Monday, February 18, 2013

Jack's Abbey

Over the course of the past year I have become more adventurous in my beers, I can even say that I am starting to like darker beers. For me though the biggest jump was trying a lager or two. When you think of lagers, you think of cold, crisp terrible tasting beer. The ones that the advertisers promote are not good lagers. Especially since they would not pass the purity test, Bud for one has 30% rice in it, Coors and Miller use corn. That is not the beer I am talking about, the beer I am talking about is from a little brewery Jack’s Abby Brewing in Framingham, MA. These guys are doing some of the most innovating brewing around. They are taking the standard lager and turning it on its head. They have a wide variety of lager styles ranging from an IPL (India Pale Lager) to Porters and Stouts. I know what the beer judge in you is saying..."That's not a style of beer, lagers and ales are two different styles of beer, you can't mix styles, blah blah blah," As a independent microbrewery you can be as creative as you want. Not too long ago you couldn't find black ipas and that was considered out of style. I dare you to try any of them. I am only reviewing a few that I have had this past year. Some were seasonal and others you can find year round.

First the year round beers that I have tried:


Smoke & Dagger Black Lager
Photo Via
Smoke & Dagger
This beer, according to the person offering a taste of the beer says that it is a beer somewhere between a smoked porter and a schwarzbier. While I can say that I have never had a schwarzbier I do agree that it is something between a smoked porter and something else. One of the reasons I liked this beer even though it is a porter is that it did not have that coffee roast but more of a chocolaty roast. Another neat thing about this beer is that they get a lot of their malt from MA. There is a light hoppyness to the beer. The beer is one that I would get when I am thinking about having a darker beer.
OG 14.5 Plato / IBUs 25 / ABV 5.8%
 
Hoponius Union
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Hoponius Union


This is what I was really excited to try. Hoponius Union is the lager's answer to the standard IPA. You can tell this beer has a lot of hops because the aroma is wonderful. You can really smell the citrusy hops. This beer can stand up against many IPA's and in the case of a few of them, it tastes much better. The first time I tried it I couldn't tell that it was a lager, even though its lager yeast, cold fermented and all of the other things that go into a lager.

OG 15.5 Plato / IBUs 65 / ABV 6.7%


Fire in the Ham Lager
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Fire in the Ham
This beer was quite an interesting beer. I have never had a Rauchbier/Smoked Lager before, nor have I had a beer that tastes like I just ate bacon over a campfire. This beer is perfect for a night in the woods. The beer was surprisingly clear. I only had a sample of it but I did enjoy it.

OG 13 Plato / IBUs 20 / ABV 5.4%



Kiwi Rising Lager
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Kiwi Rising
The abbey's double IPL, while the beer's name is related to New Zealand there is no kiwi in it. It is in reference to the hops used. According to the sales person at the tasting the beer uses four pounds of hops from New Zealand. This gives this beer a really strong nose and is intensely hoppy.

OG 19.5 / IBUs 105 / Alc. 8.5% by Vol.



photo via
R.I.P.L. Effect


Again Jack's Abbey made an IPL this time with a twist. This twist is a rye beer. Rye IPA's are becoming a hot ticket beer, so why not try it as a lager. This IPA like their others has a strong nose and nice clarity. To counter the rye in the beer, one of the hops used in this beer is Sorachi Ace. The malt bill is 35% rye and the rest is a base malt of some sort. 

OG 13.75 / IBUs 65 / Alc. 5.75% by Vol.




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