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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Equilibrium Fractal Citra Galaxy Hoptimization & Photon Citrus as well

Equilibrium Fractal Citra Galaxy

Tasting: July 17, 2017
Style: American Pale Ale
Beer #: 1,079
ABV: 6.8%

Equilibrium Brewing, Fractal Citra Galaxy Middletown, NY

(C) 2017 popsonhops

This was an unexpected excursion on a hot summer afternoon. After dropping the boys off at Boy Scout camp my wife suggested that we check out some local hiking trails in the Dingman’s Ferry area. She knew I’d be tepid about the idea so she threw in, “Maybe we can hit a brewery in the area.” When Equilibrium popped up as a “brewery near me”, I was all in. After sweating my butt off for a few hours, we raced to the brewery in Middletown, NY in an attempt to make the growler fill deadline. As you can see, we made it and had a couple other beers just for unwinding.

If you go to Equilibrium Brewing.

The brewery seems centrally located and is across from the police station on Henry Street (be careful on your intake bruh). Ample parking on the silo side of the brewery. In the cooling down period of a summer evening, the garage door of the tasting room was wide open and the pleasant breeze washed away my sweaty afternoon. While growler fills ended at 6 p.m. on that Sunday, the tasting room remained open until 10 p.m. For hours, visit the brewery website.

They do serve food and we decided to stay for dinner. I’ll sum up our dining experience by saying the food was excellent but the service was painfully slow. So slow, they offered to comp our appetizer but in the end, they forgot the discount part (oh well). That was a minor ding on the overall experience.

Equilibrium Fractal Citra Galaxy.

Anyway, this blog is about beer not food service and onto the main event, Equilibrium Fractal Citra Galaxy. One of the definitions of a fractal is an object that displays self-similarity. Think of cutting snowflakes out of paper. In the case of this beer from Equilibrium, I believe a fractal applies to the base recipe as the similarity and the different hops as what makes it unique. There is are other hop versions of this beer and was thrilled that my timing included one of my favorites – Galaxy.

Equilibrium Fractal Citra Galaxy, Hoptimization, Photon Citrus

(C) popsonhops

Lighter straw color white wine grapes, fleshy orange, pithy and crisp dry finish. Really nice, 94 points.

Equilibrium Hoptimization:

Tasting: July 17, 2017
Style: American Double IPA
Beer #: 1,080
ABV: 8.5%

A hazy and beautiful looking beer. Wonderful up front with juicy orange, mango, and strawberry. Finish is a bit clunky acrid. Doesn’t detract, 92 points.

Equilibrium Photon Citrus:

Tasting: July 17, 2017
Style: American Pale Ale
Beer #: 1,081
ABV: 4.8%

I was caught a little off guard with Photon Citrus. My first sips were of ripe with banana and clove that I would associate with a farmhouse style. Took a while to acclimate to some pepper, grassy and citrus rind qualities of a pale ale. Very refreshing 88 points.

If you go with non-craft beer friends, they can go to the bar next door, Players for a Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Players, The bar next door to Equilibrium Brewing

(C) popsonhops

 

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Other Half and Grimm Artisan

Other Half and Grimm Artisan Ales

© popsonhops

The theme of this past weekend was New York/New Jersey breweries and the two-fold highlight was that I scored a four-pack of Grimm Artisan Ales’ Afterimage at the Growler and Gill and my friend scored me a four pack of each of the Other Half releases at the Brooklyn brewery.

Brooklyn has established itself as an artisan community and it seems like hand-made craft culture has made its way to a number of critically acclaimed brewers that call the borough home. It begs the question – is Brooklyn the new Vermont of the craft beer world?

Both Brooklyn-based breweries featured here are clearly on an upward trajectory. Other Half was started in 2014 by Samuel Richardson and Matt Monahan. I fell in love with this brewery after having just one of their offerings – All I See is Green – 93 points. It just dripped of fresh resinous, dankness. Their reputation grows with each can release.

Grimm Artisan Ales was started in 2013 by a husband and wife team – Joe and Lauren Grimm. This Brooklyn couple are currently “nomadic” brewers and they took the craft beer world by storm with their surprising silver medal in the 2014 Great American Beer Festival for their stout Double Negative – 93 points. In an era of stout aged in bourbon-rye-whiskey-tequlia-rum barrels with vanilla-coffee-pepper-coconut added, Double Negative is just straightforward awesomeness. This can release has also created quite the buzz in the craft beer community.

Let’s have some beer!

Other Half: All Green Everything
Tasting: September 26, 2015
Style: Triple IPA
Beer #: 814
ABV: 10.5%

All Green Everything triple IPA by Other Half Brewing, Brooklyn, New York

© 2015 popsonhops

Wow – this one from Other Half is an absolute monster – massive flavor bombards – raw dank hops, sticky and resinous. Rich with mango, pineapple and grapefruit. The real story here is the massive wave of boozy heat. It’s a love hate thing and I’m in the camp that it somewhat detracts from the experience. Could have been a classic but the booziness tempers the experience – 93 points.

Grimm Artisan: Afterimage
Tasting: October 3, 2015
Style: IPA
Beer #: 815
ABV: 8.0%

Afterimage IPA by Grimm Artisan Ales

© 2015 popsonhops

An afterimage refers to an image continuing to appear in one’s vision after the exposure to the original image has ceased. Think of the area that float in your vision after briefly looking into a light source. I’ve stared at the can and nothing. Maybe better results after emptying the can.

Afterimage has wonderful nose and my first impression is that this Imperial IPA has a beautiful texture. Fresh, green hops, wonderful but mellow citrus. My only knock is that the flavor is a bit demure for such a rich body. Don’t get me wrong – this is an awesome beer and I’d love to have a fridge full of Afterimage. 95 points.

Other Half: Citra
Tasting: October 6, 2015
Style: IPA
Beer #: 816
ABV: 7.0%

Citra IPA by Other Half

© 2015 popsonhops

Citra hops hit the craft beer world in 2008 and are a dual purpose hop with high alpha acid content of 11-13% (strong bitterness qualities). A flexible hop that can be used for bittering and flavor/aroma. It imparts aromas/flavors of passion fruit, tropical fruit, and citrus.

Other Half has been producing a number of single hop ales and Citra would seem to be a perfect ale for this versatile and popular hop.

I love Citra hops – so crisp and tart. Citrus rind in the background along with honey, melon. Herbal, peppery finish. Solid effort 92 points.

Other Half: Cascade
Tasting: October 6, 2015
Style: IPA
Beer #: 817
ABV:7.0%

Cascade IPA by Other Half

© 2015 popsonhops

Another single hop ale, this time using a craft beer classic – Cascade. First used commercially in 1976, cascade imparts a pleasant, flowery and spicy, citrus-like quality with a slight grapefruit characteristic. The hop is good for both flavor and aroma uses.

Not much up front as the hops kick in on the tail end with some muddled citrus bitterness. Not a well-balanced beer 86 points.

Other Half: Green Diamonds
Tasting: October 7, 2015
Style: IPA
Beer #: 818
ABV:9.1%

Green Diamonds Imperial IPA by Other Half

© 2015 popsonhops

Acquired in a deal for some other Other Half beers. It seems my trade partner had made it a point to get all of the single hop releases from Other Half but he missed Citra and Cascade. Definitely sticky and dank and raw with green hops. Nice tropical fruits. While All Green Everything was a bit too boozy, Green Diamonds delivers some boozy heat, it makes its presence known but doesn’t detract from this well-balance imperial IPA – nicely done 94 points.

Other Half: Hop Showers
Tasting: October 8, 2015
Style: IPA
Beer #: 819
ABV:7.4%

Hop Showers IPA by Other Half Brewing

© 2015 popsonhops

Acquired as a bonus beer in my Green Diamonds trade. Not sure if it was bargaining positioning but my partner swears this is his favorite beer from Other Half. Crisp and citrus bitterness up front with a diminishing herbal finish. Entirely drinkable and before I know it the entire sixteen ounce can is gone. Nice beer 90 points.

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Hop Lab: Citra by Kane Brewing

Hop Lab: Citra by Kane Brewing

Hop Lab: Citra by Kane Brewing

© 2015 popsonhops

Tasting: September 26, 2015
Style: Pale Ale
Beer # 811
ABV: 5.2%

This past August, Kane Brewing Company in Ocean, New Jersey celebrated their fourth anniversary – or as they prefer one-thousand four-hundred sixty days. I’ve found that over the past three-hundred and sixty-five days, their offerings appear to have become easier to find at area bars and restaurants. I regularly see postings of availability of Kane’s lineup at places like Amazing Grapes in Pompton Lakes and the Liquor Factory locations in Sparta and Jefferson. While these places offer growler fills, many have cast an eye to the announcement that Kane will be canning their Head High sometime this fall. I’m hoping that these start showing up on shelves at these same places because they offer a bit more of a consumption window than a growler. While hop-centric beer will always be a race against time, an unopened growler is said to last a week or so and once open it may only remain on key for a day.

kane-brewing-company-head-high

Hop Lab: Citra reminds me an awful lot of Trillium Fort Point. Both cloudy, both tartly crisp and taste a whole lot bigger than a pale ale. Hop Lab: Citra is not at juicy and tropical as the Trillium but in this case, there’s no shame in being 1A. Another solid offering from this cornerstone New Jersey Brewer – 93 points.

Update (August 27, 2017):

Hop Lab: Citra was so popular and critically acclaimed that Kane Brewing added gave it a new name (Sneak Box) and added it to their regular rotation. Very cool name as a Sneak Box is a canoe-like boat that is mostly associated with New Jersey and Barnegat Bay.

Sneak Box (formerly Hop Lab Citra) an American Pale Ale by Kane Brewing Company

(C) 2017 popsonhops

Read more about the boat Sneak Box

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