Within the last couple years a couple sub-styles of IPA started to gain traction amongst beer drinkers and brewers. One sub-style is the Brett IPA, hop-forward ales fermented with funky Brettanomyces strains of yeast. Another is the myriad of fruited IPAs, which were popularized with the introduction of Ballast Point’s Grapefruit Sculpin. I love Brett IPAs when they are done correctly, but it is really important to have the right mixture of hops to complement the yeast instead of clash with it. I have mixed opinions of fruited IPAs, I’ve had a few that are stellar but many seem like a cheap way to add fruity hop flavor to a beer instead of adding more hops, and in a few the fruit flavor overwhelms everything else. While I’ve tried many beers from each of these individual sub styles, I am pretty sure that Kent Falls Juice Maker Mango is the first fruited Brett IPA that I’ve sampled. Juice Maker is actually a series of Brett IPAs, each brewed with a different type of fruit. Kent Falls Juice Maker is available on a rotating basis on draft and in 500 mL bottles.
Kent Falls Juice Maker Mango pours a murky light yellow with a massive white head. The scent is mostly the Brettanomyces along with some fruity hops. The yeast leads the flavor with funky and spicy notes. This is complemented by the hops, with hints of lemon, grass and orange. I don’t get much mango in the flavor or the aroma, not sure if it’s just being drowned out by the other flavors. A light malt backbone rounds out the flavors with touches of crackers and cereal. Juice Maker is light and quaffable, not too boozy at 5.6% ABV. The finish is dry with a little lingering hops and funk. I enjoyed this beer as a Brett IPA, but with a name like Juice Maker I expected a little more fruit flavor and aroma. Still, another solid addition to the Kent Falls roster. Hoppy Boston score: 4.0/5.
Previous Kent Falls Reviews:
Kent Falls Alternate World, Kent Falls Equinox, Kent Falls Farmer’s Table, Kent Falls Field Beer Saison #3
I really wish every brewer would put dates on all of their packaged beers. It sucks as a consumer (and as a beer reviewer) when I buy something that tastes a little off or unexpected and I don’t know if it was a flaw in recipe, a quality control issue or the beer is just out of date. This is especially true with hop-forward or dry-hopped beers, the aroma from the hops dissipates quickly so it’s really important to drink the beer very fresh. Good bottle shops will usually do a quality job of rotating their beers to keep fresh beers on the shelves, but even the best can accidentally sell beers that are past peak freshness. I ran into this issue recently with Kent Falls Alternate World, which was advertised as a dry-hopped gose, but I got little or no hop flavor or aroma. I am a fan of Kent Falls and I have enjoyed most of the beers I’ve sampled from the brewery, so I wanted to know if this was a bad batch or just well past it’s peak. Unfortunately, there was no date on the bottle that I could find, so I really have no idea. Alternate world is a gose fermented with Brettanomyces and then dry-hopped with American hops before bottling.
Kent Falls Alternate World pours a clear straw yellow with a massive white head. The scent includes some mild acidity and an extremely subtle aroma of floral hops. The yeast/lacto leads the flavor, notes of lemon, sour apple and barnyard funk along with a little tartness. Again the hops are not as evident as the title would suggest, a touch of cut grass and herbs. The light malts round out the flavor, notes of white bread and cracked grain. Alternate World is light and refreshing, sessionable at 4.6% ABV. The finish is dry with just a little pucker and salinity. I actually really enjoyed Alternate World as a complex and easy to drink gose, but was disappointed by the lack of hop flavor and aroma. Hopefully I’ll get to try another batch at some point. Hoppy Boston score: 4.0/5.
Previous Kent Falls Reviews:
Kent Falls Equinox, Kent Falls Farmer’s Table, Kent Falls Field Beer Saison #3
I recently reviewed Stand Out, a single-hop pale ale from Long Trail Brewing that features the Equinox hop. As a homebrewer I love beers that feature single hop varieties, it helps me plan fun ways to use the hops in future homebrew batches. I wasn’t very familiar with the Equinox hop variety, and while I enjoyed it in a pale ale I also though the mixture of fruity and herbal flavors/aromas screamed saison. Clearly someone at Kent Falls Brewing Company agreed, they recently released a farm house ale brewed and dry hopped with this hop variety and appropriately named it Equinox. Regular readers of this blog know that I am a huge fan of well crafted dry-hopped saisons, the right combination of yeast strain and hop varieties can result in a complex and incredibly delicious beer. I have also been very impressed by the small batch beers produced by Kent Falls, I was very happy when they started distributing to Massachusetts. Kent Falls Equinox is available now on draft and in 500 mL bottles.
Kent Falls Equinox pours a hazy bright yellow with a small white head. The scent is a pleasant mixture of Belgian style yeast and fruity hops. The yeast leads the flavor, touches of pear, apple and apricot. This mingles well with the hop flavor which contributes notes of passion fruit, white grape and herbs. The beer is rounded out by a mild malt backbone, just a hint of white bread and biscuits. Equinox is light and easy to drink, sessionable at 4.8% ABV. The finish is crisp and dry with some lingering hop and yeast flavors. I have been very impressed by every Kent Falls beer I’ve tried, and this is my favorite so far. I am a big fan of dry-hopped saisons and this is a stellar version of that sub-style. Hoppy Boston score: 4.75/5.
Previous Kent Falls Reviews:
Kent Falls Farmer’s Table, Kent Falls Field Beer Saison #3
I mentioned on in my post on Monday that I took a trip to Connecticut this summer exclusively to pick up some of their local beers that aren’t distributed in Massachusetts. I sampled a number of great beers from breweries that I wasn’t very familiar with, and a couple definitely stood out. One of my personal favorites was Field Beer Saison #3 from Kent Falls Brewing Company, I love saisons and this one had the perfect mixture of complex flavor from a very expressive fermentation paired with easy drinkability. I was excited to learn, almost immediately after I sampled the beer, that Kent Falls was expanding distribution into Massachusetts. I’ve started to see a few of their beers around town, mostly on draft and now also in bottles. One that I tried recently was Farmer’s Table, a sessionable saison modeled after traditional Belgian table beers. These beers are designed to be low in alcohol with fruity and spicy yeast flavors that complement a variety of foods. You should be able to enjoy a few table beers during a long evening meal with friends and family. Kent Falls puts a little twist on the traditional style by dry hopping Farmer’s Table with hops from their on-site farm. Kent Falls Farmer’s Table is available on draft and in 16.9 oz. bottles.
Kent Falls Farmer’s Table pours a hazy straw yellow with a solid white head. The aroma is mostly spicy and fruity Belgian yeast along with some floral hops. The yeast leads the flavor, notes of pepper, pear and a little funkiness. This is nicely complemented by the hops which contribute touches of lemon, grass and earth. The beer is rounded out by a mild pale malt backbone, hints of crackers and whole wheat bread. Farmer’s Table is incredibly light and easy to drink, at 3.8% ABV it is a session beer by any definition. The finish is crisp and bone dry with just a smidge of estery yeast in the aftertaste. Kent Falls accomplishes exactly what it sets out to make with Farmer’s Table, an easy to drink and sessionable beer with a full and complex flavor profile. I am excited to try more beers from this brewery, I’ve been very impressed with the beers I’ve sampled so far. Hoppy Boston score: 4.25/5.
Previous Kent Falls Reviews:
Kent Falls Field Beer Saison #3
The main purpose of my pit stop in Connecticut a few weeks ago was to grab a number of local beers that weren’t available in Massachusetts yet. I hoped to get some background on these breweries to help plan for my future trips south, but I also wanted to know more about these breweries before they start to expand distribution into the Bay State. I am sure that many have at least tentative plans to someday sell their beer in MA, but I had no idea that one of these breweries would begin expanded distribution before I even had a chance to review the beer I had purchased. The brewery is Kent Falls Brewing Company. While many brewers brew “farmhouse style” ales in industrial parks and warehouses, Kent Falls brews their beer on a fully functional farm in Kent, CT. All of their beers focus on locally sourced ingredients, and one of the main crops on the farm is hops. One of Kent Falls Brewing Company’s most popular offerings is the constantly evolving Field Beer Saison series. Each beer in the series is made with the addition of a local adjunct grain to complement the 100% CT grown barley and hops. They also use a house yeast culture that adds some tart flavors to the profile. The third batch of Field Beer Saison features raw spelt from the Hudson Valley, adding rustic flavors and a dry finish that complements the house yeast.
Kent Falls Field Beer Saison #3 pours a pale orange with a mild white head. The scent is fruity and spicy Belgian style yeast along with a little acidity. The yeast leads the flavor too, touches of sour apple, apricot, pepper and must. There is also noticeable hop character, some lemon and grass along with a crisp bitterness that complements the mild tartness from the yeast. The malt body rounds out the flavor with notes of crusty bread, honey and whole grains. The beer is light bodied and very easy to drink, with moderate 5.2% ABV. This beer is really complex between the expressive yeast, hops and malts, but everything works well together and no single flavor overwhelms the others. I really enjoyed this beer and look forward to trying more of their offerings as they start to make their way into Massachusetts! Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5