There’s something oddly comforting about the old farts hanging about in their lawn chairs on the label of Smuttynose’s “Finest Kind” IPA. Perhaps I’m gazing into my distant future? Life could be worse, right? Cracking the cap off, this 6.9% ABV American IPA pours a effervescent light golden color with a meager white head. A subtle floral fragrance wafts out of the pintglass mingled with a strong blast of yeast aroma. It’s a curious blend that lacks the heavy duty citrus you so often see with the style. The hop flavor starts off subdued, balanced nicely by a subtle sweetness from the malts, but it picks up towards the tail end with a bitterness that creeps in and lingers on the tongue. This lightbodied IPA is deceptively complex and quite drinkable, but it doesn’t inspire me to hit the fridge for another pint.
After numerous repeat trips to the craft beer store and many minutes spent scouring the isles for interesting new brews to try, I eventually reach a saturation point. Aside from seasonal rotations, I inevitably glaze over at the same array of familiar labels greeting me each visit. So when something new and interesting pops up on the shelf, I tend to take notice. This time it was a new offerings by Portland, Oregon-based Gigantic Brewing Company — the new kid on block on VT beer shelves. I went out on a limb, and my tastebuds are impressed. Continue reading →
It’s always a bit disappointing when a favored brewery puts out something that doesn’t quite measure up to its better beers on tap. I haven’t had Wolaver’s in a long time, though I recall digging a few of their beers back in the day. After enjoying some extremely tasty oatmeal stouts this season, I was looking forward to seeing what this Vermont organic label had to offer in the style. Sad to say, a fuzzy head and a less than enthused palate left me wanting more…of something other than what I was drinking. Continue reading →
Some brews are sneaky. They confuse the senses, making you wonder what the hell it is you’re drinking. Encore is one such brew. A nice light wheat beer can make for a great summertime refresher, while heavier IPAs offer a little more weight that’s typically not as sessionable. Encore attempts to blend the two with some sassy flair, but while it gets off to a good start, I’m not entirely sure the end result is worth sticking around for to catch a repeat performance. Continue reading →
Narwhals are awesome. They’re like the unicorns of the deep, braying and prancing with their (presumably) magical horns far below the surface of the icy arctic seas. Wandering through the isle of the local beverage outlet last month, I stumbled upon a curious thing: an imperial stout by Sierra Nevada sporting none other than my favorite mysterious seafaring pal Mr. Narwhal. The little dude practically jumped off the shelf and skewered me in the face. As a fan of Sierra’s Pale Ale and hop-heavy Torpedo, I figured lets give him a whirl, shall we? I was surprised, but pleasantly? Continue reading →
With its heavy blanket of snow and howling icy winds, Winter proper may be a little delayed in my cozy corner of rural Vermont. But now that the chill is finally creeping into the air and threatening intermittent blasts of inclement weather, the arrival of more season-appropriate weather brings with it a craving for heavier, darker brews to warm the belly. After spending an evening by the fire with a pint of Magic Hat’s Heart of Darkness, I can say it certainly rises to the occasion. Continue reading →
I’ll admit: I’m a bit of a sucker for any kind of brew that plays to my nerdy interests. Quirky beer names and unusual labels tend to rub me the right way too. It took two passes through the robust beer isle at the Brattleboro Co-op before I found it, but the moment I set eyes on Ruckus Brewing Co.’s charmingly named “Hoptimus Prime” I knew I had to possess this Transformer-inspired brew. But was it love at first taste? Read on my friend, read on.