 6%
BrewNewb Opinion: Good Beer

I love stouts and IPAs, so I figure, how can a hybrid be bad??

I poured this into my Samuel Adams, perfect pint glass, and it poured well, an inch and a half of head. 

Smells like a good stout. I'm aware of the lack of IPA smell though.

Next to no carbonation. 

Sort of a sticky sweetness to the taste, not a whole lot of hops. Tastes more like a black lager to me, than a black IPA. 

Still though, not a bad beer... I'll give this one a decent. 

I'm not blown away by this beer, given that it was called a black IPA. I love IPA... It was not even close to my definition of an IPA, black or otherwise. BUT. I do like it.