Tag Archives: IPA

Central Massachusetts Breweries – Building 8 and Brick and Feather

Building 8

Building 8 has fairly limited hours and now after visiting I understand why. In fact, I do not recommend you make a stop by the brewery unless you cannot find fresh cans near where you are staying. They had three beers you could taste, one of the three being poured from a can. All three hoppy beers were low on hop aroma and more in the style of hop bitterness aiming for a crisp dry finish.

The session IPA was crisp with low bitterness and mild hop character. The beer was easy drinking enough but I would’ve preferred a little more hop aroma. The IPA was classic and balanced for a beer focus on bitterness over aroma. It was similarly easy drinking and delicious. The double IPA was poured from low fill cans, so it was a bit oxidized. Still, the beer had a nice balance to it and the bitterness was not overpowering such that I was still able to go back to my session IPA and tasted fully after some sips of the double.

Whether or not you enjoy the beers from building 8 will depend on whether you enjoy this classic style. With so many good options showcasing hop aromas, I don’t typically seek these out although they were quite well done and I especially could see myself drinking a bit of the session. You can find Building 8 cans all around the surrounding areas and if you can find them fresh you can get the same experience buying cans to drink at home.

Brick and feather

brick and feather only had four beers on tap when I stopped by but they were all well-made and indicated to me that the brewery is on the right track. They have a good-sized tasting room though not a lot of seating. Unlike most breweries, the largest poor you can get is 10 ounces even from some of the lighter beers. Their pricing favors growler fills.

I started with the biere de garde. It was mildly fruity with a lightly tart clean finish and notes reminiscent of a Belgian pale. I had a pint of the beer the night before and while I was expecting it to have a bit more malt character, it was nicely done. The pale ale was bursting with bright citrus and pineapple with a soft body, low bitterness, and mild hop acidity on the finish. I brought a growler of this beer back and enjoyed a few pints later the same day.

The Porter was nicely balanced with notes of birch toffee, molasses, and had a lightly bitter finish. The double IPA was an explosion of tropical fruit with a viscous mouth feel and some sweetness that could have been from the addition of lupulin powder. While I referred the flavor of the pale ale, the double IPA was still better than most in the surrounding area with the exception of treehouse. Brick and Feather is a great little brewery worth stopping by if you are up in the area. You can find their beers on tap around the area if you can’t make it to the brewery itself due to their limited hours. Though they also release the occasional small batch cans that you can only find at the brewery.

Paul McGuire

Paul McGuire is a craft beer enthusiast. He likes to travel with his husband and enjoy the great outdoors. In his day job, Paul is a divorce attorney serving clients in San Diego California.

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Washington DC breweries, DC Brau and Right Proper

DC Brau Brewing

DC Brau is a bit outside Central Washington DC and quite a pain to get to on public transit but I decided to make the trek during a recent visit and I am very glad that I did. I basically rented a car just to go out to this brewery and another one because I like to drink at breweries rather than bars. While I expected the beers to be good, I was very impressed by the quality of everything they served.

I generally would be spending a bit of time complaining about the fact that the brewery serves their tasters and plastic cups. Surprisingly, the beers were so good that I didn’t really care that much. I started with the Keller Pils, an unfiltered Pilsner. It was crisp and delicious with an earthy malt base and light notes of fruit. I ended up getting a pint of this before I left. I was especially impressed by the Heffeweizen, a style I normally do not order as often while visiting breweries. It was excellent, balancing the notes of banana and cloves with a nice chewing mouth feel and dry finish. While both banana and cloves were flavors I tasted, they were not so strong that they overpowered the rest the beer.

The Porter was creamy and dry with notes of coffee, dark chocolate, and roast the finish. While I did not get a taster of the dry stout myself, it was also quite excellent from what I tasted of my friend’s beer. The IPA was super dry at the finish with notes of resin and dank hop notes balanced perfectly with a medium bitterness to finish it off.

The double IPA was dry and resinous with mild sticky dank character and some hints of ripe fruit. The beer hid the alcohol extremely well and finished with a light herbal bite and subdued bitterness. Both of the IPAs reminded me nicely of my local favorite Societe brewing in quality. The scotch ale was also quite nice with notes of raisin, caramel, and a lightly sweet finish.

It is rare that every single beer that I tasted a brewery is this excellent, but that is exactly what I experienced at DC Brau. If I could get there Heffeweizen locally, it would be something I would drink regularly. If you are in the DC area, you should absolutely try something from this excellent brewery.

Top two:
Heffeweizen
double IPA

Right Proper Brewing

Right Proper has two locations, a brewpub closer to the city and a brewery tasting room further outside. The top lists were quite different between the two. I started with the ornithology. It was funky and oaky with a mildly tart finish, nice and complex as I would’ve expected. Song lines was an interesting hoppy farmhouse ale with notes of sassafras, light funk and minimal bitter finish.

Baron Corvo, their bier de garde, was excellent with notes of cherry and berry over a smooth malt base with a dry finish. Jammy smears, cherry sour, was tart and puckering with more flavors of cranberries than cherry although it was quite good. Raised by wolves, the aromatic pale ale had a hint of herbal hops with a nice mix of tropical fruit and citrus. The beer had tons of hop aroma and was nicely balanced and not overly bitter.

Just a sample of the interesting artwork at the brewery tasting room.

The brett grisette was funky and earthy and also super light. Crushing souls IPA was super fruity with mild dankness and herbal characters on the finish. My notes are not very clear about these last two beers but I don’t recall them being anything but solid. I was also quite impressed by the quality of beers at right proper. I am glad I was able to fit them into my trip.

Top 2:
Baron Corvo,
Raised by Wolves

Paul McGuire

Paul McGuire is a craft beer enthusiast. He likes to travel with his husband and enjoy the great outdoors. In his day job, Paul is a divorce attorney serving clients in San Diego California.

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Port City Brewing Alexandria Virginia

Port City is a nice neighborhood brewery in Alexandria and overall they had a solid lineup of beers that were quite enjoyable. They have a wide open tasting room with tons of space to sit both inside and outside. Because they don’t have taster flight trays, they give you one or two tasters at a time from your six taster flight. This works out well for the most part.

I started with the porter. It was roasty and lightly smoked with notes of cherry, bitter chocolate, and toffee. The beer was easy drinking with a nice medium body. I can see why this is an award-winning porter. The scottish ale was easy-drinking with notes of cherry. It would be quite easy to drink down by the pint. The session IPA had a mix of bitter grapefruit and floral hops with a strong bitter finish. The beer had a good medium body and a crisp dry finish. Though I would prefer slightly less floral hops, this was well done.

The English IPA was lightly sweet with a soft body and notes of peach. The flavors balanced nicely with a mild bitterness on the finish. The Integral IPA was soft and juicy with bright citrus on the notes and notes of juicy tropical fruit and melon finished off with a light bitterness. I really enjoyed this one and might have had a pint except a band was about to start playing where we were. The Scotch ale was a caramel color and had notes of caramel and raisin with a hint of cinnamon to balance out the sweetness.

All the beers I tried at Port City were well done and they had an excellent porter and IPA. This is a great neighborhood spot and worth visiting if you are in the area.

Top 2:
Integral IPA
Porter

Paul McGuire

Paul McGuire is a craft beer enthusiast. He likes to travel with his husband and enjoy the great outdoors. In his day job, Paul is a divorce attorney serving clients in San Diego California.

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Aslin Beer Company – Herndon Virginia

Aslin recently closed their tap room so when I stopped by I bought cans and left. Thankfully they had a good variety so I was able to try quite a few beers. I picked up cans of Orange Starfish, hazy pale, Progeny Devil’s Son in Law, Hazy IPA, Gose with apricots, Gose with blackberry and raspberry, and Master of Karate DDH Double IPA.

Both Orange Starfish and Progeny were tasty hazy beers. Orange starfish was creamy with notes of citrus. Progeny was a nice mix of ripe tropical fruit and herbal hops on the finish with a good medium body. The apricot gose was delicious with tons of apricot flavor that balanced nicely with the base beer. The berry version was my favorite, bursting with juicy berry flavor and a nice soft mouthfeel.

The Master of Karate was my least favorite of the bunch. It was a bit restrained on the hop aromas and seemed a bit more malty than I would have preferred. It had some notes of tropical fruit and an herbal bite. While it didn’t blow me away it is still a good drinkable hazy DIPA.

Hazy Double IPA
Progeny IPA

Aslin is a worthwhile stop if you are in the area and need your hazy IPA fix. The price per four pack is reasonable and the beers are all quite good. If you compare it to other hazy IPA breweries in the North East US they are about average in the Hazy IPA department but stand out with the deliciously juicy gose beers. The berry gose was more explosively juicy than most beers I have had of the similar style. If you are not in the area but looking to trade, go for their fruited gose beers because that is where they really win out.

Paul McGuire

Paul McGuire is a craft beer enthusiast. He likes to travel with his husband and enjoy the great outdoors. In his day job, Paul is a divorce attorney serving clients in San Diego California.

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Los Angeles Breweries – Arts District and Mumford

Arts District Brewing


arts district brewery has a full food menu and bar aside from all the beers. I stopped by on a Sunday afternoon and tried four different beers. I could tell from the list that they still aim fairly traditional in the IPA area. This means I did not see any hazy IPAs like their neighbors modern times and Mumford. Instead I encountered IPAs that were traditional West Coast style. In some ways this meant they were a little too bitter for my current pallet.

Massive selection of beers to choose from!

I started with the Canyonero Hoppy Amber. He had a mix of citrus and spice from the hops and a good medium bitterness that balanced with notes of orange peel and herbal hops that seemed a bit strong for me on the finish. The other IPA, Kablamo, was more intensely bitter with strong pine on the nose and mix of herbal and pine that finishes with resin and sticks on the tongue. The level of bitterness is up there with traditional West Coast styles but was a bit much for me now that I am used to more modern styles.

While I found the traditional flavors of the IPAs to be a little bit much, I was refreshed by the traditional flavors of the various stouts they had. I started with the cowboy Curtis a smoked stout. The beer was super smoky on the nose but more balanced in the taste. It had a creamy body with flavors of dark chocolate, marshmallow, and light roast. The flavors balanced nicely and the smoke was not overpowering. The skeleton crew right Porter had a nice medium body with light smoke and roast and great balance. While nice, I preferred the cowboy Curtis for the more complex flavor and less herbal bite from rye.

Arts district brewery earns quite a few metals for their beers which suggests that they are fairly traditional and my tastes confirmed that. If you still love a traditional West Coast IPA, you will find plenty to enjoy here. For those who are not into the big bitterness anymore, I suggest you try their delicious stouts and porters.

Mumford


I stopped by Mumford to see how their hazy IPAs had improved since my last visit over a year ago. I was pleasantly surprised to find that there hazy beers were much softer than I recalled and that one of the two was up at the level that I would hope to see from more Southern California breweries.

The first beer I tried, projection circuit, was nice and creamy with bright citrus notes of pineapple. The beer had fairly low hop acidity and bitterness. This was my favorite of the two and I brought home a crowler. I also tried the mastermind solutions. It was a bit sweeter and thicker with bright character of ripe papaya and mango and strong hop acidity and caramel on the finish. After trying both beers, I am much more likely to return to Mumford when I am in the area next time.

Paul McGuire

Paul McGuire is a craft beer enthusiast. He likes to travel with his husband and enjoy the great outdoors. In his day job, Paul is a divorce attorney serving clients in San Diego California.

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