Smuttynose Gets ‘Durty’

I think I have found my perfect winter beer. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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Smuttynose Ry(e)an Ale

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Loved the look of this beer as I poured it. Deep red hue and great two finger head. Definitely smell the bourbon barrel on the nose… very pronounced. First taste is a bourbon bomb, so much so that it got me wondering if I’ve had enough experience with bourbon barrel aged beers to offer enough perspective? I’ve had bourbon barrel aged stout, but not sure about something lighter. 

I enjoyed this beer, but the bourbon barrel taste was a bit stronger than I thought it should have been. It was just so up front that it was hard to taste much else in the beer. I’m going to seek out another bottle to see if it’s just my neophyte palate playing tricks on me. Worth a try to see what you think. Thanks to Chad for sharing this one with me! I love trying new stuff. 

On Tap Tonight…another Winter Ale

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Smuttynose’s Winter Ale to be precise.  It’s getting cold, my wife’s already done with her Christmas shopping (!), and that last bottle of Pumking’s not going anywhere until Christmas dessert, so time to check out a few winter ales.  It’s got a nice smokiness to it to go along with some spices and maybe caramel or molasses.  I think I’m picking up some fruit in there too like raisins or plum.  Not much head to speak of. Solid, but I think the flavors that are here could all be a bit stronger.  There’s not much of a finish on this beer either.