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Brewer Q & A – Spring 2016 (Issue 23)

For beers that receive a score of "Excellent" or above (91+), we've asked the brewer a few questions regarding that beer's origins.

 


92 Rating – Smuttynose Brewing Co. – Rocky Road

Responses from Smuttlabs' head brewer Charlie Ireland.

Who came up with this beer's recipe?
Our brewing team wanted to brew a beer that was perfect for dessert. I love ice cream and Rocky Road is one of my favorite flavors. New England has hundreds of small, local ice cream stands, so this seemed like a perfect tribute to one of my favorite pastimes. We brewed a pilot batch several years ago at Portsmouth Brewery, our sister brewpub in downtown Portsmouth, and people loved it! 

What’s your favorite aspect of this beer (flavor, aroma, etc.)? 
The use of Fluff while making it! Fluff is made about an hour from the brewery in Lynn, MA, so I got to slide another happy childhood memory into this beer. Besides, Fluff is just really fun to say.

Where does this beer’s name come from? 
We named Rocky Road after the ice cream that inspired it. There’s no crazy story story behind the name, but it’s pretty damn descriptive.

Is this your "desert island beer?"
No, it’s way too sweet and heavy for desert weather. I’m not saying it’s not delicious, but it’s better suited to New Hampshire weather.

Can you describe this beer in 10 words or less?
Chocolatey, fluff-tastic decadence that tastes like ice cream for adults.

Do you know a story – or have a personal story – that revolves around this beer?
The Fluff Festival takes place every September in Somerville MA where Archibald Query created Fluff in 1917. The first year we were there, we were pouring Finestkind IPA and lots of folks asked us if we had a beer made with Fluff. Of course, we didn’t, but that helped build one of the wheels that went into motion when it was time to formulate a dessert beer.

Photo Credit: Robert Lussier


92 Rating – Smartmouth Brewing Co. – Cowcatcher

Responses from Smartmouth's president Porter Hardy.

Who came up with this beer's recipe?
Our original head brewer, Greg Papp, came up with this recipe. The brew staff has tweaked it a few times over the years to try and get the balance of sweetness and roastiness just right.

What’s your favorite aspect of this beer (flavor, aroma, etc.)? 
This beer is just so smooth and silky. I love the way it makes me feel on a fall or winter day.

Where does this beer’s name come from? 
A cowcatcher is the apparatus on the front of a train that ever-so-gently moves cows off the tracks. Our proximity to the railroad and our connection to Norfolk Southern (some of our owners work for the railroad) make railroad names a natural fit for us. That and we love clever names  cows make milk for the lactose in the milk stout and we are next to the railroad tracks. Get it?

Is this your "desert island beer?"
Only if that desert is cold and blustery. If that were the case, then yes.

Can you describe this beer in 10 words or less?
Cocoa, chocolate, roasty, sweet and cozy.

Do you know a story – or have a personal story – that revolves around this beer?
When we were first starting out and debating names for the brewery, a local radio personality/friend suggested the name “Cowcatcher” because of the train tracks located outside the front door. While we didn’t go with that for the brewery name, we thought it would go perfectly for a milk stout  so we brewed one!

Photo Credit: Ashley Lester


92 Rating – Barley Forge Brewing Co. – Grandpa Tractor

Responses from Barley Forge's operations manager Sean O' Shea.

Who came up with this beer's recipe?
Kevin Buckley, Barley Forge head brewer, came up with this recipe. It is a very clean-tasting example of an almost extinct beer style from the Dortmund area of Germany, which was traditionally enjoyed by coal miners after a long day's work.

What’s your favorite aspect of this beer (flavor, aroma, etc.)? 
I really enjoy the clean, crisp bite of this beer. The yeast comes off clean with a slight sulfur aroma (ok for the style) and allows the flavor of the Pilsner malt to shine through.

Where does this beer’s name come from? 
This beer is named after Mary Ann Frericks' father. Mary Ann is our co-founder. Jerry Frericks (aka Grandpa Tractor) got his nickname from Greg & Mary Ann’s son, Gram. You guessed correctly, Grandpa does own a tractor!

Is this your "desert island beer?"
With how clean and easy-drinking this 5% ABV Dortmunder Export Lager is, it could very well be my desert island beer.

Can you describe this beer in 10 words or less?
Full-bodied, balanced, crisp and refreshing session beer.

Do you know a story – or have a personal story – that revolves around this beer?
See above regarding the name. On a side note, we have a group of local regulars that come in almost every night just to drink Grandpa Tractor and nothing else!

Photo Credit: Barley Forge Brewing Co.


92 Rating – Avery Brewing Co. – Double D's

Responses from Avery's "Barrel Professor" Travis Rupp.

Who came up with this beer's recipe?
Our beloved lab geek, Dan Driscoll. He spends most of his time in a rarified lab environment, but he gets very excited about beer. He brought up the idea of a beer inspired by the flavors in the ol' Whiskey Ginger cocktail. So we made a strong, non-sour amber beer, aged it in fresh Bourbon barrels, then added fresh ginger juice. We had originally planned on adding lime zest, but we did some tastings and decided that the lime mitigated the impact from the barrels.

What’s your favorite aspect of this beer (flavor, aroma, etc.)? 
My favorite aspect of this beer is the overall flavor balance. It's pretty easy to throw a bunch of ginger and lime into just about anything, and, of course, it'll taste great. But we spent months aging this beer in Bourbon barrels because we didn't want to lose the vanilla and coconut flavors from the charred oak. We had to use a light hand in the spicing too. I love that this beer smells like fresh ginger, but the aftertaste is of huge vanilla from the charred oak. 

Where does this beer’s name come from? 
Dan "DD's" Driscoll, Avery Yeast Manager – a brilliant, ginger badass. We wanted to surprise him by keeping the name of the beer a secret, but unfortunately, he found out a week before we were going to bottle it because he’s a sneaky ginger.

Is this your "desert island beer?"
If I were stuck on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and I'd just caught a fish with my bare hands and I wanted a beer pairing for that fish, Double D's is the one. 

Can you describe this beer in 10 words or less?
Ginger, vanilla, coconut, balanced, awesome.

Photo Credit: Avery Brewing Co.


92 Rating – Oskar Blues Brewery – Hotbox Coffee Porter

Responses from Oskar Blues' head brewer Tim Matthews.

Who came up with this beer's recipe?
Hotbox was formulated by the Oskar Blues brewing team.

What’s your favorite aspect of this beer (flavor, aroma, etc.)? 
The harmony between the fruity malts and Hotbox Coffee blueberry and cocoa notes.

Where does this beer’s name come from? 
It's a shout-out to the killer roasters at Hotbox Roasters who supply the coffee for the beer. It is their coffee that gets us perked up and ready to brew our beer after all!

Is this your "desert island beer?"
Our special seasonals are for special occasions. One can has plenty of satisfaction. I would want to bring something more sessionable to a desert island.

Can you describe this beer in 10 words or less?
Gotta get up to get down; beer and coffee together!

Do you know a story – or have a personal story – that revolves around this beer?
Hotbox Porter was bound to happen. You could see the writing on the wall when people would make cold-brew coffee and Ten Fidy cocktails in the breakroom after work.

Photo Credit: Oskar Blues Brewery


92 Rating – Good People Brewing Co. – Good People IPA

Responses from Good People's brewmaster and co-founder Jason Malone and head brewer Adam Klein. 

Who came up with this beer's recipe?
Jason created the original recipe.

What’s your favorite aspect of this beer (flavor, aroma, etc.)? 
Jason’s favorite aspect of this beer is that the hop profile is multi-layered with citrus, pine, herbal, dank, and catty notes. You can ask 10 different people to describe this beer and get 10 different answers.

Where does this beer’s name come from? 
With all of our core beers, or "Ales from the Heart of Dixie," the names are pretty straightforward. We want people to know what they’re drinking and to know that Good People means quality.

Is this your "desert island beer?"
Adam says, “Definitely, yes.” He knows that there are a ton of great beers out there, but GP IPA is his go-to brew. 

Can you describe this beer in 10 words or less?
Dry-hopped, aromatic, herbal, earthy, crisp and refreshing.

Do you know a story – or have a personal story – that revolves around this beer?
Funnily enough, this beer was first released at the 2008 Southern Brewers Festival in Chattanooga. Alabama didn’t legally allow beer above 6% ABV to be sold in the state at that time, so our IPA made its debut in Tennessee. Jason and Michael (the brewery’s other co-founder) drove up there to showcase the first few brews under the Good People name.

Photo Credit: Cary Norton

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