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Had a good beer weekend.

My weekend started with an unplanned trip to the Amesbury Ale House for a late dinner with my wife and younger (6) daughter. Thankfully I one time this year took my 6 year old out top dinner there, just the two of us. She (1) liked that it was jsut she and I, and (2) loved their cheeseburger sliders and especially their french fries. So, she decided the Ale House was a good place to go the other night. Alrighty… if you insist! We called just before heading out to see if they had call-ahead seating, and were surprised that they’d take a reservation. So added bonus of not keeping a 6 year old entertained while waiting for a table at 8:00 was nice.

So, on to the beer.  I looked online quickly as their facebook page is used to post current tap lists, highlighting brews that were just recently tapped, or if they feel like anything’s soon to kick. Saw SEVERAL I was very interested in trying. Ended up having a Boulevard Brewing Saison Brett, something I’ve always heard hype for, but had not yet pulled the trigger on a rather pricey bottle. The draft came in a nice Boulevard tulip glass, (appropriately) highly carbonated, with  a large white head. This is based on the Tank7 farmhouse ale (which I love). A big beer at 8.5%, it hid the alcohol very well. The Brettanomyces (wild yeast strain) is typically added in their corked and caged bottles, so I assume for kegs they add it in the barrels? Not sure. The ingredients listed on their website show the recipe is fairly simple, so, like most belgian styles, the bulk of the flavor is derived from the yeast, in this case, a saison yeast followed by the brett later. It was not as funky or distinct a yeast flavor as I expected. The yeast flavors were their, but it wasn’t overpowering. The beer finished very dry, making you want another sip. Still surprised it was an 8.5% beer. Got a little apple and slight tartness, but again minimal. Very tasty, but as with any well-hyped beer, my expectations may have been a bit too high. The bottles I’ve seen on shelves have always been fairly pricey, and I’d hesitate to pull the trigger. Very happy to have tried it though.

Next, I stayed with the Saisons, I ordered a local brew, the Mystic Brewery Saison Renaud. “Only” 6.5%, this was another tasty beer. Dry, well carbonated, a bit grainy. Yeast-driven Saison flavors. I very nice beer. Again, I think these bottles tend to be fairly expensive, but the Ale House’s draft prices were reasonable, and it’s great to be able to try some lesser known or harder to come by beers.

Top it all off with the fact that our food was REALLY good, and it was a nice, unplanned night out.

On Saturday I was able to enjoy a Pretty Things Meadowlark IPA. I had this last year (seasonal release, last year being it’s first release). I liked it last year, so I was happy to see it making a return. According to their website, it’s going to be year round now. It’s a 7% hop-drive IPA, with a lot of hop flavor and bite. Citra and Galaxy are the main culprits. Tested at 85 IBUs, and it tastes it. Wow. Not that the malt it lost, but the bitterness is front and center. A big, bold American style IPA. Around $8 for a 22 oz bomber, and well worth it.

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