I’ve mentioned numerous times that I love blind beer tastings. We all have inherent bias for/against certain breweries and beers based on our previous experience tasting their beers (or even positive and negative experiences at the breweries), and sampling the beers blind removes any of these biases. While my favorite set of blind tastings are the ones held by the Mass Brew Brothers (and frequented by yours truly), the Paste Magazine blind tastings are definitely second. Paste acquires beers from across the country for each beer style and then rates their top 50. Local beers took many of the top spots in their recent blind tasting of stouts, including a 3rd place finish for Joppa Grande Stout from Newburyport Brewing Company. Joppa Grande also got an extra mention as the only beer in the top 5 brewed without the addition of coffee or other adjunct ingredients. Newburyport has made a concerted effort to expand their offerings recently, and this was one new-to-me beer that I was very excited to try. Newburyport Joppa Grande Stout is available on a rotating basis on draft and in 16 oz cans.
Newburyport Joppa Grande Stout pours nearly black with a mild tan head. The aroma is mostly roasted malt with coffee as the predominant scent. The flavor is also very malt forward, notes of espresso, dark chocolate and black licorice. This is complemented by some mild hop character, earthy and grassy along with a touch of bitterness. Joppa Grande is medium bodied and goes down smooth, it isn’t an imperial stout but it packs some punch at 7.0% ABV. The finish is rich and full with some lingering malt flavor. This is a very good stout, no frills just a well designed and executed beer. Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.
Previous Newburyport Reviews:
Newburyport Melt Away Session IPA, Newburyport Greenhead IPA
The recent explosion of the session IPA style has been remarkable. A couple of years ago the style didn’t even exist and now it seems like every brewery is hopping on the bandwagon and brewing a session IPA. I have had mixed opinions on this particular sub-style from the beginning. On one hand it is kind of a marketing gimmick, brewers have realized that anything labeled “IPA” sells better and there is a demand for lower alcohol beers with big hop character. On the other hand, I am a sucker for beers with high doses of New World hops and there are occasions where I’d much rather drink a couple low ABV beers than a single bottle of boozy DIPA. In the end I am going to follow along with the herd and continue to buy/try session IPAs with the goal of finding a few that will be part of my regular beach/BBQ/I-am-going-to-be-up-all-night-with-a-screaming-infant-so-I-can’t-drink-anything-too-heavy rotation. One of the newest additions to the local session IPA stable is Melt Away from Newburyport Brewing Company. Melt Away is brewed with Citra and Amarillo hops and sold on draft and in 12 oz. cans year-round.
Newburyport Melt Away Session IPA pours a hazy orange with a moderate white head. The scent is a huge burst of hops dominated by citrus and tropical fruit. The flavor is also very hop-forward, notes of lemon, grapefruit, passion fruit and mango. The hops also add some bitterness, you feel it on your tongue but it isn’t overwhelming. There is a mild malt backbone that adds a little balance and a hint of grainy bread to the flavor. The beer is light bodied and crushable, perfect for the outdoor and/or day drinking. At 4.6% ABV it is a session beer by most standards, definitely much lighter than their 7.2% ABV Greenhead IPA. The finish is clean with some crisp bitterness lingering on the tongue. Overall this is a very solid session IPA, plenty of hop flavor and very easy to drink. Hoppy Boston score: 4.25/5.
Previous Newburyport Reviews:
Newburyport Greenhead IPA
Newburyport, MA is a quintessential picturesque coastal New England town that is a sought after destination for Summer travellers. It is no surprise that local residents Bill Fisher and Chris Webb wanted to build a brewery there, crafting ales that are perfect for a day at the beach. So, along with experienced head brewer Mike Robinson, they founded Newburyport Brewing Company in 2012. The 23 barrel brewhouse is just outside of town and currently produces three styles of ale. All of Newburyport Brewing Company’s beers are packaged in cans and kegs only. The advantage to canning includes ease of transport (and recycling!), plus cans are better at keeping air and light away from the beer which keeps it fresh. One of Newburyport Brewing Company’s flagship beers is Green Head IPA. This assertively hoppy West Coast style IPA is called “the beer that bites you back” due to it’s aggressive bitterness. Newburyport Brewing Company Greenhead IPA is available year round in 12 oz. cans and on draft.
Newburyport Greenhead IPA pours a clear deep amber with a massive cream colored head. The smell is all hops, tons of resin with a little citrus. You can practically smell the bitterness in this beer. It drinks aggressively hoppy, lots of pine and earthy flavors with a little lemon. The bitterness kicks you right in the tongue, I know why they call this the beer that bites you back! Under all of the assertive hops is a solid malt backbone, with some bready and toffee notes adding a little balance. At 7.2% ABV Greenhead IPA packs a solid kick, but it is pretty drinkable for a fuller-bodied IPA. The finish is very hop-centric, with a mouth puckering bite. This is a very solid IPA, well made with great flavor. It makes me very interested in trying the other beers Newburyport Brewing Company brews. Hoppy Boston score: 4.25/5.