Victorious

Citra-Victorious-2

After a long and successful year of campaigning at work here in Connecticut – I’m excited to start writing about the art and craft behind a bunch of my favorite beers. As you can imagine – there’s a bit of a backlog right now.

The first beer I want to write about before it’s too late is Harpoon Brewery’s 100 Barrel series #50, Citra Victorious. This 100 Barrel series grew out of a great tradition at Harpoon Brewery. It’s based on an annual company-wide home brew competition judged by blind sampling. One of the reasons I love this beer, aside from the awesome taste that I’m about to touch on, is that this one was made by a bunch of talented ladies. Anytime we have the opportunity to highlight the work of women in the brewing industry – we should do it.

Citra Victorious is a pale ale that comes in at 5.8% ABV. It’s all around a great introduction to craft beer for anyone who might be afraid of it – and great for any fan of pale ales who wants something crisp and refreshing enough to have more than one.

This beer has enough fruit for summer but is crisp enough to work it’s way into autumn comfortably. Your first sip is going to taste like both hops and grapefruit, and the beer finishes by wiping away bitter flavor and giving you a clean light grapefruit taste. If you can snag a bottle for your Thanksgiving get together – it should be a hit.

Harpoon has a lot of creativity to offer the beer world, so while you’re at it, you should try 100 Barrel Series #51, Cambridge Uncommon, and check out more history by looking through what they’ve made in their 100 Barrel Series.

Find Harpoon on Twitter: @harpoon_brewery

Advertisement

A Perfect Connecticut Octoberfest

Image

 In a mission to try more Connecticut Fall Beer – I tried the Thomas Hooker Octoberfest Lager. A lot of people who start exploring the world of beer and start to develop what they think is a firm understanding of it, start to get scared whenever they see a beer is a Lager and not and Ale (for a number of reasons).

As one those people who’s starting to grow up – I recommend you don’t run from this one. This blend of amazing flavor absolutely called for spending the extra investment to brew a lager; it paid off with a solid, smooth beer.

This Amber beer is made with German Malts – and has just enough hoppy flavor to keep someone like me, who loves bitter beer, satisfied. What’s great about this beer is that the flavor lightly spiced, a little bitter, has just enough malt to take the edge off, and is nice and crisp. That’s a flavor that’s smart not to mess with, so the folks at Thomas Hooker didn’t.  This Octoberfest is crisp, refreshing, and has a full bodied, drinkable flavor the whole way through with no surprises. It’s not complicated.

This is a great introduction to Octoberfest beer for your friends who want to step out of their light beer all – the – time comfort zone, and it’s also totally a beer that you can have 2 or 3 of without getting sick of it. It’s one of my new favorites for football season, and I hope anyone else new to the New England or Connecticut find a chance to give it a try one of my new favorite go – to’s.

For More, Follow Thomas Hooker Brewery on Twitter: @hookerbeer

For More Updates, and information on the Breweries Friday open houses & Saturday tastings, visit: hookerbeer.com

Yes. I liked a Flower Beer.

image

I was passing through Madison on my way to a wedding in Western Wisconsin and needed a place for lunch  – so I stopped at a place where I had always had a good experience before with beer to see if the food was up to par.

I took my first look at the beer list and saw the Twisted Hibiscus option. I had been meaning to try Revolution Brewing’s Rosa Hibiscus Ale for awhile – since I’ve never tried a hibscus beer. Even though it wasn’t the beer I’d been eyeing up, this was my chance to try one out.

I’ll admit I was hesitant at first because I’d been convinced before that anything with a floral edge was just going to taste like over acidic coffee that resulted from someone just trying to be too creative. I do not like coffee with “floral notes.” This beer was really pleasant though.

What was really great about it was how well balanced the flavor was. I could tell that this wasn’t a first draft. It flowed like any well made beer should – starting and ending sweet & smooth with a brief bitter kick in the middle. The hibiscus was subtle enough to not scare me away – so I was pleasantly surprised and only really upset that Vintage Brewing Company couldn’t have this all year.

The story here is that I was feeling adventurous, but a little scared, and it worked out. So if you are in front of a beer that seems a little crazy to you… try it.

A Nice IPA on the Road Less Traveled

image

One of my new Connecticut favorites has become Two Roads Brewing Honeyspot Road White IPA. They decided that some of the usual spice that gets put into an IPA was sometimes too much – and if they laid off a little bit, the beer could be a little more refreshing.

I liked the way the hops and the wheat were balanced. Whenever I try any beer with the word white in it, I get nervous that it’s going to taste too fruity… or be just too filling. This beer isn’t that.  This makes for a nice white IPA that you can have two or three of if you want – and still feel refreshed. There’s just enough wheat to make the hops taste smooth and to add a nice hint of wheaty flavor – but too much wheat to turn off a hop head.

I’m excited to try more Two Roads beer, and you can look at more to try here.

All Day Octoberfest

image

The Staghorn Oktoberfest is our new New Glarus fall beer, and the Old Fashioned’s beer of the month… which means 2.50 pints and 9.00 pitchers. We went for the pitcher.

If I didn’t have a soft spot for the brewery that only sells in Wisconsin and makes one of the greatest staple go to beers in America, this review might be worse. I want to say that if you’re looking for a full bodied,  malty Octoberfest that’s edgy and new – this is not your beer. This beer is light, tastes like you want an Octoberfest to taste, is not too smooth & not too coarse, and most importantly… you could literally drink this all day long.

In a state that has an Oktoberfest Festival probably within a half hour of any given place at some point between September 1st & October 31st (that become flooded with Miller Light drinkers) – this beer works.

The Staghorn Octoberfest could easily be the beer we drink inbetween stronger, thicker beer to hydrate and cleanse the pallet. It’s a million times better than your average “water beer” and provides a goos introduction to Octoberfest for newcomers. So although it’s really not for me, it could be for you, or some of our friends that we bring to Oktoberfest with us this year.

A Cure For Everything

image

I’ve spent a ton of time writing about my experience at different breweries,  what the people are like, and how I feel about the whole experience.

I’m going to broaden the topics a bit. That’s because I want to talk about the experience I have when I really, really appreciate a good beer (and really, really don’t appreciate a bad one).

I had a long weekend… and busy start to the week at work. All I really wanted to do was sit down, watch the xfiles, and have a drink. I was overjoyed to see that I still had Sixpoint Resin in my fridge. It’s one of my favorite go tos.

Sixpoint Resin comes in at 9.1 ABV, so don’t expect to have more than one or two if you’re out, but it really hits the spot at the end of the night.

This one is smooth, of medium weight, and serious flavor. The beer gets it’s name because the brewmasters extract hop resin and heat it to dissolve in the beer to make the beer more concentrated and flavorful. They call it “dangerously easy to drink,” and I’m on board with that.

If you’re a beer drinker and you haven’t tried it – you’re missing out. This is certainly a brewery I’m happy to live closer to.

More on the Resin here: Sixpoint Resin