Autumn is harvest season and that means tons of festivals across the world marking the occasion. Food, wine, and of course beer are all fair game. I was extremely psyched to attend Mohegan Sun’s First Annual Brewfest and have my pick of sampling over 100 different brands. I quickly discovered that not only a ton of local breweries were spreading good cheer but some established giants offered up some obscure seasonal offerings as well. Here are some I’ll be hunting down and looking forward to tasting at next year’s 2nd Annual Fest.:
Contract brewed in Holyoke MA, the Beaver Beer Company team ultimately plans to independently brew in CT soon if demand justifies it. Founders Bill O’Brien, Baxter Urist, and Rob Anson, were inspired just last year to create perfect craft beer after enjoying a few cold ones while camping at a lake. Impressed by the hard-working, hard-playing nature of nearby beavers, they decided to celebrate those attributes by naming their brewery in their honor. 3 styles resulted after many taste testings…a crisp Blonde pale ale; Brewnette, a well-rounded Vienna-style amber lager; and Big Red, an American style India Pale Ale.
Sam Adams Tasman Red & Griffin’s Bow
I respect Sam Adams because even though they have grown so large, they still manage to produce rich flavorful beers with personality. This
shone through most emphatically with their lesser known Tasman Red and Griffin’s Bow:
- Tasman Red – This red IPA gets its character from Tasmanian hops chock full of grapefruit, pine, and earthy notes. The hops are balanced by a core of roasty malts giving it body and richness with hints of toffee. Aromas hint at sweet and the hops’ citrusy overtones.
- Griffin’s Bow – My biggest surprise….this tasty barley wine ale is defined by a smooth balance of sweet fruit & citrusy hops.
Based in Westerley RI, Grey Sail‘s Flagship Ale, a creamy brew with a crisp finish, was my favorite.
Equally impressive is their Flying Jenny Extra Pale Ale medium-bodied IPA crossover. You get a strong hop bitterness tempered with a sassy lemon-seeded kick. Fest, their Fall seasonal offering is made using leafy Noble hops setting the stage for orange-oiled apple-peach-pumpkin fruiting, caramel-roasted malt and honeyed tea.
In the words of New Castle Brown Ale, “Legend has it that a beast roams the moors and plains of Newcastle Upon Tyne. It’s part man, part wolf, and more than a little wild— the perfect inspiration for this Limited Edition ale which comes at you with a dark, startling aroma, a roasty flavor, and a final taste of hops that leaves you howling for more.”
Photos & video courtesy of Steve Mirsky