Tag Archives: IPA

Mason’s Hipster Apocalypse and Liquid Rapture

There are so many breweries in New England (let alone the rest of the country) that I have a really hard time keeping track of all of them. It’s especially difficult with breweries that don’t distribute to Massachusetts bottle shops, there are a number breweries in every state that I haven’t been able to try due to brewery location and lack of distribution. Occasionally I stop by one of my local shops for a stock up run and see new-to-me beers by a local/regional brewery that I’ve never tried, and I usually jump at the opportunity. A good example is Mason’s Brewing Company out of Brewer, Maine. I can’t remember the last time I was in Brewer, so I’ve never been to their brewpub, but I grabbed a few cans after a recommendation from an employee at Craft Beer Cellar in Framingham. The beers were Hipster Apocalypse, an IPA brewed with Idaho 7 hops, and Liquid Rapture, a DIPA with Ella, Idaho 7 and Citra hops. Both beers are available in 16 oz. tallboy cans.

Mason's Hipster ApocalypseMason’s Hipster Apocalypse pours a slightly hazy light orange with a solid white head. The scent features some fruity hops, citrus and tropical fruit. The flavor is very hop forward, notes of honeydew, guava and grapefruit along with a soft bitterness, this is clearly a New England style IPA. A mild malt backbone rounds out the flavor with hints of cereal and honey. Hipster Apocalypse is medium bodied, super drinkable, and not too boozy at 5.7% ABV. The finish is slightly sweet with some lingering fruity hops. I enjoyed Hipster Apocalypse, it’s a flavorful and well crafted juicy IPA. Hoppy Boston score: 4.25/5.

Mason's Liquid RaptureMason’s  Liquid Rapture pours a hazy straw yellow with a solid white head. The aroma is a big hit of fruity new world hops. This carries over into the flavor, notes of grapefruit, tangerine, guava and lemon. There is a touch of bitterness here, not bracing  but it doesn’t taste like you’re drinking straight fruit juice either. This is balanced by a noticeable malt backbone, hints of honey, bread crust and just a whiff of booze. Liquid Rapture is medium bodied and drinks very easy for 8.2% ABV. The finish is crisp with some lingering hop flavor. Liquid Rapture is a very good DIPA, all of the hop flavor you want with a little bite and malt for balance. Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.


Funky Bow So Folkin Hoppy

I am officially on a short vacation, tomorrow I am headed up to Maine for a long weekend. The major purpose of this trip is to visit family, the little man is very excited to  spend some time with my family on the lake. That being said, I am hoping to squeeze in a little beer-related fun on the trip, maybe a stop at a brewery or two, and definitely grabbing some Maine beers to enjoy on the trip. There are a number of Maine breweries that are on my “need-to-try” list, fortunately some of them are now distributing in Massachusetts. One good example is Funky Bow Brewing out of Lyman, Maine. I’ve heard some good things about Funky Bow, but it’s one of the places that I’ve never had a chance to visit, so I was excited to see some of their beer make the trek south. One beer I tried recently was So Folkin Hoppy, their flagship IPA brewed with Galaxy hops. Funky Bow So Folkin Hoppy is available year round on draft and in 12 oz cans.

Funky Bow So Folkin HoppyFunky Bow So Folkin Hoppy pours a slightly hazy deep orange with a solid off white head. The aroma features plenty of hops, floral and grassy. The hops also lead the flavor, notes of pine, lemon and grapefruit along with a solid bitter bite. This is complemented by substantial malt flavor, hints of caramel and whole grain bread. So Folkin Hoppy is medium bodied, smooth and moderately boozy at 6.5% ABV. The finish is crisp with some lingering hop flavor and bite. Overall this is a solid old-school American IPA, a nice way to mix it up from the juicy IPAs that are so popular now. Hoppy Boston score: 4.0/5.

Big Elm Thunderlips

Love them or hate them, it looks like New England style IPAs are going to be a huge part of the local beer scene for the foreseeable future. It seems like nearly every brewery in the area is taking advantage of the popularity of this sub-style, brewing their own versions of these murky, low-bitterness hop bombs (and typically packaging them in 16 oz. tallboy cans). It amazes me how much this bothers some outspoken beer drinkers on social media, there is a subset that hate the style and express that opinion vociferously and repeatedly. I am not one of these people, in fact I love the New England IPA style and if other people don’t want them it just means more for me. One new NEIPA I recently sampled is Thunderlips from Big Elm Brewing Company in Sheffield, MA. Big Elm Thunderlips is brewed with Amarillo and Rakau hops and is available now on draft and in 16 oz. tallboy cans.

Big Elm ThunderlipsBig Elm Thunderlips pours a murky dark yellow with a solid white head. The aroma is mildly hoppy, some fruit and floral scents. The flavor packs a little more hop punch, touches of cantaloupe, pear, grass and lime along with a mild bitterness. This is balanced by some malt, hints of bread crust and crackers. Thunderlips is light in body and smooth drinking, not overly boozy at 6.0% ABV. The finish is dry with some lingering hop flavor. Big Elm Thunderlips is a solid take on a New England IPA, I would have liked more hop aroma personally, but it’s flavorful and easy to drink. Hoppy Boston score: 4.0/5.

Previous Big Elm Reviews:

Big Elm Transformer IPL, Big Elm 413 Farmhouse Ale

Bunker Brewing Rockerz

There are a number of reasons why I buy a particular beer. Some are old favorites that I buy all the time, or beers I’ve enjoyed in the past but haven’t drank in a while. Some beers are recommendations from other beer writers, social media or friends. Sometimes I see a new release described and immediately know I’m going to try some given the opportunity. These factors cover the majority of the beers I buy, but occasionally I just grab something and hope for the best. When I was in Maine my parents were throwing a little party and asked me to grab some beer. Unfortunately I stopped at a store with a relatively limited selection, so I took a shot on a new-to-me beer, Rockerz IPA from Bunker Brewing Company in Portland. I’d heard good things about Bunker and sampled a few of their beers in the past, but I’d never tried Rockerz. Fortunately it was a good choice and well received at the party. Bunker Brewing Company Rockerz IPA is brewed with Citra, Simcoe and Mosaic hops and is available year round on draft and in 12 oz. cans.

Bunker Brewing RockerzBunker Brewing Rockerz pours a hazy deep orange with a small white head. The aroma is very hoppy, mostly citrus and tropical fruit. The flavor is also very hop forward, notes of grapefruit, mango and lemon along with a solid bitter bite. This beer has the fruity flavors of a NE IPA but it has more bitterness and a little less turbidity. The hops are complemented by a solid malt backbone, hints of bread dough and honey. Rockerz is medium bodied and drinks very easy, but packs a little punch at 6.8% ABV. The finish is crisp with some lingering hop flavor and bite. I really enjoyed this beer, it’s nice to have a slight change of pace from the straight juice bombs while still getting your hop fix. This is why I love trying random beers, you never know when you’ll find a new favorite! Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.

Sam Adams Brewing the American Dream

Sam Adams releases a number of variety packs over the course of the year, usually changing them with each season. This month they also released a special new pack, called the Brewing The American Dream Collaboration Pack. This 12-pack features two bottles of Boston Lager along with two bottles each of five new collaboration beers. Each collaboration is with a brewery that helped get their start by participating in the Sam Adams Brewing for the American Dream program, which provides training and loans that helped make these brewers dreams a reality. Profits from this 12 pack will be funneled back into the program to help the next generation of American brewers get started. I was very excited to try the beers in this pack (disclosure: they were provided by Sam Adams). Here are my thoughts on each shown in order of how much I liked them, starting with my personal favorite.

Sam Adams Tea Party SaisonBoston Tea Party Saison: Collaboration with Woods Beer Company in San Francisco, CA. Boston Tea Party is a saison brewed with yerba mate tea, coriander and grains of paradise and fermented with the yeast strain used in Sam Adams Kosmic Mother Funk. My favorite beer in the pack, funky yeast on the nose and tons of flavor from the fermentation, apple, pear, a little acidity along with the distinct flavor imparted by the Brettanomyces. The spices add complexity without overwhelming the beer, and the finish is dry and just a touch tart. A complex but still easy to drink saison.

Sam Adams Oats McGoatsOats McGoats Stout: Collaboration with Brewery Rickoli in Wheat Ridge, CO. Oats McGoats is a gluten-reduced oatmeal stout. A little roasted barley on the nose, and full dark malt flavors, milk chocolate, toffee, espresso. A little bit of herbal hops round out this full bodied but still easy drinking beer. You would have no idea the beer is gluten-reduced, it’s a tasty and flavorful stout.

Sam Adams ThreeNinety BockThreeNinety Bock: Collaboration with Roc Brewing in Rochester, NY. ThreeNinety is a Helles Bock brewed with Mosaic and Hallertau Mittelfrueh hops and named after the distance between Boston and Rochester. This is a super drinkable maibock, crisp and clean. The crackers and bread from the malts meld well with grassy and herbal hops. I enjoyed the beer, but I would have liked to see the fruity Mosaic hops shine through a little more, it would have made it a little more unique.

Sam Adams Time Hop PorterTime Hop Porter: Collaboration with ChuckAlek Independent Brewers, Ramona, CA. Time Hop is a hopped up porter brewed with Zeus, Chinook, Cascade and Goldings hops. Dark chocolate and black coffee notes from the malt combine with grass, pine and lemon from the hops. Smooth, drinkable and not too boozy at 5.3% ABV. I have mixed opinions on this beer, it was a interesting take on a porter with the extra hops, but not what I usually love about the style. Hop-heads might love this beer, for me it was just OK.

Sam Adams Desert KaleidoscopeDesert Kaleidoscope IPA: Collaboration with Bosque Brewing in Albuquerque, NM. A West Coast IPA brewed with Zeus, Cascade, Mosaic and Ekuanot hops. This IPA features solid hop flavor, notes of pine, lemon and grass along with substantial malt, with touches of honey and caramel. I would have liked some more hop aroma, for me that pungent aroma is make or break in an IPA and I didn’t get enough of it here.

Previous Sam Adams Reviews:

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


Boothbay Brewing Thirsty Botanist

I’ve never done any formal beer trading. I like to focus on local beers, and I really don’t like the chase whalez to trade for other whalez game that seems to dominate the beer trading sites online. That being said, I have a couple of friends who are fellow beer nuts and when we get together we tend to share some of the good local beers we’ve found. My buddy Russell lives in Maine and has introduced me to some hidden gems of the Maine beer scene over the last few years, and I’ve tried to return the favor with some Massachusetts standouts. On my recent trip to Maine Russell brought a couple new-to-me Maine beers including Thirsty Botanist, a New England style IPA from Boothbay Brewing Company. Boothbay Brewing Thirsty Botanist is available locally on draft and in 16 oz. tallboy cans.

Boothbay Thirsty BotanistBoothbay Brewing Thirsty Botanist pours hazy light orange with a solid white head. There is a big burst of fruity hops on the nose, you immediately know that this is a NE-style IPA. The hops lead the flavor too, notes of grapefruit, peach, guava and tangerine with minimal bitterness. This is balanced by some malt flavor, hints of bread crust and honey along with some sweetness. Thirsty Botanist is medium bodied and goes down easy, but at 7.0% ABV it packs a little punch. The finish features some hop flavor and a little lingering sugar. Overall this is a really solid beer from a brewery that was new to me. I’ll be up in Boothbay in September for a wedding, I might need to stop by! Hoppy Boston score: 4.25/5.

Maine Beer Company Woods and Waters

There are so many amazing breweries in Maine and I’ve made an effort to expand my horizons and make different stops on my trips North, but there is one place that I always seem to visit, Maine Beer Company in Freeport. Some of that is ease of access, it is right off the highway and very much on my way, but I also go because their beer is delicious. On my most recent stop it was clear that they are in the midst of a major expansion, hopefully that means more of their stellar IPAs make the trip down to Massachusetts. It’s interesting how MBC has stuck to their guns and not chased trends. While most breweries switched to cans they have stuck to 500 mL bottles and while many have embraced turbid double-dry hopped IPAs theirs are still clear and precise. While I wouldn’t mind seeing Lunch and Mo in cans I love the beers that MBC makes and wouldn’t want them to change a thing in that department. One new beer I grabbed on my recent trip north was Woods and Waters, an IPA brewed with Maine grown barley and wheat to celebrate the Katahdin National Monument. It is available now on draft and in 500 mL bottles.

MBC Woods and WatersMaine Beer Company Woods and Waters pours clear light yellow with a solid white head. The aroma is very hoppy, citrus fruit and floral scents. The flavor is also hop forward, notes of lemon, pine and orange along with a mild but present bitterness. This is balanced by a light malt backbone, hints of crackers and cereal. Woods and Waters is very light bodied, easy to drink and not overly boozy at 6.2% ABV. The finish is crisp with lingering hop flavor. The flavor was supposed to remind you for the woods, and I think it really pulls that off. Maine Beer Company Woods and Waters fits perfectly into their stable of hop-forward but precise beers. Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.

Previous Maine Beer Co. Reviews:

Maine Beer Co. Beer V, Maine Beer Co. Thank YouMaine Beer Co. MoMaine Beer Co. Mean Old TomMaine Beer Co. A Tiny Beautiful Something, Maine Beer Co. Beer II, BREWERY OVERVIEW: Maine Beer Co., Maine Beer Co. King TitusMaine Beer Co. Lunch, Maine Beer Co. Another One, Maine Beer Co./Allagash/In’finiti 2013 Ale, Maine Beer Co. Peeper