Saturday, November 13, 2010

NERAX North 2010

Sarah took the train to Haverhill and I took #@%&ing 495 on Friday, November 12th, and we met at The Tap for a quick wrap (turkey for me, chicken salad for Sarah), and then headed across the deck to NERAX North. Beers we sampled are listed below with our unvarnished notes (actually, the level of varnish varied greatly ... we had to try all these beers and keeping our objective mien was sometimes a challenge, to put it frankly, especially as the night drew on). These may be listed in the order we sampled them:
  • Baroque Ale from Breconshire Brewery (Brecon, Wales) - smooth, little hop aroma or taste except in the aftertaste
  • Dark Horse Stout from Elmtree Brewery (Snetterton, England) - light chocolate, black patent aftertaste
  • Christmas Bock from Mahr's Brewery (Germany) - very tingly, sugar sweet, light hoppy aroma
  • Cwrw Madog from Purple Moose Brewery (Porthmadog, Wales) - grainy taste, very light floral and sweet aroma, nice hop taste
  • "Fresh Hopped Beer" from Grain Brewery (Waveney Valley, England) - faint earthy aroma, thick bitterness, pleasant session beer with no aftertaste, hops on the top of the palate
  • County Ale from Breconshire Brewery (Brecon, Wales) - rubbery aroma (Simcoe hops?), hard water mouthfeel, crisp taste on the palate, gentle malt notes
  • On the Huh from Beeston Brewery (Norfolk, England) - light caramel, fresh aroma, crystal malt thickness, bitter aftertaste
  • Tradewinds from Cairngorm Brewery (Aviemore, Scotland) - acidic hop aroma which carries through to the taste, slight heather notes, beautiful amber color
  • Harvest Pale Ale from Castle Rock Brewery (Nottingham, England) - wonderful creamy aroma, high on the nose hop taste, creamy mouthfeel, blonde velvety taste, great balance
  • Hollyrood from Stewart Brewery (Edinburgh, Scotland) - mysterious aroma (what is that?), great balance!, lasting bitterness on the tongue and sweetnees on the palate in the aftertaste
  • Big A IPA from Smuttynose Brewing Company (Portsmouth, N.H.) - nothing subtle about this, like jazz on a banjo (just 'cause you *can* do it doesn't mean you *should*), incredibly aggressive hop aroma and taste, but still it didn't disguise the alcohol, this was the only beer I almost poured out
  • Black Gold from Castle Rock Brewery (Nottingham, England) - distinct hop aroma, almost caramel malt flavor, some tingle in the mouth, aftertaste is like a soda, like 7-Up
  • Preservation Fine Ale from Castle Rock Brewery (Nottingham, England) - great drinkability, some hops and some malt ... nothing to not like
  • Golden from Winter's Brewery (Keelan Close, England) - aggressive hop aroma, very light body, no malt, lasting tongue-feel
As you may notice, we concentrated on the UK beers. They had a great number of US beers, but we live here and will probably catch up with those sooner or later. The Tap's in a funky old block backing up on the Merrimack in Haverhill and the hall the event was in is a nice old space with lots of wood, high ceilings, and some haphazard lighting. All in all we had a great time and would whole-heartedly recommend it.

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