Mybeerbuzz.com Highlights 603 Brewery Wood Devil, Bourbon Barrel Granite Stout and Coffee Cake Porter
08 December 2016
I first came across 603 Brewery when a friend returned from a family trip with a bottle from a new brewery I had not heard of at the time. We sampled this beer and I really enjoyed it, but still the beer and brewery didn’t stick in my head. Flash forward a year or so, and as I started publishing the results for the 2015 Great International Beer Fest, I recognized a name. Sure enough 603 Brewery won a gold medal for the very beer I sampled a year earlier…Granite Stout. So as you can imagine, I was very excited to get another chance to sample some more of their beers tonight.
For those unfamiliar 603 Brewery comes to us from Londonderry, NH. Named for the one and ONLY area code in New Hampshire (603), the brewery was started in 2012 by three college friends, Dan Leonard and Geoff & Tamsin Hewes. The brewery moved from a nano-brewery part-time job to a micro-brewery full-time job for the three in less than a year, and the rest is history. 603 Brewery now distributes in New Hampshire and the Boston area and you can visit the brewery to try their beer in flights, growlers, cans and 22oz bottles.
Being an IPA sort-of-guy, you know I couldn't resist starting with 603 Brewery Wood Devil Double IPA. This year-round beer is packaged in 12oz cans and named for New Hampshire's version of the mythical “Bigfoot.” This beer uses “juicy” American hops and you can’t miss them in the nose. The aromas start with citrusy dry grapefruit and finish with a really nice robust tropical fruit presence. The tastes follow with loads of citrus and passion fruit as well as some pineapple and deep tropical fruits. There are some floral hop flavors and some resinous hop flavors in the middle and the finish is clean and slightly dry. At 9.2%-AbV and 101 IBU, this beer will get your attention and the hoppy bite will hold your attention. Wood Devil is a really nice beer and one I look forward to trying again (maybe a little slower this time .)
Up next, I’ll admit I simply couldn’t resist the name of my next 603 beer…Coffee Cake Porter. Of course I not only love a good coffee cake, I happen to make a really good coffee cake, so this beer had a higher bar to reach. This limited release brew pours a rich and deep brown/mahogany color and I’ll admit the coffee cake photo on the label made me a little hungry. Before I had a chance to even finishing pouring the beer, the rush of cinnamon and vanilla found my nose. This beer smells great. If I didn’t know better, I would have thought my oven was on and my crumb cake was ready. Coffee Cake Porter has a really nice cinnamon sweet vanilla nose, with a subtle roasty coffee background. As you’d imagine, the flavors follow with some soft and sweet vanilla flavors balanced out with the roasty porter flavors you’d expect. The coffee came in late for me and the really nice cinnamon flavors washed through the whole tasting experience. I’m not sure how 603 managed to make the cinnamon/vanilla experience so prominent in the nose and still balance out the coffee flavors, but they did. This beer has some of the best aromas I’ve ever found in a porter and a really nice set of flavors to back it up. Try this beer (7.5%-AbV, 22oz bottles)!
Finally I had a really cool opportunity to revisit the very beer that helped put 603 Brewery on radar (and on my kitchen table), Granite Stout…only this time it was something even better. We were lucky enough to get a chance to sample the Bourbon Barrel Aged version of Granite Stout and as expected it was really good. This beer begins life as their award-winning Granite Stout, and the beer is then aged in Flag Hill Distillery’s Bourbon barrels. This Bourbon was mashed, fermented, distilled and aged in Lee, NH so the beer and the Bourbon barrels have a lot in common. This beer pours a deep almost black color and it’s loaded with chocolate and Bourbon aromas. I really liked the chocolate and vanilla flavors up front and how well they paired up with the oak and slightly roasty flavors in the middle. You can’t miss the rich and warming Bourbon contribution to the unique combination of flavors, and as the beer warmed a bit, we really liked the dark rich chocolate that remained prominent. This beer hits 9%-AbV and it is packaged in 22oz bottles, so while I would normally recommend sharing it with a friend, I liked it so much that if I were you, I’d keep it for myself. Better yet, buy three bottles (if you can), cellar one, share one, and hide one for yourself. This is a really nice beer and one that I’d be curious to cellar for a year too.
Thank you to everyone at 603 Brewery for giving me the opportunity to try these three really great beers. 603 Brewery Wood Devil, Coffee Cake Porter and Bourbon Barrel Granite Stout are well worth seeking out and tasting for yourself. And when you do, be sure to let us know what YOU think.