Tag Archives: New Hampshire

White Birch Hooksett Ale

White Birch Brewing
Hooksett, NH
Hooksett Ale

This review is a few months old, but WordPress has been jamming me by not allowing me to upload photos, but it looks like we’re back. That said, I had to put the image at the bottom of the review and not in it’s customary left-or-right-of-the-color-description spot. It’s summer and I plan on drinking a lot of beer, so reviews should reappear with some regularity. Thanks for visiting, come back soon.

White Birch takes some chances, making small-batch brews with a wide variety of additional ingredients. They also take great pains to make sure you know exactly what you’re drinking, indicating, month and year of inception, and batch number of your beer. Once again, my beer hoarding has gotten the better of me as this beer was brewed March 2011 and, according to the bottle, “is not intended for cellaring”. As I recall, I bought this in August, so a few months shouldn’t be a huge deal.

Right from the get-go, you can tell there’s nothing decrepit about this beer. The carbonation is lively and crisp as an egg-shell white head rises up and crackles over crystal clear clarity. Very fine bubbles travel languidly up the glass, as though they’re stopping to enjoy the sunset-orange color of the ale.

The aroma is an interesting mix – the strong citrus aromas from the Cascade and Centennial hops take on a slight funk from the Belgian yeast, mixing to make an aroma that wavers between wet horse and cooked wild rice.

The mouthfeel is full, starting tart but slowing down a bit. Initially, the lemon, grapefruit, and pine bark flavors from the West Coast hops kick in on the sides of the tongue, traveling backwards with a small dose of whole grain bread bittiness which is really nice. Just when you think it’s a miniature hop-bomb, those grains flavors emerge at the back of the swallow as rye and caraway seed.

Almost no heat from the relatively high (6.5%) ABV, but this particular bottle probably calmed down a bit over the last year. I’ll have to give some fresh White Birch another try, but the addition of the cooked grain bitterness on top of the hops is awesome.


Woodstock Loon

Been down so goddamn long…

Looks like it’s up to me.

I apologize to all the BYC followers and fans out there – it’s not that I haven’t been drinking, I’ve just been lazy. Or maybe, not lazy in that I’ve been out of the house and thus not reviewing. Regardless, I owe reviews, so here we go.

In honor of Halloween and all you loons out there:

Woodstock Inn Brewery
North Woodstock, NH
Loon Golden Ale

Another Shipyard contract, Woodstock also makes Pemi Pale Ale, reviewed last February.

A puffy, pure-white head jumps up above the beer, accelerated by extremely active, fine carbonation. The clarity is excellent and the color is beautiful. It is a truly lustrous gold, with faint tints of ruddy straw glinting in the light.

The nose is malty, but on the dry side with honey and pepper emanating through the sweet, bready body. The mouthfeel is good – it starts of with some heft and thins out nicely with the help of all that delicate effervescence. Like the aroma, the flavor has trouble deciding whether to be sweet or dry, which actually proves to be more interesting than incomplete. There is an initial soft grassiness which doesn’t really bite, but segues nicely into a buttery finish, like morning toast.

The finish is clean and not cloying. This brew is a fine session ale with some complexity. More impressive, I think, than their Pemi.

Pemi Pale Ale

Woodstock Inn Brewery
Woodstock, NH
Pemi Pale Ale

This NH brew claims that it is rated the best pale ale in the Northeast and the second best in the country. We shall see. Thought I’d switch things up with a different vessel style today. Here’s a sweet glass mug courtesy of my brother.

The head is extremely lively, exploding to over an inch of billowy, yellowish head, and sticking as it settles.

The color is one of the prettier copper hues I’ve seen in a beer. It’s not quite amber, and neither is it orange or brown.

Drink Free or Die.

The nose is dank and mossy and seesaws between sweet malt and citric hops. To be honest, the aroma is a bit off-putting, but you can tell there is some body in there. Burnt honey prevails, really, and seems to lean to a malty – rather than hoppy – beer.

The mouthfeel is very good, thanks to a smooth start and plenty of erratic effervescence. Malt is the initial taste, with a lot of toffee that softens up a bit when the beer starts to warm. This allows some pine notes from the hops to take over and help the beer finish fairly dry.

A bit sweet for me but Pemi improves in the open air. This beer has some of the requisite toasty bitterness for a good pale, but it needs a bit more balance. It’ll get another go-round in the future as I always like to give a beer the benefit of the doubt. Plus, Bee likes this brew and he hasn’t lied to me about anything so serious as beer ever.

All that aside, a lovely lace curtain is left behind and is worthy of a photo, though my photo is not worthy.