I guess this is just my stupid city-boy bias, but I’m always delighted when regional breweries put out impressive beers – and New England seem to have a habit of doing this.
Naughty Corner Hazy IPA is a collaboration with surrealist artist Kade Valja, and it’s a thick-in-the-mouth orange mango juice. I don’t mean some no-name branded bottle on the shelf; I’m talking pulpy orange juice stirred through with mango nectar. While there are technically 50 IBUs in there, any bitterness is hidden amongst the mass of fruit flowing from the Galaxy, Citra and Callista hops and the gentle sweetness washed in by the malt. The natural can conditioning brings a soft but full carbonation that, when paired with the texture from the rolled oats and rolled wheat, makes this a fluffy blanket for the tongue.
I don’t know why this beer is called Naughty Corner when it’s actually very well behaved; it’s been fermented cooler than many ales and gone through an extended period of cold maturation, giving it the politeness of a Teacher’s Pet. Though perhaps the maturation period is the naughty corner, and this 7.1 percent ABV beer has simply come out the other side knowing how to be quiet and avoid punishment… for now.
Cut to the next beer – Patchwork Oatmeal Stout – and we’ve got ourselves another troublemaker. Like the above beer, it sits low enough in ABV to avoid the imperial category, but high enough to be a thumper if you forget how potent it is. And it seems intent on fooling us, since everything about this beer is smooth and sensual. The dense foam like a block of chocolate; the aromatics of a double shot mocha; the lineup of eight malts layering and folding the dark flavours in your mouth like the soulful crooning of a saxophone and the slow strumming of a double bass. While there’s a slight impression of fudgy sweetness, overall this stout finishes dry with a deep coffee roast bitterness like the last dregs of an espresso taken without sugar.
And yet somehow this is a beer to lead you to sweet sleep rather than keep you awake. Curl up with a glass of Patchwork and some background jazz and let the night drift away.
Published June 3, 2022 2022-06-03 00:00:00