Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Jack's Abby Brewing - Hoponius Union

This past weekend, I took a trip to Boston to see my youngest sister graduate from Boston University. All in all, it was a pretty fantastic trip. The weather was perfect, I didn't pick up any weird diseases or ghosts from the semi-sketchy old bed and breakfast we stayed at, and Morgan Freeman even showed up at the graduation to receive an honorary degree. A trip to Boston wouldn't be complete without checking out some of Boston's numerous fantastic beer bars, so the first night of the trip, my sister took us to perhaps the most famous beer bar in Boston, The Publick House.

The Publick House is known for having a kickass selection of Belgian beer (and it does). As it turns out, the food at Publick House may be right up there with the beer. If you go, do not miss the Publick House Burger. Usually, house burgers don't get me all hot and bothered, but this one...Good lord. Anyways, back to beer. I'll admit, I was really impressed by the selection of Belgian beers at The Publick House. But when I saw another beer on the menu, the Belgians didn't stand a chance.

Usually, lagers don't really do it for me. Sure, there's a time and place for them, but it's rare that I'll bypass an attractive stout or IPA on a beer menu for a lager. But over the past few months, one lager has been making quite a commotion and I just had to see what the fuss was about. At #123 - Jack's Abby's Hoponius Union.

Jack's Abby is a Massachusetts brewery that specializes in lagers. While it seems like that wouldn't make it in the extreme style-leaning craft beer world of today, they seem to be making a pretty good name for themselves. Hoponius Union, an India Pale Lager (which they say is an IPA that's brewed like a lager) has quickly become their flagship beer. Hoponius Union pours a clear, light copper color with a thin bone white head. The aroma was fantastic, with some grapefruit jumping out of the glass right away. Some soft bready malt, lemon peel, sage, and mango could be found in the smell as well.

The taste opens with a juicy smack of grapefruit and pine with a light, biscuity malt backbone. The finish brings just a touch of pine resin, but the taste never really strays deep into the bitter end of the spectrum. The mouthfeel is remarkably smooth and crisp. I could (and would) drink a ton of this beer if it was distributed this way.

While I don't have a lot of experience with IPLs, this was by far the best I've ever had. The flavors in here rival those of nearly any IPA out there while retaining the drinkability of the best lagers. If you are going near the Boston area in the future, I highly recommend seeking this beer out. And while you're there, do not miss the Publick House. I don't care if Morgan Freeman hadn't been involved. I would call this trip a success based on the visit to The Publick House alone.

Final Grade: A

Top 250 Beers Tasted: 118

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