A beer made with my favorite ingredient in the world, a recreation of an American classic and a barrel-aged quad with a funky name are all being featured today.
The three new beers, the Samuel Adams Tetravis, Smuttynose Brewing Company’s Cluster’s Last Stand and Stone Brewing Company’s collaborative beer, the R&R Coconut IPA, are all, or will be soon, currently available.
First up is the Samuel Adams Tetravis, a 10.2 percent alcohol by volume (ABV) quad, the latest beer in Samuel Adams Barrel Room Collection.
The Tetravis starts with a pleasant sweetness reminiscent of sweetness with a raisin-like taste (is it unusual I don’t like eating raisins, but I love raisin notes in a beer). Anyhow, the beer has flavors of clove and a bit of pepper, and a big sweet malt finish.
The beer is also slightly more tart than many quads thanks to the use of Kosmic Mother Funk, a Hungarian oak barrel-aged blend of sour beer created by Samuel Adams and used in all of the Barrel Room beers.
The Tetravis may be the best of the Barrel Room beers. It is available in 750 ml caged and corked bottles.
Next up is the Smuttynose Brewing Company’s Cluster’s Last Stand, a beer they brewed along with Greg Koch of Stone Brewing Company.
The “Cluster” in the name comes from the predominant hop used in the beer, Cluster.
Cluster was once the preeminent hop used in American brewing, but has lost favor over the years as brewers seek more floral and citrusy hops.
However, when Mitch Steele, Stone’s brewmaster and former New Hampshire resident, was researching his book, “IPA: Brewing Techniques, Recipes and the Evolution of India Pale Ale,” he discovered the original recipe for Ballantine’s IPA. Cluster’s Last Stand is a recreation of that classic beer.
Cluster’s Last Stand comes in at 8.4 percent ABV. The first thing you’ll notice is the earthy aroma, followed by some floral notes and a hint of caramel sweetness.
Those aromas translate into the flavor, although you get a bit more of a grapefruit flavor than you do in the aroma. The caramel sweetness provides a good balance to the bitter hops. It drinks easier than a lot of beers as big as this.
Cluster’s Last Stand is part of Smuttynose’s Short Batch Series, and approximately only 1,000 bottles are available.
Finally, the beer that I have been waiting for since I read a press release several months ago announcing it would be brewed – the Robert Masterson & Ryan Reschan/Rip Current/Stone R&R Coconut IPA.
Masterson and Reschan won Stone’s 2013 Homebrew Competition and American Homebrewers Assocation’s Rally at the Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens in Escondido, Calif., earlier this year.
As frequent readers know, I have an obsession with coconut beer, so this was immediately marked as something to seek out.
The beer is brewed with 280 pounds of toasted coconuts.
When you pour it this 7.7 percent ABV the glass, coconut is not the first thing that you will notice. You actually get aromas of plums and tropical fruit, but the coconut comes through as the beer warms.
Taste-wise, the coconut is present, but it is not the predominant flavor. The hops dominate with flavors of plums, maybe nectarines and subtle berry flavors at first. The coconut does come through enough that you notice it, but it is not overwhelming.
As a coconut lover, I would have liked them to feature the coconut flavor even more, but as an IPA with coconut, it is a beer that many people will enjoy.
The R&R Coconut IPA is available in bombers.