It will come as no surprise to regular readers of this blog that I am fascinated by the way tenured craft breweries are adapting to the changes in the marketplace as well as in consumers’ tastes. While some brewers are still relying on the same beers that they have sold for years, many are brewing new styles to complement or even replace long-standing classics. One brewery undergoing an evolution right now is Berkshire Brewing Company of South Deerfield, MA. One of the most obvious changes is in their labels, but they are also making a number of new beers to complement favorites like Steel Rail Pale Ale and Coffehouse Porter. Gary Dzen recently wrote about Steel Rail Pale Ale in an article in the Globe, and an interesting anecdote was the fact that BBC started brewing the light colored pale ale because so many macro-beer drinkers were reticent to try “darker” beer styles. This was a great idea for that problem – make a beer that looks like the macro lagers people are used to, but has more flavor. With the widespread popularity of craft beer, the brewery is also facing competition from local and national upstarts. BBC is addressing this is by launching their Brewer’s Choice Series of IPAs, allowing each of their brewers to design a limited release hop-forward beers. The third selection in the series is Blonde IPA, available for a limited time on draft and in 22 oz. bombers.
Berkshire Brewing Company Blonde IPA pours a clear copper with a moderate off-white head. The scent is a solid hit of hoppy goodness, grassy and floral. The hops lead off the flavor too, notes of pine, lemon and freshly cut grass along with some mouth-puckering bitterness. This is balanced by a noticeable malt backbone, grainy with just a hint of caramel. The beer is medium bodied and goes down smooth, but packs a little punch at 7.4% ABV. I really enjoyed this beer, it’s kind of a hybrid between the old-school English style IPAs and hop-bomb West-Coast style IPAs. I would definitely look for more beers in this series, and I’m looking forward to revisiting some of BBC’s classics too! Hoppy Boston score: 4.25/5.
Previous BBC Reviews: