I am researching a new article on my favorite NEIPAs in every state in New England (the “research” is pretty tough, find and drink a bunch of new-to-me beers). I am overflowing with ideas from some states, especially Massachusetts and Maine, but I am struggling a little with a few of the states that I visit infrequently. So many NEIPAs have limited distribution and short shelf lives, so you need to directly visit the brewery to get them. The state that I have been struggling the most with is New Hampshire, so I have been searching for any IPAs from the Granite State that have distribution in Massachusetts. One brewery that has recently established a substantial presence in Mass is Moat Mountain out of North Conway NH. One of Moat Mountain’s rotating releases is Call it a Day, a big double IPA brewed in the New England style. Moat Mountain Call it a Day is available on a rotating basis on draft and in 16 oz cans.
Moat Mountain Call it a Day DIPA pours slightly hazy light orange with a massive white head. The aroma is a solid hit of fruity and floral hops. The flavor is also very hop forward, notes of grapefruit, pine, orange rind and mango along with a little bitter bite. Call it a Day is a hybrid of east and west coast IPA styles, not assertively bitter but not straight juice either. The hops are balanced by a solid malt backbone, touches of whole grain bread and crackers. It has a medium body and drinks pretty easy for a beer with 8% ABV. The finish is crisp with some lingering malt flavor and bitterness. Overall this is a nice DIPA, plenty of hop flavor and good drinkability. I’ll need to check out more Moat Mountain releases in the near future. Hoppy Boston score: 4.0/5.
Previous Moat Mountain Reviews:
Moat Mountain East Intervale
One of the most interesting developments in the early part of the year has been mid-sized and larger breweries jumping on the New England IPA bandwagon. Breweries like Sam Adams, Sierra Nevada and New Belgium have introduced hazy and low bitterness hop-forward ales and began distribution across the country. This is a big change for the style, most of the breweries that spearheaded the popularity of NEIPAs are small and sell the majority of their beer directly to consumers from their breweries. It will be interesting to see how the beers do in wide distribution, the style is notorious for it’s short shelf life. One brewery who has been brewing and distributing a NEIPA for a while is Two Roads Brewery. Two Roads has managed to launch their double NEIPA Two Juicy across a number of states and they do a good job keeping fresh beer on the shelves and draft accounts. Two Roads Two Juicy is brewed with Hallertauer Blanc, Citra and Mandarina Bavaria hops and is available year round on draft and in 16 oz cans.
Two Roads Two Juicy pours hazy light yellow with a solid white head. The scent is a solid burst of hops, lots of tropical fruit. The flavor is hop forward, notes of pineapple, mango and stone fruit along with a crisp bitter bite. There is just enough malt for balance, hints of bread dough and cereal. Two Juicy is medium bodied with a solidly rich mouthfeel and packs a little punch at 8.2% ABV. The finish is crisp with plenty of hop flavor. This is a really nice NEIPA, plenty of hop flavor and super easy to drink for a bigger beer. Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.
Previous Two Roads Reviews:
Two Roads Ok2berfest, Two Roads/Evil Twin Geyser Gose, Two Roads Rye 95, Two Roads Route of All Evil, Two Roads Workers Comp Saison
Breweries can find themselves in a tough position when they brew a “flagship” beer for a while and then decide to change the recipe. The need to change the recipe can happen for a number of reasons, a new brewer who wants to make a mark, changing tastes of a customer base, issues with availability of ingredients, or a recipe that starts to feel stale after many batches. When this change is made inevitably some customers love the current recipe and end up disappointed. One option is to just brew an entirely new beer and phase out the old one, but breweries can form attachments to a beer name or artwork and not want to abandon it. An interesting recent example was The 87, the flagship DIPA from Night Shift Brewing which is named the after their address in Everett. Night Shift recently revamped the recipe of The 87 allowing them to take advantage of some newer hop varieties and positioning the beer as a true version of the low bitterness and fruity New England style IPA. The newest iteration of Night Shift The 87 is available year round on draft and in 16 oz. cans.
Night Shift The 87 pours a hazy light orange with a small white head. The aroma features a huge burst of citrus and tropical fruit from the hops. The hops also lead the flavor, notes of grapefruit, tangerine and papaya with minimal bitterness, very much a NEDIPA. This is balanced by a solid malt backbone, hints of crackers and bread dough. The 87 is medium bodied and drinks very easy for a DIPA with 8.0% ABV. The finish is crisp with some lingering fruity hops. This beer is stellar, I thought the original version of the 87 was pretty good but this beer is a big improvement over what I remember. There are so many stellar local DIPAs and this needs to be in the conversation when you talk about the best. Hoppy Boston score: 4.75/5.
Previous Night Shift Reviews:
Night Shift Bennington, Night Shift Whirlpool, Night Shift Awake, Night Shift Santilli, Night Shift Maracuya, Night Shift Mainer Weisse, Night Shift Thunder Moon, Night Shift Morph IPA, Night Shift Ever Weisse, Night Shift Grove, Night Shift JoJo, Night Shift Taza Stout, Night Shift Simcoenation
We are well into December and I promise that I will get into some dark and malty beer reviews soon, but I still have a bit of a back-log to clean out from the fall. My friends Tim and Amanda spent a good chunk of their free time this fall seeking out new-to-them breweries (these are the type of things you can do when you don’t have kids). When I saw Tim on our November guys weekend he passed along a selection of beers that they found in their travels and thought I would like to try. A few of these beers were from Beer’d Brewing in Stonington, CT. I actually lived in Southeastern Connecticut while I completed my post-doc (5-6 years ago), and it was a craft beer dead-zone at the time, very little quality local beer available. Now, like many parts of the country, it has a booming beer scene led by Beer’d, a brewery that is starting to build some buzz regionally. Two of the beers that my friends brought were DIPAs, Hobbit Juice which is brewed with Nelson Sauvin hops and Dogs and Boats which is hopped with Citra and Mosaic. Both beers are available on a rotating basis on draft and in 16 oz cans.
Beer’d Hobbit Juice pours slightly hazy light yellow with a solid white head. The scent is a mixture of floral and juicy hops. The flavor is also very hop forward, notes of white grape, pear, apple and grass along with a little bitter bite. The hop flavor is balanced by a bit of malt, touches of cereal and honey. Hobbit Juice is medium bodied and drinks incredibly easy for a beer with 9.2% ABV, there is no boozy flavor or burn. The finish is crisp and clean with some lingering hop flavor. This is a really solid DIPA, Nelson Sauvin beers can be a little hit or miss for me, but I enjoyed this one. Hoppy Boston score: 4.25/5.
Beer’d Dogs and Boats pours somewhat hazy light orange with a large white head. There is a solid hit of fruity hops on the nose. These hops lead the flavor too, notes of grapefruit, mango, peach and papaya along with noticeable bitterness. This beer has plenty of fruity flavors and aromas but isn’t a straight juice-bomb. The malt flavor adds some balance along with hints of crackers and bread crust. Dogs and Boats is medium bodied and dangerously drinkable for 9.1% ABV. Beer’d is clearly proficient at brewing big DIPAs that drink like much lighter beers. The finish is crisp and full flavored with plenty of lingering hops. This is another very good DIPA, worth seeking out for all of the local hop-heads. Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.
A couple weeks ago I received a big gift (from myself), official Hoppy Boston glassware. As soon as I decided to give the site a facelift and get a real logo I knew that I needed some logo-glassware and I found a online site that helped me make this dream a reality. I had avoided posting about the glasses on social media or the blog because I had my yearly guys outing with my college buddies this weekend and I was bringing them all a glass as a gift. I had an Instagram/Twitter post ready with the first beer I drank from the new glasses, Four Seam IPA from Idle Hands, but in my excitement to share this I accidentally used a picture I took with Six Seam DIPA, which I was planning on reviewing today. Thank you for everyone that pointed out the mistake. Anyways, I’ve had a chance to sample a number of the newer additions to the Idle Hands lineup recently. After years making Belgian and then German styles Idle Hands has added a number of popular American beer styles to the lineup. Most of these new beers follow a baseball theme. Included in these newer additions is 34, a porter honoring Red Sox great David Ortiz, and Six Seam, a New England style DIPA. Both beers are available on a rotating basis on draft and in 16 oz. tallboy cans.
Idle Hands 34 pours almost pitch black with a mild tan head. The scent is full of rich roasted malt, just what you want in a porter. The flavor is also very malt forward, touches of cocoa, cappuccino, licorice and caramel and just a little sweetness. There are some earthy and floral hops that add balance and just a touch of bitterness. 34 is full bodied but drinks easy and is moderately boozy at 6.7% ABV. The finish features full malt flavor and a balance of lingering sweetness and crisp bitterness. 34 is a very nice porter, worthy of honoring a Boston sports legend who delivered so many great moments for the city! Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.
Idle Hands Six Seam pours murky light orange with a small white head. The aroma is a huge burst of fruity hops, makes you want to dive right in. This is a hop-bomb juicy NEIPA, the hops add notes of grapefruit, pineapple, mango and orange but minimal bitterness. This is complemented by a mild malt backbone, hints of crackers and whole grain bread. Six Seam is medium bodied with a solid mouthfeel and drinks incredibly easy for a beer with 8.2% ABV. The finish is crisp with plenty of lingering hop flavor that keeps you coming back for more. This is a stellar New England style DIPA, I understand why the initial feedback on the beer has been overwhelmingly positive. Definitely worth seeking out the next time it’s released. Hoppy Boston score: 4.75/5.
Previous Idle Hands Reviews:
Idle Hands Brocktoberfest, Idle Hands Proeme, Idle Hands Thing 1, Idle Hands Heide, Idle Hands Riding Shotgun, Idle Hands Adelais, Idle Hands D’aison, Idle Hands Triplication
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 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-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.
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 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 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