When I started drinking good beer, I would go to the local bottle shop and mix myself a six-pack of random bottles. I sort of fell out of that habit while I focused on trying the classic beers, the expensive larger format bottles, imported rarities, obscure styles and the like, but I recently started “sampling” again.
As I strolled into my favorite neighborhood beer shop I joyfully snagged an empty six-pack holder and began to fill it with this beer and that. One of the beers that I had in my sampler was New England Brewing Company’s 668 – Neighbor of the Beast.
The beer poured a slightly hazy, golden-yellow. The large white head rose above the rim of the glass and settled into a craggy cap leaving plenty of sticky lacing as it fell. The aroma reminded me of Delirium Tremens with sweet hints of tropical fruits, candi sugar and mild pepper and coriander-like spice notes. Unlike Delirium, however, the hops are much more aggressive with citrusy, pine-like aromas and flavors and a gentle earthiness through the finish.
I’m sad to see New England Brewing Company pulling out of Massachusetts, especially with beers like this in the market. I often have a hard time picking up beers from out of state on a regular basis. To be perfectly honest, I’d much rather drink a Mayflower IPA than Stone, and as a native New Englander, I don’t have a problem calling Connecticut “local.” I look forward to the return of NEBCO, I just hope it isn’t too long a wait.