Recently in Burlington Beer Co. Category

So this annual sorty into Vermont to secure beer has become a hallowed tradition here at Kaedrin, and is thus well tread ground at this point. Every year, there are some minor tweaks, but the general shape of the invasion has cohered into a firm(ish) state: Start at Warren Store, hit CBC in Waterbury, new Alchemist visitor's center, Lost Nation for lunch, Hill Farmstead, and now Foam, all before heading back to my vacation spot in upstate NY.

It's a fun little day trip, and I'm happy I get to do it, but I'll try not to bore you with repetition, so enjoy some brewery pictures, hauls, brewery pictures, hauls, brewery pictures, hauls, and a few quickie reviews (that are light on tasting notes and heavy on ruminations, so less skippable than usual, heh).

The Alchemist Brewery
A wide shot of the new Alchemist site, it's purty

The Alchemist Brewery Interior
Some brewery equipment at the Alchemist

A Sandwich from Lost Nation
Lunch at Lost Nation, some sort of smoked beef sandwich with pickled onions on top, glorious as always

I know I post a picture of this Hill Farmstead sign every year, but I like it, so you get another.
Obligatory Hill Farmstead sign that I post every year because I like it and you should too

The Hill Farmstead Compound
A wide shot of the Hill Farmstead compound, which kinda makes it sound like a cult and, um, that's not too far off for a lot of visitors (sadly not excluding myself)

The entrance to Foam
The entrance to Foam

Hill Farmstead Difference and Repetition

Hill Farmstead Difference & Repetition - First things first, this is a perfect name to describe the never-ending succession of IPAs that everyone offers these days. To outsiders, this must seem ludicrous. When I got back from Vermont, my brother asked what the difference was between all these IPAs and it's like, ugh, he doesn't want a lecture on yeasts and hop terroir and it's funny, because these mostly taste the same to him. Even to a grizzled veteran, drowning in IPAs can lead to a sorta palate fatigue. You can see differences, but it all starts to feel samey after a while. Or... different but repetitive, if you will. Anyway, this orangish yellow IPA is brewed with Simcoe, Amarillo, & Galaxy hops (just a citra away from my own Crom Approved homebrew) and smells and tastes fabulous, ripe mangoes, citrus, a hint of dankness, with a well balanced, light bitterness towards the finish. Easy going and quaffable. Overall, yeah, no crap, stop the presses, this Hill Farmstead IPA is great. A-

Beer Nerd Details: 6% ABV growlered (750 ml swing top). Drank out of a flute glass on 8/5/17. Growler filled 8/3/17.

Foam Experimental Jet Set

Foam Experimental Jet Set - Named after a Sonic Youth album (all of Foam's names appear to be indie-rock references), I don't really know much about it. At first, I assumed it used experimental hops, and maybe that is indeed why they referenced this album, but who knows, the details of the recipe aren't readily available. I was quite impressed with Foam during last year's Operation, and loved their Built to Spill (I snagged another growler of that this year for a friend), so I was excited to get another taste of their wares. It turns out that this is one of the murkier, more turbid entries in the NEIPA style (cleaning the growler revealed lots of sediment gunk in the bottom of the bottle, which seems pretty rare for a growler), but it's pretty darned tasty. It looks like milky orange juice, smells of sweet, juicy citrus hops with a taste that follows the nose. The mouthfeel is a bit chewy and sticky, with some booziness too. Overall, an interesting NEDIPA, a bit boozy for my tastes (I tend to prefer my DIPAs in the 8%ish range), but worth checking out. B+

Beer Nerd Details: 9.27% ABV growlered (750 ml swing top). Drank out of a flute glass on 8/5/17. Growler filled 8/3/17.

Hill Farmstead Dharma Bum - An all Simcoe IPA, this one takes me back. Simcoe was, perhaps, one of the first hops I kinda grew to recognize and differentiate. It's always been a favorite for my homebrewing (my first homebrewed IPA was single-hop Simcoe and I still always use it for bittering, at least, when making an IPA). It's got a nice citrus and pine character that isn't entirely overwhelmed by the juicy flavors and aromas imparted by whatever yeast strain HF uses. It makes for an interesting, almost transitional NEIPA beer. Really nice Simcoe character imparted here, and just enough NEIPA juiciness to keep tings interesting. A-

Beer Nerd Details: 6% ABV growlered (750 ml swing top). Drank out of a charente glass on 8/6/17. Growler filled 8/3/17.

Simple Roots Citra and Amarillo

Simple Roots Citra And Amarillo - When I was walking into the Warren Store (my usual first stop of Operation Cheddar, usually just to get some Lawson's, but I always end up taking a flier on something I've never heard of), I noticed someone carrying two cases of beer from their car into the cooler. I asked, and it turned out it was these Simple Roots cans. After Simcoe, Citra and Amarillo have also been a mainstay in my homebrewed IPAs, and are definitely favorites. Pours a, a, a... is that clear? What the hell guys? Clear golden yellow with finger of white head that leaves lacing. Floral, citrusy hops, a little cereal grain in the background. Light bodied and crisp, well carbonated and quaffable. Overall, do we call these things throwbacks now? Clear, almost west-coast inspired APA? It's nice. B

Beer Nerd Details: 5.1% ABV canned (16 ounce pounder). Drank out of a tulip glass on 8/12/17.

Burlington Amber Ridge

Burlington Amber Ridge 2017 - A "robust" maple amber ale aged in bourbon barrels, my kinda stuff. This beer changes from year to year (last year was a brown ale base), but the idea remains the same. Presumably named after Amber Ridge Maple farm and the maple syrup they provided, it was also aged in Stonecutter Spirits whiskey barrels (of which, I don't know much about.). The result is a pretty darned good take on the style. Nice amber color with off white head, good barrel character, maple, caramel, oak, and vanilla, relatively light and nimble for its 12% ABV (I mean, still medium bodied, but something like this is usually much heavier), I liked this a lot. B+ or A-

Beer Nerd Details: 12% ABV bottled (750 ml). Drank out of a snifter on 8/12/17. Vintage: Limited Release 2017.

Moar reviews to come, so stay tuned. I'll leave you with some haul pics because that's always fun too:

Can Haul

Can Haul: Alchemist Skadoosh IX, Heady Topper, Pappy's Porter, and Beelzebub. Burlington Strawberry Whale Cake. Upper Pass First Drop and Cloud Drop. Lawson's Finest Liquids Sip of Sunshine. Simple Roots Citra and Amarillo (see above).

Miscellaneous Bottles Haul

Miscellaneous Bottle Haul: Central Waters BBA Scotch Ale, BBA Barleywine, BBA Stout. Crooked Stave Nightmare on Brett with Blueberries and regular ol Nightmare on Brett. Tilquin Gueuze. Burlington Amber Ridge (see above)

Hill Farmstead Bottle Haul

Hill Farmstead Bottles Haul: Farmer Wave, Anna, Arthur, Clara, Edith, Florence, Brother Soigné, and Convivial Suaréz.

And if you think that's a lot, well, I didn't actually capture, *ahem*, all of the bottles and cans I bought. I know that's the cool kid thing to do, but that was, like, way too much work and you don't need to see a hundred bottles and cans splayed all over your monitor. Anywho, this basically concludes Operation Cheddar VI: Night of the Living Cheddar. More to come in terms of actual reviews, so stick around...

Burlington Peach of Mind

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During the leadup to Halloween, I get in the mood by watching tons of horror movies. I usually snag some seasonal beer to pair with my spooky viewing habits, but there are multiple approaches to pairing beer. Pumpkin beers and Märzens are great complements, but you can also gain traction by contrasting gruesome visuals with bright and refreshing beer, which is where this peach dosed saison comes in. He says, as if pairing beer with movies is a real thing.

This is a saison brewed with Saccharomyces Bruxellensis Trois (formerly known as Brettanomyces Bruxellensis Trois, so changed due to some genetic sequencing research - all the gory details are available if you want to really nerd out), which lends "characteristics of mango and pineapple", which seem like a good complement to the peaches and plums added to this beer. Let's dive in:

Burlington Peach of Mind

Burlington Peach of Mind - Pours a cloudy orangish yellow with a finger or two of fluffy white head. Smells very nice, saison spice, a hint of musty funk, with a heaping helping of those peaches and other fruity esters. Taste hits the yeasty spice notes lightly up front with some earthy character and fruit (peach is there, but it's not overpowering) emerging quickly and lasting through the finish, which has a nice tart note to it (though not full-on sour, as is proper). Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied, well carbonated, low acidity, bright and refreshing. Overall, a well executed, bright peach saison with hint of funk. A-

Beer Nerd Details: 6.5% ABV bottled (750 ml). Drank out of a flute glass on 10/7/16. Bottled: 8/4/16.

My supplies secured during Operation Cheddar V are rapidly dwindling. Only a couple things left, including one more Burlington sour that I can't believe I haven't drank yet. Look for a review of that in the nearish future. In the meantime, I've got a big cache of IPA reviews piling up that I think you'll be interested in next week.

Burlington Chunky

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You wouldn't expect peanut butter beers to be much of a trend, but then, what isn't a trend in beer these days? If brewers are throwing everything and the kitchen sink into their beers, why not peanut butter? Well, it turns out that putting actual peanut butter or peanuts into the brew isn't particularly wise because they're full of oils that don't play nice with beer (particularly with respect to head retention). But you can use peanut extract or peanut butter powder, which has most oils and fat removed. Then prepare yourself to fend off accusations of gimmickry! It's all part of the beer game.

Over the past few years, I've seen quite a few of these beers picking up steam and turning some heads. Sweet Baby Jesus, Purple Monkey Dishwasher, and Liquid Bliss are all pretty decent beers with intense peanut buttery character. I'm sure Funky Buddha's artificial flavor wizards have cooked up something like this too (update: it's called No Crusts). It is an unexpected flavor for a beer, but once you get over the initial shock, it sorta feels comforting, conjuring nostalgic memories of PB&J sandwiches or Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Gimmicky? Definitely. Certainly not something I go out of my way for or even crave very much, but it's nice to branch out every once in a while and I'm a big tent kinda guy.

During my latest spin through Vermont, I noticed that I was basically purchasing all IPAs and saisons, so I deliberately snagged Burlington Beer Co.'s Chunky, a 12% ABV peanut butter porter (apparently this batch used 50% more peanut butter powder), in order to, well, not balance out my purchases... But after drowning in IPAs for a while, this was a welcome change of pace:

Burlington Beer Company Chunky

Burlington Beer Co. Chunky - Pours a lighter brown color than your typical porter or stout, but still dark enough, with a finger of off white head. Smells decent, that peanut butter comes through, but also a bit of bitter chocolate and even a hint of something fruitier. Taste starts off quite sweet, light on the peanut butter but it's there in the middle, finishing on that odd fruity note. The peanut butter character is not huge, but then, it doesn't feel artificial either (a trap some of these beers fall into). Mouthfeel is well carbonated (but not overcarbonated), medium to full bodied (perhaps a bit lighter than you'd expect for a 12% beer, but I wouldn't call it too thin either), a hint of boozy heat. Overall, it's an interesting take on the peanut butter stout, a little less focused on the peanut character than your typical take, but maybe more interesting for that. B+

Beer Nerd details: 12% ABV bottled (750 ml). Drank out of a snifter glass on 9/17/16. Vintage: Limited Release 2016.

One more Burlington beer in the pipeline, and I have a feeling it's going to be a good one, so keep your eyes peeled for that one soon enough...

Burlington Beer Co. Double Feature

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I know what you're thinking: Ugh, more Vermont Double IPAs? Well, um, get used to it jerks, because we got a few more VT DIPAs in the pipeline this week. And for good reason! These VT brewers love them some hops, and when Kaedrin friend Cian McGuire heard I was passing through town, he suggested I stop in and say hello, which was a great idea. I got a small taste of Strawberry Whale Cake (a tasty little hoppy cream ale made with strawberries) and saw Cian packaging some beer, and picked up a bunch of stuff. In fact, I think the only dark beer I picked up during Operation Cheddar V was from here (a peanut butter porter called Chunky), so there is that. But first we've got to drink those hoppy beers fresh, so we've got a pair of DIPAs for your perusal.

First up is the awesomely named It's Complicated Being A Wizard, their year-round DIPA brewed with wheat and oats. Lovely artwork, and the title inspired me to break out the AD&D rulebooks. I am such a dork. It turns out, it really is complicated being a Wizard. So many spells, man. Just ask the Harrys, Potter and Dresden:

Its Complicated Being A Wizard
(Click to Embiggen)

Burlington Beer Co. It's Complicated Being A Wizard - Pours an almost clear (imagine that) golden yellow color with a finger of white head. Smell has a sweetness to it along with a decent citrus and pine hop aroma. Taste follows the nose, sweet, citrus and pine hops, hint of bitterness in the finish. Mouthfeel is finely carbonated, light to medium bodied, crisp and clean. Goes down faster than your typical 8% DIPA. Overall, yet another tasty VT DIPA. B+

Beer Nerd Details: 8% ABV canned (16 ounce pounder). Drank out of a tulip glass on 8/13/16. Canned: 7/20/16. Batch: OCTARINE.

Next comes Peasant King, which is a heftier DIPA bordering on TIPA territory. I'd like to make another D&D reference here, but it seems there's actually a pretty robust history of commoners becoming monarchs. Go figure.

Peasant King

Burlington Beer Co. Peasant King - Pours a slightly hazier yet brighter golden yellow color with a finger of big bubbled head. Smells sweeter, with more citrus and pine hops. Taste starts off sweet, hits those citrus and pine notes, finishes with a bigger bitter bite. Mouthfeel is well carbonated, medium bodied, a little boozy. Overall, this is quite good. B+ or A-

Beer Nerd Details: 9% ABV canned (16 ounce pounder). Drank out of a tulip glass on 8/13/16. Canned: 7/27/16. Batch: HE IS HAPPIEST.

Phew, that's a lot of hoppy beer. Stay tuned, we've got two more doozies coming up this week. Then things should return to a more normal Saison and BBA stout fest.

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Hi, my name is Mark, and I like beer.

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This page is an archive of recent entries in the Burlington Beer Co. category.

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