My wife and I had a somewhat rare treat the other weekend, a child-free afternoon thanks to my in-laws, so we did a little date day (it was also the 6-year anniversary of our first date so we had a good reason to celebrate). We decided to head up to Salem, get some lunch and finally check out the new Notch brewery and tasting room. The brewery is beautiful, big and open, plenty of different types of seating, skee ball and an outdoor beer garden. My wife perfectly summed up my feelings when I asked her what she wanted and she replied, “pick anything, I’ve never had a bad Notch beer”. We sampled a few beers, got some more to go, and even met owner Chris Lohring. Chris explained that they were currently focused on hoppy pale ales and traditional Czech lagers, but would branch out from there. I like the initial areas of focus, hop-forward pale beers will always pay the bills and the non-pilsner varieties of Czech lager are underappreciated in the US. I wish I’d had more time to sample everything they offered. One of the beers we tried at the brewery and then grabbed to go was Dog and Pony Show, a pale American wheat beer with a generous dose of Citra hops. Notch Dog and Pony show is available on draft (including 1L pours at the brewery!) and to-go in 32 oz. crowlers.
Notch Dog and Pony Show pours a clear bright yellow with a solid white head. The scent is a big burst of citrusy hops. The flavor is also hop forward, notes of grapefruit, orange and mango with a very mild bitterness. A light malt backbone rounds out the flavor, hints of white bread and honey. Dog and Pony show is light bodied and crushable at 4.0% ABV, I had no issue polishing off a 32 oz. crowler in one sitting. The finish is crisp and clean with a touch of lingering hop flavor. This beer perfectly showcases Notch’s mission, low ABV bt still tons of flavor. Notch’s year-round releases are staples of my beer fridge, but the addition of draft only releases like this will necessitate regular visits to Salem. Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.
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