Friday, November 22, 2013

:: drink[craft]beer fall to winter fest ::

Last Friday, I went to session 1 of Drink[Craft]Beer's Fall to Winter Fest. I returned to their event after enjoying their Summerfest for the moderately sized event felt rather intimate; not only was it easy to visit every booth and not just visit mostly the familiar, it was not overly crowded such that you could not spend time talking to brewers and the brewery staff as well as sample multiple tastings from the booths. Each brewery and cidery had to have at least one fall- or winter-themed offering; while some had seasonal offerings in already in their lineups, others seemed to have brewed beers and ciders for the event for I was unable to find any information online about the products. Moreover, I was quite surprised and pleased to see that apples were playing a bigger role in the event than pumpkins.
As for my favorite apple products and one pumpkin one:
Nightshift (MA) @NightShiftBeer - Fallen Apple. This golden ale brewed with fresh local cider was amazing especially tasty with the undertones from the rum and brandy barrels used for aging. The sour apple notes were complemented by the spice finish.
Bantam Cider (MA) @BantamCider - Persian Spice. While at Thirst Boston, I enjoyed their Le Grande aged in Bourbon barrels, this time my favorite new-to-me product was spiced with a bounty of Middle Eastern botanicals with cardamom and cinnamon being the most identifiable all with a floral finish. See the spices in the second picture.
Urban Farm Fermentory (ME) @Fermentory - Chai Sour Cidah. The Untappd beer app seemed to suggest that this was a new offering, and it was a hybrid of their kombucha and their cider. Indeed, the sour and tea tannin notes of the fermented tea worked well on the finish of the apple.
Downeast Cider House (ME) @DowneastCider - Barrel Project #2. I love their regular unfiltered cider that we sell at work, and the unfiltered nature here came across as very yeasty. The Bourbon barrel notes a definite richness to the apple.
Blacksmiths Winery (ME) - Fatty Bampkins. While a little on the sweet side, it had a great honest apple flavor.
Cape Ann Brewing (MA) @CapeAnnBrewing - Imperial Pumpkin Stout. I do not generally hunt out pumpkin beers, but I am not averse to trying them. When I saw that Cape Ann was offering an imperial pumpkin, it reminded me of Southern Tier's that we had on cask. Likewise, it was very pumpkin but with a decent dark caramel malt and no bothering with pumpkin pie spices.
For favorite dark beers:
RiverWalk Brewing Co. (MA) @RiverwalkBeer - Rye Stout. Another offering that was first entered into Untappd that night so I have to assume it was made for this event. While the coffee malt notes clouded a lot of the rye spice, the hops from the Kent Golding did shine through quite well.
Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project (MA) @PrettyBeer - Babayaga. Technically not new to me, but new to me utilizing the Untappd beer app, this rustic stout with great smoky notes from rosemary-smoked malts was all around delightful.
Nightshift (MA) @NightShiftBeer - Taza Stout. My tasting notes read, "Chocolate blending into coffee from chicory. Ginger builds over time."
High Horse Brewing (MA) @HighHorseBrew - The Business. High Horse Brew Pub was out of this offering when we visited them a few months ago in Amherst. Luckily, I had a chance to try this imperial stout that was black as night and full of coffee roast flavors.
Tap Brewing Company (MA) @TapBrewingCo - Joshua Norton Imperial Stout. Quite delightful with chocolate and caramel notes on the sip and a smoky coffee finish.
And my favorite non-fruit and non-dark brews:
Idle Hands (MA) @IdleHandsBeer - First Pitch. No wonder I could not find this Belgian rye pale ale on shelves for it is keg-only right now. My tasting notes read, "Caramel balanced by rye spice and Belgian notes. Tart apple." Also notable was Lucia's Bounty, their pale weizenbock, which showcased caramel notes and a rosemary-like bite.
Nightshift (MA) @NightShiftBeer - Chinooknation. A Belgian-style double brewed with a single type of hops that offered resiny, lemon, pine, clove, and cinnamon-like spice.
Smuttynose Brewing Company (NH) @SmuttynoseBeer - Winter Ale. Unlike many of the winter offerings, I obviously enjoyed this one's angle for I wrote, "Good to see a winter beer go Trappist style instead of spiced. Fig/date notes."
Notch Brewing (MA) @NotchBrewing - LP IPL. This was certainly not their fall or winter offering, but it was great to see others besides Jack's Abby doing India Pale Lagers. LP IPL had nice pineapple, pine, and citrus notes.
Wormtown Brewery (MA) @WormtownBrewery - Wintah Ale. Perhaps this should be in the dark beer section, but it was a touch lighter as a brown ale. Elegant nutty brown, chocolate, and earthy flavors.

No comments: