Jolly Ol’ New England: PART 1

“What New England is, is a state of mind, a place where dry humor and
perpetual disappointment blend to produce an ironic pessimism that folks from
away find most perplexing.”
~ Willem Lange

I think this quote is hilarious. And it’s perfect for this post. While I do face some disappointment here, I also find some beauties in the mix. So, I’m going to go with the compliment sandwich theory here. Start and end with the good. Let’s get on with it.


Wachusett Brewing “Larry” Imperial IPA, 7.5% ABV: Part of “The Publick House Series.” Thank you, thank you to Mike Gregory who sent me this lovely and deliciously drinkable IPA. Very impressed. Perfectly balanced notes of citrus (lemon and grapefruit), peach, and mango alongside piney, spicy hops. A rounded, smoother version of an IPA, meaning not in-your-face! hops funkiness and bitterness. Kind of like Green Day past and present. Back in the day, wild unadulterated punk, now, seasoned and developed, but still kickin’ it. And like Green Day, I like IPA’s both ways. An absolute delight to drink, I would love to have this again someday.

Located in Wesminster, Massachusetts, Wachusett Brewing was opened to the public in 1994. After visiting some of the first breweries in New England, owners Ned LaFortune, Kevin Buckler, and Peter Quinn decided their careers in biology and engineering were not where they wanted to be! And the rest is history, so to speak. Best of luck to these guys, and I look forward to trying more of their beers someday.


Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project Fluffy White Rabbits Hoppy Tripel, 8.5% ABV: Talk about a missed opportunity. Vibrant citrus on the nose, that unfortunately dies out within minutes. Bottled March 2010, I feel this beer has passed its prime. Hoppy notes are mild. Candi sugar, white pepper, and fresh squeezed citrus are present, but everything is sadly subdued.

Now this may be the way the beer was intended. If so, I can’t say I’m a fan. However, I hate this is my only take with this beer, as I have heard many wonderful comments about Pretty Things, (including an article in Beer Advocate), and was excited to try their beer. I would love to taste a fresher version and compare, and with the brewers themselves. Put it on the list LD.

Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project is a Massachusetts brewery with roots in Yorkshire, England. Dan Paquette, a brewer, and his wife Martha, a scientist, gave birth to the project that has now become a cult love to beer fanatics on the East Coast. Their story is too entertaining for a quick summation here, so please CLICK HERE to read about their whimsical journey.


Flying Fish Brewing Exit 1 Bayshore Oyster Stout, 7% ABV: Uhhh ohhh. One word. Odd. But I’ll give you a few more. The nose is off-putting to me, while others in the group enjoy it. Brine, salt, and a intense, yet peculiar smokiness on the nose and palate. I’m confused. And I can’t drink it. Coming from an oyster lover who can seriously sit down with dozens of the little bivales that says alot. In conclusion, this may or may not be a beer for you. Just be warned that it packs a peculiar punch. Despite my not favoring this beer, I do hope to taste other beers from Flying Fish. The mere originality of this beer makes me want to see more.

On the positive side, what a fantastic story to this brewery: Flying Fish, the largest of 20 Craft breweries in New Jersey, was founded by Gene Muller in 1995. As a virtual microbrewery! Through the young internet, Gene was able to get investors and get beer lovers themselves involved. People were able to name beers, design labels, and t-shirts, and even volunteer at the brewery.


That's one delicious lineup. Thank you Garron and friends!!

Samuel Adams Chocolate Bock, 5.6% ABV: Guess what on the nose? That’s right! Chocolate. Of the milk variety. With caramel inside. Being a bock, this beer has a lighter body and mouthfeel than the dark chocolate intensity of Rogue’s Chocolate Stout. In fact, the flavor profile reminds me of somewhere between Einbecker’s Mai-Ur-Bock and a Dopplebock. Smooth and easy drinking, this would make a good holiday beer.

Well, don’t we all know the story of this famous brewery? If not, here goes: Jim Koch opened Samuel Adams in 1985, and introduced the Samuel Adams Boston Lager. By 1988, they were producing 36,000 barrels and today? Samuel Adams employs 750 people, encompasses 30 different beer styles, and is distributed in every state and 20 foreign countries. Wowza. To read more about Samuel Adams, the brewing process, and their beers, CLICK HERE!

Remember folks, you aren’t always gonna hit the jackpot, even when the beer psychic says so. But don’t be too dissuaded, because there is ALWAYS a great beer just around the corner.

Until next time,

Stay happy, keep tasting, and keep loving CRAFT BEER.



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