For the last two and a half years my wife and I have lived on the top floor of a split level house, a common feature in many neighborhoods in metro Boston. Anyone who has lived in a similar situation knows that a huge piece to the satisfaction in your apartment is the neighbors you end up with, good neighbors can be fun and helpful while inconsiderate neighbors will make you want to move. We have been fortunate in our current situation, the couple downstairs is easy going and friendly, just the type of people you hope to meet when you move into a split level. They also know that I am very into beer and brewing, we’ve chatted about it and I’ve shared some of my homebrew. This paid off in a big way recently, our neighbor went on a trip to VT and came back with a case of Fiddlehead Second Fiddle. Second Fiddle is a highly sought after DIPA, one of the stable of top-shelf DIPAs that lead hop-heads from around the country to Vermont. When he offered to share a few cans we immediately jumped at the opportunity. I realize this article is breaking my rule again and reviewing a “whale”, but I was given the beer and thought I should pass along my opinion of it. Fiddlehead Second Fiddle is sold on draft and in 16 oz. tallboy cans in VT, but it tends to sell out quickly.
Fiddlehead Second Fiddle pours a clear deep orange with a moderate off-white head. The scent is full of hops, mostly citrus fruit with a little pine. The hops lead the way in the flavor too, notes of orange, papaya, resin, cut grass and lemon along with a moderate bitterness (by DIPA standards). There is just enough malt for balance, touches of crusty bread, crackers and honey. You also get a hint of booze, not shocking for a beer with 8.2% ABV. Second Fiddle drinks pretty easy for a bigger beer, with a crisp finish that leaves some hop flavor and bitter bite on your tongue. Fiddlehead Second Fiddle is a very well crafted DIPA. I know that many people head to Vermont just to seek out some Heady Topper, but this beer further proves that there are so many other great beers to try in the state. Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.