Archive for May, 2017

This morning’s beer is one from Allagash, a brewery that I tend to love.


ABV: 7.7%

Style: American Wild Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Hive 56 is a dark sour ale aged with honey in an oak foudre for eighteen months. The beer is deep mahogany in color with aromas of strawberries, lemon, and tropical fruit; notes of dark chocolate, raspberries, and figs present themselves upon the first sip, followed by a lingering tartness. We brew this beer with a blend of dark Munich malt, chocolate wheat, midnight wheat, and roasted barley, and hop with Cascade and Northern Brewer. Hive 56 undergoes initial fermentation with our house yeast; we then transfer the beer to a foudre with Brettanomyces bruxellensis and fresh honey from our Allagash beehives. Over the course of the next 18 months, the Brettanomyces transforms the honey, resulting in a beer with bold, roasty flavors, and a hint of tropical fruit.”

Random: This beer should be consumed within a year of bottling.

The beer poured with a half a finger of off white head that dissipated slowly. It didn’t leave much lacing on the glass. The body was dark brown in color with no visible carbonation because of the color. The nose was filled with Brett, dark fruit which manifested specifically as cherries and red wine grapes with oak barrels. The taste also had significant Brett notes. I didn’t get tropical fruit, but cherries, dark chocolate and some smoke came through. There was a sweetness from the honey that paired well with the red wine grapes. The alcohol did not make an appearance in the taste. It had a light body with high carbonation. The finish was lengthy and tart and reminded me of a complex Balsamic vinegar. Despite how complicated this beer was, it wasn’t cheap. I paid $16.99 for the bottle, which came to $1.32 per ounce. This is a beer that is worth trying, but pop the bottle open on a special occasion.

Untappd Rating: 4.5/5.0

This is one of the Fall beers that I drank in October this year (now you can tell how big my backlog is). Let’s see how it was.


ABV: 5.3%

Style: Marzen/Oktoberfest

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “The original German Oktoberfest was brewed with one celebratory festival in mind. Harpoon Octoberfest is brewed with TWO festivals in mind; our Octoberfests at our breweries in Boston, MA and Windsor, VT. We love the style and it’s a great beer for the fall season. In true Octoberfest tradition, we threw our first festival here at the brewery in 1990. There were a couple thousand people here celebrating amidst the brewing tanks. We can’t quite fit everyone in the actual brewery now – last year nearly 18,000 revelers attended our Boston Octoberfest and nearly 7,000 joined us at our brewery in Vermont the following weekend. Prost! Harpoon Octoberfest is a malty tribute to fall, balanced by a gentle hop bitterness. In keeping with tradition, it is a Marzen-style beer, brewed with abundant quantities of Munich, Chocolate, and Pale malts. Those malts provide a solid, full body and create the beer’s deep color. It is a rich, flavorful beer.”

Random: Whenever I blog for awhile, the cats want to sit on the computer.

The beer poured with a half a finger of white head that dissipated slowly. Despite that, it left a lot of lacing on the glass. The body was a hazy sienna color with moderate carbonation visible. The nose had maple leaves and wood, but not a lot of sweetness, which was odd for the style. The taste was also more woodsy than sweet. It had hazelnuts, wood and old leaves. There was some maple sweetness and caramel at the end of the sip. It had a thin body with moderate carbonation. The finish was quick and nutty with some leaves, like if you stuck your face in a pile of them in Fall. A bottle of this was $1.67, which broke down to $.14 per ounce. I had no problem drinking this beer, but it wasn’t to style at all. I would have this one again if someone handed it to me.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Sometimes I buy beers that I don’t have high hopes for, but if they execute, I think they’ll be amazing. This was one of those beers.


ABV: 8.5%

Style: American Strong Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Cuvée (pronounced koo-vay´) is a distinctive beer, designed to mature in wood. Ours is a strong blonde ale brewed with caramel, tart green apple, citrus rind and mild vanilla. The character of each barrel blends with the beer’s complex flavors, creating a dry finish with a bold oak essence. From sip to swallow, an interesting and unique flavor experience.”

Random: This beer is available from August through October in bottles and on draft.

The brew poured with a slightly off white head that was half a finger high. It dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a clear, light orange with mild carbonation visible. The nose had caramel syrup and green apple peels with some sweetness from brown sugar. The alcohol was hidden in the nose. The taste mostly mirrored the nose. It had a lot of caramel and green apple skin and a touch of grassy hop, which didn’t work with the rest of the flavors. After the beer warmed, brand and vanilla came through with a touch of heat at the back of the throat. It had a medium thick body with moderate carbonation. The finish was lengthy with vanilla bean and caramel syrup. I picked this up for $1.83, which broke down to $.15 per ounce. I enjoyed this beer and thought it was interesting, but I wouldn’t want more than one.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Val has this habit of wanting beers because they have cute labels. Can you guess if this is one of those beers?


ABV: 5.9%

Style: Saison/Farmhouse Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “We are a small craft brewery located in the Magnolia neighborhood of Seattle. We brew small batch beers that are yeast driven and inspired by French & Belgian farmhouses. Everything we do is done by hand the old fashioned way, utilizing local Pacific Northwest ingredients. Our beer can be found at our tasting room as well as finer beer bars and bottle shops across Washington State. For more information follow us on FB and Twitter.”

Random: One of my pet peeves are breweries that don’t list beer information on the actual website and list it on twitter and Facebook.

The beer poured with a full finger of pure white head. It dissipated quickly, but only left a modicum of lacing on the glass. The body was a hazy yellow color with moderate carbonation visible. The nose had lemon juice and funk. What was surprising was that I couldn’t pick up any honey at all. There was some yeast that came through. The taste started with lemon juice and sourness. Cinnamon was there, which was in opposition to the lemon juice. Yeast was next, but again, the honey was missing. It had a very light body with high carbonation, which made this beer no problem to drink. It had a quick finish with lemon tartness. A bottle of this was $9.99 ($.62 per ounce). This beer didn’t impress me and the balance was off. I wouldn’t have this one again, although I’m glad I tried it.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Tonight’s selection is one of the few beers that I haven’t tried from Two Roads. Val picked this one up for me during one of her beer store trips. It’s not a beer that I would necessarily pick for myself, but that’s why I like when Val goes beer shopping. She comes home with beers that push the limits of my wheelhouse.


ABV: 8.9%

Style: Saison/Farmhouse Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “See how our garden grows! For this unique, high gravity saison, Brewmaster Phil used a variety of edible and aromatic flowers such as lavender, chamomile and calendula. This arrangement completes a farmhouse ale with one-of-a-kind taste and flavor.”

Random: We don’t usually have flowers in the house because the cats try to eat them.

This beer poured with a three finger, white head that dissipated slowly. It left generous lacing on the glass. The body was golden-yellow color and cloudy with moderate carbonation visible despite the haziness. The nose had rose petals. yeast and a white grape note. The taste was even more floral than the nose. It had a lot of rose petals with other flowers and transitioned into golden fruit. I specifically got golden raisins and apricots. Yeast finished up the sip and gave it a bready quality. The body was thin, bordering on watery, with lots of carbonation. It had a quick finish with yeast and rose petals. The bomber set me back $13.99, which broke down to $.64 per ounce. I thought the beer had some unique flavors and despite the high price point, I would have it again.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Whenever Val and I watch any house shows, I’m absolutely shocked by home prices outside of the tri-state area. We’re both New York transplants to Jersey, albeit I came to the dark side much earlier than she did, but anywhere outside of this area is so much cheaper. I will say where we are is much cheaper than where Val grew up in Westchester, which is close to where this brewery is.


ABV: 6.5%

Style: American Wild Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “We love local Hudson Valley, NY ingredients. And when we buy local, we help ensure a strong future for local products and our community. We’re proud to partner with local farmers and choose fruit crops that are harvested at their peak of freshness and flavor, then fermented in aged oak barrels for a unique and delicious SOUR Ale.”

Random: Val loves strawberries, although my favorite berry is the blackberry.

This beer was corked and caged. When I popped the cork out, it gushed all over my counter and sink. After I cleaned up and got it into the glass, it was nice and agitated. This resulted in a five-finger white head that dissipated slowly. It left a lot of lacing on my Teku glass. The body was hazy orange color with no visible carbonation. The nose was pungent with apricots, strawberries and funk. I didn’t get any oak on the nose. The taste had the funk turned down slightly. It had some toasted oak, vanilla and light strawberry. There was some bready yeast as well, but the flavor was really mild, too much so, in my opinion. The body was watery with light carbonation. It had a quick finish with strawberry and lightly toasted oak. This was an expensive beer at $14.99 for the bottle ($1.18 per ounce). I wanted to love this beer, but the flavors were just too mild for me.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

This beer was the one that I had when I came home from Ohio. My cousin brought a bunch of beers to a family reunion party and the brewery is right by his house in upstate New York.


ABV: 5%

Style: Irish Red Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “The Irish Red has a distinct reddish tinge with a medium body and a sweet maltiness. The hop flavor is potent, using aromatic British hops, although it doesn’t rise to the level of an IPA. Another session beer, this is for those who want a nice flavorful beer with a supple hop zest, without rising to the thundering flavor of the IPA.”

Random: My feet are freezing. Val got me heavier socks for Christmas and I think I need to put them on.

The brew poured with half a finger of white head that dissipated slowly. It left some lacing on the glass. The body was a cloudy, mahogany color with a lot of visible carbonation. The nose had peat and lots of malt that was toasted. It had a subtle rye scent to it. The taste also had the spicy rye note that was apparent in the nose. Peat came through next and the sip finish with sweetness that reminded me of caramel candy. It had a medium body with high carbonation. The finish was lengthy with spice and peat. Since my cousin gave me this beer as a gift, I have no idea how much it was. This beer had some nice flavor to it and although it didn’t floor me, I would have it again.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0