I think every beer geek has a list of out-of-state breweries that they would love to see expand distribution into their home region. My list is relatively short since I focus my beer purchases almost entirely on New England beers, but there are still quite a few breweries in other parts of New England (and a few in MA too) that I would like to see on a regular basis at my local bottle shop. My list has gotten substantially shorter over the last few months, with the COVID-related shutdowns many breweries that were planning on expanding their canning and distribution footprints have accelerated their plans to help offset the lost on-premise revenue. One brewery that was on my list until the last month was OEC Brewing in Connecticut. OEC stands for Ordinem Ecentrici Coctores (The Order of Eccentric Boilers), and they are known for making interesting beers using a combination of classic and modern techniques. The OEC beer I found was Coolship Lager, a Czech blonde lager that rests in a copper coolship for an hour before starting cold fermentation with a traditional lager yeast strain. OEC Coolship Lager is available on a rotating basis on draft and in 16 oz cans.
OEC Coolship Lager pours slightly hazy light orange with a solid white head. The aroma features some bready malt and noble hops. This is a balanced and easy-drinking lager, light and not too boozy at 5.2% ABV. The malts add notes of cereal and bread crust, while the hops contribute touches of grass, herbs and a late bitter bite. There is a hint of funky barnyard flavor from the initial stay in the coolship, but it is very mild compared to the big sour/Brett flavors that come with many coolship inoculated ales. The finish is crisp and pretty clean. This is a really interesting beer, a flavorful lager with a bit of additional complexity from the brewing and fermentation procedure. I can’t wait to try more OEC offerings in the near future. Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.