Convincing a person to step outside of their comfort zone can be difficult. Transitioning to the rainbow of craft beers from the black-and-white world of big brews is a big step. Where big brewing companies have long prided themselves in every beer being just like the other companies’ beers, but “better” through some indefinable notion, crafts live in the world of defined lines. Where large brewers attempt to make the beer synonymous with the brand, craft brewers make it a point to differentiate the brand from the beer. It’s not a matter of elitism, as big brewers have tried to say. It’s a matter of the brewers realizing that, with the wide varieties they produce, you do not want a single beer to speak for your entire line – with the creative, wide-ranging (and sometimes strange) flavors, you can’t have someone taking one bad beer and thinking that’s all you produce.
Smuttynose I.P.A. is a beer that, like the Stone I.P.A. previously talked about, prides itself in being a hardy, fully American hopped brew. Unlike the Stone, the Smuttynose has aimed for a more floral hop character. It pours out golden orange, like many I.P.A.s, but has a much lighter aroma too it, with a floral aroma over top of a slight citrus scent. It uses Samtiam, Simcoe and Amarillo hops to finish off the pleasant malt flavor of the start. It has a shorter, lighter, but snappier hops bitterness than the Stone – where the bitterness of the stone is a drumroll, the Smuttynose has a short snare shot. It is a lighter-bodied I.P.A., without being watery. The tap handle depicts two old men sitting in lawn chairs, and that’s exactly what the beer is – a lighter-drinking, more relaxed I.P.A.
While Smuttynose I.P.A. is the only part of the Smuttynose portfolio we currently carry, don’t take it as the definition of the brewing company. They do a solid, wide variety of beers, including the Old Brown Dog that has made an appearance in bottles. So if you try and don’t like it, don’t think that Smuttynose is not to your taste, just think that this particular beer they brew isn’t. Then, the next Smuttynose that comes in, give it a try. You might find that it’s a great brewery.
Smuttynose I.P.A. is available on tap for the foreseeable future.