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!

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