Magnify Brewing: Up, UP & Away (8.5% ABV), DDH Rock Me Dr. ‘Saic (8.0%ABV), Solid Gold Good Times (8.5% ABV), Fellow Travelers (8.0% ABV)
First beers up are made in collaboration with Sand City Brewing from the northern coast of central Long Island. In the late 19th century, there were a number of sand mines operating in Northport, New York. One of the most notable was Steers Sand & Gravel, who gave the industrial area the nickname “Sand City.” The brewery’s website notes that the sand from Sand City was used to construct the streets, bridges, and buildings in Manhattan. “They built greatness from something so infinitesimally small”.
As a footnote, I was surprised to see Steers had a connection here as my father and grandfather both worked for Steers. My father told many stories about Steers and their part in the construction of New York and New Jersey.
Up, Up and Away by Magnify Brewing and Sand City Brewing
Tasting: May 29, 2017 Style: American Double / Imperial IPA Beer # 1,062 ABV: 8.5%
Not as opaque as some of their other offerings from Magnify. The can notes that it is double dry-hopped with Galaxy hops (the hop variety that produces the most oils). Surprisingly, I don’t get much in the way of aromatics. Slight whiff of basil. Taste is a different story. This ale is juicy for sure with fleshy pineapple and sweet strawberry. Bitterness comes from lime, and grapefruit flavors. Up, Up and Away has a puckering dry finish. I’ll note that it does not have throat burn like some of their other beer. Easy drinker and dangerous at 8.5%. 93 points.
Magnify Brewing Fellow Travelers
Tasting: June 2, 2017 Style: American Double / Imperial IPA Beer # 1,063 ABV: 8.0%
Fellow Traveler definition: Not a member of the party, but sympathetic to their ideals…hmmm. Or simply, one that travels with another. That one probably works better as the two breweries both opened for business in 2015. Sand City celebrates their second anniversary later this year (October). Where the aromatics were lagging in Up, Up and Away, they are certainly present here. Very straightforward brew, 89 points.
The next two offerings were made as part of Magnify Brewing’s second anniversary…
Magnify Brewing DDH Rock Me Dr. ‘Saic
Tasting: June 5, 2017 Style: American Double / Imperial IPA Beer # 1,064 ABV: 8.0%
Loved Dr. ‘Saic 93 points, Didn’t see much in the way of any discernable difference in Rock Me Dr. ‘Saic 91 Points Actually, I nitpicked on the bready malt base but it was still a good beer. Add Double Dry Hopping to anything, and you’ll have my attention. This incarnation returns to 93 point status. Excellent.
Magnify Brewing Solid Gold Good Times
Tasting: June 9, 2017 Style: American Double / Imperial IPA Beer # 1,065 ABV: 8.0%
Nice subtle dank flavors out of the gate. Hops are really complex of passionfruit, kiwi, and guava. Malt backbone is subtly sweet. Some minor back palette burn. Entirely drinkable, Solid Gold Good Times, 92 points.
Purchasing hops as a start-up brewery is a tricky proposition. The explosion in craft breweries has led to short supplies and the pick of the crop is committed to breweries that are (you guessed it), contractually obligated for the purchase of hops. New breweries are somewhat at the mercy of what’s available and have to work with what they can acquire. Think of owning a new restaurant that can only buy only certain ingredients or certain grade meats. While demand remains high, even a hop contract doesn’t guarantee you what you want, but it’s the best you are going to get when demand outpaces supply.
I’ll note that both of these offerings were released previously. The first release of Contractual Obligation commemorated Magnify Brewing’s own hop contract more than a year ago. The brewery’s popularity seemed to skyrocket shortly thereafter and the lines have seemingly grown with each subsequent release.
Contractual Obligation Magnify Brewing pours an opaque orange color. Really looks like orange juice. I’ll mention that this beer has grapefruit and mango added. You can really pick up some fresh grapefruit flavor. Maybe a bit too much throat burn to make it a classic but still a really nice beer, 91 points.
Not as turbid as Contractual Obligation Magnify. Starts off with some minor dank smokiness but has a predominant tangy grapefruit in the mid-palate. Some minor pineapple and mango. I think Contractual Obligation wins the day by default Magnify Brewing Headaches is a very respectable and likable beer, 88 points.
While waiting on a line for beer at Magnify Brewing, I had an interesting thought. Well, interesting to me anyway. One-hundred-plus people on this line were about to buy about 400 cases of beer in one afternoon. I wondered if many of them would bypass local beer stores as a result of a well-stocked fridge. From the looks of this particular crowd, probably not many. However, if the number of craft beer brewing operations continue their collective production trajectory, I have to think it will negatively impact stores at some point and more importantly, New Jersey beer distributors.
In case you haven’t noticed, the New Jersey distributors have a powerful lobbying group and some inside help from one particular assemblyman see – Wineries Direct Sales . They didn’t get their way here but they bullied the burgeoning industry for years. In the case of craft beer, they have a skin in the game as they represent many out of state breweries on our shelves. Once sales start to dip, watch out. They will be looking for blame and a slice of someone else’s pie.
Anyway, off my soap box and onto the beer.
I believe this is the second can release for Peak of Ripeness. I recall showing up for its first release just to have the last cans sold right in front of me. There was a guy with a full case of Peak of Ripeness walking to his car and I asked if he would trade a single can for some fresh Night Shift, Santilli. I was surprised to be turned down.
Actually, I think the original release of this beer started the Magnify Brewing frenzy. I recall a Facebook post calling this a juicy New England style IPA. Well, I’ll say it has a juicy quality as it is pithy, grapefruit, white wine grapes, dank. Really solid IPA, 92 points.