I think I have found my perfect winter beer.
I like Smuttynose. I think their Big A IPA is delicious. I like their branding. New Hampshire is my favorite state. And, full disclosure: I know their brewmaster, he’s a friend of a friend.
All of this biases me toward their beer, but in their Smuttynose Short Batch #18 – Durty I found something I didn’t even know I was looking for: a hoppy brown ale, perfect for cold weather drinking. If you can get your hands on this remarkably small distribution (25 cases in NH and MA only, or on tap at the brewery) definitely try it.
Durty poured a gorgrous brown with a small, thick head. Smells super cirtusy with a hint of cocoa. First sip is a perfect mix of hops and caramel. It’s at once bright and warm, like some delicious brown bread with grapefruit zest mixed in. I would have drank this all night, but we only had one.
Vitals: Poured from a 22oz bottle into a tulip pint straight out of the fridge. 8.4% ABV, 55 IBU
Taste: A- This was my first brown IPA and it was everything I think it should be: caramely, nutty and hoppy all at once.
Drinkability: B+ At 8.4% ABV I’m not sure I could drink more than one or two but it’s smooth with no overwhelming alcohol taste. Perfect for splitting with a friend.
Packaging: Different from your typical Smuttynose branding. I wouldn’t have recognized it on the shelf, but I like it. Each bottle is labeled with the number from production. We drank #544 of 828.
It was a little over a year ago when White Birch Brewing released Nyx, a black IPA that was part of their Apprentice Series. I remember first seeing the beer, reading the label and deciding to take a flyer on it. Boy was I surprised!
It was one of my favorite new beers of 2011 and I quickly set out to find as many bottles as I could before the supply dried up. Once I collected a bunch, I shared them with friends I thought would appreciate it. Some when out and got more on their own.
When all was said and done, I had two bottles of Nyx left in my cellar. Now I have one.
It poured as deep and dark as it did the day I’d first tried it. The smell was heavy on the roasted malt and charcoal. There was even a hint of piney hops, which surprised me given it’s age. Suffice it to say, this beer did not disappoint. It was as good (better?) than when I first cracked it a little over a year ago.
We can only hope Bill and/or Adam decide to brew this one again. Until then, my last bottle is on hold until I can drink it with one or both of these guys. Thanks for brewing great (long lasting) beer!!
No real review for this one. Just thought I would share a photo of what I chose for Canned Craft beer day. It seems like the can trend is going main stream for craft beer this year, with the likes of Sierra Nevada jumping into the fray. They are dedicated to doing what’s best for the beer, and if they are doing it, it’s a major statement about craft beer in cans. Anyway, here is a picture of the Gigantic Iron Mike Can (24oz). Yes that is a normal sized shaker glass.
This black IPA is a collaboration between Bill and his apprentice Adam and it’s special. If it weren’t Sunday night, I’d have already gone out to grab a few more bottles to sit on until next Fall when the cold air makes me crave beers that have a little more bite to them. Which is a conundrum… dark beers from an apprentice in the Spring? Will we ever see this beer again or is it one and done?
It pours a deep, rich black with a creamy brown head. Dark roasted malts on the nose, with a hint of charcoal. The first taste it both bold and sweet at the same time. It’s not too sweet, just a subtle flavor. The malts are complex, with chocolate, black patent and mollases sneaking in. The hops play nicely with this brew. It just gets better as it warms… really a beer I can get behind.
I will be getting out tomorrow to get my hands on a couple more bottles of Nyx. It’s a great beer for another season.
Served from a 500ml bottle at 50F into a imperial pint glass. 7.0% ABV. Taste:
Absolutely perfect for the style. Drinkability:
Surprisingly easy to enjoy. Not too big.
This one has me written all over it… Tasting tonight. Notes to come.
OK… this is a good beer. Not as much hops as I expected on the nose or the palate, but a good beer. Nice balance, no metallic aftertaste, a really well made beer.
But what’s odd is it’s not sure what it wants to be. It’s not a hop bomb and it’s not really a session beer. It’s 5.6% ABV is higher than your typical “session” beer. The hops are there, but it’s more like a typical pale ale than a hoppy ale. With that said, there a lot of beers at this ABV that I might choose over this one.
However, and this is a big HOWEVER, this beer breaks the mold when it comes to price. At $7.99 it’s the lowest priced bottle in the WBB line-up. It’s worth picking up a bottle and giving it a try for yourself.
Vital Stats: Served at 45F from a 500 ml bottle into a fluted pint glass. 5.6% ABV.
Drinkability: B+… I could see sharing a few of these with friends. Very smooth.
Taste: B+ … Solid.