MC2, Fractal Mosaic-Galaxy, Equilibrium Brewing Oh, How the Hop has Turned!

MC2 and Fractal Mosaic Galaxy by Equilibrium Brewing, Middletown, NY

(C) 2018 popsonhops

IBU has been an important craft beer label initialism for a number of years. It stands for International Bittering Units and it’s a numerical score that indicates (you guessed it) bitterness. In the beer world, the higher the number the more bitter the beer. Scores of 25 might represent a mild bitterness while a score of 100 or more might indicate a face-puckering bitterness. As a side note, bitterness isn’t limited to hop-heavy beer as stouts using roasted grains or coffee also present a bitterness.

Over past four to five years, the beer world has seemingly turned 180 degrees. Pushing the limits of 100 + IBU ales has given way to the pillowy soft juicy experiences of New England style IPA. Many brewers today forego the addition of bittering hops in the kettle in favor of a post-boil dry-hopping. While the boiling wort releases the bitter alpha acids found in hop oil, dry-hopping or late addition hops allow for a different hop experience.

Fractal Mosaic Galaxy by Equilibrium Brewing
Tasting: January 30, 2018
Style: IPA
Beer # 1,128
ABV: 6.8%

I really wasn’t impressed with my first can of Fractal Mosaic Galaxy. It was an easy-drinking beer that went down quick but it was demure and unassuming. While having my second can, it dawned on me the demure piece was bitterness. I see this beer in a whole new light. Taking it in slowly, Fractal Mosaic Galaxy offers up a swirling range of mellow hop characteristics like orange rind 90 points

MC2 by Equilibrium Brewing

Tasting: January 31, 2018
Style: IPA
Beer # 1,129
ABV: 8.2%

While Fractal Mosaic Galaxy may have been a low IBU, MC2 moves the bitterness up a few ticks. Certainly not face puckering but really well balanced. 93 points

My trip to Equilibrium last summer.

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Difference & Repetition Hill Farmstead or Difference and Repetition or repetition and difference

Hill Farmstead Difference & Repetition American IPA brewed by Hill Farmstead, Greensboro Bend, Vermont

(C) 2017 popsonhops

Sometime over the summer, a friend told me that he was going to be working with a PBS program that was filming a segment featuring Hill Farmstead Brewery. He asked if I’d be interested in a quick road trip. I guess by now, you know my answer.

Hill Farmstead Cans of Difference & Repetition brewed with Simcoe, Galaxy and Hallertau Blanc hops. Hill Farmstead, Greensboro Bend, Vermont(C) 2017 popsonhops

Beautiful crisp fall morning in Burlington. A quick stop at a local coffee shop and we were on our way driving through the back drop of peak fall foiliage. We were probably the first people at the brewery and were welcomed to hang in the tap room while waiting for the crew to arrive.

Hill Farmstead Difference & Repetition American IPA brewed by Hill Farmstead, Greensboro Bend, Vermont along with Brisket Tacos

(C) 2017 popsonhops

Enjoyed lunch and a fairly nice sized haul of goodies including twelve cans of Difference & Repetition. I had the opportunity to ask a couple of questions of the brewery manager. A new addition to the brewery was the availability of cans in the bottle shop. He said that they tested cans and were pleased that they held the flavor. He did say that they might notice a subtle difference after a few days but a consumer probably would not. The use of Hallertau Blanc hops was a new one on me. I know Hallertau hops as being one of the German noble hops but it doesn’t necessarily excite as part of an American-Style IPA. He explained that it was a newer variety, possibly in reaction to onslaught of New Zealand, Australian and hops from the American northwest.

My thoughts on Difference & Repetition…

Style: IPA
ABV: 6.0%
Beer #: 1,116

First few sips, explode with white wine grapes and the signature smooth polished mouthfeel of a Hill Farmstead ale. Orange, grapefruit rule. Really nice, 95 points.
The philosophical reference: Difference & Repetition is a 1968 book by philosopher Gilles Deleuze. I won’t even attempt giving you the Cliff Notes.

Visit the Brewery Website

Here’s another series of Hill Farmstead Ales

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Hill Farmstead Society & Solitude #4 I had three chairs in my house; One for solitude, Two for friendship, Three for society.

Two Adirondack chairs made from used barrels, Hill Farmstead Brewing, Greensboro Bend, Vermont, Abner IPA, Society & Solitude and Difference & Repetition

(C) 2017 popsonhops

Hill Farmstead has two main themes for their beer. Their “Ancestral” line is a foundational series of standard offerings that follow a loose rotation of release. Each name comes from Shaun Hill’s family tree. There is the familiar Edward, named for Hill’s grandfather who lived in the house that still stands on the brewery property. All told Edward had 13 siblings and you’ll recognize them through Hill’s series of tribute.

The other series of beer is known as the “Philosophical” line. Not surprising as Hill was a philosophy major in college. Where else would Friedrich Nietzche’s birthday (October 15th) be celebrated with cellared rarities like Beyond Good and Evil (named for a book by Nietzche)? More on that stout later.

I’m not one for really deep philosophical thought. In my mind, it always leads back to depressing thoughts of our own insignificance. However, I was taken by the name of this beer and its connection to Henry David Thoreau. Thoreau once said that he had three chairs in his house, one for solitude, two for friendship and three for society. Is it that Society & Solitude leaves out friendship or that friendship is found between Society & Solitude? Hmmm.

Society & Solitude #4

Tasting: October 11, 2017
Style: American Imperial IPA
ABV: 8.0%
Beer #: 1,109

I read a description of Society & Solitude #4 and it said to think Double Citra and Double Galaxy 97 points Uh, yes please!

Can I just say wow? Amazingly complex with guava, pineapple, orange flesh and some robust citrus rind. A bit more assertive than I was expecting and that’s just fine by me. 97 points.

Beyond Good and Evil (Maple Bourbon-Barrel Aged)

Tasting: October 11, 2017
Style: Stout with Maple Syrup aged in used bourbon-barrels used to age maple syrup
ABV: Unknown
Beer #: 1,110

Beyond Good and Evil deserves more than just a mention at the end of another beer’s entry but I didn’t get any photos. While having lunch at the brewery, my friend was sipping on a stout. He said that it could be the best stout he’s ever had in his life. I respect his opinion and dashed off for my own pour before we hit the road for home. The tap room line was about 15 people deep. I couldn’t stand the wait.

Incredible balance, cherries, mellow chocolate, earthy moss, syrup influence is entirely complimentary as is the polished roasted bitterness. Beyond Good and Evil has muscled its way into the upper end of my list, solid 98 points. I think my friend was right on the mark. This could be the best stout I’ve ever had.

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D2H3 Galaxy Double Dry Hopped Hop Hands American Pale Ale brewed by Tired Hands

D2H3 Galaxy Double Dry Hopped Hop Hands American Pale Ale by Tired Hands Brewing Company

(C) 2017 popsonhops

D2H3 Galaxy

Tasting: October 8, 2017
Style: American Pale Ale
ABV: 4.8%
Beer #: 1,101

Advertised as Tired Hands’ exceedingly aromatic pale ale made with oats and hopped with a blend of Amarillo, Simcoe, and Centennial. The base beer is Hop Hands 89 points that has been double dry-hopped.

Galaxy hops provide such a nice orange citrus and mellow zest flavor. Remarkably drinkable and flavorful for only 4.8% ABV. I’ll put D2H3 Galaxy a couple of ticks ahead of Hop Hands at 91 points.

The brewery’s total operation is across three different locations. Each with their own purpose:
The Brew Cafe is the brewery’s original location at 16 Ardmore Avenue in Ardmore. Currently serves food and beer.
The Fermentaria is the brewery and tasting room located at 35 Cricket Terrace in Ardmore. They also serve an extensive menu of food.
The General Store is located at 20 Ardmore Avenue and they sell cans to go and merchandise.

Or just visit the brewery website for all the details

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