Total Score: 8.9/10
I’M BACK!!! With a bang too – Smuttynose Finestkind IPA! Well as it turns out my fitness regime is doing well and I’m permitting myself 1 beer to review per week, which allows the Doc beer reviewing goodness to continue unabated! [Villagers: “Yay!”]. So Smuttynose is one of those legendary American IPAs that people whisper about in some sort of garbled incoherent copiously hop-driven breath on various beer sites around the world (aka ‘Merica!). It has long been a target on my BIG beer hit list, and now like the ale equivalent of Ramón Mercader I am about to plunge my ice pick (i.e. my tastebuds) into its ear (i.e. my beer glass).
Poured from a 355ml bottle into a nonic pint.
A: Presents a cloudy/turbid sunburst orange with a 2 cm white/cream head that won’t quit. Plenty of carbonation action inside the glass but we know better than to judge against that (even though this is an IPA not a Lager dammit). Man that head is still there even after my whole preamble, impressive head. 9/10.
S: Sweet orange blossom citrus notes mingle with a hint of dirty, earthy hops and yep – you guessed it: Bold piney characters. This is hops all the way baby! The defining feature of this brew IMO is how floral it comes on in the aroma – almost touching on a Fraoch (or Heather Ale) with its flowery scent, bravo. 9/10.
T: Assertive yet restrained hop bitterness really lays down the gauntlet to more dry than sweet malt characters. From beginning to end this is a hop-driven IPA and it is unabashed about it. Flavours range the gamut from: Piney, citric, grapefruit through to dirty, earthy and floral notes. The finish is bitter but not overly so compared to most American IPAs. This is then a superlative effort from the smuttiest of noses. 9/10.
M: Mid to light, almost medium bodied with a light, almost flat carbonation. If there is any negative to be had with this brew it would be with the body, a touch light, but I am nit-picking now. 8/10.
D: Best beer I’ve had from New Hampshire… [erm, the only beer I’ve had from New Hampshire, but the point still stands!]. The 2 biggest pluses to this brew, the takeaway points if you will, are 1: The floral aroma, and 2: The even-handed but assertive bitterness throughout. In fact it’s only after sipping my next brew did I realise I could still taste bitterness from the Smuttynose and that was a week later! [Lies, damnable lies!]. 9/10.
Food match: Make it Asian cuisine with some spice – you’re gonna need it.