Tasting Notes: Nebraska Hoppy Saison from Earth Eagle Brewings

EarthEagleNebraskaPour_editedFor this installment of Tasting Notes, we reminisce on a recent vacation by getting into a can of Nebraska Hoppy Saison from Earth Eagle Brewings (Portsmouth, New Hampshire).

Proudly wearing a name inspired by an iconic Bruce Springsteen album and “the state of many farmhouses”, Nebraska is a Saison that has been “lusciously hopped” with Motueka and Mosaic hops.  Coming in at an easy-drinking 6.2% ABV, Nebraska was brewed by Earth Eagle to give “all those other farmhousey brews a run for their money!”

Nebraska is occasionally available in Earth Eagle’s taproom on draft and in 4-packs of 16 oz. cans.

Now that we have properly gone over the brewery’s brief description of this beer, let’s experience Nebraska by way of New Hampshire with some Tasting Notes!

Tasting Notes for Nebraska Hoppy Saison from Earth Eagle Brewings

Appearance: A gentle pour produces a Saison that is a deep yellow-orange in color and capped with just over two fingers of rocky, winter white foam.  When held to direct light, the yellows burst with radiance while a rich orange tone holds its ground at the core of the glass.  The beer is slightly cloudy but is still able to display a steady carbonation presence working about within.  A picture-perfect representation of the style’s unmistakable level of head retention, the foam barely falls at all and absolutely coats the glass with chunky streaks of lace.

Aroma:  The Saison yeast strikes first with beautiful notes of pepper, clove and subtle mustiness.  The featured hops lend delicate notes of grapefruit, lemon zest, mango and stone fruit.  Bready malts eventually surface with a touch of sweetness, but they are no match for that gorgeous yeast character.

Taste: The bready malts set the stage here before those trademark Saison notes steal the show with peppery spice, a nice earthiness and grassiness, subtle clove, and musty tones that mimic wet hay and an attic during a humid summer.  The hops have a bit more power here and brighten the profile with tones of grapefruit and tropical fruits, but notes of mango and stone fruit (mostly unripe peach and dried apricot) actually lend some support to that musty yeast quality as well.  A gentle floral tone rounds everything off and closes out the profile.

Mouthfeel: Medium in body with a medium carbonation level, this beer casually slips across the palate and finishes nice and dry.  The hops outwork the malts a bit, but they avoid taking the spotlight from the all-important Saison yeast character.  At 6.4% ABV, this beer does bring a light building heat in the throat, but it is not at all out of hand. The aftertaste leaves behind just a grace of yeast esters that easily entices the drinker to take another sip.

Final Thoughts: After landing in Manchester, New Hampshire and starting our vacation by road-tripping to Portland, Maine, we asked every brewer, bartender and server that we ran across along the way the same question: “What is the one brewery around here that we have to check out?”  The first answer out of everyone’s mouth was Earth Eagle Brewings.

That level of endorsement says a lot, but a beer like Nebraska says even more about Earth Eagle and quickly validates those ardent recommendations.  We say that because this is a wonderfully executed, classic take on the Saison style, and that is no small feat.  Yes, we are aware that Nebraska is listed as a not-so-traditional “Hoppy Saison”, but those carefully selected Motueka and Mosaic hops were deployed to balance and actually accentuate the elegant and dynamic nature of the chosen strain of Saison yeast.  The hops add some charm, but they know their place and never overwhelm. It is incredibly apparent that the brewers at Earth Eagle set out to make Nebraska shine bright as a real Saison capable of capturing the attention and imagination of European brewers dedicated to this style, and they clearly pulled it off in our estimation.

All in all, we can confirm that Nebraska is a truly special beer and Earth Eagle Brewings is a truly special brewery.  Be sure to check them out if you ever find yourself anywhere within driving distance of Portsmouth, New Hampshire.  Seriously.  Do it.  Prost!


Maui Brewing and Smog City Brewing Collaborate on Star Maps Kolsch

MauiSmogMaui Brewing Company (Kihei, Hawaii) has officially announced that it will release Star Maps Kolsch, a Limited Release collaboration with Smog City Brewing Co. (Torrance, California), during the month of December 2018.

Named in reference to the fact that “the independent breweries [Maui Brewing and Smog City Brewing] are connected by the stars and the Pacific Ocean, as well as . . . the tourist maps of the stars in the City of Angels”, Star Maps is a Kolsch-style Ale that adds a tropical burst of starfruit from Ono Organic Farms to a base recipe that already has Huell Melon, Motueka, and Calypso hops [offering] notes of citrus, apple, and melon, while the Pilsner, Wheat, and Vienna malts provide light malt character with citrus and fruit esters.”  Star Maps comes in at a light and refreshing 6.1% ABV and 35 IBUs.

“Los Angeles will always have a special place in my heart. It is where I became a brewer, learning from some of the most passionate and talented people in our industry. The craft beer landscape in LA has grown dramatically since I moved away, so I was super stoked to be able to collaborate with my dear friends from one of the city’s first breweries, Smog City Brewing. It has been heartbreaking to see the fires in Malibu and surrounding areas devastate some of my old stomping grounds. Team MBC sends all of our Aloha to everyone affected from this massive disaster, and our gratitude to the heroes on the ground. Cheers to them – they deserve some beers!”


– Matt Ponichtera, Brewer at Maui Brewing Company

Star Maps Kolsch is rolling out now at all Maui Brewing locations – Kihei, Lahaina, and Waikiki – and is scheduled to hit distribution any day now.  You can expect to find this Specialty Release available as long as supplies last in 4-packs of 12 oz. cans and on draft at select craft beer-focused establishments located in Hawaii, California and a “few” other markets found within Maui Brewing’s distribution footprint.  Prost!

Vital Information for Star Maps Kolsch from Maui Brewing Company & Smog City Brewing Co.

Release – Specialty/Limited, December 2018
Style – Kolsch 
ABV – 6.1%
IBUs – 35
Hops – Huell Melon, Motueka & Calypso
Malts – Pilsner, Wheat & Vienna
Added Ingredients – Starfruit from Ono Organic Farms
Availability – 4-packs of 12 oz. cans & draft
Beer Finder – https://mauibrewingco.com/find-our-beer/


Rogue Ales Kicks Off 2019 with Return of Straight Outta Newport . . . Oregon DIPA

RogueSTONO4packRogue Ales (Newport, Oregon) has officially announced that its fan-favorite Straight Outta Newport . . . Oregon Double IPA, a liquid celebration of the Oregon Coast, will return in January 2019.

Back for a second year in a row, Straight Outta Newport . . . Oregon is a “huge” West Coast India Pale Ale that squeezes “intense notes of tropical fruit and citrus” from the featured Citra, Mosaic and Comet hops.  Clocking in at an “uncompromising” 8.7% ABV and 73 IBUs, Straight Outta Newport is sure “to satisfy the thirstiest hop heads” out there.

“This is our biggest and boldest IPA packed with ridiculous amounts of Citra, Mosaic and Comet hops,” says Innovation Brewer Michael King. “The beer upends expectations for double IPAs—it has huge hop character and flavor but is surprisingly easy to drink.”

Straight Outta Newport . . . Oregon releases in January 2019 and will hang around as long as supplies last.  You can expect to find this Limited Release offering available in 4-packs of 16 oz. cans and on draft at select craft beer-friendly establishments located in Alabama, Florida, Oregon and throughout the rest of Rogue’s nationwide distribution territory.  Prost!

Vital Information for Straight Outta Newport . . . Oregon from Rogue Ales

Release – Limited, January 2019
Style – Double India Pale Ale
ABV – 8.7%
IBUs – 73
Hops – Citra, Mosaic, Comet, Hallertau & Magnum
Malts – Rogue Farms Dare, Pilsner, Goldpils Vienna & Dextrapils
Fun Fact – On the label artwork: “Straight Outta Newport’s label art pays homage to Newport’s iconic Yaquina Bay Bridge and the Rogue brewers who collaborated on crafting this beer. ‘By looking at the Straight Outta Newport can, you can see exactly what matters to us: our coastal roots and the brewers who create the incredible beers we drink,’ says Rogue General Manager Dharma Tamm.”
Availability – 4-packs of 16 oz. cans & draft
Beer Finder – https://finder.rogue.com/

Creature Comforts Brewing Co. Set to Release Tritonia Gose with Pineapple and Lemon

creaturecomfortslogo_editedCreature Comforts Brewing Co. (Athens, Georgia) has announced that will begin the Limited Release of Tritonia with Pineapple and Lemon on December 21.

Just as its name suggests, Tritonia with Pineapple and Lemon is a “tart and refreshing gose with hints of coriander and sea salt” that has been introduced to fresh additions of pineapple and lemon.  This tropical take on Tritonia comes in at 4.5% ABV.

“We’re excited to add another Tritonia version to the roster,” said Head Brewer David Stein. “The pineapple and lemon additions perfectly complement the base beer creating a tart, refreshing, and overall balanced experience.”

Tritonia with Pineapple and Lemon is scheduled to debut in the Creature Comforts Tasting Room on December 21 and will enter distribution shortly following the on-site release.  You can expect to find this Limited Release available in 6-packs of 12 oz. cans and on draft at select craft beer establishments located throughout Creature Comforts Brewing Co.’s distribution footprint in Georgia.  Prost!

Vital Information for Tritonia with Pineapple and Lemon from Creature Comforts Brewing Co.

Release – Limited, launching December 21, 2018
Style – Gose
ABV – 4.5%
Added Ingredients – Coriander, sea salt, pineapple & lemon
Fun Fact – On Creature Comforts variants: “In addition to offering two versions of its fruited Berliner Weisse Athena Paradiso each year, the brewery also releases two versions of Tritonia, highlighting different fruits, annually. The Tritonia variant the brewery previously released features cucumber and lime, and pineapple and lemon were added to the new variant.”
Availability – 6-packs of 12 oz. cans & draft
Distribution – Georgia

Weyerbacher Brewing Begins its Season of Insanity

insanity-4packWeyerbacher Brewing (Easton, Pennsylvania) has announced that it will officially begin the Seasonal Release of Insanity Oak-aged Barleywine on Friday, December 7.

Regarded as a “perennial fan favorite”, Insanity enters the world as Blithering Idiot, Weyerbacher’s Year-Round English-style Barleywine, and is then given its own identity after it spends some time aging on oak.  This aging process “imparts an additional level of complexity to the already intense malt profile of Blithering Idiot by adding a combination of vanilla and oak notes.”  Insanity weighs in at a mind-bending 13.3% ABV.

The 2018 release of Insanity will debut in The Tap Room at Weyerbacher Brewing on December 7 and is expected to enter distribution on or around that date.  Once fully released, you will be able to find this Seasonal Release available for a limited time in 4-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft at select craft beer-friendly retailers, bars and restaurants located in Florida, Georgia, Pennsylvania and throughout the rest of Weyerbacher’s distribution area.  Prost!

Vital Information for Insanity from Weyerbacher Brewing

Release – Seasonal; December 7, 2018
Style – English-style Barleywine
ABV – 13.3%
IBUs – 34
Featured Hops – Northern Brewer & Hallertau
Treatment – Aged on oak

Recommended Glassware – Snifter
Availability – 4-packs of 12 oz. bottles & draft



Lagunitas Willettized Coffee Stout Returns for a Limited Time

Willetized-Stout_22oz_Photo-195x725Lagunitas Brewing Company (Petaluma, California) has officially announced that it is putting the finishing touches on 2018 with the “hiiiiighly limited” release of Willettized Coffee Stout.

Back to tackle the peak season of “fireside-swigging and sweater-sipping”, Willettized Coffee Stout is a “big and burly stout” brewed with coffee beans from Metropolis Coffee Company and then aged for “up to 24 months” in Rye Whiskey casks sourced from Willett Distillery.  100% barrel aged and blended, Willettized (12% ABV) is a “chocolatey, coffee-y, smoky, oak-y, rye-y beast” that is “meant to be shared and/or aged . . . or not . . . whatever.”

The 2018 batch of Willettized Coffee Stout officially started rolling out in late November/early December 2018 and will hang around as long as supplies last.  You can expect to find this OneHitter Release available in 22 oz. bottles and on draft at select craft beer-focused establishments located in Alabama, Florida, California, Illinois, Washington and throughout the rest of Lagunitas Brewing Company’s nationwide distribution territory.  Prost!

Vital Information for Willettized Coffee Stout from Lagunitas Brewing Company

Release – Limited/OneHitter Series, late November/early December 2018
Style – Imperial Stout
ABV – 12%
IBUs – 32
Added Ingredients – Coffee beans from Metropolis Coffee Company
Treatment – Aged for up to 24 months in Rye Whiskey casks sourced from Willett Distillery
Availability – 22 oz. bottles & draft
Beer Finder – https://lagunitas.com/beer-finder


Hi-Wire Brewing Establishes Rotating Gose Series

Hi-Wire-BrewingHi-Wire Brewing (Asheville, North Carolina) has officially announced that it will be reinventing its popular Hi-Wire Gose offering by launching a rotating year-round Gose Series with the release of Citra Gose on Thursday, December 6.

Here to serve as a creative playground that will allow Hi-Wire’s brewers to “experiment with different flavor combinations to better reflect each season of this typically ‘summery’ style”, the brewery’s newly established Gose Series will introduce itself this month with the release of Citra Gose (4.2% ABV).  This hop-centric riff on the style takes a “tart, balanced, and refreshing” Gose base and blends it “perfectly with the citrus and tropical fruit notes of Citra hops creating an extremely aromatic and floral sour wheat beer with no bitterness.”

Citra Gose officially releases on December 6 and will be available for a limited time.  You can expect to find this Rotating Release available in 6-packs of 12 oz. cans and on draft at select craft beer establishments located within Hi-Wire Brewing’s distribution footprint in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee and Ohio. Prost!

Vital Information for Citra Gose from Hi-Wire Brewing

Release – Rotating/Gose Series, launching December 6, 2018
Style – Gose
ABV – 4.2%
Featured Hops – Citra
Availability – 6-packs of 12 oz. cans & draft
Distribution – North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee & Ohio

New Belgium Brewing Launches Up Next Series with Release of Brut IPA

NBB Bike Text logo 4-colorNew Belgium Brewing (Fort Collins, Colorado) has officially announced that it is kicking off its brand new Up Next Series with the December release of Brut IPA.

Developed to be a new twist on New Belgium’s “tradition of innovation by offering easy-drinking, unique and flavor-bending beers”, the Up Next Series will feature new offerings that “push the boundaries of traditional beer style definitions while giving micro and often regionalized beer trends national exposure.”  With new releases coming every quarter, Up Next Series offerings are intended to “blend trending flavors with a hint of seasonality.”

The first release in the Up Next Series will be Brut IPA, an incredibly crisp India Pale Ale that is “inspired by sparkling wine and partner Dick Cantwell’s foray into brewing Brut IPAs at sister brewery Magnolia Brewing in San Francisco.”  New Belgium’s take on the Brut IPA “pours a bright and bubbly platinum blonde with white grape and tropical aromas that give way to a refreshingly dry finish.”

“The IPA drinker is constantly on the lookout for fresh new flavors and that’s really inspiring for a brewer,” said Ross Koenigs, New Belgium Research & Development Brewer. “San Francisco has been ground zero for development of Brut beers so it’s been a lot of fun bouncing ideas off the team out there. Our Brut IPA mashes wine notes with a beer backbone that delivers the best of both traditions. This beer will take you through the holidays and beyond – it makes a great beer-mosa as well.”

Brut IPA is rolling out now and will be available as long as supplies last.  You can expect to find this Up Next Series offering available in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft at select craft beer-friendly retailers, bars and restaurants located in Alabama, Florida, Colorado, North Carolina and throughout the rest of New Belgium’s nationwide distribution network.  Prost!

Vital Information for Brut IPA from New Belgium Brewing

Release – Limited/Up Next Series, launching December 2018
Style – American India Pale Ale/Brut India Pale Ale
ABV – 6.7%
IBUs – 40
Malts – Pale & Pilsner
Hops – Nelson Sauvin, Citra, Hull Melon & Azacca
Availability – 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles & draft
Beer Finder – https://www.newbelgium.com/beer/finder/


Wild Leap Brew Co. Closes Out 2018 with Three Limited Releases

WildLeapAmericanBlackberryWild Leap Brew Co. (LaGrange, Georgia) has officially announced that will introduce three new Limited Releases this holiday season: American Blackberry Ale, Alpha Abstraction Double IPA – Volume 4, and Solid Ground Cold Brew Coffee Stout.

Released in late November to kick off Wild Leap’s end-of-the-year barrage, American Blackberry is a Fruit Beer/Blackberry Ale “designed to taste like a piece of homemade blackberry pie.”  The brewery pulled this off by fermenting the beer with “1,400 pounds of blackberries” to create “a distinct freshness paired with rich cinnamon.” (ABV – 6.5%, IBUs – 20)

“The crisp weather and holiday spirit that surrounds this season influenced us to brew a beer that has a familiar and cozy feel,” explains Rob Goldstein, co-founder of Wild Leap. “It reminds you of the flavors of home, while helping you survive it.”

Next up, we have the latest release in Wild Leap’s wildly-popular Alpha Abstraction Series of juicy, double dry-hopped India Pale Ales.  Alpha Abstraction- Vol. 4 is the first of the series to feature Denali hops and comes in at 8% ABV and 35 IBUs.

“For the Alpha series, we search for hop varieties that are fruity and juicy,” explains Head Brewer, Chris Elliott. “Denali has citrus, pineapple, and pine characteristics that work well with this beer, and the hop is high in essential oils so you can expect a bigger and bolder aroma compared to other hop varieties.”

The final Wild Leap release of 2018 will be Solid Ground, a Cold Brew Coffee Stout “fermented with fresh Colombian coffee brewed right in the Wild Leap brewhouse, and roasted malts.”  Weighing in at a big and toasty 8.8% ABV, Solid Ground is “smooth and balanced and is an ideal refreshment beside a big roaring fire on a cold winter day.”

American Blackberry is available now and Alpha Abstraction – Vol. 4 and Solid Ground will both debut on December 7 at a Double Release Party hosted by Wild Leap Brew Co.  All three offerings will be available as long as supplies last in 6-packs of 12 oz. cans and on draft at select craft beer-focused establishments located in and around the Atlanta, LaGrange, Newnan, Peachtree City, Columbus, Athens, Gainesville and Augusta areas of Georgia. Prost!





Dogfish Head Craft Brewery & the Grateful Dead Reunite for 2019 American Beauty

american-beauty-press-photos-11Dogfish Head Craft Brewery (Milton, Delaware) has once again teamed up with the iconic Grateful Dead band to revive American Beauty, a fan-favorite collaboration beer, for the entirety of 2019.

First released back in 2013, American Beauty is an American Pale Ale brewed with “granola and succulent wildflower honey which adds toasty, sweet notes to this hoppy ale.”  The decision to use granola came after Dogfish Head and the Grateful Dead “jointly reached out to their fan base with a call out for ingredient suggestions to incorporate into the recipe of the beer. Loyal dead heads and off-centered ale enthusiasts submitted more than 1500 ingredient suggestions, and after careful thought (and chuckles at some of the entries,) it was granola for the win.”  American Beauty clocks in at 6.5% ABV “to commemorate the year the Grateful Dead was formed (1965).”

“After more than 50 years of performing in front of fans all over the world, folks remain fiercely loyal to the Grateful Dead due to the organically imaginative, creative and accessible culture they nurture across all artistic platforms,” said Sam Calagione, CEO and founder of Dogfish Head. “We, at Dogfish, are inspired by their music, along with their unprecedented ability to bridge long-lasting, meaningful connections with fans for decades on end. We’re thrilled to collaborate with the Dead for a second iteration of American Beauty and hope fans of free-spirited music and independent beer will join in welcoming back this classic pale ale.”

American Beauty is rolling out this month and has plans to hang around through 2019.  You can expect to find this “Occasional” Release available in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles at select craft beer-friendly establishments located in Alabama, Florida, Delaware and throughout the rest of Dogfish Head’s distribution area.  Prost!

Vital Information for American Beauty (2019) from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

Release – Limited/Occasional, December 2018 – December 2019
Style – American Pale Ale
ABV – 6.5%
Added Ingredients – Granola & wildflower honey
Fun Fact #1 – “In addition to the beer release, Dogfish Head will be working with the official Grateful Dead archivist, David Lemieux, who curates and produces a series of rare and highly sought-after live Grateful Dead shows, known as “Dave’s Picks.” Dogfish Head will partner with Lemieux on a number of projects, including an immersive storytelling experience at their Rehoboth and Milton properties in early February.”
Fun Fact #2 – On the name of the beer: “This synergetic union brings fans a pale ale that shares a name with the popular 1970 Grateful Dead album, American Beauty, featuring hits like ‘Friend of the Devil,’ ‘Sugar Magnolia,’ and ‘Truckin.’” 

Availability – 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles
Beer Finder – https://www.dogfish.com/brewery/fishfinder