Tag Archives: Stout

Mayflower X

In many industries a company that’s ten years old is still relatively early into their lifespan and just establishing themselves in the minds of their competition. Craft beer is a very different beast, a 10 year old brewery is a grizzled industry veteran that was around before the current explosion of new breweries. It will be really interesting to see how many of the breweries that opened in the last few years make it to their tenth anniversary. I bring this up because Mayflower Brewing Company recently celebrated their 10 year anniversary, a huge milestone for a brewery in the current market. To celebrate ten years Mayflower brewed a big and boozy imperial stout simply named X. It seems like breweries tend to make high alcohol beers for big anniversaries, maybe because these styles tend to age well and it’s fun to cellar some and re-visit the anniversary beer in subsequent years. Mayflower X is a one-off beer, available for a limited time on draft and in 16 oz tallboy cans.

Mayflower XMayflower X pours pitch black with a mild tan head. The aroma is rich roasted malt, chocolate and dark fruit. The flavor is malt forward, notes of cocoa, coffee, dates and brown sugar along with some warming booze. There is minimal hop flavor, as you would expect from a boozy stout. Mayflower X is a full bodied sipper and packs some serious punch at 11% ABV. The finish is rich with some lingering malt flavor and booziness. This is a really nice imperial stout, happy 10 years to Mayflower! Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.

Previous Mayflower Reviews:

Mayflower Hometown Brown, Mayflower Alden, Mayflower Standish, Mayflower Daily RationMayflower SquantoMayflower PorterMayflower Scotch AleMayflower Spring Hop, Mayflower Oatmeal Stout

 

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Springdale Maple Barrel Aged Brigadeiro

At the beginning of the year Springdale Brewing, the ale-focused offshoot of Jack’s Abby Brewing Company, announced that they would start distributing some of their beers. I like that Springdale took their time heading into distribution, they have made a crazy number of different beers in the last year and the slow rollout let them experiment and perfect their recipes. I have really enjoyed the beers from Springdale, and I hope this distribution leads to more people trying their beer. I am also a fan of the date coding on the hoppy beers, Springdale adds very clear canned on and consume by dates and a directive to store the beer cold. Springdale started distribution with a partial lineup of brands, including Brigadeiro, their breakfast stout which is brewed with coffee, cacao, oats and lactose. On my last visit to the brewery I picked up a few bottles of Maple Barrel Aged Brigadeiro, a blend of batches of the base stout aged in maple syrup and bourbon barrels. Maple Barrel Aged Brigadeiro is available on a rotating basis on draft and in 500 mL bottles.

Springdale Maple BA BrigideiroSpringdale Maple Barrel Aged Brigadeiro pours pitch black with a small tan head. The aroma is rich, coffee, bourbon and roasted malts. The flavor is complex between the malts, adjuncts and barrel aging, but everything works well together. The malts add notes of dark chocolate, caramel and mocha. The adjuncts add substantial coffee flavor and just a little sweetness. The bourbon and maple are both on the mild side, they add complexity, a little booze and sugary flavor without overwhelming the underlying beer. There is minimal hops flavor, as you would expect from the style. Maple Barrel Aged Brigadeiro is full bodied but drinks very easy and isn’t overdone at 8.5% ABV. The finish is smooth and rich with some lingering coffee and roasted malt flavors. I really like this beer, too many barrel aged stouts have aggressive whiskey flavors and booziness that overwhelm the rich malt character of the stout. Maple Barrel Aged Brigadeiro manages to meld a huge number of different flavors in a way where each contributes without overwhelming. Nicely done. Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.

Previous Springdale Reviews:

Springdale Desert Solitaire and Really Though, Springdale Solid State and Kreik MythologySpringdale Amirite?! and Good N’ You?

 

Newburyport Joppa Grande Stout

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 GrandeNewburyport 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

 

Foundation Forge

Today I am going to attempt to coin a new beer term, Blue Chip beer styles. Blue Chip Beer styles are the few styles of beer that are most sought out by beer geeks, and making an amazing version of a Blue Chip beer can put a newer or less renowned brewery on the map, locally or even nationally. It would be great if making a top notch beer of any style would attract this attention, but when was the last time you saw a line form for a brown ale or ESB release? In my opinion there are two beer styles that are definitively Blue Chip, double IPAs and imperial stouts. If you look at the highest rated beers on any crowd-sourced beer cite the list is usually dominated by DIPAs and boozy stouts, and many of the most sought after beer releases revolve around these styles. Other types of beer including standard or New England style IPA and sour/wild ales are also in consideration for Blue Chip status, but I am going to start with two definitive styles (since I just made up the term I feel like I have that power, feel free to disagree). A good example of the power of a quality Blue Chip beer is Foundation Brewing Company in Portland, Maine. When Foundation first opened they focused on saisons and other Belgian inspired styles. These beers were very good but the brewery didn’t really take off until they released Epiphany, their stellar DIPA. Now Foundation is a sought out destination in the crowded Portland brewery scene. Foundation also brews another Blue Chip style in the winter, an imperial stout named Forge. My visits to Maine are much more regular in the summer, so I hadn’t sampled Forge until recently, but Foundation now distributes to Massachusetts, so it’s much easier to drink their beers on a regular basis. Foundation Forge is available in the colder months on draft and in 16 oz cans.

Foundation ForgeFoundation Forge pours pitch black with a small tan head. The aroma is full of rich roasted malts, make you want to dive right in. The beer is malt forward, notes of black coffee, dark chocolate, raisin and just a faint hint of booze. There is also some noticeable hop flavor, hints of pine and herbs along with a little bitterness. Forge is a full bodied sipper but goes down pretty easy for a beer with 10% ABV. The finish is full and rich with lingering malty goodness. This is a top-notch imperial stout, an absolutely delicious beer. If DIPA and imperial stout are truly the Blue Chip beer styles Foundation is in very good shape with Epiphany and Forge! Hoppy Boston score: 4.75/5.

Previous Foundation Reviews:

Foundation Cosmic BloomFoundation VentureFoundation Afterglow, Foundation WanderlustFoundation Epiphany

 

Marshall Wharf Little Mayhem and Can’t Dog

I’ve amassed a pretty solid collection of beer glassware. I try to grab a glass from any brewery that I visit on a somewhat regular basis, or any place that makes beers that are a part of my rotation. An entire shelf in our china cabinet is full of beer glasses, and so far my wife hasn’t complained. Most of my glassware has been purchased as I visit breweries, and unfortunately a few pieces have met with mishaps on the way home. One example was a pint glass I purchased last year on a visit to Marshall Wharf Brewing Company in Belfast, Maine. Marshall Wharf is close to my parents house, so I tend to swing by when I am visiting, but the glass I bought broke on the return trip to Mass, and unfortunately they only had tasting glasses in stock during my stop this summer. Fortunately I was able to grab some beers, including their sessionable stout Little Mayhem and they huge DIPA Can’t Dog. Both beers are available on a rotating basis on draft and in 16 oz tallboy cans.

Marshall Wharf Little MayhemMarshall Wharf Little Mayhem pours deep brown with a massive off-white head. The aroma is mild featuring some roasted malt. The flavor is malt forward, notes of roasted barley, black coffee, and dark chocolate. There is some late hop flavor for balance, grassy with a little bitterness. Little Mayhem is medium bodied and sips easy, sessionable at 4.1% ABV. The finish is dry with some lingering malt flavor. Low ABV dark and malty beers are underrepresented on the market, it’s nice to see a flavorful and easy to drink stout that won’t put you under the table. Hoppy Boston score: 4.25/5.

Marshall Wharf Can't DogMarshall Wharf Can’t Dog pours deep red with a small white head. The aroma features some hops, floral and grassy. The flavor is balanced for an IPA. The hops add notes of pine, tangerine and earth along with a solid bitter bite. This is complemented by a full malt body, hints of caramel, honey and a little boozy burn. Can’t Dog is a full bodied sipper, a very big beer at 9.7% ABV. This is an interesting beer, part way between a classic DIPA and a newer style hopped up barleywine or strong ale. Hoppy Boston score; 4.0/5.

Previous Marshall Wharf Reviews:

Marshall Wharf Bitter Truth

Mast Landing Gunner’s Daughter and DDH Tell Tale

Some beer geeks get very excited when a new out-of-state brewery begins to distribute in Massachusetts, they have a list of beers that they want to try as soon as they land. I am not usually in that group, I focus nearly all of my drinking on New England beers so I don’t pay much attention to breweries in states like Illinois or North Carolina. Nothing against beer from other regions, I just have a hard enough time staying current on local beers. The exception is when a brewery from another state in New England expands into Massachusetts. I was excited to see that Mast Landing Brewing Company in Westbrook, ME has signed on with Night Shift Distributing. I’ve heard great things about Mast Landing’s offerings, but hadn’t tried many of their beers. While I haven’t seen cans of Mast Landing in local bottle shops yet, I did grab a sneak preview on my recent trip to Maine. The two beers I found were the double dry hopped version of Mast Landing Tell Tale Pale Ale and Gunner’s Daughter, a peanut butter milk stout. Both are available year round on draft and in 16 oz. tall boy cans.

Mast Landing Gunner's DaughterMast Landing Gunner’s Daughter pours cola-brown with a solid tan head. The scent is a mixture of chocolate and peanut butter. This beer tastes like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup in beer form. The malts and adjuncts combine for notes of chocolate, peanut butter, caramel and lingering sweetness. There is minimal hop flavor, this beer is made to showcase the sweet malt flavors. Gunner’s Daughter is medium bodied and smooth, not too boozy at 5.5% ABV. It finishes with some sugar and lingering roasted malt. This is a really interesting beer, I loved it at first sip but was OK with just one can, anything more would have been overkill. Hoppy Boston score: 4.25/5.

Mast Landing DDH Tell TaleMast Landing Double Dry Hopped Tell Tale Pale Ale pours hazy orange with a massive white head. The scent is a huge burst of hops, tons of citrus and tropical fruit aroma. The flavor is also very hop forward, hints of tangerine, grapefruit and mango with a soft bitterness. This is balanced by some light malt flavor, touches of bread crust and honey. DDH Tell Tale is light bodied and crushable at 5.3% ABV. The finish is crisp with some lingering hop flavor. This beer is stellar, huge hop flavor and aroma but still easy to drink and not too boozy. I hope cans start hitting the shelves in MA, because this will become a regular part of my rotation. Hoppy Boston score: 4.75/5.

 

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