Tag Archives: IPA

Start Line Hop Load Citra

If you ask any Massachusetts resident what they know about Hopkinton they  will probably mention the fact that the town is the starting point of the Boston Marathon. Next Monday is Patriots Day and Marathon Monday, a holiday in the state of Massachusetts where people who are way more motivated and/or crazy than me run for 26.2 miles, while I hang out, watch sports on TV, eat snacks and have a few beers. With all of these runners making their way to the starting line in Hopkinton it makes a lot of sense that the only local brewery is named for the town’s claim to fame. Start Line Brewing has been producing a variety of ales since 2016. Many of these beers have names referencing the big event, like Marathon Wheat and Home Stretch Stout. Start Line’s flagship IPA is called Hop Load, presumably in reference to the act of carbo-loading before a big race, and they also brew a version of the beer featuring the popular Citra hop variety. Start Line Hop Load Citra is available year round on draft and in 16 oz cans.

Start Line Hop Load CitraStart Line Hop Load Citra pours hazy deep orange with a solid white head. The aroma is a solid burst of fruity hops. These hops also lead the flavor, notes of grapefruit, tangerine, herbs and pine along with a solid bitter bite. This isn’t a straight NEIPA, more of a hybrid with the more bitter West Coast style. The hops are complemented by a mild malt backbone, hints of bread crust and cereal. Hop Load Citra is light and very easy to drink but packs a little punch at 7.1% ABV. The finish is crisp with some lingering hop flavor and bite. This is a very good IPA, I like the East-West combo beers that feature the fruity hops but also pack a little bite. What better way to celebrate Marathon Monday than some beers from the Start Line! Hoppy Boston score: 4.25/5.

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Medusa Prosperous and Citra Legacy

There are a number of breweries that I feel like I need to visit on a more regular basis, but for one reason or another don’t make it too. A great example is Medusa Brewing in Hudson. Medusa is a 20 minute ride from my house, has a beautiful bar and taproom, and they make exceptional beers. Unfortunately most of my brewery visits right now are quick pop-ins to grab beers to go, family commitments keep me from hanging out and having a few pints. Until recently all beers-to-go from Medusa were in growlers, and I hate growlers and try to avoid using them when I can, so that probably limited my visits. Now Medusa is canning a rotating selection of their beers for sale at the taproom, and I imagine my trips to Hudson will become much more frequent. On a recent stop I grabbed two releases, Prosperous IPA and Citra Legacy Rye IPA. Both beers are available on a rotating basis on draft and in 16 oz tallboy cans.

Medusa ProsperousMedusa Prosperous pours clear bright orange with a solid white head. The aroma is a solid burst of fruity hops. These hops also lead the flavor, notes of orange, pine and mango along with a full bitter bite, this is very much a West Coast style IPA. The hops are balanced by a solid malt backbone, touches of crackers and whole grain bread. Prosperous is medium bodied, drinks easy and has moderate alcohol at 6.6% ABV. The finish is crisp and clean with lingering hop flavor and bitterness. This is a really well crafted West Coast IPA, it’s nice to mix some of these bitter classics in with all of the juicy NEIPAs being produced in the area, and this is a great example. Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.

Medusa Citra LegacyMedusa Citra Legacy pours slightly hazy light orange with a substantial white head. The aroma is a big burst of lusciously fruity hops. The flavor is very hop forward, notes of passion fruit, tangerine and mango but minimal bitterness, this beer is more in the New England IPA style. The malts add a solid hit of spicy rye along with a backbone of bread crust and cereal. Citra Legacy is smooth and easy to drink, not too boozy at 6.3% ABV. The finish is crisp with some lingering hops and rye. This beer is stellar, I wouldn’t have expected the fruity hops to work so well with the rye flavor, but it really comes together perfectly. A must try if you like rye IPAs. Hoppy Boston score: 4.75/5.

Previous Medusa Reviews:

Medusa Black Ale Project, Medusa Mesmerist

Proclamation Ethereous

I am currently working on a big article highlighting my favorite New England Style IPAs from every state in New England. I am overflowing with ideas for Massachusetts and Maine, the two states where I spend the most time, but I have various levels of work to do in every other state. The one that has come together surprisingly easily is Rhode Island, despite the fact that I have spent a limited amount of time visiting breweries in the smallest state in the US. The major reason for my ability to sample a range of Rhode Island IPAs is my friends Tim and Amanda, they live in Providence and are always happy to share the best beers the state has to offer when we get together. On a recent visit my friends brought a number of beers from Proclamation Brewing Company in Warwick. While Proclamation does distribute into Massachusetts it is rare to see it in bottle shops, a limited amount makes it north and it tends to fly off the shelves. One of the beers Tim and Amanda brought this trip was Ethereous, one of the many IPAs Proclamation brews. Proclamation Ethereous is available on a rotating basis on draft and in 16 oz cans.

Proclamation EthereousProclamation Ethereous pours hazy deep yellow with a small white head. The scent is all hops, citrus and tropical fruit heavy. These fruity hops also lead the flavor, notes of pineapple, tangerine and mango along with just a little bitter bite. This is balanced by a little malt, hints of whole grains and bread dough. Ethereous is pretty light bodied and easy to drink, and not overly boozy at 6.6% ABV. The finish is crisp with some lingering hop flavor. This is another really solid IPA from Proclamation, they make a wide variety of hoppy beers and this one has a nice mixture of easy drinkability and big hop flavor. Hoppy Boston score: 4.25/5.

Previous Proclamation reviews:

Proclamation Derivative Galaxy

Sam Adams New England Style IPA and Sam ’76

It has been a rough couple of years for the Sam Adams brand. While their parent company Boston Beer has had some success with their hard cider, tea and seltzer business their share of the beer market has slipped. As big beer buys out craft brands and takes them national and the explosion of small local breweries continues the national and regional craft brewers are feeling heavy competition from both sides. One small but important step that Sam Adams has taken over the last year was re-establishing their home base in Boston. Their Jamaica Plain brewery now features a full taproom, there are rumors flying of another site in progress, and Sam Adams is now the official beer of the Red Sox and Fenway Park. This had led to a substantial amount of positive press and Sam Adams has attempted to keep the ball rolling by releasing a couple of exciting new beers. The first is their take on the trendy New England style IPA, a hazy and hop forward beer with low bitterness. The second is Sam ’76, an innovative beer that is a blend of an ale and a lager. Both beers are available now on draft and in cans (FYI-The Sam ’76 was a brewery provided sample).

Sam Adams NEIPASam Adams New England Style IPA pours hazy light yellow with a solid white head. The aroma is a solid burst of fruity hops. The flavor is also very hop forward, notes of tangerine, papaya and stone fruit along with minimal bitterness. This is balanced by a mild malt backbone, hints of white bread and crackers. Sam Adams NEIPA is light and easy to drink, and at 6.8% ABV, has moderate alcohol for the style. The finish is crisp with some lingering hops. This is a solid New England style IPA, I’ve had better versions, and I’ve had many worse, but you’ll have a tough time beating this price point (~$10 a 4/pk). The big challenge for Sam Adams will be making sure drinkers get fresh beer, if this is sitting around on shelves for months I imagine it will degrade quickly. Hoppy Boston score: 4.25/5.

Sam Adams Sam 76Sam Adams Sam ’76 pours clear light yellow with a massive white head. The scent is mild, grassy hops and pale malt. Sam ’76 is balanced, light and easy to drink. There is solid hop flavor, notes of lemon, herbs and orange along with a crisp bite. This is complemented by a light malt backbone, touches of cereal and bread dough. The finish is crisp and very clean with minimal aftertaste, sessionable at 4.7% ABV. This is a really nice beer, flavorful and super drinkable. The rumor is that Sam ’76 is going to be a key beer in the Sam Adams deal with the Red Sox and I can see why, I could crush a few of these at Fenway on a warm summer day. Hoppy Boston score: 4.25/5.

Previous Sam Adams Reviews:

Sam Adams Brewing the American Dream 2017, Sam Adams 26.2, Sam Adams Hopscape and Fresh As HellesSam Adams Rebel RawSam Adams Rebel RouserSam Adams Double Bock, Sam Adams Cold Snap, Sam Adams Octoberfest

 

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

 

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