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Tasting Notes: Another Hop Session and a New One From Otter Creek

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Re-posted from my blog: Malted Musings.

The other night at my preferred beer tasting bar (Eli Cannon's Tap Room), the featured tap takeover was from Otter Creek (who also brew great organic beer under the Wolaver's label). I decided to stick with my trend from last time and go with a hop session this time around, and I also grabbed a new beer (to me at least) from the Wolaver's arm called "Alta Gracias Coffee Porter".

The Otter Creek Hop Session Ale pours out a translucent rich amber/copper color, and smells brightly of light hops and sweet malting. At first sip I get the light, bitter hops, and a burst of high carbonation. From here the hop notes kick in even brighter, bringing in high notes of sharp bitters. This fades quickly, though, and clings dully (with a slight sour note) to the palate. I'm left with a dull hoppiness that gives way to maltiness and a faint bitter signature. All in all this is a lighter bodied IPA that has a sharp stab of hops which dials some bitters into the palate. Slightly stronger than the IPA I had last week, this beer is still sweet and not at all overwhelmingly bitter. A definite "all weather beer" and another appreciated entry into the style.

The other Otter Creek I went for was from their Wolaver's label. Pouring out a super-dark coffee-brown color, this beer smells heavily malty with all-pervading coffee tones. At first sip the Alta Gracias is smooth and mild, but builds quickly to a bright, thick malty sweetness that grows even more dense when the coffee flavor creeps in. This terminates quickly, making way to a very dry, and slightly sour after taste that lingers with a rich hint of mocha. This is a solidly medium beer that's built-up with the strong coffee malting. It is very smooth throughout and, due to the general richness, this beer is altogether approachable and sweet. It isn't too cloying with the malts, but rather just enough to balance out the bitterness that the coffee brings in.

Otter Creek has continued it's process of tweaking and slight re-branding, while still continuing to brew awesome beer. I look forward to see what's next for this fantastic Vermont brand. Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and G+ for more beer info and ramblings!

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