Thursday, March 26, 2009

Blue Hill India Pale Ale; Xtra Pale Ale, Blue Hills Brewery, Canton, MA

A few months ago, a friend of a friend mentioned they had tried the beer from Blue Hills Brewery at a local beer fest and it was the best beer there. Now, I don't know this person, or what their beer IQ is, but I have been intrigued by this company ever since. The brewery is brand new so they do not have set tours or anything; but last Saturday they sent me an email inviting me to a tasting at their brewery. I was lucky enough to show up as the brewmaster was giving a tour and tagged along to the end. The brewery wasn't very big, but they definitely made use of all the space available.
I started with their IPA, not expecting too much, and I was immediately floored. Now most people I know, especially those in the Boston area, measure their IPAs against Harpoon IPA. Understandable. Harpoon IPA is delicious. The Blue Hill India Pale Ale is right up there with Harpoon. The Blue Hill has slightly less hop bite to it, but it matches up in all other categories and their taste is close to identical. The Blue Hill IPA though comes off a bit smoother, due to the less hoppy bite, but sometimes that's what you are in the mood for. The Blue Hill IPA gets a 4.5.

The Blue Hill Xtra Pale Ale was a very smooth pale ale, it doesn't have the bite of a DPA or the weakness of those English Pale Ales. The Xtra Pale Ale is refreshing and has a nice honey citrusy taste. The Xtra Pale Ale gets a 4.0.

Unfortunately, for you, Blue Hills Brewery is not offering bottles or cans mass market yet. They are in several local restaurants in the Boston/South Shore Mass area (Doyle's, RedBones, Irish Ale House just to name a few), I'll post the entire list in the comments. But you should definitely go out and look for this beer, it's too good to pass up.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Old Brewery Pale Ale, Samuel Smith's Old Brewery, Tadcaster, United Kingdom

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. -A. Einstein.
I think I need to take what Al says to heart. Time and Time again I was been disappointed by English Pale Ales. I keep hoping they will be fun and hoppy and crisp like their American brethren, and time after time I am disappointed. The English pales are often flat and unflavorful. The Samuel Smith Old Brewery Pale Ale made a valiant attempt to prove me wrong, but it too fell short. There was no hop flavoring, just a light mocha/hazelnut sweet taste. The Smith pulls down a 5% ABV. As far as English Pales go, I will take a page from Chief Joseph's book and 'I will fight no more forever'. The Sam Smith Old Brewery Pale Ale gets a 2.0.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Newport Storm '08, Coastal Extreme Brewing Company, Middletown, RI

I picked up the Newport Storm '08 for one reason only. It was corked. I'd have to say 25% of the reason why I pick certain beers is for the appearance of the bottle or can. This one happened to be horribly corked. I thought something done that horribly that seems to be produced on a grand scale, must be good. I was a little fearful, because as the picture on the right inaccurately depicts, this came in a large bottle. Large bottles usually mean one of 2 things. 40 oz malt liquor guzzlers, or Belgian beers. Now while I am more a fan of the 40 oz than the Belgian, this beer was not standing anywhere near my friends Mickey's, Olde English or Colt 45. It was near the dainty Belgians. The Newport Storm had a tart tasting grape flavor to it. More a barley wine than a typical ale. The beer was smooth, uncarbonated. The 12.1% ABV provided an ass-kicking rabbit punch that kept you in your seat because standing or other normal mundane everyday things were now a lot harder. Now, normally I guess you'd share one of these bad boys, but there was no one around to share it with except the Lord, and He knew better, so I had to take it down myself due to the fact it was a large bottle and it couldn't be recorked. I also hate warm beer which meant I drank quickly. Needless to say the ensuing dizziness could have been avoided with a more moderate approach. Unfortunately I wasn't the biggest fan of this beer, so it added insult to injury. I rate the Newport Storm a 2.0.