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If you're thinking of joining a beer of the month club you've found the right place. Each month we review a beer of the month club shipment to give you an idea of what you really get. This month Gourmet Monthly Clubs sends us a local (to us) favorite, Ipswich Brewing Company. Ipswich has been brewing for 20 years now and puts out some of the most delicious brews in New England. They're definitely one to look out for, and we're stoked to have Gourmet Monthly Clubs send it to us this month!

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Flying Dog Garde Dog Biere de GardeFlying Dog Garde Dog Biere De Garde

Appearance: Garde Dog pours a crystal clear light amber with a fluffy white head. While the head is shorter than expected, it’s there and puffy for sure.

Smell: This one smells Belgian! Yeast is the prominent player in this brew, and that’s perfect for style. While it’s a French-style biere de garde, it definitely smells quite a bit like a Belgian-style saison (which is fine, as the styles are close cousins and overlap quite frequently). Yeasty phenolics, light banana and a little pepper come through, with a pale, lightly bready malt as a backdrop.

Taste: While the smell is Belgian, the taste is definitely French! This is more malt forward than the more popular Belgian cousin and finishes a little sweeter. The malt is a little earthy, while the beer transitions to finish a with a light banana flavor. To finish off the review, look out for a little spiciness from the rye malt that the crazy buggers over at Flying Dog threw into this one...it’s not traditional, but rye makes everything better!

Ipswich Brewing Company Original AleIpswich Brewing Company Original Ale

Appearance: Ipswich Original Ale pours a mildly hazy amber with just a tinge of orange. A bone-white head forms about two inches tall on top, but recedes to a couple of millimeters where it seems to stay almost indefinitely.

Smell: Well, it’s an “Original Ale.” What did you expect it to smell like? It smells like beer. A little malt, a little hops and some yeast...but somehow that simple combo smells delicious!

Taste: Mild hop bitterness and a clean malt character start the beer out deliciously! It has a light, but not thin body, resinous hops that are somehow not bitter or even strong in flavor and a dry finish. This is the beer you want when you just want a beer!

Now, some may accuse us of favoritism on this one as Ipswich Brewing Company is one of our local favorites, but let us tell you that they live up to anything we say about how good they are. Ipswich has been putting out delicious beers under the radar for years now, but only recently have people really started to take notice. So be happy you got this delicious local favorite from Gourmet Monthly Clubs...and if your live somewhere that you can get Ipswich, go pick up a six-pack. It’s all good, but in addition to this month’s package, we have to recommend the Oatmeal Stout as well!

Flying Dog Road Dog PorterFlying Dog Road Dog Porter

Appearance: Road Dog pours a clear, dark brown. When you hold it up the light you’ll see that it also has some very dark, brick red tones to it. A surprisingly light foam springs up and that heads sits at two fingers for quite a while.

Smell: This beer smells a bit like bitter chocolate with notes of coffee beans. You also get a bit of bitter, almost acrid (but in a good way) aroma from the black malt that the brewers added.

Taste: When you look at this beer you can get a good idea of how it will taste. Many porters are pitch black and you gets bitter, roasty black malt flavors. This one is much lighter and, accordingly, the flavors are a bit sweeter and you even get a little prune out of it. There is some malt bitterness on the finish but, for the most part, this is a super-interesting, if non-traditional, take on the style.

Ipswich Brewing Company IPAIpswich Brewing Company IPA

Appearance: Ipswich IPA pours a rich orange and ruby body with a slight haze and a craggy, taupe head that just seems to hang around forever getting rockier and rockier.

Smell: With the pour so came the aromas of hops that permeated the room. Ipswich somehow coaxes an herbal hop aroma out of the Cascade hops they use in their interpretation of an IPA. At the same time, you get malt that is more than a hops delivery device, it provides a backbone and structure that makes this beer so much more interesting than just hop juice.

Taste: Aaaaaaaand this is why this is one of our favorite, if not significantly underrated, IPAs! It has the bitterness and IBUs that make you feel like the enamel is being stripped off your teeth, but the malt to balance out the beer a bit and give it some intrigue. This beer does not get the hype it deserves; it’s without a doubt one of the best IPAs to emerge from the East Coast (or anywhere) in the craft beer movement. As we mentioned, Ipswich is a local brewery and we feel that it’s our duty to alert those not lucky enough to have tried this beer to it’s deliciousness! This is the reason that clubs like Gourmet Monthly Clubs is so great, they find the delicious local beers you’d never otherwise be able to try!

If you're thinking of joining a beer of the month club you've found the right place. Each month we review a beer of the month club shipment to give you an idea of what you really get. This is from Gourmet Monthly Clubs.

Join this beer of the month club or compare other beer of the month clubs.

RJ Rockers Patriot Pale AleRJ Rockers Patriot Pale

Appearance: The Patriot Pale pours a rich orange color with a thick cream colored head about one finger thick. The beer is hazy, with a little bit of sediment floating around.

Smell: As soon as we poured this one we could smell some citrusy, orangey hops. Smells like a pale ale that’s going to hit on the hoppier end of the spectrum! Closer examination yields about the same as the pungent aroma of the hops overwhelms any malt that might be there. This one definitely smells dry.

Taste: Surprising! RJ Rockers is one of those companies we’ve passed over time and time again in the store, but this is a tasty brew! It has a nice bitterness that’s balanced and not overwhelming, but this is still quite the hop forward brew. Late in the boil they must have added a ton of hops, because the orange citrus smells we got are there in flavor too! At 6% abv, it’s not light weight pale ale, but it’ll still do the trick on a day you need something delicious!

Lakefront Brewing Company IPALakefront Brewing Company IPA

Appearance: Lakefront’s IPA pours a deep, hazy orange. A thick, off-white heads forms on top that is so thick it looks like the top of a vanilla milkshake!

Smell: This brew is quite hoppy smelling as well, but not as much as the Patriot Pale. Where that was orange and citrus, this one is much more pine. Again, the malt is more of a hops delivery vehicle on this one than a flavor.

Taste: Whew! That’s an IPA! The body is fairly thin, which allows the bitterness of the hops to come through. Again, the bitterness is balanced by malt, but this one definitely leans heavily towards the hoppy side of balance. The aroma hops that were in the Patriot Pale aren’t here as strongly, they’re much more front-loaded...but that’s not a bad thing. Sometimes you want an orange/citrus flavor IPA and sometimes you want some more bitterness. This is the latter.

RJ Rockers Bell RingerRJ Rockers Bell Ringer

Appearance: Bell Ringer pours a super hazy, nearly opaque ruddy red and orange color with white yeast and protein particles suspended throughout. A light tan head forms on top but quickly recedes (probably due to the alcohol in this beer).

Smell: For the first time of this review session, we’re getting some pretty serious malt out of this one. At 8.5% abv that makes sense, too! There’s some hops there, too, but we’re willing to bet most of the 53 IBUs are in the bitterness to balance the booze and malt. The big surprise, though, is that the alcohol is unnoticeable...good job to RJ Rockers on that!

Taste: Oh! This is good! Again, it’s too bad we’ve passed over RJ Rockers so many times. This is a tasty beer! There is some major malt to this, but the bitterness is there to keep it at bay. The beer actually has a little more fruity flavor to it than we expected, but we’re trying to figure out if it’s from the Cascade hops or from the yeast. The alcohol doesn’t show through too prominently in the flavor, but it does effect the body of the beer and thins it a bit.

Lakefront Fuel Cafe Coffee StoutLakefront Fuel Cafe Coffee Stout

Appearance: It’s coffee...and it’s stout...it’s black. The Fuel Cafe Coffee Stout is black. The head on it, to continue the theme, is like coffee with cream in it and a quickly receding half finger tall.

Smell: Jeff over here at DrinkCraftBeer loves coffee, and all he can say is, “Yum!” This one smells just like coffee.

Taste: Wow! Roasty, slightly bitter (just like black coffee) and dry, this is a delicious coffee stout! The roast from chocolate male and roasted barley go great with the coffee to give you a brew that is coffee strong yet still tastes like a stout. The beer is dry throughout, which fits well with the style. Again, a strong beer to finish this month’s Gourmet Monthly Club Beer of the Month Club on!

If you're thinking of joining a beer of the month club you've found the right place. Each month we review a beer of the month club shipment to give you an idea of what you really get. This is from Gourmet Monthly Clubs.

Join this beer of the month club or compare other beer of the month clubs.

Woodstock Inn Brewery Red Rack Ale

Woodstock Inn Brewery Red Rack Ale

Appearance: As a red ale, what color would you expect this one to be but... red? While it’s not brick red or anything, it’s definitely a red/orange color and crystal clear. There’s a super light brown, basically tan head that quickly recedes to a film.

Smell: A red ale is by definition supposed to have a mild aroma, and this one does. Notes of fresh bread and an almost caramel-like malt comes through, but you have to look for both.

Taste: Toasted barley is the major flavor here that fades into a bready, even slightly doughy finish. There are almost no hops to speak of, just a bit of mild sweetness that lingers through. This a great beer to share with friends on a social night as it one that doesn’t demand you sit and think, just drink and enjoy.

On a sidenote, the mildness of this beer makes it go great with much of the food that Woodstock Inn has at their brew pub (which Jeff has been to quite a few times). If you’re ever near Waterville Valley in New Hampshire, make sure to check this place out. They have a few variations on Beef Wellington that are delicious!

Woodstock Inn Red Rack AleWoodstock Inn Brewery Pemi Pale Ale

Appearance: A dense, off-white head about a finger and a half sits atop this copper colored, crystal clear ale named for the Pemigewasset River that runs near the brewpub.

Smell: There’s a light, grassy note to the hops in this brew. In the English style of Pale Ale you also get some decent malt to this one, a bit biscuity.

Taste: While the aroma may be a bit English, the flavor is definitely an American Pale Ale. Hop bitterness leads, not enough to make it an IPA but at 56 IBUs it’s no slouch either. A nice, but understated, malt presence gives the hops some room to play but that’s their limit. There’s a mild citrus flavor, almost a hint of lime at times, to the hops. We dig this one. A tasty, sessionable pale ale!

Boulder Beer Company Never Summer AleBoulder Beer Company Never Summer Ale

Appearance: A ruby red ale with an oatmeal, beige head about an inch high.

Smell: The malt is definitely the star here, it’s a light and airy malt. Definitely not heavy, this could even be described as smelling fresh. Hops take a backseat but are there in a supporting capacity. The yeast provides a bit of a fruity aroma, almost cherry-like.

Taste: Again, malt is the main attraction. It’s a bit toasty and definitely quite bready while the hops just chill on the sidelines. The carbonation is light, just right for style and helps it go down smooth. While this beer is drinkable, the malt and the slight hint of alcohol let you know that this isn’t a beer to pound. This would be great to sip around a fire in the winter months.

Boulder Beer Company India-Style Brown AleBoulder Beer Company Flashback India-Style Brown Ale

Appearance: This IBA pours brown, as could be expected, with red tinges when held up to the light. The head puffs to about two fingers and then recedes to half a finger and lingers.

Smell: While a brown ale traditionally doesn’t have hops right up front, as an India-Style Brown Ale this one definitely has them right there. It’s not over the top, but they’re there. Piney cascades lead the way, but the brown malts are there as back up providing a toasty grain backbone to this Cascade craft beer.

Taste: The taste? Well it’s quite good! Cascadey, piney hop bitterness leads the way, followed by brown sugar malt. There seems to be almost a bit of maple in the finish of the malt, which goes great with the brown sugar and the piney hops. This beer is like sipping on an autumn day in the woods. While Jeff may be a bit biased (Boulder Beer Company’s Hazed & Infused was one of his first serious craft beers), we both agree this is one tasty brew that you should be happy to get a chance to try!