• Category Archives Wicked Brew Review
  • Space Dust IPA by Elysian Brewing Company

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    When we look up into the clear night sky, we could ponder many things. How many stars? How many galaxies? Is there life on other planets? What is floating around up there? Well to the last question, we know that there is a lot of debris, large and small, floating through the abyss. Some would also call this space dust, some of which is visible from a comet’s tail. But we can examine another kind of space dust right here on earth in the form of an IPA from Elysian.

    Elysian Brewing from Seattle, Washington, owns and operates 4 different restaurants and a brewery. Opening in 1996 (that magical time when craft brewing initiated huge industrial growth), Elysian looked to leverage food paired with great beer in an area of the country known for its flavorful hop varieties. Northern west coast hops had come into their own celebrity status in the late 1990’s and was the time period in which everyone wanted to try them in their beers. Out of that time, west coast IPA styles became a norm.
    Elysian’s brewery encompasses twenty 240-barrel fermenters and is a 60-barrel brewhouse. To date, they have designed and brewed over 350 different recipes during their brewing career. Their motivation and momentum seems unstoppable. Garnering a three-time award for Large Brewpub of the Year at the Great American Beer Festival in Colorado, Elysian’s growth is astronomical.
    Pouring into a pint glass, Space Dust is a bright yellowy-gold hue with the slightest haze and bright white head which slowly fades. Aromas of floral and citrus were expected but I also realized a bit of sweet caramel. Taste followed the nose. Added to the list of hints were orange and a little grapefruit or pineapple which is also to be expected in a west coast IPA. Malt character is precisely balanced with neither malt or hop yelling above each other. The malt bill on this beers is simple and to the point; no special this-or-that grains. This also helped to keep the mouthfeel light. At 73 IBUs (International Bittering Units), and 8.2% ABV, Space Dust is deceivingly deceptive. It drinks like a 40 IBU and 5% which may get some of you in trouble…
    BeerAdvocate.com has categorized this as an American Double IPA. BA has officially rated Space Dust IPA as ‘Outstanding’ and awards it a 90 out of 100. Other followers are rating it as high as 4.88 out of 5.0.
    You can buy 12 oz six packs of Elysian Space Dust at Case-n-Keg in Meredith as well as other fine beer providers. Hope you agree with me and find Space Dust IPA out of this world!

    Jim MacMillan is the owner of WonByOne Design of Meredith, NH, and is an avid imbiber of craft brews and a home brewer as well. Send him your recommendations and brew news to wickedbrews@weirs.com


  • Manta Ray DIPA from Ballast Point Brewing Co.

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    Across the country, the craft beer industry is alive and doing VERY well. More and more, craft-brewed beer (less than 15,000 barrels/yr in production per facility) have made big inroads into “macro” beer sales with names such as Miller-Coors and Budweiser. With less than 20% sales of the entire craft industry selling against the macro brewers in country, this is a big deal. So let’s look at Ballast Point.
    On the other side of the country in sunny San Diego, California, the Ballast Point Brewing Company has made its home since 1996. It was Jack White’s dream since his first try at homebrewing in 1992 to own a brewery. Completing his studies at University of California, Davis, to become a master brewer, White quickly increased his knowledge of crafting fine brews. In meager beginnings in the back of a homebrew supply store, Ballast Point was always aiming to grow. Moving to Scripps Ranch, the brewery quickly expanded. They soon needed an even larger space so they added a second location in the San Diego brewery and restaurant in 2013. Today, Ballast Point can be found across the country in 12 oz cans and bottles along with 22 oz ‘bombers.’ Their more than 20 different beers is a testament to their massive success.
    This award winning Manta Ray Double IPA isn’t a tremendously hoppy beer, but Ballast Point achieved bittering and flavor against malt profile. Hops are normally added only into the boil to achieve their balance against grain sweetness. Appearance is a brilliant yellow tone with a long-lasting foamy white head. Aromas of grapefruit, pine, mango, and are in the slightly sweet side of balance. With a medium to fuller mouthfeel, this double IPA sure pleases your palate with this 8.5% ABV and 70 IBU (bittering) drink. And the taste is slightly on the sweeter side with caramel malt, floral notes, citrusy tangerine, melon, pine, grapefruit and oranges rounding out the flavor profile. Late bittering is evident that saves this DIPA from becoming something it didn’t intend to be.
    Manta is sold to us in 12 oz six packs. All of Ballast Point’s beers are named for varieties of fish found in the nearby Pacific Ocean. Jack was an avid fisherman as well as brewer so it only stands to reason that BP uses ‘catchy’ labels to show off their creations.
    BeerAdvocate.com has officially rated Manta Ray as ‘Outstanding’ and awards it a 91 out of 100. Other followers are rating it as high as 5.0 out of 5.0.
    You can find Manta Ray DIPA at Case-n-Keg in Meredith as well as other fine beer providers. There’s nothing fishy about Manta Ray, it’s just a great tasting beer that will bring a smile to your face!

    Jim MacMillan is the owner of WonByOne Design of Meredith, NH, and is an avid imbiber of craft brews and a home brewer as well. Send him your recommendations and brew news to wickedbrews@weirs.com

     


  • Space Cake Double IPA By Clown Shoes Beer

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    If you ask any child (at least the level-headed ones), they will tell you they are very afraid of clowns, especially under their bed. Where the heck any of this concept stems from is well beyond my comprehension. But sometimes clowns can bring us fun and laughter. Been to a circus in your life? I bet you giggled at clowns racing around the the big top. Missed that moment, sorry; you should have been there. Well, we have all of that and more in our focus beer today courtesy of Clown Shoes.
    Mercury Brewing in Ipswich, MA, brews all of Clown Shoes’ offerings. Owner Greg Berman quips on their website about coming up with the company name. They wanted to be set apart from the other brewing companies and they must have succeeded with this iconic idea. Clown Shoes has at least 60 different offerings that have landed on shelves around New England since 2012. Some are current, others are one-offs and 58 are already retired. And their label art is just amazing! Find out more about Clown Shoes at https://www.clownshoesbeer.com.


    A brilliant golden yellow hue and an antique white head generously greet you at the first pour of Space Cake. This head sticks around quite a while and laces your glass as you partake. The nose or aroma at the rim of the glass speaks of toasted bread, maybe some caramel malt, pine and citrus. With a medium mouthfeel, this tasty double IPA barks hop flavor in your first encounter. Floral and spicy notes join in the celebration of this wonderful brew. Silky smooth, malty as a double should be and a subtle hop bite are your final thoughts when you complete your journey. Among the many Double IPA’s out there, this is one that is a ‘Must Have’ in your collection.
    This 9% ABV beverage drinks like a 6.5% since you are concentrating on the hop goodness and not the booziness that can happen with larger beers. True to form, character and style, Clown Shoes hits this one out of the park. But then again, all of their offerings are this way!
    BeerAdvocate.com has officially rated Space Cake DIPA as ‘Outstanding’ and awards it a 91 out of 100. Many out there adding their favored votes have put it as high as 5 out of 5 which is quite a feat!
    You will find it at Case-n-Keg in Meredith (I saw at least 5 bottles there recently) as well as other fine beer providers. Clown Shoes has a bunch of great offerings so try them all when you get the chance… and I’m not clowning around!

    Jim MacMillan is the owner of WonByOne Design of Meredith, NH, and is an avid imbiber of craft brews and a home brewer as well. Send him your recommendations and brew news to wickedbrews@weirs.com


  • S’muttonator by Smuttynose Brewing Co.

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    When you think of New Hampshire brewers, what companies come to mind? Well of course, we have a Bud plant in Merrimack and Sam Adams is everywhere. And there are now over 60 breweries of all sizes around the state. But one of the more popular beers you’ll find on the shelves or in restaurants and bars has a friendly-faced logo on every label.
    Of course, I am speaking about Smuttynose Brewing Company at 105 Towle Farm Road, in Hampton, NH. The address is important because they have finished a major renovation to their new brewing headquarters. They have free tours which is probably the most informative in the entire state. And of course at the end of the tour, you can taste their lovely creations… a lot! It is definitely worth a visit to the Towle Farm facility. You can find out more about their offerings on www.facebook.com/Smuttynose or at their website smuttynose.com

    S’muttonator (Heritage Series) brings the great taste of the 22 oz bottled version of this historically great beer to 12 oz four packs. Through the years S’muttonator has had different alcohol percentages but this year, they settled at 8.5% ABV. So what is this S’muttonator you might ask? It’s style is a Double (or Doppel in German) Bock which is a stronger amber ale. Bock is German for goat or ram so the label has this image emblazoned on it. Generally speaking, a double bock has a fuller maltiness profile. The other piece you will notice is the term ‘Double Decocted’ which is a brewing process that helps to derive particular flavors out of the grains. This is why this beer is so amazing. Continue reading  Post ID 2965


  • Mole Framinghammer by Jack’s Abby Craft Lagers

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    Just two hours south from the Lakes Region, you will find yourself driving through an area known to outsiders as ‘Woostah’ (apparently the pronunciation given by locals) and nearby towns of the Rt 9 corridor. One of these towns is Framingham and within its city limits resides a quietly remarkable brewery called Jack’s Abby. In the brief time they have been brewing, Jack’s has caught the attention of a wide range of imbibers and an appreciation has been established with their loyal fans.
    The Hendler brothers opened Jack’s Abby in 2011 with the express passion of making only lager beer which is a finely tuned craft demanding supreme accuracy. While ales ferment in temps between 63-78°F, lagers use ranges between 45-58°F and take longer to complete. This came from an Austrian brewing practice of using cold caves to store their beer while fermenting. Because they understand the process so intimately, Jack’s Abby lagers have taken tons of medals for their brew efforts in their short career. They have been very successful in their work and now share their offerings within NH. Look at their website, www.jacksabby.com for their complete story and beer listings.


    Poured into a tulip glass, Mole (pronounced MO-lay) is black as midnight with an attractive mocha creamy head. The aromas appreciated in a tulip glass far outweigh a pint glass as the smells of this brew are accentuated in the upper portions of the rim. Chocolate, spice, bourbon and some peppers come through the nose as you approach. The taste follows the nose as you gather up vanilla, cinnamon, bourbon, oak, and the warmth of hot peppers ever so slightly. With a rich Continue reading  Post ID 2965


  • Beers Of The Week: Switchback Ale and Porter

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    The great state of Vermont is mainly known by most people for its cheddar cheese and other dairy products, its maple syrup, the Green Mountains, Cabot Creamery or Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream. But if you are a connoisseur of great beer, this may be one of your focus states for their awesome breweries. At last count, there were more than 30 breweries, brew-on-premises restaurants or brew pubs serving their thirsty fans pints, growlers, or flights (small tastings of different brews) and generating a lot of interest and profit. One such brewer is Switchback Brewing Company in Burlington.


    Switchback was started back in 2002 by owner Bill Cherry with the idea of making an easy drinking pale ale for his friends around the Burlington area. Little did he know that his pale ale would be one of the most asked for beers in taverns and eateries around New England. 2008-2010 brought a major expansion to the facility with greater capacity to keep up with their demand, going to 24 hour operation. 2014 marked yet another growth period with an expanded bottling line and redesign of their taproom. Finally this year, Bill wanted to make sure Switchback was never bought out by macro brewers and large financial buying institutions, so he made his employees business partners and made Switchback the first 100% employee-owned brewery in Vermont. You can find out much more about them at www.switchbackvt.com
    Looking at two of their most popular beers at the same time makes sense because they share a lot of commonalities but could not taste more different. They are both unfiltered when bottled so the labels suggest that the buyer slowly invert the beer a few times before opening to mix any settled contents.
    Switchback Ale is actually specified as an American Amber style on BeerAdvocate.com but looking at this glistening beauty, with its white head, you would have to agree it is a golden ale. At 5% ABV, this easy drinking, well balanced but complex flavored beer is so refreshing, you can see why it is popular. With five malts and four different hop varieties and a secret yeast combination, this inviting beverage will certainly be among your favorites to keep within reach.
    The story behind Dooley’s Belated Porter is that it was a recipe created by their head brewer years ago and promised to be put into colder month production year after year, but that never happened. Finally, Mr. Cherry decided he had waited long enough and produced it for the first time in 2009. It was a huge hit and has been available ever since. With a bold and full flavored porter such as this, Switchback builds upon their ale success and adds complexity to their tastes. A mocha head, roasted and caramel malts along with flaked barley and balanced Simcoe hop profile help to round out this lovely 5.7% ABV liquid, making it satisfying and delicious.
    BeerAdvocate.com marks both of these brews in the ‘Good’ category giving the ale an 81 and the porter an 84 out of 100. Both of these Switchback beers are available in 12 oz six packs and 22 oz bottles at Case-n-Keg in Meredith so check them out today!

    Jim MacMillan is the owner of WonByOne Design of Meredith, NH, and is an avid imbiber of craft brews and a home brewer as well. Send him your recommendations and brew news to wickedbrews@weirs.com


  • Road 2 Ruin by Two Roads Brewing

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    Each day we wake up, get up, make a decision on what to wear, make a decision on what to eat and make a decision on what our day will hold for us. It is much the same with our entire life of decisions. Which way will we go? Our friends at Two Roads Brewing seem to know this concept well and have brewed a beer that exemplifies the decisions we face in our lives, day to day. We can either make a good decision or a naughty one which may get us into some trouble. But there is always that decision… And this is why we share today’s brew, Road 2 Ruin.

    Connecticut is home to Two Roads Brewing Company. Located in Stratford, Connecticut, their story of business growth in this beer-crazed nation is remarkable. Four enterprising individuals who had met through unrelated circumstances grew tired of their business careers and took “the road less traveled” leap into brewing and became Two Roads in 2012. Today, they make awesome beer, contract brew for smaller start-ups and teach others interested in the brew life how to succeed. You can find out a ton more at their website, https://tworoadsbrewing.com Continue reading  Post ID 2965


  • Wicked Dark Imperial Stout from Baxter brewing

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    When you think you are finally done with winter, yet another snow storm hits and reminds you that New England is that place where it isn’t over until the stout lady sings. So with that in mind, we look at another stout offering from our friends up at Baxter Brewing Company in Lewiston, Maine.
    Baxter Brewing is located in the Bates Mill building which is part of the up and coming Lewiston / Auburn area of Maine. Luke Livingston homebrewed during his stint at Clark University. In preparing for his future, he presented a business plan in 2009 which was expected to begin his brewing career. Along with fellow brewer Ben Low, the two set off to change Maine’s brewing industry with their award winning beers. Their assortment of beers shines a light on why craft beer is so popular… because taste matters!


    Wicked Dark uses 12 malts including barley, wheat, rye, and oats. It is almost black with a rich mocha head. In the appropriate tulip glass used to get the most from the nose of a beer, you can pick up toffee and chocolate notes before your first sip. Malty roasted grains and dark fruit follow. The first encounter lets you know the balance of this stout took some time. Aged for over three months, this brew uses American and New Zealand hops including Apollo, Millennium, and Pacific Jade hops. On the fuller side of medium mouthfeel, Wicked spreads its charm through your mouth evenly and appropriately. It is deceptively potent. If you might venture into your second experience, beware…
    This 10% ABV stout is available in 16 oz cans in four packs due to New Hampshire volume to ABV regulations.
    BeerAdvocate.com hasn’t officially rated because it is so new, but I think they will have to rate it soon since it is so good. Baxter is a respected brewery and this Wicked offering is a testament to its ability and dedication to its followers. Some followers on BA have chimed in giving high kudos of 4.25+ to this amazing stout.
    You will find it at Case-n-Keg in Meredith and Laconia as well as other fine beer providers. Look for any of the Baxter beers as they are all worth sampling!

    Jim MacMillan is the owner of WonByOne Design of Meredith, NH, and is an avid imbiber of craft brews and a home brewer as well. Send him your recommendations and brew news to wickedbrews@weirs.com


  • Double Black IPA from 603 brewery

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    Recently, this column gave you two related articles on ‘Attack of the DIPA’s’ or Double IPA’s which spoke of that beer style as well as the magnitude of DIPA beers flooding the market each week. It is hard to keep track of them all but when one catches your attention, you tend to keep it in mind the next time you shop for brews. One such beer new to the shelves lately is from 603 Brewery.

    The tap lineup at 603 Brewery in Londonderry.

    603 Brewery started in Campton (above Plymouth), but is now located in Londonderry, NH. They offer year-round beers as well as seasonal beers matched to their climates. Just 4 years old, 603 Brewery has made a momentous mark in the NH craft beer scene. They are now a 60 barrel brewery providing 12 oz cans, 22 oz bottles and kegs for restaurants. Each of their beers has something to do with a historical fact about NH. For instance, their 18 Mile Rye Ale is named for the 18 miles of Atlantic shoreline NH is afforded between Maine and Massachusetts. Their beer is sold throughout NH as well as Massachusetts. You can find it in Hanniford, Market Basket and Case-n-Keg, in both Meredith and Laconia while you are out shopping. Visit them at https://www.facebook.com/603Brewery/ or at their website at www.603brewery.com
    The Double Black IPA can sports two black diamonds which may refer to the difficulty of getting down a treacherous ski trail. But it is more about the enjoyment in an achievement. So this beer is quite an achievement and lets you relish in that moment of success with the first pour and sips. It is almost entirely black due to the roasted grains used in the build. A fluffy and generous tan head lasts through much of the glass and laces the sides like translucent curtains of froth. But the real treat comes when you taste the dry-hopped citrus blends of Amarillo, Simcoe and Mosaic hops. The malt is so big that amount of hops balanced to the build just make this an amazing success. Piney and earthy tones help to finish out your tasting session. At 8.3% ABV and 75 IBU’s (bittering), it is one beer that is truly remarkable.
    Double Black is scheduled to be a seasonal but I wouldn’t be surprised if it becomes a year-round offering sometime in the near future. BeerAdvocate.com has not yet rated it, but many who have tried this are raging about its taste. Pursue this one while you can!

    Jim MacMillan is the owner of WonByOne Design of Meredith, NH, and is an avid imbiber of craft brews and a home brewer as well. Send him your recommendations and brew news to wickedbrews@weirs.com


  • Single Speed IPL from Moat Mountain Brewing Co.

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    Usually by this time in the winter months of New Hampshire, you are either loving the snow (skiing, snowmobiling, xc skiing, etc) or you are VERY ready for spring! I must admit, I could be talked into a month-long trip south to haven from our season this year. But if you are a true Hampshirite, you tough it out, put on your gloves and go out there again. And after a day of roof shoveling, snow clearing, building snowmen with your kids or whatever, it might just be time for a good brew. So let’s look at this rewarding offering from Moat Mountain Brewing, Single Speed IPL.


    Moat Mountain Smoke House & Brewing Company are located in North Conway, NH. Their food is great with a spectacular menu and worth a visit. Although they still brew on premises where their eatery and original location are (smaller batch seasonals for the restaurant and growler fills), their newest brewery upgrade is a state-of-the-art “barn” and artfully done. This place is their main 20 barrel brewery created in 2013. They added the canning line in the following year. It is not open to the public though. You can find out more about their offerings with a name search on Facebook or at their website: www.moatmountain.com
    The real difference, albeit slight, between IPA’s and an IPL is crispness. If you are not making an overtly hoppy beer, but just a snappy refresher, lagering is the way to go. It lets hops shine through without being too malty. Lager yeast, which is also responsible in part for pilsners, is a more delicate yeast. It takes longer to ferment and is produced at colder temperatures. This crispness that is obtained helps to make very refined and great tasting beer.
    Pouring a clear copper-yellow with a handsome 2 finger high white head, IPL’s 6.3% ABV is a balance of gentleness between hops and malt. It has a light to medium body which doesn’t weigh you down after 16 oz. Refreshingly zesty, yet a bit creamy in texture, Single Speed delivers citrusy and piney notes to your tongue before finishing with the expected hop resonation at the end.
    Why not try all of the other offerings from Moat Mountain Brewing. Their Iron Mike Pale Ale, Bone Shaker Brown, Square Tail Stout, Imperial Stout, Miss V’s Blueberry Ale, East Intervale IPA and Hell Yes! Helles Lager are available in 16 oz cans.
    You can purchase Moat beers at Hanford Markets and Case-n-Keg, Meredith and Laconia just to name a few locations… brewed in New Hampshire for the love of the beer!

    Jim MacMillan is the owner of WonByOne Design of Meredith, NH, and is an avid imbiber of craft brews and a home brewer as well. Send him your recommendations and brew news to wickedbrews@weirs.com


  • 90 Minute IPA by Dogfish Head Brewing

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    The word ‘Imperial’ brings to mind a combination of royalty and more than enough. Imperial is reserved for the best of something. Other forms of the word imply princely orientation or supremacy. In the beer world, it implies ‘bigness’ as in this is a big beer or ‘look out, this is a strong beer’. But in the case of our focus beer this week, it suggests a brew that imparts the strength of malt, hops and quality that is reserved for the top shelf of beers. So, we take a look at the middle strength beer offering from our friends at Dogfish Head Brewing.


    Dogfish Head was one of the early leaders of the craft brewing enterprise. Among their vast offerings of great tasting beers, Dogfish was the front-runner in the making of great brewing skill. Located in their massive brewery in Milton, a suburb of Delaware, Maryland, Dogfish’s owner, Sam Calagione, has over the years, created some of the most interesting and creative beer recipes that have helped shape the craft beer industry since 1995. They were the first to create pumpkin-style beer. They were also the first to innovate continuous hopping of India Pale Ale beers. Their 60 minute, 90 minute 120 minute IPA’s are still revered as leaders in the IPA craze. They cater to the hop-heads of America with their unique and interesting hopped brew sensations.
    90 Minute is a continuously hopped IPA, meaning that during the brewing process, they add hops vigorously against a strong malt balance. The result is a 9% ABV beer that drinks smoothly considering the amount of hops and malt. This golden delicious treat reveals a flavorful blend of bite and sweetness, supported by just the right mix of blended grains. It is strong yet mellow. It bites back and is malty at the same time, with a medium mouthfeel and rewarding flavor profile that beckons for another visit. The reference to minutes is the amount of time they boil in production. The longer the boil, the more hops that are added. This 90 Minute IPA is produced year-round as is the 60 Minute version.
    BeerAdvocate.com has officially rated 90 Minute IPA as ‘Outstanding’ and awards it a 94 out of 100 and the Bros give it 96. Other followers are rating it as high as 4.89 out of 5.0.
    You can find both at Case-n-Keg in Meredith and Laconia as well as other fine beer providers. 90 Minute IPA joins its cousin, 120 Minute (if you can ever find it) in a celebration of hop goodness and tremendous flavor!

    Jim MacMillan is the owner of WonByOne Design of Meredith, NH, and is an avid imbiber of craft brews and a home brewer as well. Send him your recommendations and brew news to wickedbrews@weirs.com


  • Attack Of The DIPAs – Part 1

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    Two of anything is usually more fun than one…
    I remember as a kid that in the summer, you could order a two-headed ice cream cone with two of your favorite flavors. How much better can it get? Or the constant TV ads selling a product that you probably don’t want, then they say; “…but wait, call right now and we will double your order free!” Well, if you get the second one free, you might be enticed to call. The point is that double of anything is usually better. How does that relate to beer you ask? The new craze of Double India Pale Ale or DIPA is all around us and here we will learn about two of the newest to be brewed right here in NH from Great North Aleworks and Henniker Brewing.
    Great North Aleworks is a 20 barrel brewery located in Manchester and owned by Rob and Lisa North, both from Canada (aka Great White North). During 2013, Rob worked at Newburyport Brewing in Rhode Island while making plans to open their own brewery in 2014. Rob’s renowned IPA just won a silver medal in a recent national beer competition. You can find these in 12 and 16 oz six packs cans or get growlers at their Manchester brewery. Visit them at or their website at www.greatnorthaleworks.com.


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  • Dorado Double IPA from Ballast Point Brewing

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    As we step foot into 2017, many of us will commit to making life better for each other by trying to eat more healthily, exercise more often, spend more time with family and friends, be more kind, or try things that you might not have tried before. It is this last category which we focus on today. Finding new beers to partake of is why we take joy in the vast world of ever more interesting varieties. So let’s look at Ballast Point.
    Way across the country in sunny San Diego, the Ballast Point Brewing Company has made its home since 1996. It was Jack White’s dream since his first try at homebrewing in 1992 to own a brewery. Completing his studies at University of California, Davis, to become a master brewer, White quickly increased his knowledge of crafting fine brews. In meager beginnings in the back of a homebrew supply store, Ballast Point was always aiming to grow. Moving to Scripps Ranch, the brewery quickly expanded. They soon needed an even larger space so they added a second location in the San Diego brewery and restaurant in 2013. Today, Ballast Point can be found across the country in 12 oz cans and bottles along with 22 oz ‘bombers.’ Their more than 20 different beers is a testament to their massive success. Continue reading  Post ID 2965


  • Ten Fidy Imperial Stout from Oskar Blues Brewery

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    How is your winter coat coming along? Confused?
    Recently I noted that during the hearty winter months in New Hampshire, we tend to put on a few extra ounces (or pounds) that I look at as insulation or otherwise known as your winter coat. With this in mind, we venture down the fuller side of darker beer called stout. If you frequent these pages in the past, you’ve noticed a concentration on these fuller beers. There was even a review called Stout Shoot-Out looking at 6 (big) Stouts. The one we look at today was missed but is truly worth knowing… 10 Fidy by Oskar Blues Brewery.
    Oskar Blues started in Longmont, Colorado. It’s flagship beer back in 2002 was Dale’s Pale Ale that helped grow the company enough to open another brewery in Brevard, North Carolina. Having an East Coast presence (especially close to Asheville, NC’s wildly expanding craft brew mecca), allowed Oskar Blues to brand a vast number of excellent offerings, all in 12 oz cans, to really become a big player in the craft beer industry. Each style pushes the limits of taste and flavor to its fullest.
    10 Fidy Imperial Stout, according to their website, boasts a huge build of base grains (what starts in all beers), chocolate malt, roasted barley and flaked oats. The slang name is a reference to its sheer immensity. With this sizable amount of grain, hops are applied to help balance out the sweetness with bittering (that’s the hop’s job) and cleverly conceals 65 IBUs under a velvety smooth and incredibly viscous liquid.
    Blacker than black, 10 Fidy pours with a mocha head and last for just a bit. You will immediately recognize chocolate and coffee notes as you approach your initial sip. Rich, roasty, and bready, you’ll also find some dark fruit, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and a bit of charred oak hit your palate. Thick but not chewy would best describe the mouthfeel of 10 Fidy. Since the bittering is applied against the rich maltiness, the boozy 10.5% ABV is well hidden, but beware of multiple doses…
    BeerAdvocate.com has officially rated 10 Fidy as ‘World Class’ awarding it a 96 out of 100. The Bros give it top rating of 100. Followers also rated it as high as 4.92 out of 5.0 for this beauty, so get over to Case-n-Keg in Meredith or Laconia to see what Oskar Blues is all about!
    Tasting note: Next week, we will examine 10 Fidy against a similar style called Old Rasputin.

    Jim MacMillan is the owner of WonByOne Design of Meredith, NH, and is an avid imbiber of craft brews and a home brewer as well. Send him your recommendations and brew news to wickedbrews@weirs.com.


  • Imperial Stout by Moat Mountain Brewing

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    Winter is a delightful time of year in New Hampshire… minus the snow shoveling, biting cold, slippery roads and bad driving conditions, and of course, catching a cold. But besides these items, it is really nice to be in New Hampshire’s longest season of the year. With so many fun things to pursue during these months, you certainly cannot pass up the opportunity to try some great winter beers. The one in our sights today is from Moat in North Conway.
    Moat Mountain Smoke House & Brewing Company is located Rt 16 in North Conway, NH. Their food is great with a spectacular menu and worth a visit. Although they still brew on premises where their eatery and original location are (smaller batch seasonals for the restaurant and growler fills), their newest brewery upgrade is a state-of-the-art “barn” which is beautifully done. This place is their main 20 barrel brewery created in 2013. They added the canning line in the following year. It is not open to the public though. You can find out more about their offerings with a name search on Facebook or at their website: www.moatmountain.com


    Imperial Stout is an annual treat offered by this amazing brewery. Moat’s diversity of styles, the consistency of each release makes the optimism of this year’s stout legendary. So dark brown, it’s almost black in a pint or tulip glass while the creamy, dark tan head lets you know this is going to be luscious. Notes of strong expresso and dark chocolate hit your nose and tastes at the same time; they are not mixed but proclaim the same senses. Maltiness in the mouthfeel says this drink is going to be memorable. The presence of strong hops against a huge grain bill helps with your understanding of the delicate balance of great stouts. Lots of roasty flavors and dark fruit pour through more coffee and chocolate. Bitterness is too strong of a word to be used in this beer’s description, but rather mildly bitter may be a better choice. This style of stout is not meant to be sweet, where a milk or oatmeal stout may be perceived that way. And this one is sooooo drinkable!
    Beer Advocate gives it a 92 out of 100, giving it a title of Outstanding. Moat Mt has a bunch of other great beers to try. Imperial Stout is a winter release and will be gone shortly (short season) so find it quickly. Also look for Iron Mike Pale Ale, Bone Shaker Brown, East Intervale IPA, Czech Pils and Hell Yes! Helles Lager, all in 16 oz cans. You can purchase Moat beers at Hannaford Markets and Case-n-Keg, Meredith and Laconia, just to name a few locations… brewed in New Hampshire for the love of the beer!

    Jim MacMillan is the owner of WonByOne Design of Meredith, NH, and is an avid imbiber of craft brews and a home brewer as well. Send him your recommendations and brew news to wickedbrews@weirs.com