Home brewing in Connecticut Discussions - CT Beer Trail

Sunday, January 16, 2011

CT Beer Trail: Blazing a trail to local craft beer

Connecticut area beer bloggers wanted!
Connecticut has a seriously underrated beer community and I intend on changing that. I'm working with the breweries, brewpubs, home brew shops, and eventually the states beer bars to bring them all together in an online community site, CTBeerTrail.net.

The intent of the site is to shed some light on the state's best kept secret, its beer and the wonderful people that bring it to us. I want to enable Connecticut's craft beer producers, supporters and home brewers to educate the state's beer drinkers, and to inform beer travelers on where to go to get some great beer in the Constitution State.

The site is still under initial development and beta testing, but don't let that stop you from checking it out and signing up. The goal is to get the site rolling for a gradual launch in February. I'll be adding more local CT beer business to our already growing list, and we'll be featuring in-depth articles on the people behind CT beer in the months to come. Eventually the site will be THE place to go for the latest in beer events in the state, and the best way to connect with craft beer professionals and fans within the state.

If you are a Connecticut area beer blogger and have any interest in having your content featured on the CTBeerTrail site, drop me a line. In the mean time, remember if your not making your own beer then at least buy and drink local beer.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Beer Review: Raging Bitch 20th Ann BIPA

Our friends over at Flying Dog were kind enough to send me a couple of bottle of their Raging Bitch Belgian-style IPA just before Christmas.  I'm finally getting to posting my review...

Beer: Flying Dog's Raging Bitch (20th Anniversary) Belgian-style IPA
Served: From snifter
Location: At my house
Style: Belgian IPA

Inspired by the American India Pale Ale (IPA) and Double IPA, more and more Belgian brewers are brewing hoppy pale colored ales for the US market (like Chouffe & Urthel), and there's been an increase of Belgian IPAs being brewed by American brewers. Generally, Belgian IPAs are considered too hoppy by Belgian beer drinkers.

Various malts are used, but the beers of the style are finished with Belgian yeast strains (bottle-conditioned) and the hops employed tend to be American. You'll generally find a cleaner bitterness vs. American styles, and a pronounced dry edge (very Belgian), often akin to an IPA crossed with a Belgian Tripel. Alcohol by volume is on the high side. Many examples are quite cloudy, and feature tight lacing, excellent retention, and fantastic billowy heads that mesmerize (thanks, in part, to the hops).

Belgian IPA is still very much a style in development.

Average alcohol by volume (abv) range: 6.0-12.0%  On to the review...

1. Appearance - Burnt amber with a cloudy haze.  A beautiful creamy head with some lacing.

2. Smell - Starts with some malt and Belgian yeast, finishes with hoppy citrus and...  raisin?

3. Taste - Wow, that started off very hoppy, taste of grapefruit, distinct yet subtle Belgian yeast flavor gradually balances out the flavor as the beer settles.  Initial hop blast mellows and a butter scotch and citrus flavor join it on stage. A dry finish, very tasty.

4. Mouthfeel - Nice carbonation, a little prickly with the grapefruit flavor and texture, but in a great way.

5. Drinkability
- Goes down surprisingly easily considering the IBUs and alcohol levels.  But if you take the time to enjoy this one slowly, it makes for a nice fireside beer with a kick.  I can see myself picking up a six pack of this delight over the winter for a change of pace from winter beers.

Drinkability Scale from 1-10: An 8.5.  It would be a 9, but you can only drink so many 'high octane' beers in one sitting.  This is more of a sipping beer.  But a delight none the less

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