Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Bob Dylan's 115th Dream

It's been seven years since I've lived in Boston and I've missed it just about every day. One of the things I miss the most is being able to pick up the "New England only" beers on a regular basis: Hooker, New England Brewing, Berkshire, Coastal Extreme, etc. I was able to make a trip up a couple of weeks ago and stocked up on some of said New England only beers. I was also very eager to try stuff from one of the newest additions to the New England beer scene, Mayflower Brewing, as I had enjoyed Matthew Steinberg's beers whilst he was still at Offshore, and I always dig anything that has the slightest historic/colonial theme to it.

First on the agenda was the Porter: it pours a nice looking dark brown color with lighter shades of brown shining through. The head is decent sized and has a slight creaminess to it and settles in to a nice thin lace.

The aroma is just great: heavy bitter chocolate with hints of coffee and roasted earthy malt. There's a nice bit of caramel sweetness that cuts through it all to balance the aroma out nicely.

Flavors really grab a hold of you and continue on with the excellence of the aroma. Bitter chocolate again leads, with roasted malt becoming a bit more pronounced here and coffee taking a slight back seat, as I found it to be noticeable only toward the finish of each sip. Even the caramel is toned down a bit, which I like as it brings out the more rugged qualities of the flavor. I did think this one seemed a touch thin at first but quickly realized that it's actually spot on for a porter. I think I was expecting or wanting a heavier body due to the rugged flavor but think that would have pushed this one more into stout territory. It's just fine and just right where it is.

This was quite simply a pleasure to drink and a very quaffable beer. ABV is still low enough at 5.5% to make this one an excellent choice for a session beer. I know I could certainly drink it all night. The porter was a great first step into the world of Mayflower, and it is definitely now on my list of things to pick up when in town.

The Golden Ale was up next and it looks great: there's a slight haze to the golden color and a huge frothy head nearly spills over the side of the glass.

There's a nice grassy sweetness to this one but also a bit of juiciness as well. The outdoors-y floral, grassiness is a nice change of pace for the style and very welcoming.

The flavor takes on a bit of a pilsner characteristic that brings in a slightly grainy malt base to compliment the wispy grass sweetness that carries over from the aroma. A simple but nice combination. Not as juicy as I would've expected from the aroma, but said characteristic does come through a bit toward the finish of each sip.

This is just a nice easy drinking sessionable brew that would make for a nice transition beer for the macro drinker yet still packs enough of a flavor punch to satisfy most any beer geek. This is a nice take on the style for sure.

Finally we've got the Pale Ale, which has a sparkling, crisp copper color to it and a medium head that leaves thick rings of residue on the glass.

The aroma here is similar in some ways to the Golden, as there's a grassy, somewhat floral sweetness flowing through, but it then incorporates some caramel and a bit of a biscuit breadiness. Unfortunately, everything's a bit faint here so the overall impression is a bit average. The flavor steps it up a a notch or two by bringing out the sweetness and the grassy flavors and also throwing a subtle hop bite. It's quite balanced and tasty in the end.

The Pale was light and crisp, with a simple, flavorful presentation in the end. It was my least favorite of the three that I sampled, but still liked it quite a bit overall and would call it a solid brew for sure.

Well, there you have it. Mayflower made a great impression on me with three well crafted beers. The Porter in particular stood out and I'm already jonesing for more. There's actually a fourth regular beer from Mayflower, their IPA, and I still can't figure out why I didn't bring any bottles back with me. It was in stock at the store and I think I even had it in my hand at one point. Clearly I set it down and forgot to pick it back up. Oh well, just another excuse to seek it out when I have the chance to get back up to Boston again. Hopefully their Thanksgiving Ale will also be available, as I am intrigued by it's description of being a blend of an American Strong Ale and an English Old Ale. These guys are a great addition to the craft beer world and I highly suggest you check them out if and when you have a chance.

Hopback, beer, Mayflower, Massachusetts, Boston, New England, Porter, Golden Ale, Pale Ale, IPA, Matthew Steinberg, Offshore