Notch Brewing (2020)

Discussion in 'US - Northeast' started by AlcahueteJ, Jan 7, 2020.

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  1. Matted24

    Matted24 Initiate (25) Jun 1, 2013 Massachusetts

    Oh yeah the malt sweetness came across distinctly with those notes. I find it in a lot of Czech pilsners. It’s just they’re super balanced by the hops and lagering. The base beer here was Standard which is double decocted. That process of boiling a removed portion of the mash encourages increased malty, toasty flavors.
     
    #81 Matted24, Feb 24, 2020
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2020
  2. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,914) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts
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    Ah gotcha. I only asked because typically a pale lager will begin to have honey-like qualities when the beer is getting older. And caramel is something I associate with amber Oktoberfests for example (typically US versions) that use caramel malts to sweeten the beer. Whereas their imported counterparts might use Pils and Munich malts , and some use decoction mashing which I find really brings those melanoidin characteristics out.

    But I get what you're saying, some people I think perceive it as caramel and honey sweetness. For example, Pils malt to me, when it really shines, has graham-cracker like sweetness to it. But also flavors of lighter breads like biscuits and even crackers.

    Sounds delicious!
     
  3. Sheppard

    Sheppard Poo-Bah (2,228) Mar 16, 2013 Massachusetts
    Society Trader

    Looks like PLP debuts at 4.48 on Untappd which is far and away the highest rating that Notch has gotten. The next highest is 4.17 for the Voll Project Dortmunder. I only saw two other beers above 4. All to say, I'm glad Notch actually gets love here.
     
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  4. Matted24

    Matted24 Initiate (25) Jun 1, 2013 Massachusetts

    At the taproom drinking it again. Down to the last half keg! To your point it’s definitely a snappy beer and graham-cracker/crackers is there. The caramel/honeyed thing is almost like it’s spread lightly over toast. Comes across strongest on the nose and as the flavor fades.

    The Notch love / lager interest here really is amazing.
     
  5. YourDigitalGrave

    YourDigitalGrave Initiate (0) Jun 5, 2019 Massachusetts

    Very good but only 23 ratings. I wonder what the count will get to before it kicks.
     
  6. thedaveofbeer

    thedaveofbeer Aspirant (293) Mar 25, 2016 Massachusetts
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    I am glad to see the ratings so high for quality lagers, hopefully it will inspire competent brewers to venture into the style. We only need so many NEIPAs and Pasty Stouts! We need FRESH quality lagers in the USA!
     
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  7. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,914) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts
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    Probably a 5. :wink:

    But seriously, I imagine most of those 23 people didn't just casually order the beer in the tap room. It's probably like-minded folks just like us who already really dig lagers.

    If this beer saw distribution I think it would likely drop in ratings. No slight on the beer, that's just what happens. Or if it was on tap more often at the brewery.

    For example, the beer that was added to the pitch-lined barrel was The Standard. This only sees distribution a few times a year, but it's on tap at the brewery year round. It has a 3.82 rating on Untappd (I'd give it close to a 5 personally, and I'm being serious).
     
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  8. EnronCFO

    EnronCFO Zealot (599) Mar 29, 2007 Massachusetts

    You mean a brewery only special release, that also happened to occur on a 60* day in February, might have slightly elevated ratings? I refuse to believe it.
     
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  9. YourDigitalGrave

    YourDigitalGrave Initiate (0) Jun 5, 2019 Massachusetts

    Someone needs to come up with an algorithm that corrects Untappd ratings for, at the very least, beer style bias and brewery bias.
    As a very simple rule, I add 0.2 points for lagers and subtract 0.1 from Tree House beers. Of course Tree House is screwing this all up by releasing lagers now but that is a discussion for another day.
    I know, it needs work. Is anyone here a mathematician?

    edit: The Untappd reviews I hate the most...
    "I don't like this style of beer so 3/5".
    Just don't rate it!
     
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  10. M-Fox24

    M-Fox24 Meyvn (1,446) Mar 17, 2013 New Jersey
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    [​IMG]

     
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  11. ScaryEd

    ScaryEd Poo-Bah (3,156) Feb 19, 2012 New Hampshire
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    I need to move to Salem.
     
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  12. ScaryEd

    ScaryEd Poo-Bah (3,156) Feb 19, 2012 New Hampshire
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    I guess I'm not surprised The Standard is rated that low on Untapped. I think it's underrated here as well, but that's to be expected.

    I am by no means an expert on lagers, and I'm sure I've rated/reviewed several of them unfairly over the years. But man, The Standard on tap is the absolute best pilsner I've ever had. The cans weren't quite the same but still amazing.

    And yes, I am super guilty of overrating Tree House. Trying to get better with my reviews, but still nowhere near where I want to be.
     
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  13. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,914) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts
    Society

    You're pretty far away. :wink:

    But I agree, Notch and Howling Wolf (tex mex place in Salem) is probably all you need in life.

    The malt character alone in Notch's beers are something I haven't really tasted outside of the times I've visited Germany. There's probably some others that I'm not thinking of, but the US beers that hit those notes are few and far between.
     
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  14. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,914) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts
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    "Tapping another new beer this week - ALTBIER!

    4.5%. A traditional German ale fermented with Kölsch yeast (long, slow and cold). This classic beer style delivers a snappy bitterness with rounded notes of dark crusty bread and caramel. Sweet vanilla notes balance earthy bitterness, giving this beer a unique layered flavor. A brewer’s favorite! Come get some before we drink it all!"


    Regarding the Altbier... @ChrisLohring do you specifically brew some of your German beers to be 4.5% so they fit under the Notch brand? I only ask because German Kölsch and German Pils for example typically clock in around 4.9 - 5.1% ABV, but Fodderstompf and your Kölsch are both 4.5%.
     
  15. meefmoff

    meefmoff Zealot (504) Jul 6, 2014 Massachusetts
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    For 11 months of the year anyway.
     
  16. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,914) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts
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    Hopefully the new Brighton facility is open by next October. Then you can just go there.
     
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  17. Matted24

    Matted24 Initiate (25) Jun 1, 2013 Massachusetts

    This is exactly what opened my eyes up to lager over the past year. The depth and roundedness of their lagers while remaining so snappy and clean I think can create a fan out of anyone willing to branch out. I had Sunny Ridge from Jacks the other night and while good, fell short on these exact parameters.
     
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  18. meefmoff

    meefmoff Zealot (504) Jul 6, 2014 Massachusetts
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    It's worth noting that most of the beers from Notch that really get the love here are fairly small batch. The volume and price at which Von Trapp and Jack's Abby make most of their beers puts them more in competition with Notch's widely distributed 12 packs than with their Single Series or tap room only stuff.

    I don't mean to take anything away from Notch of course, but I think the scale of things sometimes gets lost in conversations comparing some of their offerings to the other big lager producers in the area.
     
  19. Matted24

    Matted24 Initiate (25) Jun 1, 2013 Massachusetts

    I think that's a fair point. I definitely buy my fair share of Notch Session Pils in 12 packs when attending a party, BBQ or just buying in bulk. I'm still probably more likely to grab it than Jacks House Lager to be honest. Von Trapp I have the utmost respect for and their favorable pricing and stylistic choices should make it a more common recipient of my attention. If I didn't tend to buy beer either at a local taproom or imports from Total Wine I think I would get it more.

    I really am curious as to whether or not the Notch expansion will increase production/outside availability on some of the more highly touted Single Series options making this less of a consideration.
     
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  20. YourDigitalGrave

    YourDigitalGrave Initiate (0) Jun 5, 2019 Massachusetts

    Are these comparably priced? I'm not saying you said they were it is just that would sway my decision a bit.
     
  21. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,914) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts
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    Agreed on Sunny Ridge. Although Jack's Abby just got some horizontal tanks which should improve things even further (I do like Sunny Ridge though, just not nearly as much as Notch's stuff).

    My eyes were first opened up during my first trip to Munich. You drink Helles over there and you're immediately hit with this "oh shit" moment.

    This was around 2011 though, so when I came back here, well, no one was able to replicate that.

    While true, their Single Series stuff DOES see distribution. And the imports that arrive here in good shape also hit all the notes the Notch stuff does, and you know the Weihenstephan's, Paulaner's, and Hofbrau's of the world are producing large volumes.

    Also, Hill Farmstead sees virtually no distribution, and I don't think anyone would take anything away from them (not that you took anything away from Notch either). Same with the smaller batch stuff from Oxbow and Allagash that is also amazing.

    I'd be curious to know if there's beers in Jack's Abby's tap room that are brewed differently/are better than what is distributed. I feel as if we still get some stuff from them in Boston that isn't seen in their wider distribution chain.
     
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  22. DucRacer900

    DucRacer900 Initiate (114) Aug 13, 2013 Massachusetts
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    I think the target is mid summer
     
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  23. YourDigitalGrave

    YourDigitalGrave Initiate (0) Jun 5, 2019 Massachusetts

    Exactly.
     
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  24. DucRacer900

    DucRacer900 Initiate (114) Aug 13, 2013 Massachusetts
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    Not that I'm excited or anything, but it's 2 miles from my house!
     
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  25. ChrisLohring

    ChrisLohring Initiate (111) Jan 25, 2010 Massachusetts

    We keep the beer's starting gravity in the style spec range, and the ABV typically lands in the mid 4's for us based on our mash schedule and yeast attenuation. So our Helles, Dunkel, German Pils, Kölsch, etc all fit the style guidelines for starting gravity, not always for ABV. We typically like to have the starting gravity on the lower side of the range, as we make very malt forward lagers and they will lose their drinkability if on the higher end. Our Czech lagers however are text book in SG and ABV spec.

    We do brew some beers to 5% or above, and they fall into the Voll Projekt, such as Hefe Weisse and Dunkel Weizen, and Helles Spezial.
     
  26. meefmoff

    meefmoff Zealot (504) Jul 6, 2014 Massachusetts
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    Well I did *specifically* say I wasn't taking anything away from them :slight_smile:

    More to the point though, nobody is really comparing HF against widely available $14 twelve packs to measure their worth. It's not to take anything away from Notch, it's to grant places like JA and VT who are operating at a larger scale and with lower prices an even playing field on which to be judged.

    Good point about the imports though.
     
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  27. YourDigitalGrave

    YourDigitalGrave Initiate (0) Jun 5, 2019 Massachusetts

    Is the plan to make it higher ABV from the start or is it like, "Shit! We hit 5%. Better call in Voll."
     
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  28. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,914) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts
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    Ha yeah I almost quoted you too.

    I hear ya, and I’m not trying to compare say House Lager to The Standard, that’s definitely unfair (not to mention they’re two different styles).

    But I would say comparing the Keller Series to the Single Series is fair. And I think both of those series from both breweries contain their best beers. Overall I like the Single Series better, but I’ve had some stellar shit from JA’s Keller Series too.

    We’re definitely lucky here in New England. I wouldn’t put Von Trapp in the same category as Notch or Jack’s Abby though. I’m not a huge Von Trapp guy compared to many others. For what it’s worth some of the most knowledgeable posters in the Germany forums don’t really dig Von Trapp either.

    I’ve also been lucky enough to go to Von Trapp’s tap room too, and they weren’t really serving anything other than their core beers. They had their Kölsch (might have been the first year they brewed it) so that was a bit different. I love the area up there and would totally go again, but hopefully they would have some brewery only stuff next time.

    I dig their Dunkel though, despite the fact it’s a bit higher ABV than I prefer for the style.
     
  29. MKozaka

    MKozaka Disciple (318) Apr 25, 2006 Connecticut
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    Still interested to know how Notch and Fox Farm compare in authenticity and quality. @AlcahueteJ - have you had any Fox Farm lagers? Your opinion is appreciated/respected.
     
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  30. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,914) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts
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    Thanks for the kind words! I personally think I still don't know much about beer after all these years, and there's plenty of folks on these boards that have forgotten more than I know. I learn so much from them. And at the end of the day, each individual palate is just that, your individual tastes and preferences.

    That aside, I want to say I've had beers from them on tap around Boston, but don't specifically remember anything. But I've heard MANY great things and I'm eager to seek them out.

    Silvaticus' beers are on my radar as well. Along with the emergence of Schilling, we're definitely seeing a (mini) lager revolution here in New England!
     
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  31. meefmoff

    meefmoff Zealot (504) Jul 6, 2014 Massachusetts
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    Yeah that's a fair comparison and I really wasn't meaning to make too big of a deal about the differences.

    It's just that since there aren't that many lager focused breweries around, the few that exist tend to get compared to each other in a way that doesn't always seem that informative. To continue with the Hill Farmstead example, it would be sort of strange if they were continually being directly measured against say, Wachusett and Wormtown.

    Like you say, the Single Series vs the Keller series is a fair and meaningful comparison. So similarly, 12 packs of Vienna Lager or Postshift are probably best judged against session pils or the Zwickel.

    And to be clear I've got no argument with the thought that, taken all together, Notch is the best of the bunch.
     
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  32. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,914) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts
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    @meefmoff you make some excellent points though. This is how it is in Europe as well. The absolute best stuff is straight from the breweries. Like Augustiner Edelstoff directly from the barrels in Munich and unfiltered unpasteurized Pilsner Urquell served in Plzeň.
     
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  33. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,914) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts
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    Anyone know if the Pitch Lined Pils is still on?
     
  34. soheadyithurts

    soheadyithurts Initiate (122) Jan 4, 2013 Massachusetts

    Been kicked for a few days.
     
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  35. Matted24

    Matted24 Initiate (25) Jun 1, 2013 Massachusetts

    Not sure if anyone saw but Notch is having a Pivo Night on March 24th. Tenner, Polotmavy and Cerne will come around via traditional non-stop table service and there is a special Czech inspired meal being served that is prepared by a chef at Bambolina. Price of entry includes your meal and a special ceramic coaster. The wife and I just bought our tickets.

    https://www.eventbrite.com/e/pivo-night-tickets-97224297491
     
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  36. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,914) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts
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    Damn, I really wish these things weren't mid-week.
     
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  37. MattOC

    MattOC Defender (645) Jan 13, 2013 Massachusetts
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    Per Instagram, Notch “found” 1 extra keg of Pitch Lined Pils that they’ll be tapping tonight for their monthly charity.
     
  38. BRYeleJR

    BRYeleJR Disciple (347) May 18, 2013 Massachusetts
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    Maybe this has been asked/answered elsewhere -- apologies if so -- but what is the "Best By" date mean with Notch? 120 days out? 180 days out? I passed on Left of the Dial "Best Buy" today with a April 2020 Best Buy date because I thought it was old, so just trying to figure this out. Thanks!
     
  39. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,914) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts
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    Anyone know if the Pitch Lined Pils lasted until today?
     
  40. M-Fox24

    M-Fox24 Meyvn (1,446) Mar 17, 2013 New Jersey
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    [​IMG]



     
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