Tap This: Heavy Seas Beer has begun distributing its varieties in NEPA
We are fortunate in NEPA to have an abundance of great beers at our disposal, including those from fantastic local breweries. That abundance considered, it is still wonderful when another brewery begins distributing beers into the area, especially when they are top notch.
Heavy Seas Beer is a semi-recent addition to the craft beer landscape in our area, and we are better off with them here. The Maryland-based brewery has been brewing great beers since opening under the Clipper City moniker in 1995. The brewery has continued to gain a following and expand in size and distribution.
The brewery now distributes primarily on the east coast, and its products are available in 18 states. These fortunate states are able to gain access to some of the most well-balanced and highly drinkable beers in the craft beer market.
While brewery stories are always an interesting topic, the most important factor lies in the beer itself. After all, if the beer is not enjoyable, is the history of the brewery all that interesting?
The question remains: What are some of the best beers being brewed at Heavy Sea?
Here is a short list of some of the must-try beers from the brewery. They are a great way to get intimate with the brewing prowess. The brewers at Heavy Seas are able to make world-class versions of a variety of styles, and they produce something for everyone.
Loose Cannon: An American IPA that is also the brewery’s flagship beer and helped garnish the reputation the brewery now enjoys. The strong hop aroma and excellent balance of this 7.25% ABV beer makes it a go-to for craft beer lovers. Brewers use over three pounds of hops per barrel in this triple-hopped beer, so the hop factor is certainly not taken lightly. The bouquet of hops in the aroma and taste are complex yet approachable and while the bitterness factor is strong, the balance is even stronger. Loose Cannon is a beer that all craft beer lovers should have in their fridge year round.
TropiCannon: This is a twist on the popular Loose Cannon IPA. The brewery, using Loose Cannon as the base beer, decided to steer heavily toward tropical fruit notes with a lot of fruit additions. Grapefruit, orange and lemon peel, mango, blood orange, and even more grapefruit were added to the beer in various stages of the brewing process. The resulting beer is heavy in the citrus fruit department and makes for a great beer to enjoy with Sunday brunch. The citrus fruit notes are front and center and there is no way around them. If you are not a fan of citrus notes in your beer definitely avoid this. However, if you love a strong, bitter hit of citrus, you will love the juicy qualities of this beer that is perfect for summer.
Smooth Sail: This summer ale is a great rendition of a pale wheat ale with additions of orange and lemon peel. The bright wheat malts are enhanced but the well-thought-out additions of citrus that combine to create a beer that is crisp and at 4.5% ABV pack a lot of flavor. The canned version of this beer is an absolute dream to have while relaxing on the porch after a long, hot summer day.
Blackbeard’s Breakfast: A showcase beer for the brewery’s barrel-aging program, which features several other seasonal releases. This is certainly one of the best beers in that barrel program. This imperial porter, coming in at 10% ABV, has additions of Sumatra coffee and is aged in bourbon barrels. The result is a beer that is incredibly smooth and full of rich flavors of dark chocolate, coffee, vanilla, coconut, and a touch of bittering hops. The complexities in the beer are noticeable, but the beer is still highly drinkable and, despite the high ABV, does not have a strong alcohol burn that others of this strength typically possess. This is a seasonal release and will be available soon, so be on the lookout!
The current craft beer market is saturated with breweries. In fact, the number of breweries is the highest its ever been in this country. This fact makes it difficult at times to know what new beers to try and can lead to decision fatigue, but don’t give up yet! Breweries like Heavy Seas make for great decisions, and with beers focused on balance, they just might become your new favorite brewery.
Derek Warren is a beer fanatic, avid homebrewer and beer historian. Derek can be heard weekly on the Beer Geeks Radio Hour at noon on Sundays on WILK 103.1 FM with past episodes available on iTunes.