Tag Archives: Grey Sail

H2H Beer Review: DIPA, Grey Sail Captain’s Daughter vs. Baxter Bootleg Fireworks

IPAs are big business for craft breweries. Beers falling under the IPA umbrella easily outpace other styles in volume of sales. American beer drinkers love the bold hoppy flavors and tongue numbing bitterness, pushing brewers to produce beers with ever climbing IBU and ABV numbers. There are very few breweries that don’t brew a flagship IPA, and many also make big and boozy double IPAs. A great DIPA can put your brewery on the map in the increasingly competitive market (just ask the Alchemist or Russian River), so it is no surprise that newer breweries work hard to perfect and then market their DIPAs. I recently picked up a couple of new and highly recommended DIPAs, sampled both and thought they would be perfect for a head-to-head beer review.

The Competitors: Two relatively new releases in the double IPA catagory, Captain’s Daughter from Grey Sail Brewing and Bootleg Fireworks from Baxter Brewing Company.

Grey Sail Brewing and Baxter Brewing Company actually have a lot in common outside of their locations (Grey Sail is headquartered in Rhode Island while Baxter is in Maine). Both breweries were founded in the last few years, long enough to gain a loyal local following but still new enough to be unfamiliar to many. Both breweries also predominantly can their beer for distribution, including the beers reviewed here (Grey Sail bottles a few special releases, Baxter only cans). I have enjoyed a number of selections from each brewery, enough so that I seek out anything new they release. Here is how these beers stack up:

Grey Sail Captain's DaughterA 12 oz. can of Grey Sail Captain’s Daughter pours a cloudy deep amber-orange with a moderate white head and some nice lacing on the glass. the hops dominate the smell, deep resin along with a little fruitiness. The hops are also the predominant flavor, a little more citrus and tropical fruit in the flavor than on the nose. There is significant bitterness balanced by a noticeable full malt backbone. The beer is full bodied and you get a little alcoholic sweetness followed by a dry finish. This is a very good beer for the winter months, the full flavor and 8.5% ABV will help keep you warm during a cold snap.

Baxter Bootleg FireworksBaxter Bootleg Fireworks comes in 16 oz. tallboy cans, pouring a lighter yellow with a massive white head. This is also hop forward, strong scents of pine and citrus on the nose. As expected Bootleg Fireworks is another hop-bomb, notes of lemon, grapefruit and orange along with floral and earthy touches. The maltiness is a little more subdued here, but the bitterness is not, this beer numbs the tongue a bit. Despite the aggressive hop flavor the beer is remarkably drinkable, even at 9.0% ABV you don’t get a hint of booze. This is a beer for the true hop lover, the flavors really shine through.

The Verdict: When I do a H2H review of two beers that I have enjoyed previously I know it will be tough to pick a favorite. It was a pleasant surprise to have the same issue with two beers that were completely new to me! Both of these beers are worth picking up if you enjoy hop forward selections. If you prefer a little more body and a touch of boozy sweetness to balance out the aggressive hops you will probably love the Grey Sail Captain’s Daughter. Personally I enjoyed the Baxter Bootleg Fireworks just a hair more as it was slightly easier to drink and the combination of hop varieties was perfect for my palate. Baxter Bootleg Fireworks gets the win here.

Previous Grey Sail Reviews: Grey Sail Leaning Chimney Smoked Porter

Previous Baxter Reviews: Baxter TarnationBaxter Phantom Punch Stout

Grey Sail Leaning Chimney Smoked Porter

One of the newer entrants to the burgeoning Rhode Island craft beer scene is Grey Sail Brewing of Westerly. After years of planning, Grey Sail Brewing was founded in 2010 by Alan and Jennifer Brinton. They renovated a building on Canal Street that had originally housed the Westerly Macaroni Factory, and a year later produced their first batch of Flagship Ale. Grey Sail now brews a series of year round, seasonal and specialty beers. Depending on the variety, their beers are distributed on draft, in 22 oz bottles, and in 12 and 16 oz cans. Grey Sail beers are now available in Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts. Grey Sail’s Winter seasonal is Leaning Chimney Winter Porter. Leaning Chimney Winter Porter is brewed with a range of dark malts including some smoked with peat, balanced with American hops. It is available in 16 oz cans from December through February.

Grey Sail Smoked PorterGrey Sail Leaning Chimney Smoked Porter pours cola brown with a large and sustained tan head. The smell is very heavy on chocolate, with notes of coffee and roasted barley. The taste also leans heavily towards dark malts with flavors of cocoa, cappuccino, and roasted malt. The smoke is also present, but very subtle. There is a little hop bitterness in the backbone, but the beer tends somewhat towards the malt profile without being out of balance. Grey Sail Leaning Chimney is full bodied, goes down smooth, and at 6.0% ABV has moderate alcohol for the style. The beer finishes with some malty sweetness balanced by a nice hoppy tartness on the tongue. Overall this is a solid version of a winter porter, with the smoked malt adding complexity without overwhelming the brew. Hoppy Boston score: 4.25/5.