Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Smuttynose Brewing - 5 New Reviews

This is one of the last installments from the trip to Gainesville a couple of months ago... 5 different beers from Smuttynose Brewing out of Portsmouth, New Hampshire.  Before this trip to Gainesville I had heard of Smuttynose but never had a chance to give them a try.  They aren't available in Louisiana unfortunately, and also aren't available in Houston which is my second most likely place to find new beers.  Fortunately for me, they had several different varieties in Florida!  

Up first, the Smuttynose "Finest Kind" IPA:


This is a fantastic example of a regular IPA, in my opinion.  The aroma is a little on the weaker side but the taste is bold and in your face.  More of a west-coast piney feel to me, and really easy to drink.  It's a 6.9% brew so you'd feel it after a few but it's not overwhelming.

My Rating: A-

Next up... the Shoals Pale Ale!


American Pale Ales are quickly becoming one of my favorite styles due to their intended blend of hoppiness and malt sweetness.  This example is high on the list when it comes to my favorites of the style.  It's a little hop forward for a pale ale, but still has a good caramel malt sweetness on the sip too.  Easy drinking and at only 5% this could be a fantastic session beer... if only I could get it in a pitcher at the Chimes.  Maybe some day...

My Rating: A-
BeerAdvocate: B+

The third Smuttynose brew I tried was the Big A IPA...


Mmmmmm, another IPA.  This time it's an imperial IPA originally created for Smuttynose's "Big Beer Series" and carried over into their regular rotation.  I wish Abita would take this approach with their select series... take the most popular and put them into regular rotation!  Anyway, back to this beer... it's a good looking bubbly beer with a great hop blend on the nose.  It wavers on the edge between floral and pine notes in my opinion.  The taste is a little more on the pine side and the 9.6% alcohol is hardly noticeable.  A fantastic IIPA and another I would love to have more readily accessible.

My Rating: A

Hitting clean-up for Smuttynose... the Old Brown Dog Ale!


Okay, back to a more tame style, the American Brown Ale.  This flagship brew clocks in at a strong 6.7% abv though so I expect a little more flavor than a more mundane example of the style!  The smell did not disappoint, with note of molasses and toffee and a little roasted note to it.  Even the alcohol comes through a little, which is strange for a brown ale.  The roasted notes come through more in the taste... it's a little thin though. I like the sweet malt flavor on the tip of the tongue as a compliment to the roasted flavors at the end.  It's insanely easy to drink... just a little thin on the mouthfeel.
 
My Rating:  A-

And last but not least... the Smuttynose Robust Porter!


This is another of the Smuttynose flagships... a dark porter with a couple fingers worth of off-white head.  The smell is as expected as well... notes of coffee, roasted malts, and a little dark chocolate come through.  The flavor is a little more substantial than the aroma... the coffee flavors come through the most to me, with a bitter roasted aftertaste. Good mouthfeel, pretty easy to drink for a porter.  I think the problem is that I'm just not really a fan of porters... this is a good example of the style, has good ratings overall but in my opinion it's just an above-average beer and not great. So I guess I lied... this actually is the "least" among these five Smuttynose beers.  It's not BAD, by means, just not quite as tastebud stimulating as the four before it. 

My Rating: B

And that's it for my foray into the world of Smuttynose Brewing Company... a few that I'd love to try again and a few that I would take a pass on.  Overall the beers were well above average though, so I'd definitely check out any new Smuttynose brews I came across and would highly recommend them to someone with the chance to drink a few.