Category Archives: United States Brewpubs


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Seeking to become part of the ‘next wave in craft beer,’ beachcombing beer travelers Donn Hoosack and Todd Hunt opened fertile ale haven, MANAFIRKIN BREWING CO., on May 21, 2017. Utilizing milled whole grain in all their ales, this low-key olive green-warehoused Jersey Shore hideaway is stationed in Manahawkin – just ten miles north of Little Egg Harbor’s Pinelands Brewing.

Providing a steadily growing quantity of small-batch elixirs, Manafirkin boasts twenty available draught selections on my early June ’18 stopover.

After entering thru the large overhead door entrance, my wife and I (plus daughter) grab seats at the tree-barked L-shape bar lining the mid-sized interior. Each interestingly designed tap handle features trinketed tradesmen tools. A refrigerator with crowlers-to-go also enjoins the bar area and two TV’s carry sports networks. Silver brew tanks fill the rear and a colorful mounted surfboard on the ocean blue back wall captures the sporting islandic feel of the nearby Atlantic shoreline.

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I got two sampler trays (10 brews) plus a pint of a zesty hefeweizen and fantastic tripel.

One truly fine English-styled moderation, Taddy Sesh English Mild, truly captured the classic profile. Its delicately balanced rye-dried peat moss earthiness and buttery baked breading settled alongside musky fungi, roasted tobacco and unripe prune illusions.

Sessionable Disc Head Pale Ale stayed dry as pilsner-malted baked breading and hay-like astringency gained mildly spiced hops and a musky cologne tinge that peaked alongside carbolic lemon-limed zesting.

Lemony banana-clove-coriander liveliness regaled slightly herbal Ouija Hefeweizen, letting sugared wheat flakes sweeten the backend.

Lupulin ‘hop sap’ and parched wood tones anchor Ju Sea Shore IPA, leaving a mild alcohol burn upon lemony orange-peeled grapefruit rind bittering and tertiary mango, nectar and tangerine sweetness.

Assertive Strawberry Puree IPA resonated with sharp piney hops piercing bitter grapefruit, lemon and orange rind juiciness while the strawberry adjunct sits back in the mix.

Sour fig, mild banana and earthen dew draped mild dunkelweizen, Uncle Dunk.

Perhaps my favorite, divine Trippin’ Monkey Tripel elegantly combined sun-dried raisin inertia, banana-chipped clove spicing, glazed pecan snicker and peach-apricot-pear whims with its crystal pale-malted candi sugaring above mossy earthen dewiness.

Dry Peace Pipe Porter let dark-roasted black chocolate smooth out above its raw molasses oats base, picking up casual coffee and cocoa nuances.

Molasses-sapped dark chocolate and sugared oats sweetened Alentine’s Day Porter before serene coffee notes provided lightly bitter contrast.

Black chocolate and powdered cocoa consume carafe-malted Lights Out London Dark Lager, leaving dry fig tones in its earthen wake.

Distinct Columbian coffee elevates Wake The Firk Up! Oatmeal Coffee Stout. Its lovely coffee roast serenades moderate nut-charred hop bittering.

For a tart changeup, salted lactobacillus acidity softly enhanced subtle kumquat fruiting for Quat’s Going On Sour Ale, a mild tropical delight made sourer by mango, kiwi and guava notions.


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One mile down the road from Saint James Brewery in a beautiful beige-stoned Industrial park, 1940′S BREWING COMPANY makes a wide variety of Classic-styled craft brews in their small 5-barrel operation. Opened during 2014, owner Charles Becker’s father used to brew at Rheingold while brewmaster Jon Bregel proves to be a resourceful zymurgist.

The brewery’s prominent front-windowed sign welcomes patron to the rustic two-room setting. The light brown walled serving room featured a wood finished wraparound bar with golden 1940′s emblem above 15 tap handles plus Edison lights and cornered flat-screen TV.

A separate side room had community tables and barreled stools.

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A friendly, relaxed atmosphere was shared by a full house this rainy Saturday afternoon, May ’18. I grabbed a middle seat at the bar and consumed thirteen well-balanced brews. I bought a crowler of 1940′s flagship Wicked Chowdah IPA for the road (reviewed in Beer Index).

Daintily lemon-candied Bohemian Blonde provided a fine light-bodied opener with its grassy hop astringency bringing proper acridity to its oats-flaked white wheat graining and sweet crystal malting.

Tart blueberries sweetened a tad for Sapphire Squeeze Blueberry Ale, where sour lemon tartness battled back dry chocolate malts above its Bohemian Blonde base.

Just as easygoing, Hefe Injustice, left its stylish banana-clove sweetness upon doughy French-breaded crusting and soapy carbolic spritz.

Plain raw-honeyed Oh Bee Have Cream Ale let grassy hop astringency upend sour lemon rot and light herbal notions.

Dry-hopped lemon and orange souring regaled Vienna Waits For You Kolsch.

Strawberry-laden Hipster Weisse coddled its spritzy sour lemon salinity with perfumed dry spicing and tart cranberry snips, finishing with a puckering strawberry lucidity.

Caramel-toasted Starboardown Irish Red glided spicy red cherry, red grape and raspberry illusions into crisp tobacco-roasted earthen dew.

Brisk West Coast-styled Airfield IPA brought orange-peeled grapefruit tang to light pine tones and caramel-spiced pale malts.

Affably soft-tongued Column Shifter Double IPA retained a juicy grapefruit, orange, tangerine and pineapple tang over barley-roasted Maris Otter malts.

Pleasantly hop-roasted Change At Jamaica Black IPA balanced dried fruited tartness with dark chocolate malts.

Black-malted dark chocolate and coffee saddled semi-rich Brunch Porter, a cookie dough-bottomed medium body with tertiary black cherry-pureed nuttiness.

Dry Sinners Mass Oatmeal Stout affixed moderate dark chocolate and vanilla bean bittering to raw molasses-backed oats. Its nitro version obtained black cherry, cola nut and espresso subsidies for the dry mocha rhapsody.



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Established in 2012, SAINT JAMES BREWERY makes fine artisanal Belgian-styled ales out of mostly locally sourced farmhouse ingredients.

Visited during a Saturday downpour in May ’18, the pristine Industrial warehouse-bound brewery (with windowed bird emblem) is located right near Long Island’s MacArthur Airport in the town of Holbrook.

Its interior resembles a straightforward, no nonsense Belgian pub with its hardwood chandelier at the foyer, wood-barreled stool seating, nuevo metallic furnishings and high ceilings. The red-floored space also includes a large-screen TV and large backroom brewtanks.

I tasted large samplers of six fruitful delights on my initial journey.

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Effervescent Rachelle Blanche brought lemon-soured orange peel tanginess to bruised banana tartness and setback clove-bubblegum-vanilla illusions above sugar wafer-like wheat malting.

‘Smooth alcohol warmth’ serenaded Biere des Chevaliers, an easygoing dubbel with beet-sugared molasses sweetness and dry plum wining covered in musty earthen dew.

Delightful medium body, Tripel, supplied candi-sugared fruit spicing with peaty barley malts and herbal restraint.

Mildly sour Pomme loaded cider-like red apple tartness and mild pomegranate juicing atop subtle barley hops.

Dry cherry-soured Cerise contrasted pomegranate-cranberry  dryness with mild molasses sugaring.

Best of all: fantastic holiday ale, Biere de Noel Quad, let lightly creamed chocolate malts settle alongside dark cherry, burgundy and Syrah exuberance, tobacco roasted crisping and blackcurrant snips.


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Starting in nearby Pleasantville, New York, during 2006, CAPTAIN LAWRENCE BREWING COMPANY soon evolved into a massive microbrewery at its sprawling Elmsford site. Now a well-known Westchester staple and highly rated East Coast beer destination, the ever-increasing brewhouse (named after a Revolutionary War naval commander) now enjoys robust bottle-can-keg sales.

Led by UC-Davis certified homebrewer, Scott Vaccaro, the good captain’s current 40-barrel brewhouse features a community-tabled outdoor picnic area (with separate serving station and red wood furnishings), large window-encased high ceiling auditorium, plastic-tabled community-styled Beer Hall (including beautiful 30-foot mahogany bar with blackboard beer menu) and Funk Facility (built in 2015 to create sour ale and limited barrel-aged creations).

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During my May 2018 journey on a beautiful Saturday, I got to sample Orbital Tilt – Galaxy IPA (reviewed in Beer Index) while munching on a salad. Other delectable food items included ribs, wings, meatballs, pork, steak and chicken. Though limited edition Fudgy The Beer Stout sold out in one hour two days hence, I picked up a crowler of Powder Dreams IPA.

Able to make highly regarded core beers alongside reliable sour ales, limited edition pilot batches and interesting seasonal stuff, Captain Lawrence proudly delivers a wide range of unfiltered beers (with excess yeast removed thru a centrifuge).


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Residing at a cement-floored red brick industrial warehouse in Boston’s South Shore suburb of Braintree, WIDOWMAKER BREWING creates some of the finest small-batch ales in the entire state.

Open since September 2017, co-founding brewer Ryan Lavery designs a wide array of delectable elixirs.

On a sunny Saturday afternoon, April 2018, my wife and I peruse Widowmaker and throw back a few original house recipes.

A 20-stool front bar with eight community tables welcomes customers to the beige grayed beam-exposed open space. Towards the rear, a six-stool serving station with crowler-to-go refrigerator and large TV becomes our home for the next hour as I sample the suds.

Though many English milds are a bit nebulous flavor-wise, an up-front chocolate roast seeped into earthen dewy peat for perfectly stylish Noble-hopped Claremont Mild – a fine choice for dark ale fans.

Lightly perfumed lemon zest gained mild juniper bittering and spicy floral zing for refreshing springtime moderation, Manc Juniper Ale.

Brisk orange-peeled grapefruit juiciness and candied pineapple tanginess settled into the moderate mainstream midst of Greenbush Pale Ale. Its dry Mosaic hop astringency and minor wood tones deepened above mildly creamed crystal malting.

A lovely milkshake-inspired medium body, Martin & Lewis Milkshake IPA, offered creamy vanilla sugaring to juicy orange, mango, peach and pineapple tanginess, contrasting minimal lemony grapefruit bittering. Its well-integrated sweet vanilla spicing gained mild marshmallow, coconut and pecan snips as well.

Straightforward Ecstasy Of Gold IPA informed its bittersweet orange-peeled grapefruit juicing with lightly pungent pine tones to contrast creamy crystal malting and subtle pineapple-mango-peach tanginess.

For sharp-toned Bat Country Double IPA, lemony grapefruit tang receives resinous piney hop bittering over rigid rye-spiced malting. Candied pineapple, peach, mango and tangerine snips add juiciness.

A back-tongued cold-brewed coffee roast rises above soily hop-charred bittering as well as black-malted chicory, espresso and black licorice snips for Donut Shop Coffee Stout, leaving a lightly sugared java reminder.

Reminiscent of a lightly embittered Snickers candy bar, There’s No Wrong Way Peanut Butter Chocolate Stout’s rich dark chocolate syruping and burnt caramel sweetness contrasted walnut-charred peanut salting and charcoal-singed coffee tones.


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Inside a spacious tan aluminum mill in the Massachusetts seacoast town of Scituate, UNTOLD BREWING came to fruition October ’17. Revamping a small schoolhouse, co-brewers Kyle Hansen, sister Kristin Greene, and close pal, Matt Elder now have plenty of room to operate as the cement-floored open space utilized already stores some massive brew tanks.

At 11 AM on a musky Sunday in April ’18, I mingle with the staff at the varnished pale blue tasting table before any customers get there. Interestingly, the back classroom now serves as a pristine community-tabled beer parlor. And an attractive stone-bordered slate-topped patio adds more seating.

Currently, there are eleven tap handles serving five flagship brews as well as two more IPA’s, a red ale, Scotch ale and porter.

The mildest ale available may be Untold’s best. Brisk lemony orange tanginess regales Abigail Blonde, a citric perfume-spiced treasure yielding ancillary wood-toned grapefruit, peach and pineapple illusions above biscuity pale malts.

Valencia orange, mango and peach fruiting anchor Pale 143, a mild pale ale with dainty floral-pined citrus hops reaching a dry finish.

Stylishly mild East By Northwest IPA drapes floral orange-spiced sweetness atop subtle pine hop bittering and mineral-grained rye breading.

Muskier and dryer, Time Shall Unfold IPA gives its orange-peeled ruby red grapefruit tang a spritzy carbolic splash and musty wood respite.

Nut-charred caramel and chocolate malts inundated Rebecca Brown Ale, a semi-rich darkie with latent coffee roast bittering, sweet toffee tease and dewy earthen restraint.

These flagship offerings were rivaled by five non-regular brews.

Lemon-candied moderation, Untold Identity Crisis, a ‘hazy IPA,’ gathered juicy grapefruit and orange peel bittering and resinous pine to contrast sweet mango, pineapple and peach fruiting as well as sugar-candied malts.

Easygoing To The Limit, a mildly creamed Imperial IPA, had subtler grapefruit-orange bittering and softly spiced pineapple, peach and tangerine subtleties backed up by leafy wood-toned hops.

Pleasingly affable Irish Red united toasted caramel malting with snappy orange-apple fruiting and mild hop astringency.

Tenacious P Porter worked molasses-sugared milk chocolate into mild hop bittering and dry rye malts as well as oncoming praline-glazed almond and walnut sweetness.   

For dessert, excellent Mean Mother Maggie (aged on oak spirals) sufficed. Its peaty rye-dried Scotch malting gained a whiskey smidge to reinforce caramelized apple, apricot and peach tones.


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Since perusing CRICKET HILL BREWERY a few times in 2011, I finally got a chance to revisit while picking up a compressor across the street from the rustic warehouse pub.

During a friendly springtime ’18 afternoon journey, I got to experience the newly renovated pale green-walled, cement -floored, duct-exposed space. Besides the bigger bottling line, there was a new wooden serving station with twelve taps, twelve stools and a prominent blackboard beer list. Plus, five stooled tables adorned the interior and a few plastic furnishings outside allowed for picnics.

Onboard as brewer for the last few years, Mark Tilley (formerly of Long Trail Brewery in Vermont)

Before heading out, grabbed a four-pack of Bourbon-aged Jersey Devil Imperial Red Ale and a growler of exquisite Bourbon-aged Doppelbock (reviewed fully in Beer Index).


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Grabbing local headlines as the first brewery in Bridgeport since 1940, ASPETUCK BREW LABS take a scientific journey thru zymurgy. Just a few minutes off Route 95 in the southwestern Black Rock district, the spotless white-roomed ‘lab’ creates some distinct beverages.

Borrowing its Aspetuck moniker from ‘a river originating at the high place,’ the 2017-established pub resides inside a gray-bricked warehouse.

Upon entering the orange door, its plastic-furnished setting featured a ten-stool serving table with eight taps and plain pendant lighting. An acrylic black-lettered brewery insignia stationed atop the draught handles adds tasteful simplicity.

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Brew tanks in the rear served seven well-designed and delightfully quaffable brews this Sunday afternoon in April ’18.

Smoothly sessionable lightweight, Pt. 78 Blonde Ale, draped mild lemony orange spicing over minor wood tones and bready pilsner malts.

Gentle Belgian-styled farmhouse ale, Gray Matter Grisette, laced mildly spiced lemon-seeded juniper bittering with herbal black-peppered rosemary, thyme and jasmine whims above dry wheat backbone.

Yellow grapefruit pith, rind and peel dominated 06605 Pale Ale, a salty-bottomed moderation with lightly spiced mandarin orange, tangelo and tangerine tanginess.

Indelibly mainstream Cosmic Siesta IPA let grassy-hopped tropical fruiting graze lightly pine-sapped Mosaic lupulin powder with a breezy sway as candied orange, pineapple, peach and mango tanginess usurps tart lemon notions.

Just as easygoing, lupulin-powdered Turbidity Lucidity IPA (double dry-hopped) seeped honeyed fruits into syrupy sugared malts as tropical pineapple-grapefruit-orange briskness and fig-dried licks contrasted grassy hop astringency.

Arguably Aspetuck’s finest: halfway aggressive Empirical Evidence Imperial IPA doused juicy lemony orange spicing with perfumed dry hops over buttered biscuit malting in a splendid manner.

For dessert, cautiously rich Chocolate Stout brought dry cocoa-powdered dark chocolate malting to cedar-burnt coffee roasting, picking up toffee sweetness at the finish for contrast.


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Once a thriving brewing community prior to prohibition, Bridgeport’s white-bricked pizza/alehouse, BREWPORT, led by former Bru RM@Bar brewmeister, Jeff Browning, does well paying homage to the glorious past with a new line of original craft beers.

Open during the autumn of 2016 (and just off Route 95 within walking distance of Harbor Yard Stadium), Brewport’s spacious epoxy-floored red brick interior includes a central 30-seat oval bar with metal tap handles surrounded by several bronze-tinned mosaic tables and chairs. Exposed pipes, tin lights and metallic fixtures capture Bridgeport’s steel town history.

Illuminated Elysian, Firestone Walker, Dogfish Head and Boulveard brewery signs hang from a yellow-walled area. Oversized checkers and chess games adorn the separate high ceiling left side room while five booths sit beneath a mezzanine section and a wood-benched enclosed patio exists outside the overhead doorway.

Specialty pizzas all hit the spot with the crowded masses and the draught-bottled beer selection includes several wonderful local and national brands to go alongside Brewport’s nine house beers.

Large brew tanks in the back serve sensational suds this sunny Sunday afternoon, April ’18.

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First up, best-selling Blood Orange Blonde brought raw-honeyed astringency to tart lemon-snipped blood orange juicing above fennel-like rye malts.

Next, orange-dried South End Pale Ale utilized lightly pined Chinook hops to embitter the back end.

‘Modest’ Arnold’s Vienna Cream Ale threw dry pale malts at grassy hops and citric-licked maize.

Dry Citra hops inform Seventh Inning SIPA, a tangy lemon-orange-tangerine-juiced medium body with fresh-cut grass astringency.

Perfumed orange peel pervaded intensely hopped beauty, Old News Double IPA, leaving herbal honeyed residue upon its honeyed citrus finish.

Lactic wild ale, Border Walls Blackberry Sour, let juicy blackberry acidity influence puckered oaken cherry, vinous green grape and raspberry vinaigrette tartness.

Dry rye malts picked up wispy whiskey tones and mild orange-spiced tartness for The Rye Who Loved Me, a 007 martini-like knockoff.

Caramelized cocoa malts led the way for Hartmann Dark Ale, revealing English Brown Ale trademarks such as dark-roasted nuttiness, bittersweet chocolate musk and subdued dried fruiting.

For dessert, dry black-malted Dr. Porter’s Stout regaled chalky dark chocolate, day-old coffee, peat-smoked truffle and charred walnut tones in an English-styled manner.


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Founding brewer, David Durant, opened his friendly neighborhood nano operation October 2017. Since then, his small brewery has successfully dabbled with many well-known styles.

Inside a beautiful marble-stoned cornershop, the small open space features six front-roomed wooden tables and an eight-stooled serving table towards the rear (with ten-plus draughts and free popcorn).

My wife and I visit on a drizzling Friday eve in April ’18, trying all eight brews on tap while losing at trivia.

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First up, Mesmerized Witbier layered raw-honeyed sap atop mild orange-bruised banana, clove and bubblegum sugaring as well as sweet Cahllah breading and wispy tobacco crisping.

Next, clover-honeyed(?) Soft Landing gained orange-dried tartness to contrast mild caramel malts.

Soft-toned Enlightenment Fruit Ale brought tangy apricot juicing and mild peach-tangerine tartness to sugar-wafered pale malts and subtle hop astringency.

Tidy moderate-to-medium body, Stonewall Red, offered toasted amber graining to orange-dried apple souring, mild tobacco roast and timidly musky hop astringency.

Springtime comforter, Graceful Shutdown Maibock, upended lemony mandarin orange, clementine and tangerine modesty with soapy pale-malted hop acridity.

Maybe the finest choice on this seasonally cold night, hazily chartreuse-hued Synaptic Misfire Northeast IPA, a creamily malted medium body, gained juicy orange-peeled grapefruit, tangerine and pomelo tanginess.

Sedate Rockslide Brown Ale coalesced caramelized chocolate malting with earthen nuttiness.

For dessert, dry Pinky Out Stout embellished its crisp barley-roasted Bakers chocolate entry and cocoa-powdered tartness with bitter charred hop restraint.




Residing at an inconspicuous aluminum-sided industrial mall, FRONT PORCH BREWING opened a month after Wallingford’s first brewery, Cliffside, during November 2017.

As usual with the Constitution State’s current brewing climate, this independent nano occupies rustic warehouse space. Co-owning home brewer, Jay Flynn, crafts interestingly experimental concoctions ranging from several sour ales to a pale ale, IPA and English dark mild on this Friday eve, April ’18.

Going through the side door, Front Porch’s small white-walled, cement-floored, overhead-doored, community-tabled area features a serving station with eight draught lines, a colorful black-boarded beer list and several outside spirits (whiskey, tequila, cider, wine).  There’s also a tiny porch area with video games.

During my hour-long perusal, quaffed six satisfyingly soft-toned suds.

Approachable moderation, Hand Cannons Imperial Sour Ale, let grapefruit-soured lemon tartness gain light woody hop astringency. Equally affable, Try All & Error American Pale Ale, contrasted dried orange tartness against mild wood-toned Chinook hops, briskly zestful Citra hops and lightly sugared pale malts.

Murkily chartreuse-hued Berliner Weiss, Parti Gal #3, brought salty lemon-limed cantaloupe rind, honeydew-pureed tartness, vinous green grape tannins and mandarin orange subtleties to its delicate white wheat spine.

Durably pleasurable Reverse Mermaid IPA surrounded moderate grapefruit-peeled orange rind bittering with grassy hop astringency and pale malt sugaring.

Mildly bittersweet English dark ale, Albedo Mild, winningly combined dark chocolate roast with dewy peat earthiness, black grape tartness and dried nuttiness.

Interesting night cap, I’m Too Cold To Care Imperial Sour Stout saddled Black patent malt bittering with sour coffee-chocolate tones and mildly acidic grape tannins above sourdough rye dryness.


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Directly off Route 94 in the rural Western Jersey town of Lafayette, ANGRY ERIK BREWING is a small, successful, independent business ready for imminent expansion. Since opening in 2014, the entrepreneurial husband-wife tandem of Erik & Heide Hassing have taken their steady offering of one-off beers and seasonal repeats statewide and beyond.

Relishing the cool “Don’t Get Mad, Get Angry” slogan and utilizing a thrasher-wielding dragon Viking insignia, Angry Erik boasts a “constant variety of beers to quench every craft beer lover. Inside a red-tanned light Industrial complex, its eight-seat bar features several tap handles and a blackboard listing draught selections while three wood tables line the left side. In the back brew room are two plastic picnic tables for further seating.

Just ten miles away from Sparta’s beer-centric Krogh’s Brewpub and Mohawk House Restaurant, Angry Erik’s ever-changing beer menu moves faster than a speeding bullet.

On my celebratory 4-20 visit during 2018, the entire menu changed from a mere two weeks hence. I got to quaff five previously untried suds before heading East at sundown.

First up, Angry Erik’s easygoing Belgian What? Belgian Blonde let spritzy orange-peeled grapefruit, pineapple and lime zest gain moderate Amarillo piney hop bittering above oats-dried wheat malts.

Next, ‘seductive’ elderflower-enhanced The Dainty Viking Blonde Ale brought tart citrus-spiced Chardonnay buttering to subdued pale malting, though its rustic dried flowering seemed overwhelmed.

Tidy IPA, To Taste (Hoppy Heide #4), spread moderate yellow grapefruit bittering across spritzy pineapple, peach, orange and tangerine tanginess above crystal malt sugaring.

Politely hop-headed IPA, Hop The Fence, brought sweet ‘n sour grapefruit tones to ashen pine resin and plasticine-grouted clay hops, gaining tertiary peach, pineapple and orange juiciness at the moderately bitter citrus finish.

For silken Valentines Day-inspired dessert, Cordially, Cupid Porter regaled prominent Black Forest cake sweetness thanks to tartly sweet ‘n sour black cherries and sugary chocolate-cocoa fudging.