Review Date 3/1/2010
Working my way through the various beers in the Butternuts Brewery twelve-pack sampler, I'm more and more convinced I like the brewery's strategy. The beers are canned instead of bottled, and that makes them more practical on a picnic or at the beach. They allow you to have drinkable, flavorful beers that can appeal to mainstream beer drinkers and geeks alike. And maybe, just maybe, they'll introduce a whole new audience to the thrill of craft beer.
Here's an example. If you're trying to introduce a friend to the wonderful world of hops, best not to hand him or her a Bridgeport Hop Czar straight off. Far better instead to ease them down the path with a milder beer that has enough hops to let one know what they're about, while at the same time not scaring somebody off. Butternuts Snapperhead IPA is a perfect beer for that application.
For me, that makes the beer well-suited to take along to parties and outings. An everyday beer that I can sip at leisure, even, if I'm in the mood, straight from the can. Here's what the brewery says about Snapperhead:
Our India Pale Ale packs typical IPA balls but strikes a better balance between dryness and drinkability. It's every bit as rich but a little less bitter than other American interpretations of the breed, and here's why. We are smarter, better-looking brew masters. We use 2 row barley, a touch of cara-malt and finish it off with whole leaf hops. At 6.3% abv it shows its sweet side first then brings out the bitter hop in the end, for you, our beer loving friends.
Butternuts Snapperhead IPA pours to a golden orange color with a thick head of rocky foam and a bright, citrusy hop nose. A thick layer of Brussels lace clings to the side of my glass as the liquid descends. Sipping, I'm pleased as punch to get a solid caramel-tasting malt backbone at first, then a good dose of slightly grapefruity, floral hops that intensify in the finish, becoming rather bitter actually. They linger nicely on the tongue, but I should add I allowed my can to warm slightly. Drinking it to cold could numb your taste buds to the hops somewhat.
I drank a can decanted tonight and another straight from the package. The former allows for smoother drinking since some of the carbonation is beat out in the pour; drinking from the can allows for a more crisp beer drinking experience. And I like the fact that the beer is so portable in cans, more so than it would be in bottles. The downside is the price, here in Georgia it's $7.99 a six-pack or more, a tad higher than it should be to be truly accessible but admittedly the new norm for craft beer.
I will say I like this one for cooking. I added a can to a crock pot filled with Polish sauerkraut and wiener and bratwurst sausages from my local favorite Patak Bohemia sausage shop to great effect. Normally I like a fine pilsner like Spaten or Sam Adams for simmering sausages and kraut, but the hoppy Snapperhead IPA worked equally well.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.