Sea Hag IPA

by: BeerAdvocate on 05-30-2007
Personally, we love canned beers. They’re easier to handle, use less resources to manufacture, won’t get lightstruck (skunked) and are less prone to oxidation. For years, consumers were basically limited to pale lagers in the can. But a recent resurgence in canned beer has coaxed more interesting and flavorful options into the market. This leads us to this week’s tasting from the New England Brewing Co. out of Woodbridge, CT, one of the few New England brewers currently canning their beers.

New England Brewing's Sea Hag IPATouted as “a rich and full-bodied India Pale Ale with a complex malt character, blended with Cascade and Noble hops,” Sea Hag IPA was inspired by spooky stories told by the grandfather of brewer and owner Rob Leonard when he was a boy.

Let’s hope the beer (whose can features creepy, anime-like artwork) isn’t as scary as grandpa’s tales.

The Taste
Poured from the can, Sea Hag is a copper-colored brew, with tawny hues and a touch of chill haze. The head is slightly off-white and healthy, with a good quarter-inch lacing and sticky sides. Toasty nose, preceded by a big floral hop bouquet, but resting to something a bit more dank and resiny. Very smooth, with a slightly watery consistency and a low level of carbonation. Malt character is also toasty, with some breadiness and hint of caramel. The hop profile is intriguingly odd. There’s no real bitterness, not like you’d expect from most IPAs, and what’s there are muted notes of citrus and pine. Also unexpected are more subtle flavors of earth, wood, slight resin, hop oil with some background pith and an herbal edge. Vegetal undertones. Wood and earth linger in the semi-dry finish.

Final Thoughts
Nothing overly interesting, but it’s another option in the can. We would have preferred something cleaner, fuller-bodied and more balanced, carbonated and bitter. Traditional IPA fans might not dig this offering, as it lacks the expected clean bitterness, but hops fans might appreciate the unique flavors here. Give it a try for yourself—we got our six-pack at Supreme Liquor [600 Mass. Ave., Central Sq., Cambridge]. In the meantime, grab a free Sea Hag cellphone wallpaper by texting “Hag9” to 99134, and check out these other canned offerings from New England Brewing: Elm City Lager and Atlantic Amber.

For more info: newenglandbrewing.com

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