This blog is serving as a learning process for me so I will be sharing knowledge with you as I retain it. Basically the entries will start out with some witty repartee and get more technical as we work our way down. I am going to give every beer a rating from 1 to 5; with 1 being I hope to never drink this again and 5 being lay me to rest with this beer. Now that we have the layout, let’s talk about beer!
I hope I won’t frighten anyone away by choosing an *IPA for my first beer. IPAs get a bad rap from casual beer drinkers, how do I know this? Simply put, I used to be a lager loving IPA hating person myself. For those of you who fit that description…stick with me. IPAs are like in-laws. They grow on you with every encounter, (if you like your in-laws good for you). You may not immediately love them but if you start light and work to heavy eventually you will learn to like these rich concoctions. With all that being said, this may not be the ideal beer for someone who despises hoppy beer; if you have been learning to give IPAs a chance you may be ready to give this brew a try. Another reason I think a lot of people do not like IPAs is because they are not good for chugging beer, that’s right collegiate folk this beer is not conducive for beer pong, flip cup, or my personal favorite pitcher races.
The beer I am going to discuss today is the Smuttynose Finestkind IPA. This beer should be slowly enjoyed on a warm summer night. However, since most of America is roasting right now, enjoying it inside is acceptable too. On my first tasting review, my family decided to join me and be my sounding board. It is hot here in Florida, so we are sampling inside with coffee house music lulling us to greatness in the background. As we are about to take our first sips my old friend Miss Chapman comes on the radio and my sister echoes my thoughts, “Ah, Tracy” …and the fun begins!
I think my taste buds just got assaulted. I obviously entered this with the best of intentions but, wow. The aroma was so inviting; scents of cedar, pine, and citrus take me home! Alas, I was wrong. If IPAs make you nervous this is definitely one you should share with a friend to try. The bitter, BITTER after taste that sits on your tongue sets up camp until you decide to cleanse it. Some people would argue that you serve an IPA at room temperature…I like mine cold, the carbonation is stronger in an ice cold IPA which is good to remember for beginners, this may make it easier to pallet. Although the aroma makes one think of a bright summer beer, the taste makes me think of winter. I should note that I have always preferred IPAs in the winter.
However, this beer is not all bad. If you are a hop-head then this beer has fantastic aromas and will leave you wanting more. The *IBU is 75 and Smuttynose even says this was made for hop heads that long for the strong beers of yesteryear. To be honest my favorite part of the beer was the label, two old men…I named them Harold and Tom, we had a great talk about people these days. All in all, I look at every pint as a learning experience and a chance to make new friends or get to know someone better, my sister and I bonded over our understanding that a summer beer was something you could drink all day; even though we LOVE this brewery this beer did not get a 5 on my rating scale. I give Finestkind Smuttynose IPA a 2. The moral of the story, not my favorite but give it a shot! Carpe Diem my friends!
To pour: pick your favorite glass (this beer was traditionally drank in a mug), pour 3/4th of the bottle, pause to swish the sediment around (this is natural in an unfiltered beer such as this one), then pour the rest and enjoy!
*This beer can be purchased singly in certain stores for under $3, I bought mine at ABC but Fresh market has them as well in a build your own six packs.
*IPA = Indiana Pale Ale
*ABV = Alcohol by volume
* IBU = the measurement for bitterness set by the European Brewing Convention.
– A hoppy IPA is easily 70+
– While the IBU ranking for Smuttynose IPA is 75, the sweetness of the other flavors in the beer should help balance out that bitterness
Hops used in this beer:
- Magnum- usage is bittering, gives of sharp spicy aromas; black pepper and nutmeg; a little citrus too
- Simcoe- usage is aroma and bittering Pine, wood, and citrus
- Centennial- usage is flavor, aroma, and bittering. Offers over the tops citrus flavor and slight floral aroma.
- Santiam- newer hop variety typically used for aroma and flavor, it gives of fruity and floral hints. An interesting fact about this hop is that since it is newer, not a lot of commercial breweries have experimented with it…but Smuttynose has!
- Amarillo- usage is flavor and aroma. Semisweet and super citrusy..closest to oranges.
Finestkind IPA is brewed by Smuttynose Brewing Co. in Portsmouth, New Hamshire.
Brewed Awakening, Joshua M. Bernstein –Hops references