Tag Archives: IPA

Trillium Farnsworth Street IPA

Last Thursday I started a 12 day vacation, the first long vacation I’ve taken since last Christmas. Most of my vacation is devoted to family time, but I’ve had a few chances to do things for myself, including a trip to Trillium Brewing Company in Canton on the first day.  Always nice to stock up the beer fridge with high quality offerings on the first day of an extended break. As the Trillium facility in Canton has gotten up to speed it has been clear that the scale of beer releases has increased, and this has led to a plethora of options available at each visit. I showed up right before opening and ended up chatting with a middle aged man who was making his first trip, he had family coming to town for the holiday and wanted to impress them with a fridge full of quality beer. I let him know he was in the right place, and recommended a number of my favorite offerings including Melcher Street IPA and Fort Pont Pale Ale. I stocked up on these favorites but also grabbed a few new-to-me beers, including Farnsworth Street IPA. This beer is one of the newer additions to the “street” series of IPAs, where each beer showcases a different type of hop, in this case the Australian variety named Vic Secret. Trillium Farnsworth Street IPA is available on a rotating basis on draft and in 16 oz. cans.

Trillium Farnsworth Street IPATrillium Farnsworth Street IPA pours murky light orange with a solid white head. The aroma is a huge burst of fruity and floral hops. The flavor is also very hop forward, notes of white grape, pear, grass and apple along with a mild bitterness. This is balanced by some malt flavor, hints of crusty bread and biscuits. Farnsworth Street has a full body but drinks very easy, and packs a little punch at 7.2% ABV. The finish is crisp with lots of lingering hop flavor. The “street ” IPAs are clearly a core piece of the Trillium lineup, and Farnsworth Street is a welcome addition to that group. Definitely worth a shot for all of the hop-heads out there, especially if you need a break from the Mosaic/Citra/Galaxy beers that are so commonplace. Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.

Previous Trillium Reviews:

Trillium Melcher St. IPA, Trillium Fort Point Pale AleTrillium Free Rise Dry-hopped with Citra, Trillium Pot and KettleTrillium Scaled Up, Trillium Launch Beer, Trillium PM DawnBREWERY OVERVIEW, Trillium Sinister Kid, Trillium Congress St. IPATrillium Farmhouse AleTrillium Wakerobin Rye

 

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Rockingham Javelina

I appreciate everyone who takes the time to read Hoppy Boston, from the people who have been reading for years and visit multiple times a week to the first time readers who stumbled across the blog after a Google search. I do have a special appreciation for the long time followers though, most are old friends who have been incredibly enthusiastic and supportive from day one. Hoppy Boston fan #1 was definitely my amazing wife Kristin. She supported the idea of starting the blog and after I got some pretty harsh comments in the first few months she acted as my editor for a solid year, helping me find my voice and identifying common issues I’d make with grammar (this ended with the birth of my son 2.5 years ago, hopefully the quality hasn’t fallen off too drastically). Whenever anyone she knows brings up local craft beer my wife will mention the blog, I know I’ve gained a number of followers based on her recommendations. After a conversation about Hoppy Boston my wife’s co-worker revealed that her cousin works at Rockingham Brewing Company in Derry, NH and later passed along some of their beers for me to sample. One of these beers is Javelina, their flagship IPA. Rockingham Javelina is available year round on draft and in 12 oz cans.

Rockingham JavelinaRockingham Javelina pours hazy copper with a solid white head. The aroma is a solid hit of hops, floral and herbal. This is definitely more of a west coast style IPA than the juicy IPAs that have gained notoriety in New England. The hops lead the flavor, notes of resin, orange, grass and lemon along with a solid and persistent bitter kick. This is balanced by some malt flavor, touches of crackers and whole grain bread. Javelina is medium bodied and drinks easy, at 6.5% it is about what you’d expect for the style. The finish is all hops, lingering flavor and bite. Overall Javelina is a well crafted west coast IPA, it’s nice to mix in beers like this with all of the juice-bombs I tend to drink. I don’t think Rockingham distributes to Massachusetts yet, but they are worth a shot if you are visiting New Hampshire! Hoppy Boston score: 4.0/5.

Lamplighter Werewolves of Cambridge and Birds of a Feather

Lamplighter Brewing Company had it’s first birthday this month, and they have been celebrating with a series of special events and beer releases. It is crazy how quickly Lamplighter transitioned from an exciting new brewery in town into one of my go-to local breweries. Most places have a bit of a learning curve in their first year, issues with consistency batch-to-batch or solid beers mixed with some misses. Lamplighter has minimized this, within months of opening they had a stable of quality offerings across an array of styles. It’s reached a point where I almost always try a new Lamplighter release and a few of my favorites have become staples in my beer fridge. A couple good examples (which I hadn’t reviewed yet) are their flagship porter Werewolves of Cambridge and Birds of a Feather, an IPA brewed with Mosaic, Columbus and Citra hops. Both beers are available on a rotating basis on draft and in 16 oz. cans.

Lamplighter Warewolves of CambridgeLamplighter Werewolves of Cambridge pours nearly black with a small tan head. The aroma features some rich roasted malt. These malts lead the flavor, notes of molasses, chocolate and caramel. This is balanced by some mild hops, earthy and grassy with just a hint of bitterness. Werewolves of Cambridge is medium bodied and very smooth, not overly boozy at 6.3% ABV. The beer finishes rich with some lingering roasted malt flavors. This is a really good porter, I will drink quite a few of these over the coming winter months. I’ve also heard rumors of brewery-only variants aged in bourbon and rye barrels, I might need to make a trip to the brewery to check them out. Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.

Lamplighter Birds of a FeatherLamplighter Birds of a Feather pours hazy orange with a solid white head. The scent is a big burst of hops, citrus and tropical fruit. This is a quintessential NEIPA, the fruity hop flavors shine, hints of mango, tangerine, peach and papaya but minimal bitterness. There is some malt flavor for balance, touches of cereal and wheat bread. Birds of a Feather is medium bodied and drinks very easy, not overly boozy at 6.8% ABV. The finish is crisp with substantial lingering hop flavor that keeps you coming back for more. This is another very good beer from Lamplighter, every release is quickly becoming a must-try for me. Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.

Previous Lamplighter Reviews:

Lamplighter WatchmanLamplighter Blitzen, Lamplighter Lucid Nonsense and Easy Tiger

Mystic Voltage and Echo

It is no longer news when a brewery starts canning their beers, in fact I’m struggling to think of any Massachusetts breweries with a significant distribution footprint that don’t can. One of the last hold-outs was Mystic Brewing in Chelsea. For years Mystic brewed a lineup dominated by flavorful saisons and other Belgian styles, mostly distributed in large format bottles. Many of these beers are stellar, but unfortunately almost all of the buzz (and the sales that go along with it) is focused on hop-bomb IPAs. Mystic’s lineup has slowly incorporated hoppy beers over the last year or so. They started with a rotating selection of brewery-only DIPAs and now they’ve revamped their brand by producing cans of a number of these hop-forward offerings. I really wish a brewery could thrive making entirely Belgian styles, but hopefully this change will lead some hop heads to branch out and enjoy some beer styles outside of their comfort zone. I also hope that Mystic still sticks with some of their classics, even if it’s on a rotating or limited release schedule. I guess we’ll see how this all shakes out. I was able to try a number of Mystic’s new beers including their NEIPA Voltage and Echo, which is called a session IPA on the can but seems to be a hoppy saison. Both beers are available on a rotating basis on draft and in 16 oz tallboy cans.

Mystic VoltageMystic Voltage pours hazy light yellow with a solid white head. The scent is a huge burst of fruity New World hops. The hops also dominate the flavor, notes of mango, grapefruit, peach and tangerine along with a mild bitter bite. This is complemented by a light malt backbone, hints of bread dough and crackers. Voltage is medium bodied and very easy to drink but solidly boozy at 7.0% ABV. The finish is crisp and smooth with lingering hop flavor that keeps you coming back for more. This is a top notch IPA, not a straight juice-bomb but plenty of the fruity hops that have become so popular. This will quickly become a go-to IPA for me, just a delicious beer. Highly recommended.  Hoppy Boston score: 4.75/5.

Mystic EchoMystic Echo pours slightly hazy bright yellow with a full white head. The aroma is a mixture of fruity and floral hops with expressive Belgian style yeast. These two elements lead the flavor as well. The hops add notes of orange, spruce and herbs with just a little bitterness. The yeast contributes hints of apple, apricot and peppercorn. Touches of wheat bread and cereal from the malts round out the flavor. Echo is light and super drinkable, very much a session beer at 4.3% ABV. The finish is crisp and dry with lingering hop and yeast flavors. I am a big fan of mixing late hops with expressive Belgian style yeasts, and this is a solid version of the style. Mystic is so good at building beers around these strains of yeast, I hope to see more hoppy saisons in their future releases. Hoppy Boston score: 4.25/5.

Previous Mystic Reviews:

Mystic Kanzu, Mystic Sauvignon Blanc Barrel SaisonMystic Vinland 4Mystic De Varenne, Mystic India Wharf Pale Ale, BREWERY OVERVIEW, Mystic Flor ZMystic Melissa, Mystic DescendantMystic Vinland ThreeMystic Brewery visit and Day of Doom, Mystic Hazy Jane, Mystic Mary of the Gael, Mystic Vinland Two, Mystic Table Beer

 

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.

Bissell Brothers Pine Tree Agronomics

I am a huge fan of Bissell Brothers Brewing in Portland, I don’t think I’ve ever had a bad beer from there and everyone from the brewery has always been awesome, back to the early days on Industrial Way. I’m clearly not the only Bissell fan, even with the increased capacity enabled by the opening of their new brewery that place is a madhouse for can releases, especially in the summer during peak tourist season. Last summer I stopped on the way home from a family visit and waited in line for well over an hour for cans, not an easy sell when traveling with family. For that reason I skipped Bissell on both Maine trips this summer, opting for other breweries that wouldn’t have the wait. Fortunately I had to come north for a wedding a couple weeks ago, and I was travelling solo on a Friday mid-day, so I made a noontime stop at Bissell Brothers. In less than 15 minutes I was loaded with cans on their flagship IPA The Substance and a new release, Pine Tree Agronomics. Bissell Brothers Pine Tree Agronomics is an IPA brewed with 100% Maine products, malt, oats, wheat, Cascade and Nugget hops, and even Maine maple syrup. It is available on a limited basis on draft and in 16 oz cans.

Bissell Brothers Pine Tree AgronomicsBissell Brothers Pine Tree Agronomics pours murky light orange with a solid white head. The aroma is solidly hoppy, but more floral and pine then fruity. The hops also lead the flavor, notes of resin, spruce, herbs and grapefruit along with a solid bitter bite. This has the hazy appearance of a NEIPA but drinks more like a West Coast IPA. There is a solid malt backbone too, hints of bread crust, cereal and just the faintest hint of maple. Pine Tree Agronomics has a medium body and packs a little punch at 7.5% ABV. The finish is crisp with a lasting hop flavor that keeps you coming back for more. At first I was a little thrown off by this beer, it isn’t what I expected from a Bissell Brothers beer, but after getting over the initial surprise I really enjoyed Pine Tree Agronomics. Great to have some Bissell Brothers beer in the fridge and I hope to make another stop when I am in Maine in November. Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.

Previous Bissell Brothers Reviews:

Bissell Brothers Seed, Bissell Brothers The Substance

 

Old Planters Crop Rotation IPA

I typically keep a solid list of beers that I’ve heard good things about but haven’t had a chance to try. For a while I kept a physical list (or at least a memo stored on my phone) but I’ve gotten away from that and now I  try to set aside a small piece of my already overworked brain for the task. Fortunately I frequent bottle shops that specialize in quality beer, so a quick walk around the store can usually jog my memory. One beer that I finally found on a recent stock up run was Crop Rotation IPA from Old Planters Brewing Company out of Beverly, MA. Old Planters was started by a couple of Beverly natives and named after the first settlers in the town. The beer was initially brewed out of the cellar in one of the founder’s homes, but due to increased demand they now contract brew at Ipswich. One of their most popular beers is Crop Rotation IPA, a modern hop-forward take on the style brewed with a rotating selection of hops. Old Planters Hop Rotation IPA is available year round on draft and now in 16 oz. tallboy cans.

Old Planters Crop RotationOld Planters Crop Rotation IPA pours hazy light yellow with a small white head. The scent is a big burst of fruity hops, loads of tropical and citrus fruit. The flavor is extremely hop forward, notes of mango, tangerine, grapefruit and papaya along with a crisp bitter bite. A mid malt backbone rounds out the beer, hints of whte bread and cereal. Crop Rotation is medium bodied and drinks easy, and at 5.6% ABV it is on the light side for a modern IPA. The finish is crisp and clean with some lingering hop flavor and bite. This is a really nice IPA, has the fruit forward flavor that has made the NEIPA style so popular along with enough bitterness to keep it from being straight juice. Definitely worth a shot for all of the hop heads out there. Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.