Tag Archives: Hopster’s

Hoppy Boston/Hopster’s DIPA

My friend Tom is a fellow craft beer fan and frequent reader of this blog. He read about my two previous experiences brewing beer at Hopster’s Brew and Boards in Newton and wanted to try it out, so we booked a brewing session together. After some back and forth on style we landed on a big hop-forward DIPA. I had a homebrew IPA recipe that had produced a great beer, and the Hopster’s staff had no problem helping me modify it for their equipment and available malts/hops. Special thanks to my wife Kristin for helping bottle the beer, Tom couldn’t make it due to one of the blizzards so she stepped up and it’s a much easier job with two people working together. The Hopster’s concept has really caught on, we brewed on a Saturday afternoon and I went back to bottle 3 weeks later. On both days the place was packed full with people brewing, eating and enjoying some delicious beer.  Hopster’s is so popular that they are in the process of setting up a second location, rumored to be in the South Boston area, with an even larger capacity. Here is what we brewed and how it turned out:

Recipe: 7.5 gallon batch, sparge the specialty grains then add extract and boil for 60 minutes, adding the hops at the times shown.

Fermentables: 16 lbs. Pilsner Light Liquid Malt Extract, 1.0 lbs. Crystal 120, 1.0 lbs. White Wheat, 0.5 lbs. CaraPils, 1.0 lbs. Dextrose.

Hops: 2.0 oz. Magnum (60 min.), 2.0 oz. Hallertau (30 min.),  1.0 oz. Citra (flame out), 4.0 oz. Columbus (dry hopped).

Fermented with American Ale yeast.

Hopster's DIPAHoppy Boston/Hopster’s Double IPA pours a deep orange with a moderate off-white head. The first whiff is pungent hop aromas, pine and citrus fruit. The taste is very hop-forward with notes of lemon, resin, orange, mango and grapefruit. Citra and Columbus are amongst my favorite hop varieties, so adding them late resulted in a beautiful mixture of hop scents and flavors. There is just enough malt to provide a little balance, a touch of cereal grain and caramel. You get a noticeable hit of bitterness from the high alpha acid Magnum hops, but it isn’t tongue numbing. This beer drinks clean and easy for a bigger beer, we didn’t take an official gravity reading but I estimate the ABV to be nearly 8%. The finish is clean with a nice little hop kick at the end. Overall this is one of the best home brews that I have made, tons of hops and very drinkable. If it sounds good to you book an appointment at Hopster’s and tell them you want to make some Hoppy Boston IPA!

Previous Hopster’s Articles:

Hoppy Boston/Hopster’s Fuggles PorterHoppy Boston/Hopster’s Belgian IPA, Hopster’s Brew and Boards

 

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Hoppy Boston/Hopster’s Fuggles Porter

My brother and I recently brewed another batch of beer at Hopster’s Brew and Boards in Newton, MA. Our first brewing experience at Hopster’s was over a year ago (I’ve been back since, just not to brew), and so much has changed in that time. First, Hopster’s received a liquor license to become a fully functional bar in addition to a brew-on-premises. Then they obtained a brewery license, allowing them to brew and serve their own beers. Now Hopster’s is a fully functional brewery, you can sample a wide variety of their beers on draft and take home a growler. They even bottle three of their releases for limited distribution. I’ve been impressed with some of the beers I’ve tried at the bar and I’m sure I’ll review some of their beers on this site in the near future. My brother treated me to a brewing session as a birthday present (you might have noticed that I had a number of birthday gifts that revolved around beer, not a coincidence). I got to choose a style, and after considerable thought I went with a lower alcohol porter with a little hop bite (we aimed for about 5% ABV). Porter is one of my favorite styles, especially during colder weather, and I prefer a beer with a rich malt body followed by a crisp hop bite to finish. We selected Fuggles hops for their clean bitterness and traditional British flavor profile. Here is the recipe I used (7.5 gallon batch, sparge grains followed by 60 minute boil):

10 lbs dark liquid malt extract

1.5 lbs. Crystal 60, 1 lb. chocolate malt, 0.5 lbs biscuit malt.

2.5 oz. Fuggles (60 minutes), 1.5 oz. Fuggles (15 minutes), 1 tablespoon Irish Moss (15 minutes)

British Ale yeast (2 packets dry yeast).

Hoppy Boston Fuggles PorterThe beer fermented just under 3 weeks and then we bottled it using forced carbonation. I tasted it right away and again after a couple weeks. Some of the residual sweetness died down from the extract, and the hops were more prevalent, I imagine as it ages it will get more malty again. Hoppy Boston Fuggles Porter pours nearly black with a mild tan head. The smell is mostly dark malts with a touch of earthy hops. The taste starts with the malt, notes of chocolate and coffee plus some mild nuttiness. This is followed by some hop character, touches of grass and pine and a mild bitterness at the end. The beer is easy drinking, crisp and clean with a dry finish. The body is a touch lighter than I would like, but outside of that I am really happy with how this came out. It will be great to have a bunch of this porter around for the upcoming cold weather. Looking forward to my next brewing adventure at Hopster’s!

Previous Hopster’s Articles:

Hoppy Boston/Hopster’s Belgian IPA, Hopster’s Brew and Boards

 

Hoppy Boston/Hopster’s Belgian IPA

Last month my brother and I brewed a batch of beer at Hopster’s Brew and Boards, the new brew-on-premises and bar in Newton Corner (for my earlier write-up see: http://wp.me/p3TEvn-3M). We brewed a Belgian style IPA, which I have finally been able to taste, so I thought I would share the recipe and review the beer. Before we get into the review, a few things have changed at Hopster’s since my last visit. First, they finally got a liquor license, and built a bar. The selection is great, all New England craft beers. The selection rotates pretty frequently, but on our bottling day they had Pretty Things, Jack’s Abby, Idle Hands, Mystic, Wormtown, Atlantic Brewing Co., Maine Brewing Co., Notch, Slumbrew, Allagash and some others I’m forgetting. Basically a who’s-who of local craft beer. The open bar has led to a larger crowd at Hopster’s, so the kitchen is now open daily, serving locally sourced cheese, charcuterie, and flat breads. We had a plowman’s board and everything was well made and delicious. So, if you want to check Hopster’s out and have a beer before you commit to brewing a batch of your own, they are ready and open for business. So, onto the recipe: Hoppy Boston/Hopster’s Belgian IPA: 7.5 Gallon batch (One kettle) 12 lbs. Pilsen light liquid malt extract 1 lb. CaraPils 1 lb. Aromatic malt 1 lb. Vienna malt 0.5 lbs. Crystal 15L 2 lbs. Belgian light candi sugar 1 oz. Nugget hops (pellet)-60 min 1.5 oz. Amarillo hops (leaf)-30 min 2.0 oz. Chinook hops (leaf)-20 min 3.0 oz. Simcoe hops (leaf)-10 min Dry hop with Citra hops Yeast: Wyeast Belgian Abbey 2 The idea with this beer was to make a Belgian tripel that is hopped like an American IPA, with a target of ~7% ABV. The light specialty malts add character and body. The copious late addition of American hops supply the citrus hop flavors that should complement the fruity esters from the Belgian yeast. Hoppy Boston Hopsters Belgian IPAHoppy Boston/Hopster’s Belgian IPA pours a slightly cloudy amber with a small white head. The first smell is all American hops, like a burst of fresh citrus in your nose. This is followed by the Belgian yeast, providing notes of bubblegum and light fruity esters. The first taste is very hop-forward, grapefruit, lemon, tangerine and pine. The yeast forms a nice complement, adding green apple, bubblegum and a touch of must. There is some light malt flavors in the backbone, but the beer is all about the hops and yeast. The bitterness is present but not overbearing, and you get a nice tart aftertaste. The beer goes down very easy, the alcohol isn’t really present in the flavor. This Belgian IPA is a good beer for all seasons, it is full flavored enough to keep you warm in the winter, but light enough in body to sip on a warm summer day. I highly recommend heading down to Hopster’s and brewing your own batch!

Hopster’s Brew and Boards, Newton

hopsters-logo1
This week I had the opportunity to brew a batch of beer at Hopster’s Brew and Boards, the new brew-on-premises facility in Newton Corner. Hopster’s is conveniently located right off exit 17 along the Mass Pike, with a number of parking lots nearby. It is also easily accessible by bus from the city or the suburbs. This location used to house Prana, a vegan raw-food restaurant. As a resident of the area I can’t describe how excited I was that the site was being upgraded from a vegan restaurant to a new craft beer hotspot. As you walk into Hopster’s you see a large main room, sleekly decorated, including lighting fixtures made from beer bottles and growlers. One side of the room is set up as a dining area with tables and chairs, along with a small lounge area. The other side is dominated by brewing equipment, featuring 10 steam heated copper brewing kettles. There is also a small room with brewing ingredients and a bottling area. The walls are decorated with murals describing many popular varieties of beer along with key ingredients in the brewing process.

Hopsters2There are a number of things going on at Hopster’s, but the focus is on brewing. I am of the opinion that the best way to really learn about beer is to make it yourself. Home-brewing teaches you about all of the ingredients involved in making a great batch of beer and how each ingredient effects the final product. The great thing about a brew-on-premises site is you can try brewing without investing in any equipment. Hopster’s is set up for all experience levels, from first time brewers to experienced home-brewers. If it’s your first time brewing, one of their brewmasters will help you pick a recipe that fits your taste and then walk you through the entire process. Lee, the owner and manager, told me he realizes that brewing beer can be a little intimidating for someone with no experience, so he made a special effort to hire people who know alot about brewing and can teach people without being condescending. Hopster’s also has features that will attract experienced home-brewers. You can bring your own recipe or modify one of their existing recipes. They are the first brew-on-premises facility in the country set up for all-grain recipes. There are mash-tuns in the basement that re-use the filtered cooling water from the brewing kettles to mash grain. Most home-brewers love a challenge, and Hopster’s is in the process of setting up competitions, where teams will have a chance to brew a batch with their own recipe with the final products being judged and a winner awarded.

Hopsters3One of the main concepts at Hopster’s is adding a social experience to the brewing process. The kettles are perfectly set up so whole groups can come and brew a number of batches of beer. This is a great place for company outings, you are able to reserve the entire facility on weekdays if you have a large group. Hopster’s is also set up to be a nice place to hang out, if some of your group is more interested in observing the process than participating, there is plenty of seating. Unlike many other brew-on-premises locations, Hopster’s serves food, focusing their menu on locally sourced cheese and charcuterie (the kitchen is currently weekend-only, but will soon be available every day). The farm where the pigs are raised even uses the spent grain from the brewing process to supplement their feed. Hopster’s is in the process of installing a full bar as well, with the draft list consisting of local micro-brews and in-house creations. The winners of the brewing competitions will even see their beers on draft. All of the proper licensing should be approved in the next few weeks, I’ll make sure to pass the info along (these things can be slow in Massachusetts). If you’d rather just brew at home, Hopster’s carries a full line of grains, hops, extracts adjuncts and yeast, all for sale.

Hopsters1On our recent visit my brother and I toured the facility, chatted with the owner and brew-masters, and brewed a batch of beer. I had an idea for a Belgian IPA that was just a concept, mimicking a Belgian Tripel with late additions of American hops to add flavor and aroma. A quick chat with the brewers at Hopster’s and my concept was quickly rounded out into a full idea complete with recipe. I am excited to go back and bottle the beer, and then give it a taste test (expect a full write-up in early December). The prices are reasonable, $150-$200 for a batch, which covers the whole experience (many places have hidden fees like bottles that are added on at additional cost). For that price you get three cases (72 12 oz. bottles) of hand-crafted beer to enjoy. So whether you are someone who has always wanted to try home brewing and didn’t know where to start, someone who has a little experience and wants to try a more complicated recipe, or an experienced home-brewer who wants to hang out with some good people and bounce some ideas around, check out Hopster’s Brew and Boards in Newton Corner.

If you have any other questions about Hopster’s feel free to send me a message by commenting on the blog or through Twitter @HoppyBoston.
For more info or to make an appointment check out their website at:
http://www.hopsters.net/