Saturday, August 29, 2009

Over the Hills and Far Away

A new brewery from Massachusetts? Yes, please. I'd actually read up on the Blue Hills Brewery in the BeerAdvocate magazine a while back and liked what I read, so I was eager to pick up some of their stuff when I had the chance. All that I was able to grab was the Blue Hill India Pale Ale, and I gave it a spin the other night.

First off, I know the contents are what matters, but the label on this one is like the cut and paste job from hell. I know the marketing budget's probably non-existant, but it looks like something my soon to be seven year old threw together.

Anyway, back to more important stuff: the beer. There's a slightly hazy, copper color here, with a frothy, smallish off-white head atop the liquid that leaves spotty residue on the glass. Off to a pretty good start, but...

It's all downhill from there. The aroma give off a general maltiness, with some grassy hops (yet the malt still dominates). Some hints of toasted bread float about as well. The problem is that there are definite spots of cooked vegetables here, which is just totally out of the blue and out of place.

The flavor is just more of the same: hops are minimal (this is an IPA, people!) and have a slight bitter bite at the finish. Toasted malt leads again, and cooked veggies still persist...why? It's got a bit of a rubbery taste at times too. There is decent bready finish with each sip, so I will give it that, but that's about all I'll give it.

I was very disappointed here. This is not an IPA at all, and is really a mess all around with unbalanced and out of place flavors. It's all over the map and I most definitely walked away disappointed. I checked some reviews on BeerAdvocate and they're all over the map with just about equal amounts of A's and B's as there are D's and F's. Perplexing, which leads me to believe that there are some serious quality control issues and this could be a good brew eventually once said issues are worked out. Avoid for now.

Hopback, beer, Blue Hills, Massachusetts, IPA, BeerAdvocate,

Tröegs JavaHead Stout Released!

It's official: Tröegs Oatmeal Stout is back...well, sort of. JavaHead Stout is the latest beer to be added to the Tröegs arsenal, and per their latest newsletter is based on the original oatmeal stout from 2005. The new incarnation features "a blend of locally roasted espresso and Kenyan coffee beans by St. Thomas Roasters in Linglestown, PA."

Can't wait to Try some. I loved their original oatmeal stout and these new tweaks/changes/additions/whatever you want to call them sound like an even better beer. Bottling took place on August 25 and I've heard reports of it being on the streets already. Look for it if Troegs is available in your area!

hopback, beer, Troegs, stout, oatmeal, JavaHead, Pennsylvania

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ruben and the Jets

Well, that was easy enough. If you haven't noticed, most of my post titles are ripped from song/album names or lyrics. Seeing as the beer from Lagunitas Brewing Company that we're about to dive into was named after a Frank Zappa album, the work was already done for me. So thank you, Lagunitas.

It pours a decent looking dark brown to near black color, with a mid-sized tan head that is quick to dissolve, leaving a spot or two of itself lingering on the glass. Not bad.

There's a nice booziness to the aroma. It blends well with chocolate, some hints of coffee and definite dark berries. There's even a bit of a bourbon vibe here that brings out some wood notes. Very nice.

The flavor picks up right where the aroma left off, and even incorporates some vanilla into the mix toward the front. This one seems to be getting more and more complex by the sip. Coffee fades a bit and chocolate and berries still hold their own. There's not a harshness here that you'd expect with the style, but a nice smoothness, and said smoothness goes hand in hand with the slight alcohol warmth in each sip.

I really like how this one played out. It's an enjoyable, flavorful Double Stout that packs some heat but doesn't go over the top in any way. VERY easy to drink. I'm quite happy that I decided to pick this one up and would suggest that you do the same should you still be able to find it. In fact, I may head out soon to ransack the store in which I found it for their remaining bottles.

Hopback, beer, Lagunitas, California, Zappa, Ruben and the Jets, stout