Tag Archives: Night Shift

Night Shift Bennington

I am a huge IPA fan, but I am getting a little burned out on all of the hop bombs. Most breweries are making multiple IPAs and adding huge doses of hops to everything, it feels like half of the bottles on the shelves at any good bottle shop are IPAs. I understand why this is the case, IPAs pay the bills, but beer can be amazing without being loaded with hops. So I’ve made a decision, in 2017 I am going to make an active effort to predominantly buy, drink and review non-IPAs. I’m hoping to find amazing local beers that cover a wider range of styles. In the winter that it going to mean a large number of porters and stouts. Night Shift is probably best known for their barrel aged and sour specialty releases along with their hop-forward flagship beers, but they also make some delicious dark and malty ales. This year Night Shift decided to release Bennington, their oatmeal stout brewed with Dutch cocoa and maple syrup, in cans. Night Shift Bennington is available now on draft and in 16 oz. tallboy cans.

night-shift-benningtonNight Shift Bennington pours dark brown with a mild tan head. The scent is a mixture of rich roasted malts and cocoa. The beer is very malt forward, notes of milk chocolate, toffee and mocha. The cocoa and syrup meld well with these flavors, also adding a little sweetness. There are minimal hops, just enough to add a little balance and crispness to the finish. The oatmeal leads to a rich and full body that sips easy, it packs a little punch at 7.4% ABV but is far from an imperial. The finish is clean with a little malt flavor and lingering sugar. I have been asking for more tasty stouts and porters with more moderate ABVs, and this is a very nice version. My only quibble is that it skews slightly sweet for my personal taste, but it is still an interesting and flavorful beer. Hoppy Boston score: 4.25/5.

Previous Night Shift Reviews:

Night Shift WhirlpoolNight Shift AwakeNight Shift SantilliNight Shift MaracuyaNight Shift Mainer WeisseNight Shift Thunder Moon, Night Shift Morph IPA, Night Shift Ever Weisse, Night Shift Grove, Night Shift JoJo, Night Shift Taza Stout, Night Shift Simcoenation

 

Night Shift Whirlpool

Spring is here (according to the calendar, you wouldn’t know it with the snow storm in Boston today) and I am starting to turn my fridge over to favor lighter bodied and hoppier offerings. To get that process going I have selected American pale ales as the style of the month for April. The APA style can be very diverse, from slightly darker and maltier versions that mimic traditional British pale ales to juicy hop-bombs that are only distinguishable from IPAs by lower alcohol and bitterness. After the success of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, American pale ales became a staple style, but they have fallen slightly out of favor due to the session IPA trend (you can make the argument that SIPAs are just APAs with a better marketing campaign, in many cases I’d agree with you). Many brewers still make APAs, and some are extremely good. When Night Shift began transitioning their flagship beers from the adjunct laden bombers that launched the brewery into more hop-forward and standard styles one of the first releases was Whirlpool, an American pale ale with big hop flavors and aromas. Whirlpool quickly became a hit and is now available year round on draft and in 16 oz. tallboy cans.

Night Shift WhirlpoolNight Shift Whirlpool pours a hazy light yellow with a huge white head. The scent is a huge burst of fruity New World hops that makes you want to dive right in. The taste is also hop-forward, notes of tangerine, peach, mango and lemon along with a very soft bitter bite. Some malt adds balance, touches of white bread and crackers. The beer is super light bodied and crushable, very much a session beer at 4.5% ABV. The finish is crisp with some lingering hop flavor that urges you to go back in for another sip. We need more American Pale Ales like Night Shift Whirlpool, tons of flavor but still sessionable and super easy to drink. This beer is part of my regular rotation, especially as the weather starts to warm. Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.

Previous Night Shift Reviews:

Night Shift AwakeNight Shift SantilliNight Shift MaracuyaNight Shift Mainer WeisseNight Shift Thunder Moon, Night Shift Morph IPA, Night Shift Ever Weisse, Night Shift Grove, Night Shift JoJo, Night Shift Taza Stout, Night Shift Simcoenation

Night Shift Awake

I am starting a new feature on Hoppy Boston, each month I will pick a different beer style as the focus of my reviews. I’ll still mix it up to keep pace with interesting new releases, but the style of the month will dominate. I am going to try and stick to some less-heralded styles, I want to find more great beers that aren’t hop-bomb IPAs or barrel aged imperial stouts. At the end of the month I’ll do a summary and hand out some awards for my favorite beers of the style. The style of the month for February is porter, long one of my favorite types of beer, especially in the cold winter months in New England (February is typically one of these months, but today was 60 degrees). Currently one of the most popular versions of porter includes added coffee, often from small local coffee roasters. This combination makes a lot of sense, the coffee mimics the natural flavors of the roasted malts and allows for local breweries and coffee shops to collaborate. A coffee porter that has received a lot of buzz recently is Awake, brewed by Night Shift and aged with Counter Culture coffee beans. Night Shift Awake is available year-round on draft, in 750 mL bombers and in 16 oz. cans.

Night Shift AwakeNight Shift Awake pours midnight black with a solid tan head. The scent has plenty of coffee along with some roasted malt. The flavor is malt forward, notes of cocoa, caramel, and toasted bread. The coffee comes in at the end, adds some complexity without overwhelming the malt flavors. There are just enough hops for balance, a touch of earthy flavor and some bitterness. Awake is medium bodied and goes down smooth, not too boozy at 6.7% ABV. The finish is crisp with some sweet malt and bitter coffee in the aftertaste. Night Shift Awake is delicious, it might be my new favorite coffee porter. This is a great beer to lead off porter month, and a must try for fans of the style! Hoppy Boston score: 4.75/5.

Previous Night Shift Reviews:

Night Shift SantilliNight Shift MaracuyaNight Shift Mainer WeisseNight Shift Thunder Moon, Night Shift Morph IPA, Night Shift Ever Weisse, Night Shift Grove, Night Shift JoJo, Night Shift Taza Stout, Night Shift Simcoenation

 

Night Shift Santilli

Today is the two-year anniversary of the launch of HoppyBoston.com! I feel like the site has come a long way over the last two years, and I have a bunch of ideas to help take the blog into year three. Thank you all for your support, I am still having a blast writing Hoppy Boston and I hope you are all enjoying reading it! This will be my 344th post on the blog, and the vast majority of them are beer reviews. The main reason I started writing Hoppy Boston was for an excuse to taste as many local beers as I could get my hands on, find out which ones I liked the most, and share the whole adventure with my readers. The very first beer I reviewed on the site was Night Shift Simcoenation, so I thought it would be appropriate to celebrate two years by reviewing another Night Shift beer. When Night Shift launched their calling card seemed to be the incorporation of adjunct ingredients that complemented specific beer styles, resulting in beers like Taza Stout and Viva Haberera. From there they have branched out in every concieveable direction, from sours to pale ales, barrel aged beers to fruity saisons. The one American beer staple that Night Shift hadn’t pursued was a flagship IPA, while they had many rotational offerings that showcased hops they hadn’t tackled this ubiquitous style. This changed recently, first with their rotating experimental IPAs Morph, and then with the introduction of Santilli, a year-round flagship IPA. Night Shift Santilli is available year round (when you can find it, it sell quickly) on draft and in 16 oz. tall boy cans.

Night Shift SantilliNight Shift Santilli pours a hazy light orange with a monstrous off-white head. The scent is solidly hoppy, bright citrus and tropical fruit aromas. The taste is also a big burst of hops, notes of grapefruit, mango, lemon and peach along with a noticeable but not harsh bitterness. The malt backbone is mild but adds a little balance along with touches of white bread and honey. Santilli is very light and easy to drink, and not too boozy (by IPA standards) at 6% ABV. The finish is crisp and dry with some lingering hop flavor and bitterness. Night Shift Santilli is a very good all occasions IPA. I am definitely going to add this is my core hoppy beer rotation assuming I can find it on the shelves with any regularity! Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.

Previous Night Shift Reviews:

Night Shift MaracuyaNight Shift Mainer WeisseNight Shift Thunder Moon, Night Shift Morph IPA, Night Shift Ever Weisse, Night Shift Grove, Night Shift JoJo, Night Shift Taza Stout, Night Shift Simcoenation

Night Shift Maracuya

The business world can be brutally competitive. In most industries each company views any other business that produces a similar product or service as a potential threat. An immense amount of effort is spent on protecting business secrets and trying to corner as large a share of the market as possible. When a competitor falls on hard times it is generally looked on as a positive, a way for your company to fill the resulting void and strengthen your own position in the market. While there is some of this cut-throat attitude in parts of the beer industry, it is refreshing to see how much individual breweries try to support one another. Sharing ideas, collaborations, and even sharing ingredients and equipment has become commonplace across the industry. Night Shift Brewing took this to another level recently. While they could have easily capitalized on the void created when neighbor Idle Hands lost their brewery,  Night Shift instead allowed Idle Hands to keep their brand going by guest brewing at their Everett facility. Night Shift even keeps a dedicated tap for an Idle Hands beer. This is the type of business I want to support, doing the right thing even if it isn’t necessarily the best way to maximize profits. It also helps that Night Shift makes some delicious beer. One recent example is Maracuya, an American wild ale brewed with passion fruit. Night Shift Maracuya is available on draft and in 750 mL bottles on a rotation basis.

Night Shift MaracuyaNight Shift Maracuya pours a cloudy deep orange with a mild white head. The scent is a mixture of tart acidity and tropical fruit. The passion fruit leads the flavor, strong but not overpowering and contributing just a hint of sweetness. This is balanced out by a the sour flavor, which adds a little bite without being tongue numbing. The malts round out the flavor with some whole wheat bread and added body. The beer is very drinkable, some sour beers wear out my palate over time, but I could sip this on the porch all afternoon. Some of the beer-info websites list Maracuya at 7.4% ABV, which would be a little strong for the style, but the batch I bought is much more reasonable at 5.6% ABV. The finish is clean with some lingering tart fruitiness. Maracuya is a really nice beer, complex and flavorful but balanced and easy to drink. Night Shift remains the masters of adding a wide range of adjunct ingredients to beer without overwhelming the core flavors. Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.

Previous Night Shift Reviews:

Night Shift Mainer WeisseNight Shift Thunder Moon, Night Shift Morph IPA, Night Shift Ever Weisse, Night Shift Grove, Night Shift JoJo, Night Shift Taza Stout, Night Shift Simcoenation

Night Shift Mainer Weisse

I am unabashedly pro-Maine. Maine is the state where I was born and raised, and where I went to college. I love the Boston area and consider it my home now, but Maine will always be a special place to me. Now that the weather has started to improve I am starting to plan some summer trips up north, mostly to visit family and friends but definitely to try some local beer. It’s actually been almost a year since I’ve been to Maine, my parents have been on a cross-country Airstream adventure and that limits my reasons for traveling north in the off-season. The founders of Night Shift brewing also have connections to the state of Maine, and while their brewery is located in Massachusetts they brew at least one beer with Vacationland in mind. When you think of Maine produced food the first thing that comes to mind is probably lobster, but I can’t imagine brewing a beer with that as an ingredient (I really hope nobody tries). An underrated export are the small, sweet and tart local Maine blueberries. Night Shift uses these to make Mainer Weisse, one of the entries in their Sour Weisse series. Night Shift Mainer Weisse is brewed with blueberries and cinnamon sticks, and is available in the winter/spring in 750 mL bottles.

Night Shift Mainer WeisseNight Shift Mainer Weisse pours the color of a thin red wine with a mild pink head (that is a beer description I certainly don’t write every day). The scent is a mixture of fruit and a little acidity. The taste starts with a solid sour kick, not overbearing but you definitely feel it on your tongue. The blueberries add substantial flavor, and you can tell real blueberries were used, not the fake ultra-sweet blueberry “flavor”. This is complemented by a subtle hint of cinnamon. The beer is light bodied and very easy to drink, at 5.9% ABV it’s on the high side for the style but still not overly boozy. I love the Night Shift Sour Weisse series as an entry point for beer drinkers who want to try more sours. They are flavorful, but still approachable. This is one of my favorite beers in the series so far, and not just because of the name! Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.

Previous Night Shift Reviews:

Night Shift Thunder Moon, Night Shift Morph IPA, Night Shift Ever Weisse, Night Shift Grove, Night Shift JoJo, Night Shift Taza Stout, Night Shift Simcoenation

Night Shift Thunder Moon

Apparently today is National Stout Day, so to celebrate I’ll review a porter (just to be difficult). Who needs a specific day to celebrate a certain style of beer? I love stouts (and porters) when the weather gets cool/cold. Living in New England that means they are seasonally appropriate pretty much from September through June (ok maybe April). I don’t need a day to celebrate stout, I can celebrate the style all year long.

The porter I’m reviewing today is Thunder Moon, a “hoppy porter” released as part of Night Shift’s experimental Art Series of one-off beers. I was a little unsure about the concept of a hoppy porter. I love porter as it is and don’t feel the need to throw in a bunch of hops. Besides, if you aggressively hop a darker ale doesn’t it fall into the black IPA category? You might ask why I bought this beer with all of  these misgivings. It’s a matter of trust. Night Shift makes some beers that seem like strange combinations on paper, but they almost always work, so I usually give them the benefit of the doubt. Thunder Moon is available for a limited time on draft and in 750 mL bottles (it might actually be gone by now, I fell a little behind in my reviews).

Night Shift Thunder MoonNight Shift Thunder Moon pours a midnight black with a massive khaki-colored head. The smell is pretty mild, some earthy hops and a little mocha. The taste is pretty malt forward, notes of dark chocolate, cappuccino and a little plum. The hops are strong for a porter but nowhere near Black IPA level. They do add some brightness and just a little bitterness along with touches of grass, lemon and pine in the flavor. The beer is medium bodied with a pretty thick mouthfeel, the 5.4% ABV is moderate. The finish is clean with just a touch of malt sweetness. This beer is really well done, actually one of my favorite Night Shift releases. I would love to see this become one of their regular seasonal or even year-round releases. Hoppy Boston score: 4.75/5

Previous Night Shift Reviews:

Night Shift Morph IPA, Night Shift Ever Weisse, Night Shift Grove, Night Shift JoJo, Night Shift Taza Stout, Night Shift Simcoenation