Browse Tag



Long Trail “Brewmaster Series” Double White (Vermont) – Herds the fresh, spicy froth of white ale into realms it doesn’t wish to go, at least in this guise. “Heavy” isn’t the word for what’s wrong with this. Perhaps it would be most accurate to say that it’s too pushy. (7/12)

Gilligan’s grain

Harpoon “100 Barrel Series” Ginger Wheat (Vermont) – An only-just-decent wheat beer whose ginger is almost entirely delivered on the first tingly sip, after which the palate becomes entirely immune and this beer lacks any sort of point whatsoever. (6/12)

Smooth as rhubarb

Lincoln Peak 2007 “Silk” Ice Wine (Vermont) – Frontenac gris, with the dark brown tones of a much older (or heavily botrytized) wine; I don’t know which applies here. Tastes of not-too-sweet birch sap and rhubarb. No, really. It’s…fascinating. Good? No, not really, but it does go very well with a rhubarb-based dessert. So there’s something. (6/12)

To those according to their mead

Artesano “Essence” Mead (Vermont) – Intense dried honey, golden fig, and even a little bit of pleasant bitterness and vibrant finishing intensity. I’ve been somewhat disappointed with other meads from this producer, but this one is stellar. (6/12)

How much, again?

Woodchuck “Original ‘91” Farmhouse Cider (Vermont) – I appreciate the (literally) hand-signed bottles, but when the name of the company is obscured in the side-label fine print it all feels just a little faux-artisan. Can’t Woodchuck make interesting cider without the misdirection? Well, that’s the question, isn’t it? And this is good, with layers of dryness over a sharp, slightly cloudy applebrew of relatively indistinct character. The skin-dominated and yeasty characteristics are right, but my primary criticism would be that I’d like to see them get a little bit more out of the apples themselves. (3/12)

100 whales

Harpoon “100 Barrel Series” Black IPA (Vermont) – What it says is what you get: IPA bitterness, amped up just a bit by the blackness but by no means overwhelming, with a char and liquid smoke envelopment. Impressive. I wouldn’t want to drink a lot of this, but some is very good. (2/12)

At the hop

Harpoon “100 Barrel Series” Czech Hop Harvest Ale “Dočesná” (Vermont) – Aggressive in multiple ways: richly-hopped (but not one of those hop-overwhelmed extremities, by any means), chipped metal and wood aromas, and physically impossible to ignore. It is, perhaps, a bit more than I was expecting, but I’ll chalk that up to my expectations rather than an inherent flaw in the ale. All that said, it remains aggressive. (10/11)


Long Trail “Brewmaster Series” Coffee Stout (Vermont) – Yes, coffee. Yes, stout. A good melding of two worthy beverages, perhaps a little heavier on the coffee than is the norm for these brews. It’s my sense that, whenever a traditional added-flavor beer style is attempted by domestic breweries, there’s more of that addition than is typical for the traditional referent. It’s true here, but while I often find the excessive flavoring bothersome or intrusive, in this case I actually prefer it to the stoutier version it mimics. It’s not very “serious,” but it’s most definitely enjoyable. (8/11)

Big & beige

Harpoon “100 Barrel Series” “Rich & Dan’s” Rye IPA (Vermont) – Yes, OK, there’s the grainy undertone of rye that I like so much in spirits. But here, it’s just not enough of a major player in the final product, which is heavy, a little bitter, and quite a bit blockheaded. I’ve been a big fan of many releases in this series, but I fear the last few have lost their way. (7/11)


Long Trail “Brewmaster Series” Imperial Red Ale “Centennial Red” (Vermont) – I don’t, as a rule, like red ale. I’m not sure why. This is as forceful an argument to the contrary as has passed my glottis, pairing the usual acidity with a throbbing, red-light-district fullness. Pretty impressive, I have to say. (12/10)