Tag Archives: Porter

Stoneface Porter

New Hampshire beer has a tendency to get overlooked due to the crazy beer scenes in the surrounding states. Massachusetts, Maine and Vermont each have a number of the most sought-after breweries in the world, featuring beers that frequent the tops of many crowd-sourced and critic generated best beer lists. New Hampshire also has a slew of well respected breweries, even if they don’t have a place that has caught the fancy of the whale hunters yet. I feel like I am guilty of overlooking New Hampshire at times, I enjoy a number of their breweries but they don’t make as many appearances on the blog as beers from other parts of New England. One of the most popular breweries in the The Granite State is Stoneface Brewing Company out of Newington. Stoneface has regular distribution in Massachusetts, and I’ve enjoyed a number of their beers in the past, but they have made limited appearances on the blog (something I will try to amend this year). My favorite beer style during the winter months is porter, so I thought Stoneface Porter would be a good place to start. Stoneface Porter is available year round on draft and in 12 oz. cans.

Stoneface PorterStoneface Porter pours deep brown with a solid tan head. The aroma is full of rich roasted malts. The flavor is very malt forward, notes of coffee, cocoa and toffee. This is balanced by a hint of earthy hops that also add a touch of bitterness. Stoneface Porter is medium bodied and drinks very easy, and at 5.5% ABV it’s on the lighter side for the style. The finish is full and rich with plenty of lingering roasted malt flavor. This is a very good porter, tons of flavor and not too boozy, a perfect beer for a chilly winter afternoon. I need to make sure I don’t overlook New Hampshire, and Stoneface in particular, in the future! Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.

Previous Stoneface reviews:

Stoneface India Red Rye

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Lamplighter Werewolves of Cambridge and Birds of a Feather

Lamplighter Brewing Company had it’s first birthday this month, and they have been celebrating with a series of special events and beer releases. It is crazy how quickly Lamplighter transitioned from an exciting new brewery in town into one of my go-to local breweries. Most places have a bit of a learning curve in their first year, issues with consistency batch-to-batch or solid beers mixed with some misses. Lamplighter has minimized this, within months of opening they had a stable of quality offerings across an array of styles. It’s reached a point where I almost always try a new Lamplighter release and a few of my favorites have become staples in my beer fridge. A couple good examples (which I hadn’t reviewed yet) are their flagship porter Werewolves of Cambridge and Birds of a Feather, an IPA brewed with Mosaic, Columbus and Citra hops. Both beers are available on a rotating basis on draft and in 16 oz. cans.

Lamplighter Warewolves of CambridgeLamplighter Werewolves of Cambridge pours nearly black with a small tan head. The aroma features some rich roasted malt. These malts lead the flavor, notes of molasses, chocolate and caramel. This is balanced by some mild hops, earthy and grassy with just a hint of bitterness. Werewolves of Cambridge is medium bodied and very smooth, not overly boozy at 6.3% ABV. The beer finishes rich with some lingering roasted malt flavors. This is a really good porter, I will drink quite a few of these over the coming winter months. I’ve also heard rumors of brewery-only variants aged in bourbon and rye barrels, I might need to make a trip to the brewery to check them out. Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.

Lamplighter Birds of a FeatherLamplighter Birds of a Feather pours hazy orange with a solid white head. The scent is a big burst of hops, citrus and tropical fruit. This is a quintessential NEIPA, the fruity hop flavors shine, hints of mango, tangerine, peach and papaya but minimal bitterness. There is some malt flavor for balance, touches of cereal and wheat bread. Birds of a Feather is medium bodied and drinks very easy, not overly boozy at 6.8% ABV. The finish is crisp with substantial lingering hop flavor that keeps you coming back for more. This is another very good beer from Lamplighter, every release is quickly becoming a must-try for me. Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.

Previous Lamplighter Reviews:

Lamplighter WatchmanLamplighter Blitzen, Lamplighter Lucid Nonsense and Easy Tiger

Idles Hands 34 and Six Seam

A couple weeks ago I received a big gift (from myself), official Hoppy Boston glassware. As soon as I decided to give the site a facelift and get a real logo I knew that I needed some logo-glassware and I found a online site that helped me make this dream a reality. I had avoided posting about the glasses on social media  or the blog because I had my yearly guys outing with my college buddies this weekend and I was bringing them all a glass as a gift. I had an Instagram/Twitter post ready with the first beer I drank from the new glasses, Four Seam IPA from Idle Hands, but in my excitement to share this I accidentally used a picture I took with Six Seam DIPA, which I was planning on reviewing today. Thank you for everyone that pointed out the mistake. Anyways, I’ve had a chance to sample a number of the newer additions to the Idle Hands lineup recently. After years making Belgian and then German styles Idle Hands has added a number of popular American beer styles to the lineup. Most of these new beers follow a baseball theme. Included in these newer additions is 34, a porter honoring Red Sox great David Ortiz, and Six Seam, a New England style DIPA. Both beers are available on a rotating basis on draft and in 16 oz. tallboy cans.

Idle Hands 34Idle Hands 34 pours almost pitch black with a mild tan head. The scent is full of rich roasted malt, just what you want in a porter. The flavor is also very malt forward, touches of cocoa, cappuccino, licorice and caramel and just a little sweetness. There are some earthy and floral hops that add balance and just a touch of bitterness. 34 is full bodied but drinks easy and is moderately boozy at 6.7% ABV. The finish features full malt flavor and a balance of lingering sweetness and crisp bitterness. 34 is a very nice porter, worthy of honoring a Boston sports legend who delivered so many great moments for the city! Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.

Idle Hands Six SeamIdle Hands Six Seam pours murky light orange with a small white head. The aroma is a huge burst of fruity hops, makes you want to dive right in. This is a hop-bomb juicy NEIPA, the hops add notes of grapefruit, pineapple, mango and orange but minimal bitterness. This is complemented by a mild malt backbone, hints of crackers and whole grain bread. Six Seam is medium bodied with a solid mouthfeel and drinks incredibly easy for a beer with 8.2% ABV. The finish is crisp with plenty of lingering hop flavor that keeps you coming back for more. This is a stellar New England style DIPA, I understand why the initial feedback on the beer has been overwhelmingly positive. Definitely worth seeking out the next time it’s released. Hoppy Boston score: 4.75/5.

Previous Idle Hands Reviews:

Idle Hands Brocktoberfest, Idle Hands Proeme, Idle Hands Thing 1, Idle Hands HeideIdle Hands Riding ShotgunIdle Hands Adelais, Idle Hands D’aisonIdle Hands Triplication

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

 

Kelsen Draken Robust Porter

In the increasingly crowded shelves of a local bottle shop the way you market your beer, including the beer names and artwork, can make a huge difference in sales. Some breweries unfortunately still use sexist art and names, I for one refuse to drink any beer by a brewery that has offensive beer names/labels. I have seen a few people explain this away, insisting they don’t even notice label art and it has no effect on what beers they buy. This is probably BS, the artwork has a subconscious effect on everyone’s choices at the very least. I try to focus on the quality of the beer, but quality marketing can catch my eye and lead me to try something new. With this in mind it’s actually surprising that I haven’t reviewed any beers from Kelsen Brewing Company in Derry, NH yet. I’ve always been a big fan of fantasy novels from Tolkien to Jordan to Martin and beyond, so the swords, axes and dwarves are right up my alley. Recently I grabbed a bomber of Draken, Kelsen’s robust porter which is available year round on draft and in 750 mL bottles.

Kelsen DrakenKelsen Draken Robust Porter pours pitch black with a solid tan head. The scent is rich and bold roasted malt. The malts lead the flavor, touches of espresso, dark chocolate, caramel and raisin. There is enough hop character to add balance, some herbal and earthy notes along with a solid bitterness. Draken is full bodied with the rich mouthfeel you want in a robust porter, but with 6.8% ABV it isn’t going to put you under the table. The finish is crisp with some lingering roasted malt flavor. Kelsen Draken is a very good robust porter, tons of flavor and great drinkability. I really need to drink and review a few more of their beers in the near future! Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.

Greater Good Imperial Milk Porter

As more breweries join the crowded marketplace it is important for a new brewery to have a calling card, something that sets them apart from their competition. Obviously the most important thing is brewing great beer, but it helps to have a theme that customers immediately associate with the brand. The first session-only brewery in the country was Notch Brewing, and other brands have followed that trend. Surprisingly nobody took up the other end of the spectrum, brewing only high-alcohol imperial beers, until Greater Good Imperial Brewing Company launched last year. All of the beers in Greater Good’s lineup are “imperial”, with ABVs between 8-14%. Greater Good currently contract brews their beers in Connecticut, but they are planning a brewery in the Worcester area and cans of their first five releases are available throughout eastern and central Massachusetts. I tried a few of their first beers, including Greater Good Imperial Milk Porter, a big dark beer brewed with unfermentable lactose to add some sweetness. Greater Good Imperial Milk Porter is available now in 12 oz. cans.

greater-good-imperial-milk-porterGreater Good Imperial Milk Porter pours pitch black with a solid khaki-colored head. the scent is mild, just a little roasted malt. The flavor is very malt forward, notes of black coffee, dark chocolate, burnt caramel and licorice. There is a hint of sweetness from the lactose, not as pronounced as some milk stouts. There are enough hops to add some balance, hints of grass and earth along with a touch of crispness in the finish. The beer is missing a little body, it doesn’t have that thick mouthfeel you expect from a big dark ale, but it drinks incredibly easy for a beer with 11% ABV. I can think of very few beers with double digit ABV that have no alcoholic flavor or burn, and this is one of them. The finish is dry with a little lingering malt flavor. Overall Imperial Milk Porter is a solid start for Greater Good, I like the concept of a brewery with all imperial beers and look forward to what they come up with next. Hoppy Boston score: 4.0/5.

RiverWalk Blackberry Porter

In you told me a few years ago how many fruit infused beers I would drink and enjoy, I would have never believed you. In fairness, the majority of fruit beers on the market even a few years ago were still lighter wheat ales with massive doses of cloying artificial fruit flavor. Over the last couple years creative breweries have found a number of delicious ways to incorporate fresh fruit flavors into an array of beer styles. The most obvious examples are the citrus and tropical fruit infused IPAs and fruit flavored sour beer styles. Some brewers have found even more creative ways to add subtle fruit flavors to a wide range of beer styles, even some combinations that sound strange at first glance. A good example is the Blackberry Porter from RiverWalk Brewing Company. I am a huge fan of porters, but I don’t know that I’ve even tried a fruit infused version of the style. I can see how it would work, good porters have chocolate and coffee notes, and subtle fruit flavors can complement these types of dark malts. RiverWalk Blackberry Porter is available now on draft and in 16 oz. tallboy cans.

riverwalk-blackberry-porterRiverWalk Blackberry Porter pours pitch black with a massive purple-tined tan head. The aroma is mostly dark malts, roasty and sweet. The flavor is also malt forward, notes of milk chocolate, espresso and caramel. The blackberry flavor is subtle, enough to add complexity without being assertive. The beer has minimal hop flavor and just enough bitterness to crisp up the finish. Blackberry Porter is full bodied but drinks very easy for a beer with 8.5% ABV. The finish is rich with some lingering dark malt flavor. This is a really well made porter with an interesting twist, definitely a good beer for the upcoming winter months. Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.

Previous Riverwalk Reviews:

RiverWalk Winter Porter, RiverWalk Farm to Kettle 2015, RiverWalk Screen Door