With this review, it’s time to finally put 2017 to bed. Released in the final days of December, this is the last ever exclusive beer brewed for the Night Shift Barrel Society. It’s been a fun few years, so let’s see how it all ended.
Beer Name: Hamlet
Brewery: Night Shift Brewing Company (Everett, MA)
Style: Dark Sour Ale
Description: I present to you, for one last time, the brewer’s notes: Brewer’s Notes: pours a deep, enticing shade of mahogany; vibrant aromas of port and earthy dark fruit; flavors of fig, dark raspberries, and pale chocolate, with an assertive tannic backbone.
Appearance: Deep, dark reddish-brown body topped off by a thin, bubbly layer off-white foam. It doesn’t affect the beer any, but worth noting is that both my bottle labels looked like the machine they used to apply them misfired a bit (the good side of the neater bottle is shown above).
Smell: Very reminiscent of red wine, it was equal parts sweet and dry with a little bit of funk going on in the background.
Taste: Started out with a berry-like sweetness that blended red and white wine influences before settling into a more earthy, dry character. The finish brought in a subtle layer of funk and a little bit of warmth.
Mouthfeel: Fairly thin bodied with a low amount of carbonation, comparing this to wine again seemed like the right call.
Hype: I had high hopes for this. As I said throughout the 2017 series, I was looking for them to end things with a bang.
Overall: Overall, the beer the was pretty good. I enjoyed it and found it to be an excellent representation of the barreling process applied. That said, I couldn’t help but feel like they played this way too safe. Given the number of beers Night Shift has brewed using the red and/or white wine barrel approach (going all the way back to 2014’s Farmer’s Duel) I felt like I’ve had this before. Between that and the sloppy application of the bottle labels (which I’ve noticed in a few Untappd photos as well), I couldn’t help but feel like they mailed this one in a bit. As such I found this to be a somewhat disappointing ending to a special release series that from its inception was designed to showcase what initially made the brewery stand out – creativity.