The Beer Gatherer

Blogging about Israeli beer in general and Israeli craft beer in particular, following 1001 Beers You Must Try Before You Die and other beer musings.

Archive for the tag “Gearys Hampshire Special Ale”

The History of Beer in New England

Last month I got to drink Gearys Hampshire Special Ale that turned out to be a disappointment. My beer buddies, who have tasted the beet before claimed that the bottle I shared with them was old and that it’s actually an alright beer. Since that tasting I shared another bottle from  D. L. Geary Brewing who are based in the beautiful city of Portland, Maine that I haven’t got to write about yet and then, a couple of weeks ago, bottles of Hampshire Special Ale and Summer Ale arrived via Beer of the Month Club. All these bottles call for a more thorough entry about Geary’s beer.

Pretty pretty

Plenty of the beer I drink is uncontextualized. I have a Google Spreadsheet with an alphabetical list by country of all the beers in the 1001 book and when I look for beer to order/ scam from traveling friends, I usually just randomly schlepp whatever I haven’t yet drank. I don’t bother reading about the beer, look at reviews etc. I would have, but I just don’t have the time for it really. Also, we don’t get to choose what Clubs of America decides to send each month and that’s another surprise. But a couple of minutes ago I put a context to Gearys. According to their website, they are New England’s first microbrewery. To those who wonder whether Boston moved down south and parted with New England, D.L. Geary Brewing Company was incorporated in 1983, whereas Boston Brewing Company, that’s Samuel Adams for you, was founded in 1984. Yet, the first pints of Gearys were sold in December 10 1986, some two weeks before Status Quo took the #1 chart in the Israeli annual top 40 with In The Army Now. I’m not a historian and not the one to judge here. I’m a drinker. I drank Gearys Pale Ale and thought it was a nice beer. English Pale Ale in style,  Clear-to-hazy dark orange liquid with white head that smelled of pear, flowers and some alcohol and was delicately bitter.  It was lightly carbonated, had a soft, hoppy finish and a light body. The brewery states that Gearys Pale Ale is their flagship beer and out of the three I drank  it is indeed the best.

Whaaat? Here it says est. 1986. I’m puzzled.

The Secret Agent and I opened our bottle of  Gearys Summer Ale in a hot and muggy summer night, hoping for something light and refreshing. It started promising: clear golden-honey colour, small white head. It lightly smelled of  honey and also had apricot and bubblegum notes. Taste was sweet and somewhat alcoholic. Medium bodied, sleek texture, alcoholic finish. This is also a nice beer, but whereas the sweetness and alcohol may be suitable to summertime in Maine, it is just too heavy for Tel Aviv’s heat and humidity.

the label isn’t that pretty.

Last night we drank the Hampshire Special Ale again. I’m glad to say that my buddies were right and the beer is alright, but with Sweet malt caramel, ripe fruit aroma and a medicinal, alcoholic bitterness with hints of acetone in the mouth, it’s nothing more than that.

Conclusions? Don’t have any. Those beers are OK to drink if they are available in your area. Unless you are on a mission, don’t waste too much time or energy hunting for them.

Geary’s Pale Ale is beer #86 I must try before I die.

The Big Recap

Over the past few weeks we have accumulated dozens of tasting notes. The thought of turning all of them into an entry makes me cringe, so here’s the dozen that’s also in the book. Chronology makes no sense in this sort of entry, so stuff is sorted out according to the 1001 Beers You Must Try  Before You Die chapters: Amber, Blond, Dark and Special. Arbitrary, sort of, but if it works, it works.

We got our bottle of Alesmith IPA from The Secret Agent’s parents, who visited the Californian branch back in February. We loved this beer. Pours hazy amber  with a frothy white head, papaya, lime and hemp aroma and an extremely, bitter, green taste. Medium body, soft carbonation and a nice bitter finish close one of the best IPA’s I’ve tasted to date.

Before the start

Left Hand Sawtooth Ale has one of the ugliest labels I’ve seen in a long while. Like a scary number of fellow beergeeks I am a left-handed and thus have a soft spot for the brewery’s name. My default sympathy didn’t really help the beer, which was ok, but not too thrilling. Orangy copper colour, hazy, little light tan head. Hoppy aroma – light evergreen, flowery. Delicate bitterness in the mouth. Smooth texture, medium body, delicate finish.

The (very soon to be) Texan got his bottle of Grottenbier in the strangest trade of all: beer for mini copies of Hebrew-printed Psalms book. Yes he did. Was it worth it? In my opinion it was. A pretty decent beer for some useless pieces of paper. It’s a decent beer that  poured dark brown and had a cloudy, off-white head. Sweet spicy aroma – clove and nutmeg, Mildly sweet and spicy taste, a little anise. Heavy-medium body, lively carbonation, long, tangy finish.

Gearys Hampshire Special Ale was quite a disappointment. We all agreed that there was something wrong with the bottle. Murky honey colour, aroma that reminded me of pink Bazooka Joe bubblegum and band-aid. It tasted sweet, then weirdly bitter. Pretty ugh.

The Actuary’s wife went to Cyprus with her work, and brought back a bottle of Leon, a shitty Cyprian beer, and three bottles of Brasserie Du Bocq’s La Gauloise.  La Gauloise Blonde, so I have discovered while flipping through the book, is there, surprisingly enough in the Blond category. Cloudy pale golden, bubbly white foam. Candy, caramel, conserved peach aroma and bitter-sweet taste. Light body, smooth finish. Drank better Belgian ales in my life, but fair enough.

The BeerGreek, before the tasting and just before becoming a dad for the second time,

I have recently created a Google Docs spreadsheet to help me follow the mission. The Dead Swedish Girl asked me to share the list with him. He went through and spotted Birra Moretti Baffo D’Oro that The big Bear’s dad brought from Italy. We drank it at a beer tasting I have already written about, but overlooked it on my list. Not much to write about. It’s a generic pale lager. You drank one, you drank most.

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale is another story though. A little skunky aroma and overall hoppy bitterness in the mouth and finish, this one was decent beer.

We drank a bunch of cool dark beers, too: Porterhouse Wrasslers XXXX Stout was one of the better bottles opened in a small, homey tasting The Secret Agent and I hosted last week. Rich smokey, peaty aroma accompanied by berries and a smokey, acetic, bitter taste. I live for smoked beer.

Saranac Black Forest was quite disappointing as well. I like Schwarzbier but this one wasn’t more than fair: Velvety wine-grapes aroma, grainy, somewhat sweet malt taste.

But I loved, loved Victory Storm King! Black liquid, frothy tan head, soft, bitter taste and a rich wine and chocolate liquor aroma. Well-carbonated, pretty easy to drink despite the 9.1%abv. My only complaint is the too-short finish.

I think it was Middie Bear who fixed us with a bottle of Nøgne Ø Imperial Stout. Don’t know how this HopHead put his paws on this one, but I sure don’t complain; roast was everywhere: in the nose (along with some alcohol and liquor), in the mouth (accompanied by bitterness) and in the finish. Texture was oily, beer was great.

one of the cutest beer-label dogs around 🙂

How does AriHell find people who deliver him exotic and obscure beer is beyond my comprehension, but that’s a skill I’d like to learn. He is the one who brought Jolly Pumpkin Bam Biere to the table (along with another dog-endorsed label).  It’s a mild-tasting Saison, sour in the mouth and  pissful litter-box aroma. Pretty hardcore with complementary cloudy golden colour.

So that’s it for now. Attended a festive tasting last night and again crashing into a sour tasting tonight, so more posts are on their way. Meanwhile, those were 12 more beers I Must Try Before I Die: 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73.

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