Smuttynose Brewing Company
One of the better breweries in the U.S. is Smuttynose Brewing Co. of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The website is well planned out and quite informative, including Brewer's Notes discussing the batches - beer geeks find this stuff very sexy. Their labels have always been amongst my favorites - very classy. Sadly, Smuttynose beers aren't distributed on the West Coast (very few New England beers are). Back in the Boston area visiting, I loaded up some of their fine ales.
"Finest Kind" as it's formally known, has only been around for only a couple years. I love the label with the 2 fellas on the lawnchairs, enjoying some beer. The guy on the right kind of looks like Drew Carey (If you can make that out). It has a cloudy peach-orange color with a brilliant head that leaves lace rings on the pint glass as I enjoy the nectar. The aroma has a great citrus hop nose: grapefruit and lemon, yum. The taste is much of the same with a caramel malt hint that doesn't balance the bitter hop attack, but I don't think it was meant to. The creamy texture is something that I've found some of my favorite IPAs make complete. This is no exception. Probably the best IPA, I've had from New England. Delicious.
I used to rock this stuff often in my Masshole days. Harpoon IPA was always a staple in the refrigerator due to it's easy availabilty and easy price but quite often I'd kick it to Smuttynose's Shoal's. It's weird to think that these beers were hoppy to me back then, with the West Coast hop bombs that now routinely fill my belly. Now I rarely, pick up American Pale Ales when at the shop. But for old times sake, Shoal's really did the trick.
What sets this apart from the IPA is its incredible balance. The toasted malts blend effortlessly with the cascade hops. It has bready malt that you can chew on. With the 5% ABV, it's a fine summer session ale.
76 / 100
Much like the hefeweizens that seem to be popping up everywhere, Smuttynose takes on the classic German ale with an American sensibility. The unfiltered color is a pale staw with a generous head. The scent is full or banana, clove and lots of wheat malt as does the taste. It has a nice sweet yeast kick that pleasantly rounds the taste out. This is a good summer beer. Please no lemon in mine