As you may have noticed, I’m not Steve Greenlee. Steve has gone on to a better place (Maine), but his blog lives, and he’s kindly asked me to take over as he departs for a new job. Before I start, let me say how grateful I am that Steve started a beer blog called 99 Bottles on Boston.com.
The plan won’t be to replicate exactly what Steve did. There will be reviews of beers and bars and postings of beer events around the region, but I hope to introduce several new features. The goal will be to keep the blog local, though notable beers from other places will need to be discussed. Knowing that the palates and the beer knowledge of readers varies, there will be a good mix of stuff for beer geeks and beer novices alike.
A little about myself, and then we’ll get to the beer. I’ve covered the Celtics and updated the sports pages of Boston.com since 2005. I’ve written about beer for Beer Advocate magazine. I live in South Boston, an up-and-coming beer destination.
My journey into craft beer started in bits and pieces. I was lucky enough to go to college in the great state of Maine, though at first I didn’t realize the privilege as it related to beer. Like it is for many college students, price was a factor in determining my beer choices. But on one of many trips into Portland, I paired a burrito from Granny’s in the Old Port with an Allagash Dubbel. The sweet, toasty flavors of the beer contrasted with the spice of the food. I was intrigued.
The Flatbread Company down the street served Atlantic Brewing’s Coal Porter, a beer whose smoky flavor meshed with the flavor of the restaurant’s wood-fired pizza. When I had the chance to stay and work a month in Bar Harbor, home of Atlantic Brewing, I made a trip to the brewery by myself while a biology project I was involved with was incubating. At the brewery I tried a sample of Brother Adam’s Bragget Ale (a braggot/barleywine) and knew I needed to have more. I spent my final day in Bar Harbor scouring store shelves for the beer because the brewery was closed. I found a bottle to take home, and I’ve been on a quest for good beer ever since.
There’s nothing left to do but get started. My first review, of Deviant Dale’s Pale Ale, looks at one of my current favorite IPAs.
Full disclosure: I’m an IPA guy. I like spicy, bitter beer.
Deviant Dale’s Pale Ale is a hopped-up version of a pretty hoppy pale ale in its own right, Dale’s Pale Ale, from Oskar Blues. Dale’s is a good go-to beer for everyday drinking (a side note: one new feature in this column will be dedicated to “go-to” craft beers that may not be sexy and rare but will act as a guide to beer novices just getting into craft). Deviant Dale’s, on the other hand, is not a beer you can drink every day. At 8 percent ABV and 85 IBUs, this beer is definitely one to savor.
In describing the beer, the Colorado brewery says, “we dry-hopped the bejesus out of it.” You can tell. On top of four hop additions during the brewing process, a generous dry-hopping with Columbus hops raises the aroma of this beer to a serious level. The smell of grapefruit, pineapple, and pine needles hits you in the face as soon as you pop the can. It’s a citrus bomb, in a good way.
Thanks to a generous amount of malt, the beer pours amber, with a wispy head. On the first sip, the hops bite you hard. They linger in your mouth as you begin to taste the fruit and resin. The beer is sticky, but not too sweet. The malt mellows the bitterness somewhat, but only as much as malt in an 85-IBU beer can do. The beer finishes with a dry bitterness, an accomplishment considering just how much ingredient went into it.