Heavy Seas Beer and MadTree Brewing Collaborate on Partner Ships Wee Heavy

37446856332_09db49a873_kHeavy Seas Beer (Baltimore, Maryland) announced this week that it will be closing out the 2017 edition of its Partner Ships Series with a Wee Heavy brewed in collaboration with MadTree Brewing Company (Cincinnati, Ohio).

Heavy Seas Beer recently hosted the folks from MadTree Brewing Company so that they could brew up the year’s final release in The Partner Ships Series, a lineup of limited releases from Heavy Seas that “features beers produced in collaboration with other regionally and nationally recognized brewers in the spirit of friendship, creativity, and adventure.”  After a little brainstorming, the two brew crews decided to take on the classic Wee Heavy style and liven it up with some local twists.  The recipe for their Wee Heavy begins with a malt bill comprised of “Golden Promise . . . a touch of Roasted Barley, . . . Simpson’s Double Roast Crystal and Weyermann Chocolate Rye to add a unique touch.”  After a subtle addition of East Kent Golding hops, tradition is eventually abandoned as the beer receives local flavors of “Burundi Mpanga coffee from Deeper Roots in Cincinnati, Ethiopian Harrar coffee from Chesapeake Bay Roasting Co. in Baltimore, and cocoa nibs from Maverick Chocolate in Cincinnati.”  This all results in a robust, 8.25% ABV Wee Heavy that is “deep mahogany in color with layers of malt, chocolate, and roasted complexity.”

Partner Ships Wee Heavy officially releases in November and will be available as long as supplies last.  You can expect to find this Limited Release available in 22 oz. bottles and on draft at select, craft beer-focused retailers, bars and restaurants located in Alabama, Florida, Maryland and throughout the rest of Heavy Seas Beer’s distribution network. Prost!

Vital Information for Partner Ships Wee Heavy from Heavy Seas Beer and MadTree Brewing Company

Release – Limited/Partner Ships Series, November 2017
Style – Wee Heavy
ABV – 8.25%
IBUs – 25
Malts – Golden Promise, Roasted Barley, Double Roast Crystal & Chocolate Rye
Hops –  UK Goldings
Added Ingredients – Ethiopian Harrar coffee, Burundi Mpanga coffee & cocoa nibs
Availability – 22 oz. bottles & draft
Beer Finder – http://hsbeer.com/beerfinder

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Tasting Notes: TreasureFest from Heavy Seas Beer

HSTfestBottleOur week of Oktoberfest-fueled Tasting Notes continues as we get into some appropriately tall pours of TreasureFest Oktoberfest Lager from Heavy Seas Beer (Baltimore, Maryland).

Back for another year as the brewery’s late-summer/early-fall Seasonal, TreasureFest is Heavy Seas Beer’s “American spin” on the Oktoberfest Lager.  Beginning with a traditional base of imported German malts and hops, the brewers at Heavy Seas then put an American twist on TreasureFest by dry-hopping the beer with a hearty dose of American hops. At 6% ABV and 35 IBUs, TreasureFest promises to be “a fresh look at the old Oktober stand-by.”  TreasureFest is available now but nearing the end of its Seasonal run.  You can find this offering available in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft at craft beer establishments located in Alabama, Florida, Maryland, and throughout the rest of Heavy Seas Beer’s distribution network.

With all that information now properly covered, I do believe it is time to fill these steins and get into some Tasting Notes!

Tasting Notes for TreasureFest Oktoberfest Lager from Heavy Seas Beer

Appearance: With two fingers of frothy, off-white eggshell-colored foam resting on top, TreasureFest presents itself as a ruddy, amber-colored brew that holds some deep red-orange tones at its core.  When held to the light, the beer brightens to expose more vibrant copper and orange hues.  The incredibly clear body displays a spirited carbonation presence streaming within.  Head retention is pretty spectacular, but it does eventually (over a great deal of time) fall to a dense, foamy half finger that coats the stein with elaborate, pencil-thin lace patterns.

Aroma:  Hops jump into the nose first with a flourish of floral and citrus tones.  Once certain that they have gained your attention, the hops back off a bit to allow the malts to come forward with notes of lightly-toasted bread, brown sugar and caramel.  The hops and malts eventually find equal ground to close with a lovely mix of floral hops and clean grains.

Taste:  The flavor profile begins with an alluring blend of German and American hops.  We are talking about some floral, lightly zesty tones that are matched by a bright pop of orange and grapefruit zest.  Acting quicker here than in the nose, the malts advance to assertively lay down some balancing bready, biscuity and caramel notes.  The hops ultimately win the final battle by closing out the profile with a parting strike of resiny goodness.

Mouthfeel: TreasureFest is medium in body with a medium carbonation presence.  This creates a feel that is not too thin and not too heavy, allowing the beer to move well across the palate.  Having a good mix of bitterness and sweetness, the beer finds a really nice balance.  At 6%, the ABV does bring a little warmth but nothing too crazy.  Aftertaste is just a little lingering tingle of citrus zest and a touch of hop resin.

Final Thoughts: Yeah, TreasureFest may be far from traditional but it is a really interesting take on the Oktoberfest-style Lager.  It may surprise many with that healthy pop of American hops, but it still retains that beautiful and wanted malt backbone we all look for during Oktoberfest season.  That building malt presence in both aroma and flavor strikes a finely tuned balance that keeps this beer in the Oktoberfest realm while the hops are just enough to allow it to stand out a bit from the crowd. This makes TreasureFest a great option for the hopheads out there that still want to get in the spirit of the season or for those who wish to just shock the palate a bit after a long day of more malt-driven Oktoberfests and Märzens.  All in all, TreasureFest comes together to be a unique and damn tasty riff on the style, and it is absolutely worth tracking down at some point during this year’s Oktoberfest celebration.  Be sure to check it out while you can.  Prost!

Tasting Notes: Partner Ships IPL from Heavy Seas Beer and Cigar City Brewing

CCBHSIPLPour_edited1000This week’s installment of Tasting Notes gets a double dose of styles and breweries as we have a look at Partner Ships IPL from Heavy Seas Beer (Baltimore, Maryland) and Cigar City Brewing (Tampa, Florida).

This very special IPL (India Pale Lager) comes to us as the latest installment in Heavy Seas Beer’s Partner Ships Series, a lineup of limited releases that “features beers produced in collaboration with other regionally and nationally recognized brewers in the spirit of friendship, creativity, and adventure.”  Heavy Seas teamed up with Cigar City Brewing this time around to brew a golden lager that combines “bready malt aromatics” with a sizable hop bill (Cascade, Centennial, Mosaic, Simcoe & Mandarina Bavaria) that one might associate with an American India Pale Ale.  Thanks to “late addition kettle hops followed by extensive dry-hopping”, the 7.8% ABV Partner Ships IPL comes together to provide “full citrus and tropical fruit flavors and aromas balancing a soft bitterness.”  Partner Ships IPL is available now in 22 oz. bottles and on draft at craft beer-friendly establishments located in Alabama, Florida, Maryland and throughout the rest of Heavy Sea Beer’s distribution area.

Now that we have worked our way through the details behind Partner Ships IPL, let’s dig a little deeper by pouring a glass and getting into some Tasting Notes!

Tasting Notes for Partner Ships IPL from Heavy Seas Beer & Cigar City Brewing

Appearance:  Partner Ships IPL pours a yellow-tinged copper in color and is wearing a solid two fingers of creamy white foam.  When held to direct light, the color brightens intensely to reveal a beautiful, deep golden.  Pristine in clarity, the beer displays an abundant carbonation presence plugging away within.  Head has good retention, but it does eventually reduce down to a lasting and lush half finger that leaves behind wide sheets of lace on the glass.

Aroma: The first note to hit the nose is a solid, spot-on lager maltiness that has a nice and comforting bready quality to it.  Starting with an earthy, floral character predominately comprised of piney and grassy notes, the hops creep forward, slowly build, and finish with a citrus flourish of lemon, grapefruit and tangerine.

Taste:  In this arena, the hops strike first with a bright pop of grapefruit, orange and lemon zest.  That initial citrus hop bite softens to expose floral, grassy and piney tones just before a second fruity wave rises to engulf the palate with notes of tangerine and tropical fruit.  The beer closes with a slightly sweet, pilsner malt breadiness and just a bit of booziness.

Mouthfeel:  Medium bodied with a soft carbonation, this IPL has a good amount of weight to it but still remains highly drinkable.  The expected bitterness is there, but it is subdued and nicely balanced by just the right amount of sweet malt character.  That 7.8% ABV brings a little heat, but it does not take away from the experience.  The aftertaste leaves behind some tangerine zest and a touch of alcohol.

Final Thoughts:  The greatest takeaway from our experience with Partner Ships IPL was the remarkable way that Heavy Seas and Cigar City retained the soul of a beautiful lager in a beer that had its hop bill pumped up to true American IPA levels.  In a hybrid style where the malts are often nothing more than an afterthought these days, this IPL’s Pilsen and Vienna malts are distinctly present and play just as much a role as the hops.  Sure, it causes the alcohol to intrude on the flavor a touch, but it does so in a way that does not damage a profile more abundantly filled with delightful floral, bready, earthy, fruity and crackery notes.  Even at that 7.8% ABV, Partner Ships IPL possesses a level of drinkability that allows for one person to easily crush a 22 oz. bomber in a sitting or sip on all day while in a cookout or get-together kind of atmosphere.  This is a beer drinker’s beer, and that’s something we all can get behind, right?  Be sure to check out Partner Ships IPL before its limited run comes to an end.  Prost!

Winter Storm Imperial ESB in the Forecast for Heavy Seas Beer

36922344101_28b8d65284_k_editedHeavy Seas Beer (Baltimore, Maryland) has announced that Winter Storm Imperial ESB will officially begin its Seasonal return in October.

Drawing on “hops from both the West Coast and the UK for its elegant bitterness”, Winter Storm is a “ruddy hued, richly flavored” Imperial Extra Special Bitter (ESB) that has “subtle aromas of nutty malts, earthy hops, and a trace of cocoa.”  Clocking in at 7.5% ABV, this Limited/Seasonal release “is a perfect beer for fall and winter, especially because of its warming qualities.”

“It was our first international gold medal winning beer,” says brewery Founder, Hugh Sisson. “And I’m not supposed to say it, but I think it may be my favorite beer!”

Winter Storm Imperial ESB will officially arrive in October and hang around through December.  Once it drops, you can expect to find this Limited Release available at select craft beer establishments located in Alabama, Florida, Maryland and throughout the rest of Heavy Seas Beer’s distribution area.  Prost!

Vital Information for Winter Storm Imperial ESB from Heavy Seas Beer

Release – Limited/Seasonal, October through December 2017
Style – Imperial ESB (Extra Special Bitter)
ABV – 7.5%
IBUs – 50
Hops – Warrior, UK Goldings, UK Fuggles, Cascade & Centennial
Malts – 2-row, Crystal, Caramalt & Chocolate Malt
Recommended Glassware – Imperial pint or snifter
Suggested Food Pairings – “Brie or Havarti cheese, pan-seared steak, barbecued pork”
Availability – 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles & draft
Beer Finder – http://hsbeer.com/beerfinder

Heavy Seas Beer Prepares for Release of The Great’er Pumpkin

HSGreaterPumpkinHeavy Seas Beer (Baltimore Maryland) has officially announced that it will begin the 2017 release of The Great’er Pumpkin in September.

For their take on the always popular, autumnal Pumpkin Beer, Heavy Seas Beer turns to their Uncharted Waters Series, a lineup of barrel/wood-aged limited releases, to produce the treat known as The Great’er Pumpkin. Deep burnished orange in color, this Imperial Pumpkin Ale has “aromas of cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and clove [that] give this brew a great aromatic complexity, while British crystal malt, brown sugar, and pumpkin add a sense of weight and body.”  The Great’er Pumpkin (10% ABV) is then left to age in bourbon barrels until it takes on a flavor profile rounded off by “notes of oak, vanilla, and bourbon.”

The Great’er Pumpkin will officially release in September and will hang around while supplies last.  Look for this Limited Release to be available in 22 oz. bottles and on draft at select craft beer establishments located in Alabama, Florida, Maryland and throughout the rest of the Heavy Seas distribution footprint.  Prost!

Vital Information for The Great’er Pumpkin (2017) from Heavy Seas Beer

Release – Limited/Uncharted Waters Series, September 2017
Style – Pumpkin Beer
ABV – 10%
IBUs – 20
Malts – Pale, Wheat & Crystal
Hops – Mt. Hood
Added Ingredients – Pumpkin and pumpkin spice
Treatment – Aged in Bourbon barrels
Recommend Glassware – Snifter
Availability – 22 oz. bottles & draft
Beer Finder – http://hsbeer.com/beerfinder

Tasting Notes: Blackbeard’s Breakfast from Heavy Seas Beer

HSBlackbeardbottleIn this latest installment of Tasting Notes, we start our day as pirates do by cracking an early bottle of Blackbeard’s Breakfast Bourbon Barrel Aged Porter Brewed with Coffee from Heavy Seas Beer (Baltimore, Maryland).

The folks at Heavy Seas Beer release Blackbeard’s Breakfast once a year as a part of their Uncharted Waters Series, a lineup of barrel/wood-aged limited releases that exhibits elevated levels of brewing prowess.  This offering is an Imperial Porter that has been brewed with English malts and Dark Sumatra coffee from Chesapeake Bay Roasting Company.  Once the brewing is completed, Blackbeard’s Breakfast is finished off with a long rest in Bourbon barrels so that it may pick up notes of vanilla, oak and whiskey.  Weighing in at a sizable 10% ABV, Blackbeard’s Breakfast promises to be an experience that “will please coffee and beer connoisseurs alike.”  Blackbeard’s Breakfast had an official release schedule set from May to June, but you can still find this limited release gracing shelves (22 oz. bottles) and taps at select craft beer establishments located in Alabama, Florida, Maryland and throughout the rest of Heavy Seas Beer’s distribution footprint.

With all that background information now covered, I do believe that means we can allow the day-drinking and Tasting Notes to commence!

Tasting Notes for Blackbeard’s Breakfast (2017) from Heavy Seas Beer

Appearance: Blackbeard’s Breakfast fills the glass as an inky black brew that wears a full finger of brown sugar-colored foam.  Held to direct light, the darkness holds and the beer remains opaque, glossy and reflective.  The creamy head eventually gives out and is reduced to a thin, but complete ring.  Since the beer is slick on the glass, any lace that grabs ahold ultimately slips back down into the dark depths below.

Aroma: Dark sugars and molasses grab the nose immediately with a deep, rich sweetness.  Chocolate and caramel easily build off of that base, and the aroma opens further to expose subtle notes cherry, coconut and toffee. All of this is enrobed in a warm, comforting bourbon note that is filled with oak and vanilla tones. Just a waft of coffee breezes through at the end to finish off the profile.

Taste: Although nearly lost in the aroma, the coffee really finds its home here in the flavor.  Pronounced with a beautiful roasted character, the coffee acts as the ideal note to introduce all the flavors that await their moment.  Those flavors include notes of dark chocolate-covered almonds, nearly burnt caramel, creamy vanilla, brown sugar, and sticky toffee.  Bourbon laces itself through all these notes to administer the perfect dose of booze and woodsy character.

Mouthfeel: This Imperial Porter falls on the lighter side of full-bodied with a soft carbonation presence.  This makes for a chewy experience that still remains a bit silken.  Mostly sweet on the palate, the coffee and hops do add a necessary level of bitterness to keep the beer from becoming cloying.  Although they do take their time to clear out, this beer’s flavors are more than welcomed to linger.  Noticeable but not overwhelming, the 10% ABV adds a building warmth in the belly and throat to the experience.  The aftertaste is all molasses and roasted coffee.

Final Thoughts: If you have been looking for a wildly consistent and affordable Bourbon barrel-aged brew to stock up on, look no further than Blackbeard’s Breakfast.  This beer is exactly as it should be.  To start, it avoids the pitfall that many barrel-aged beers fall into, and that is completely losing the base beer behind the barrel character.  Blackbeard’s Breakfast is a big ol’ Porter and it reads as such.  Its English malts retain their integrity to lay a firm and established base of nutty, roasty, chocolaty and toffee-filled notes.  The coffee then enters the picture to support the malts with added roastiness while also lending a touch of balancing bitterness to the equation.  The bourbon waits for that foundation to be properly set before it glides in with its tones of vanilla, oak and booze.  The bourbon has personality, but it is not brash.  It knows it place and that is as a piece of a whole.  The base beer benefits from the Bourbon just as the Bourbon benefits from the base beer.  Blackbeard’s Breakfast finds this harmony, and it truly is a beautiful thing to experience.  Be sure to check it out before this year’s release disappears from shelves and taps.  Prost!

Heavy Seas Beer Set to Release TreasureFest in August

34916671304_eba8eaac85_zHeavy Seas Beer (Baltimore, Maryland) announced today that TreasureFest Oktoberfest Lager will return in August as the brewery’s late-summer/early fall Seasonal.

Oktoberfest season draws nigh, and TreasureFest is set to return as Heavy Seas Beer’s take on this internationally celebrated fall style.  Beginning with a traditional base of imported German malts and hops, the brewers at Heavy Seas then put an American twist on TreasureFest by dry-hopping the beer with a hearty dose of American hops.  At 6% ABV and 35 IBUs, TreasureFest promises to be “a fresh look at the old Oktober stand-by.”

“I am a huge fan of Oktoberfest-style beers,” says Heavy Seas Brewmaster, Christopher Leonard. “Their arrival portends the cool, colorful autumn season that is my favorite time of year. The distinct bready, biscuity malt profile that is their soul speaks to my barley-hearted sensibilities. I’m thrilled to be able to provide a Heavy Seas twist by dry-hopping our interpretation with floral American hops. It should be no surprise to those familiar with our beers that we’ve boosted the malt bill and ABV to help keep the robust hopping in balance. If you like Oktoberfest-style beers and enjoy American IPA’s, this beer just might be the love child hybrid you’ve been waiting for.”

TreasureFest will officially return in August and will be around through Fest Season.  You can expect to find this Seasonal release available in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft at craft beer establishments located in Alabama, Florida, Maryland, and throughout the rest of Heavy Seas Beer’s distribution network.  Prost!

Vital Information for TreasureFest Oktoberfest Lager from Heavy Seas Beer

Release – Seasonal, arriving August 2017
Style – Oktoberfest Lager
ABV – 6%
IBUs – 35
Malts – German Pilsen Malt, Vienna Malt & Munich Malt
Hops – Perle, Hallertau Mittlefrue, Cascade, Palisade & Chinook
Suggested Glassware – Stein
Availability – 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles & draft
Beer Finder – http://www.hsbeer.com/beerfinder

Heavy Seas and Cigar City Brewing Collaborate on Partner Ships IPL

35031085885_4e10682b3e_kHeavy Seas Beer (Baltimore, Maryland) has announced that IPL, a special collaboration beer with Cigar City Brewing (Tampa, Florida), will release in July as the next installment in the brewery’s Partner Ships Series.

The brewers at Heavy Seas and Cigar City Brewing recently got together to create India Pale Lager (IPL) as the second release of 2017 in the Partner Ships Series, a lineup of limited releases from Heavy Seas Beer that “features beers produced in collaboration with other regionally and nationally recognized brewers in the spirit of friendship, creativity, and adventure.”  IPL is a golden lager that showcases the characteristics of a sizable hop bill –  Cascade, Centennial, Mosaic, Simcoe and Mandarina Bavaria – alongside “bready malt aromatics.”  Thanks to “late addition kettle hops followed by extensive dry-hopping”, the 7.8% IPL provides “full citrus and tropical fruit flavors and aromas balancing a soft bitterness.”

IPL is a limited release that will officially launch in July.  You can expect to find this offering in 22 oz. bottles at select craft beer establishments located in Alabama, Florida, Maryland and throughout the rest of Heavy Seas Beer’s distribution footprint.  Like all releases from the Partner Ships series, the supply of IPL will be incredibly limited.  Keep that in mind when this brew releases next month and get it while you can.  Prost!

Vital Information for Partner Ships Series: IPL from Heavy Seas Beer & Cigar City Brewing

Release – Limited/Partner Ships Series, July 2017
Style – India Pale Lager
ABV – 7.8%
IBUs – 48
Hops – Cascade, Centennial, Mosaic, Simcoe & Mandarina Bavaria
Malts – Pilsen, Vienna & MFB Special Aromatic Malt
Availability – 22 oz. bottles
Beer Finder – http://hsbeer.com/beerfinder

 

 

Field Trip: Cavalier Distributing Trade Show – Tampa

Just a few weeks ago, Cavalier Distributing (Lakeland, Florida) held a fantastic and informative trade show at The Vault, a beautiful venue located in the heart of Tampa’s Downtown Arts District.  Cavalier used this industry-only event as an opportunity to introduce the area’s restaurants, bars, retailers, and media members to their vast portfolio of fine craft beers, meads, ciders and spirits.  The best way to capture all that this event had to offer was through a visual medium, so check out the photos below (click to enlarge) so that you too can get the inside scoop on the exciting beverages headed our way this year from Cavalier Distributing.  Prost!

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Heavy Seas Beer Sets the Table for Return of Blackbeard’s Breakfast

34256315891_7f9928ae03_kHeavy Seas Beer (Baltimore Maryland) recently announced that Blackbeard’s Breakfast Bourbon Barrel-aged Porter brewed with Coffee will see a limited release beginning in late May.

That’s right, craft beer fans . . . Blackbeard’s Breakfast has once again reemerged from the depths of Heavy Seas Beer’s Uncharted Waters Series, a lineup of barrel/wood-aged limited releases that exhibits elevated levels of brewing prowess.  Thanks to the use of “unique” English malts, this Imperial Porter lays down a hearty foundation that boasts “strong notes of caramel and a slight nut character.”  This beer is then brewed with Dark Sumatra coffee from Chesapeake Bay Roasting Company to create added layers of roast and complexity.  The brewers at Heavy Seas then finish the beer off by giving it a long rest in bourbon barrels so that it can pick up notes of vanilla, oak and whiskey.  Weighing in at a sizable 10% ABV, Blackbeard’s Breakfast promises to be an experience that “will please coffee and beer connoisseurs alike.”

“Blackbeard’s Breakfast is probably one of the most challenging beers we’ve ever brewed. Its starting gravity of 23.5 Plato is higher than anything we’ve ever attempted at Heavy Seas. We used eight different malts, including 7 from the U.K. – Amber, Black, Chocolate, two types of Crystal, and Vienna comprise almost 40% of the grain bill. This beer possesses layers of malt flavor. At 10% ABV, with earthy, herbaceous English hops, bourbon-barrel aging, and Chesapeake Bay Roasting Company’s Dark Sumatra coffee, this beer is complex, mysterious, and one heck of a delicious brew.”

 

– Christopher Leonard, Brewmaster at Heavy Seas Beer

Blackbeard’s Breakfast is slated for release in late May to early June.  You can expect to find this limited release available in 22 oz. bottles and on draft at select craft beer establishments located in Alabama, Florida, Maryland and throughout the rest of the Heavy Seas distribution area.  In this day and age, “barrel-aged” pretty much means “high in demand” within the beer community.  With that in mind, make a mental note now for the release of Blackbeard’s Breakfast so that you are able to get your bottle or pour at the end of the month.  Prost!

Vital Information for Blackbeard’s Breakfast from Heavy Seas Beer

Release – Limited/Uncharted Waters Series, available late May to early June 2017
Style – American Imperial Porter
ABV – 10%
IBUs – 40 
Malts – Pale, Marris Otter, Vienna, Amber, Light Crystal, Dark Crystal Chocolate & Black
Hops – Target & East Kent Goldings
Added Ingredients – Sumatra coffee from Chesapeake Bay Roasting Company
Treatment – Aged in Bourbon barrels
Availability – 22 oz. bottles & draft
Beer Finder – http://hsbeer.com/beerfinder