In an increasingly competitive craft beer market it can be advantageous for a newer brewery to establish a niche, a particular subgroup of beer styles that they specialize in and can be immediately identifiable with their brand. The issue is, as the brewery grows this niche can be limiting, but stepping outside can confuse customers who have build specific expectations. We are starting to see some of these breweries establish secondary brands that move outside of their established niches. Jack’s Abby is an all-lager brewery that has established the Springdale brand to brew ale styles while Notch is an all-session brewery that started the Voll Projekt to brew higher strength beers. Greater Good, which was founded as an all-imperial contract brand, ran into a similar issue when they opened their Worcester taproom. Only making beers with ABVs above 8% is a great way to establish a strong brand identity, but a harder sell in a taproom when people want to sample your offerings without getting overly intoxicated. For this reason, Greater Good started the Soul Purpose label, same high-quality products but with ABVs of 6% or less. Soul Purpose beers were originally taproom only, but now some are out in distribution. I recently sampled Heart of MA, a milk stout brewed with coffee Acoustic Java Roastery in Worcester. Soul Purpose Heart of MA is available on a rotating basis on draft and in 16 oz cans.
Soul Purpose Heart of MA pours nearly black with a solid light brown head. The aroma is dominated by the coffee with an undertone of roasted malt. The malts lead the flavor, notes of milk chocolate, molasses and caramel. The coffee compliments the malt flavor without overpowering it. The lactose adds a subtle sweetness, this isn’t a sugar-bomb pastry-type stout. Some late floral and earthy hops add balance and a bit of bitterness. Heart of MA is medium-bodied and smooth, at 6% ABV it doesn’t have the big booze of some of the stouts from the Greater Good brand. The finish is crisp with some lingering malt and coffee flavors. Overall this is a really nice coffee milk stout, plenty of flavor without being too boozy. Looking forward to trying more beers under the Soul Purpose label in the near future! Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.
Previous Greater Good/Soul Purpose Reviews: