I was excited in September when Idle Hands Brewery announced that they signed a lease on a new facility in Malden which will open in Spring on 2016. Idle Hands is an underrated staple of the brewing scene in metro Boston and I have enjoyed a number of their offerings over the years. One question that wasn’t answered in the initial wave of press was what would happen to the Enlightenment Ales brand that had merged with Idle Hands in 2013. When the Idle Hands facility in Everett was forced to close this spring Enlightenment founder and Idle Hands/Enlightenment head brewer Ben Howe decided to take a sabbatical to run a farmhouse brewery in Denmark. Last month Idle Hands founder Christopher Tkach discussed the immediate future of Enlightenment in a blog post. While the Enlightenment brand will have a continued influence on Idle Hands beers, for now It appears that the brand hiatus will continue. This is really disappointing, I have always loved Enlightenment beers, they typically combine the highest quality with complex and delicious flavor profiles. I never understood why Enlightenment didn’t reach the wait-in-line for a beer release level of following, maybe because they never produced the hop-bomb beers that so many drinkers seek out. Idle Hands has been bottling and releasing a series of funky/wild saisons that Ben had brewed and was aging when the brewery shut down. The final beer in this release is Beyond The Infinite, a dark saison. Enlightenment Beyond The Infinite is brewed with a house wild yeast blend along with specialty dark malts, oats and bright hops. It is available while supplies last in 750 mL bottles.
Enlightenment Beyond The Infinite pours pitch black with a solid tan head. The scent is a mixture of earthy hops and funky/acidic wild yeast. The yeast leads the flavor, rustic Brettanomyces, apple, pear, pepper and a mild sour tingle. There are also some distinct hop flavors, touches of grass and pine along with a crisp bitterness. Despite the dark color the beer doesn’t have strong roasted malt flavors, just some mild bready notes. This beer fits perfectly into the Enlightenment line-up, extremely complex but all of the flavors work well together. Beyond The Infinite is medium bodied and not too boozy at 5.6% ABV. The finish is complex, with some dry bitterness and tartness along with fruity and spicy yeast. Every saison by Enlightenment that I’ve tried is unique and delicious, a great combination of creativity and quality. I am going to stock up and age some of these saisons and I hope the brand is back soon! Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.
Previous Enlightenment Reviews: