Ipswich Ale Brewery

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Just Ipswich Oatmeal Stout

November 08, 2017

By Matt Osgood, November 08, 2017

As a community of beer drinkers, we’ve come to believe that more is better. Screw dry-hopping; I want my IPA to be dry-hopped fourteen times before it’s bottled. Don’t just make a 10% alcohol by volume stout; Put that shit in barrels, too. Oh, and throw some coconut, almonds, sage, some plum pits, and a used carburetor in the tanks.

This attitude is pretty uniquely American and, in fact, there’s nothing wrong with that. If we’re looking for aggressive, over-the-top things, we look to American made products. It’s why we drive Cadillac Escalades; It’s why we watch WWE. In beer, we use terms like “aggressively-hopped.” We look at ABV’s on labels then the price then do the math. “I could get this six-pack of a 6% pale ale or I could go for the 8% double IPA. Same price.” It’s a no-brainer. We want our beers to be assertive and distinct.

In a way, this makes sense. For many years, we were so used to have just a few options, many of which tasted similarly. The beer world now has more options that ever and those options, especially the operations that are well-run and craft great beer, look to be here for the long haul. While the number of breweries that are open will – and have begun to – plateau a bit, that’s okay. We can still peruse the shelves at the local store and come away satisfied with our choice. But, in a sense, we’re still getting used to it all.

Assertive and distinct, though, doesn’t necessarily mean complex or even good. It just means assertive and distinct. The adjuncts and the additional dry-hopping runs certainly make a beer more interesting, but it’s begun to present itself as beer for people who don’t really like beer all that much. Long gone as the days when a well-made, low-ABV stout will appeal to consumers strictly because it was a deviation from the light, low ABV lagers advertised during Sunday football.

This is a no frills stout: roasted malts, a touch of chocolate, and a tiny hint of hop bitterness and coffee.”

Which brings me to Ipswich Oatmeal Stout, a beer that even pairs well with running. This is a beer that I’d had multiple times, but not recently, and sometimes revisiting old favorites is a greater reward.

The Oatmeal Stouts pours an oil black with a thin head that settles nicely, carbonation running up the side of the pint glass. What a good looking beer. There are big chocolate notes with hints of a little sweetness followed by a roasted coffee aroma. But there’s also a dryness to me. The sharp bitterness of the English influence gives it a nice balance.

I like to abstain from taking a sip for as a long as I can with this beer. I cradle it in my hands to assist the warming just a little bit. The effect is to not drink it too cold, but a little bit warmer so as to experience the whole beer. This is a no frills stout: roasted malts, a touch of chocolate, and a tiny hint of hop bitterness and coffee. It’s reminiscent of a classic, early craft beer stout.  

At 7%, it’s a stout you can drink multiples of and not be overwhelmed by an extravagantly high alcohol content, too much heat from that bourbon barrel, or rust from that damn carburetor.

ZX Ventures, a division within AB InBev, is an investor in October
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