Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Brewery Reviewery: Barewolf Brewing (Amesbury, MA)

Welcome to the second half of our two-part Brewery Reviewery chronicling our trip to the breweries of Amesbury, MA!  Check out our review of Silvaticus HERE.

Barewolf Brewing
12 Oakland Street
Amesbury, MA 01913​

Our second stop was Barewolf Brewing, minutes away from Silvaticus, in another old mill building just outside the town center.  If the atmosphere at Silvaticus was on the mellow side, Barewolf's space is more like a basement party (their website actually describes it as such), where you have your friends over, play video & board games, listen to music and get a bit juiced.  There's ample merriment to be had here.  I personally found the loudness of the room overwhelming at times but that didn't stop me from enjoying the brews quite a lot.  Another nice Barewolf feature is how dog-friendly they are.  On this particular day there must've been seven pups hanging out with their respective owners, and they were all happy to have me come say hello.  All events are more fun with dogs.  Barewolf is also a place your kids wouldn't mind accompanying you to.  There's plenty to keep them occupied while you're sampling.

Anyway, Barewolf is unusual in that they basically never brew the same thing twice.  If one of their beers is particularly popular they'll do something similar next time, but the recipe is always changing.  Fortunately their take-home fridge is generally well-stocked with whatever they have on tap that day (I picked up three different 4-packs, including the last of one batch).  But don't worry, if your favorite isn't there the next time you go back, you'll find plenty of new stuff to like.  You can actually see a list of everything they've ever brewed here -

Barewolf has nine tap lines so there's always a good variety of flavors to choose from.  Let's get to it (I was only able to try six of the nine - hey, I'm not a machine)....

Semantic Satiations - 7.9% ABV - Yet again we have on our hands an alcoholic alchemical achievement of the most epic and juicy proportions. This round, rich, brewski is ripe with redonkulous resinous aroma from an irresponsible and irrational 5#/bbl dry hop combo of Mosaic & Denali. Weird word weird word weird word weird word weird word weird word weird word weird word weird word weird word weird word...

I liked this NEIPA quite a bit, nice and juicy, so hazy the light can't get through, and the hops had a hemp-like flavor to them.  This is one of the 4-packs I grabbed.

Theology & Geometry - 5.5% ABV - Another edition in our encyclopedia of badass hoppy pale ales: Theology & Geometry showcases two hard-hitting new-wave hops: Belma and Meridian. Juicy, ripe and fruity, this DDH APA is helping to redefine what a pale ale can and should be.

Another NEIPA, but this was a little sweeter and fruitier than the Semantic.  Also quite tasty.  Either one will scratch your juicy IPA needs where they itch, it just depends how sweet or dry you want it.

The Daily Grizette - 4% ABV - Fermented with a yeast strain that only Dr. Indiana Jones could have located, growing on a rare, wild cacao variety deep in the mountains of Peru, this flavorful grisette is the impeccable blend of a truly unique ferment profile with a lighthanded and perfectly balanced malt bill. KALI MA!

A spicy and crisp Farmhouse that's fairly subtle and easy to drink.  Nothing wrong with this baby at all.

Nuevo Dinero - 6.6% ABV - So you like hops. So you wear plaid shirts. So you tell your phone what beer you’re drinking at all the hip spots. Old story, new money. We ferm’d this bodacious brew with a Scottish yeast strain to push huge ester and malt character then layered luxuriant loads of New Zealand Kohatu and American Comet dry hops over the top for the ol’ one-two flavortown powerpunch!

Yet another NEIPA, this one was sweeter than the others and a bit more of a malt vs. hops battle.  But still quite good.

Today is Tomorrow - 4% ABV - An insane malt bill, including 33% unmalted wheat, is the base of this one-of-a-kind hoppy brew. To preserve such sumptuous grain character we pasteurized the wort without boiling it, slowly, patiently and carefully, and used our favorite fruit-forward hazy IPA yeast strain. Tropical Australian and dank American dry hops provide the juicy and resinous aroma that wafts out of this killer brew by the noseful!

Yup, more NEIPA (this style is all the rage right now and I'm not even mad).  I liked this one a lot too.  The no-boil recipe kept some of the subtle flavors intact and this beer is very juicy and drinkable.  Definitely a session NEIPA.

Percussive Maintenance - 7% ABV - The third musketeer in our ongoing porter series, this beer is poppin’ at the gussets with huge heaps of cocoa, espresso, caramel and dark stone fruit flavors with a hint of licorice. A beer that lives the lifestyle, the is one robust black ale with a smooth entry, sultry mid-palate, and a sly, sexy finish.

I love porters, particularly ones with lots of chocolate notes, and this fit the bill perfectly, with deep cocoa/coffee flavors and a smooth, rich feel.  Goddamn delicious.

Both Amesbury breweries offer plenty of excellent stuff, with very different vibes.  Silvaticus feels more like a tasting room, Barewolf is more like a bar.  Which atmosphere you prefer depends on your thing.  I liked the relative quietness of Silvaticus, but I also love visiting with doggies.  As for the beer, it's kind of a split for me - Silvaticus does a smaller variety of beers REALLY well, whereas Barewolf is all over the map and always introduces new stuff.  Both of these places are first-rate but offer different approaches.  I'd recommend checking them out back-to-back and deciding for yourself which is your fave.  I liked them both a lot, for different reasons.

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