Years ago, Smuttynose Brewing quietly started what was then called the Short Batch Series, a series of draft only beers made once each in a small batch. There were a lot of winners in this, but one always stood out to me. I'm a well-known fan of hefeweizens and an obvious lover of hops. Their Schmutzig combined the yeasty goodness of a hefe with elegant hopping so that the two combined to form some sort of super beer.
Let me reiterate: I loved this beer. I literally wrote letters to Smuttynose owner Peter Egleston and Smuttynose head brewer Dave Yarrington. For real. I asked both of them if they could please add the beer just to the Big Beer Series line-up...I wasn't even being greedy and asking for seasonal or year-round lineup! If I remember correctly, I got two polite responses saying that they'd love into it. I figured that was that. And, for years, it was. Then I recently saw on Twitter that they'd be releasing Schmutzig as part of their Smuttlabs series (this is what the Short Batch Series became, just bottled as well as draft now), including in bottles! Cue excitement.
Needless to say, I picked some up and looked forward to drinking it. A light pour let me know I'd made the correct choice as a solid, but not overly voluminous, head puffed up, and the aromas of hops and banana esters filled my nose. Darker than many hefeweizens and cloudier than most IPAs, it's a bit befuddling on sight...but that smell! If you like these styles, this is one you've got to check out (it was still in the cooler at Smuttynose as of September 6, 2014).
The taste is exactly as I remembered it, too. The bitterness is restrained, light even, while the flavor of the hefeweizen yeast and the hops blends together to form a spicy, herbal, barely citrusy combination of goodness. I had it with an Indian Salmon Curry Stew with tomato and onion chutney, and the creaminess of the stew went great with the beer, which helped to cut through. Needless to say, I was a happy camper and think that you should look out for this beer!
Want a chance to try some great beers from Smuttynose and other New England craft brewers? Then check out Drink Craft Beer Fall to Winter Fest in Boston, MA on November 14 & 15! 25 New England brewers and cider makers bringing over 90 craft beers and ciders. Get your tickets to Drink Craft Beer Fall to Winter Fest 2014 now!