I am a man on a mission. I've moved too many times and been faced with too many colorful aisles of micro brews to choose from. I've decided to put an end to the madness...and try them all. My plan is to chronicle my journey for all of you, whether I encounter success or failure. So sit back and enjoy and if there's one or two brews that you would like to suggest...please feel free to let me know and I will hunt them down as if...I were a Man On A Mission. - Doug (on the road since 2011)
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Smuttynose Star Island Single – Smuttynose Brewing Company – Portsmouth, NH
Hey, now this is a surprise. After walking into my local
shop this past Friday, I was greeted with a rare treat, a new (for my shop at
least) offering from the Smuttynose Brewing Company. I love this Brewery. They
don’t produce heavy, smack you around, brews…but what they do give you is a
nice quality brew that never lets you down. Every time I’ve poured one I’ve
been impressed by their simplicity, and their dedication to produce just
that…simply good beer. With that in mind, I immediately picked up a six-pack of
their Start Island Single. As usual, the packaging was simple, but yet artful,
and with a weekend of College and Pro Football…as well as my son starting his
Hockey season, I was looking forward to a beer that promised a little lighter
experience. Here’s what the web had to say:
Visitors to Smuttynose Island, peering across the dark
waters of Gosport Harbor towards the ragged rocks of neighboring Star Island,
are sometimes startled by the fleeting sight of mysterious, alluring creatures
swept up from the Atlantic’s cold, inky depths. Or so they tell us.
Our Star Island Single is an eminently sessionable,
Belgian-style pale ale offering a beguiling mix of flavor and refreshment. This
medium-bodied golden ale features a slight residual sweetness from Honey Malt
and hints of citrus and tropical fruits from the unique Belgian yeast it is
fermented with, leaving a crisp dry finish. Enjoy it sociably while you savor good
times, tall tales, friendly company & life’s unexpected pleasures.
Color: pale gold
Malt Bill: North American 2-Row, Crisp Pale Ale, Honey malt,
Other: Freshly ground coriander seed
Recommended Food Pairings: Roasted white meats (chicken,
turkey and pork) sautéed mushrooms and creamy mild cheeses
"Very refreshing. This one could be a winner for those
with summer thirsts or long sessions at the dinner table." Charlie Papazian, "All About
Beer," July 2009
"Distinctive and creative effort to be
applauded." Charles Finkel of
Merchant du Vin, same issue of AAB
Available year ’round in 6-packs and on draft in 1/6 and 1/2
You may have encountered the term “session beer” before, as in, “This would make a fine session beer” - a statement
usually proclaimed with a sense of nirvana, followed by a subtle smile of
reaffirmation. You may have even experienced the feeling of discovering a
session beer yourself, when, during the course of a night at the bar, you
suddenly come across a particular beer that sticks with you for the rest of the
But what exactly is a "session beer"?
The Drinking Session
A British expat and buddy of ours in California once
suggested that a "session" referred to one of the two allowable
drinking periods in England that were imposed on shell production workers
during World War I. Typically the licensed sessions were 11am-3pm and 7pm-11pm,
and apparently continued up until the Liquor Licensing Act 1988 was introduced.
Workers would find a beer that they could adequately quaff within these
restrictive 4-hour "sessions" that were laid down by the government
without getting legless and return to work or not get arrested for being drunk
and disorderly. Now he could be full of shite, but we've found some smatterings
of info to back this up and it sounds like a fine origin of the term to us.
Sessionable beers of the time might have been a
cask-conditioned offering, Mild or Bitter, at 3 to 4 percent alcohol by volume
(ABV), but no higher. Poured into a UK pint glass (20ozs vs. the US 16oz pint),
patrons might have had upwards of 8 pints during a session and still remain
coherent, ergo the "session beer." Sounds like a lot of beer, but it
actually works out to be about 1 beer per hour if you take into consideration
the rising ABV of today's beers.
The Session Beer
Though the term “session beer” has more or less preserved its meaning over the years, it has
yet to be truly defined by anyone. To boot, we get asked a dozen times a week.
So let's give it a stab.
Any beer that contains no higher than 5 percent ABV,
featuring a balance between malt and hop characters (ingredients) and,
typically, a clean finish - a combination of which creates a beer with high
drinkability. The purpose of a session beer is to allow a beer drinker to have
multiple beers, within a reasonable time period or session, without
overwhelming the senses or reaching inappropriate levels of intoxication. (Yes,
you can drink and enjoy beer without getting drunk.)
Let's use it in a sentence!
"Whoa. This 4.5 percent ABV lager is so crisp,
refreshing and drinkable, with just a touch of hops and malty sweetness. I
could drink this all day long! Actually, I think I might!" exclaimed Todd.
"Sounds like a perfect session beer! Next round is on me!" agreed
Why does a session beer have to be under 5 percent ABV? The
average ABV of the 30,000-odd beers in our database is 5.9 percent, but as you
approach the 6 percent mark, we've found that beer drinkers feel the impact of
this extra 1 percent quite easily over the course of a drinking session. While
body chemistry varies greatly from person to person, 5 percent ABV seems to be
optimal for everyone. Remember: the point of a session beer is imbibing
socially without getting loaded.
But don’t be fooled; just because a beer is lower in ABV doesn’t mean that it’s lower in flavor.
All over the world, there are thousands - tens of thousands - of beers being
made at 5 percent ABV or lower, in every conceivable style. So let’s all raise a glass
to session beers, and always remember to ...
The Smuttynose Brewing Company
Welcome to the Granite State’s leading craft brewery,
located in the historic seaport city of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Smuttynose
was founded in 1994 by the folks who started the Northampton and Portsmouth
Breweries. Our beers are distributed from Maine to Florida and as far west as Wisconsin.
We offer tours of our facility Fridays at 5:30 PM and
Saturdays at 11:00 AM. Click here for more information and directions to help
you find us.
Thanks for your support,
The Smuttynose Crew
“Through distribution in 19 states and a portfolio full of
year-round classics, adored seasonals and highly sought after limited edition
bottles, Smutty is one of the most respected east coast breweries offering
something for everyone.”
Wine Enthusiast Magazine
“Smuttynose has a well-earned reputation as one of America’s
best all around breweries.” All About Beer Magazine
Wow…who would have thought that a beer containing so little
alcohol could be packed with so much flavor. The pour was crisp and clean,
producing a nice, thick head. The coloring was golden and inviting. The first
sip immediately quenched my thirst. I detected just the slight hint of spice,
but not in an overpowering way. I even let it sit for a while, just to see if
this was one of those brews that needed to be served ice cold to mask its
inadequacies. That said, the brew tasted just as good slightly warm. The lower
alcohol meant that I was sharp as a tack after a couple had been downed. Now I
don’t usually go for session beers, but this is one exception to the rule. The
flavor just keeps coming, and I have to say that I was truly impressed. If
you’re looking for something light to enjoy with a sandwich at lunch, please
seek this one out. You will not be let down.