The Deep South is not the only hops haven in the US. The Pilgrims were drinking beer all the way back to 1620, so it’s not surprising that New England has more than embraced the craft beer industry.
There are just too many good beers deserving recognition across the New England states. For this article (there will be more), we’ve selected just one beer for each of the states with the exception of NH where we recognized two small breweries. We realize we show a heavy preference to IPA style beers, this is a result of our brew taster’s personal preference and obviously the popularity of the style. In future releases we will target specific styles of beer, possibly seasonally to give due attention to other styles.
Without further ado, we start our cruise in the backwoods of NH:
White Peaks IPA – 603 brewery
With the motto “Live Free or Die”, you would expect some pretty amazing things to come out of the small backwoods state of New Hampshire. Well, with the crack of a beer top, some pretty amazing beers come from this quiet Northeastern state.
The 603 brewery, out of the small town of Londonderry, makes a wide variety of different tasting beers appealing to most beer enthusiasts. Many of the brews are inspired by the local community, who support and promote the brewery.
At first glance, the yellow and white can of the White Peaks IPA (6.6% ABV) grabs your attention and draws you into a well thought-out recipe that makes this beer a favorite for the state. With a light warm color and smooth, refreshing taste, the citrus and floral notes are also touched by a slight aftertaste of white pepper.
The carbonation adds a great fresh feel to your palate after a large gulp. But don’t let the White Peaks IPA steal all of your attention because 603 Brewery offers much more like the Ninth State Red IPA, Granite Stout, Winni Ale and much much more.
Burn the Ships Smoked IPA – Able Ebenezer
What in the world is a “smoked” IPA? Well, let me tell you, it’s unlike anything your taste buds have encountered previously. This beer packs so much flavor and action into each sip that your mouth won’t know quite what to make of it.
As any IPA, BtS comes with a complex hop profile, but this is balanced out, or possibly overshadowed by the smokiness of the cherry-wood smoked malt, that gives each sip a solid or full bodied feel up front, with a nice clean, slightly bitter finish from the residual hop character.
This beer certainly stands in a class all on its own; this is likely the reason it is Able Ebenezer’s flagship and most popular offering. It merges several great styles of beers. My first impression was a scotch ale, and a traditional English IPA conceived a child. Maybe that’s exactly what they’re going for.
The BtS name would suggest that this beer is the last surviving relic of the British ships that traveled around the Cape of Good Hope to India carrying the original versions of IPA beer. Possibly one of these ships caught fire at some point, yet one cask survived, slightly charred but otherwise stable due to the higher alcohol content. This is at least the image I like to envisage when sipping and delighting in the uniqueness that is BtS.
If you’re interested in learning more about craft beer in NH and Able Ebenezer in particular, there’s a great, award winning documentary “Brew Hampshire” that follows their first year in the beer-making business. Worth a view for any craft beer enthusiast or aspiring brewer.
Vermont Single IPA – Trout River Brewing Company
Everyone knows about the amazing beer that has come from the great state of Vermont such as the Alchemist’s ‘Heady Topper’ or Lawson’s Finest ‘Sip of Sunshine’, but it’s some of the smaller less legendary breweries that are beginning to hop into the spotlight.
A brewery out of the town of Lyndonville, VT is producing two types of beers that are perfect for a day on the lake or a day on a lazy river. Trout River’s Vermont Single IPA (5.6% ABV) takes a unique twist for a Sessions IPA. The smooth, crisp, refreshing taste pairs well with a hot sunny summer’s day. But with a little kick of hops, this beer is a standout in the state of Vermont. One sip of the Single IPA will leave your thirst quenched and a smile on your face.
The other brew they produce is a Rainbow Red Ale which is another favorite by many in the state and continues to grow in popularity.