Browse Tag

new hampshire

Poplar music

White Birch “Indulgence” Ale (New Hampshire) – A lighter, crisper stout style, and really pretty fabulous. White Birch is, for me, a very inconsistent brewer, so the next batch may be wildly different. But this is very, very nicely done. (6/11)

White Birch Dubbel Belgian Style Ale (New Hampshire) – All work and no play makes this a dull ale. (6/11)

White Birch Tripel Belgian Style Ale (New Hampshire) – An immediate quintupling of force, alcohol, sweetness, and stickiness vs. the dubbel from the same brewery, and it’s almost too much. Yet it’s papered over, withheld from its fullest expression, and while that prevents too-muchness, it leaves the beer a little less than what it could be. (6/11)

White Birch Belgian Style Ale Quad (New Hampshire) – Heavy, of course, with a sweet maple adhesion that somewhat overwhelms the ale. No real surprise in that; quad is a high-wire act to begin with, and not a few people believe it just can’t be done with any result other than spectacle. Good in small quantities, tiresome beyond that. (6/11)

A loaf of wheat, a jug of wine, and wow

Smuttynose “Big Beer Series” Wheat Wine Ale (New Hampshire) – A sticky toffee pudding of a beer (or “beer”), though it’s more grain-like than sweet. I think I’d like this more were it part of Smuttynose’s “Very Small Beer Series,” because a large bottle of it is a lot to take.(7/11)

Aloha + New Hampshire???

White Birch “Aloha” Belgian Style Ale (New Hampshire) – Awful. Just awful. Not flawed, just as watery as any mass-market brew…except, of course, higher in alcohol. I’ve come to expect a lot more from this brewer. (11/10)

Crooked timber

North Country Orchard “Crooked Tree” Cider (New Hampshire) – Pretty basic. This tastes more like apple juice with the slight warmth of cider than it does an actual fermented cider. Very pleasant, but not worth the upcharge over (good, local, fresh) supermarket cider. (7/10)

John’s society

White Birch Belgian Style Pale Ale (New Hampshire) – Fairly enticing. I’ve realized, after extensive sampling (perhaps too-extensive), that most domestic Belgian knockoffs don’t really do it for me, outside the spiced white ale genre. The reason is that they mostly stop at heaviness and sweet alcoholism without the complexity or inner life. Here, thankfully, there’s more: spice, swirl, and light within. Perhaps even a woodsy note? Tasty. (6/10)

White Birch Belgian Style Pale Ale (New Hampshire) – A confident, white-hued interpretation, perhaps not overly authentic but very, very appealing despite the idiosyncrasy. Fruit, spice, not too much weight, and a pleasant counterpoint of mild bitterness. Nice. (5/10)

Below the Poverty Lane

[orchard]Poverty Lane “Farnum Hill” 2007 Kingston Black Cider “Reserve” (New Hampshire) – The aromatic character of ciders doesn’t, at least to my palate, vary as much as the palette of wine grapes, though there are definitely subtle shadings depending on the variety; the general trend is sour-sweet apple, and the range is more concerned with matters of dilution vs. concentration. Here, those shadings are more like outright hues, which is one of the reasons I find this cider so appealing. There’s a tactility to the fruit that’s more like biting into the apple itself than drinking its fermented essence, and the nature of that fruit carries a certain steely minerality. Very impressive. Maybe not the “best” cider I’ve ever tasted, but certainly one of the best from the U.S. (5/09)


Smuttynose “Gravitation” Quadrupel Ale (New Hampshire) – Accomplished. Even though it manages to give what is always a very, very heavy style of ale life and lift. Still, it’s a bruiser, so drink carefully. Spice abounds. (3/09)

Poverty line

[orchard]Poverty Lane “Farnum Hill” 2006 Kingston Black Cider “Reserve” (New Hampshire) – This remains a serious, complex cider. This bottle shows more of the molten iron and lead components that sometimes lurk in the background, with the deep, rich apple flavors taking on a bronzed characteristic. And yet, there’s a bell-tone of loftier, more skin-derived flavors in the finish. Very, very good. (10/08)

Poverty line

[orchard in snow]Poverty Lane “Farnum Hill” 2006 Kingston Black Cider “Reserve” (New Hampshire) – Sweaty and deeply complex, showing skin bitterness, tart but modulating acidity, and a series of metal sheathes around the core of cold apple-osity. Unquestionably the best domestic cider I’ve ever tasted, though I haven’t tasted more than a few dozen. (10/08)

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