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Smuttynose Maibock

by: BeerAdvocate on 06-13-2007
We’ve been fans of Smuttynose Brewing Company of Portsmouth, NH, ever since owner Peter Egelston referred to us as “sometimes irreverent” on his website back in the late ’90s. They’re hands-down one of our greatest regional breweries, bringing us tasty brews like Smuttynose IPA, Robust Porter and Old Brown Dog Ale. Then there’s their Big Beer Series: Nearly every month, they release a new specialty beer in a 22-ounce bomber—which brings us to their most recent release, Smuttynose Maibock.

Smuttynose Maibock: Big Beer Series from Smuttynose Brewing CompanyLike traditional German bocks, Maibocks are lagers (characterized by their use of bottom-fermenting yeast) that, historically, were brewed, stored and matured during the colder months, and then served in the spring—often to coincide with festivals or celebrations in the month of May. Maibocks tend to be lighter in color than other bock beers and often have a significant hop character with noticeable alcohol and malty base.

So with that, let’s shrug off any bias and ass-kissin’, and see how Smutty’s version holds up.

The Taste
Rich, golden color with dark amber and orange hues and a touch of chill haze that clears as the beer warms. Carbonation is quite active, with abnormally large bubbles frothing into a thick white foam head that piles high, sticks and leaves a healthy lacing. Steely and mineral in the nose, soft and powdery, with a dusting of herbal and malty-sweet suggestions. Very smooth on the palate; even and medium-bodied. Malty with bready and biscuity notes running through a light and toasty sweetness. An aggressive alcohol cuts through with spice and a burn, prickling the palate. Distinct herbal hops characters meet the alcohol spice and meld well. Faint taste of ripe stone fruit beneath. Toasty finish, slightly drying, powdery dash of spices—pleasant.

Final Thoughts
Out of the gate, this Maibock is pretty hot (alcoholic) at 7.7 percent alcohol by volume. But as the beer warms and breathes a bit, things smooth out and allow the malt complexities to unravel immediately into a deliciously malty brew.

We found our bombers for $5.20 at Charles Street Liquors [143 Charles St., Boston. 617.523.5051. csliquors.com]. Buy some, invite some friends over to share, and pair Smuttynose Maibock with some beer brats from the grill—this beer would complement and cut through the greasy meat nicely, and you could use some of the Maibock for brat-soaking as well.

Smuttynose Maibock is being poured by its brewers at our American Beer Fest on June 15 and 16.

For more info: smuttynose.com

Respect Beer.
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