Beer of the Week: Green by Tree House Brewing Company
Beer of the Week: Green by Tree House Brewing Company
As the weekend creeps closer and that work clock starts counting down to 5 o’clock, it is probably a good idea to start pondering which bottle top is going to be the first to pop this weekend, maybe something a little peachy.
Those ringers from Ridgewood, Finback Brewery, set the bar fairly high with their whale of a beer in their namesake IPA. With a solid head, this medium ambered beauty packs a whollop of flavor. A predominantly piney and roasted bread aroma comes at you off the top, and cleans up nicely with crisp Chinook and Columbus hops. A smooth mouth feel leads to a clean finish with a lot of the sweet citrus you expect from a nice IPA. At 7.2% it is right there in the wheel house for a good IPA, but be careful because they really do go down easy. It may not be as pungent as some of Finback’s more assertive and experimental brews but you would be hard pressed to get a better solid base IPA. Head out to Queens to pick up a pack or hopefully the whale will be swimming it’s way into your local beer purveyor.
Have you ever had a peanut butter cup and thought, you know what these needs, a little booze! Well even if you haven’t, the people at Dangerous Mind Brewing Co. have a special brew for anyone void of a peanut allergy. Thick and smooth this dark porter flows with a creamy mouth feel. Hints of chocolate and smoke take a backseat to the over arching taste of peanut butter. The peanut butter taste however is not one you would associate with the sweet spread for your bread, but more of a savory roasted peanut like that in a crispy peanut butter cookie. Overall the balance of the dark malted porter and nutty peanut butter flavor make for a most enjoyable drinking experience, in what is also a quite enjoyable taproom.
Looking for the ultimate session IPA? Well look no further that the fine beersmiths from Queens, New York, SingleCut. With a dark amber hue it gives the perception of a much stronger elixir than it actually provides. Sitting at the optimum ABV of 5.0%, it makes for a truly sessionable IPA that won’t do too much damage in the alcohol intake range. What it lacks in alcohol it more than makes up for in flavor, lending a very potent grassy and piney flavor that you experience more in full bodied IPA’s. With a thin swallow on par with more of a pale ale than a straight IPA, it hits right in the heart of the sessionable demographic, making it an easy selection to put back one or 8 in the span of a day.
Hidden away down in alley way in Somerville, MA is quirky Aeronaut Brewing Company . A rising force in the ever expanding Boston craft beer scene, this warehouse brewery provides some top notch entertainment not to mention high class beers. For those who merely can’t be entertained with good beer and conversation they have board games and a giant projection screen connected to some killer throwback video games for the inbibers merriment.
But by far the main attraction is the expertly crafted beer. From decadently chocolate noted Bourbon Barell Aged Imperial Stouts, to a pantheon of rare beer styles such as the smoky and sour Lichtenheinerweisse; much like the flavor the name is a mouthful.
What Aeronaut is really doing well recently is getting deep into heavily hopped IPA’s and Double IPA’s, and their less potent session breatheren. It is their Double IPA the creatively named DIPA that earns our highly coveted Beer of the Week! At 7.6% alc it sits right in that double sweet spot of the perfect balance of alcohol and bitter hops that make for an idealistic New England style IPA. Beyond the delicious taste of the very evenly balanced beer, what makes the DIPA special is that it is part of a program called Ales for ALS, where $1 from every beer goes toward ALS research. It is a national campaign that I recommend everyone try to check out a brewery near by that supports them Ales for ALS . So raise a glass at Aeronaut, the perfect place to help out a great cause while helping out your own lack of sobriety.
Boston Beer Company, makers of Samuel Adams, pride themselves on being the first commercially known “craft beer” in America. Just like their namesake Samuel Adams they truly did revolutionize the beer world at the time with their delicious offering of Boston Lager, which many believe to be the flash-point of the craft beer craze we find ourselves in currently. Sadly though I believe that one of the originators might also be bringing about the craft beers demise.
In full disclosure for the 3 people who read this article and don’t know me, I was born and raised in a Boston suburb and have had more than my fair share of Samuel Adam’s tasty concoctions. I actually was part of the voting that saw Noble Pils be selected as their Spring Seasonal beer many moons ago and have always been a main advocate for the brew. With that said I believe that Sam Adam’s is killing American Craft Brewing.
Long since I can remember there was lurid anticipation for each season of the year so that you could get your hands on whatever particular ale or lager was put of that became part of your year. Beach season did not come around until that first Summer Ale, the winters never seemed so rough with a Winter Lager, and all though I might have an issue with the timing of it’s release (see previous post about Fall Beer) Oktoberfest was always a much anticipated libation. Sadly it was the popularity of the seasonal rarities that have lead Sam Adams down a slippery slope. To the best of my knowledge it first started out when the Winter Variety packs started coming out. They used to be fairly rare and you had to search out the right liquor store to get you hands on some Old Fezziwig Ale or Holiday Porter. I can recall turning 21 and roaming all over the Greater Boston Area on Thanksgiving break trying to get those, what used to be, rare brews. Half of the satisfaction came with just being able to find the beer in the first place, not to mention they were each delicious in their own way. Well as every year passed the beer became more and more prominent and easy to find; now I’m not against spreading the good word of beer to all that have willing livers, but at a point they went a bit haywire with the seasonal, and in turn, “collections” of brews. What used to be a purely Winter Variety pack turned into a Spring Brews and a Summer Packs and then The Brewmasters Collection and Barrel Room Collection and Limited Release Beers. While they were busy coming up with beers that varied only minimally from ones they had already made in the past they let the quality of others slip. Case and point is that of the former Spring Seasonal Noble Pils. What used to be a hop lovers dream or rich piney flavors that gave this golden lager a bright punch quickly got mellowed out from either lack of quality control or a deliberate choice to make a beer more palatable to the non brew enthusiasts, and trust me that conspiracy theory has been discussed more times than the grassy knoll in some circles. So many decisions like these seem to keep occurring with the Sam Adams brand that they have now started using other monikers in the dilution of quality beer like Rebel IPA. Overall I believe Sam Adams has taken what used to be a great quality product and instead of trying to make the best product they can are trying to make the most profitable and trendy beer they can, which sadly is starting to catch on in other craft breweries. It’s for reasons like these that when friends come into town and want to take in some of Boston’s great beer, I take them to shell out $5 at Harpoon instead of the free one at Sam’s.
Also Boston Beer Works is now a publicly traded company but I’m sure the stock holders care about quality over quantity.
In the battle of the Cola wars I always found myself on the sideline not particularly having a glaring favorite between Pepsi and Coke. For me either of them was acceptable if you were feeling like a having just another blasé soda pop. For me if you were craving some sweet sugared refreshment there was only one way to go, Root Beer. Now maybe it was just foreshadowing for my beverages of choice in the future but for me a good ole’ frosty Root Beer was the way to go. I could spend all day running the numbers about the top contenders from Dad’s to Barqs and A & W to IBC. Not surprisingly I share the same affinity for most other root based soda, from Sarsaparilla to most Sassafras incarnations, but this weekend I had a revelation; the new craze in the cocktail world is going to be the utilization of Ginger Beer.
At Drink in Boston’s Fort Point neighborhood they already make their own in-house Ginger Beer that is phenomenal and if proof is needed, sink into one of the stools at Barbara Lynch’s speakeasy and order a Mimi Taylor, a combination of Scotch, lime juice, and Ginger Beer. That is the place I first got the bug for that wonderfully spicy elixir that perks up any cocktail.
If you aren’t ready to glitz it up and shell out some cash for a high end cocktail just order a Moscow Mule or Dark and Stormy the next time you are feeling like changing things up at your watering hole of choice and enjoy. You heard it here first folks the cocktail craze of the future is Ginger Beer, livers be forewarned.
Fall is in the beer.
Being New England born and bread few things excite me more than that lovely season known as autumn. The striking leaves changing their color, the slight nip of cold in the air, the shine of the autumnal solstice on the horizon, and most importantly the best time for seasonal variety beer.
I could spend hours debating which fall offering is the best, to save time I’ll just list my top five: Post Road Pumpkin Ale, Shipyard Pumpkinhead, Saranac Pumpkin Ale, Southern Tier Pumpking, and last but definitely not least Cisco Pumple Drumkin. All of which are delicious and each worthy of their own hoarding pillage to the local beer vendor come winter time.
Although I am always thrilled when Jack o’ Lantern plastered beer bottles start popping up in stores, I experience a key dilemma: can it be too early for Fall Brews? Drinking is such a sensory experience; can the weather really impede on the drinking experience that much? Have you ever had the craving for pumpkin pie at a 4th of July BBQ or a nice shaved ice to top off Christmas dinner? As tempting as both sounds, unless you are in the Southern Hemisphere I do not think they are your first choice. Likewise, can you truly appreciate the euphoric tendencies of gourd-flavored beverages with the sun beating down in 90-degree weather outside? I understand for the need to get the brew out to the public in time for the season and to grab the key market of people who have quickly ran their limit for the lighter summer varietals, but I think the brew masters across the country need to hold off a little bit. After all I can’t be the only person driving to 20 different beer suppliers looking for the last remnants of Pumpkinhead for Thanksgiving dinner.
I guess what I am really trying to say is beer makers of America please shift your Fall beer back a little ways so that it can begin after the summer swelter quells and lasts well into the years first snow, for that my friends is what autumn is and Fall beer was made for.
*Research aided by Dr. Ryan P. Yelle