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 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
I am going to take a quick break from porter month to review something a bit different tonight. Stoneface Brewing Company in Newington, NH is one of the vast number of breweries that have opened in New England in the last few years. It was founded by Peter Beauregard, an avid home-brewer with substantial New Hampshire roots. Stoneface is named in honor of the iconic Old Man in the Mountain, a New Hampshire landmark. I had heard some positive things about Stoneface but I was unfamiliar with their beer until I noticed it’s appearance in Massachusetts bottle shops over the last few months. Stoneface has a series of year-round and rotating beers. The most common I’ve seen locally are their IPA, Pale Ale and India Red Rye Ale. While some beer enthusiasts like to judge a brewery based on their IPA (and I have done this many times in the past), I am trying to familiarize myself with new breweries by trying some of their other releases. With this in mind I grabbed a bottle of the India Red Rye Ale, I am a big fan of carefully crafted rye beers, when you get the right mixture of barley, rye and hop varieties all working together you can make a phenomenal beer. Stoneface India Red Rye Ale is currently available on draft and in 500 mL bottles.
Stoneface India Red Rye Ale pours deep red with a massive off-white head. The scent has a solid burst of fruity hops, the aroma you expect from any beer with the word “India” in the title. The taste is hop forward but not overwhelmingly so, more rye ale than rye IPA. You get some notes of grapefruit, orange, pine and grass along with a crisp bitterness. There is also a full and complex malt profile with spicy rye, fresh bread and a touch of caramel. The beer is medium bodied and easy to drink, middle of the road at 6% ABV. The finish is crisp with some lingering hop bite and spicy rye. I really enjoyed this beer, I love the combination of rye and hops, when it’s done right it makes a complex and delicious product. I look forward to sampling more of Stoneface’s offerings now that they are available in MA! Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.