Thursday, May 27, 2010


Sorry it's been so long since I last posted. I know we missed a few days at the end of American Craft Beer Week, including releasing details on our contest; however, I was in the final part of what I was calling "Hell Week" at school...not to mention I played a hockey tournament over the weekend - 3 games in less than 24 hours! I know I also missed this week's Tuesday Night Tasting, but we will be making it up to all of you in the near future!

As a preview of our Memorial Day Weekend, we will be visiting the Tap at the Haverhill Brewery AND getting a personal tour of White Birch Brewing in Hooksett, NH by owner and brewer Bill Herlicka tomorrow afternoon. We're also likely to make our return to Bert's Better Beers, also located in my hometown of Hooksett, to stock up on some more great craft beers.

Who knows, maybe we'll make it back to Milly's Tavern in Manchester over the course of the weekend too? It's been a few years since we've visited the brewpub, and they always seem to have a great selection of beers on tap!

Keep checking back and expect a complete write up on our adventures soon!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Become a Friend of Harpoon

If you have not done so, and especially if you live in New England, you should become a Friend of Harpoon! Just over two months ago I posted about NE area eNewsletters, and suggested Harpoon Brewery, but I figured I'd send out another reminder.

Some of the great benefits are: Access to Friends of Harpoon-only events, VIP admission to their festivals, Monthly emails with specials not offered to the general public, discounts, and more! You also get a nifty card too, which c'mon, who doesn't love to have this sort of exclusivity?

Anyway, one of their cool upcoming Friend of Harpoon events is their Summer Session. They'll have two nights of live music at the Boston brewery, June 4th and 5th, and will showcase some of Boston's up-and-coming bands. Friday's session runs 5:30-11pm, and Saturday is 3-10pm. The cost is $20 and includes a souvenir pint glass and a drink ticket, with a cash bar for additional beer.

So, take a second, visit Harpoon's website, and become a friend!

2010 American Craft Beer Week, Day 3: The Maharaja Imperial India Pale Ale

Avery Brewing Company – Boulder, CO
The Maharaja Imperial India Pale Ale
1pt 6oz, 10.6% ABV, 102 IBU

This was my first experience with Avery Brewing Company, and I definitely found the beer for me. The Maharaja was recommended from my buddy Josh on our Facebook fan page recently, so I decided I needed to give it a try.

The beer pours a medium head, and has a murky, pale, orangeish hue. It is full of body and flavor, with a nice balance of malt. It features a fragrant, citrus flavor with grapefruit undertones. The beer has an insane amount of hop flavor, though it’s not quite as bitter as you would expect from a beer that has an IBU rating over 100! As the Avery website describes the beer, it has “a deranged amount of hops” and I can’t disagree. Not a beer for the run of the mill or wannabe Hop Head.

As you would expect from a beer this intense, it does have a slight bitter aftertaste; however, it doesn’t linger long, so you’ll be quick to reach for your glass for another sip. It may be a bit too intense for multiple bottles in a sitting, so I would give it a lower drinkability rating – but don’t let that sway you, it’s DEFINITELY a beer to try.

I can’t wait to try one of their other 20+ craft beers. If you've had one of the Avery brews, let me know which one we should try next!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

2010 American Craft Beer Week, Day 2: Single-Hop ESB

Harpoon Brewery – Boston, MA and Windsor, VT
100 Barrel Series, Session 31: Single Hop ESB
Brewed by Harpoon brewer Charlie Cummings
5.8% ABV, 38 IBU, OG 14.80, 1pt 6oz

The Single Hop ESB is the latest round of Harpoon’s 100 Barrel Series. For those of you new to this series, every few months Harpoon gives one of their brewers the opportunity to chose a style, develop a recipe, and brew their beer in small, limited quantities – 100 barrels in all.

The Single Hop ESB has a rich, dark, amber color with a thick, foamy head. The flavor seems to be inspired by the color, as it has a malty, smoky, and even wood like flavor, with a delicate hop finish. It has a moderate mouth feel, with a slight aftertaste.

This beer is the first commercially brewed beer to be hopped with Delta hops, which are a new variety of American hop. Delta is a cross between Fuggle and Cascade hops, which produce a very earthy and floral aroma and taste. After tasting the beer, I can definitely agree that it has both.

While it’s not my personal favorite beer, it’s definitely worth trying. I have had four or five of the 100 Barrel Series brews in the past, with my favorite to date being the Island Creek Oyster Stout.

Sarah enjoys some Island Creek Oyster Stout at the Harpoon Brewery in Boston

As always, the 100 Barrel Series beers are only found on tap, or in 22 oz bottles.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

2010 American Craft Beer Week, Day 1: Arctica Pale Ale & Baby Tree Quadrupel

Endurance Brewing Company - Boston, MA
Arctica Pale Ale - American Pale Ale

Arctica Pale Ale, also known to some as Tom Crean's Ale, is a traditional American Pale Ale. It pours a golden pale color, with a minimal head. It has a pleasant mix of hop and malt aroma, and has a crisp and clean, lightly refreshing flavor, with a subtle floral aftertaste.

This is a very suitable pale ale. It has a high drinkability level, where you could drink a few at a time either by itself, or with some great food. It's not too bitter or overpowering, so it would go well with seafood (went great with my salmon), chicken, or other grilled meats.

The beer was originally known simply as Endurance Pale Ale. Sarah and I both tried this beer for the first time at the 2005 Boston Beer Summit, and were pleasantly surprised...though it was a bit too bitter for Sarah. It was hard to find after the Beer Summit, but I began to see it more frequently at my local package stores. Eventually we were even able to find it more frequently, as well as finding Endurance's Glacier Gold, which is an American Blonde Ale.

The beer itself is brewed and bottled by Mercury Brewing Co. in Ipswich, MA, the same company that brews the Ipswich Ale brand, as well as Stone Cat and Mercury Soda. Unfortunately they don't currently offer brewery tours, but have been seen around some local beer events.

Sarah in front of the Mercury Brewing Truck @ the Bacon & Beer Festival

Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project - Boston and Westport, MA
Baby Tree Quadrupel with Dried Plums
Bottled February 2010, Batch Four
1pt 6oz, 9% ABV

The second sample of the evening was Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project's Baby Tree Quadrupel with Dried Plums. Though it has the longest brewery name I've ever encountered, let's not get distracted by that!

This is one distinct beer! It pours a dark, cloudy, malty liquid with a slight plum flavor. It has a thick head and is dense and strong. The plum really complements and balances the intensity of the beer, as it's one of the darkest and strongest Belgian inspired beers we've tried. It also has a hint of dry cherry, with a subtle aftertaste. It has a full mouth feel, but leaves you eager for your next sip.

In addition, is that the flavors tend to mellow out a bit, the warmer the beer gets. While I'm not saying drink it straight off the shelves, it is a beer that would be great poured out of a beer engine (cask). It would also pair awesome with a rustic food, such as short ribs provencal or boeuf bourguignon.

The name of the beer is also interesting, if not odd, but the story behind it clarifies things a bit. You can read the full story over at the Baby Tree section of the Pretty Things website.

It's obvious to see that Dann and Martha like to have fun while making, drinking, and sharing their beer with the world. Currently, their beers are found in 22 oz bottles, or in kegs and casks in Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania. They also do many tastings, which the dates and locations can be found here.

Adam getting a sample of St. Botolph's Town from Martha @ Lamb Jam

If you've read our other posts, you'll know that we first found out about Pretty Things at Lamb Jam. We also ran into them at the 2010 Bacon & Beer Festival, which was in Boston last month!

Don't be surprised if you see another Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project beer pop up this week!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Happy American Craft Beer Week!

We here at BrewEngland want to wish everyone a very happy American Craft Beer Week!

This week will be doing special beer reviews, at least one a day, and will let you in on a new contest! In the spirit of ACBW we will be going a bit outside of the New England region as well, to bring you reviews of some great beers. Though some of the beers are TBD, we will be writing about Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project, Harpoon Brewery, Haverhill Brewery, Newport Storm, Avery Brewing , Dog Fish Head, and more!

Keep checking back for more details!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Tuesday Night Tasting- Latitude 48 & Three Graces Ale

Samuel Adams – Boston, MA
Brewmaster’s Collection- Latitude 48

This is the newest offerings from the Kings of Craft Beer, only found in the Brewmaster’s Collection Summer Mix 12-Pack. This is an India Pale Ale that has not been brewed before, which features German, English, and American Hops found along the 48th Latitude of the Northern Hemisphere, also known as the “Hop Belt”.

The beer pours a slightly dark or moderate amber color, with plenty of head to fill the glass. It has a malty, potent, piney body with an aroma to match. Naturally, you get a great hoppy, floral bouquet, but it has a delicate, dry, and crisp mouth feel. Though it’s got plenty of hops, it doesn’t overpower the malty character of the beer. Those who have tried Samuel Adams Noble Pils and didn’t quite care for it may actually prefer Latitude 48. It has a more subtle flavor, and is not nearly as bitter as the Pils.

In my opinion, this beer has a high drinkability factor. It would go great with anything, from grilled chicken, steak, or even pasta, but could be fine on its own.

Unfortunately Latitude 48 is currently only offered in the mix pack, but will likely be found in six packs soon enough. Many of the Brewmaster’s collection beers can be found separate from the mix packs, such as the Coastal Wheat and Blackberry Whitbier.

Haverhill Brewery – Haverhill, MA
Three Graces Tripel-Style Ale
9.1% ABV, 35 IBU
1pt 6oz, Bottled March 2010

This brew uses Golden Hops, Pilsen Malt, and a special Belgian Ale Yeast at high temperatures, which gives the beer a spicy aroma and flavor. If that wasn’t enough, it’s fermented for two months, which help it reach its high alcohol content.

From the first pour (took two to finish the bottle), you could see this great pale orange color, typical of Belgian styles. It had a great aroma, mostly of orange peel and with a nice spiciness and floral fragrance. It was both light bodied and had a crisp mouth feel, while having a soft tart and bitterness flavor.

This is definitely drinkable, despite the high ABV, comparable to most tripels which can sometimes be too potent. This one will complement great summer days, or cold winter months as the Haverhill Brewery mentions that it pairs well with chicken, sharp and blue cheeses, as well as savory sauces.

If you live in New England and have not been to the Tap Brewery & Restaurant, you must go! There’s nothing better than visiting this casual and inviting brewpub on a warm sunny afternoon. Located in downtown Haverhill, MA, their food prices are reasonable (lunch for $10 or under!), their beer is cold, and they have one of the best outdoor spaces, with their deck overlooking the Merrimack River. It should also be noted they have a jukebox with an awesome selection as well.

While their prices are low, their quality is high. The Tap Brewery & Restaurant is one of our favorite places to visit, and we will be doing a feature write up over the next few weeks.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Tuesday Night Tasting- White Birch Brewing: Wrigian

White Birch Brewing – Hooksett, NH
Wrigian Belgian Style Ale
Brewed by Brewer/Owner Bill Herlicka
Bottled March 4, 2010, Batch 2, Bottle 74 of 288
10.4% ABV, 1pt 6oz.

The first thing you notice when you pour this unique Belgian inspired beer is the great pale color, which is similar to many Belgian brews. It has a malty aroma, which belies its sharp taste. It has a minimal head, is rather dry, and has a moderate mouth feel. While it has malty flavors, it is not too heavy.

The bottle suggests that it’s great with BBQ, Thai, and Indian food, or by itself, but I would probably suggest it be consumed with food. It has several distinct characteristics, notably rye, but it has a crisp, bitter spiciness. Typically when you hear that a beer is bitter and spicy, you automatically think of Pale Ales or India Pale Ales; however, it doesn’t have that typical flavor, due to it being Belgian inspired.

It should be said that this beer reminded both Sarah and I of my homebrews. The aroma and color are similar to those first few batches of beer that I made in my kitchen, produced from the boil and the transferring to the primary fermenter or bottling buckets. Though I haven’t visited Herlicka’s facility in Hooksett, from what I have read on his website, each batch of beer is produced in limited quantities, which creates the ultimate craft beer experience.

Though I purchased this bottle for $9.25 from Bert's Better Beers, which in my opinion was a bit high for this particular beer, it would not necessarily deter me from trying other offerings from White Birch Brewing. Check out the White Birch Brewing website, where you can find more information on the company, and the very wide selection of Ales, oak aged beers, and Lambics.

*As a side note- we need to get new bar ware. Not all of our glasses are ideal for each style of beer, but we’re working on acquiring the appropriate ones.