March Beer Series

Posted by on Mar 8, 2012 in Beer Blog | 0 comments

Dark Element
Element Brewing Company
Millers Falls, Massachusetts

Element Brewing Company believes firmly in the fusion of art, science, and beer. Their hand-crafted, bottle conditioned ales don’t fit neatly into any box and their size allows them to be innovative in their brewing techniques. They have created hybrids of styles that test the flavors, dimensions, and boundaries of beer. The highest-quality ingredients are used, including heirloom grains from Europe, domestic and international hops, and their own specially developed signature yeast.

Their beers attempt to hit the “sweet spot”; that point that gives you a gentle warming sensation of alcohol without the shock value and booziness of more extreme styles.

This new American Black Ale style has the malt profile of an Imperial Schwartz Beer and the floral characteristics of an American IPA. Saturated in hops, this intrepid style offers smooth dark toffee and chocolate flavors without the roasted bitterness found in many “dark” beers.

“A heady start, with a shade of ruby clinging to the brown darkness. Spicy with candied fruit, minty hops and cake-like maltiness, as a powdery yeast awakens the nostrils. Smoothness burrows in for the duration. Malt jumps from bitter dark chocolate to brown sugar to biscuity to dried grass, with a yeast flavor that does not let go. Hints of exotic fruit, papaya, star fruit and unripe mangos come to mind. A bit of broth and yeast in the roasty semidry finish. Yeah, complex no doubt. A slow sipper … a sleeper brew.” (Alström Bros) ~90 points Beer Advocate
Perfect for beef stew.


Jack d’Or
Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project
Somerville, Massachusetts

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.

“Jack D’Or” is a simple table beer, or “Saison Americain”, as they have titled it. Not so much to coin a new beer style but just to have some fun. The Jack D’Or (pronounced “Jack Door”), is as close to a house beer as Pretty Things makes.

“Gorgeous pour. Gold with a touch of cloudiness (unfiltered) and a solid two- to three-finger creamy and fluffy head that clings to the glass. Sweet and floral in the nose with suggestions of lavender, lilac, rocky candy, some pale malts, metallic and a strong yeast presence. Fairly smooth on the palate, but a bit coarse and rustic too, with an even consistency, medium body and tight carbonation that scrubs. Distinct champagne-like bite. Quite hoppy, but not overly bitter. Citric edge; dandelion leaves. Sweetish, but not cloying. Hint of peach followed by Red Delicious apples. Green banana. Elaborate yeast. Spicy, bready. Some pepper. Husky, dry and a bit tannic in the finish with a tasty yeasty linger.” (Alström Bros) ~ Beer Advocate 96 points
Drink on its own or even as a palate cleanser with spicy chili or barbecue.


Racer 5
Bear Republic
Cloverdale, California

In the modern town of Healdsburg, lies one of America’s best and most inventive brewpubs. Bear Republic is a little brewery with a growing reputation among craft beer enthusiasts. The pub is part sports bar, part eclectic left coast idealist – it celebrates life and all of its offerings. The brewery distributes its offerings in 22 ounce bottles in select markets across the country, including Massachusetts.

This is a rye beer, so-named for the notable amount of rye grain in the grist bill. Bitterness tends to be moderate, to allow the spicy and sour-like rye characteristics to pull through.

From Jason Almstrom at Beer Advocate:
Appearance: Mildly hazed golden orange, a most excellent froth with a web like trail of lace.  Smell: Clean and fresh citrusy hop aroma, hop oil and a pungent coarseness show the bucket loads of hops they used. Light estery alcohol, toasted malt lay meekly underneath the hops. Taste & Mouthfeel: Nice hard slap of hop to begin with, the pungent bitterness lingers on and on. Lots of hop flavor and a soothing bottle conditioned smoothness that can’t be beat! The maltiness is muscular but laid back with a biscuity flavor throughout. Mild presence for what the alcohol should show though it does warm the body after a while.” 94 points Beer Advocate
Drink with Mexican food


Red Giant
Element Brewing Company
Millers Falls, Massachusetts

This beer is nominally a Red Amber Ale (which is no more than a catch all for any beer less than a Dark Ale in color, ranging from amber (duh) to deep red hues). This style of beer tends to focus on the malts, but hop character can range from low to high. Expect a balanced beer, with toasted malt characters and a light fruitiness in most examples.

“A healthy head on a ruddy-looking ale. Smells of caramel, baked apples, spicy hops and molasses cookies. Smoothness precedes a quick kick of crispness in the medium body. Broth and hay flavors soon meet a flash of caramel and breadiness. Hops are there to balance this big brew even if they sidestep here and there. Alcohol warms a bit but is nonchalant. Leafy hops pool on the palate toward the end with a linger of a fruitiness from when the cork was popped–that caramel flavor just doesn’t want to let go. A big beauty, this lush and untouched ale has won us over.” (Alström Bros) ~ Beer Advocate 94 points


Leave a Comment