#9 – Sixpoint Brewery – Sweet Action

Sweet Action is a classic style Cream Ale. It’s a balanced beer, with not too much bitterness from the hops, and not too much sweetness from the malt. This is a perfect fit into the style. BJCP says that Cream Ales have faint sweetness and faint hoppiness. This was a good example of the style, and a nice break from the farmhouse/saisons we started our night out with, and the IPAs and stouts that came later in the night. Sixpoint makes some very good beers, and this is one of them.

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#8 – Smuttynose – Smuttlabs: Pure Biss

If you’re sensing a Smuttynose theme, that’s because one of our guys works part time at Smutty and brought some stuff he had laying around.

Up next is a beer that very few people have ever tasted. There are only 77 checkins on this beer EVER. It’s a very off the wall beer, purely experimental. While you’ve tasted a witbier, this unconventional witbier gets its swerve from the contributions of Chef Jamie Bissonnette. Instead of the traditional coriander and orange peel, Jamie brought kaffir lime leaves, spruce tips and 25 pounds of grapefruit zest to the brewday.

The biggest taste I noticed was the spruce tips. The grapefruit and lime were definitely evident, as well as the grapefruit zest, it smelled and tasted like walking through a forest. Unfortunately, someone had to mention how they thought it smelled like soap, so that became all the rest of it tasted. THis was a very interesting experiment, and I look forward to whatever comes next from Smuttlabs.

Pure Biss Vital Stats (from the Smuttynose blog):

5.4% abv 15 IBU

Malts: North American 2-Row, Wheat, Flaked Wheat, Flaked Oats
Hops: Bittering-Magnum, Flavor-Sterling
Yeast: White Labs WLP-400 Belgian Wit

Batch Size: 30 barrels, packaged in 5.2 gallon kegs and crown finished, 375ml bottles.

#7 – Prairie Artisan Ales – Eli5abeth Midwest Farmhouse Ale

Next came a fun, flavorful, very interesting beer: Prairie Artisan Ales “Eli5abeth Midwest Farmhouse Ale.” This beer is fermented with apricots and two strains of brettanomyces. Dry, citrusy and funky. You definitely taste those farmhouse notes, with leather prominent in the smell. This beer was exactly what you expect from Saison/Farmhouse style beers. It was full-flavored and enjoyable.

#6 – Smuttynose – “Bouncy House”

Next came NH’s Smuttynose, from their Short Batch series, Bouncy House. As the implied, this was a limited run, all bottle in November 2013. Smuttynose’s main goal was to make a beer that is low in alcohol, high in flavor, and hoppy. Some might call this a “session IPA” as it is hoppy and runs at 4.9% ABV, but Smuttynose wanted to avoid labels and called it a hoppy ale.

From Smuttynose:

When you taste Bouncy House, you’ll taste a modest malt bill of North American 2-row, British pale ale malt, C-60 and Aromatic malt mashed for a refreshingly light body that leaves plenty of spotlight for a melange of Warrior, Calypso, El Dorado and Citra hops.

This was a very smooth, low ABV IPA with detectable hops, but they weren’t over the top. Malts were definitely there, and while complex, also very light. We enjoyed drinking this beer, and it was a nice slow ramp up to the beers coming later. Another good quality, flavorful, easy drinking beer.

#5 – Logsdon Organic Farmhouse Ales – Seizoen Bretta

This was the first of many beers in our latest tasting night. It was definitely an interesting beer, and I enjoyed it. If you like Saison/Farmhouse Ales, I recommend this to you. It comes from Oregon’s Logsdon Organic Farmhouse Ales.

From the Logsdon website:

This unfiltered bottle of seizoen, with it’s beeswax seal, is naturally refermented and carbonated with select yeast strains, producing fruity and spicy flavors that are balanced by hops and soft malt character. Special Brettanomyces yeast provides added dryness and crisp complexity to the Seizoen Bretta.  Bottle conditioned with pear juice for a natural carbonation.

Honestly, we didn’t notice the pear juice (we also didn’t know it had it in there, as we hadn’t read up on the beer. It ran at 8% ABV, and that was not clearly evident. It definitely had the farmhouse smells you expect, with the crisp bite of a saison. The addition of Brettanomyces brought out a pleasant Belgian-style beer note (dat phenols). This was definitely a fun first course, and is a very smooth, easy drinking beer.

#4 – Allagash Black

Tonight’s beer is Allagash Black. This is a very fun to drink beer, with lots of sweetness while still maintaining its stout character. Dark malts, dark fruit flavor. A good beer to drink to end the night.

Allagash Black is a Belgian style stout brewed with 2 Row barley, torrified wheat, oats, both roasted and chocolate malt and a generous portion of dark caramelized candi sugar. The silky mouth feel is a great balance to the roasted character, coffee and dark chocolate notes expressed throughout this beer.

Appearance: Dark black, with a thick caramel head. Head fades slowly, leaving lots of lacing. Heads leaves a nice 1/8 inch halo, with some staying on top of the beer.

Smell: Smells very much like a Belgian beer, with the sweetness of the candi sugar coming through. Almost none of the malt comes through

Mouthfeel: Light and silky. Very smooth. Clings to the tongue

Taste: The taste is dominated by the candi sugar, then turns into the typical Belgian taste. I started to taste the “stout-y” malt taste about half way through. Flavors of dark fruit work their way through.

Overall: I’m very glad I finally picked up this beer. It’s very complex, and tastes wonderful. I recommend this beer to fans of Belgian beers, as well as fans of stouts. There are lots of complex flavors, and I really like it.

#3 – Magic Hat Brewing “G-Thing”

G-Thing was part of the Magic Hat 2013 Winter Wonderland seasonal pack.

From their website, this is a 5.7% ABV, 25 IBU beer with ginger juice and cinnamon added, hopped with Magnum and Northern Brewer on a Pale, Caramel Vienna, Caramel Munich, Victory, Chocolate, Wheat malt base with English Ale yeast:

G-Thing! is a Ginger Spice Ale led by a fresh ginger zing that’s followed by a bready malt backbone. Its subtle roasty notes and mild hop bitterness slowly give way to a serene cinnamon spiciness as the malt tones melt away.

Appearance: Dark brown, with minimal head. Head fades to a halo very quickly. 3/5

Smell: Smells of dark malts. Smoky, slight ginger and cinnamon smell. Malts more than anything else. 6/10

Mouthfeel: Thin, with light carbonation. 3/5

Taste: Tastes like it smells. More malty than anything else, but not overly flavorful. 6/10

Overall: A decent beer. Magic Hat puts out decent beers, but there is nothing that stands out about this beer. They definitely tried to make something big and cool, but fell short. 18/30