My opinions of brown ales has come full circle. When I first started drinking craft beers the smooth, slightly sweet and approachable brown ales were one of the first styles I gravitated to. As my tastes evolved and bold, hop-bomb IPAs became new beers of choice I dismissed brown ales as one-note. I’ve come back around recently, while they still are not my favorite style well crafted brown ales combine rich malty flavors with easy drinkability, making them perfect beers for the fall. This time of year I usually get hoppy beer burnout and focus a good portion of my drinking on more malt forward styles anyways. Mayflower Brewing Company clearly agrees with my idea of drinking brown ales in the fall, their fall seasonal is Hometown Brown. I guess it’s also fitting to drink a Massachusetts beer named “hometown” on a day when three of our local sports teams have important games. Mayflower Hometown Brown is brewed with 6 types of malted barley and is available August through November on draft and in 12 oz. cans.
Mayflower Hometown Brown pours cola brown with a small off-white head. The scent is all rich toasted malt. The flavor is also malt forward, notes of caramel, bread dough and cocoa. There is a touch of late hop flavor, earthy and just enough bitterness to keep the sweetness in check without being assertive. Hometown Brown is medium bodied and smooth, not too boozy 5% ABV. The finish is clean with a little lingering malt flavor. This is a really well crafted and delicious brown ale, I’ll put a few of these back this fall. Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.
Previous Mayflower Reviews:
Mayflower Alden, Mayflower Standish, Mayflower Daily Ration, Mayflower Squanto, Mayflower Porter, Mayflower Scotch Ale, Mayflower Spring Hop, Mayflower Oatmeal Stout
I have stated many times that I am not the kind of person to wait in line at a brewery for a bottle release, I am too busy and there are so many good beers to try that you don’t need to wait for. That being said, I try to keep track of the non-wait-in-line beers being released by my favorite local breweries and try as many as I can when they hit the shelves. Occasionally I pass on new beers, either it’s a style I am not feeling at the moment or I am focused on buying for the blog and it doesn’t fit a story I want to tell. Many times I regret passing later when other beer enthusiasts tell me how great the beer is. Usually I’ll just go out and grab it afterwards, but limited release beers can sell out quickly, especially when they build some buzz. Mayflower Alden, a double IPA released as part of the phenomenal Cooper’s Series, was a beer I missed on it’s first release, and I regretted that quickly. Mayflower originally announced that the beer was a one-off, so it looked like I was out of luck. Fortunately Alden was so popular that Mayflower brewed and bottled another batch this winter, and I didn’t make the same mistake twice. Mayflower Alden is available for a limited time on draft and in 12 oz. bottles, grab some before it’s gone!
Mayflower Alden pours a clear hay-yellow with a solid white head. The scent is a huge hit of New World hops dominated by citrus and tropical fruit. The beer is very hop forward, notes of grapefruit, mango, orange and pine. The beer is solidly bitter, more of a West Coast style DIPA, but it doesn’t overwhelm the palate. There is enough malt to add notable balance, touches of cracker and whole grain bread. Alden is very clean and incredibly easy to drink for a DIPA with 8% ABV. The finish is crisp with some lingering hop flavor and late bitter bite. This beer is outstanding, I am really glad they brought it back and hope that it becomes a rotational release as part of the Cooper’s Series. Hoppy Boston score: 4.75/5.
Previous Mayflower Reviews:
Mayflower Standish, Mayflower Daily Ration, Mayflower Squanto, Mayflower Porter, Mayflower Scotch Ale, Mayflower Spring Hop, Mayflower Oatmeal Stout
One of my non-beer hobbies/functional skills (I have a couple) is cooking. When I was in grad school I was too poor to eat out regularly and got bored of the few dishes I knew how to prepare, so with a little help from the internet and Food Network I taught myself to cook. While I am far from a professional chef, I do know my way around the kitchen and make some pretty tasty and occasionally creative dishes. Since it was obscenely cold this weekend I focused on hearty fare, including one of my all time favorite comfort foods: beef stew. I use beer as the base of my stew (obviously), and my favorite beer to use is Mayflower Porter, which is perfect since this happens to be porter month of Hoppy Boston. Mayflower’s porter is one of my all time favorite beers, and since this recipe only calls for two bottles you can buy a six pack and still have four more to drink. After posting a picture of my slow cooker on twitter this morning a request was made for my recipe, so I thought I would share it on the blog (especially since it fits with the theme for the month). All measurements are approximate, as a chemist I have to meticulously measure and weigh things in the lab all day, so I allow myself to wing it a little when I cook. Let me know if you try the recipe and what you think!
This was made in my large-ish Crockpot and filled it to the brim, so you might need to adjust if you have a smaller model. Ingredients:
3.5 lbs stew beef, cut in cubes
8 medium red potatoes, cut in bite size pieces
5 medium carrots, chopped
4 stalks of celery, diced
1 large onion, diced
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 small can of corn
1 small can of peas
salt and pepper to taste
2-12 oz. bottles of Mayflower Porter
1/2 cup of all purpose flower.
Directions: Season the beef liberally with salt and pepper and add to the slow cooker. Add potatoes, garlic and vegetables. Add the beer, cook on low for ten hours. Give everything a good stir a few times as you near the end. Sprinkle in the flour while stirring to thicken the broth. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste (shouldn’t need much).Enjoy with some crusty bread or biscuits and another Mayflower Porter!
My neighborhood in Watertown is a little hit-or-miss for trick-or-treaters (needless to say Halloween was a night in, I am old and have a baby, so even with the holiday falling on a Saturday there was no way I was going out myself). Most of the people in our area have lived here forever or are the late 20s/early 30s couples making the transition from city living to the suburbs, so there aren’t a ton of kids in that peak age range for Halloween excitement. This is our third fall here, the first year we got a handful of trick-or-treaters, the second year was quite a few more, and this year was back to a handful. Each year my wife and I bought way too much candy and even after giving out multiple pieces to each child ended up with a large bowlful at the end of the night. So it looks like there will be plenty of chocolate in my future, delicious if somewhat detrimental to my waistline. Fortunately it is November, so it is officially the start of porter and stout season! If you are going to pick beers to pair with chocolate you’d have a hard time beating a good malty porter or stout. One stout that I enjoyed this weekend was Standish, the imperial stout that was one of the latest releases in Mayflower Brewing Company’s outstanding Cooper’s Series. Mayflower brewed Standish in May but let it condition for several months to help mellow out any harsh alcoholic flavors that can be present in bigger beers. The imperial stout is currently available on draft and in 12 oz. bottles.
Mayflower Standish imperial stout pours pitch black with a moderate light brown head. The scent is bold roasted malt, you know this is a big stout from the first whiff. The taste is very malt forward, notes of milk chocolate, toffee, molasses and raisin. You also taste a little booze, but pretty mild for a high gravity imperial stout. There is some hop flavor, just enough for balance and to add a little crispness at the end. This is definitely a slow sipper, full bodied and pretty boozy at 9.0% ABV. The finish is pretty clean for a big ale, with just a little lingering roasted malt flavor. Mayflower’s Cooper’s Series continues to brew great beers and Standish is no exception, this is another one that I hope becomes a semi-regular release, it’s perfect for the winter. Grab a four pack today to pair with your leftover Halloween candy (or the overflow you pilfer from your kids)! Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5
Previous Mayflower Reviews:
Mayflower Daily Ration, Mayflower Squanto, Mayflower Porter, Mayflower Scotch Ale, Mayflower Spring Hop, Mayflower Oatmeal Stout
It is amazing how many new beers come out every month, it is hard to keep track and nearly impossible to try them all. A segment of the beer culture seems to over-emphasize what is new over what is good, and many breweries are taking advantage by releasing a constant stream of rotating, small batch, seasonal, and one-off brews. I am not opposed to this, it is great for the brewers to experiment with a wide range of recipes and share the results. While I love trying a range of beers, there is something to be said for taking the time to perfect a single recipe and turn it into a new flagship, year-round beer. It is extremely important to get these beers right, they are the beers that most drinkers will associate with your brand. Mayflower Brewing Company out of Plymouth recently released their newest year-round offering, a low-ABV American pale ale named Daily Ration. Mayflower named the beer in honor of the daily ration of beer each passenger on the Mayflower was allotted. Mayflower Daily Ration is brewed with Cascade, Centennial, and Mandarina Bavaria hops and sold on draft and in 12 oz. bottles.
Mayflower Daily Ration pours a hazy bright yellow with a solid white head. The scent is a big burst of hop-derived citrus fruit. The flavor is also hop forward, notes of grapefruit, orange and guava along with a mild but present bitterness. The malt backbone is light, some crusty bread, which acts as a canvas to showcase the hops. The beer is very light bodied and easy to drink, a true session beer at 4.5% ABV. This is a great day-drinking beer for the whole year, low alcohol but full of hop flavor. I also love that they made the beer a sessionable APA instead of jumping on the overdone session IPA bandwagon. Very good addition to the regular Mayflower line-up. Hoppy Boston score: 4.25/5.
Previous Mayflower Reviews:
Mayflower Squanto, Mayflower Porter, Mayflower Scotch Ale, Mayflower Spring Hop, Mayflower Oatmeal Stout
I’ve written a number of articles about the evolution of established local breweries in the wake of increased competition. Another interesting case is Mayflower Brewing Company in Plymouth, MA. For years Mayflower was known for a solid lineup of no-nonsense, traditional British beer styles, led by their outstanding Mayflower Porter. Over the last few years they have expanded their seasonal line-up, with strong showings from beers like Spring Hop and their Thanksgiving Ale. Recently they started to release small-batch, limited edition beers in the Cooper’s Series, which began as draft-only but are now released to 4-pack bottles due to the popularity of the beers. I enjoyed the Scotch Ale from this series, and heard rave reviews about Alden (a DIPA), but unfortunately never got to try it. I hate when I miss a limited beer release, sometimes I keep meaning to pick something up and by the time I get around to it the beer is already gone. The way the Cooper’s Series is going, I’m planning on trying to sample every release from here on out. The latest beer in the series is Squanto, a farmhouse ale named in honor of a Native American who helped teach the Pilgrams native methods of cultivation after their first winter in Massachusetts. Brewing a Belgian style ale is a bit of a departure for a brewery that has focused almost exclusively on British styles. Mayflower brewed 100 barrels of Squanto and released it on draft and in 12 oz. bottles, I’ve still seen it around in a few bottle shops, but you should grab it soon if you want to try it before the run is over!
Mayflower Squanto pours a cloudy straw yellow with a mild white head. The scent is mostly Belgian style yeast, floral and spicy. The yeast leads the flavor too, with notes of pepper, coriander, sour apple and hay. There is also noticeable hop character, touches of grass and earth along with a dry finish. Many American brewers are making saisons with yeast strains and hop varieties that both add complementary fruity flavors and aromas, but Mayflower went in a slightly different direction here with more earthy and spicy tones. There is enough malt to keep everything is balance, with hints of cracker and whole wheat bread. The beer is light bodied and easy to drink, but packs a pretty solid punch at 6.0% ABV. The finish is dry and relatively clean, with just a hint of yeasty esters. This is a perfect beer for the porch or BBQ, easy to drink, full flavored and should complement a variety of food. The Mayflower Cooper’s Series continues to establish itself as a must-try, I can’t wait to see what they come up with next! Hoppy Boston score: 4.75/5.
Previous Mayflower Reviews:
Mayflower Porter, Mayflower Scotch Ale, Mayflower Spring Hop, Mayflower Oatmeal Stout
As more breweries open and competition increases for market share many brewers seem to be resorting to gimmicks as a way to attract customers. Some are making bigger and bigger beers, higher alcohol, higher IBUs, ultra-hoppy triple IPAs or booze-forward barrel aged imperial stouts. Some have crazy in-your-face label art or bold to borderline offensive beer names. Others put every adjunct ingredient under the sun into their beers. Some of these beers are still legitimately great, some are fun to try once in a while, and some are just strange. What many of these brewers forget is that the best way to attract and retain customers is to just make great beer, no gimmicks necessary. Mayflower Brewing Company makes classic versions of traditional beer styles with straight forward labels and names that are typically just the brewery and beer style. One of their flagship beers is Mayflower Porter, their take on the popular British porter style. I usually make you wait until the end of the review to find out what I think of the beer, but I already let the cat out of the bag when I mentioned last week that this is one of my all-time favorite beers. Mayflower Porter is available year-round on draft and in 12 oz. bottles, so I highly recommend that you go and buy some now. It is a great beer to drink for any occasion, even for sitting around and reading a craft beer blog!
Mayflower Porter pours cola brown with a moderate tan head. The scent is a big hit of roasty dark malts, chocolate, coffee grounds and a little freshly baked bread. The flavor is full of tasty dark malts, touches of cocoa, mocha, espresso and caramel. While the malts are at the forefront there is just enough earthy hops to provide balance and dry out the finish a little. The beer is medium bodied, goes down smooth and it isn’t overly boozy at 5.5% ABV. This beer is great, no crazy ingredients, no gimmicks, just a near-perfectly constructed version of a classic beer style. If you like porter and haven’t tried this beer yet it is highly recommended. If you are familiar with it and haven’t had it in a while you should try it again. Hoppy Boston score: 5.0/5.
Previous Mayflower Reviews:
Mayflower Scotch Ale, Mayflower Spring Hop, Mayflower Oatmeal Stout