Tasting Notes with Jim Beauregard: A beer sampling for the 'tween season

By JIM BEAUREGARD | April 25. 2017 8:58PM

You know, sooner or later the weather is going to make up its mind. Will it be 80 and sunny, or will it be 40 and raining, the kind of rain that bites you with every drop? We’re definitely in between, and so I thought I would present some lighter and darker beers today to fit the receding winter and the onrushing spring. So, let’s get right into it:

Finest Kind IPA, Smuttynose Brewing Co., Hampton. $1.99, 6.9% ABV.

We have here a gold-amber beer, a bit cloudy, with a large off-white head. It has a medium-intensity malt nose and a low-intensity hops nose. It is dry, with medium-plus bitterness, medium-plus acidity, good carbonation, medium and well-integrated alcohol and medium body. The flavor profile leans toward malt, with flavors of caramel, grain, cereal, coffee and toast. Very good, and bright enough for springtime.

2017 Beer Camp Golden IPA, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Chico California, 6.5% ABV, $1.99.

You can always count on Sierra Nevada to produce a flavorful and well-made beer, whatever its particular incarnation might be. This time we have a beer with wheat at its base. It has a large head over yellow-gold beer, low malt and high hops with a nose that bursts forth with citrus, lemon, lime, some geranium notes and a bit of pine. It’s dry, with good bitterness and acidity, medium alcohol that is also well-integrated, medium body and medium-plus flavor intensity that reflects the nose. I’ll end this note with a confession: I am not typically a wheat beer fan, but this is one that I would buy without hesitation.

Wachusett Country Pale Ale, Wachusett Brewing Co., Westminster, Mass., $1.99.

This one is billed as an English pale ale. Knowing about beer styles is worth the effort, for two reasons: One is that if there is a style you know you like, you can go looking for it. The second reason is that it gives a benchmark to measure against. An English pale ale typically has high hops and may have floral, earthy or fruity aromas. It tends to range from a gold amber hue to a bit darker. It’s usually pretty intense in its hops profile but it can have a multicomponent profile as well.

So, gold-amber beer, under an off-white head, indeed has a mix of hops and malt on the nose. The beer has medium bitterness, acidity, alcohol and body. The flavor profile runs from citrus to the malt profile of caramel, grain and bread. Flavorful and bright.

Insulated Dark Lager, Brooklyn Brewery, Utica, New York, 12-ounce bottle, $1.99, 5.6% ABV.

Now, for those cold rainy days which we may still see a few of, a beer that looks and tastes very much like a Porter. Large tan head, Tony-brown beer, very dark brown. The nose is predominantly malt. The pallet is dry with fairly low bitterness and acidity. The alcohol is very well integrated and the body is full, creamy in texture with medium-plus intensity flavors of caramel, coffee and the espresso range, toast, and a little bit of hops along the way. There are some beers I sample tastings of, there are some that are sent to me and I do a 1-ounce pour of taste and spit, and there are some that I buy on my own. This one fell into the third camp which I was very happy about, so I could drink it all myself. This one gets my vote for best in today’s show. Cold, biting rain, bring it on, I’ve got a Brooklyn Brewery beer to see me through.

Contact wine and beer writer Jim Beauregard at tastingnotesnh@aol.com.


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