Last Friday with Mark

Posted by on Apr 20, 2012 in Beer Blog, Blog | 0 comments

Ballast Point Black Marlin Porter
San Diego, California
Jack Young found his taste for beer when he was in college. Upon graduation, he was bored of the commercially available brands and began to homebrew. Soon, he found it difficult to find supplies for his hobby, so he opened a homebrew supply store. There he met up with Yussef and they became partners. As it often happens (see Jim Koch and Sam Adams), a home brew hobby became a business.

American Porter

Inspired from the now wavering English Porter, the American Porter is the ingenuous creation from that. Thankfully with lots of innovation and originality American brewers have taken this style to a new level. Whether it is highly hopping the brew, using smoked malts, or adding coffee or chocolate to complement the burnt flavor associated with this style. Some are even barrel aged in Bourbon or whiskey barrels. The hop bitterness range is quite wide but most are balanced. Many are just easy drinking session porters as well.

The carbonation off of a hard pour gives a quick, cascading effect to the head, and what a head it is–a huge rocky, bubbly mass that has some great clinging action on the glass. Nearly all of the way black with dark brown on the edges. Mild charred grain, faint smoke, charcoal, dark-roasted coffee and a little bit of black currant in the aroma. So damn smooth, we’re not sure if a beer could be any more smooth. Creamy medium body. Heavy amount of mocha flavor here, with a more cocoa powder and medium-roasted coffee mix. The hops are on too, balancing and throwing some flavor at the taste buds with herbal and faint tobacco flavors. Hint of black currant and chocolate cake batter in the middle. Dry finish with mineral and charred wood flavors.


Element Red Giant
Millers Falls, MA

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.

Red Ale/ American Amber

Primarily 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. The range can run from a basic ale, to American brewers who brew faux-Oktoberfest style beers that are actually ales instead of lagers.

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.


Berkshire Brewing Raspberry Barleywine Style Ale
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.

American Strong Ale

Catch all style category for beers from 7.0 percent alcohol by volume and above. Some may even be as high as 25% abv. Characteristics will greatly vary; some have similarities to Barley-wines and Old Ales. Barrel aging is certainly not out of the question.

Bright reddish amber with a mild haze from the sediment of yeast and maybe raspberries. Decent lacing stays long enough to make an impression. Candy like raspberry aroma with a malty backing. Alcohol is quite evident also with a light and clean ester.
Creamy and slightly thick in the mouth, light smoothness within the mild carbonation. Strong alcohol character that the sweetness and tartness of the raspberries ride along with, hopping is mild with little bitterness yet does not leave the brew cloying. Maltiness hits in the middle with a simple lightly toasted grain sweetness and then the alcohol kicks again with a large warming ester.
About time someone brewed a fruit beer with strength, this is no sissy fruit beer you are probably used to. Todd was spot on with the cordial comment. This is an ale to reckon with.


Mystic Powderhouse Ale
Chelsea, MA
Many people believe that the best known person or thing ever to come out of Chelsea was Horatio Alger (apologies to Howie Long and Albert DeSalvo). For me, it was, and maybe still is Chick Corea. Having tasted the beers of Mystic Brewing Company, Chick may have found some competition.
The company was founded by MIT trained fermentation scientists Dr. Bryan Greenhagen, Ph.D, his wife Emily Greenhagen and professional brewer James Nicholson. Their focus is specialty beers such as saisons and barrel aged beers made with regional and exotic fruits as well as finely crafted after-dinner “malt cordials.”


A somewhat recent and over-looked American strong ale, the Wheatwine (or Wheat Wine) is akin to a Barleywine in strength, but contains a large portion of wheat malt; upwards of 50%. The wheat provides a soft and fluffy mouthfeel. Color and bitterness varies.
A tribute to the history and stature of the pivotal Mystic Valley landmark and former farmer’s grain mill, the first batch of ‘Old Powderhouse Wheat Wine’ features a variety of hard, red winter wheat that was grown at Four Star Farms in Northfield, MA and malted by Valley Malt in Hadley, MA. Praised by artisanal bakers, the flavors contributed by this hardy grain are earthy and complex helping to create a robust and powerful beer worthy of its name and the spirit of independence to which it pays homage. For hops, only domestic varieties were used for ‘Old Powderhouse,’ combining with the rich flavors in the wheat for a bright and remarkably aromatic beer reminiscent of fresh, ripe fruit.


Brother Adams Bragget Honey Ale
Bar Harbor, ME
The Atlantic Brewing Company began brewing in 1991, on the eve of the microbrewing revolution. We have steadily grown over the years by having a strong commitment to tradition, quality and service. As a result, we have become the number one beer of the Bar Harbor region.

The Braggot is quite an old drink, there is a mentioned in Chaucer, Canterbury Tales in the late 1300’s, and there are earlier references dating even further back to the 12th century in Ireland. Braggot is simply made by blending spices and herbs with mead and beer, to produce a strong concoction with uncommon flavors. Many taverns would make this blend right at the bar though brewers would also blend them as well.
There should be a balance between the honey character and malt flavor with the hop bitterness not overpowering the sweetness yet should be noticeable. Today’s Braggot may or may not be spiced.

Pours somewhat dark, brown and leathery with shimmering amber hues. Carbonation is present, but moderate and quickly dissipates to a wispy trace. Dense and complex honey aroma with a spicy and nostril-warming alcohol, vanilla cookie wafer, wet earth, and subtle hop-leaf note. Syrupy and thick on the palate, with a creamy carbonation that tightens and pulls in a smooth and immensely complex honey and malt fusion. Toffee, caramel, booze-steeped cherries, golden raisins, raw honey comb, floral, toasty malts and a spicy and warming alcohol. Sweet, but not cloying. A bit husky here and there, with lingering tannins and sweet and toasty honey notes in the finish.

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