Beer Review: Jack’s Abby & New England Brewing Co. Beer Geek Helles Lager

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Once I heard about this collab and the style they decided on brewing together I obviously immediately requested it in my next trade. I don’t understand how a collaboration between these two did not garner additional hype. Not nearly enough people were talking about this beer. Beer Geek Helles showcases Nelson Sauvin and Hallertau Blanc hops in an American twist on a classic German style Munich Helles Lager. Beer Geek Helles comes in at 4.9% ABV.

Appearance: Slightly hazy golden yellow color with a 1 finger head with decent retention and super sticky lacing.

Nose: Lemon, grassy, white wine, some wheat, floral and bready. It has that nice bready, grassy smell of a classic Helles but with some lemon, white wine and grape notes from the Hallertau and Nelson.

Taste/Mouth: Bready malt, white grapes, grape juice and pineapple. It is semi sweet with not much bitterness and feels super smooth all the way through. Really refreshing beer and certainly an incredible session beer. It has that great drinkable Helles feel and the addition of the Nelson and Hallertau give it more depth and accentuate the already nice flavors.

Price/Availability: At this time it was a one off but I could see them bringing it back. A 4 pack of 16oz cans is around $10-$12.

Overall: I was so happy to get my hands on this one in a trade but I will say, one was not enough. I could session these all day and after getting through the one I had I definitely wish I was heading to the fridge to grab another one. I obviously drink a ton of hop forward beers but one of my favorite styles otherwise is Helles Lagers. Beer Geek Helles is an awesome American take on a classic style showcasing some nice new hops in Hallertau Blanc and Nelson Sauvin. I feel bad for anyone who missed this!

Grade: A-

Beer Review: Jack’s Abby Hoponius Union IPL

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When visiting some friends in Worcester, MA I was able to pick up a six pack of Jack’s Hoponius Union bottled a mere 10 days before I purchased it. I have been trying to review and drink as much Jack as I can lately because I have been enjoying all of their offerings so much. Hoponius Union is their India Pale Lager or as they like to call it their Wicked Hoppy Lager. Hoponius Union comes in at 6.7% ABV and 65 IBUs.

Appearance: Slightly hazy deep golden color with a nice 2 finger head and amazing lacing. None of Jack’s beers are filtered and since they are all lagers they usually have great head retention and awesome lacing, this one is no different.

Nose: Really big nose that you can smell as soon as you crack the bottle. Right up front you get bountiful amounts of tropical fruit and citrus with some pine and resin in there as well. They definitely have mastered hop additions at Jacks because all the beers I have had thus far have had incredible aromas.

Taste/Mouth: Tropical and Citrus fruits carrying over from the nose. Great balance as usual makes for an incredibly drinkable lager. Nice bitterness and finishes semi dry. Medium carbonation lends to a nice crisp mouthful and makes this beer go down real easy.

Availability/Price: This is a year round release for Jack and one of their flagship offerings I believe. Price for a 6 pack is pretty fair too right around 9$. They do bottle this for 6 packs now along with a few other of their regular offerings.

Overall: Easily one of the best IPLs on the market from a brewery who knows exactly what they are doing with lagers. Would without a doubt buy this one again and would recommend seeking it out especially with so many below average IPLs hitting the markets lately get an example of the style from people who know how to do it right.

Grade: A-

Beer Review: Jack’s Abby Session Rye IPL

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Back with another Jack’s Abby beer and one I was quite excited for at that, their Session Rye IPL. This hit on multiple levels since I love Rye beers, I love Sessions IPA(L)s and I have been loving pretty much everything Jack lately. This is a May release from the Mass brewery and I did drink this a week or two ago so it was still pretty decently fresh. It is hopped with Centennial, Chinook, Columbus and Crystal hops. The Session Rye IPL comes in at 3.8% ABV and 40 IBUs.

Appearance: Slightly hazy and is a deep golden copper color. Poured about a 1 finger head and produced some decent lacing.

Nose: Very spicy smell probably split between rye spiciness and spiciness from the hop varieties used. Lot of floral and earthy hoppy notes as well. You can pick up some malt sweetness in the nose too and some caramel in the back.

Taste/Mouth: Huge taste for a 3.8% beer. Nice spicy rye flavors with a decent hop bite. Some earthy hop flavors as well. Has a really dry finish, the finish is a little rough. Nice job getting the rye flavors to come through. Pretty moderate mouthfeel.

Availability/Price: Good on both as usual in NY now for Jack beers. Bottle was right around $4. This is a seasonal release for May I believe.

Overall: This is a pretty unique offering, as many of Jack’s beers are. Coming in at just 3.8% this one packs quite a bit of flavor in their but it is a bit of a mess of flavors at points. The finish of this is a little rough as well especially if this is supposed to be sessioned. I like the idea of this one on paper but the execution may have been just a little off.

Grade: B-

 

Beer Review: Jack’s Abby’s Hopstitution

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Another hoppy lager from the good people over at Jack’s Abby for my next review. This one is their Extra Pale Lager, Hopstitution which was created by the brewery to help showcase small quantities of specialty hops they are able to acquire. This beer is brewed all year round when they can get their hands on some specialty hops, so the hops used are never exactly the same from batch to batch. Each bottle lists the specific hops used in the batch. Hopstitution comes in at 5.5% ABV and the IBU varies from batch to batch.

Appearance: Poured from a .5 liter bottle into a long tulip glass. Nice golden yellow color with some haze to it as all Jack beers are unfiltered. Big thick 3 finger creamy, billowy head. After dissipating a little the head looked like a nice scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of the beer. The color of this beer is really very nice and the lacing is incredible.

Nose: Real nice pine, resin and tropical fruits coming up front on this one. The nose on this one is really very like an IPA. Although the bottle is missing the hops used I found out from the site this version was hopped with Citra and Calypso. Explains why the nose blew me away.

Taste/Mouth: Very crisp and refreshing as all of the Jack beers I have had thus far, It has a nice bite of earthy and piney hop bitterness. It finishes really dry but is refreshing at the same time makes you want to keep drinking it. Some biscuity malt backs up the hop bitterness nicely. It has a very nice full mouthfeel to it.

Price/Availability: Each version is only brewed once so this is a one and done. As usual the price from Jack is good, the bottle was around $5.

Overall: Another beer from Jack’s Abby I would definitely seek out again. Great idea as well to change up the hops in each version of this beer as different ones become available. Reminds me a lot of an updated 2014 version of the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.

Grade: B+

Beer Review: Jack’s Abby Mass Rising Double IPL

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Been trying to get my hands on as much Jack’s Abby beers as I can and thanks to their new found distribution to NY it has made things a lot easier. This is the first Jack’s Abby beer I am going to be writing a review on but there will certainly be more to follow shortly. Mass Rising is Jacks Double India Pale Lager and recently won a gold medal at the Great American Beer Fest 2013 in the category “Other Strong Beer”. Note this is a Double IPL not a Double IPA as Jacks Abby is a strictly lager brewery. Mass Rising comes in at 8% ABV and 100 IBUs.

Appearance: Poured from a 12oz bottle producing a nice 2 finger creamy white head. The beer is a really nice light orange almost golden color that is very hazy as Jacks Abby doesn’t filter any of their beers as far as I know. Really great lacing as I drank this one down.

Nose: Nice strong nose packed right up front with citrus, tropical fruit and some pine/resin. The fruits really are dominant in this though with lots of pineapple and mango notes coming out. They use seven different hop varieties in this one and it really pays off cause the nose is really incredible.

Taste/Mouth: Right off the bat despite the 100 IBU this one is extremely well balanced. It has a nice bite but isn’t overwhelmingly bitter, you get good pine and citrus fruits in the taste carrying over from the nose. It is a really light, crisp, refreshing and very drinkable beer. Jack is doing something really right with these hoppy lagers.

Price/Availability: Seems as though the availability of Jacks beers is getting better as I now see them in NY quite a bit. As far as I know your really only gonna find them in the Northeast as of now. The price is reasonable as well. I like that most of their beers are bottled in the Maine beer 1 pint .9oz bottles and are priced around 4$.

Overall: Really loved this one from Jacks Abby. I have to say its a little low abv to be considered a “double” even if it is a Double IPL. Maybe should have just called it an Imperial IPL. Either way Jack is killing it lately and everything I have had by them recently has been outstanding and I will continue to seek out as much Jacks Abby beers as I can. If you find this one do not hesitate, definitely pick up a four pack of it or two!

Grade: A