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    Paper City Brewing Company, Massachussets
    Posted under The New England Beer Reviews by Avery Glasser (c366822-a.htfdc1.ct.home.com) on Monday July 02 2001 @ 08:37PM CEST

    Paper City Brewing Company
    Holyoke, MA

    Sighted at: Table and Vine, Northampton, MA

    The products of an extremely successful local brewery, Paper City certainly exceeded my expectations for local beers after the whole Turnbridge incident.

    Paper City Pilsner
    I'll admit it: I'm not a fan of domestic pilsners. That's not to say that I don't like pilsners in general, but that American breweries just don't do the form any justice. Aside from Lind Brewing's Zatec Lager (San Leandro, CA), no other brewery that I have found does this noble style justice.

    First off, a true pilsner only uses Saaz hops. Saaz hops, real Saaz hops from Zatec, Bohemia, are expensive as hell. However, the domestic Saaz hops just don't have the oomph that a pilsner beer requires. So most breweries futz around, adding other local hops to try and emulate the true Saaz taste. Let's be blunt: it just doesn't work. However, when I saw that this beer uses 100% Czech Saaz hops, I decided that it was worth a try.

    As all pilsners are, the Paper City brew was a clear, pale yellow color. Upon bringing the glass to my nose, I could smell the Saaz hops... just like when you have a pint of fresh Pilsner Urquell (the benchmark of the pilsner style). After taking the first sip, the faint taste of malt passed across my tongue as it made it's way towards my stomach (and liver). As the glass was placed on the coffee table, the taste dissipated, leaving my palate cleansed. Pilsners are my type of every-day beer, but if I was entertaining and wanted a well crafted beer for the masses, I would certainly consider the Paper City Pilsner.

    Ireland Parish Brand Golden Ale
    I wasn't sure what to expect when I tasted this beer, as golden ales tend to be classifications for the unclassifiable beers of the world. Sure, this beer was golden in color... but the enigmatic nature of the Golden Ale mandated that I try this beer.

    The nose didn't lend anything to my detective work. It was sweet and mildly hoppy (maybe Goldings?)... but not extremely robust. I tasted the beer. It was sweet, with a honey flavor just sort of sitting on my tongue. As the honey faded, the malt flavor kicked in, lending a thinner sweetness than the honey. It shouldn't have been as enjoyable as it was, but for some reason by the time the bottle was finished, I was actually considering opening a second bottle instead of sampling something else.

    Winter Palace Wee Heavy
    I just stood there in front of the coolers at Table and Vine that Saturday afternoon. You see, scotch heavy ales (80-90 shilling classification) are my Achilles Heel... and when I saw this beer sitting there... beckoning me to taste it, I knew that I was going to be in for a long night.

    Wee Heavy beers (strong scotch ales) are not something that can be consumed quickly or in great amounts. It's not the alcohol that mandates the quantity that you can drink (though they are typically high in alcohol), but just the overpowering assault on all of your senses. A wee heavy can leave you stunned if you're not prepared.

    As usual, my love of Wee Heavies is a masochistic relationship... I love it as I drink it, but then the maltose headache invariably kicks in. Remember, the alcohol makes you drunk, but the sugar makes you sick... and wee heavies are sticky-sweet brews. The Winter Palace wasn't nearly as malty or sweet as some wee heavy beers are, but it was enough to end my drinking for the night after the bottle was finished. A perfect 75 shilling Scotch Ale: malty and sweet with enough hop aroma to distract you from the nasty pounding that just started to go thump-thump on your temples...

    (Avery Glasser)


    Copyright 2000, Avery and Janet Glasser
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