On our return home from Maine, my wife and I hit up one last brewery before returning home. There were a few options in the area, but I felt that Earth Eagle Brewings was the place to go. Their diverse and out of the ordinary lineup of beers was something that appealed to me, and we both enjoyed our previous visit. It also didn’t hurt that they had a gluten free cider on tap for my wife to enjoy.
Upon entering the brewery, we noticed right away there had been some changes since our last time there. They’ve re-arranged the taproom, and while I’m not sure if they added extra space or not, it certainly felt a lot larger than I remembered. The decor was still an eclectic mix of outdoorsy New Hampshire relics and Native American tribal designs that gave the place its own distinct character. They also now have a few guest taps available, featuring a mix of local and nationally distributed beer and cider. Definitely a nice option, and it allowed my wife to enjoy a beverage alongside me. She had a cider from North Country called Fire Starter, which rather successfully blended cinnamon, nutmeg, and Habanero peppers to earn high marks from her.
For my part though I was more interested in a flight of the house beers, in particular any gruits. They really wowed me with this style last time we were there, and I was looking to try some more. Lucky for me, they had two pouring that day. I started the flight off with Sam Boocus, a 5.0% sour gruit brewed with elderberries. It poured a pinkish, grapefruit juice-like color and had a sweet, inviting aroma. The taste was a playful blend of sweet and tart fruits and berries and was extremely delicious. Mouthfeel had a juice-like thickness at the end and not too much carbonation. Very nice beer. The other was a Scottish gruit aged in an apple-brandy barrel named Funky Willie. The taste incorporated both sweet and smoky malt notes, a wee bit of funk in the middle, and a finish where vanilla and the barrel presence really asserted itself. The low carbonation was perfect for this beer and a glass of it would make for a great beer to sip on a cool fall evening. Felt like 5.5% was a bit low for everything going on in this one, but overall pretty good. These were exactly what I had hoped to find at the brewery and they did not disappoint.
The flight also featured a pair of wheat beers, Cereal Killer and Cherry Ferale. Cereal Killer was a bready and slightly sweet Wit with a spicy floral finish. Playful carbonation accentuated the tastes, but overall this beer wasn’t really my thing. I typically don’t go for those flavor profiles and it didn’t really stand out for me among the other beers offered. The second was a cherry weizen called Cherry Ferale. This one was a touch yeasty and had a distinctive wheat and light malt base. The cherries were subtle but noticeable; not really taking over the taste at any point but clearly present throughout. I liked this one better.
Rounding out the flight of six beers were a brown ale and a session IPA. The first of these was the awesomely named Phoenix Brown, which if it isn’t named after Phoenix Down I’ll just go on thinking was. It was a smooth and toasty Brown Ale which tasted of toasted malts and just a hint of their dry-hopping efforts in the finish. While Brown Ales aren’t usually my style, this one I really did find enjoyable. They key was how the smoothness of the beer really complimented the roasted malts rather than having them stand out on their own. The final beer of the day was a 4.5% Session IPA called Half Jack. Session IPAs are very hit or miss for me and this one was the latter. It was a bit too assertively bitter for my liking and the bready malt base seemed to accentuate that. A little more sweetness in the malt and juicier/toned down hops are what I like from this style, so I am chalking this one up to personal preference.
So that rounds out my latest visit to Earth Eagle. The two gruits were the stars of the show, with Sam Boocus being my favorite and also one of the best beers I had over the course of the long weekend. I had a great time there and really appreciated the variety of styles they had to offer. Definitely a place I want to come back to. I recommend it as an essential stop for anyone in the area looking to try some good beer that will give them a break from the same old styles.