Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Firefly Hollow Brewing

I've been hearing rumblings about how great Firefly Hollow Brewing is. I had to find out for myself and finally made the trek up there to check them out. I wasn't disappointed.

The brewery is located in an old factory building. I opened the door to a large beautiful tap room with tables and comfortable chairs scattered throughout and a lovely bar dominating the room. Fitting it's location, the room has a cool kind of steam punk atmosphere to it. It's very inviting and cozy.

I was instantly greeted by Cait who promptly served up a flight of samples. She graciously answered questions and offered information on the various selections.

I also got the opportunity to talk for a while with the brewer, Dana Bourque. He clearly has a passion for brewing beer; he spoke animatedly about the various hops, malts, and styles of beer. Dana worked at both Hooker and Willimantic, where he said he gained fantastic experience and knowledge. He was sporting a very spiffy pair of goggles and the ever popular brewer's facial hair. He also appears to be a bit of a ham.

Firefly Hollow has a 10 barrel system with three fermenters, that's pretty good capacity for a new brewery. However, they are not distributing their beer, at this time, but are focusing on developing various brews. Based on what I saw, they have a good following already and will do well when their brews are released into the wild.

The atmosphere and staff were fantastic but what about the beer? In a word? Impressive.
I got to try seven different brews. They were all distinctive but there is a definite Firefly Hollow "fingerprint" on all of them. Although all the beers were good, the stand-outs for me were the Luciferin Double IPA and the Toadstool Oat Stout.

Ramshackle Golden Mild (4.3%) 
pours a somewhat hazy amber with a loose bubbly head.  The aroma is fairly light with biscuit malts in the forefront with fruit and sweeter scents in the background. The taste is malt forward with an interesting pretzel-like flavor. There are some caramel and nutty characteristics, as well. The sweetness is offset by a gentle bittering of hops. This brew is neither overly sweet nor bitter. The finish is clean with lingering bitterness. The mouthfeel is medium with good carbonation. Overall: good.
This brew was also on a nitro tap when I was at the brewery and I got a taste. The nitro gave it a super fluffy head and creamified the texture. It was really nice and made for a good mouth experience. (That's what she said! She did!)

 Toadstool Oat Stout (5.8% ABV)
pours an inky black with a dense, clingy head. The aroma is roasty and smells of fresh brewed coffee. The taste is much the same with loads of roasted coffee flavor and sweet milk chocolate. The finish is mildly bitter and pleasant. The mouthfeel is creamy and smooth. Very nice. Overall: very good.
Nymph IPA (7.1% ABV)
pours a bright orange-red with a tight head that leaves incredible lacing. The aroma is mildly hoppy with fruit accents. The taste is hop forward but it is gently bitter. The hop profile is fruity and juicy. This is an IPA that anyone can enjoy. It's mild and tasty. The mouthfeel is medium with good carbonation. Overall: good. 

 Luciferin Double IPA (8.4% ABV)
pours a cloudy orange with a floofy head that diminishes to a fine swirl that leaves behind fine lacing. The aroma is oh-my-goodness wonderful! Spicy, tart, citrus hops all vying for olfactory attention. The taste is big time hoppy with wonderful bitterness. Grapefruit, juicy fruits, and pepper; it's all in there. This brew is bitter to the, well, the bitter end. The mouthfeel is medium and crisp. My favorite!! Overall: very very good.
Photon Imperial Crimson (8.9% ABV)
Pours a deep copper with a thick head that leaves behind remarkable lacing.  The aroma is a mildly roasty with hints of sweet caramel and citrus.  The taste is a little sweet, a little bitter. Roasty malts are complimented by nice caramlization and subtle citrus. The bitterness is nice and doesn't overwhelm the palate. The finish is mildly bitter and roasty. Nice. The mouthfeel is medium and somewhat effervescent. Overall: good.
There was a casked version of the Photon on tap, as well. It was specifically low carbonation and combined with orange peel and coriander. There was a nice citrus boost and the coriander added a mild earthiness that was quite pleasant. Good job with the firkin! Very enjoyable and unsharable. (Except that I was sharing. So sad.) 

Firefly Hollow has created a wonderful beer drinking atmosphere and combined it with scrumptious brews. I was duly impressed! I look forward to seeing what Dana comes up with next; he's clearly a talented brewer who enjoys his craft. Still not sure about what's going on with those goggles, though. But I like it!


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