Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Beer O' the Moment: QPC Edition - #2

Next up in our storied Quest For the Perfect Can is Snapperhead IPA from Butternuts Beer & Ale, a brewery housed in an old dairy barn in rural Garratsville, not all that far from Cooperstown. Butternuts was founded by a couple of guys from the now defunct Long Island Brewing company. They started shipping Porkslap Pale Ale and Heinnieweisse (a Hefeweizen) in March 2006. Snapperhead followed in the fall, and rumour has it that a milk stout, the exquisitely named Moo Cow Thunder, was released at that time as well, though we are yet to see it make an appearance in any of our local beer stores.

We've had a soft spot for Butternuts beers since they were first introduced. They are a small, somewhat local operation, they brew only in kegs and cans, and they have a certain chutzpah that we totally dig. It must also be mentioned that Butternuts makes their beers available at very reasonable prices: $5.99 to $6.99 for six, which is something that we wholeheartedly support. The problem is that the beers just aren't great, in our experience. We've tried the Porkslap Pale and Heinnieweisse a few times from a can, and it's just okay. Not bad, but not something you'd ever crave or bestow with the incredibly prestigious award on the line here. Snapperhead seems to fall into that same "solid" category. We were a little worried when we cracked the first can from this officialy sanctioned contest sixer, because the cans all seemed a bit too giving to the touch, as if they might have been compromised in some dark, islolated corner of a warehouse somewhere. They were also drizzled with a thin sheen of concentrated cola-esque syrupy goo. Welcome to flavour country, indeed. The first taste put to rest our fears of a beer gone bad. Despite the odd "softness" of the cans, it poured with a healthy head that disappeared quickly, leaving behind a fine glass of orange coloured, if not all that strongly hopped, India Pale Ale. Having sampled it a few times previously and already consumed five of the six official contest cans, we can say with some certainty that it makes for a pretty solid drinker, and the price is quite agreeable. Butternuts beers are still not what we'd like them to be, though they might offer some better qualities on draught. Sadly, a Butternuts brew on draft is something that we are yet to see, and one that, logically, given the brewers' Long Island roots, seems to be concentrated more in the metro New York area. Too bad, as it might be the ultimate litmus test of just how good these beers actually are. Perhaps a visit to the brewery itself is in order, eh?

Contender: Snapperhead IPA
Style: American India Pale Ale

(oddly, not revealed - we'll guess it at) 6%
Price: $6.99 for six 12 oz. cans

Verdict: Economic cooler filler

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