ChadPolenz (1788) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - MAY 29, 2015
4.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
For many years, San Diego (and the state of California as a whole) was the dominate force in IPAs. But over the last few years, we’ve seen a major shift to the New England states where new breweries are making some fantastic examples of the style. Night Shift Brewing - a fairly small shop from just outside Boston – could be the next “it” brewery based on what I’m hearing. The 5/5/15 edition of their continually-changing “Morph” IPA was nothing short of fantastic. If this is an experimental brew, I’d love to try one of their mainstays.
I poured a 12oz can into a snifter. It was canned on 5/5/15 (thanks to Jason for the can!).
Appearance: In true New England-style IPA fashion, the beer is unfiltered with a milky orange color and practically opaque. Pours to a fairly large, white, foamy head which laces and retains very well.
Smell: Also in keeping with form it’s very pungent with a lovely scent of both pineapple fruit and earthy/pine character (though more of the form than the latter).
Taste: According the brewery’s website, this particular batch of Morph was brewed with a “high percentage” of Simcoe hops, though it doesn’t say much about the rest of the recipe. I’m going to assume it’s actually fairly simple as there isn’t a lot of nuance to the malt side, but there is plenty of character to the hops. Tropical and stone fruit flavors at the beginning of the palette transition into strong, biting bitterness through the middle and finish with a spicy, almost prickly, sensation of pine and herbal notes. In the aftertaste I detect some orange juice flavor and a residual, starchy sensation. Each swig is as delicious as the one that proceeds it – that’s a sign of a great IPA. This definitely has the flavor intensity more commonly found in a double/imperial IPA, so that it’s only a single it’s really impressive. Great job, guys!
Drinkability: Something I’ve noticed about New England IPAs (aside from their taste and aroma) is that they tend to have a smooth, almost delicate mouthfeel. Night Shift Morph is certainly a full-bodied beer, and though it seems to be pretty high on the IBU scale, it’s remarkably comfortable – even gentle – in the mouth. Smooth as a cream ale, though still well-carbonated at all times. It’s actually quite impressive that this is “only” 6% ABV because it has the easy drinkability of something more sessionable, but the robustness of something stronger. A versatile brew indeed.
AirForceHops (7044) - Epping, New Hampshire, USA - MAY 23, 2015
3.5 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Another 12 oz can thanks to Willrunforbeer. Hazy gold with some spiderweb lacing across the chalice. Aroma starts with mild grass, light grain and mangos.
Flavor has a nice base of grain and malts with the Simcoe pine notes showing well in the finish. Carbonation is average with a pretty nice dry pine texture. The overall bitterness is pretty low with the drinkability on the higher crisp side. So I guess there is not an end to this Morph Series, it’s going to a constant pilot kind of brew. Keep them coming.
WillRunForBeer (2591) - Massachusetts, USA - MAY 23, 2015
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Can as an extra in trade. Thanks, Joel! Pours murky straw with a white head. Aroma is passionfruit, grapefruit. Flavor is white cracker, caramel, passionfruit, grapefruit. Grapefruit peel bitter in the finish.
mrhopsbeertalk (307) - Massachusetts, USA - MAY 18, 2015
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: MAY 23, 2015 The aroma is a touch light but tropical, with passion fruit and hints of citrus. The flavor is a bit different and very focussed on the piney elements of Simcoe. Some of the passion fruit and citrus bleed through as the beer soaks into your palate. A softer mouthfeel, with a crisp bitter finish and hints of citrus and lemon.