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Drink Craft Beer & Jack's Abby Brewing Springfest Beer

It's early. Really early. I don't mean sunrise early but, rather, it's hours before sunrise in the middle of a freezing cold Boston winter early. The road is pitch black, my car headlights are the only illumination aside from the rare vehicle traveling in the opposite direction on the Mass Pike and the radio is still allowed to play some good tunes because nobody is listening at this godforsaken hour. Longtime Drink Craft Beer readers are probably getting familiar to this story, though, and know what it means...we're making beer!

There's something fulfilling about being the first person to drive through an industrial zone for the day. You cruise past desolate, dark buildings, past chain link fence and pull into the parking spot, climb out of the warm cocoon of your car and into the bracing winter freeze, careful not to slip on the frozen puddle you've parked on. Within moments, a car pulls up and...wait...is it? Yes! It's the guy with the key to the building which means I won't be waiting out here for long. Meet Jack Hendler, founder and brewer for the eponymously-named Jack's Abby, which he runs with his brothers Sam and Eric. "Abby" isn't misspelled, it's the name of Jack's wife.

Jack's Abby The ABCs Brew Day

It's 5:30 in the morning and it's almost time to mash in for the first of two 20 barrel batches that will be brewed today. Spring means hops. Many people will tell you that Autumn is the hoppiest time of the year, with fresh hop beers abounding but, in reality, Spring is when the hops start to poke their heads out of the ground. A perennial that requires a winter, without Spring, there wouldn't be any hops. And that's why both batches today will be The ABCs, a Double India Pale Lager that Jack's Abby is brewing as the official beer of our upcoming beer festival, Drink Craft Beer Springfest: A Celebration of Hops. In total, four batches will be made for a total of 80 barrels of beer. If that didn't wake you up, how about this: each batch uses over 50 lbs of hops - Apollo, Bravo, Calypso and Simcoe (hence "The ABCs"). That's a lot of hops, folks!

So check out this video about the making of The ABCs for Drink Craft Beer Springfest: A Celebration of Hops below, then make sure to get you tickets at the event website. If you want to see more behind the scenes photos of the brew day at Jack's Abby, check out this album on our Facebook page.

Victory Summer Love Ale [Beer Review]

You know when you just want a beer but you don’t want to think about it? Rather you want to be able to be outside playing baggo or wiffleball? Or maybe you want to socialize with friends and family? Whatever the activity, if it’s a situation where beer is a second thought to what’s at hand, don’t reach for some mass market lager because I’ve found your what you want! I first had Victory Summer Love at a big family gathering, and downed quite a few straight from the bottle while keeping busy in the yard with my cousins. But don’t take my word for it, here’s the details.

Victory Brewing Summer Love Ale

Crystal clear, light and a wispy head that quickly fades? If you didn’t know better you’d think I was describing something that was much less appealing. Having had this quite a few times, though, I’ll tell you to ignore any worry as this is a great beer for socializing and playing wiffle ball!

I hate to say this, because we all know that beer is a super diverse drink, but this smells like beer. There’s a bit of malt in it, very little hops and the well known mark of yeast having caused fermentation. You can tell it’s an ale as there’s a bit of fruitiness to the nose but, other than that, it’s a fairly neutral beer.

So I told you this was a great beer that you didn’t have to think about. The carbonation is smooth and not overwhelming. The hops provide a bit of flavor, but there’s nothing challenging about them. The malt is a bit sweet, balancing the hops, and has a great biscuity flavor. Over all, this is one of those beers that’s a delicious social lubricant. Don’t worry too much about it, just enjoy it! Cheers!

Smuttynose Launches 2009 Big Beer Series Subscription

For the very first time, New Hampshire's Smuttynose Brewing Company will be offering a subscription to get a case of each Big Beer they put out in 2009. The lineup is:

Image - Gravitation Belgian Quad (New Release) - early January, 2009
 - Imperial Stout - mid February
 - Maibock - late March
 - Baltic Porter - Early May
 - Farmhouse Ale - late June
 - Big A IPA - early August
 - Wheat Wine - mid September
 - Barley Wine - early November
 - S'Muttonator Double Bock - early December, 2009

ImageThis is one of the finest brewers on the East Coast, and each edition of their Big Beer Series is limited and often hard to get if you don't act right away... Their Big A has been known to sell out of stores within a week of release (and some stores sell out in a day). This subscription will ensure you get some of each one.

The downside? You have to buy a case of each and you have to pick it up at the Brewery. But, they will be having beer socials for the release of each brew. For all the details, check out the website here.

Interview with Rob Leonard of New England Brewing Company 5-15-07

Rob Leonard started making beer in his kitchen. 1992 saw him land a home brewers dream job at New Haven Brewing… cleaning kegs and packing cases. But his obvious passion for the brewing craft led him to the title assistant brewer and eventually head brewer in a short three years. Fast forward a few years: Rob has become the brewmaster and operations manager for New England Brewing. In 2001, when the owners wanted to get out of the brewery business, Rob immediately took the opportunity to acquire the name of the company and re-locate the whole business to Selden Street in Woodbridge, CT… just down the street from the kitchen where he first started making beer. It’s this location where he makes his assortment of canned beers, including Atlantic Amber, Sea Hag IPA, and Elm City Lager as well as his limited bottled offerings such as Imperial Stout Trooper. And now he talks to DrinkCraftBeer.com…

Beer of the Month Review - Amazing Clubs March

Hey all you craft beer drinkers! It's that time again! What time? New Beer of the Month from Amazing Clubs time! Yeah... we know, it doesn't exactly roll off the tongue. But the beer... The beer tastes good. So let's get to it!

This month, we've got beer from High Country Brewing Company and Farmington River Brewing Company, made by Mercury Brewing Company. High Country sends their Blowing Rock Ale and Blowing Rock Bock, while Farmington River has their Blonde Ale and Brown Ale. With that in mind, let's get to the beer!

And, like always, if you want to join this club go here: Click to Join.

High Country Blowing Rock Ale

Appearance: Light golden

Smell Biscuity light honey notes

Taste: This tatses more like a lager than an ale to us, but it's really nice. Light and hoppy with a light honey like finish. Really tasty beer.