I completely understand why many breweries have shied away from the brew-pub model and focused just on selling beer instead of serving food. Running a restaurant is a whole other headache and a very difficult business in it’s own right. That being said, I love brewpubs, beer goes well with so many types of food and producing both in the same place allows for creative brewers and cooks to collaborate on delicious pairings. One of my favorite food pairings and for quality beer is BBQ, and Moat Mountain Smokehouse and Brewing Company has been serving the two together since 2000. While I haven’t been able to make the trip to their North Conway, NH location yet, just browsing the menu makes my mouth water. Fortunately I can try their beers without driving up to New Hampshire. In 2013 Moat Mountain expanded by building a brewery barn and cannery that supplies their restaurant, other draft accounts and produces 16 oz. cans of many of their year round and seasonal beers. The production has increased to the point that you can now find the cans in Massachusetts. I recently sampled East Intervale, Moat Mountain’s session IPA, which is available on a rotating basis.
Moat Mountain East Intervale pours deep gold with a solid off-white head. The scent is solidly hoppy, aromas of resin and citrus. The flavor is remarkably balanced for a session IPA, so many tend towards hop flavored water but this beer has some substantial malt flavor and body. The hops are at the forefront, notes of grass, herbs and orange along with a little bitter bite. This is nicely balanced by the malts, hints of toast and honey along with solid body for a session beer. East Interlude is medium bodied and easy to drink, clearly a session beer at 4.5% ABV. The finish is crisp with a bit of lingering hop flavor. Moat Mountain East Intervale is a quality beer, plenty of flavor and more balance than most session IPAs, but still very drinkable. I look forward to trying more of their offerings and maybe checking out the smokehouse in the near future! Hoppy Boston score: 4.0/5.