Reposted from my blog: Malted Musings.
Today's tasting notes come from Back East Brewing Company, a fairly new brewery open in CT. Despite their newness to the trade, their beer styles are all solid with a focus on quality control and a freshness of ingredients Although both those points are arguably marketing buzzwords, in the case of Back East you can taste how every beer is fresh and routinely delicious. My tasting, as usual, happened at Eli Cannon's Tap Room in Middletown CT. Their Back East Brewing Co. night the other week featured the Misty Mountain IPA, Winterfest, Back East Ale, and the Imperial Stout. I decided to give the Winterfest, IPA, and stout a go-around.
This beer pours out a translucent reddish brown color with hints of amber, and smells faintly of high hoppy notes. This beer starts out clean with a sharp, floral hop note that gradually rises to the rich, sweet taste of currants (or dried fruit). This then moves to a very bright citrus note which lingers sharply with a stab of sharp, floral and bitter hops. This then moves to the back of the palate and sits there sweetly and brightly before ending evenly with a slight sour tone. This is a bright, sharp, semi-sweet medium bodied beer. The great thing about it is that you get tons of flavor you'd expect from a winter beer (currants, sharp floral bitterness) but at 5% abv its a beer that is refreshing and not overly dominant.
This beer pours out golden transparent with a light, bright head. It smells bright, sweet, and sits very light on the nose. At first sip this beer is bright and sweet (much like its nose). From here the flavor moves to a semi-sweet and sour hopping that cuts abruptly to a drawn out, lingering bitterness that is slightly mild. This beer is slightly bitter (not as big as many IPAs out there), but still retains a sharpness to it that is offset by the lingering sweet & sour lingering aftertaste. Altogether this is a medium bodied beer that is a great example of the American IPA style. It may not have crazy amounts of bitterness, or be mixed with wild flavor profiles, but it is a very solid indicator of what makes a good craft IPA.
This beer pours out a super dark chestnut color, almost black. This beer smells clean, with hints of warm coffee. At first taste I get hit with a dense malty bitterness. This moves to a semi-sweet chocolate note that is also tinged on the back end with more of that dense bitter tone. From here a dominant coffee taste floats to the top, only for the whole flavor profile to settle in to a warm, dry bitterness. This sharp and dry taste lingers and slowly fades out with a dry coffee bitterness lingering on the palate. This is a very big, heavy beer with overbearing bitterness and coffee overtones that dominate the senses. It sits heavily on the palate, grabbing your taste buds and not letting go until long after the final sip of this delicious, thick beer. Important to note about this beer though is that it is very clean. All of the tastes stand on their own, and there is no muddling of multiple flavors. This is a fantastic, big, warm winter beer, and I encourage everyone to run out and try to find themselves a bottle!