It has been a little while since I last wrote up a visit to one of my favorite spots, Night Shift Brewery. While I was away, they were up to business as usual releasing a whole bunch of great beer, and they had some excellent treats waiting for me when I got there.
Night Shift Barrel Society Draft
Pouring this week was Big Dipper, one of the 2014 releases that I first encountered last December. I was a big fan of this monster 11.9% Rye Ale when I first had it, and time has certainly been kind to it. I ordered a full 8 ounce serving and was very happy I did. The beer poured a reddish caramel body with a fluffy off-white head that was slow to dissipate. The taste was sweet and complex; a bit malty and boozy with notes of dry red wine and rum that come out more and more as the beer warms. Finish is a bit hot but perfectly accompanies the rest of the tastes, The mouthfeel is nice and thick with a slightly syrupy finish. This beer has aged beautifully, and I’m happy I still have my bottle last December aging at home.
Fly Like an Owl
After enjoying the current Barrel Society offering, I went for a flight of four of the other beers that were pouring that day. In typical Night Shift style, the beers I sampled were a pretty diverse bunch; I had a Berliner Weiss/Pale Ale hybrid, a Saison, a DIPA, and a Baltic Porter.
Going in order of the picture from nearest to farthest, I started with Diagonal, the Berliner/Pale Ale hybrid. This beer had a light straw yellow color and a somewhat muted fruity/funky smell. The taste was big on juicy tropical fruits (the beer was brewed with kiwi and mango) and there’s a hint of hops on the end with a light funkiness that brings to mind some of the more celebrated Night Shift Weisses. At 3.5%, the beer was super light and refreshing. I’d definitely take a growler of this for a long day at the beach or as a grilling companion.
Next up was Belafonte, the Saison checking in at 7%. This beer also poured a light colored body. The smell was earthy and peppery with peppercorns being the dominant smell. The taste is fairly dry overall, with the pepper presence being somewhat more subtle than the smell suggests at the start (which is a big plus for me). Almost equaling the pepper is a citrus taste imparted by the orange peels that the beer was brewed with. As the beer warms the peppercorns take over the taste a bit more leaving me happy I had just a sample pour. I think I am very sensitive to peppery tastes in beers and generally do not go for them, making Saisons a very hit or miss style for me. While this beer was probably not for me, I do think it was very well done and can imagine people who enjoy the style more really liking this beer.
Moving on to the DIPA, we have Van Buren, the next installment in their Presidential Series of DIPAs. I was excited about this one for two reasons. First, my AP US History was borderline obsessed with Martin Van Buren so he was one of the presidents on my watch list to see if they’d release a beer for. Secondly, and perhaps more relevant to this blog, the previous entry, Adams, was very very good. Well Van Buren (the beer) did not disappoint. In the glass it had a light copper body with a thin white head that lasted through me drinking my first two samples. The smell was very inviting, slightly sweet with bold piney hops. This followed through into the taste. The beer had a consistent piney bitterness backed up by citrus and grapefruit notes from beginning to end. Hop bill on this one is listed as Citra and Amarillo for those keeping track. Mouthfeel was right on point for the style and this one was another joy to drink. I don’t always get excited about their more hop-centric offerings, but Night Shift has really been stepping up their IPA/DIPA game lately and I can’t wait for the next installment in this series. I’m already preparing my liver for the Andrew Jackson and Teddy Roosevelt.
Closing out the flight was Second Breakfast, the Baltic Porter. In addition to having an awesome name, this beer tasted fantastic and was probably my favorite of the flight. True to style, the beer poured a black body with a respectable tan head. Smell was mostly light roasted coffee, but it was the taste where this beer really shined. The taste was a mix of coffee, espresso, and dark chocolate with a light roastiness that complimented these flavor perfectly. Too much roastiness can really turn me off of a beer, but a little bit does go a long way and this beer was right at my level of peak of enjoyment. The mouthfeel was also exceptional, the beer was on the thicker side while offering a very rich and smooth drinking experience.