Proclamation Ethereous

I am currently working on a big article highlighting my favorite New England Style IPAs from every state in New England. I am overflowing with ideas for Massachusetts and Maine, the two states where I spend the most time, but I have various levels of work to do in every other state. The one that has come together surprisingly easily is Rhode Island, despite the fact that I have spent a limited amount of time visiting breweries in the smallest state in the US. The major reason for my ability to sample a range of Rhode Island IPAs is my friends Tim and Amanda, they live in Providence and are always happy to share the best beers the state has to offer when we get together. On a recent visit my friends brought a number of beers from Proclamation Brewing Company in Warwick. While Proclamation does distribute into Massachusetts it is rare to see it in bottle shops, a limited amount makes it north and it tends to fly off the shelves. One of the beers Tim and Amanda brought this trip was Ethereous, one of the many IPAs Proclamation brews. Proclamation Ethereous is available on a rotating basis on draft and in 16 oz cans.

Proclamation EthereousProclamation Ethereous pours hazy deep yellow with a small white head. The scent is all hops, citrus and tropical fruit heavy. These fruity hops also lead the flavor, notes of pineapple, tangerine and mango along with just a little bitter bite. This is balanced by a little malt, hints of whole grains and bread dough. Ethereous is pretty light bodied and easy to drink, and not overly boozy at 6.6% ABV. The finish is crisp with some lingering hop flavor. This is another really solid IPA from Proclamation, they make a wide variety of hoppy beers and this one has a nice mixture of easy drinkability and big hop flavor. Hoppy Boston score: 4.25/5.

Previous Proclamation reviews:

Proclamation Derivative Galaxy

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Springdale Maple Barrel Aged Brigadeiro

At the beginning of the year Springdale Brewing, the ale-focused offshoot of Jack’s Abby Brewing Company, announced that they would start distributing some of their beers. I like that Springdale took their time heading into distribution, they have made a crazy number of different beers in the last year and the slow rollout let them experiment and perfect their recipes. I have really enjoyed the beers from Springdale, and I hope this distribution leads to more people trying their beer. I am also a fan of the date coding on the hoppy beers, Springdale adds very clear canned on and consume by dates and a directive to store the beer cold. Springdale started distribution with a partial lineup of brands, including Brigadeiro, their breakfast stout which is brewed with coffee, cacao, oats and lactose. On my last visit to the brewery I picked up a few bottles of Maple Barrel Aged Brigadeiro, a blend of batches of the base stout aged in maple syrup and bourbon barrels. Maple Barrel Aged Brigadeiro is available on a rotating basis on draft and in 500 mL bottles.

Springdale Maple BA BrigideiroSpringdale Maple Barrel Aged Brigadeiro pours pitch black with a small tan head. The aroma is rich, coffee, bourbon and roasted malts. The flavor is complex between the malts, adjuncts and barrel aging, but everything works well together. The malts add notes of dark chocolate, caramel and mocha. The adjuncts add substantial coffee flavor and just a little sweetness. The bourbon and maple are both on the mild side, they add complexity, a little booze and sugary flavor without overwhelming the underlying beer. There is minimal hops flavor, as you would expect from the style. Maple Barrel Aged Brigadeiro is full bodied but drinks very easy and isn’t overdone at 8.5% ABV. The finish is smooth and rich with some lingering coffee and roasted malt flavors. I really like this beer, too many barrel aged stouts have aggressive whiskey flavors and booziness that overwhelm the rich malt character of the stout. Maple Barrel Aged Brigadeiro manages to meld a huge number of different flavors in a way where each contributes without overwhelming. Nicely done. Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.

Previous Springdale Reviews:

Springdale Desert Solitaire and Really Though, Springdale Solid State and Kreik MythologySpringdale Amirite?! and Good N’ You?

 

Exhibit A We’re Going To Need You To Come In On Saturday Scotch Ale

I’ve thought a lot about what my brand would look like if I ever started my own brewery, there is zero chance I ever would take that leap but it’s fun to imagine. Idea number one would involve my day job as a chemist, maybe naming each beer after a different element. The second idea would probably involve naming beers after obscure lyrics from early 90’s rock songs, not sure how I would make it into a brand but it would be fun finding the right lyrics for each beer and seeing how quickly customers caught on to the theme. In that vein, you see many breweries pay tribute to their favorite pieces of popular culture when they name new beers. One great example is the new scotch ale from Exhibit A in Framingham named We’re Going To Need You To Come In On Saturday. The can also features artwork that immediately recalls boss-from-hell Bill Lumbergh, who infamously delivered the line in the classic Mike Judge comedy Office Space. I am a huge fan of that movie, anyone who has spent time working in corporate America can easily relate to the issues the characters deal with, so I needed to try the beer when I saw the can. Exhibit A We’re Going To Need You To Come In On Saturday Scotch Ale is available now on draft and in 16 oz cans.

Exhibit A scotch aleExhibit A We’re Going To Need You To Come In On Saturday Scotch Ale pours deep brown with a solid off-white head. The aroma is mild, just a touch of rich malt. The beer is malt forward, notes of toffee, roasted nuts, raisin and a hint of peat. There is minimal hop character, just a little earthiness and enough bitterness to keep the malt flavors in check. We’re Going To Need You To Come In On Saturday is full bodied but drinks pretty smooth for a beer with 8.4% ABV. The finish is full with some lingering rich malt flavor. This beer doesn’t just have an awesome name and artwork, it’s a delicious beer too. I don’t drink a ton of scotch ales, but I would see this our again. Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.

Previous Exhibit A Reviews:

Exhibit A Demo Tape Eleven Side B, Exhibit A Danko, Exhibit A The Cat’s Meow and Demo Tape 5

 

Fort Hill Dopplebock

When you bring up beer styles that are perfect for cold winter weather the most obvious styles people will point to are rich, dark and malty beers like porter and stout. There are a number of other heavy and boozy beers like barleywine, tripel and quadruple that many also use to keep warm in the coldest part of the year. An underappreciated winter style is dopplebock, a dark and higher alcohol German style lager. I love a good dopplebock, the rich malt flavor and clean lager finish combine for a delicious and easy to drink beer when it’s well executed. Unfortunately very few local breweries make dopplebocks, it’s a niche style and requires longer fermentation times at lower temperatures, so it can be a tough sell for breweries operating on thin margins. I was excited to see cans of Fort Hill Dopplebock hit the shelves this fall. Fort Hill has quickly established themselves as a popular option in the local market, making a variety of flavorful beers at a reasonable price point. While their hoppy beers have attracted the bulk of the attention (no surprise there, IPAs pay the bills), Fort Hill makes a wide variety of ales and lagers. Fort Hill Dopplebock is available on a rotating basis on draft and in 12 oz cans.

Fort Hill DopplebockFort Hill Dopplebock pours clear deep red with a solid white head. The aroma is mild, just a hint of roasted malt. The beer is malt forward, notes of caramel, bread dough and brown sugar along with a little residual sweetness. There is a touch of hop character that adds earthiness and some balance. Fort Hill Dopplebock is on the light side of medium bodied and at 7.5% ABV is on point for the style. It features a clean lager finish with just a little lingering malt flavor and sweetness. This is a solid dopplebock, I would have liked a little more body and roasted flavor, but there is a lot to like here and it’s great to see another local version of the style. Hoppy Boston score: 4.0/5.

Previous Fort Hill Reviews:

Fort Hill Jigsaw Jazz

Night Shift The 87

Breweries can find themselves in a tough position when they brew a “flagship” beer for a while and then decide to change the recipe. The need to change the recipe can happen for a number of reasons, a new brewer who wants to make a mark, changing tastes of a customer base, issues with availability of ingredients, or a recipe that starts to feel stale after many batches. When this change is made inevitably some customers love the current recipe and end up disappointed. One option is to just brew an entirely new beer and phase out the old one, but breweries can form attachments to a beer name or artwork and not want to abandon it. An interesting recent example was The 87, the flagship DIPA from Night Shift Brewing which is named the after their address in Everett. Night Shift recently revamped the recipe of The 87 allowing them to take advantage of some newer hop varieties and positioning the beer as a true version of the low bitterness and fruity New England style IPA. The newest iteration of Night Shift The 87 is available year round on draft and in 16 oz. cans.

Night Shift The 87Night Shift The 87 pours a hazy light orange with a small white head. The aroma features a huge burst of citrus and tropical fruit from the hops. The hops also lead the flavor, notes of grapefruit, tangerine and papaya with minimal bitterness, very much a NEDIPA. This is balanced by a solid malt backbone, hints of crackers and bread dough. The 87 is medium bodied and drinks very easy for a DIPA with 8.0% ABV. The finish is crisp with some lingering fruity hops. This beer is stellar, I thought the original version of the 87 was pretty good but this beer is a big improvement over what I remember. There are so many stellar local DIPAs and this needs to be in the conversation when you talk about the best. Hoppy Boston score: 4.75/5.

Previous Night Shift Reviews:

Night Shift Bennington, Night Shift WhirlpoolNight Shift AwakeNight Shift SantilliNight Shift MaracuyaNight Shift Mainer WeisseNight Shift Thunder Moon, Night Shift Morph IPA, Night Shift Ever Weisse, Night Shift Grove, Night Shift JoJo, Night Shift Taza Stout, Night Shift Simcoenation

 

Trillium Lineage Spelt

Recently many breweries are launching with very hop-heavy lineups, some brewing IPAs and other hop forward styles almost exclusively. I’ve visited a few breweries with 4-5 IPAs or pale ales available and nothing else. While I understand the reasons for this, IPAs pay the bills, it’s hard to completely judge a brewery until they branch out into other styles. A great example if Trillium Brewing, they are best known for their IPAs but it’s their mastery of a range of beer styles that sets them apart. In fact, the biggest lines tend to form at Trillium when the release their barrel aged beers, from stouts to sours and wild ales. One key piece of Trillium’s barrel aged program is the Lineage series of wild ales. I’ve had a number of the Lineage beers, including the recent bottle release of Lineage Spelt, a wild ale brewed with raw spelt and fermented with a locally cultured wild yeast strain. Trillium Lineage Spelt is available on an occasional basis on draft and in 750 mL bottles.

Trillium Lineage SpeltTrillium Lineage Spelt pours clear pale yellow with minimal white head. The aroma is fruity and a bit acidic. The flavors from the fermentation and aging take center stage, notes of apple, pear, lemon, white grape and vanilla along with substantial sour character. This is balanced by some malt backbone, whole grain bread, cereal and hay. There is minimal hop character. Lineage Spelt is light and easy to drink but packs some punch at 7.3% ABV. The finish is tart with some lingering fruity and funky flavors. This is a well made beer, a little more sourness and less Brett character then I usually prefer in my wild ales, but fans of sour styles will love this. Hoppy Boston score: 4.25/5.

Previous Trillium Reviews:

Trillium Farnsworth St. IPA, Trillium Melcher St. IPA, Trillium Fort Point Pale AleTrillium Free Rise Dry-hopped with Citra, Trillium Pot and KettleTrillium Scaled Up, Trillium Launch Beer, Trillium PM DawnBREWERY OVERVIEW, Trillium Sinister Kid, Trillium Congress St. IPATrillium Farmhouse AleTrillium Wakerobin Rye

 

A Beer for Everyone at Your Super Bowl Party: 2018 Edition

As a bit of a joke in 2015 I wrote a satirical article suggesting a beer for each “type” of person that might attend your Super Bowl party. Then this happened:

Malcolm-Butler-interception

With the Patriots return to the Super Bowl last year I knocked out a follow up article, and then we saw this:

28 to 3

The logical part of me fully realizes that the Hoppy Boston articles had no effect on the dramatic wins by my favorite team, even suggesting such a thing would be ridiculous. That being said, there was a 100% chance I was writing another version of this article as soon as the Patriots completed their epic comeback against Jacksonville in the AFC Championship game. This article is flagrantly pro-Patriots, so fans of every other team, who are probably rooting for the Eagles on Sunday, might want to skip it.

Trillium Night and Day: For all Patriots fans of a certain age who cut their teeth on the late 80’s/early 90’s teams that were the laughingstock of the league and now get to enjoy the dominance of the last 17 years. This rich and boozy stout is perfect to sip and contemplate.

Mystic Day of Doom: An even boozier beer to remind us all that this run of excellence will end (and probably pretty soon), so we need to enjoy it while it lasts.

Harpoon Take 5: A smooth and easy to drink session IPA to celebrate the 5 championships the Patriots already have while still hoping for more.

Lamplighter Major Tom: A bold and hoppy IPA to that might be named for a David Bowie song, but is perfect for the G.O.A.T.

Night Shift 87: For Rob Gronkowski fans, and really how can you not be a fan of Gronk, he is such a unique talent. So glad he is cleared to play this weekend. Plus, while I think he is more of a macro-beer drinker, I think Gronk would appreciate a boozy DIPA with his number on the can.

CBC Tripel Threat: For receiver, runner and punt returner extraordinaire Danny Amendola. I almost chose another CBC beer called Little Creatures, which would be appropriate if a little mean.

Jack’s Abby’s Post Shift Pilsner: A working man’s pilsner perfect for a team whose motto is Do Your Job.

Night Shift Dynasty: Goes without explanation (I haven’t actually tried this beer yet, but I’ve heard it’s amazing).

Slumbrew Flagraiser: To celebrate the raising of banner #6 in the fall (we hope).

That’s it for this year. Go Pats, hopefully we are celebrating a win on Sunday and I am writing this article again next winter!