Butler County Times Gazette
  • The Beer Nut: Sampling Harpoon, Samuel Adams and Widmer

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  • It’s been a good week as far as beer drinking goes – I got to try new beers from Harpoon, Long Trail, Samuel Adams, Stochasticity Project and Widmer – and I enjoyed several of them.
    Here’s a look at the new beers.
    First up is the new Harpoon Brewery’s 100-Barrel Series #49, the Brown IPA.
    OK, first off, this is not a brown ale and an IPA blended. It’s an IPA, but it has the essence of a good brown ale.
    The first thing you’ll smell is the big, piney hops with some citrusy notes, but it’s followed by a sweet smell of caramel. The beer looks like a lighter brown ale, but it tastes like a relatively hoppy IPA – more pine and grapefruit.
    But this is when the “brown” part of the beer kicks in – you get a nice sweet backbone from the caramel malts with a hint of dark chocolate. The flavors really work together instead of contrasting each other, making this a really well balanced, easy drinking beer.
    It’s worth seeking out.
    Next up is the new Long Trail Brewing Company Limbo, a 7.5 percent alcohol by volume (ABV) IPA.
    I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about this beer, but for some reason, I just couldn’t find it despite it being widely available.
    Despite the search, I finally got my hands on it on Thursday and gave it a try.
    If you enjoy the smell of hops, this is the beer for you. This beer is a pleasure to smell – a big citrusy smell with a hints of freshly cut pine.
    When you drink it, you get both the citrus and pine, but you also get some peach and grass in there too, with a slight biscuit malt finish. If this beer has any negative, it was a little lighter than I expected.
    Overall though, I thoroughly enjoyed this beer, and I’m glad I have five more to drink.
    Now, taking a break from hoppy beers, let’s take a look at the Samuel Adams limited-release spring beer, Escape Route. (Brewery-provided sample.)
    Escape Route is a Kolsch. If you have been following my blog for a while, I have been beating the drum for more breweries to brew Kolsches as summer beers instead of the standard wheat ales.
    The Escape Route is a good interpretation of the style. It’s light, but has nice fruity flavors with just a touch of honey and sweet bready maltiness. It is one of those beers that are so easy drinking you don’t realize how fast you were drinking it until your glass is empty.
    If you’re a fan of light, flavorful beers, you could do a lot worse than this.
    Page 2 of 2 - OK, back to the hops with Stone’s, err, I mean Stochasticity Project’s inaugural beer, the Grapefruit Slam IPA. (Brewery provided sample.)
    First, the good. I loved how it smelled. It had such a strong smell of grapefruit, I was amazed. They used grapefruit zest to add to the grapefruit. And the first sip wasn’t bad.
    Then, it started going downhill for me. I like the hint of grapefruit that hops can provide to a good IPA/Double IPA, but the more I drank this beer, the more it started reminding me of grapefruit juice instead of beer. The grapefruit really started to dominate the rest of the flavors the more I drank this beer. I discovered that too much grapefruit is not for me.
    However, if you’re a fan of grapefruit (I was talking to a friend who said grapefruit is to him how coconut it to me) you’ll love this beer. It is the most grapefruity a beer can ever be.
    And last, and not least, is the new Widmer Brothers Brewing’s Upheaval IPA. (Brewery provided sample.)
    This beer has a big upfront hoppy aroma – pine and citrus with a little melon.
    When you first take a sip it’s like there’s something missing – it was good, but I expected more of a punch based on the aroma. But, it was more mellow than expected. You get the nice citrusy flavors, but I was left wanting more.
    OK, time to start drinking stuff for next week’s reviews.
    Email Norman Miller at nmiller@wickedlocal.com or call 508-626-3823. Check out the Beer Nut blog at blogs.wickedlocal.com/beernut. Follow him on Twitter at @realbeernut. Also check out “Norman Miller, The Beer Nut” on Facebook.
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