Long Live Beerworks: The All Seeing Eye 3/1/2017

Hey folks! I’ve been falling a little bit behind on my personal reviews of beer (in large part due to work and other blog posts), but I’m back with a new review of a beer almost literally in my own backyard: The All Seeing Eye from Longlive Beerworks.  I recognize that I don’t always review the most trendy and hip beers out there (I am trying to do a variety after all), however this beer has been gathering a lot of buzz in the local craft beer scene, so I figured that I had to check it out.  So for your reading and tasting pleasure I give you The All Seeing Eye:

Beer Name: The All Seeing Eye

Brewery: Long Live Beerworks

Brewery Location: Providence, RI

Beer Style: Double IPA

ABV: 8.4%

IBU: N/A

Appearance

The All Seeing Eye pours an opaque pale-golden color with a thin white head that clings to life (and slowly dies) over time.  Let’s face it- if I put this in front of you and just called it “juice”, you would probably believe me (I still refuse to call these beers “juicy” though).

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Aroma

Hoppy. The most dominant notes in the aroma are a plethora of tropical fruit with some grassy notes present as well.

Taste & Aftertaste

Right off the bat, I get notes of mango and pineapple, accompanied by light hints of orange and lime in the background.  This beer is a definite fruit/citrus bomb.  I get some bitterness in this beer, but it’s at comparatively low levels for a double IPA (which is typical for the New England-style IPA).  The mouthfeel is on the thicker side (I do detect a perceived sweetness to it), but the beer actually finishes pretty dry.  To top it all off, the beer has virtually no alcohol burn to it at all (which is scary considering listed alcohol percentage).  The perceived sweetness that I pick up is likely the indicator towards the beer’s high alcohol content.  I’m not complaining- I feel warm inside now.

Overall Impressions

This beer is excellent and I take a lot of pride knowing that it is brewed right in my home city.  The fruit and citrus notes derived from the hops makes this beer unbelievably accessible to the average beer drinker.  Just to clarify that statement- I wouldn’t introduce a novice beer drinker to a normal IPA (in large part due to the bitterness), but I would certainly introduce them to a New England-style IPA because the bitterness isn’t so intense that it would scare them off.  If anything- it’s a gateway beer to other IPAs.  Honestly, I would put this beer on par with any of the super trendy New England IPAs on the market right now (see my review on Tree House: Green).  This beer is an excellent representation of what my home state can produce, and I couldn’t be prouder.

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Buttonwoods Brewery

Buttonwoods Brewery is among the handful of Rhode Island breweries slotted to open its doors to the public in 2017.  Named for the neighborhood in Warwick, RI where his parents live, Buttonwoods is the brainchild of Morgan Clark Snyder Jr. who, after five years of homebrewing, as well as working for both a distributor and small brewery in New York City, saw an opportunity to open a brewery in Rhode Island where the craft beer movement is still very much on the rise.  Teaming up with his father, who moved to the state three years earlier and is the business side of the brewery, Morgan plans to brew a wide array of beers to satisfy any beer drinker who walks into his brewery.  As a homebrewer and all around beer nerd, I was very excited to talk to Morgan about his beer, brewing, and craft beer perspective.

I visited Morgan at his still-under-construction brewery to find out more about his plans.

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Rich: What types of beer do you plan to have on tap?

Morgan: Everything.  Part of this whole project is that it’s literally a science experiment for me.  I’m coming in with two years of experience as a professional brewer, and I want to do all those things that I wanted to do (but couldn’t do) at the Bronx Brewery.  I always wanted to be more creative, but they already had set expectations for what their beers should be.  So coming out of the gate, I hope to always have four different styles on tap: Saison (because that’s my favorite beer), IPA, Kölsch, and some kind of mixed fermentation.  We are going to have berliner weisses and goses.  We are going to have some barrel aged sours (though obviously it’s going to take a lot of time to get to those).  I plan to brew some of those barrel aged sours now so that I can put them straight into barrels.

R:Will you have any “flagship” beers that you will build your brand around?  Or are you planning more towards a model of all “one-off” beers?

M: That’s all part of the experiment right there.  Truth be told, with the exception of working at the Bronx Brewery, there has only been one recipe that I have ever rebrewed a second time in five years of homebrewing.  Everything else has been a one-off. Year one I am planning on doing all one-offs.  Year two I will repeat some recipes that did exceptionally well from year one and mix in some new recipes as well.  As we grow, we will refine the core beers that we keep around as often as possible, and also do a bunch of crazy one-offs.  I was reading this morning that 36% of the beers consumed on the market (not manufactured) are IPAs.  So we are going to brew a lot of IPAs, while the saisons, kölsches, berliner weisses, and goses are what will make us unique.

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Our conversation then turned to New England-style IPAs, how Morgan brews them, and the consumer buzz surrounding them.  He poured me a pilot batch that was his take on the New England IPA and told me that he brewed it with 75% Maris Otter malt , 25% Flaked Oats, and a homebrewer yeast that is called “The Juice”.  He used 100% Chinook hops, and the beer didn’t receive its first hop addition until there were 15 minutes left in the boil- lending itself to a profile that focuses more on hop flavor than hop bitterness.  The beer was a very pale straw color (he says he has an obsession with making the palest beers ever), had very distinguished fruity and piny flavors from the hops, and a very dry finish.  It was quite tasty!  Buttonwoods plans to satisfy the part of the craft beer market that seeks New England IPAs.  But not every person will be happy with that.

R: There are some who argue that brewing an IPA with this type of turbidity is flawed brewing, that the yeast shouldn’t be present.  It sounds like you disagree with that when it comes to the New England IPA?

M: Just look at Belgian witbier and German hefeweizens- it’s the same thing.  It tastes great.  Or a zwickelbier- they’re fantastic.  [Zwickelbier is] an unfiltered lager with a yeast that has very poor flocculation.  The yeast adds its own lemony character- not quite tart, but like the sweeter side of a lemon, like the lemon head.  The yeast can add some good things to beer… some bad things too, but as far as the New England IPA is concerned there is nothing bad going on here- if you’re doing it right.

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Our conversation then turned to the local community and the Rhode Island craft beer scene at large.

R: A lot has changed in the Rhode Island beer scene in the past few years. You are one of a few new breweries that are slotted to open their doors this year.  How does it feel to be part of that growth?

M: It’s great.  When I first came up with the idea to do it here, there wasn’t anything here.  So it’s great to see other things happening here.  Last year Long Live opened…that’s it.  The year before that I don’t think anything opened.  Everywhere I’ve lived since college has had a new brewery opening up every couple of months.  It’s exploded, it’s great.  But here there hasn’t been as much.

R: So you think that there’s still lots more room to grow?  More room for more breweries?

M: There’s so much more room to grow.  It’s a very friendly environment among the local breweries.  I hang out with the guys at Proclamation pretty often, I talk to Armando at Long Live about once a month, and Matt down at Tilted Barn has let me pick his brain a few times.  It seems like everybody wants the local craft beer scene in Rhode Island to grow.

R: So it sounds like there’s a common interest amongst breweries in this state to both improve and grow the local beer scene?

M: We kind of get tied in together.  So if someone has a bad beer from Rhode Island, then all of Rhode Island beer hurts as a result.  So it helps to work together.  A high tide raises all boats.  I want this to be a very open and welcoming community.

R: Have many locals taken notice to you working on the brewery?  Have people been welcoming?

M: It’s been great! People have been so receptive and so kind.  People stop by all the time and ask how are you doing and when are you going to be open?  It’s great, people are excited.  For me to be adopted into a community- it’s worked out way better than I expected.

R: Do you plan to collaborate/cooperate with local businesses?

M: My big things is that I want to work with as many local people as possible.  Whether it’s my electrician or the guy who makes my tap handles, I want to work with as many locals as I possibly can. I talked with a guy who is growing his own hops in his back yard, and we are talking about potentially using some of his stuff.

R: One thing that I don’t think I’ve seen in Rhode Island that much (if at all) is collaboration beers between breweries within the state.  Do you see yourself doing commercial collaborations ?

M: I knew you were going to ask that question! In my head, I will have done a collaboration with every single brewery here.  Realistically, I don’t know if I’ll get to every brewery, but I’ll try.

R: Do you have an idea about when you might be ready to open your doors and start selling beer to the public?

M: I’m still waiting on some licensing from the Federal Government.  But we should be open before the end of April.  I have a strong feeling it’ll be April 4th– a lot of people in my life were born on April 4th and a lot of things have happened in my life on April 4th, so I have a strong feeling…

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Morgan has designed his business with the probability for growth in mind.  He has a large space with more space in units adjacent to his that he would love to move into in the future.  At the start, the vast majority of Buttonwoods’ offerings will only be available in the tap room, but he hinted that he was in the process of working with distributors to get his beer out to local bars.  Morgan told me that the quality of the beer should speak for itself, and if Morgan comes out swinging like he plans to, it sounds like his beer will sell itself (though him being a good salesman helps too).  Keep an eye out for Buttonwoods, Rhode Island!  The beer tastes good and it’s something to get excited about!

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Banded Horn Brewing Co: Pepperell Pilsener 2/9/2017

Today the Ocean State is being pummeled by a blizzard, and after being bogged down by a busy work schedule, I find that I finally have a lot of extra time to burn on this excessively snowy day.  So with that, I have decided to review a Pilsner!  You’re probably thinking that I picked one of the worst “cold weather beers” possible.  This is true, however I have been meaning to review this particular beer for several weeks, but 2 different recent colds have compromised my ability to taste, so I’m going to knock this one out before the next one hits me.  Enter Pepperell Pils from Banded Horn.  Check it out:

Beer Name: Pepperell Pilsener

Brewery: Banded Horn Brewing Co.

Brewery Location: Biddeford, Maine

Beer Style: Pilsner

ABV: 4.6%

IBU: 38

Appearance

Pepperell Pils pours a straw-yellow color, is mostly clear (with a slight haze to it), and a solid white head that follows the glass all the way down.

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Aroma

This beer has a lightly flowery and grainy aroma with some definite hints of green apple on the nose.

Taste & Aftertaste

A grainy character (with slight hints of cooked corn) hits you up front (I am mostly reminded of white bread), followed by a prominent (though not remotely aggressive) bitterness.  A sort of earthy/flowery hop character is present in the flavor, however I would not mind seeing more of it.  When served cold, the green apple characteristics that I picked up in the aroma aren’t as present, but they do shine through more as the beer warms up.  Other fruity esters also appear as the beer warms up.  The dry finish and low alcohol makes this beer a very easy drinker.  Overall, I would describe this beer as light and delicate, but with some interesting complexities.

Overall Impressions

This is not a bad beer overall, though truthfully it has some qualities to it that I feel get in the way of the elements that I like most in pilsners.  Most notably the green apple characteristics and the fruity esters seem to be vying for attention against the flowery hop and grainy malt characteristics that I usually love in a pilsner.  I found those fruity elements kind of distracting.  Again, this is not a bad beer, and I would enjoy a few of these at a barbeque, but at the end of the day there are other pilsners out there that I simply enjoy more.  The devil is in the details.

A Little Crazy, Santilli, Black Tulip 1/31/2017

Hey everyone!  I’m back again with another panel!  In my ongoing quest to sample new and interesting beers, this week I decided to throw two styles into the blind panel that I have not reviewed on my blog yet: a Belgian pale ale and a Belgian-style tripel.  Furthermore, I thought it would be fun to throw breweries into the mix who are noted for their exceptional hoppy beers.   I want to give my thanks to the Malted Barley in Providence for being the new host to these panels (our previous home was abruptly closed).  Lastly, I want to thanks Dr. Alex for stepping in at the last minute to participate on this panel when one of my participants could not make it.  Anyway, I hope you all enjoy what I have to offer!

Remember, none of the participants know what beer is being given to them (myself excluded)- this is a blind taste test, and I only inform them of what style of beer they are drinking.  Not every person on every panel is an expert at reviewing beer, and nobody’s palate is ever wrong- taste is purely subjective.

Panelist Profiles

Name: Dr. Alex Name: Colin Name: Brad
Age: 29 Age: 28 Age: 31
Occupation: Chemist Occupation: Investment Management Occupation: Realtor
Level of Beer Appreciation (1-5): 5 Level of Beer Appreciation (1-5):  4 Level of Beer Appreciation (1-5): 5
Favorite Beer/Beer Style: IPA, Pale Ale, German Lagers, Barrel Aged Stouts, Sours Favorite Beer/Beer Style: Good beer! Favorite Beer/Beer Style: Pale Ale, IPA, DIPA
Additional Qualifications/Info: BJCP Rank pending/National Judge Additional Qualifications/Info: Is half Irish (definite bump to his qualifications).  Usually not a fan of fruit beer (with some exceptions) Additional Qualifications/Info: General beer enthusiast.


Revolution Brewing Company: A Little Crazy

Beer Name: A Little Crazy

Brewery: Revolution Brewing Company

Brewery Location: Chicago, IL

Beer Style: Belgian Pale Ale

ABV: 6.7%

IBU: 35

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Belgian pale ales are always interesting beers to try because one never knows how the brewer is going to balance the esters from the Belgian yeast with the hops that one might expect from a pale ale.  Stylistically speaking, a Belgian pale ale tends to be less hop focused like their American cousins, and seeks more balance between the hops, malt, and yeast flavors.  That said there’s nothing stopping a brewery from making a hop forward American style pale ale and fermenting it with Belgian yeast (that type of freedom is half the fun of craft beer).  Let’s see what we got here:

A Little Crazy poured a light golden color, with a slight haze, and thin white lacing that dissipates slowly over time.  The entire group picked up on notes of fruit on the nose, however there were a wide variety of descriptors.  Alex and I picked up on notes of orange and lemon in the aroma.  Alex, in his propensity for epic amounts of detail, went on to note hints of grape and grapefruit.  Brad detected bananas and strawberry, while Colin detected apples or pear accompanied by a hint of vanilla.

There was also a fair amount of variability in terms of the individual tasting notes.  The group noted that the beer was pretty bitter upfront with some lingering bitterness on the finish (which some could find more tolerable than others).  Alex, Colin, and I noted that the beer had a sort of spicy characteristic  (Colin was thinking something related to nutmeg, while I was thinking something more like black pepper).  Alex and I thought that there was definitely an orange-like flavor present (to me it seemed kind of like orange seltzer without the spritzy carbonation).  Brad and Colin thought that the beer had a sort of metallic aftertaste, which was a turnoff for Brad, but it did not bother Colin.

The overall opinions of this beer seemed to vary as well.  Alex and Brad both strongly disliked the beer.  Alex thought the beer was way too out of balance (too hop forward) for a Belgian pale ale (and he was not a fan of the lingering bitterness that the beer offered).  Colin enjoyed the beer and thought it would be a good “door-opener” for people who typically don’t flock to IPAs.  I agreed with Brad and Alex that the bitterness could have been dialed back, but I actually did enjoy this beer.  It was an interesting mix of American hops and Belgian yeast.

Night Shift Brewing: Santilli

Beer Name: Santilli

Brewery: Night Shift Brewing

Brewery Location: Everett, MA

Beer Style: IPA

ABV: 6%

IBU: N/A

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The next beer on the docket was Night Shift’s: Santilli IPA- Bronze Medal Winner at the 2016 World Beer Cup.  Night Shift Brewery (and their beers) currently have a lot of hype behind them, so I thought it would be interesting to get my panel’s opinions without any hype swaying their tasting notes.  All of us have had Night Shift beer before (and some of us had even had this beer prior to the tasting), so this was the perfect opportunity to give a completely unbiased opinion!

Santilli poured a hazy golden color with a persistent white head.  Everybody’s notes on the aroma were both different yet similar (stay with me here).  The entire group picked up on some variation or another of fruit/citrus (individuals’ descriptors included orange, lemon, watermelon, grapefruit, and pineapple).  Alex picked up on aromatic notes of pine, Colin thought there was a definite juniper-like quality present, and Brad detected a raisin-like quality.  One area of overlap that did occur on the aroma (independently in the individual tasting notes) was that both Alex and I both picked up on a slight cheesy aroma (akin to parmesan).  This quality can present itself when a brewer has a bad or an old batch of hops that ends up being used in the beer.  This type of aroma can be more acceptable in a lambic (brewers traditionally used aged hops in that style of beer), but not in an IPA.

The group pretty much agreed that the flavor of the beer more or less matched the aromas they perceived.  The cheesy quality that I picked up in the aroma didn’t really show up in the flavor of the beer for me, but Alex still noticed it.  The beer was citrusy, piney, and grassy with a huge bitter backbone to it.  The bitterness was actually a turnoff for the entire group because it was somewhat astringent, lingering, and unpleasant.  Colin thought that the aftertaste was borderline chalky, and Brad felt that the beer was too imbalanced towards the overly-bitter side of the IPA spectrum.  Overall, nobody in the group was particularly fond of this beer, and everyone was surprised when I revealed what they were drinking.  Those who had drank this beer previously were especially shocked, and we all seemed to conclude that this was just a subpar batch of this particular beer.  But keep in mind that observations like the ones we made are why I keep the participants blind to what they are tasting in the first place.  It is possible that the reviews may have been more positive had they known what beer they were drinking from the start- simply because we are all fans of Night Shift Brewing.

New Holland: Black Tulip

Beer Name: Black Tulip

Brewery: New Holland Brewing Company

Brewery Location: Holland, MI

Beer Style: Belgian Tripel

ABV: 8.8%

IBU: 21

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For the last beer on this tasting panel, I wanted to steer the group away from hops, and more towards a style that is more malt and yeast driven.  I’ll admit that I’m more partial towards Belgian-style beers, but if my memory serves me correctly, I do not think that I nor any of my panels have reviewed a Belgian-style Tripel yet.  With that in mind, I settled on New Holland’s Black Tulip.  I think it made for a good change of pace.  Check it out:

Black Tulip poured a slightly hazy light golden color with a very light white head that dissipated very quickly (presumably due to the high alcohol content).  The entire group picked up on a banana-like aroma to some degree (some more than others).  Alex also detected some heavy bubblegum-like notes, Brad detected cherries, Colin thought it smelled oaky, and I picked up on some pear-like qualities.  Furthermore, the entire group could tell that they were about to have a strong beer based on the way the alcohol stung their nostrils.

Similar to the aroma, the banana flavors were pretty apparent.  Colin said that the beer reminded him of Portuguese “S” cookies (sort of like a biscotti) with a vanilla aftertaste.  He described the beer as a sort of “banana milkshake” only much thinner.  Alex picked up on similar qualities in terms of the malt character (calling it biscuity), and later agreed with Colin’s observations on the vanilla qualities when we went back and compared notes.  To me, the beer’s malty characteristics were sort of similar to a sourdough bread flavor with elements of pear shining through as well.  Alex also picked up on the pear-like qualities as the beer warmed up.  The most surprising thing for Brad (and the rest of us, for that matter) was how subtle the alcohol was in this beer.  We all smelled the alcohol immediately from the aroma, but it was not very perceptible in the actual flavor of the beer, which made this beer dangerously smooth.  Overall, Alex thought this beer was well executed and would order several more pints.  I thought the beer was pretty solid, but was a bit two-dimensional and could have used a bit of something more to put it over the top (I couldn’t tell you what exactly).  Colin thought that the beer was solid but not his style because it was a bit too sweet and fruity for his tastes.  Brad actually liked the beer a lot, which surprised him because he throws himself heavily into the hoppy beers corner- he would order another pint.

New Belgium Brewing Company: Accumulation 1/27/2017

Today after one of my shifts behind the bar, I had some extra time to kill, so I decided to dissect one of the beers we currently have on tap.  I decided to go with a beer that is one of my wife’s current favorites: New Belgium’s Accumulation.  Accumulation is a white IPA- a sort of cross between an IPA and a Belgian wit; and in my opinion I think this style of beer is underdone and underappreciated.  This is a shame because I am actually a big fan of the style and it is really refreshing and flavorful style of beer to have (provided it is done well).  Here’s the scoop:

Beer Name: Accumulation

Brewery: New Belgium Brewing Company

Brewery Location: Fort Colins, CO

Beer Style: White IPA

ABV: 6.2%

IBU: 70

Appearance

Accumulation pours a straw golden color with a creamy white head that lasts and lasts.  The beer was a bit opaque, but the keg kicked in the middle of my pour, so I probably got the bottom of one keg and the top of the other.

accumulation

Aroma

I picked up on a citrusy (mostly lemony) character, accompanied by some herbal notes.  I also got a very light and vague hint of garlic on the nose (commonly associated with certain hops).

Taste & Aftertaste

Accumulation has a medium, yet creamy, body with the same distinct citrusy (mostly lemony) character that you got on the nose (which I find really pleasant).  When you pair the lemon flavor with the fruity/spicy characteristics that you get from the yeast, you get a sort of herbal quality from the beer (a similar quality that I often find in certain teas, though to don’t be confused- this beer doesn’t taste like tea).  The malt character is like taking a bite out of an English muffin, and the hop bitterness is assertive enough to let you know that you’re drinking an IPA, but it doesn’t dominate your palate.  I’m actually surprised to learn that this beer is 70 IBUs (it tastes lower than that).  Overall, this is a very easy drinking beer!

Overall Impressions

I am of the opinion that white IPAs are very overlooked.  They don’t seem to command the same respect in the IPA community that a typical IPA/DIPA would garner.  As somebody who loves both Belgian wits and IPAs, I think they make a good bridge between the two (as the style is a sort of hybrid of the two styles).  I would recommend this beer to a hop head maybe looking to try out Belgian wits, or a wit lover looking to try out hops.  This beer is not so overly bitter that somebody who is typically averse to trying IPAs would dislike it.  Personally, I love this style of beer (including this beer), and would happily recommend this beer to most people.  It’s really easy to drink!  Well done!

Dark Horse Brewing Co: Scotty Karate 1/14/2017

So we are just into the second week of 2017, and I am already sick (2017 is off to a fantastic start, isn’t it?).  Part of the challenges that I face as a beer blogger is maintaining a variety in terms of the styles of beer that I review- and when I get sick, that challenge becomes harder because there are some beer styles that I simply will not be able to taste because my senses are compromised (the pilsner I had in mind will have to wait).  So this week I decided to pick something bold with some assertive flavors and lots of alcohol (alcohol kills germs, right?).  This week I decided to taste Dark Horse Brewing Co’s Scotty Karate: their Scotch Ale that won a silver medal at the 2007 Great American Beer Festival.  Here’s the scoop:

Beer Name: Scotty Karate

Brewery: Dark Horse Brewing Co

Brewery Location: Marshall, MI

Beer Style: Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy

ABV: 9.75%

IBU: 26

Appearance

Scotty Karate pours an opaque brown color, with a cream colored head that slowly fades over time (likely due to the high alcohol content).

scotty-karate

Aroma

The dominant aroma I picked up from this beer were caramel with hints of cherry in the background, as well as some notes of alcohol.

Taste & Aftertaste

This beer is rich, sweet, and thick with a lot of caramel as the dominant flavor.  I taste some notes of maraschino cherries in there too, which compliments the caramel really nicely.  I also detect some hints of smoke immediately after swallowing when I breathe out through my nose (emphasis on smoky- not burnt or ashy).  The alcohol is certainly present in the beer, but it’s not overbearing.  But at 9.75%, this beer will definitely sweep the legs after more than one pint (Karate Kid anyone? Anyone?).  There is a slight bitter/astringent aftertaste, but it’s far from a deal breaker.  The flavors of this beer continue to blend more and smooth out as it gets warmer  Overall, this beer has a great balance of flavors in that no one element of this beer dominates the others.

Overall Impressions

This is an excellent scotch ale and I can understand why this beer won a silver medal in its category at the 2007 GABF.  It’s boozy, but doesn’t hit you over the head with it, and the flavors are very well balanced with each other.  So when you’re sick like I am, and need a beer with bold flavors to help kill the germs and open up your nasal passages, a beer like Scotty Karate will certainly do the trick.

Night Shift Brewing: Furth 1/5/2017

Happy BREW year everybody (check horrible pun off the list).  I hope everybody’s new year was filled with good beer.  At least at the bar where I work, New Year’s Eve 2016 was filled with lots of people looking to utterly forget 2016 (who am I to judge?).  So it’s a new year, with new beer!  I’ve decided to pick a beer from Night Shift Brewing Company, who has been turning out quality beer since 2012.  I’ve been to their tap room a number of times and have yet to be disappointed by them.  Today, I decided to review Furth, their hefeweizen.  Check out my…FURTH review of the New Year (…yup, more bad puns!):

Beer Name: Furth

Brewery: Night Shift Brewing

Brewery Location: Everett, MA

Beer Style: Hefeweizen

ABV: 5.5%

IBU: N/A

Appearance

Furth pours a cloudy yellow color with a creamy white head that persists all the way down the glass.

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Aroma

Up front I noticed notes of Banana, citrus (orange?), and light notes of black pepper.

Taste & Aftertaste

I usually expect at least some notes of banana and cloves when I drink hefeweizens, but with Furth, I got light-moderate notes of banana and no notes of clove whatsoever (not a bad thing, just different than expected).  One strong flavor that I am picking up on, which I am a really big fan of, is a clementine-like orangey flavor (reminiscent of a Belgian wit).  The malt character is very bready (I’m thinking whole wheat bread here); and on the back of my palate, I get a light hint of black pepper.  There is a slightly bitter aftertaste that does linger a little, but is far from unpleasant.  Overall the beer is medium-bodied (leaning more towards the heavy side) with barely noticeable hop character.  The fruity/citrusy notes are the clear star of this beer.  It is very easy to drink, and I easily could sit at a bar enjoying multiple pints of this beer.  Very well done!

Overall Impressions

This beer is an excellent German-style hefeweizen.  I especially love the notes of orange in the flavor- it accentuates the banana and bready flavors of the beer.  Style snobs might not be accepting of the citrusy flavors that are present in this beer, but I’m more in favor of good flavor than style accuracy.  This beer is excellent.  It’s an awesome German hefeweizen that has a slight twist to it.