Last Friday With Mark

Posted by on Mar 19, 2012 in Beer Blog | 0 comments

Sam Adams Griffin’s Bow
Jamaica Plain, MA (sometimes)
In April 1985, when Samuel Adams Boston Lager made its debut in about 25 bars and restaurants in Boston, the company had no office, no computers, and no distributors.

Jim Koch and his partner, Rhonda Kallman, were the only employees. They spent most of their time going bar to bar just trying to sample people on this different kind of beer. The beer caught on faster than anyone expected. By the end of the year sales of Samuel Adams beer had reached 500 barrels, and distribution had expanded from Massachusetts to Connecticut, and a place where great beer is revered, Germany.

While this is no longer a craft brewery, they have reinvented themselves making small production beers like Griffin’s Bow from the limited series collection.

Style
Barleywine Ale

By its golden color and flavors of tropical fruits and oak, this brew defies the expectation of a barleywine. As the strongest of the English ales, barleywines are known for their dark rich malt body and burly character. Versions of this ancient style are said to date back to the medieval times of William the Conqueror. Over the centuries it was a beer made on estates and small breweries for the aristocracy as the first and strongest batch. Its name derived from its wine-like strength.

Taste
From the aroma and notes of sweet honeysuckle, pineapple, and grapefruit, to richer hints of burnt sugar, and toffee, this intriguing brew is full of complex flavors. The distinct character of toasted oak adds depth and contrasts the light fruit sweetness. This unique take on a barleywine ale surprises with its smoothness and balance of fruit, hop citrus, and warming strength.

 

Pretty Things Lovely Saint Winefrede
Somerville, MA
Pretty Things starts with husband and wife team Dann and Martha Paquette. A few years back, Dann got the brewing bug and left for England to hone his craft. The British influence can be seen in many of PT’s products. Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project is a gypsy brewery that has quickly established a household name for itself with their quirky, tasty beers. They are gypsies in that they do not have a brewing home. Currently they are tenant brewers at Buzzard’s Bay Brewery in Westport. Tenant brewing differs sharply from “contract brewing”. A contract brewer’s product is brewed by and often formulated by the brewmaster at the host brewery. A tenant brewer is solely responsible for his/her/their product.
Lovely Saint Winefride is a brown lager, brewed by Dann using a decoction mash. The beer is malty, containing a blend of German and English malts, and it’s clean as you’d expect from a lager. The beer was lagered over deepest winter for 8 weeks.

St Winefride lived in post-Roman Wales from 600 to 660 A.D. She was charming and intelligent, and decided to become a nun. Unfortunately, this news went down poorly with her suitor, Caradoc, who hacked off her head. Luckily, her Uncle Beuno was able to perform the miracle of reattaching it and she recovered fully. (Hooray!). She became an Abbess and governed Gwytherin Abbey in Wales until her death on November 3rd, 660 A.D.

Taste
Deep brown red color, tannish head, fine carbonation, deep dark malt character with quite a lot of yeast presence in the flavor, refined Hallertau hoppiness. 7% ABV

 

Cisco Grey Lady
Nantucket Island, MA

Cisco Brewers was founded by Randy and Wendy Hudson. Wendy started home brewing with some friends while living in California, but in 1992 she returned to Nantucket Island and met Randy. Instantly, she not only knew that Randy was her soul mate, but that he would make a great brewer. And so she bought him a kit.

Randy tried one recipe using malt extract, then ditched the book and converted a little pasta roller machine (they never used it anyway, who does?) into a grain mill. All the time he had spent working at Something Natural, a bakery on Nantucket, had given him an intuitive feel for working with yeast and grain. He was right in his element as they say. If Wendy needed to be further impressed to stick with this guy, after trying his beer, she was!

Gray Lady is named for the often foggy island where it is brewed. This wheat beer is fermented with Belgian yeast and brewed with fresh fruit and spices. A unique ale that emits a complex, earthy nose and a soft, mid-palate maltiness with hints of tropical fruit. Dry and spicy. 4.5% abv

Style
Witbier

A Belgian Style ale that’s very pale and cloudy in appearance due to it being unfiltered and the high level of wheat, and sometimes oats, that’s used in the mash. Always spiced, generally with coriander, orange peel and other oddball spices or herbs in the back ground. The crispness and slight twang comes from the wheat and the lively level of carbonation. This is one style that many brewers in the US have taken a liking to and have done a very good job of staying to style. Sometimes served with a lemon, but if you truly want to enjoy the untainted subtleties of this style you’ll ask for yours without one. Often referred to as “white beers” (witbieren) due to the cloudiness/yeast in suspension.

 

Goose Island Mathilda
Chicago, Illinois
When the first Goose Island Brewpub opened its doors in 1988, domestic, mass-produced beer was deeply ingrained in Midwestern culture. The craft beer industry was still in its infancy, with only a handful of brewpubs in existence in the Midwest. In his travels across Europe, beer-lover John Hall had enjoyed a distinctive local brew in each region he visited. Hall was convinced that Midwesterners could produce beers as good or better than those he’d tasted in his travels. Living on the shore of the largest system of fresh water on the planet Earth, in a city with rapidly evolving tastes – John decided that his hometown, Chicago, would be the ideal place to do just that.
Today, Goose Island brews an innovative selection of over 50 craft beers, the best of which are then bottled at our Fulton Street brewery. Goose Island beers are now enjoyed in 26 states and Europe.

Style
Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Like a Belgian Pale Ale, the strong versions will also be pale to golden in color. What sets them apart is a much higher alcohol content that can range from hidden to spicy to devastatingly present. Expect a complex and powerful ale, yet delicate with rounded flavors and big, billowy, rocky, white head. Hop and malt character can vary, most are fruity and quite hoppy, but hop flavor and aroma will generally be within the low range and artfully balanced.

Taste
Upfront crispness, sweetness and bready flavors give way to a fantastic spicy (peppery, if you ask me) flavor on the back of the palate and lingering through the finish.  The finish also lets loose some slightly bitter hoppiness mingling with nice yeast.  I would say this is a slightly full-bodied beer, with a slightly cloying mouthfeel, though the first drink seems crisp and clean.

 

Berkshire Brewing Company Cabin Fever
South Deerfield, MA
Berkshire Brewing Company Inc., is a local Micro brewery located in South Deerfield, MA, established in 1994 by Christopher T. Lalli and Gary A. Bogoff. All of the beer produced is unfiltered, unpasteurized and contains no chemical additives or preservatives. We carry 5 different styles of their beer all in 22 ounce packages.

Style
Winter Warmer

These malty sweet offerings tend to be a favorite winter seasonal. Big malt presence, both in flavor and body. The color ranges from brownish reds to nearly pitch black. Hop bitterness is generally low, leveled and balanced, but hop character can be pronounced. Alcohol warmth is not uncommon.

Many English versions contain no spices, though some brewers of spiced winter seasonal ales will slap “Winter Warmer” on the label. Those that are spiced, tend to follow the “wassail” tradition of blending robust ales with mixed spices, before hops became the chief “spice” in beer. American varieties many have a larger presences of hops both in bitterness and flavor.

Taste
Full bodied with a slightly viscous rolling carbonation in the mouth. Lots of layered malt flavors push against a thick wall of hop flavor, the bitterness is more subdued but balances perfectly. Some nutty yeast and a kiss of ale like fruitiness in the mix. Earthy and faint piney flavors from the hops meld well with the sugary, almost nougat maltiness. Finishes with a long lived crispness and fresh lingering hops.

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