When I received notice that the latest Barrel Society beer had been released, I knew I had to get into the brewery and try it out since these haven’t been lasting too long on tap this year. Turns out I was in for a treat that day because not only did I catch this beer, but I was also able to check out a special anniversary brew being offered by their house guest, Idle Hands. Lucky me!
Before we get into the beer, there is something that needs to be commented upon that happened in the taproom. If you don’t care about arcade games or baseball go on ahead and skip this part, I forgive you. For the rest of you read on. The arcade games that you’ve read about on here before are still there, but they’ve now been relocated to the Barrel Room next to the bar area. I did not notice this at first and thought they had been done away with until something hanging over the door to the Barrel Room caught my attention. Yes, that’s a Mets flag. As a Yankees fan, I am no stranger to having occasionally unpopular views regarding my team of choice. But a Mets flag at a Boston area brewery just confused me. Is there no where I can be welcomed in this state? No unbiased observer could really pick the Mets over the Cubs, right? Well, it turns some of the bartenders and brewing crew are in fact Mets fans, so that explains that I guess. They are otherwise seemingly friendly people so I’ll let this pass. People can cheer for whoever they want as long as they’re not jerks about it. As for myself, I’ve adopted the Cubs until the Yankees off-season picks up. It’s just the right thing to do in my situation.
Tangent over, time beer. The latest Barrel Society entry is named Sargent and is described as a Golden Sour Ale, barrel aged with tangerine and clementine zest. It checked in at 6.6% and said “drink me” from the moment I saw it. It poured a dark golden yellow body with just a bit of a foamy white head to top things off. The smell was an inviting mix of mild fruity citrus juice combined with a light funk. The taste followed the smell. The tangerine and clementine zest really came through in this one giving the beer a sweet, fruity taste. There was also a bit of more subdued and subtle bitterness that finished in a smooth Brett and barrel influenced finish. Mouthfeel was on the thicker side of medium, with a fizzy and slightly syrupy finish that I usually find in these fruity sour ales. They recommend this beer as a good one to age and I can certainly see the potential in doing so. It’s a pretty good beer to drink now as well and is a solid entry in the Barrel Society lineup.
Pouring next was Silk, released by Idle Hands to celebrate their 4th anniversary. It’s always exciting to try an anniversary brew and this one just so happened to be a Red IPA, one of my favorite styles. It poured a dark amber, almost brown body with an off-white head that left some lacing along the edges of the glass. The smell was lightly citrusy and sweet. The taste was where this beer got intense, offering up a whole lot of aggressive piney bitterness. I did get some citrus fruits and sweet malts in there at the end, but this beer was really all about piney hops. Mouthfeel and carbonation were both moderate and typical of most IPAs. Being my favorite style, there are some pretty specific things I look for in a Red IPA. The piney hop profile is something I really go for, and this beer certainly delivered on that front. The citrus fruit and slightly sweet malt profile were also generally in line with my tastes, but I prefer them to be just a bit more balanced with the bitterness. I’m really curious to find out if the hops will mellow out slightly and the other tastes stand out a bit more if the beer lasts that long, but I’m largely nitpicking on this point. This beer was a hit with me and I am sad to say that it seemed to be available on tap only. A growler of this would be absolutely fantastic.
I topped off these two great beers with an old favorite, Bean Porter. I’ve written about this one on here before so I won’t go back into the details, but take notice that it’s back and as tasty as ever. And I’ll leave you with that happy thought. Cheers and go Cubs!