M-43 New England Style IPA Old Nation ...and Juicy New England Style IPA from Petoskey Brewing

Trillium Brewing Double Dry Hopped Summer Street

(C) 2017 popsonhops

East Coast vs West Coast Craft Beer

There’s this “east coast versus west coast” thing in beer. Funny, there seems to be an east coast versus west coast thing virtually everywhere. In football, there is the west coast offense versus northeastern smash mouth football. Rap music had a bicoastal rivalry that resulted in more than one murder. For many years, craft beer has had a rivalry. The west coast (specifically California) has Pliny the Elder and the east coast (specifically Vermont) has Heady Topper and fans bicker over which is better.

In Massachusetts, brewers like Trillium and Tree House have kicked up the rivalry a bit with a trendy push to hazy looking or unfiltered juice bombs. These beers moved away from the assault of bitterness found in popular west coast style IPA and highlight flavors of fleshy citrus and sweet tropical fruits. However, brewers from Oregon have claimed to have been creating these juice bombs long before their east coast counterparts.

What makes New England Style IPA different than other IPA?

According to Beer and Brewing, unlocking the Secrets of New England Style IPA Here are the six characteristics that distinguish the style:

  1. Higher protein malts, such as wheat and oats, in the grist (POH: grist is de-husked grain or could mean grain already ground)
  2. Use of contemporary, fruit-forward hops varietals
  3. Restrained bitterness from fewer kettle-hops additions (POH: kettle hops are added at start of boil) and higher whirlpool-hops rates (POH: Whirlpool is cooked beer or wort that is pumped into a vessel at high velocity causing a whirlpool)
  4. Adjusted water chemistry to favor higher chloride levels than typical for IPAs
  5. Fermenting with a low-attenuating (POH: attenuating is the amount or percentage of sugar consumed by yeast), low-flocculating (POH: flocculation describes how yeast react at the end of their life-cycle), ester-forward yeast strain
  6. Unique dry-hopping techniques and schedules, including dry hopping during fermentation

If you don’t live in New England, what’s a beer lover to do?

The New England style IPA has gained a strong legion of fans but unfortunately, the most popular brewers in the northeast are self-distribution and typically brewery-only releases. Trading sites on Facebook are bursting with activity and interest in juice bombs from the northeast.

Other regional brewers have started to introduce their own interpretation of the style and I’m glad to have my hands on two popular entries from the great craft beer state of Michigan.

M-43 Old Nation Brewing

M-43 IPA Old Nation Brewing, NE Style IPA, part of the New Orthodox Series of IPA

(C) 2017 popsonhops

Tasting: September 8, 2017
Style: New England Style IPA
Beer # : 1,092
ABV: 6.8%

M-43 is a 136-mile Michigan highway that connects the East Lansing area, Kalamazoo and points southwest. The highway also passes through Williamston, the location of Old Nation Brewing. This beer could be the quintessential New England style IPA of the region and I’m happy that my friend gave me one from his recent trade.

M-43 is the first release in Old Nation’s “New Orthodox” IPA series, it uses Calypso, Simcoe, Citra and Amarillo hops. According to the brewery, it promises citrus, tropical notes of pineapple, mango and grapefruit with a soft, pillowy mouthfeel. Bitterness is moderate at an IBU of 65.

I got plenty of juice with mango, papaya and pineapple. Really enjoyable, I wish I had more. 94 points.

Visit the Old Nation Brewery Website

Tasting: September 8, 2017
Style: New England Style IPA
Beer # : 1,093
ABV: 5.7%

Juicy New England Style IPA brewed by Petoskey Brewing, Petosky, Michigan

(C) popsonhops

Juicy? Not in my book but entirely drinkable. Has a lot of tea leaf and honey. I like that the bitterness is throttled back. The flavor does drop-out mid-palate and there is some odd fizziness on the finish. In conclusion, Juicy is a solid beer at 92 points.

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Trillium Small Bird Series Pale Ale Pocket Pigeon and Tiny Chicken

My cooler had room for one more 4-pack. Since we were there at Trillium, why not go back in for a variety of single cans? My selections? Scaled – 93 points, Secret Stairs (review to come) and two selections from Trillium Small Bird Series: Pocket Pigeon and Tiny Chicken. While the names in the series suggest diminutive ales, it refers to the lower ABV in each offering.

Trillium Small Bird Series Pocket Pigeon, Tiny Chicken

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Tiny Chicken
Tasting: July 23, 2017
Style: Pale Ale
Beer # 1,082
ABV: 5.6%

Tiny Chicken pecks away at your palette with a sturdy and hoppy punch. Made with a combination of Galaxy and Amarillo hops and out of the gate, it pops with bright citrus and a wisp of tropical fruit. In typical Trillium fashion, Tiny Chicken is soft around the edges and pithy. This beer does not offer much in the way of a base but that’s not its purpose. It’s a lawnmower beer meant for a summer’s day and a pretty good one at that – 90 points.

Pocket Pigeon
Tasting: July 26, 2017
Style: Pale Ale
Beer # 1,083
ABV: 5.4%

Pocket Pidgeon is made with Mosaic, Galaxy, and Columbus hops. Pours a hazy and golden color with a fresh juicy aroma. My first impression is that of a grilled pineapple. It’s dank smokey up front with some sweet pineapple. Also has some mellow orange rind and a dash of black tea. Nicely crisp finish. Pocket Pigeon rocks, 93 points. If you call this is a sessionable ale, then this is probably the best one I’ve had.

Visit the Trillium Website and their description of Tiny Chicken

Visit the Trillium Website and their description of Pocket Pigeon

Other beer in the Trillium small bird series:
Pipsqueak Penguin
Skimpy Sparrow
Itty Bitty Goose
Stumpy Duck
Little Rooster
Tree Creeper

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Even More Fridge Finds including Amarillo Ninja

Amarillo Ninja by Pipeworks
Tasting: November 24, 2015
Style: Imperial IPA
Beer #: 860
ABV: 9.5%

Amarillo by Pipeworks

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Amarillo Ninja by Pipeworks was a surprise find at Cable Beverage a couple of weeks ago. I’ll say that the 9.5% ABV does shine through a bit much. It lends an astringent experience. Amarillo Ninja has some very nice tangerine and rind, as well as apricot. Overall – 91 points.

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Tropical by Cigar City and Boulevard
Tasting: November 23, 2015
Style: Pale Ale
Beer #: 861
ABV: 7.2%

Tropical Pale Ale a collaboration between Boulevard Brewing and Cigar City Brewing

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Had high hopes for this beer but that faded after the first sip. Yeasty banana was not the tropical fruit I was expecting. Tropical has some grapefruit bitterness on the finish. 84 points. Sorry – on to something else.

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The Hop Concept Hop Freshener Series
Tropical & Juicy

Tasting: November 23, 2015
Style: IPA
Beer #: 862
ABV: 8.5%

The Hop Concept Tropical & Juicy

© 2015 popsonhops

The Hop Concept is the third brand creation from the people that brew Lost Abbey and Port Brewing offerings. To this point in time, the brewers have created four annual offerings centered around the attributes of IPA. I think they’ve at least created four very solid categories that encapsulate the IPA category.

Dank & Sticky
Citrus & Piney
Lemon & Grassy
Tropical & Juicy

From the label:

Our Hop Freshener series simplifies your choice of which beer to enjoy right now. Just read the name and you’ll know exactly what to expect. After all, those dank and piney notes you enjoy so much? That’s really just your nose doing its job, and proof you should trust your senses. Each season, we release a limited edition using different aromatic and flavorful hop combinations to bring out a specific character. Four IPAs, each available just once a year, and all crafted by The Hop Concept, the same team of lifelong brewers behind Port Brewing Company. It’s that simple. Honest, hoppy beers, from the people who know how to make them. So slow down, inhale, and drink fresh.

Sorry, not as juicy or tropical as I’d expect. Not the papaya, pineapple and tangerine combination promised but more of a tangerine dominant brew. It does have the advertised spiciness on the finish in black pepper. A nice imperial IPA – 87 points.

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Sit Down Son by Carton Brewing
Tasting: November 23, 2015
Style: Dry-Hopped Session Lager
Beer #: 863
ABV: 4.0%

Sit Down Son, a sessionable lager by Carton Brewing

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Wasn’t expecting this release a couple of weeks ago but I wouldn’t pass on any of Carton’s canned offerings. This one is marked that it was brewed by Smuttynose for Carton. Crisp and hoppy, entirely drinkable. A lager (or bottom fermenting beer) takes away the yeast flavor found in ales leaving you a straight shot of malt and hops. Sit Down Son does exactly that. A nice sessionable beer – 87 points.

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Born Yesterday by Lagunitas
Tasting: November 1, 2015
Style: Pale Ale
Beer #: 864
ABV: 6.5%

Born Yesterday Fresh Hop by Lagunitas

© 2015 popsonhops

About as fresh tasting as a beer can get. Very drinkable and crisp. Tropical flavors over a bread-like malt base. Grassy and some herbal notes. A little thin but overall an excellent pale ale. 94 points.

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Modus Hoperandi by Ska Brewing
Tasting: November, 26 2015
Style: IPA
Beer #: 865
ABV: 6.8%

Modus Hoperandi by Ska Brewing

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Bam – dankness in a can. At least out of the gate you get that sticky resin, wet and raw lots of herbal qualities like black tea and caramel. A few sips in and it unravels a little bit. Some astringency and clunky bitterness. All in all the total experience rates 88 points with me.

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Mosaic Ninja by Pipeworks
Tasting: December 6, 2015
Style: Imperial IPA
Beer #: 866
ABV: 10.0%

Pipeworks Mosaic

© 2015 poponhops

How about one more from Pipeworks single hop series? This time the featured hop is Mosaic. A favorite aroma hop, this variety is said to import a berry, herbal and citrus aroma and flavor. I certainly get all three in lemon, mango, blueberry and some cannabis smokiness. High alcohol by volume does create a boozy burn. A nice and big imperial IPA – I’ll say 89 points.

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Baja Hoodie by Smutlabs
Tasting: December 6, 2015
Style: Lager brewed with chilies and agave
Beer #: 867
ABV: 7.7%

Baja Hoodie by Smutlabs

© 2015 popsonhops

Not much really to say here but adios. Fizziness crushes any of the remaining watery flavor. Some minor sweetness and heat but really not much to see or taste here. Onto something else. 72 points.

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Defender by Brooklyn
Tasting: December 6, 2015
Style: IPA
Beer #: 868
ABV: 6.7%

Defender IPA by Brooklyn

© 2015 popsonhops

Official beer of Comic Con New York 2015.

Nectarine and some undertones of caramel sweetness. Reminds more of a red ale than an IPA. Hop bitterness is awkward in that it doesn’t have any distinguishable characteristic that creates the bitterness – like grapefruit for example. It’s okay – 86 points.

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