Tag Archives: Double IPA

Lone Pine Brightside IPA and Oh-J DIPA

The beer scene in Portland, Maine is insane, both in the sheer quantity of breweries for a small city and for the  high quality of the beer being brewed. Portland has a wide range from stalwarts like Allagash to buzzy upstarts like Bissell Brothers and Foundation. The popularity of these breweries has made Portland into a destination beer city for beer fans from around the world, and this had led to even more new breweries opening up shop. One newer addition that has started to build significant buzz is Lone Pine Brewing Company. Lone Pine makes a variety of beers with a focus on IPAs that showcase new world hop varieties. I was able to stop at Lone Pine  on a recent trip north and I grabbed a selection of cans to go. The brewery features a small tasting room with indoor and outdoor seating, and it’s an easy stop off of I-295 if you are driving through the city on your way north or south. Among the beers I grabbed was their flagship IPA Brightside and one of their double IPAs named Oh-J, which uses citrus forward hops to give the beer it’s distinctive juicy flavor and aroma. Both beers are available on a regular basis on draft and in 16 oz. tallboy cans.

Lone Pine Brightside IPALone Pine Brightside IPA pours slightly hazy light orange with a solid white head. The scent is a big burst of fruity hops that makes you want to dive right in. The flavor is also very hop forward, notes of tangerine, guava and melon along with a little bitter bite. This is complemented by a mild malt backbone, hints of crackers and bread crust. Brightside is light bodied and has the smooth drinkability you look for in a NEIPA, but it packs a little punch at 7.1% ABV. The finish is crisp with some lingering hop flavor that keeps you coming back for more. This is a stellar IPA, well crafted with huge hop flavor. It has a little more bitterness than some NEIPAs, but I would still put it into that sub-style. Brightside guarantees that Lone Pine will become a regular stop on trips to Maine, it is on par with any Maine IPA I’ve sampled. Hoppy Boston score: 4.75/5.

Lone Pine Oh-JLone Pine Oh-J pours slightly hazy light yellow with a large white head. The scent gives you a huge whiff of citrus and tropical fruit from the hops. These fruity hops lead the flavor too, notes of orange candy, lemon and peach but minimal bitterness. There is also solid malt flavor, touches of bread dough, honey and a little residual sweetness, although I’m not sure if it’s from the malt, the booze or the fruity hops (probably some combination of the three). Oh-J is medium bodied and drinks very easy for a DIPA, especially for a beer with 8.1% ABV. The finish is somewhat crisp with some lingering hops. I’ve heard lots of buzz for this beer and I understand why people like it, although that sweet flavor was a slight minus for me (personal preference). Still worth a shot for fans of New England style DIPAs. Hoppy Boston score: 4.25/5.

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Marshall Wharf Little Mayhem and Can’t Dog

I’ve amassed a pretty solid collection of beer glassware. I try to grab a glass from any brewery that I visit on a somewhat regular basis, or any place that makes beers that are a part of my rotation. An entire shelf in our china cabinet is full of beer glasses, and so far my wife hasn’t complained. Most of my glassware has been purchased as I visit breweries, and unfortunately a few pieces have met with mishaps on the way home. One example was a pint glass I purchased last year on a visit to Marshall Wharf Brewing Company in Belfast, Maine. Marshall Wharf is close to my parents house, so I tend to swing by when I am visiting, but the glass I bought broke on the return trip to Mass, and unfortunately they only had tasting glasses in stock during my stop this summer. Fortunately I was able to grab some beers, including their sessionable stout Little Mayhem and they huge DIPA Can’t Dog. Both beers are available on a rotating basis on draft and in 16 oz tallboy cans.

Marshall Wharf Little MayhemMarshall Wharf Little Mayhem pours deep brown with a massive off-white head. The aroma is mild featuring some roasted malt. The flavor is malt forward, notes of roasted barley, black coffee, and dark chocolate. There is some late hop flavor for balance, grassy with a little bitterness. Little Mayhem is medium bodied and sips easy, sessionable at 4.1% ABV. The finish is dry with some lingering malt flavor. Low ABV dark and malty beers are underrepresented on the market, it’s nice to see a flavorful and easy to drink stout that won’t put you under the table. Hoppy Boston score: 4.25/5.

Marshall Wharf Can't DogMarshall Wharf Can’t Dog pours deep red with a small white head. The aroma features some hops, floral and grassy. The flavor is balanced for an IPA. The hops add notes of pine, tangerine and earth along with a solid bitter bite. This is complemented by a full malt body, hints of caramel, honey and a little boozy burn. Can’t Dog is a full bodied sipper, a very big beer at 9.7% ABV. This is an interesting beer, part way between a classic DIPA and a newer style hopped up barleywine or strong ale. Hoppy Boston score; 4.0/5.

Previous Marshall Wharf Reviews:

Marshall Wharf Bitter Truth

Backlash Citra Salute

Backlash Brewing Company is in the middle of a very eventful stretch. First they ditched the large format bottles in favor of canning the majority of their beers, aligning with the industry trend (and the preference of the majority of consumers). Then they announced that they are building their own brewery and taproom, slated to open by the end of the year in Roxbury. In the last week they revealed a re-working of the brand, including a new logo (check it out on their website HERE). I always liked the brass knuckles, but have to admit that the new logo looks great too, I can’t wait to pick up some logo glassware. While work on the taproom continues to move forward Backlash is releasing a number of new beers, many of which sell out incredibly quickly. I was sad to miss Allston, a tribute to the neighborhood where I lived for 5 years, but I was happy to find some of their DIPA Citra Salute. Backlash Citra Salute is available on a rotating basis on draft and in 16 oz. cans.

Backlash Citra SaluteBacklash Citra Salute pours hazy orange with a solid white head. The aroma is a solid burst of hops, heavy on the citrus fruit. The flavor is also very hop forward, notes of grapefruit, orange and lemon rind along with a solid bitter bite. There is also some noticeable malt, touches of whole grain bread, honey and just a hint of booze. You know this is a double IPA from the first sip, between the malt/alcohol and the full body, and the 8% ABV backs that up. The finish is crisp with some lingering hop flavor. I really enjoyed Citra Salute, and it will be really nice to see Backlash beers start to make a more regular appearance on shelves! Hoppy Boston score: 4.25/5.

Previous Backlash Reviews:

Backlash Ricochet, Backlash MuerteBacklash OathBacklash ConvergenceBacklash Chaos, Backlash Redux

Springdale Desert Solitaire and Really Though

Some times it feels like Sudbury, the town I live in, is going to become the only town in Massachusetts that doesn’t have a brewery. I know that is a huge exaggeration, but so many new breweries have opened and I haven’t even heard a hint of one in my town. Silly me for prizing my children’s education over immediate access to beer. Fortunately there are a number of great options in neighboring towns, so I get to decide which brewery I’d like to make my local. In some ways this is a better situation, it would be terrible to have a brewery open up in town and make crappy beer, now I can pick a place I know I enjoy. Right now the leader in the clubhouse is Springdale Brewing in Framingham. I guess I could cheat and say Jack’s Abby and Springdale, but I consider them separate places (I love both, but I can get Jack’s Abby beers everywhere, need to hit the brewery for the Springdale stuff). Springdale makes awesome beer, has a great space, cans and bottles everything (I hate growlers), minimal lines, and I need to run specific errands in Framingham on a regular basis so I have a built in excuse to be in the area. That is basically everything I am looking for in a local brewery. On a recent trip I grabbed a number of offerings including Desert Solitaire, a wild ale brewed with wheat, rye and spelt and aged in oak, and Really Though, a double IPA brewed with Citra, Mosaic and Columbus hops.

Springdale Desert SolitaireSpringdale Desert Solitaire pours clear straw yellow with a minimal white head. The scent is all from the fermentation, some funk and acidity. The flavors imparted by the wild yeast and barrel aging lead the way too, notes of green apple, lemon, sour cherry, white grape and oak. There is a bit of tartness too, but it isn’t overpowering. The malts add a solid backbone, whole wheat bread and the distinct spicy flavor imparted by rye. Desert Solitaire is light and easy to drink, not too boozy at 6.5% ABV. The finish is dry with some lingering yeast and acid. This is a delicious wild ale, lots of flavor from the fermentation and I love the rye addition to the malt bill, it really complements the tartness. Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.

Springdale Really ThoughSpringdale Really Though pours murky yellow-orange with a small white head. The scent is a solid hit of fruity hops with a floral undertone. The flavor is hop forward, notes of pineapple, mango, tangerine, resin along with a bit of bitterness. This is complemented by a solid malt backbone, hints of cereal and bread crust. Really Though is full bodied but drinks super easy for 8.5% ABV. The finish is crisp with some lingering hops. This is a very good DIPA, I have yet to have a bad beer from Springdale, happy to adopt it as my local brewery. Hoppy Boston score: 4.25/5.

Previous Springdale Reviews:

Springdale Solid State and Kreik MythologySpringdale Amirite?! and Good N’ You?

Aeronaut Double Hop Hop

As my frequent readers know, I hate waiting in line for beer. There are a few local breweries that make amazing beers but I never travel to because the combination of  long lines and can limits kill my excitement to make the trek. That being said, there are a large number of beer geeks who seem to have no problem standing in lines, and quickly line up for any beer release that excites them. Some breweries have heard the complaints about the lines from loyal cutomers and have decided on alternate strategies for limited release beers. Aeronaut Brewing has come up with a great way to sell their most recent batch of Double Hop Hop, their sought after DIPA. Instead of sharing a release date/time on social media and asking people to wait in line, they allowed customers to purchase a ticket online ahead of time, and then trade in the ticket for a 4 pack of cans once the beer is ready. From what I heard the release was easy, even people who stopped by on day one were in and out with their beer. Fortunately for me Aeronaut sent along a sample along with a special glass, which I was very excited to use. Aeronaut Double Hop Hop is loaded with Citra and Mosaic hops and available on a limited basis in 16 oz tallboy cans.

Aeronaut Double Hop HopAeronaut Double Hop Hop pours murky orange with a small white head. The aroma features a nice burst of hops, mostly citrus with an undercurrent of floral aromas. The hops also dominate the flavor, notes of grapefruit, papaya, tangerine and a little pine. The floral/pine notes along with a soft but persistent bitterness keep the beer from being straight juicy NEIPA, but it checks most of the boxes you look for in the style. The hops are balanced by a full malt backbone, hints of bread dough and cereal. Double Hop Hop has a full mouthfeel but drinks very easy for 8.4% ABV. The finish is crisp with some lingering hop flavor and just a little bitterness. This beer is stellar, enough fruity flavor and aroma for the most passionate of juice-heads but the other flavors add needed complexity. I really enjoyed Double Hop Hop and would happily (not) wait in line for the next batch!

Previous Aeronaut Reviews:

Aeronaut Robot Crush, Aeronaut A Year With Dr. NanduAeronaut A Session With Dr. NanduAeronaut The Eye of Sauvin

Mason’s Hipster Apocalypse and Liquid Rapture

There are so many breweries in New England (let alone the rest of the country) that I have a really hard time keeping track of all of them. It’s especially difficult with breweries that don’t distribute to Massachusetts bottle shops, there are a number breweries in every state that I haven’t been able to try due to brewery location and lack of distribution. Occasionally I stop by one of my local shops for a stock up run and see new-to-me beers by a local/regional brewery that I’ve never tried, and I usually jump at the opportunity. A good example is Mason’s Brewing Company out of Brewer, Maine. I can’t remember the last time I was in Brewer, so I’ve never been to their brewpub, but I grabbed a few cans after a recommendation from an employee at Craft Beer Cellar in Framingham. The beers were Hipster Apocalypse, an IPA brewed with Idaho 7 hops, and Liquid Rapture, a DIPA with Ella, Idaho 7 and Citra hops. Both beers are available in 16 oz. tallboy cans.

Mason's Hipster ApocalypseMason’s Hipster Apocalypse pours a slightly hazy light orange with a solid white head. The scent features some fruity hops, citrus and tropical fruit. The flavor is very hop forward, notes of honeydew, guava and grapefruit along with a soft bitterness, this is clearly a New England style IPA. A mild malt backbone rounds out the flavor with hints of cereal and honey. Hipster Apocalypse is medium bodied, super drinkable, and not too boozy at 5.7% ABV. The finish is slightly sweet with some lingering fruity hops. I enjoyed Hipster Apocalypse, it’s a flavorful and well crafted juicy IPA. Hoppy Boston score: 4.25/5.

Mason's Liquid RaptureMason’s  Liquid Rapture pours a hazy straw yellow with a solid white head. The aroma is a big hit of fruity new world hops. This carries over into the flavor, notes of grapefruit, tangerine, guava and lemon. There is a touch of bitterness here, not bracing  but it doesn’t taste like you’re drinking straight fruit juice either. This is balanced by a noticeable malt backbone, hints of honey, bread crust and just a whiff of booze. Liquid Rapture is medium bodied and drinks very easy for 8.2% ABV. The finish is crisp with some lingering hop flavor. Liquid Rapture is a very good DIPA, all of the hop flavor you want with a little bite and malt for balance. Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.

Fort Hill Jigsaw Jazz

It seems like tap rooms are all of the rage right now and for good reason, including the fact that brewers can sell their product directly to consumers which allows for more control of quality, freshness and margins. It almost seems like a few local breweries have no interest in canning or bottling beer outside of what they are selling in the taprooms. There are advantages to distribution too, especially in reaching new customers who haven’t heard of your brand or don’t have time to travel to taprooms every weekend. There are a number of examples where a brewery gains significant buzz after they start distribution. A good local case is Fort Hill Brewing in Easthampton, MA. Fort Hill has been open since 2014, but over the last year cans of their beers have entered bottle shops on a regular basis and demand has followed. It’s probably no coincidence that their taproom is currently closed while they undergo an expansion. One of Fort Hill’s most popular beers is Jigsaw Jazz, a big DIPA brewed with Citra hops. Fort Hill Jigsaw Jazz is available year-round on draft and in 12 oz. cans.

Fort Hill Jigsaw JazzFort Hill Jigsaw Jazz pours a very hazy light yellow with a massive white head. The scent is a huge hit of hops, citrus and tropical fruit. The flavor is very hop forward, notes of grapefruit, melon, tangerine and apricot with a little bitter bite. This is balanced by a light malt backbone, touches of bread crust and honey. Jigsaw Jazz is medium bodied and drinks incredibly easy for 9.3% ABV. The finish is crisp with some lingering hop flavor. This is a really good DIPA, loads of hops and dangerously drinkable. I understand why Fort Hill is gaining so much buzz. Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.