Tag Archives: Fort Hill

Fort Hill Dopplebock

When you bring up beer styles that are perfect for cold winter weather the most obvious styles people will point to are rich, dark and malty beers like porter and stout. There are a number of other heavy and boozy beers like barleywine, tripel and quadruple that many also use to keep warm in the coldest part of the year. An underappreciated winter style is dopplebock, a dark and higher alcohol German style lager. I love a good dopplebock, the rich malt flavor and clean lager finish combine for a delicious and easy to drink beer when it’s well executed. Unfortunately very few local breweries make dopplebocks, it’s a niche style and requires longer fermentation times at lower temperatures, so it can be a tough sell for breweries operating on thin margins. I was excited to see cans of Fort Hill Dopplebock hit the shelves this fall. Fort Hill has quickly established themselves as a popular option in the local market, making a variety of flavorful beers at a reasonable price point. While their hoppy beers have attracted the bulk of the attention (no surprise there, IPAs pay the bills), Fort Hill makes a wide variety of ales and lagers. Fort Hill Dopplebock is available on a rotating basis on draft and in 12 oz cans.

Fort Hill DopplebockFort Hill Dopplebock pours clear deep red with a solid white head. The aroma is mild, just a hint of roasted malt. The beer is malt forward, notes of caramel, bread dough and brown sugar along with a little residual sweetness. There is a touch of hop character that adds earthiness and some balance. Fort Hill Dopplebock is on the light side of medium bodied and at 7.5% ABV is on point for the style. It features a clean lager finish with just a little lingering malt flavor and sweetness. This is a solid dopplebock, I would have liked a little more body and roasted flavor, but there is a lot to like here and it’s great to see another local version of the style. Hoppy Boston score: 4.0/5.

Previous Fort Hill Reviews:

Fort Hill Jigsaw Jazz

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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.