Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Original Craft Beer Club Beers - Cape Ann Brewing and Cottrell Brewing

As a Christmas present, Shaun was nice enough to get me - what else? - some beers!  What else does a guy want for the big holiday?  He purchased a couple of allotments from the Original Craft Beer Club.  They send you a box of 16 beers, four each of 2 different varieties from 2 different breweries in each shipment.  I received my second shipment yesterday in the midst of Chicago's Big Blizzard of 2011.  While the flakes were falling sideways outside, I figured it a perfect time to launch a couple of these beverages to see what they were bringing to the table.

The first beer I tried was Gloucester, Massachusetts' Cape Ann Brewing's Fisherman's IPA.  Cape Ann is rather new to the scene, founded in 2004, and styles itself as a family-owned brewery.  The Fisherman's is the classic beer you'd get in a port town's chowder bar.  There's nothing bold or exotic about it.  It pours a substantial white foamy head, and beneath it lies a rich amber color with a modest nose of grains, pine, bread, and caramel.  Medium bodied, it has a touch of hops that quickly give way to a mild stock ale body that's rich in mellow malts with enough carbonation to keep you in the game.  I'd compare the maltiness on this beer to that of Bell's Amber; it has a slight apple/melon flavor that's hollow on the mid-palate.  It finishes with a twinge of hop acids.

Next up was Pawcatuck Connecticut's Cottrell Brewing's Mystic Bridge IPA.  This one smells earthier and grainier than the Fisherman's.  The head is modest.  It is a drier offering, lower in malt content and more acidic.  The hops bite continuously throughout it and it is very herbaceous with a bit of citrus.  It kind of reminds me of a maltier, less hopped version of a San Diego style IPA.  Think Green Flash West Coast IPA or Michigan's Dark Horse Crooked Tree, only scaled down.  This beer keeps your attention throughout its time in your glass.  Cottrell is known for its Old Yankee Ale which is also included in my shipment and I cannot wait to try it, hopefully before the next 20-inch snowstorm like we just got. 

Both of these beers are worthy pours for a rough winter night like last night.  I'm sure they have been poured under similar conditions at taverns throughout Connecticut and Mass. as this winter's epic storms have raged on outside. 

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