Definitely an old standby for me back when I was still living in Jersey I used to drink this beer on draft pretty regularly (they weren’t canning yet). Happy to finally get this up on the blog, Kane Head High the breweries flagship IPA is up next. Head High and its older brother Overhead were definitely some of the most promising beers coming out of Jersey a few years ago and have proved to be a player in the explosion on the east coast. Head High comes in at 6.6% ABV.
Appearance: Super hazy orange color with a half finger head which dissipates into a nice layer that sits on the top of the beer. Great lacing as you drink this one down, I am a fan of the simplistic can design as well.
Nose: Pine, resin, grapefruit, orange and citrus fruits up front. It smells like hop nuggets when you crack the can open. Pine and floral add a nice layer as well. Classic American IPA aroma.
Taste/Mouth: Grapefruit and orange come through but less pronounced than in the nose. Pine and earthy hop notes with a nice balance of toasty malt flavors. It has some good flavors but feels a little light and empty at times with not a ton of depth. Finishes dry and bitter. It is certainly an easy drinker.
Price/Availability: I believe the cans are brewery release only. I got this in a trade from a friend back home. I used to get this on draft all the time for like $6.
Overall: A good IPA from my home state and as I mentioned earlier a beer I used to drink quite a bit before it got the attention it is getting today (thanks craft can hypebeasts!). My one issue that I always used to have with this beer was its incredible inconsistency. I would have it one night on draft and proclaim that it is the best IPA on the east coast and then one month later have it again and swear I would never drink it again. It is certainly possible they have resolved this issue at this point as this can was pretty good. If your in NJ this is certainly worth grabbing, try Overhead too!
Barrier and Carton got together and decided to make a hoppy imperial cream ale. I imagine after drinking lots of Money and Boat Beer they came up with SS-CREAM. Needless to say I was pretty pumped to give this beer a try as Barrier is becoming a favorite east coast brewery of mine and Carton is one of the most solid breweries from NJ. SS-CREAM comes in at 8.4% ABV and 70 IBUs.
Appearance: Slightly hazy copper/light amber color. Almost no head but some real great lacing.
Nose: Citrus, pine, resin, grapefruit, lots of orange and some tropical fruit aromas. Malty sweetness and spicy as well. Smells like a big beer and has a lot of depth. Some of the notes became a little more pronounced as the beer warmed up.
Taste/Mouth: Spicy, herbal hop flavors and some sweet malt up front. Some vanilla flavors with orange and grapefruit carrying over from the nose. Pear and pine resin in the middle. Full body beer with a nice bready malt sweetness as well. It finishes slightly bitter and dry. I would compare this to a super balanced double IPA, since I can’t compare it to any other imperial hoppy cream ales.
Price/Availability: Brewed once as a collab between these two at Smutt Labs in New Hampshire.
Overall: Love the experimental style of this beer. Two solid east coast breweries teaming up and trying something new, while taking elements from some of their successful beers. It feels like there should have been more hype surrounding this beer. I was excited to get this in a trade and it certainly delivered as an excellent super balanced big hoppy beer. It is currently a one off but if it was brought back as a rotating or seasonal offering I would grab it again.
Another beer I got in a trade with a friend back east. Magnify is a pretty new brewery in Fairfield, NJ. It is great to see more craft breweries popping up in my home state as we were quite behind in the craft revolution there for a while. Vine Shine comes in at 6.7% ABV.
Appearance: Light golden yellow color, pretty hazy with a 1 finger head. Good lacing as you drink it down. Very clean can design.
Nose: Mostly pine, flowery, earthy and yeasty. Sweet malt, bready malt come through as well. It smells very balanced. Maybe some citrus notes in there as well.
Taste/Mouth: Similar to the aroma for sure. Lots of pine, some citrus, earthy and floral flavors. Some tropical notes come through in the flavor as well. Super balanced as I expected, finish is bitter and dry. Medium body and carbonation. Easy drinking and very balanced IPA.
Price/Availability: Northern NJ brewery around $15 for a 4 pack I believe which is quite a hefty price.
Overall: It was nice to have a solid IPA from a new Northern NJ brewery located pretty close to my hometown. Nothing extra ordinary about this beer but real drinkable and certainly well executed. Price is kind of extreme and I might be higher on this beer if it was a little more reasonable.