Some winter brews are nearing the end of their run, while high-test stouts, pale ales and barleywines make the rounds. Also, check out a new sour series by Great North, and a slew of barrel-aged beers being opened to celebrate Long Blue Cat turning 4 this month.
Late January saw the return of Hot Sex on a Platter (9.4 percent) at Lithermans Limited Brewery in Concord. This chocolate-covered strawberry imperial stout comes out once a year around Valentine’s Day. Brewers describe it as “decadent and indulgent” and they say it pairs well with Barry White, candles and a hot tub.
Also out is Hidden Driveways (6.4 percent), a New England-style IPA that’s double dry-hopped with Idaho 7 and Citra cryo hops. It boasts notes of tropical fruit, citrus and a hint of pine.
The latest special release at Great North Aleworks in Manchester is Greatful North (9.1 percent), a double-dry-hopped imperial pale ale. It’s made with the same hops (Citra, Amarillo, Cascade), grains and yeast as the brew house’s stable dry-hopped pale ale Tie Dyed.
It’s a bigger, bolder version with what brewers describe as a “dangerously smooth” finish. It’s available in cans and draft in the Manchester tasting room and distributed statewide.
As part of Great North’s “Small Batch Series,” they also released an Amber Lager (5.1 percent) at the tasting room. It’s made with Vienna malt and carries toasty flavors and a mild sweetness.
Great North also re-released It’s Raining Raspberries (4.2 percent), which they first brewed last summer. It’s now part of their rotating sour series, so every few months they’ll release a new variant under the name “It’s Raining…” Keep an eye out for the next one. It’s available in cans and draft in the tasting room and distributed statewide.
Long Blue Cat
Long Blue Cat Brewing Company in Londonderry just released its last batch of Kranberry Kolsch (4.2 percent) for the season. It’s available on tap at the brewery and in cans at local beer stores. Once they run out, you won’t be able to find more of it until next winter.
Feb. 19 will mark Long Blue Cat’s 4th Birthday. To celebrate, they will have 16 of their beers on tap, including core classics like London Buzz Honey Ale, Knolltop Maple Brown Ale, Johnny Rye Ale, Radioface DIPA, Latchkey IPA, Hopical Island IPA, Black Arts Black IPA and the list goes on.
They’ll also be cracking open a 2019 Cherry Chocolate Oatmeal Stout, a 2019 Appolo 18 Barleywine, a 2020 Dark Irish Red Ale and a 2020 Oak Island Coconut Porter, all of which have been aging in their cellar.
The celebration will also feature food and live music.
On Jan. 28, 603 Brewery in Londonderry released a new experimental beer called E09 Colossal Imperial Peanut Butter Stout (11.8 percent), which is described as a large and decadent beer that is approachable but demands respect and patience — much like the mighty elephant that inspired this brew.
It has flavors of dark chocolate, rich milk, sweet vanilla, creamy peanut butter and dried figs. It finishes smooth and roasty. The beer is available in 16.9-ounce bottles in the Beer Hall and a few stores.
On Feb. 4, 603 is dropping 603 Barleywine (12.7 percent), which is barrel-aged in hand-selected American bourbon and whiskey barrels. It will be sold in 16.9-ounce bottles )with a nice wax dip) in the Beer Hall and a few limited market locations.
On the same day, the brewery is also bringing back E09 Sheeesh Citrus Wheat (5.2 percent), a citrus wheat beer, milky orange in color, with flavors of lemon zest, candied plantain and grapefruit. It has a mild acidity and a creamy finish.
Sheeesh will be sold in 12-ounce cans in six-packs at the Beer Hall only.
Hidden Moon, the brewery label of Moonlight Meadery, is releasing a new German pilsner called 3-Series Pilsner (5 percent), made with Motueka and Saaz hops. It’s a pale, clean and assertively hopped pilsner with extra Saaz for that extra kick. Brewers say it’s similar to well-known imports in green bottles.