The Beer Nut: A happy new year for beer lovers
I'm looking forward to the new year and the new beers that'll be hitting store shelves in 2008.
This week, I'll feature some of the new beers being produced by breweries throughout New England. Next week, I'll take a look at breweries from around the country.
Boston Beer Company's first new beer of the year will be the Samuel Adams Irish Red Ale. The ale, which is a little sweet and malty, won this year's Beer Lover's Choice contest.
More than 42,300 people voted, and the Irish Red beat the dunkel weizen for the right to be sold in six packs. The Irish Red Ale is expected to be available in January.
The Boston Beer Company's Longshot contest winners will hit stores in late February or early March. The Longshot is a homebrew contest, and the six pack will feature three Grape Pale Ales and three Weizenbocks, a strong, German-style wheat ale.
Harpoon Brewing Company will release both its 22nd and 23rd installment of the 100-Barrel Series. The 100-Barrel Series is a limited release, with only 100 barrels of each beer being made.
The first one will be Steve Stewarts' Firth of Forth Ale. Stewart worked at Harpoon 10 years ago when he came to the brewery from Scotland as part of a brewery intern exchange program. The Firth of Fifth Ale will be a dark scotch ale, which is described by the brewery as "a beer with malty, roasted character that has caramel notes and a hint of chocolate without being too sweet."
The 23rd installment will be Old Rusty's Red Rye Ale, brewed by Harpoon's original head brewer, Russ Heisner. Rye ales are typically a little dry and spicy.
After the success of Berkshire Brewing Company's Bourbon-Barrel Aged Scotch Ale, brewed exclusively for Julio's Liquors in Westborough, a batch of imperial stout will be put in the barrels, and will hit the shelves at Julio's some time in 2008.
The Tap/Haverhill Brewery plans on bottling its fourth beer in 2008, brewer John Curtis said. The Home Run Pale Ale should be available in MetroWest in late spring or early summer, he said.
"It's a really nice, hoppy pale ale," said Curtis. "It's comparable to other people's (India pale ales)."
A new brewery will be hitting the scene in 2008. The Mayflower Brewing Company of Plymouth will have four beers - a pale ale, a golden ale, a porter and an IPA. All will be in stores in the first half of the year.
The Smuttynose Brewing Company of Portsmouth, N.H., has already announced two new beers, both part of its Big Beer Series, according to owner Peter Eggelston and brewer David Yarrington. The Big Beer Series beers are higher in alcohol by volume compared to the brewery's normal lineup of beers, and are only available in 22-ounce bombers.
The first one will be the Baltic Porter, which will be in Massachusetts in late January or early February. Baltic porters are stronger versions of typical porters, meant to last a long sea voyage. They are typically bitter.
The second, which will be out in time for next Christmas, will be a Belgian Quad, which is usually full-bodied, full of flavor and high in alcohol.
The Long Trail Brewing Company of Bridgewater Corners, Vt., will have a new summer beer this year. The previous one, the Blackberry Wheat, is now an all-year beer.
Seth Wyman, marketing manager of Long Trail, won't say exactly what the new beer is, but said, "It'll be light-bodied and delicious. It's something we're really proud of."
Another Vermont brewery, Magic Hat of Burlington, will release several new beers in 2008.
On Jan. 15, an Irish Red Ale will be included in the Pandora's Box 12-pack. On April 1, an English Dark Mild Ale will be part of the Summer Variety Show 12-pack. On June 1, Magic Hat's American Sour Ale will be a draft-only special, while the brewery's American Lager, will be in stores on Aug. 1 as part of the Night of the Living Dead 12-pack. On Oct. 1, Braggot will be part of the Feast of Fools 12-pack, while the Old Ale will be a draft-only special, in bars on Dec. 1.
Yet another Vermont brewery with a busy year will be Otter Creek/Wolaver's of Middlebury. New beers include the Sea Otter, another Baltic porter, which will be on shelves beginning next week. In April, the Otter San, a sake-based beer, will be in stores, followed by an Egyptian multi-grain ale in July and a Belgian dubbel in October.
The organic arm of the brewery, Wolaver's, will have a new organic pumpkin ale in the fall.
Rock Art Brewery of Morrisville, Vt., will be brewing a new double porter, which will be in stores within the first couple months of 2008.
Finally, Shipyard Brewing Company of Portland, Maine, will have a new beer in stores next month - the Royal IPA. It was the winner of the brewery's 2008 Brewer's Choice award, based on customer's votes at several bars in Maine.
Norman Miller is a Daily News staff writer. For questions, comments, suggestions or recommendations, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 508-626-3823.Check out the Beer Nut blog at http://blogs.townonline.com/beernut/