Heavy Seas Beer to Kick Off 2018 Partner Ships Series with Right Proper Brewing Company

HSPartnerHeavy Seas Beer (Baltimore, Maryland) has announced that it will officially release Cafe au Lait Stout, a Partner Ships Series offering brewed in collaboration with Right Proper Brewing Company (Washington, DC), in late March/early April.

Not too long ago, the folks at Heavy Seas Beer and a crew from Right Proper Brewing got together for a Beltway Brew Day to create Cafe au Lait Stout as the first release in the 2018 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.”  Meant to buck the current trend of “thick, chewy, cloying and overly boozy stouts”, Cafe au Lait is listed as a “Vanilla Malted Oat Stout” that has been brewed with “velvety malted oats, milk sugar (lactose), locally roasted coffee from Chesapeake Bay Roasting Company, and a touch of vanilla bean.”  Weighing in at just 5% ABV, Cafe au Lait is “a true anti-imperial stout” that still possesses a “sumptuous, earthy, mysterious, and decadent” experience.

Partner Ships Cafe au Lait Stout will officially release somewhere between late March and early April, and – like all Partner Ships releases in 2018 – will be available exclusively on draft.  You can expect to find this Limited Release brew pouring at select craft beer-focused bars, restaurants and growler stations located in Alabama, Florida and throughout the rest of Heavy Seas Beer’s distribution footprint.  Prost!

Vital Information for Partner Ships Cafe au Lait Stout from Heavy Seas Beer & Right Proper Brewing Company

Release – Limited/Partner Ships Series, late March/early April
Style – Milk Stout
ABV – 5%
IBUs – 30
Malts – 2-Row, Munich, Chocolate, Malted Oats, Dark Crystal, Extra Dark Crystal & Roasted Barley
Hops – UK Target
Added Ingredients – Milk sugar, vanilla beans & locally roasted coffee from Chesapeake Bay Roasting Company
Availability – Draft only
Beer Finder – http://hsbeer.com/beerfinder

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The collaboration team from Heavy Seas and Right Proper Brewing. Photo Credit – Heavy Seas Beer
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Tasting Notes: Partner Ships Wee Heavy from Heavy Seas & MadTree Brewing

HSBWeeHeavyPour1000For this week’s installment of Tasting Notes, we recognize Tampa’s Gasparilla festivities in our own little way by getting into a bottle of The Partner Ships Wee Heavy from Heavy Seas Beer (Baltimore, Maryland) and MadTree Brewing Company (Cincinnati, Ohio).

Brewed as a locally-infused collaboration with MadTree Brewing Company, this Wee Heavy comes to us as Heavy Seas Beer’s latest release from The Partner Ships Series, a line of Limited Release “beers produced in collaboration with other regionally and nationally recognized brewers in the spirit of friendship, creativity, and adventure.”  To create this offering, the brewing team began with a pretty straightforward recipe for a Scottish-style Wee Heavy and then “loaded [it] with local flavor” by adding 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 creative approach resulted in a robust, 8.25% ABV Wee Heavy that is “deep mahogany in color with layers of malt, chocolate, and roasted complexity.”  A limited supply of The Partner Ships Wee Heavy was released back in November, but there still might be a few bombers and kegs floating around out there at craft beer establishments located within Heavy Seas Beer’s distribution footprint.

Now that all the background information on this brew has been properly handled, what do you say we lay siege to this bottle and get into some Tasting Notes?

Tasting Notes for Partner Ships Wee Heavy from Heavy Seas Beer & MadTree Brewing Company

Appearance: Partner Ships Wee Heavy pours as a dark brown, nearly black brew that is wearing a half finger of brown sugar colored foam.  Other than a touch of light forcing its way through at the edges, the beer remains mostly opaque.  With that said, a slow but dutiful carbonation presence can be seen feeding the head at the top of the pour.  Despite the effort, that head does quickly fall to a thin but lasting ring that leaves some spotty lacing on the glass.

Aroma:  Sweet caramel and chocolate notes rise up first before being overtaken by a gorgeous layer of roast.  The roastiness has qualities of coffee, grain, toasted bread and just a touch of smoky peat.  Dark fruits then surface with tones of prune and plum.  The aromatics ultimately close with a parting waft of milk chocolate.

Taste:  The flavor profile nearly mirrors the nose, but the cocoa and chocolate notes have more of a foothold in this arena.  Lovely tones of milk chocolate, dark chocolate, light fudge, and cocoa powder are all accounted for.  Caramel, toffee, vanilla and almonds then move in to support.  A comforting presence of roasted coffee and grain then saturates the previous flavors to cut away at the sweetness.  Earthy hops and a touch of dark fruit (plum and date) supply further balance and close the profile.

Mouthfeel:  Medium to full in body with a light carbonation, this Wee Heavy is smooth and slightly creamy in texture.  Although most of our descriptors would lead you to believe this beer is sweet, earthy hops and ample roastiness balance the ship and avoid any possibility of cloying.  At 8.25%, a warming ABV presence builds in the throat and settles in the belly.  Aftertaste allows dark fruit, roast and chocolate to linger.

Final Thoughts:  This is an incredibly nice, subtly dynamic Wee Heavy.  What we mean by that is the first sip seems innocent and direct, but each subsequent sip builds upon the experience with a growing complexity.  Most of that complexity resides in the roast as the coffee acts as more of a complementary note that accentuates the roasty characteristics of the grain bill.  That deeply layered roastiness is skillfully achieved, but in a manner that never forces the beer to declare itself a “coffee beer”.  Although this clever approach results in a truly unique Wee Heavy, it remains respectful of tradition and values the expected characteristics of the style.  I guess what we are ultimately trying to say here is that The Partner Ships Wee Heavy is a hidden gem that you need to seek out.  Prost!

 

Heavy Seas Beer Readies The Alpha Effect Hazy IPA for Limited Return

38771312664_9f30da925c_z_cropHeavy Seas Beer (Baltimore, Maryland) has officially announced that The Alpha Effect Hazy IPA will see a limited release in February.

Back again after its limited debut back at the start of 2017, The Alpha Effect is a “hazy and dank” India Pale Ale “hopped predominantly with Columbus hops.” With Citra and Centennial hops lending support, “juicy, resiny, piney hop aromas and flavors” command your full attention while “a clean, crisp malt profile” creeps in to lend balance.  The Alpha Effect weighs in at 7% ABV and 75 IBUs.

The Alpha Effect officially releases in February and will be available while supplies last.  You can expect to find this Limited Release available in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft 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 The Alpha Effect from Heavy Seas Beer

Release – Limited, February 2018
Style – American India Pale Ale
ABV – 7%
IBUs – 75
Hops – Columbus, Centennial, Citra & Mosaic
Malts – 2-Row, Wheat & Caramalt
Recommended Glassware – Spiegelau IPA Glass or Tulip
Availability – 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles & draft
Beer Finder – http://hsbeer.com/beerfinder

 

Heavy Seas Beer Sets Upon Uncharted Waters to Welcome Back Siren Noire

38479885265_380b78f7f8_kHeavy Seas Beer (Baltimore, Maryland) has announced that Siren Noire will return to shelves in January and bring with it a packaging change to 4-packs of 12 oz. bottles.

To create this Uncharted Waters Series offering, the brewers at Heavy Seas first approach Siren Noire by crafting a “velvety, rich chocolate stout” loaded with nearly three pounds of Belgian cocoa nibs per barrel. Once the brewing is completed, the beer is then “aged for five weeks in bourbon barrels with vanilla beans added.” This process allows the beer to mature and finish as a 9.5% ABV Imperial Stout with a “well-rounded body that is decidedly chocolatey—but without being extraordinarily sweet or cloying.”

Heavy Seas has decided to shift the packaging for all Uncharted Waters releases to 4-packs of 12 oz. bottles in 2018, and Siren Noire will be the first to experience this change.  As a result, offerings from the Uncharted Waters Series will no longer be available in 22 oz. bottles.

Siren Noire will officially release in January and hang around while supplies last.  You can expect to find this Limited Release offering in those new 4-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 area. Prost!

Vital Information for Siren Noire from Heavy Seas Beer

Release – Limited/Uncharted Waters Series, January 2018
Style – Imperial Stout
ABV – 9.5%
Malts – 2-Row, Crystal, Chocolate & Roasted Barley
Hops – Brewers Gold
Added Ingredients – Cocoa nibs
Treatment – Aged for five weeks in Bourbon barrels with vanilla beans added
Suggested Food Pairings – “Fresh berries and whipped cream, ice cream sandwiches”
Recommended Glassware – Snifter or English pint
Availability – 4-packs of 12 oz. bottles & draft
Beer Finder – http://hsbeer.com/beerfinder

Heavy Seas Beer Marks 22nd Birthday with New Anniversary Ale

38059314122_6827f4efcb_kHeavy Seas Beer (Baltimore, Maryland) will officially celebrate its 22nd year in the craft beer industry with the December release of 22 Anniversary Ale, a Belgian-style Tripel aged in rye whiskey barrels.

Brewing craft beer commercially for 22 years is one hell of an achievement, and Heavy Seas Beer has turned to its Uncharted Waters Series – a lineup of barrel/wood-aged limited releases – to create a celebratory brew worthy of the title 22 Anniversary Ale.  To take this “goldenrod” Belgian-style Tripel to the next level, the brewers at Heavy Seas aged this offering in local Sagamore Spirit Rye Whiskey barrels.  This barrel treatment imparted notes of “vanilla and subtle [spice]” to work beautifully alongside the Tripel’s “phenolic flavors of white pepper and peach skin.”  The finished 22 Anniversary Ale weighs in at 10% ABV and 37 IBUs.

Thank you, thank you very much for all of the support over the years, without you, we wouldn’t still be here sailing into Uncharted Waters year after year,” says Heavy Seas Founder, Hugh Sisson. “Cheers!”

22 Anniversary Ale is scheduled for release in early December and will hang around as long as supplies last.  You can expect to find this Limited Release offering in 22 oz. bottles and on draft at craft beer establishments located in Alabama, Florida, Maryland and throughout the rest of Heavy Seas Beer’s distribution area.  Prost!

Vital Information for 22 Anniversary Ale from Heavy Seas Beer

Release – Limited/Uncharted Waters Series, early December 2017
Style – Tripel
ABV – 10%
IBUs – 37
Malts – 2-row, Crystal, Caramalt & Chocolate Malt
Hops – Warrior, UK Goldings, UK Fuggles, Cascade & Centennial
Treatment – Aged in Sagamore Spirit Rye Whiskey barrels
Availability – 22 oz. bottles & draft
Beer Finder – http://hsbeer.com/beerfinder

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