The Ale House of Amesbury, MA.

Dear Readers,

The Ale House features 30 lines of draft, one cask (Newbury Porter from RiverWalk Brewing Co., Newburyport, MA) maintained at room temperature, 90 different bottled beers, and Sarrah the Bartender, spelled with (2) ‘r’s and (1) ‘h’. The odds of this combination occurring anywhere within North America are infinitesimal; the name ‘Sarrah’ ranks #10,218th in popularity. Enough of Vegas odds, let’s get back to beer. Even though Sarrah answered every possible question, it’s extremely difficult to make a choice on which available beer(s) to drink. Selection changes once a week, so bear in mind that these are from last week’s ‘Beer List’.

Old Ruffian Barley Wine from Great Divide Brewing Co., Denver, CO has an ABV of 10.2% with a powerful IBU of 90, $8.50. Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing Co., Escondido, CA has an ABV of 9.0% with an IBU of only 50, $7.50. Breakfast Stout from Founders Brewing Co., Grand Rapids, MI has an ABV of 8.3% with 60 IBU’s, $7.50.

Since I arrived at The Ale House last week prior to their official opening time of 11AM, I thought it wise not to engage in sampling beer, but rather investigate their room’s atmosphere and Overall Beer Passion (OBP’s). They heartily pass all criteria with high ratings, and that’s even without tasting the quality of their pub fare. The 3 drafts listed all appear to be magnificent, but I would probably choose Old Ruffian Barley Wine. Seldom is a barley wine available on draft. It would be most interesting to see how 90 IBU’s balance with the “complex caramel sweetness” and “hop-forward” character of this Barley Wine (from Great Divide Brewing Co.’s description of ‘Old Ruffian Barley Wine-Style Ale’).


19.0 inches of snow in Newburyport. Time for a beer.

Dear Readers,

Today’s Choice is Big Eddy Wee Heavy Scotch Ale, a limited release from Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Co. out of Chippewa Falls, WI, 9.5% ABV. Ratings are pretty low in both BeerAdvocate and ratebeer. Bum rap.

BeerAdvocate gives Wee Heavy Scotch Ale an average rating of 3.72 with a BA score of 84 (good). ratebeer gives it a weighted average of 3.58, but at least it gets an overall score of 95. I really enjoyed this beer. Complex, balanced sweetness with rich caramel flavor, requisite dark chocolate, brown sugar, molasses and toffee overtones (not undertones), chewy and dense. Showing no bitterness whatsoever, Wee Heavy has an unbelievable IBU of 18 due to its blend of seven malts* and grains and one hop, Willamette. A great sipping beer.

*Pale Malt, Honey Malt, Roasted Malt, Caracrystal Wheat, Roasted Barley, Victory Malt, and “a touch of Cherrywood Smoked Malt – thank you Tom Ryan, Leinenkugel’s.

The Super Bowl and football are over. RIP.

Dear Readers,

We don’t even have The Pro Bowl to watch. It’s ill-advised to sit in front of TV watching Candlepin bowling, so my recommendation is to watch a good DVD and concentrate on the fine points of your carefully chosen beer. Today’s selection: North Coast Brewing Co., Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout out of Fort Bragg, CA, 9% ABV.

Roast coffee and dark chocolate tones with a very subtle hoppiness, no bitterness, and a jet black pour. A really great beer, each sip a pleasure – you will savor the complex, caramelized flavors.

See you soon sometime after this year’s Monster Blizzard hits.






Super Bowl XLVII: February 3, 2013

This is a very exciting day for me, if not necessarily for you. Today is the first ‘Screaming Hops’ posting, in honor of Super Sunday, considered by many to be the greatest of our National Holidays. It is most important to enjoy a great beer while watching The Super Bowl (always referred to in bold face), whether you’re interested in football or not. Hopefully your beer will end up in bold face too.

‘Screaming Hops’ will always attempt to direct you to a really good beer. Today’s choice is Founders Brewing Imperial Stout, out of Grand Rapids, MI, heavy on the malt with 10 varieties of malted barley. Complex chocolate and coffee notes, it pours black as ink with a high ABV of 10.5%, even though you won’t notice during the first glass, with no bitterness even though it’s 90 IBU. A pleasure to drink – everything you could ever ask for in a Russian Imperial Stout.